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Where has the time gone

New new new everything is new.  New baby, new job, new city, new house.  New Life.  Since deciding to take a break to focus on developing a routine. I have made slot of progress.  You may remember I mentioned Jojo had become jaundice,  not long after that he was admitted into the hospital with fever.  My baby was on an IV yet we managed to maintain our Breastfeeding relationship. I actually took the interview for the job I currently have from the hospital room, and started two weeks later.     Insert Daycare. This was a totally new experience for me, it was very hard at first for me emotionally, having never been separated from my kids aside from grocery store runs, but it worked out to a point where the kids and I are comfortable.  I had to learn how to be a pumping mama. And it's going well.  I've learned the value of reusable cloth nursing pads.  Bye bye soaked shirts.   So all had been improving in my life. I even joined the moms with minivans club.   I thought I would hate it but I love it..  If you follow my Instagram, you may have seen that Mali ( one of the twins) recently was in the hospital for a week. The diagnosis ? An ear infection, his first ever. (Thank you breastfeeding)  It was terrifying, he too had an IV and spiking fevers of 107.  I had literally been in my new home and city 4 days.  The hospital housed my husband and 3 kids in the room for 5 days.  Can't leave my kid he is 4, can't separate the twins, can't leave the breastfed baby..   Perhaps the word I should use is WON'T.   Needless to say I have had 3 hospital stays in 4-5 months.  I'm done with hospital food for the year.    Mali is doing better,and we are back to our chaotic lives.   I can relax now....  haha just kidding.   Me and the munchkins  Below: a full size igloo of frozen pumped milk.  I don't even know what to do with all of this. YET! ūüėČ

Surviving a Cold while pregnant……with toddlers

It's no secret that during pregnancy a woman's immune system is weakened. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum) more prone to severe illness from flu, as well as to hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their developing baby, including premature labor and delivery.-  Center for Disease Control With this information in mind, being pregnant and having two small children,  I'm taking every precaution necessary to avoid getting sick.  EVERYTHING!  Despite my best efforts, not only do I get sick, so do Mali and Squish. We must have come in contact with someone as didn't realize it. Initially I was extremely nervous. My throat had an odd scratchy feeling and I felt warm. Then comes all the nastiness that comes with a cold, and there are limitations on the over the counter medicines that a mother can use during pregnancy.  Sooo WHAT NOW? All hope wasn't lost fortunately, I found that it is safe to take Robitussin DM, Sudafed, & Benedryl from my OB.  I chose Tussin.. and Vicks Vapor Rub. I just love Vicks. Now for the twins: They aren't handling their cold very well. They have fevers and are coughing and there are limitations on what you can do for kids under 6. My solution:  For Pregnant mom:  Robitussin DM every 4-8 hours  Sudafed or Benedryl Vicks Vapor Rub  Fluids Rest  For toddlers  Children's Motrin or Tylenol  Cool mist humidifier  Vicks Fluids Rest Games and DVDs  We are what I call surviving... I've graduated past feeling I may sneeze out a baby! No body wants that.  But we are still a mess!! We did run into urgent care just to be safe! 

All Natural Skin and Hair Care IG Deetz

So it seems my Instagram Post¬†caused a bit of interest in the natural skin care products that I use for myself and the babies. So instead of answering the question a few times over in my DM's and in comments. I thought it may be easier to quickly give all of the information you need here.¬† Since it is sometimes difficult for me to get out and do the shopping that I need to for myself or the children, As I mentioned in an earlier post Amazon.com is my everything. It helps me get what I need at great prices.   So now for the details of my most recent shipment, you can click directly on the image or¬†links to take you directly to the products I've purchased so you can get them on your own from Amazon: #1 Best Quality African Black Soap - 1lb (16oz) Raw Organic Soap for Acne, Dry Skin, Rashes, Scar Removal, Face & Body Wash, Authentic Beauty Bar From Ghana West Africa Incredible By Nature Ingredients Palm Oil, Cocoa Pod, Palm Kernel Oil, Coconut Oil, Unrefined Shea Butter, Plantain Skin Ash, Purified Water, Natural Vitamin E, Natural Sodium. Directions Cut a smaller bar size piece for use. Lather with a sponge, wash cloth, loofah, or similar device after getting it wet. Apply to any part of the body you want cleaned, or treated. Rinse & Repeat as desired. SOFT & SMOOTH! African Shea Butter From Ghana About the Product Yellow/Gold Shea Butter from W. Africa Pure, Raw, Unrefined, Filtered and Smooth Temperature-dependent. Warm to soften. Packaged in sealed plastic containers   I hope this helps answer all the questions!  

Welcome Home Baby

I have been of the radar for a bit.  I finally delivered my little boy! We have had such an interesting week. From overcoming the aches and pains of delivery to overcoming jaundice and all the doctors visits that come with that.  We are well and are taking some time to adjust.   My quick take aways since Labor and Delivery Natural Birth hurts but it's amazing to know and learn your limits.  Midwifery and Doulas are awesome.   I've had the privilege to see how my prefolds hold up against what could have been a blowout for the books.   Mamacloths saved me from a panicked store run and are way more comfortable postpartum.  It's so important to speak up and be your own health and breastfeeding advocate.  Some medical professionals just don't know about breastfeeding.  Cloth diapers look a little funny underclothes and putting cloth on a squirmy newborn looks a little like a wrestling match where the little guy always wins.   I'm getting better.  Family is awesome.  What would I have done without my parents, brother and sister n law, and close friends.   Oh and what a difference a tiltled mattress makes.  I can say I have had at least one good nights sleep so far and that's better than none.... (positive thinking)  I am going to elaborate on these because there are stories to go with all of them.  For now I'm going to get some rest.  Thanks for all the support and love!! 

