Monday, August 31, 2015

The Best Thing About Breastfeeding is....

At the beginning of the month I asked our Facebook friends what their most favorite part of breastfeeding is. Since it's the last day of National Breastfeeding Month today I thought I'd share their thoughts with you here.

Stacey: The milky smiles :) OHH LOVED dream feedings!! NO waking up - well hardly anyway

Julie: Healthy gut flora for baby. And its super easy compared to bottles. And way cheaper too!

Hiedy: The bond my son and I share!! So special that it makes everything all better!!

Erin: The ease, the sweet snuggles, the calling for mamas... I love it all. 

Julie: Oh yes- and I can feed baby four times a night without ever getting out of bed. Pretty much everything!

Cassie: The bond!  and I love being the only one who can feed her. :)

Erin: Who can say no to extra cuddle time?

Dezzirae: The cuddles and the closeness 

Jennalee: I love the cuddles and the cute little face she makes!

Brandilyn: The snuggles, love and it's free! Plus I don't have to move an inch to burn calories lol

Katy: I love getting smacked by my over active 5 month old and the no guilt down time that I get every couple hours to snuggle and bond with my little man

Jennifer: stopping what I'm doing to nurse and just be for that time my little man needs his mama :)

BaLeigh: The cuddles along with that sweet milk breath! 

Marrisa: I could list all the health benefits, easiness, and that I wasn't a sleep deprived new mommy but nothing compares to the sleepy, milky, smiles.

Callie: Our time together!!

Kammie: The health benefits. I have no clue if my kids didn't get my asthma or have never had ear infections because of nursing. I know that it was the best thing for them and who knows what colds flus or other illnesses we avoided because of it.

Rachel: I love too many things about it to name just one thing :) i love that I get to have that special time with my babe, I love that I can fulfill his need for comfort and nutrition with just one action <3

I agree with everything these mamas said. There are so many things to love about breastfeeding that it's so hard to pick just one.

When I'm talking with expecting mamas about breastfeeding, the benefits it brings, and basically the "why" of it all, we go through all kinds of things - cost, ease, convenience, time savings, health benefits for mom and baby, etc, etc.

The benefit that I talk about as my favorite though? The bond and closeness that it brings.

I have a few things going on in my life (not unlike you, dear reader, I'm sure). I have a husband, 3 beautiful children that we homeschool, a young moms group that I lead, 2 jobs (this one I do at home and one outside of my home), doula clients, childbirth classes to teach, and lactation counseling clients...not to mention other family and friends whom I love dearly and want to purpose to keep in my life.

I think I've figured out how to juggle it all, but some days go much better than others. There are days where I literally feel like I have about 568 things to do: Calls coming in, texts, and Facebook messages, emails, lists and lists and lists of things. Some days I feel as if I am completely surrounded by different things that are all pulling me in different directions - literally pulling me and if I don't keep it all balanced, something is going to give and it's all going to collapse - I'm going to break something or drop a major ball and some sort of disaster that I could have prevented will befall the world. And on top of it all? The friggin baby is crabby beyond belief and needs to nurse. You've GOT to be kidding me!

But then I sit down to nurse, the after effects of which are almost astounding.

She snuggles in. Latches. Oxytocin starts flowing.

It feels like a remarkable wave washing over me (I can seriously feel it) where all the outside pressures melt away and all that there is in the world is me and my baby. I don't give a rip about deadlines or questions that need to be answered, or emails that need a response, or the mess on the floor, or anything else that might be demanding my attention. If even for just a few minutes, she and I are in our own little piece of heaven on earth. The place where she's getting exactly what she needs from me - comfort, health, nutrition. The place where I'm getting everything I need from her - the knowledge that I'm doing what is best for our precious little one and the assurance that everything else can wait for a few minutes. The world certainly won't end and I will still have time to get what I need done (usually, anyway *wink* ). I'll be refreshed and rejuvenated. She'll be happily satisfied with a full tummy of the best food in the world.

And I'm the one who can give it to her - just me.

