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Real Breastfeeding Tips: A Guide to Simplified Breastfeeding

Real Breastfeeding Tips: A Guide to Simplified Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be very challenging for some mamas. I had a much tougher time nursing my daughters than I did my boys. I’ve been very fortunate that both boys have been booby babies from the beginning!

Here are some easy tips and reminders to help you get a successful breastfeeding routine down, especially if you’re a new mama!

1) Your baby is getting enough.

Most all new mamas worry that their baby isn’t getting enough to eat. It’s hard to know because you can’t see how much they’re drinking like you can with a bottle. However, your baby is more than likely getting enough. Especially if he is falling asleep on the breast! Falling asleep means he’s full and happy. Beau almost always falls asleep when he’s nursing! If your baby (especially newborns) falls asleep immediately when you start nursing, grab a cold wipe and wipe his face. He will get mad and then start nursing!

2) You don’t have to stick to a schedule.

Seriously. I can’t stress this enough. There’s no rule book that says you have to nurse your baby every two hours. I know in the hospital the nurses and lactation consultants and your pediatrician tell you how often your baby SHOULD be eating but that doesn’t always mean that’s how it will go. Listen to your baby. He will definitely let you know when he’s hungry. If he naps for four hours and sleeps right through a feeding, IT’S OKAY. Let that baby sleep! If your newborn sleeps 6 hours through the night, that’s awesome! Let him sleep! Trust me, they’ll wake up and let you know when they’re hungry!

3) Be flexible.

Listen, your baby is going to want to nurse when he’s hungry, but also when he darn well pleases. If he’s upset because he got a boo boo, or if he’s sleepy, or if he hasn’t had much attention from you, he will want to nurse. And that’s TOTALLY fine! Take every advantage of it because before you know it your breastfeeding journey will be over and you’ll be left yearning for those sweet cuddles.

4) Always have a change of clothes for you and for baby.

Breastfeeding babes spit up. A lot. That’s not a bad thing! That usually means baby is overeating and ran out of room for all of that good milk. Sometimes it can be a little scary, especially if it’s a projectile. But most of the time, your baby is completely fine. It’s normal for breastfed babies to spit up quite a bit. Just pack an extra change of clothes and keep that spit rag handy!

5) There’s no magic position.

You can lay with baby, hold baby like a football, use a nursing pillow, or do none of those! Just get comfortable and find what works for you. There’s a ton of nursing positions that you can try but honestly after a couple of weeks, you won’t even remember them because you and baby will have figured out your way!

6) Don’t stress about what you’re eating.

Ok I had to tell myself this every day for a while before I stopped having anxiety about what I was taking in my body. My pediatrician told me not to worry too much about what I’m eating. As long as I’m eating and eating somewhat healthy, baby was going to get all the nourishment he needed. There’s no need to go out and buy all organic foods. Seriously. Just eat your normal fruit and veggies and drink LOTS of water!

Breastfeeding has so many benefits and is rewarding and precious and if I could start this journey all over again I would! Hopefully these tips will help ease some of your breastfeeding worries and guides you with some helpful tips on how to make it easier for you and for baby!

Xoxo,

MK

A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

A Year in Review: Why I’m Holding Onto 2020

Everyone has talked and posted about how awful 2020 has been. Most have had the perspective that this year has been so hard with many trials and tribulations, that they just want it to be over. Many have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, had to close their small businesses, and had to make very difficult decisions for themselves or their family. The year has tested us all. So many of us are wishing 2020 a speedy farewell!

But not me. I’m holding on to 2020 in these final hours as much as I can.

For me, 2020 was life changing. We started the year out with the first anniversary of losing a sweet babe, but being very hopeful and anxious with only a few months left until our rainbow baby was due.

March 13, 2020 was a completely normal day. I was teaching and prepping my classroom for my last week of work before the baby was to be born. I had just gotten all of my students on the bus when all of the adults were running and buzzing with the news that the governor was closing schools across the state due to the pandemic. I don’t think the pandemic felt real until that afternoon. I had the mindset that I had one more week at school before maternity leave. One more week with my beloved students and now I had received news that I wouldn’t even get to tell them goodbye. This was it.

In the back of my mind I knew this was also going to be my last day as a teacher in that third grade classroom. Although I hadn’t made an official decision about whether I would return to work after my maternity leave was up, I subconsciously knew this was it.

The whole thing left me very pregnant and very emotional. Pregnancy after loss had enough fears in itself but now on top of worrying about whether I was going to deliver a healthy baby, I also had to worry about Covid-19 and all that brought with it. Changes were being made at the hospital daily. The news was reporting each day about the rise in cases. Having a baby during a pandemic was completely unexpected, nerve racking, terrifying, but also so worth it.

Less than a month later we welcomed our sweet rainbow baby into the world and into a very small bubble. Over the next few months, we decided to homeschool our kids. Our oldest son moved to his moms to attend school there which was another huge transition for us. And I quit my job to be a stay at home mama.

So. Many. Changes.