Morning Sickness is Something to Celebrate

Several Studies on morning sickness have revealed that over 50% of pregnant woman experience morning sickness. There is no real evidence on what causes morning sickness yet. But we know that it happens. I have had the pleasure of experiencing this natural phenomenon with both my pregnancy with the twins, and my current pregnancy. Any mother who has experienced this can attest to the fact that its name¬†"Morning Sickness" does not have any indication of when you will actually be sick. It should be called ALL DAY sickness. My morning sickness had affected my ability to function normally both times. I tried Ginger, and crackers solutions that many woman swear by, and it didn't help. Eventully I was relying on Zofran, a medicine that is also given to patients experiencing chemotherapy induced nausea.¬† Alas a new study lead by Dr. Stephanie Hinkle reveals that morning sickness may not be such a bad thing after all. Morning Sickness should bring a sigh of relief to mothers. Ummm Okay! ‚ÄúOur study evaluates symptoms from the earliest weeks of pregnancy, immediately after conception, and confirms that there is a protective association between nausea and vomiting and a lower risk of pregnancy loss.‚ÄĚ - Stefanie N. Hinkle, Ph.D, Scientist, NICHD‚Äôs Epidemiology Branch According to¬† the NIH study news release,¬† Dr. Hinkle and her colleagues analyzed data from the Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGeR) trial, in which researchers tested whether taking daily low-dose aspirin prevents women who experienced one or two prior pregnancy losses from experiencing a future loss.¬† In the EAGeR trial, a total of 797 women had positive pregnancy tests, with 188 pregnancies ending in loss. By the 8th week of pregnancy, 57.3 percent of the women reported experiencing nausea and 26.6 percent reported nausea with vomiting. The researchers found that these women were 50 to 75 percent less likely to experience a pregnancy loss, compared to those who had not experienced nausea alone or nausea accompanied by vomiting. Its important to remember that not all women experience morning sickness. There are perfectly healthy pregnancies past present and future that will not experience morning sickness and these mommies-to-be should not be alarmed at the absence of illness in their first trimester.   Visit NIH.GOV for more details on the study   I have a healthy envy of anyone who bypasses morning sickness. Its a miserable experience. But I guess Dr. Hinkle is telling us ladies we can pop the sparkling welches, Everything is OKAY...¬†¬†¬† Even if you can't keep anything down.. find a moment to dance about it.

SpiltMilk

Am I an Attachment Mom? РSelf Discovery 

In this day and age there is literally a category for EVERYTHING. In those frequent moments of insomnia (or inmomnia) I tend to read or pick a subject and just do some reasearch.    I had wondered what the term "Attachment Parenting" was about and I was surprised at what I found.  As it turns out I seem to fall into a parenting category and didn't even know it.  I refer to myself as a Green Mom, or Economom.. Twin Mom, and here more recently Single Mom, but Attachment Mom? Okaaaayyy.  So accoring to my research the "Attachment Parenting" method is credited to Pediatrician Dr. William Sears MD. Attachment parenting focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can develop with their children. That nurturing connection is viewed as the ideal way to raise secure, independent, and empathetic children.  This parenting philosophy is said to have 8 Principles of parenting.  According to the Attachment Parenting International Website (API) they are:  Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Proponents of attachment parenting believe it is important to eliminate negative thoughts and feelings about pregnancy. Doing so, they say, readies a parent for the emotionally demanding work of being a parent. Feed with love and respect. Breastfeeding, proponents say, is the ideal way to create a secure attachment. It also teaches infants that parents will listen to their cues and fulfill their needs. Respond with sensitivity.                     With attachment parenting, parents consider all expressions of emotions, including repeated tantrums, as real efforts at communication. Those efforts are to be taken seriously and understood rather than punished or dismissed. Use nurturing touch. Attachment parenting proponents advise maximum skin-to-skin touching. Ways to achieve that include joint baths and "baby-wearing" -- carrying babies during the day in a front-facing sling. Engage in nighttime parenting. Attachment parenting experts advise making "co-sleeping" arrangements. With co-sleeping, an infant sleeps in the same room with parents so they can feed and emotionally soothe the child during the night. Some parents practice "bed-sharing" or sleeping in the same bed with babies. But be aware that currently the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against this as it may increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Provide constant, loving care. Proponents of attachment parenting advise the nearly constant presence of a parent. That includes during walks, parents' night out, and work. They advocate against childcare for more than 20 hours a week for babies younger than 30 months old. Practice positive discipline.             Parents are advised to distract, redirect, and guide even the youngest of babies, and to model positive behavior. Attachment parenting aims at understanding what a child's negative behavior is communicating. And parents are encouraged to work out a solution together with a child, rather than spanking or simply imposing their will on children. Strive for balance in personal and family life.                                              Parents are encouraged to create a support network, live a healthy lifestyle, and prevent parenting burn-out. Ok so far so good everything seems like a match.   Dr. Sears continues to give a list of what's called the 7 B's of Attachment Parenting, where he lists 7 specific ways to align yourself with the principals listed above by API.  They are: Birth Bonding- this involves establishing a closeness between mother and baby as early as possible. It's not to be considered a now or never act, especially since medical complications can prevent immediate skin to skin or contact between parent and baby.  Instead it's  really a continuation of the relationship that began during pregnancy.  Breastfeeding- This is self explanatory maybe but.  There is a lot of love and nurturing involved in learning the babies cues and body language. It also literally allows the mothers body and the babies body to communicate via hormones to protect the baby with antibodies and how much milk and what kind of milk is needed.  Baby Wearing- Wearing the baby in a wrap or face to face carrier promotes closeness. It also keeps the baby calm.  Bedding Close to Baby- Also known as co-sleeping and bed sharing. This allows the mother to respond quickly to the needs of the baby.  There are risks that come along with bed sharing, but some parents choose this method. Sleeping space next to the bed is considered much safer to reduce the risk of suffocation.  Belief in the language value of your baby‚Äôs cry- A baby's cry is it's way of communication.  So a gentle response to the cry builds trust. A parent understands that a cry is to communicate not to manipulate. Have you ever seen someone lose it over the baby crying? It's not cool!  Beware of baby trainers - This stresses the importance of recognizing that all advice is not good advice or a match for you and your baby.  For example the cry it out method, convenience parenting, or feeding on a schedule.  Balance- Being sure that you are not neglecting yourself while caring for the needs of the baby.  Making sure that mommy and baby are both happy.  Check check check... I have to admit, my initial response to this information was (eye roll) I do what feels natural to me as a loving mother . Working hard to care for my small children and to create a loving, safe, balanced atmosphere so they can develop into stable adults.  Dr. Sears wasn't saying anything groundbreaking in my opinion. This loving style is nothing new. Then I realized some children do not get this type of upbringing and some adults need some guidance, which is ok. Get your guidance by all means.  Just as quickly as I had this thought, Dr. Sears admitted that it's a natural way of parenting. And mothers have responded this way to their children for centuries.    I think Dr. Sears and I could be great friends.   So as it stands this is a category I very much fall into as a mom, and unintentionally at that.  I'm okay with it.   I don't think you win anything aside from a gentle and mutually beneficial relationship with your children.  To me that's HUGE.  You can learn more about Attachment Parenting at www.askdrsears.com