What could be better than that?


Keep nursing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Becoming a Mother

As National Breastfeeding Month winds down this week, I just want to share some lovely thoughts from La Leche League on becoming a mother.

This is an excerpt from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding:

A Special Journey

During early pregnancy, your baby's development is nothing short of remarkable. Eighteen days after he is conceived, his heart is beating. About the fourth month or so of your pregnancy, you feel the flutter, the unmistakable stirring that is like no other. It's the revelation of a new life. Your body changes to meet your baby's needs. There's the swelling readiness of your breasts, the expanding cradle of your womb. You are beautiful, as lovely as a tree that is heavy with fruit.

During the last trimester - the seventh, eighth, and ninth months - you may be impatient, eager to complete this stage and have the baby. Then, often when you least expect it, you feel a twinge. And another. The time is here. Mingled relief and anticipation can bring a catch in your throat. Today, sometime soon, your baby will be born!

The doctor or midwife is contacted, and the preliminary details are taken care of. You settle down to the work of giving birth. This day is like no other, and your mind, your whole body, centers on the process that is taking over inside of you.

The birth force rises, swells as a great wave, peaks, and recedes. You try to concentrate on relaxing, on willing your muscles to cooperate. In the welcome interim between contractions, there's time to rest.

The tempo quickens. Contractions are strong, they come quickly. You've probably never worked harder in your life. Labor is a fitting term! Just when you're most likely to feel exhausted and discouraged, you hear the reassurance of those who are with you - "Don't give up! We'll soon have a baby!"

And, at last, there is the moment you've been waiting for all those months, the bursting forth, the moment of blessed birth! As you catch your breath, you hear his cry. Was a sound ever before so priceless?

The umbilical cord is cut, marking the first separation. Who is to bridge this change of worlds for your newborn, who will soothe him and let him know he is again secure? Who better than his mother?

Again your body cradles him. You touch him, kiss his cheek, stroke his damp little head. Will he nurse? Perhaps. At some time within the first hour or so he will take the breast. You hold him close and he nuzzles your breast. His tiny mouth grasps your nipple. It seems no less than amazing! You and your baby can relax. After the enormous effort of giving birth, this is sweet reward.

Without thought or conscious effort on your part, your milk will come. You can look beyond to the many days together as a nursing couple. The security and warmth of your arms, the ready comfort of your milk, the familiar smell and pulse of your body are all precious food to fill out your baby's body and quicken his mind and spirit. Such accomplishments take time. But is there a more awe-inspiring task? This is the ageless beauty of mother and child - a time of grace and peace.

You'll hug him to you, intensely aware of his dependence upon you. Of course he will grow, reach out, and eventually leave you. But not for a while. Give yourself time together; let there be no regrets. Together you'll begin to weave a new cord to replace the one so recently severed. This one will be plaited simply and naturally by your continuing closeness through many unhurried days. Not to be cut, it will form the first link to all human love and understanding. 

But perhaps, instead of the natural birth you prepared for, you have a cesarean delivery. Or the months of waiting are not long enough, and the baby arrives prematurely, to be whisked away for specialized care. For the moment there is little sense of rapport with the baby.

These things happen. They may slow down a mother and baby's start as a nursing couple, but they need not end it. Given the right support, mothers and babies have untold levels of strength and adaptability. Mothers through the ages have happily breastfed their babies, and you can do it, too.

The groundwork is laid before your baby is born. Nothing is more important in your advance planning than your preparation for breastfeeding. There is no better time to start than now.

Happy breastfeeding!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Rewards for YOU!

Did you know that Elegant Mommy has a Rewards Program?

It's kind of awesome, really.

All you need to do is come into the store and make a purchase and we will give you a card to fill out with some basic information. On the back of the first card there are eight boxes and every time you make a purchase we fill in how much you spent in one of the boxes. When the first card is full, you become an Elegant Mommy VIP, which comes with benefits throughout the year, and you get 5% of the total amount spent as store credit to use however you want! For every subsequent card filled you only have six spaces AND you get 10% back of the total amount spent!