My feelings this year? Ugh. Emotional roller coaster. Every day it seems there’s something new to worry about. If I didn’t have anxiety before the pandemic, I definitely do now! The constant worrying about what decisions to make and how to protect my family. The constant pressure to do things that I wasn’t comfortable doing. Wanting to do what’s best for us and having to deal with the consequences of saying no to people. The stigma in our town that Covid “couldn’t come here” or that “it’s all a bunch of bull.”… When I’m over here praying to God each night that the virus stays away from us. It was a lot.

And on top of my feelings and fears of Covid, there was a lot of disappointment. I was heartbroken that my five year old wouldn’t be able to experience a true year of kindergarten. I was devastated that my kids couldn’t visit us in the hospital when we had baby Beau. I was sad that my daughters had to abruptly leave school and couldn’t see their friends anymore. I was disappointed that our son missed his last year of playing rec league baseball and our daughter missed out on her first year of softball. I was terrified every day, every time we went out, and with every request from a family member to come over that we would contract the virus and get really sick.

However…. above my fears I realized this year has been the biggest blessing.

My kids have been healthier than ever. They have grown closer to each other. I haven’t missed a single snuggle, kiss, laugh, or cry.

In what would normally be a very busy time of running kids back and forth to practices, rushing off to school in the mornings, getting home late, grabbing quick dinners, cramming for tests and exams, arguing over homework…. everything that was completely normal and now is nonexistent is everything I didn’t realize we needed a break from.

It’s funny how life can give us unexpected miracles right when we need them. Things we had begun to take for granted had suddenly become special. And things we were super rigid on as parents seemed like not that big of a deal.

We let the kids stay up late and sleep in. We let them have Snapchat so they could connect with their friends. They ate all the snacks and drank some soda and laughed and played and enjoyed life. Even if it was different and anything but normal.

I have been able to breastfeed Beau with no pumping or having to drop him off at daycare listening to him cry for me when I leave. I’ve rocked him to sleep for every nap time and he has fallen asleep in my arms every night. No snotty noses or coughs from being in a classroom with germs. There’s been less schedules and more lazy afternoons. We spent weekends on our boat going on adventures and fishing, enjoying the great outdoors. We went on vacations anyway even when we were told to stay home. We. Enjoyed. Time. Together.

Our kids are healthy and safe, and while they might be missing their friends or some of the “normalcy” we used to know, they have made the absolute best of it and are still enjoying life. So while most of the country is kissing 2020 goodbye tonight, I’ll be whispering a “thank you” for giving me the one thing I didn’t know I needed more of… time.

Xoxo,

MK

What You Should Know About The Holidays & Missing a Baby

What You Should Know About The Holidays & Missing a Baby

The holidays are supposed to be a time for family gatherings, movies & chill, yummy food, bright lights, giving gifts, and all the good things that bring joy and cheer. For the ones who have lost a baby, it may be harder it appears to be for them to get through these few weeks during the holiday season.

For the many in the undesirable club of grief from losing a baby or a child, they are missing those little feet running down the hallway this Christmas. They are missing their big bright smile when they tear open a gift or put on that “My first Christmas” onesie. They are missing cozy cuddles under blankets by the fireplace. They are missing that little person in their Christmas family photos.

I think most people experiencing grief would agree that the days come and go and we still “do life.” But the holidays brings a sense of sadness with it for those of us experiencing a loss.

For many people the holidays just aren’t as festive. Many couples don’t have a rainbow baby yet to bring them extra joy this season. Many are still waiting. Many are still suffering. Many are still trying to get by.

When we lost our baby in January of 2019, almost two years ago, a good friend encouraged me to do something to remember her by or to honor her life to remind myself that she did matter.

If you are grieving this holiday season, do something to remind yourself that your baby still matters. Allow yourself to be sad. To cry. Hang a stocking. Donate to Toys for Tots in her honor. Or wrap a gift for him. Make a new tradition. Make time for yourself and don’t forget it’s ok to say no to invitations.

If you know someone who is experiencing grief this holiday season, don’t be afraid to talk about it because you’re scared they will be sad. The greatest gift you can give to that person would be reminding them that you remember their baby. Sharing memories is so powerful. Allow them to cry or smile or hug you.

There’s no rule book in grief. We have to endure each day, each gathering, each Christmas song… with new perspective. One who is experiencing grief has an immense, overwhelming hole in their heart that has changed who they are and how they see things, especially this season.

Just know there is heartache you can’t see and there are people around you who are feeling it, some more deeply than others. For those with hurting hearts, you aren’t alone and there’s some comfort in know that it is shared.

For all of those sweet babies in Heaven, you are loved and you are missed.

Xoxo,

MK

To My Stepdaughter

To My Stepdaughter

Wow Kami, you are 18 today! My husband’s first born and our oldest. I think back to the first time I met you. You were just as sweet, so bubbly, kind and always, always smiling. I remember your bedroom. When I started dating your dad you were 8 and I visited what is now my home for the first time, and I remember your bedroom with the pink and purple comforter and the stickers all over your dresser. You came to visit every other weekend like clockwork and my daughters would get so excited to see their new big sister. You were ecstatic to have sisters. I will never forget your spunkiness and how happy you were to see us every time you came to visit. You instantly loved me and my daughters and my family. And then when I got pregnant with both boys, you were overjoyed. I never imagined that little bedroom would be your little brother’s bedroom, navy blue with boy toys everywhere! Our family has grown and changed so much.

