My Mom Uniform: the Graphic Tee

I recently posted on my Facebook page that I'm feeling more like myself than I have in ages. Thankfully it's still true. I believe a large part of that is forcing myself to get dressed and get us out of the house. Since I'm trying to make things as easy as possible, I've noticed that I have a mom uniform: skinny jeans and a t-shirt. It's certainly more functional than fancy, but it's a small step towards coming out of the fog.

Most days, my mom uniform consists of a plain t-shirt. I've been changing it up very slightly by wearing graphic tees. The tees are easy enough to wear grocery shopping, to pick up the kids from school, or you can dress them up with booties and accessories for a lady date. I add a boyfriend cardigan when it's cold outside. They play well with yoga pants, too. Just saying.

My love of graphic tees goes back to college. I shopped at a chain store that sold shirts that were double entendres... things like "Morton's Electric... We'll Turn You On!" Thankfully I got rid of all of them when I graduated college. These days, my graphic choices are decidedly less embarrassing and more family friendly. Check out a few of my favorites below. Click on the image for source.

Graphic Content

Breastfeeding the Second Time Around - 9 Months

I've been breastfeeding Rohan for 9 months now. It has been a much different journey than my breastfeeding relationship with Ethan. Some things have been easier (no weight gain issues!), but others have been harder (hello lip and tongue ties). Here are nine things I've learned breastfeeding the second time around.

Rohan and I in early February 2015. This is how we nurse.
I love his chubby little hand holding on to mine.
Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography

  1. Each baby is different. Ethan used pacifiers and took bottles very easily. Rohan spits out pacis and grudgingly takes a bottle from his dad. I could go on and on about their differences. Sometimes it's hard to believe they're brothers!

  2. It's hard not to let the negatives of the first experience bleed over into the second. My main issue with Ethan was a very slow weight gain. I didn't do a great job keeping track of his diapers the first few days of life and that got us into a bit of trouble. After Rohan was born, I fed him every 2-3 hours and never went more than 4 hours without a feed for the first several weeks of life. I watched those diapers like crazy. While I could have relaxed more than I did, all of my hyper vigilance paid off: Rohan was a half pound OVER birth weight at 2 weeks!

  3. Thank goodness I know what I know. Studying to become an IBCLC has helped greatly during the last 9 months. I know what what to expect, and how to handle things when they don't go as expected. I noticed R's lip and tongue ties while we were still in the hospital and was able to nurse accordingly. I contacted an IBCLC once we got home for confirmation and to make sure things were going well.

  4. Older siblings may be curious. Ethan was very curious about the baby drinking mommy milk. So curious that he asked to nurse. I believe his exact words were, "No, I don't want it from a cup. I want to drink it from your boob!" I was curious, too - I wanted to see what he would do! I let him climb up, but he didn't want to latch. He's been asking all kinds of questions about my pump and how long Rohan nurses. He also asks me to tell him about when he used to drink mommy milk.

  5. Baby knows best. Just as with Ethan, we've been taking all of our cues from Rohan: when it's time for a nap, when it's time to eat, everything. That includes when to start solid foods. At six months, R never seemed interested in solids. He didn't watch us eat, try to grab food, or make chewing motions with his mouth. He started showing an interest around 7.5 months. After a puking incident with a piece of avocado, we decided to wait a little longer.

  6. The overnight feeds aren't the worst. The 3am feedings haven't been too bad this time around.  I don't know whether it's the fact that I won't be breastfeeding ever again, or being able to stay at home with the boys. I don't mind them as much this time around. When we breastfeed during the day, I'm often distracted by big brother, or silently willing him to finish so I can move on to the next thing. At night, I get to breathe him in, kiss his hands in my face, watch his eyes grow heavy with sleep, and know he's done when he lets out the contented sigh.

  7. I still need support the second time around. I lost my breastfeeding group when we moved from DFW to Austin. While things have been going really well for us, I miss being around other breastfeeding women. Sure, there's a lot of online support, which is wonderful. However, there's something about women feeding their babies together that creates camaraderie and support. No one quite understands like another breastfeeding mom.

  8. Nursing rooms are not evil. E was awesome at nursing in public. He'd latch, get what he needed, and that was it. He was efficient and focused. Rohan is a very distracted nurser. He wants to see the world around him, flash me a smile and giggle, talk a little, and then get back to eating. Nursing covers and scarves turn into a game, so they're not an option for us. I've taken to nursing him in the car or utilizing nursing rooms when they're available. They're also great for corralling E while I nurse the baby. I'm a firm believer in a mom and baby nursing where and how they're most comfortable. At this point, nursing rooms work best for us.

  9. I love breastfeeding, but I don't always like it. Rohan has just started to show an interest in solids. We've got 9 months of being exclusively breastfed, without formula, water, or foods. Have I mentioned that he prefers to drink from the tap rather than take a bottle? That's a lot of touching. There have been times where I am just done. I'm done being his pacifier, done being his primary source of comfort, done being his all you can eat restaurant. There are nights where the thought of anyone touching me is more than I can bear. The last few feedings of the day are done through gritted teeth or I hand him off to Dad once I notice he's getting sleepy. Luckily the feelings go away after a few hours.