My Breastfeeding Journey- Breastfeeding Twins

You may have read my story of what it was like giving birth to twins. It was a fairly easy delivery to be honest, easy and fast.  I did mention that the delivery was just the beginning. As new parents know well, the rubber meets the road when the baby or babies are born.  I can't help but reflect on these days as I take on this journey once more with baby #3. Upon the birth of my twins, if there was anything that I was certain of, it was my determination to breastfeed my children. The benefits for mother and baby cannot be denied, yet my memories of starting out were not as heart warming as a new mother may imagine. I'll explain: With very little breastfeeding education, and even less opportunities to witness a mother breastfeeding in past, I had NO IDEA what I was supposed to do.  So you can imagine my surprise when the nurse came in and asked my feeding intentions and plopped my children on me to get them to latch. "OKAY, Nipple goes in babies mouth, I can do this." WRONG WRONG, I couldn't have been more wrong, but what do you do when the nurse walks away. Later after being transferred to a hospital room a nurse came in with a pump on wheels. It was pretty terrifying, horns, plastic lines, and again they plopped the children on me one by one for very brief moments and then I was told that my babies were not latching and it was necessary that I supplement. No one spent any real time with me to help me get started. To my surprise the nurse walked back in with a case of Enfamil, and disposable nipples and I was told to feed the children. In my mind I rationalized that the children had to have something. I managed to figure the pump out, and get some colostrum for the twins, but was feeling defeated before I even started. We began attempting latches, and then settling for the formula when it didn't work, because that's what the nurse said to do. And Medical Professionals know EVERYTHING right? Wrong. Naturally I complained, begging for someone to give me a bit of direction before we were discharged from the hospital. The nurse on the next shift assured me that a Lactation Consultant would visit me and that I would love her.  Picture me, waiting in expectation feeling hopeful, and wondering if the LC would understand me. I mean REALLY understand me.  To my surprise a woman named Ngozi walked into the room. The calm I felt when a woman who looked like me and truly understood my feelings as I vented was priceless. She spent time with me, talked to me, and helped me latch the twins.  Ngozi also set me up with a breastpump of my own to be delivered to my home. I would love to say that things got easier from there, but I can't. I would go off into a quiet place and try to latch. I did  Skin to Skin, dropping milk on my areola and then quickly latching and spending time with each baby individually. One would latch successfully, the other didn't and they would take turns rejecting the breast. Honestly, it was heartbreaking. I would go get their bottles and use that brief moment walking from my room to the kitched to cry. I MEAN CRY, Ugly cry. Then pull myself together and give them either pumped milk or formula.  A friend suggested that I contact WIC as they have LC's and Peer Counselors, I was not a WIC recipient, but a woman agreed to come to my house to watch what I was doing, everything looked right. No one really understood why I was working so hard if it was frustrating me, and difficult.  I just refused to give up.                   Finally, something clicked at about 6 weeks, near my post partum check up, everything fell into place. Suddenly the twins started latching and very well at that.  Still I had ZERO confidence in my abilities as a breast feeding mother. Are they getting enough, is the latch even right? How frequently should they breastfeed, how do I keep up my supply? All I had was the internet, and I learned that the only way for my body to produce what is required was to breastfeed more frequently.  Only then, it became clear what had to be done. I was still supplementing with Enfamil due to lack of confidence.  I decided to stop. And decided that my body will have to do. I felt like I spent most of my days sitting in one spot breastfeeding at first. I eventually nixed the pump, it felt like I had triplets. (More power to breastfeeding moms of triplets.) I'm happy to say that my determination and research gave me what I needed to develop a long lasting breastfeeding journey with the twins. They weaned and ended their breastfeeding journey just after their 3rd birthday. We made it three years, through trials, finding suitable places to feed, learning how to cut my time in half with tandem feeding, teething, airplanes,  and rude questions about how long I was going to breastfeed. I often wonder how I would have changed my experience by having more support, more representation, and more education. Its become my determination to be the very person that I was looking for, with other mothers. Oh... and as for Ngozi? the very first Lactation Consultant I have ever met. We were reunited, she is one of the founders of the Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle (PBBC), an organization dedicated to supporting the women who need it the most in her community, and addressing the alarming disparities, or injustices in healthcare and breastfeeding support amongst women of color. I am happy to be a member of the group.  Definitely visit the website. If you are wondering what I mean by medical injustices. I will explain this issue in an upcoming post!! What have you had to overcome to breastfeed your children? What are somethings that prevented you from starting or continuing? I would love to hear your story!  

