Extended Nursing: A Look Back on an Amazing Bond

Somehow, time has flown incredibly fast and my sweet babe turned 2 on September 3rd. These past two years with her have been absolutely incredible. I never realized how much I was missing in my life until I became a mother. The day that I birthed that beautiful 7 pound, 11 ounce baby girl was the day that my life truly began. It was a difficult pregnancy and an even more difficult delivery, but it was a worth it the moment I got to hold my little red-headed beauty. I encourage you to check our her birth story when you have time, but today I am here to talk about two years of an amazing bond I shared with my daughter.

Even before I ever knew that I was pregnant, breastfeeding my future child was important to me. It was the one thing that I wanted to be able for my child and I was willing to do whatever it took to make that a reality. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I started reading about and learning as much information as I could to be successful in my breastfeeding journey.

While the information that I learned was helpful, I really feel like nothing prepares you for breastfeeding. I would be lying if I said that it was an easy journey. Those first few weeks were hard. I cried through feedings, fought with milk blisters on my nipples and had many sleepless nights.

But I persevered.

After getting through the initial pain, I still had to deal with the sleepless nights. I was very adamant about her not having formula so it was only me that could feed her when she woke up during the night. I hated to give her a bottle when I was home because I struggled with my milk supply. I built up as much of a supply as I was able but, after 8 weeks, I had to return back to work. As a teacher, I had time set aside to pump but I was not always able. Meetings, planning and parent conferences got in the way and so my twice a day pump sessions became just once a day sessions. I was making just enough milk for Vivi to have while I was at work. I had an incredibly small freezer supply so I was constantly worrying what would happen if I spilled milk or had a bad pump session.

But I persevered.

After struggling, I came up with a good regimen that seemed to work to build up my supply. I was taking Motherlove More Milk Plus four times a day, eating Milkmakers Lactation Cookies at least once a day, and I was drinking at least half of my body weight in water. Not only this, but I was waking up before the baby to pump, pumping on the weekends, and pumping during holidays to help build up my freezer supply. It was a lot of hard work. To me, though, it was all worth it. Breastfeeding my daughter was still one of the most important things that I was able to do for her and I loved the fact that I was providing for her. It helped to build a bond between us that can never be replaced.

 While I always hoped to make it to 1 year of breastfeeding, I tried to focus on small goals to keep myself motivated and encouraged. First I focused on the first three days, then the first 3 weeks, then the first 3 months, and so on. At the 6 month mark we introduced homemade baby food (Check out my blog post on homemade baby food HERE) and baby led weaning and a knew that my journey was only going to get easier.

My long-term goal was going to become a reality because I had persevered.

The day my daughter turned 1 could not have been happier. Not only was I the mother of a happy, healthy one-year-old, but I had also made it to my goal of  1 year of breastfeeding. Thrilled was an understatement. I was proud of all that I was able to accomplish and amazed that my body was able to provide nourishment for my daughter for an entire year. While we did switch her to almond milk during the day, I was not ready to give up that bond or the ability to provide nutrients for my daughter. I made the decision to continue nursing her in the morning and at night. I think I enjoyed this toddler nursing period, in a lot of ways, more than I did nursing her through infancy. I feel like since the stress of pumping and producing enough was removed from the equation, I was able to focus more on the bond an my ability to both nourish and comfort. It didn’t bother me that Vivi  was essentially using me as a pacifier. She needed me and I wanted to be there for her.

This continue on until this past summer. The morning that Vivi turned 22 months old, I made the decision to wean her. She actually did very well and only asked for her “Boos” twice. When we told her she could have her cup instead, she did just fine and never once cried. It was a truly perfect transition.

Now, as a sit her with my milk completely dried up, I want to encourage you to whatever you think is best for your baby. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that your baby is happy and fed. While we made the decision to not use formula, I have nothing against the mother’s who choose this option and am actually very thankful that an alternative option exists. For some women, breastfeeding is just not a possibility or an option. It is truly amazing that we live during a time when a food source is available to our babies other than a mother’s milk. I cannot imagine not having that option. I also want to encourage you to believe in yourself. Is breastfeeding is something that you want for your child, believe and know that you are capable. There is so many different options to help and encourage you through this period. Seek support! Some many different resources are available to new moms!