  10. Each baby is different. It's so important to remember that I had to mention it twice! We've been doing things so differently this time around. Sometimes I feel like a first time mom. It has truly taught me to forget my expectations.
With things going as well as they have been going, we will make it to a year very easily and most likely making it to two years! This experience has had its challenges, but it is by far one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

15 Life Lessons Learned From My Lady Friends

This Saturday is Valentine's Day, but February 13th is also a day about celebrating - it's Galentine's Day! Fans of TV show Parks and Rec may be familiar with this day of sisterly love, but I'm seeing more and more people embrace this idea [side note: I think we should celebrate our women friends every day, but that's another post for another day].

Image via Julep

Many of my lady friends are moms, and nearly all of them live several hundred miles away. I've known some for years, while others are new friends that have become good friends. Regardless of how long we've been in each others lives, I'm thankful for their friendship, support, and what I have learned from them. In honor of Galentine's Day, I present to you a list of 15 things my lady friends have taught me in the past year.

  1. I'm never alone in what I am going through. There's a high likelihood that someone has gone through it before me and will support me through it.
  2. Family can be more than blood relatives; family is who you choose.
  3. It takes a village to have a child. 
  4. It takes a village to be a mother.
  5. A quick, encouraging text can really help make a bad day not so terrible.
  6. It's important to celebrate all victories, big or small.
  7. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen and give you a big hug.
  8. Friendship isn't always a smooth road. It's how you handle the bumps that matters.
  9. Happiness is a mom friend whose kids are friends with your kids. Two birds, one stone.
  10. Self care is better with a buddy. Mani/pedi date, anyone??
  11. A weekly text date is a great way to stay in touch.
  12. I deserve to surround myself with positivity.
  13. Regardless of how long someone is in your life, they will have made an impact.
  14. A glass of wine or cup of coffee and good conversation is great for the soul.
  15. I am enough.

Wishing you a very Happy Galentine's Day! May you be ever fabulous, smart, and witty! 

Breastfeeding Friendly Valentine's Day Date Dresses

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Before having kids, my husband and I would enjoy a delicious (and often expensive) dinner out. We typically celebrated before or after the actual day itself to avoid crowds, but we would go out to celebrate. Since having children, we enjoy a much more sensible dinner at home.

Since Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday this year, we may go out to lunch to celebrate as a family. Since I'm still breastfeeding, I'll need to wear something with easy access. I put together a few dresses, both nursing dresses and nursing friendly dresses. Click on image below for links to the dresses.

Valentine's Date

How are you celebrating Valentine's Day?

What to Wear to Nurse in Public

Breastfeeding in public can seem very daunting to some moms. Whether it's your first baby or your fourth, the thought of managing a hungry baby and a breast in a new place can cause your pulse to race. Here are few tips and tricks that have helped me nurse two very different boys in public. Since I'm a jeans and shirt kind of girl, that's what I'll be discussing below.

Dress for (Breastfeeding) Success 

While pregnant with my oldest, I spent about $100 on a few nursing shirts from a popular maternity chain. I was less than satisfied with them: by the time I managed to get my breast out to nurse, my baby was wailing, and it seemed like everyone was staring at me. Red faced and fumbling, I'd pray that he latched on quickly. I also found that the holes in the shirts for my breasts to be too small for my breasts and that baby wouldn't get a great latch. These shirts work very well for many moms, but they didn't work for me.

These days, I either wear a nursing tank under my normal shirt or a nursing bra and camisole. This lets me wear my existing clothes - good for my budget! I've raved about Undercover Mama nursing camisoles and use those often. I also have a ton of inexpensive, stretchy tank tops. I have amassed quite a collection over the years: they came in very handy when I was pumping at work for my older son. I've purchased Merona brand from Target, NY&Co's house brand, and Forever 21's Plus Size department.

When wearing a nursing bra and stretchy cami or a nursing tank with a t-shirt (or any shirt without buttons), I lift the shirt up, unhook my nursing bra, and pull the neck of my stretchy cami down. I use the t-shirt to cover the top part of my breast and the cami keeps my back and stomach under wraps, and baby's head blocks my breast. I call this a boob sandwich -  my breast is between my regular shirt and the tank top I'm wearing. This is my preferred way to breastfeed in public.

When wearing a nursing bra/stretchy cami or a nursing tank under a button down shirt, I unbutton the first few buttons, unhook my nursing bra, and pull the neck of my stretchy cami down. There is no shirt covering the top of my breast. Alternatively, I can do the boob sandwich here as well.

Boob sandwich while wearing a button down

You'll notice I didn't mention nursing covers or blankets - that's because it is up to you. I encourage you to nurse as you feel comfortable. If that's with a cover, great. If you're more comfortable without one, then that's fine too. I used a nursing cover for the first 4 months of my older son's life, because he was tiny and I have large breasts. I considered it similar to using training wheels: once my confidence was up and it became easier, I was able to nurse without a cover.

I hope these tips enable you to feel empowered when breastfeeding in public. It can be quite overwhelming being mom to a new baby and navigating breastfeeding. Mom-to-mom support groups (like La Leche League) are a great place to practice nursing in public. You'll be surrounded by other like-minded mamas and may even pick up a tip or two.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!

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