A Birth Story – My story featured on (Thenotsohoitytoitylife.com)

I recently had to pleasure of working with www.thenotsohoitytoitylife.com as a guest to share my birth story¬†of when I¬†gave birth to my¬†twins. While reliving the miracle of life with pregnancy #2 / Baby #3 ¬†it was interesting to see how things have changed for me in just under four years.¬† This time instead of a doctor and having no breastfeeding experience, ¬†its a midwife a doula and some serious breastfeeding experience, ¬†but we'll talk more about that later. Check¬†the story¬†out: When I look back on giving birth to the twins I can only laugh, I had a healthy uneventful pregnancy but I was huge. All my weight was in my belly. I went to my doctor appointment where I was supposed to be scheduled for Induction, only to find out the doctors decided it wasn't in our best interest and to let labor begin naturally.¬† I was devastated! I couldn't move very well, the lack of sleep, and pain in my hips, I was OVER IT!¬† I came back to my parents house, where I had been staying, to get ready for dinner and I laid on the floor and said..... read more  

The Second Time is Different

 As I type this post from all three children are in the living room with their dad. (Yes, their dad).   It's been nice to have extra hands again.   I can't begin to tell you the ways that the baby stage is different.. or my mothering is different, Everything is DIFFERENT.   We already know that I am cloth diapering. I would have done this the first time if I was more educated in this area.  Cloth is one of the best choices I have made. I think that when budgeting while there are children that are not potty trained in the home, cloth is the way to go. It's not as complicated as it sounds. And if you're into keeping money in your pocket ... or  keeping the earth clean, then really look into it.  Aside from the logical benefits, a baby walking around in cloth is way cuter that a disposable.  Now here comes a confession: I DO NOT cloth diaper 100%. (Gasp)   I know!!! Actually since I no longer work in the home, the children are in childcare. And while there Jojo does where disposable diapers. For those of you who have not and will not cross over to cloth. Or may hybrid like me.  I purchase the ALDI brand. To send to daycare.  The price is like no other.  Little Journey does work.  And we have to do what's best for our situation.  We do not use disposables in our home, not even at night.   Another way I am mothering differently is I am way more relaxed.  I mean extremely relaxed.  When the twins were born, you could  NOT hold my babies.  New mom! I probably could have used the help the most with having twins.  But I think daycare has changed me where I am attached to my little ones but knowing when to share is valuable.  Recently we were having dinner as a family at Red Lobster and  my husband has me eat first and holds the baby.  Well the waitress came to me and said "Mom while you eat, I will wash my hands and hold your baby if you like."  I gladly handed my baby over while she held Jojo standing next to me and talking while we ate and helped the twins finish their food.  (Admittedly one wrong move and I may have tackled her like the Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Line.... sorry not sorry- I said relaxed I didn't say I'm no longer a mama bear.) The look on my husbands face was PRICELESS and a bit of relief too. He was hungry!  Difference Three:  Pumping at work. Oh my..  if you work outside the home and don't struggle with occasional guilt.  How do you do it? Now add to that the pressure to be in your seat and meetings and the need to pump!  I have been pumping for about 5 of the 6 months Jojo has been born, and I have to admit my job is accommodating.  It's a government job so they know the laws.  So I didn't even have to explain myself.  I use Freemie Cups and the Freemie Equality manual pump.  There hasn't been too much trouble maintaining my supply.  While at daycare Jojo drinks 3 6oz bottles of breastmilk during the time he is away from me.  And my good friend who is also their daycare provider is a dream with support.   I'm more care free.    We went on a weekend trip and I threw a bunch of cloth diapers and a wet bag in the car and told the kids lets go if we need anything, we can hit up a Walmart.  I DIDNT EVEN PACK.   Granted I am the food source and we were all due for a pair of shorts or two. It was nice and freeing to walk out the house with a cloth diapers and a co sleeper and get on the road to our destination.   I'm so comfortable in my role as mom, I'm sure I haven't figured it ALL out, and I mess up sometimes. But I feel free .....Prov 3:5 is my motto.  I'm thinking  about trying my hand at making baby food and freezing it....   thinking about it..... wait for it.  