This program is just one of the ways that you get back when you shop locally! As a small company who cares about our community, we strive to always give back. Besides the loyalty rewards, you get customized service, knowledge and help from employees who care, not to mention the satisfaction of supporting a small local business who constantly strives to give back to the community.

What are our customers saying about our rewards program?

I just don't know where to start :). I learned about Elegant Mommy shortly after having our son, and I just love it! With the rewards program, it is just great!  I have purchased numerous items, and it is just awesome when I fill up my card!!  Collin loves the items especially his "softies" blankets from there!  Most recently with my rewards I was able to not only purchase a few baby gifts but also used my rewards to get a few extras for the new mommies!!!  More so though I love coming into the store with Collin and visiting with the friendly and knowledgable staff :).  All the opportunities for furthering my knowledge for him!!!!  I am just grateful that I found such a wonderful shop, with great employees that also has great rewards for shopping locally!!!  ~Liz S
I really am surprised the amount I got back from the Rewards Program. If I am going to buy cloth diapers anyway, I might as well get some sort of incentive. And I was able to get close to $60 back to spend. I know if I purchased from a person or another business I probably wouldn't have gotten that. ~Danielle
Elegant Mommy's rewards program has been amazing. It is so generous of them to offer their customers a chance to get a little something extra as a thank you for shopping with them. This is one of the bonuses of shopping locally. I also appreciate the willingness of Elegant Mommy's staff to work with my husband in utilizing my filled rewards card to help him pick out a *perfect* Mother's Day present. That personalized service and attention is rare these days and it is just one of the many reasons that we love to shop at EM! ~Beth 
So, come on in and get your rewards started TODAY!


Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's Not About the Trees

I have such a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I absolutely adore the "dog days of summer" and all the wonderful-ness that goes along with it...fresh produce, warm days with just a hint of fall that's right around the corner (hip hip hooray!!). The thing that's tough for me, though? School starting. At least this year it is....

Why you ask?

Well, because I'm just a big ole hot mess of emotions, and honestly it's hard for me to see pictures of all the beautiful children of my friends and look at pictures from the beginning of our school last year and not get just a little choked up. I mean, why on earth does this all have to keep going SO fast?!

I look at my beautiful oldest daughter Vienna. She's going into 2nd grade.

Did you hear me?! SECOND grade!

It's just not possible - she was a sweet toddler learning her ABCs last week, and it was about 2 days ago that I was stressing about figuring out what to do for our homeschool curriculum and what our days would look like. Now I feel like we're "seasoned" homeschoolers and pretty much have things figured out...well, almost - ha!

She has grown up exponentially in the past year. She would rather do almost nothing than read or draw/color....except ride her bike, of course, and play with her brother and baby sister. She is just SO grown up. I don't know what happened.

And then I look at the changes in our tenderhearted Porter over the past year. Man, oh man, has he "come into his own". He's opened up, lost SO much timid-ness, and seriously can make friends any place we go now. He's not just riding on his sister's coattails anymore...HE finds friends on his very own. It's kind of awesome to see.

I love watching their interests grow and mature as they find what they love and pursue it.

And don't even get me started on the baby. Can it really be? Is she for real 10 months today? I think back to a year ago and where I was in pregnancy and what we were doing and how I was feeling. It's amazing the change that just one year can bring.

But that's just it.

It's a FULL year. We are all a year older. 365 day wiser.

So why does it seem like it's only been a week?

I mean, I've got a full year of memories. I KNOW it's really been that long. Yesterday I was looking at a family photo we did right after Ember was born and I was in shock at how young the older kids looked. Then it occurred to me how long it had actually been.

I don't know. Maybe I'm all gooey emotional because Ember is 10 months today. Maybe it's because my baby brother is getting married next weekend. Maybe I'm hormonal.

Or maybe I'm like this because I somehow feel like I'm missing it.