When I became a stepmom, I was skeptical that you and your brother would accept me as your mama. I was expecting some rebellion. Daddy’s girl and all. Now daddy had not only a new wife but two new daughters. But you surprised me every time you were with us. You never made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. You never made me feel like you loved me any less. I saw the way you watched me. But not with inspecting, jealous eyes… but with curious, inquisitive eyes. When we were in the car, while I was doing my makeup, as I fed the new baby. I saw you trying to impress me. You have ALWAYS loved me like I was here all along. And I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated that over the years.

Being a stepmom in our family hasn’t been the easiest job, I’m not going to lie. Our blended family dynamics are unique and one of a kind. My daughters only have one mama, as they have never had a stepmom. Life is different for them. Your dad and I are their only parents and this is their only home. But you have had to grow up with two sets of parents. I’m sure that has not always been easy for you, especially when you were younger and had to split your time between two homes… two sets of rules… two different lifestyles. You have gone from being an only child to having a TON of siblings on both sides. You always had to share basically everything and you never once complained.

One thing that’s for sure is how lucky I am to have you in my life. I’m lucky our children have a big sister, BB, who loves them so much. Being a stepmom has taught me SO much. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learned lessons. I’ve had to bite my tongue. I’ve let little things get to me and probably said things I didn’t mean. I’ve had to hold my feelings back. I’ve cried tears I didn’t want you to see. I never thought this gig would teach me so much about myself. Thank you for being patient with me.

Things we never get to tell you…. because well, life. We have ALWAYS looked forward to your visits! You have grown up to be a beautiful young lady. We love who you’ve become. You’ve made choices on your own. You have your very own car, that you bought yourself! You have a real job. And even when you wanted to quit your job because it sucked, you didn’t. And that says something about you, your willingness to stick with something. You’ve made it through your first serious relationship and I’m sure you’ve learned some things about love and life in that. You are strong. You know when to walk away and when to keep going. You never let your guard down. You always hold your head high and never show your vulnerability. You’re funny and witty. I believe you’re ready to take on the world. You are smart, caring, and compassionate. The thing that stands out about you the most is how selfless you are… I think that’s the best trait you got from your daddy.. always caring about others and how others feel. We are so lucky to be your parents.

I asked your siblings to describe you in one word. This is what they came up with…. pretty, amazing, gorgeous, and Brady says clean??!! Haha!

That pretty much sums you up girlfriend! Although life has now shown you what it’s like to be an adult with plans, work, and things to do, and we don’t get to see you as much as we’d like to, you are always loved! Thank you for allowing me to be your mom and for being a daughter I never knew I needed! You’re not my stepdaughter, you’re just my daughter and we’re just family. I love you! We hope you have an amazing 18th birthday!

Xoxo,

MK

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

It’s the holidays!!!! That means holiday shopping and gift giving. Well I have 6 kids to buy for so I’m here to share ideas and deals that I found this year!

Teens and tweens – I have an 18 year old, a 13 year old, and a 10 year old daughter. Beauty products are my go-to! I have some really picky daughters when it comes to clothes and their style. So beauty and skincare products are always a win in my house!

Links:

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser click here.

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Cream click here.

Makeup Blenders click here.

NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette click here.

NYX Highlight & Contour Palette click here.


Ok so next up are my favorite clothing items! Whether it’s your sister, your teen daughter, or maybe just yourself.. these are cute and comfy!

Womens mid-rise skinny jeans click here.

Black fleece Crewneck click here.

Riders Jean jacket click here.

Black leggings click here.

Waffle knit Crewneck pullover sweater click here.

Black puffer vest click here.


And here are some BOY clothes because y’all know I’m a boy mama!

Boys Dino hoodie and pants set click here.

Boys raglan tee click here.

Baby boy onesie and pants set click here.

Long sleeve striped onesies click here.

Cloud pajamas click here.

Plaid boys zip up sweatshirt click here.


Last but not least.. the kids favorite things! Toys! Here are some great toy gift ideas for your littles and older kiddos! My thirteen year old daughter’s most wanted gift was paint sets! We actually splurged and got her some more expensive sets from Amazon but I found this cool inexpensive set at Walmart! My ten year old daughter wanted AirPods (ha!) and our budget didn’t quite allow for the Apple version so we found these on clearance at Walmart that will hopefully work just as good!

Horse ride on walker click here.

Stacking toy click here.

Boys bike click here.

Art set click here.

Wireless earbuds click here.

3-pack caterpillar construction toys click here.


So there you have it! My favorite gift choices for our kids this Christmas! Now to wrap everything!

Happy holidays!

Xoxo,

MK