My Experience with the Regalo My Cot

Now that the twins are older, it has become somewhat easier to travel. I have so much less that needs to be packed.¬† But with two small children that still don't sleep safely in hotel beds, and definitely not on hotel floors. I was left with a need, that being,¬†comfortable portable accommodations for my cubs.¬† Insert the Regalo My Cot. Here is a little background about Regalo: Regalo is a family owned company based in Minnesota, whose focus is on Safety, Simplicity, and Security.¬†For people with children by people with children.¬†¬†The My Cot has proven to be; safe, simple and secure. We have used the cots without any need for replacement for 2 years with our travels. It is a fold out cot that collapses similar to an umbrella and has its own carrying sleeve and sets low to the ground where you don't have to worry about how far your toddler is falling should they slip out. The cot is lightweight, and can (wait for it), fit inside your suitcase! YES! I generally pack the cots into the mid size suitcase first and then pack the twins other clothes and travel essentials around the cots. Did I mention they are affordable? They seem to currently¬†average around $25 USD each.   Pros: The cot comes with a removable fitted sheet that can be washed, and it has no cross bar across the middle of the cot, so its more comfortable for your child Waterproof, perfect for those potty training years clean ups are easy and your investment isn't destroyed   Cons: They weight limit is 75lbs Jumping in the bed is strongly discouraged.     Stats: Dimensions: 48‚ÄĚL¬† x 24.5‚ÄĚ W x 9‚ÄĚ H For Ages: 2 to 5 years Weight: Children up to 75 lbs Sets up and folds down in seconds for storage/travel Easy carry case included Durable, waterproof nylon is easily washable Sturdy, all-metal frame   I will be using these cots for as long as they last! So for me Regalo YOU DID IT!!! thank you!! The MY COT is a SPLASH.¬† I feel like its great for traveling families. Check it out here (Picture is an Affiliate Link) :

To Shower or Not to Shower

What?? Don't make that face!! Though there is a running joke amongst many very busy moms about when to find the time to bathe, I OBVIOUSLY mean a BABY SHOWER...¬†¬†¬† I have had a lot on my mind over the past 9 Months, some parts of my previous pregnancy did not go exactly how I envisioned.¬† Maybe I had a mental image of exactly how my stepping into motherhood should happen, I won't bore you with the details, but it didn't go how I pictured it. We live and learn. Come to think of it things aren't how I exactly imagined them to be this time either, being separated and starting life¬†over from scratch. Life happens, Eso si que es.¬† One thing that seems to be the same, without a doubt, ¬†is my feelings on baby showers. I did not have a baby shower when I gave birth to the twins. CRAZY I know. The concept just didn't feel right to me. The idea that everyone should get together cook food, and buy me presents because I am having a baby or two in the case of my twin pregnancy, just makes me itch a little, and I don't know why.¬† I managed with the help of friends and family and making my own purchases, I had more than what I needed for the twins. So it did work out in the end. This pregnancy, I have been on a mission to do everything that I didn't get to do the first time, but when it comes to a shower I hesitate.¬† For one, my circumstances are different, so taking two 3 years olds to some of my more favorite stores to shop for a baby could prove disastrous. Imagine how many times I would have to explain we are not shopping for them. Then there is ¬†the thought of walking ... uh.. WADDLING around malls and stores with a scan gun, and did I mention no car?¬† That just make me say "No thanks, I'm good." I do know that many stores have online options, and ¬†I believe Target is one of them,¬†so that does eliminate the walking. Every store does not have what I like. I am more into All natural, and ecofriendly products. BUT ON A BUDGET!¬†An extremely tight one at that. ¬† I recently learned about Amazon.com having a baby registry feature. The coolest part about an Amazon registry is that you can pretty much get everything you've ever imagined on Amazon, except for the baby. I love it!! I'm so sold that you will see ads around SpiltMilk for the baby registry feature. I feel like everyone should know about this. I still don't know that I will have a shower, unless someone sneaks one up on me.¬†Since creating a registry, I can at least answer the questions such as, what do you want, what do you need, in a way that is pretty universal. "I'm registered on Amazon." It¬† keeps your mailing address private and creates a thank you list. For those of us with multiple lists going in our heads, in our phones and on our desks that is a nice plus. No matter what you choose, it's really important that you do what makes you feel happy and comfortable, especially during this time in your life, welcoming a new baby and adjusting to all that's involved in growing your family. Protect your happiness, and peace of mind.   xoxo     If you want to set one up for someone else.. Here is the link. It comes with a lot of perks, Like a completion reward, a gift box, and discounts.

Me vs The Graco Forever Carseat

I will start out by admitting that the need for  washing  the car seat cushions was becoming pretty critical. I'm not ashamed to say it.  ( Okay maybe a little ). You have to remember that I have twins so it's  TWO Of everything double the crumbs and mysterious spots on the fabric that I didn't even bother to ask my kids what happend, though being 3 they are at the stage where they are full of explanations and stories.  Beyond the obvious, however, I had zero idea where to start when taking apart the car seats.  There were hidden hooks and snaps literally everywhere.  Once I started I knew, if I couldn't remember where everything connected I was going to be in trouble.  Finally, I stripped the car seats down to the skeleton, and made it "Nakey" as the kids would say and they went into the washing machine. Machine wash cold, drip dry... If you're curious. I knew I wasn't going anywhere for a day or two so I didn't rush to put the car seats back together.  BIG MISTAKE. I did eventually find myself in a rush to get myself and toddlers out of the house, and remembered the car seats aren't in the car..and they are Nakey.    If you can, picture me on the floor struggling past my pregnant belly reassembling car seat cushions that rival ikea furniture in way of complexity.   I was sweating.  Seriously, I've put furniture together that was easier. There were no instructions or dummy indicators for what connects to where. And all I could think about was, "I get to try this twice." I did eventually get it together but it took. About 40 minutes? Other than being outwitted by cushions and liners,  I love the car seats. Graco Forever 1 Mom 0... Until we meet again Graco.... And we will meet again.  