I leave you with one final word of encouragement.

You are not alone.

No matter what it is that you are going through in your breastfeeding journey, please know that you are never alone. There have probably been thousands of women, myself included, that are feeling or experiencing exactly what you are going through. Through all of this, my biggest encouragement and support was from other breastfeeding Mommas. They constantly encouraged, offered advice and even brought me lactation cookies! As women, we really do need to stand together, especially in times like this. It won’t always be easy, but is possible and, for me, the joy that I experienced from this bond was worth way more than any troubles or pain!

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to share your own breastfeeding journey! I always love to hear from you!

 

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Photography: Monica Bailey Photography

Disclaimer: Affiliate links are used in this post and I may receive a small commission.

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Gettin’ Fringy With It

One of my favorite places to shop this Summer has been Pink Poodle Fashion. I love their wide variety of clothes and that everything is at a very reasonable price point. The style of the clothes goes perfectly with my personal style so I always know that I will find something I love. I recently received the Jade Top with Fringe and it did not disappoint.

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I love the vibrancy of the color and how I can easily pair it with almost any color bottom. The length of the shirt makes it appropriate for pants or leggings and the style will easily transition into the Fall.

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I kept my accessories simple with an oversized tote and a fun necklace. I have been loving oversized totes lately because they are big enough for my things and I can easily throw in Vivi’s supplies as well. Sometimes a diaper bag is necessary but for a quick shopping trip or dinner, it is just easier to throw everything in one bag. This particular bag was purchased from Apricot Lane. I love the fun tassel and pom-pom detail. The bag is really sturdy and is easily holds everything I need for Vivi and myself. My necklace was purchased from a boutique while I was on vacation and I love that the beads and the horn pendant are made of wood.

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My shoes are just some classic black sandals that I got from Rack Room Shoes. I have also seen the almost exact same pair at Target! Chasing an almost one year old definitely keeps me busy so comfort is really is an important factor when it comes to my shoes. These pair of sandals is really comfortable and always me to stay on my feet with ease. The cut of them also keeps them from rubbing so I don’t get blisters!

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I highly encourage you to check out The Pink Poodle Fashion Boutique! I can almost guarantee that you will find something you love!

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XOXO,

Mrs. Fowler

Photography Courtesy of Magnolia Blossom Photography

What’s In My Bag

Now that I am a Mom, I have noticed that contents of my handbag have drastically changed. Besides the random Cheerio or baby spoon, there are a few essentials that I have found that I always need with me!

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Through 9 months of trial and error, here is what I have found works for me and usually makes it from one bag to the next!

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First, to keep things organized, I use my old Ipsy bags to organize the contents of my handbags. This makes it easy to find exactly what I am looking for and it makes it easy to switch from one bag to another.

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In my first bag I keep all of my lip products. My favorite everyday gloss is the Creme de’ Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm by Dior. It is super hydrating and the smell is amazing. The little pot also lasts a really long time. My favorite colored gloss is the Butter Gloss by NYX. The smell absolutely amazing and give your lips great color. The best time to buy them is when they are buy one, get one half off at Ulta! I also having been carrying around the Amuse Bouche Lipstick by Bite Beauty in the color Beetroot. It is such a great red for my skin tone! It also smells amazing!

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The next bag includes all of my handbag must-haves. I also have to Instant Hand Sanitizer with me. I am allergic to a preservative that is in a lot of products, specifically hand soap, so if I cannot read the ingredients list then I cannot use the product. I also keep two products from the company Solemates in my bag. The first is Sole Serum. This little serum is like tylenol for your feet. If your feet are hurting then just rub it on and you will be pain free! I also have the Blister Blocker. I just rub a little of this on my feet and it keeps my shoes from rubbing and causing blisters. I also keep eye drops, perfume, nail polish and hand creme, because you never know if you are going to have a mishap or need a little pick-me-up!