I'm guessing other moms feel this way sometimes, too. I think I'm just feeling like I can't "see the forest because the trees are in the way", know what I mean? All of the day's details, work, food, diapers, tangled hair, spilled milk, piles of laundry, more work, etc are getting in my way of seeing and absorbing the joy of the season of life that we are currently in.

Life is busy.

I need to remember to enjoy it and see the whole thing....not just the trees.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Three Things About Heather

We are super excited to welcome the newest addition to the Elegant Mommy family - Heather. We thought it would be fun to do a little introduction post so you can get to know her, too. We asked her to tell us three things about herself in several categories....

Without further ado, meet the lovely Heather:

My Family:
  1. I have three boys - Owen, James and Andrew
  2. My husband, Simon, is from England.
  3. Both of my parents live in Sioux Falls and give us tons of support!

  1. It is the best thing I have done with my life.
  2. I hope to raise three respectful, passionate men.
  3. It has opened my eyes to the power of nature and the human body

  1. Baking
  2. Sewing
  3. Babywearing

Things I've learned about being a mom:
  1. Always be willing to laugh in the face of craziness!
  2. Be present in these moments when my children are little.
  3. There is no such things as too much snuggling!

Things I'm excited about being a part of the Elegant Mommy family:
  1. I get to meet and help other passionate parents!
  2. I hope to support families who want to know more about babywearing, breastfeeding, and cloth diapering.
  3. I want to learn more about amazing products that will support both my family and other Elegant Mommy families!
So, there you have her.....the newest member of our family. Come on in to the store soon and say hello - she'll love to help you get the products and information you need to be the best parent you can be!


Friday, August 14, 2015

It's Silent Auction Time!

Have you heard?

The Educated Mommy annual online Facebook Silent Auction is coming up!!

What is the Silent Auction, you ask? Well, it's only our BIGGEST fundraiser of the year! As you probably know, Educated Mommy is our non-profit organization that brings you amazing classes, support groups, events, and lactation support all for free or at greatly reduced pricing all year long. We serve literally hundreds of people in our community, and we want to continue to be able to offer the amazing services we have for years to come!

As a non-profit, we depend on donations from people like you and fundraisers to make our services continually available to those we serve.

Ok, so now for the nitty-gritty. How can you help (I get it - I know you are wondering)?

First of all, we need donations to auction off! So, if you are a crafter, a baker, a candlestick maker...or you know - pretty much anything you have to offer - we would love to put an item or service from you on the auction! Ideas for donations include (but are not in any way limited to): sewed items, crafted items, baked goods, salon services, massage services, gift cards to pretty much anywhere, zoo tickets, Washington Pavilion tickets, entertainment tickets, sports tickets, gas cards, electronics, anything natural parenting related, anything family related, anything that someone could give as a gift to someone they know, anything that someone could consume, anything that someone could put on their skin or their kiddos' skin. The possibilities are endless, really.

If you would like to donate to the auction, please let me know ASAP! You can shoot me an email at or just PM our Facebook page.

Now, for those of you who are super excited to participate (i.e. SHOP!!), have no fear - we will be posting all the details for you on Friday 8/21/15 in our Facebook chat group (if you haven't yet, you should totally join the group!), as well as on both our Facebook pages (Elegant Mommy & Educated Mommy) watching!

The auction will be held 8/21/15 - 8/23/15 - we'll see you then - happy bidding!!


Monday, August 10, 2015

Beautiful Birth

Here at Elegant Mommy we are always looking to share birth and breastfeeding stories. One of our friends recently wrote a beautiful poem about her long-anticipated VBAC, and I want to share it with you today. It truly is lovely.....enjoy:

Beautiful Birth

To be a mama is why I was placed on this earth.
Our journey began on a fine May morning with your beautiful birth.
For nine months, I did fret and worry.
The idea of a natural VBAC was so very scary.
I wanted for you nothing but the best.
I wanted to trust the way my body was designed, and forget the rest.
Finally, I decided.  For me, there was only one way.
So for 17 hours, fervently I did pray.
With each contraction, we worked together-your body and mine.
All we needed was patience and time.
In the midst of all that pain, I’m not sure I knew.
This, was one of the most magnificent things I would ever do.
For you, what an experience it was laboring.
In one word…amazing.
It wasn’t easy…but Jesus got me through.
And my reward-He brought me you.
With all my might did I push and try.
Each push released with a guttural cry.
All other noise did cease.
The room was filled with a palpable peace.
From beginning to end, this experience was incredibly beautiful.
It’s a wonder what our bodies can do with a great deal of will.
With a final push of love, I was at last able to see your sweet face.
You were placed on my chest for a long awaited warm embrace.
It was at that moment I knew; for the rest of my days,
You would forever be my always.

Thank you, Rachel!

If you have a story you would like to tell, please do! I would love to share it with our readers! Just email me at media[at]


Friday, August 7, 2015

No. I Will NOT Apologize.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I'm pretty soft spoken. I take pride in carefully wording things so as not to offend, instead to gently yet firmly make my voice heard. In my "former life" back in Portland I had a corporate job and was working my way up the ladder. As with any job, there was plenty of company "politics" that were constantly at play. Many of the things I did involved putting together internal processes and procedures that often involved several departments. Anyone who has done anything similar knows how messy something like that can get. When I left the company, one of my peers from a different department described me as "diplomatic".

I thought it fit me well.

I have always had an ability to bring people together, find some common ground, and make it work. I can also be very matter-of-fact and tell people "this is how it is, now deal with it" but in a much nicer way :).

My nature screams to be very "diplomatic" about everything, but something I read recently really got me riled up and I feel the need to write a commentary on it here today.

The other day I happened upon a blog post written by one of my contemporaries that said, in essence - I won't celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, but I will instead call it World Baby Feeding Week and celebrate how all mamas feed their babies, whichever way they do. I think WBW ostracizes formula feeding mamas and hurts their feelings.

*blink* *blink*

Are you kidding me?

I, too, am a hugely strong proponent of respecting each mama's choices in how to raise and parent their children. I don't want anyone telling me what I should do, and I'm not in the business of telling other mamas what they should do, either.

You know what I AM in favor of though?


And do you know what there isn't enough of?


And I don't mean the crap that formula companies spew through their advertising, subliminal messaging, bags full of the stuff that's sent home from the hospital, and through their sales reps to pediatricians across the nation. I'm talking real information that can be backed up by biased-free studies and scientific data.

I would never, ever, once in a million years tell a mom that she made the wrong decision to give her baby formula. I would never, ever, once in a million years tell a mom that formula is the devil and if you give it you are basically giving your child a death sentence. Obviously, that statement would be preposterous. Formula IS an acceptable food for babies, and though it does come with risks, it's a solution that I'm super grateful for, because breastfeeding truly doesn't work out for everyone, for a multitude of different reasons. I'll save all that for another day, though.

The thing is, I think the person who wrote that blog post is completely missing the point on what World Breastfeeding Week actually is and why it's important.

According to the World Breastfeeding Week's Website, the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) coordinates the week, which is "a global network of individuals and organisations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide based on the Innocenti Declarations, the Ten Links for Nurturing the Future and the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding."

I guess I just feel that the author's politically correct message that she's spewing is terribly short sighted. She is not looking beyond her teeny tiny circle of influence and doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It makes me wonder if she's ever talked with a young mom who isn't planning to breastfeed simply because she has never seen it or heard anything about it - but once she knows some of the benefits has a complete turnaround and gains a resolve to breastfeed (even if just for a short time). I wonder if she's ever talked with a mom who tried with her first but had literally NOone to help her - no support system at all - so quit after only a few days and isn't even planning to try with this one, yet after learning some benefits, available support, and ways to deal with some of the issues she had, has a change of heart.

Well, I have, and I say that World Breastfeeding Week is a SUPER important week and those of us who participate and spread the word should stand proud, not falter, and certainly not apologize for spreading information about breastfeeding and it's benefits. I don't feel that World Breastfeeding Week is meant to demonize formula-feeding. It's simply in place to spread the word worldwide (not just in our little corner of the world) how breastfeeding can benefit families, communities, and nations. It's meant to educate, not condemn.