FEED YOUR BABY! – Breastfeeding Laws

This week a story about a woman from Columbus Georgia who was approached by police has gone¬†viral. The story actually popped up in my facebook feed a time or two as I am a member of a few breastfeeding support groups on facebook.¬† Poor Savannah lays out the situation in a post that reads in a distressing tone for a mother who has breastfed twins in crazy situations and intends to do it again..   The complaint did in fact make it to the Sheriff John T. Darr, and he was able to reply showing his full support of breastfeeding and revealed that he is a father of four children who were breastfed and the grandfather of babies who are being breastfed currently.¬† So he gets it.   Sheriff Darr announces that he has taken action in a more recent post "that in accordance with Georgia law, a woman has a legal right to breastfeed wherever she needs to, without having to cover up." -Sheriff Darr Its important to note that is is lawful to feed your child, and its important to know the laws and your rights as a mother. You should not have to fear arrest for feeding your baby. The National Conference of State Legislation has listed the most updated Laws and Legislations in place pertaining to breastfeeding and a mothers rights State Breastfeeding Laws Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin¬†and Wyoming.) Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.) Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.) Seventeen states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty or allow jury service to be postponed. (California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.) Six states and Puerto Rico have¬†implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign.¬†(California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi and Vermont.) Use the DROP DOWN MENU to select your state and the laws/rights specific to where you live or are visiting. By all means, PLEASE feed your children, and do so when they are ready, do not run to a bathroom, or a car...¬† FEED THAT CHILD! I fortunately haven't had the experience of being approached by anyone, and I fed two child Tandem.. in airplane's, airports, where ever , and whenever there was a need.¬† The first time was the hardest.¬† Just look at your baby, and remember your little person is your priority. Have you ever been approached be it with rude comments¬†or encouraging support?

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to shame families who have made the personal choice to formula feed or supplement with formula. Ultimately the choice is yours to do what is best for you and your family. It is understood that there are many reasons parents choose against breastfeeding and your right to make that decision is respected here.   In the past and more recently, I have encountered the question, "Why do you breastfeed?," or "Why are you still breastfeeding" and "What are the benefits of breastfeeding?" These are legitimate questions, and I intend to give a family reasons to consider breastfeeding or to continue in your journey for as long as possible. Formula feeding is considered as an alternative way of feeding or substitute for breastfeeding. Formula manufacturing companies make claims of coming close to mimicking breastmilk, yet have not been able to produce¬†a formula¬†that is equal to breastmilk in benefits. Here are a few benefits for you to consider: Health Benefits for Baby Human milk provides the proteins, sugar, and¬†fat that your baby needs to be healthy, it also contains many substances that¬†are good for¬†your baby‚Äôs immune system, such as antibodies, immune factors, enzymes, and white blood cells.¬†These benefits¬†protect your baby against diseases and infections and allegies¬†during the breast feeding journey, and even after the child has weaned from breastfeeding. Formula can't do this. To illustrate: You have come down with a cold, ¬†you could pass these germs on to the baby. No worries ¬†the antibodies your body produces to fight¬†your cold¬†will be passed on through your breastmilk. The antibodies that are passed on will help the baby¬†fight the cold germs quickly and effectively and possibly they will¬†avoid developing the cold at all. Breastmilk is easier to digest for infants, thus reducing or even eliminating constipation. Washing Cloth Diapers from breastfed babies is MUCH EASIER.   Benefits for Mom With the challenges that exist while adjusting to a new addition to the family. Its nice to know that Breastfeeding has us covered in this respect. Breastfeeding helps the body to produce hormones such as: Prolactin- During pregnancy prolactin levels increase. After the baby is born, prolactin stays high if you are breastfeeding. This hormone eliminates the guess work in feeding the baby, as this hormone is what stimulates milk production levels. Think supply and demand.¬† you will not have to guess how much milk the baby needs, your breast and baby figure that out amongst themselves.   Oxytocin- This hormone is for let down, or the release of the milk. But it is also knows as the "Love Hormone" according to Expectant Mothers Guide. This hormone is the same hormone that brings on loving, bonding feelings. So now you get to have these feelings with your baby, but¬†Oxytocin does more still. It is also the hormone that stimulates the contraction of the uterus. Hello Waist Line, Goodbye baby weight. Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer As the daughter of a Breast Cancer¬†Survivor, this is a HUGE factor for me. What can I do to reduce my risks? ¬†According to the CDC and Susan G Komen Research Studies: Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer, especially in premenopausal women [12,83-85]. A pooled analysis of data from 47 studies found that compared to mothers who never breastfed, [84]: Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) of 1 year were slightly less likely to get breast cancer. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of 2 years got about twice the benefit of those who breastfed for a total of 1 year. Mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of more than 2 years got the most benefit. Although data are limited, breastfeeding for less than 1 year may also modestly lower breast cancer risk [84].¬† ( For more studies on Breast Cancer as it relates to breastfeeding visit http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Table5Breastfeedingandbreastcancerrisk.html) This is to answer those rude comments where people ask, "Are you STILL breastfeeding?'' and a eye roll to the term "extended breastfeeding" which is a term I hate because it insinuates that there is a cut off point in feeding your child, and anything beyond becomes EXTRA or no longer necessary.¬† Please feel completely free to breastfeed your toddler. It is good for your health and the toddler. Financial¬† and other Practical Benefits Breastmilk is free.¬†Formula can cost anywhere from $1100- $1700 USD per year according to Whattoexpect.com Its easier to latch a baby in the middle of the night than fumble with bottle warmers formula or even those automatic bottle dispensers. Leaving the house is much easier. Instead of packing bottles and formula and maybe bottled water. You always have your milk ready and at the right temperature Great for the environment. No cans or formula bottles¬†to throw away.   I have found breastfeeding multiples to be way more beneficial than I had ever imagined.¬† Though I did struggle a bit getting started as I mention in a previous post about my breastfeeding journey. I found it was a¬†great way to calm the children be it¬†in situations where they are stressed like the doctors office, or when they are tired and are having trouble sleeping. Breastfeeding is both nutritious and comforting for the child. And feeding this way can calm a child or children in record time.   When at breastfeeding at home and the twins were smaller I used the My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow specially designed for breastfeeding twins in Tandem. IT HAS POCKETS.     My advice to you is to trust your body. Trust the body of¬†a mother. That body has built and birthed a human, with the exception of a few factors that could¬†prevent you from doing so,¬†¬†you most certainly can handle feeding the baby. You are an amazing woman either way.¬† xoxo