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Since Mom Life is now my current life, I also keep things to make my day a little easier. The first is my Mama and Little Teething Necklace. This necklace keeps my jewels out of my sweet girl’s mouth and it really helps to soothe her aching gums. The unique design also means that it will not hit the floor and become covered with germs! I also usually have a teething toy of some sort in my bag. This teether is shaped like a waffel and is from a company called Little Toader. They have a whole line of teethers shaped like food called AppeTEETHERS! I also try to keep snacks with me to prevent a melt-down. I love keeping snacks in my Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Reusable Bags becuase it prevents waste and easily wipes clean!

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I also always have to have a cute wallet! I love the wallets from Target becuase they are constantly getting new styles with pretty pints or fun sayings. This particular wallet is a card wallet and, of course, it is full of gift cards and coupons to my favorite stores!

And that makes up the basics of my handbag essentials! Of course, I also have things like keys, cellphone and sunglasses, but everybody has those things! What do you keep in your handbag? Any essentials that you cannot live without? I would love to know in the comments below!

XOXO,

Mrs. Fowler

On-the-Go with Cover Me Ponchos

As a busy Mom, who is constantly on the go, I am always looking for products that make my life easier. That is why I was so excited to discover Cover Me Ponchos!

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Cover Me Ponchos is the maker of the most versatile nursing cover that I have ever seen or used. The design of this poncho allows you to wear it as poncho or a scarf. It can also be used as a carseat or stroller cover. Its main use, though, is as cover for when nursing your baby. Breast feeding is something that is super important to me. We are 9 months strong in our breast feeding journey so I never leave the house without this amazing poncho.

Here is just a glimpse at how much I used this one poncho on a day out with my Hubs and friends in Downtown Savannah.

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Stroller Cover

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Scarf

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These are just a few of the uses of this amazing poncho! Even if you are still just expecting, this poncho works great as top to cover your bump! I truly do use mine everyday! They also come in variety of patterns and colors so you can get more than one and match them to your outfits!

If you are a Momma-to-Be or a Nursing Momma then this is a must-have for you! I encourage you all to go order a Cover Me Poncho now and I promise that you will not be disappointed!

XOXO,

Mrs. Fowler

Photos by Magnolia Blossom Photography

So Fresh and So Clean With BeautyCounter Baby

I was recently sent some products from a line called BeautyCounter Baby to try out on my sweet Vivi. BeautyCounter Baby is a line of baby products that are made from simple ingredients. They have been meticulously researched and tested so you know that what you are putting on your sweet babe’s skin is safe and natural. It gently cleanses and protects their delicate skin and leaves Mom worry-free.

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We were sent three products to try out and see how we like them. The first product was the Baby Gentle All-Over Wash. This wash nourishes and cleanses delicate skin with a tear-free formula. It was a scent free so I know that their would be no harsh chemicals on Vivi’s delicate skin. I am actually allergic to a preservative that is found in a lot of products so I really try to read ingredients labels in Vivi’s products as well. I don’t want to run the risk of her being allergic to the same preservative and potentially breaking out. It also keeps me safe since I am the one who is bathing her and coming into contact with the products.

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The next product was the Baby Daily Protective Balm. The balm soothes and protects with organic shea butter and organic jojoba oil. Since it is a balm, it is really thick so I can put a nice coating on whatever I need to use it for. We have used it on Vivi’s diaper rash and it gets rid of redness as well as forms a water-proof barrier to prevent future diaper rash from forming. I also use it around her mouth to get ride of her drool rash. It literally works over night to get rid of the unsightly rash from around her little mouth. I also know that it is safe if it accidentally gets in her mouth so that definitely helps with my Mom worry!

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The last product was the Baby Soothing Oil. This oil calms and easily absorbs into skin with organic coconut, jojoba, and sunflower oils. I love to massage it into Vivi’s skin after a bath. If keeps her delicate skin soft and smooth and the massage really helps to calm her down before bed.

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So far, we have really enjoyed each of these products. I know that they are safe for her delicate skin and I don’t have to worry about either one of us having an allergic reaction.

In the words of Christy Coleman, Head of Innovation, “Babies are clean and pure- and they deserve products that are exactly the same. Unscented and uncomplicated formulas that deliver are the only skincare necessities your baby needs.”

These products definitely meet all of our needs. I urge you all to give them a try. Check them out through my friend Abbey at BeautyCounter.com!