I feel like if more people would know more about breastfeeding, then our nation and world could be a much better place - safer for newborns - with the benefit of healthier children, families, and communities. Breastfeeding is a matter of health and familial well-being.

So, I'm sorry, author-of-the-random-blog-post-that-I-saw-the-other-day...I wholeheartedly disagree with you, and I will NOT call this week "World Baby Feeding Week", nor will I apologize for consistently and regularly talking about breastfeeding and its benefits. If a mom, after knowing the benefits of breastfeeding and risks of formula-feeding, chooses to feed her baby formula, I will of course support her decision. If a mom NEEDS to chose an alternate form of feeding because breastfeeding doesn't work for her for one reason or another, I of course support her as well. I will NOT, however, be ok with a mom make those decisions because she is unaware that there are options and of the true benefits that come with breastfeeding. That doesn't mean I'm not ok with the mom, it means I'm not ok with the lack of real and true information and support readily available to all moms, no matter where they are in the world.

Ok - I'm done ranting now. I need to go nurse my baby so I can calm down.

Today's the last day of World Breastfeeding Week this are YOU celebrating?


Monday, August 3, 2015

Breastfeeding and Work....Let's Make it Work!

Welcome to World Breastfeeding Week!

What is WBW, you ask? Well, as explained on this website:
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed in 1991 to act on the Innocenti Declaration (1990) to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. As part of its action plan to facilitate and strengthen social mobilisation for breastfeeding, WABA envisioned a global unifying breastfeeding promotion strategy. A day dedicated to breastfeeding was suggested to be marked in the calendar of international events. The idea of a day's celebration was later turned into a week.
This has become to be known as World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) celebrated every 1-7 August to commemorate the Innocenti Declaration. WBW was first celebrated in 1992. Now it involves over 170 countries and is endorsed by UNICEF, WHO, FAO and IPA coordinates all WBW efforts and there are all kinds of events and things going on worldwide to spread the knowledge about breastfeeding and to hopefully increase breastfeeding rates worldwide.

This year's theme of "Breastfeeding and Work....Let's Make It Work" is pretty timely, especially here in the US. We can tell every single new mama that she should stay home with her baby, nurse him, bond with him, raise him, as much as we want to. Unfortunately that is not practical, nor is it a reality for a pretty large majority of women in this country.

Most women I know either work or go to school. In my work, I've met moms that have to go back to work within a week of giving birth. Yes - you read that right - one week. They just can't afford to take longer than that off. It's heartbreaking. Others are in school and can't take much time off or they'll fall too far behind. I remember taking a college course many years ago and there was a very pregnant young girl in my class. One week she showed up with her newborn. She didn't take any time off at all and when asked about the baby (and being commended for being there) said she had the baby a few days earlier.

I'm really hoping that something can be done about all of these poor mamas that are thrown right into work or school so soon after birthing a sweet miracle.

But in the meantime, mamas need support to continue the all-important breastfeeding relationship with their little squishes!

Employers would be very wise to put policies in place that help mamas continue breastfeeding their wee ones. Being a breastfeeding friendly employer attracts and helps retain employees. Healthcare costs are hugely reduced, and because of the health benefits for babies that continue as they grow into older children, parents (i.e. employees) are much less likely to have to miss work to be with an ill child. Breastfeeding employees who are supported in the workplace also report higher productivity and loyalty.

Seriously - breastfeeding offers SO many benefits to everyone - if your employer isn't too keen on getting you enough time or a private place that's not a bathroom to express your milk you should talk to them about some of the benefits of supporting you. There are some great resources out there to get them the information.

Also, don't forget that Educated Mommy offers a "Going Back to Work" support group where you can get some support as you head back after having your little one. The group meets the 2nd Saturday (that's THIS coming Saturday!) morning of each month at 9 am. Check it out!

Until then, keep nursing mama - you're doing a great job!