Choosing to Cloth Diaper -I’ve Made My Choice

Some time ago you may remember me mentioning that I am considering going with cloth with my newborn. This is a decision I constantly regret not making when the twins were in diapers and potty training.  It could have saved me hundreds not to mention emergency store runs.  In the post Choosing to Cloth Diaper I mentioned that aside from being better for the environment, the financial benefits of cloth diapering were definitely the bonus I was looking for. ÔĽŅ After further research, I had been convinced that prefolds were going to be the way to go, and I'm happy to share with you that I have officially joined the ranks of cloth diapering moms!!  I have created my own starter kit containing:  4 Dozen Osocozy Newborn and Infant size prefolds  7 Rumparooz Diaper Covers  1 Roll of Grovia Bio Liners 1 Pack of Snappis  It didn't cost much surprisingly and I was happy to learn that the Rumparooz diaper covers are not one wear and wash. You can actually wipe the inside clean and reuse it a few times, unless it gets soiled with poo, then definitely replace it!   The concept of GroVia bioliners, which are flushable, were a no brainer for me.  I admire parents who have time to spray and scrape their cloth, I do not see this being ideal for me, (I'm picturing a sort of zoo like scene with toddlers running around and a newborn crying while I'm trying to do very important diaper scraping and spraying, NO THANK YOU). Being able to remove the liner that contains the poop and flushing that away is better, especially for changes away from home.  I'm so excited to get started, I will share my experiences as soon as possible . I expect to have some very interesting lessons learned.  We can laugh together! 

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Choosing to Cloth Diaper

The weeks are winding down to D day for the new baby, so I have been all over the place planning and deciding what I would like to do differently compared to my first pregnancy with the twins.¬† I am working on my birthing plan, (which I will write about later) and naturally I am choosing to breastfeed again.¬† There is however, one area of many that I have had to spend a lot of time, reading and exploring my options- CLOTH DIAPERS. Since becoming a mom I have taken gradual steps towards being more "green" from the products I use for our hair care and baths, to finding alternatives to driving a car ( I don't have one),¬†¬†and switching from using disposable feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons to using menstrual cups, and cloth pads/mama cloths. It would seem like a no brainer to use similar methods of care with the next munchkin Right?¬† WRONG I have been reading and comparing and reading again to see what I would be able to handle. I first looked into a cloth diapering service. But the standard service would have cost me approximately 80-100 dollars a month and the price increases with the size of the required diaper. Makes sense, but this doesn't work for me. Its just me and two soon to be 3 kids. I have to be smart with my spending choices. After thinking about that, I figured there had to another way to be both Green and leave more green in my little pockets.¬† This is when it gets crazy for a newbie like myself. Apparently there are several types of cloths to choose from, before we even get to brands.   There are diapers that come in multiple parts or single diaper. Okay.. After looking, the upfront cost can get pretty expensive, if you (like me) don't know what you are doing.¬† But I found a resource that was pretty helpful at www.thinking-about-cloth-diapers.com. I found this website and some others to be extremely resourceful in educating myself on the subject and¬† I'm sure you will learn exactly what you need to get started.   There are Flats, and Prefold which seem to be the most pocket friendly methods, and likely the way I will go. I'm not just interested in being eco friendly, but saving money is also very attractive. The other options are All in One, All in Two, Pocket (another attractive option to use with prefolds as inserts), fitted, hybrids and the list goes on.¬† It seems like a new language to someone who hasn't had experience in this area.   I have learned that Prefold diapers, you can usually get 12 for about 25 USD, and get a few covers and some Boingos or Snappi's to make the prefold the perfect fit. This will be my method!!¬† Everyone seems to agree that for a newborn one would need about 36 prefolds, and financially that doesn't seen like a bad number for a newborn.¬† There are also liners that can be used to keep "Solids" aka Poopy off of the cloth diaper so you don't have to touch the stinky... BONUS! I intend to keep you posted on this journey. I hope to make my first purchase soon. But I won't know how great all of this is until the baby is born.   If you have any suggestions, or tips from your experience let me know!!  

Toddlers and Prepping for New Baby on a Budget- It can be done! 

Life and circumstances can change at the drop of a hat. It's important to be flexible, but it becomes increasingly difficult how much one can bend as your family grows. I know, this has become my life! My family dynamic has changed, things don't always work out as one plans or expects.  I'm not completely alone, I fortunately have a very supportive family, my parents are awesome. Having a supportive family doesn't mean that I don't shoulder all the responsibilities of raising and providing for my family. Much like some of you. We have to make decisions and with a tighter budget and there is less room for error. Depending on your outlook, this can be where it gets "fun."   Having 3 year old twins, and a baby on the way means I am keeping up with toddler growth spurts, special request, and entertainment plus the basic needs of growing twins. Then keeping up with my needs as my belly grows and the seasons change, while preparing for the arrival of the new munchkin!  I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a lot. But.. I'm working it all out.     Here's how:  Discount Stores :  One of my all time favorite stores is (drumroll) the DOLLAR TREE!!  I'm serious! Once I really had to change my shopping habits, and stretch my dollar, this store became my GO TO. I get: Colgate toothpaste ( Both adult and kids) Toothbrushes, both for myself and the kids,  Nail polish Bore hair brushes Activity books/ coloring books Small Toys  Costumes for the kids to be super heroes or a little princess  Packs of cool Socks Cute storage items  These items at regular retail can add up, especially with the more kids you have. (I once spent $65 at Walmart for two sets of socks two sets of toddler size undies and two new sets of pjs). THATS INSANE!  Resale / Consignment/ Thrift Stores I understand this may not be Everyone's cup of tea. But Thrifting is awesome!!! I don't mean collecting someone else's junk. I mean gently used items that others had no use for. A lot of consignment shops have a qualifier process where they don't just take ANY old thing. Kid to Kid resale for example has a rigorous checklist they follow down to knowing whats on recall, safety check, and they make sure things that require batteries actually work.  I recently had a great shopping experience at my local Kid to Kid, not only was I able to purchase previously "loved" newborn items. I found an amazing bassinet/ mini crib for $50 dollars. I am definitely going back!!  Check out the website to see if there is one near you!  (My "winnings" at Kid to Kid) you even get discounts when you bring the shopping bag back with you!!!! Mommy Support Groups (Other Moms) If there is anything I've learned, there is no greater resource than a group of experienced mothers. Mothers with experience have great tips on things like crafting, benefits of cloth diapers, and they share great sales!!!!!  Recently I was made aware of a INSANE sale with a boutique with an online store called Levanta Bratique they recently had a $5 sale where items ranging from nursing bras, maternity dresses and coats, and baby carriers, were all priced at $5 dollars. Needless to say I was a kid in a candy store. And it will forever be on my radar! Maybe now it will be on yours too.  These are just a few of the techniques I'm using! What are some of your budgeting tricks! I'm ready to give it a try!! 

6 Month Check Up..  Safe Bedsharing 

We all know that the arrival of a baby in the family will mean frequent pediatrician visits, even if only for the well child visits to make sure the children are on "target". I've also found that these visits tend to feel like parent teacher conferences and you're the student who frequently forgets homework in the locker. And now you're in trouble!  Okay... maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. My experience as a breast feeding mother of color which is the only experience I can relate to.   We've been categorized as women who don't breastfeed, and if we do breastfeed perhaps we are fumbling our way through the many stages and curves that come along with a breastfeeding journey. As you may know by now I've experienced a lot of reverse support when it came to breastfeeding the twins, which catapulted me into this space of education and fact checking and peer seeking that continues to this day.   Today was Jojo's 6 month visit. And it started like always growth chart, how's he eating, how many diapers and how is he sleeping. Then the Question of the day. Where does the baby sleep? I'm an honest person and the truth is I am a mother who works full time. And if I got up and sat in the living room every time he wanted to nurse I would not be able to function. So I responded. "Well, now that he is older I bring the baby to my bed and I lay on my side to feed him and we fall asleep, and when I wake up I put him back in his crib which is also in my room."  WELL...before I could explain that we remove the blankets and move all pillows out of the way the Medical student went on a rant about how unsafe we are being, and that she is a deputy coroner and she "sees fatalities all the time." I asked "Even with sober breastfeed mothers?" "Yes them too." Was her reply. Immediately popped a RED FLAG, in my head I thought surely if there was an epidemic of smothered babies in the area this would become public knowledge. I simply said "Interesting". Which led to a question of what I do for a living, (is this my check up or the babies?) . Ok so that was the end of that conversation. She ended with her mandate "Get the baby out of your bed." And I said "Thank you."  Fortunately, the pediatrician comes in next excited to see us, we happen to be one of her favorite families, I learned today.    Well the conversation continued on the subject of how I nurse in bed at night, and something amazing happened.    She proceeds to alert the doctor that it is now recommended that breastfeeding mothers are safest in BED with their babies when nursing at night and quotes the AAP.   https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/american-academy-of-pediatrics-announces-new-safe-sleep-recommendations-to-protect-against-sids.aspx AAP recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include: * Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet. * Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare. * Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent. * Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs. Skin-to-skin care is recommended, regardless of feeding or delivery method, immediately following birth for at least an hour as soon as the mother is medically stable and awake, according to the report. Breastfeeding is also recommended as adding protection against SIDS. After feeding, the AAP encourages parents to move the baby to his or her separate sleeping space, preferably a crib or bassinet in the parents' bedroom. "If you are feeding your baby and think that there's even the slightest possibility that you may fall asleep, feed your baby on your bed, rather than a sofa or cushioned chair," said Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, FAAP, member of the Task Force on SIDS and co-author of the report.  "If you do fall asleep, as soon as you wake up be sure to move the baby to his or her own bed," she said.   "There should be no pillows, sheets, blankets or other items that could obstruct the infant's breathing or cause overheating." San Francisco, IL --  The other doctor stayed silent for the rest of the visit. It felt nice to have someone who understands what I am doing and that will stick up for me. I cannot stress enough that it is important to be your own advocate when going to the pediatrician. You are the spokes person for your child and family, walk into that doctors office presenting your best, and study for the most important job you have. BEING A PARENT.  Knowlege is Power... even if it's only having control over how you are treated and what you will accept.    If you choose to have bedsharing moments please make sure you do so safely.  We got a lot of comments about our cloth diapers.  Some with shock and most with adoration.  We love it!!!! Dad put this diaper on this morning ...  we've found that pockets are more beginner friendly.. good job dad!