XOXO,

Mrs. Fowler

Boho on the Go

I am totally a flower child at heart. If I could have lived through any decade, I really feel like the 60s and 70s really speak to my soul. The fashion, the carefree attitude… maybe not some of the best choices were made during these decades, but it just seems like a simpler time.

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Lately, I have been drawn to the boho fashion trends. I love the loose, flowy fabrics, oversized-accessories, minimalist make-up and retro patterns. It is so easy to wear and that is perfect for my busy Mom-Life!

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When I saw this romper at Target, I knew that it had to come home with me! And with a price tag reading only $28 it was no-brainer! In the mornings, especially when the baby has woken up three times during the night, it is nice to just be able to put on one piece of clothing and go.

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My accessories are all from past seasons but I have seen many similar items for super cheap at places like Forever 21, Target and H&M. This is a trend that can be seen almost everywhere right now but I will link some things for you to check out!

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My necklace is made by my sweet friend Angelle. Her shop on Etsy, Dashing Darlin’, features so many pretty handmade necklaces that are perfect for any flower child. Each necklace is made from natural stones and beads so you know that you are getting a quality item! I also have on absolutely no makeup in this pictures! Sunnies to the rescue! This is the one accessory that any busy, and tired, Mom cannot go without!

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Huge shoutout to my awesome photographer and friend, J. Hillis Photography. As always, you work is amazing! Now I urge all of you to go out and try this fun trend! There is literally something in almost every clothing store to fit this theme and I promise you will love how quick and easy it will be to get dressed in the morning!

XOXO,

Mrs. Fowler

Romper | Sandals | Hat | Sunnies

DIY Baby Food

Something that I always wanted to do when I became a Mother was make baby food for my little one. Now that my sweet Vivi is eating solids, I have plenty of opportunities. In fact, I have made almost 90% of all the food that she has ever eaten!

I love being able to do this for her and I like knowing exactly what is going into her precious little body. There is so many hormones and chemicals in the foods that we eat today and I just don’t want her tiny little body to have to process all of that junk!

The best part about making her food though is how cheap and easy it is to do! I work full time as a teacher, take care of Vivi, make dinner almost every night and still  find time to make all of her food!

Want to know how easy it is?? Well let’s get started!!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

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The first thing that you need to do is get together all of the supplies for the food that you want to make. For today’s post, I am going to show you how I make green beans, sweet peas, carrots and sweet potatoes. I buy the green beans and the sweet peas in the freezer section and I buy fresh carrots and sweet potatoes. You are also going to need all of the burners on your stove, your oven, a food processor, ice cube trays and a spatula.

Step 2: Prepare Your Ingredients

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In three separate pots, I bring to a boil the green beans, the sweet peas and the carrots. The carrots have been peeled and cut up into chunks that will fit easily into the food processor. Once the water has reached a good boil, I reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 1 hour. The longer the vegetable boil, the more tender they will become. If your baby is able to chew, you make want to boil for less time so that the veggies are more like table food.

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The sweet potatoes are cleaned with a potato brush and placed on a baking sheet. I then put them into my pre-heated oven on 350 degrees for about an hour. The bigger the potato, the longer it will need to cook.

Step 3: Puree All Day

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Ok… so you are not literally going to puree all day, but I thought the saying was catchy… so let’s go with it!

I usually give my veggies time to cool before I begin to puree them in the food processor. It is easier to work with them when they are a cool and you are less likely to burn yourself! I usually cook the food one night and then place it in the fridge to cool down so that the next night I am easily able to puree it down.

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The only thing that you have to do it fill your food processor with the food that you are trying to puree and hold down the puree button till you reach the consistency that you desire. As you can see from my pictures, I started with good size chunks of carrots and was able to puree them down to a mush-like consistency.

Step 4: Serving-Sized Storage

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Once you have pureed your veggies down to the consistency that you desire, I find it best to store them in ice cube trays. This method makes freezing and storing super easy and it also helps to even your food out into equal portions. I also find that the size of the cube is perfect when starting out on solids. As baby grows and requires more food it is easy to just add another cube into their bowl.

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I always freeze the food that I make because I don’t want to run the risk of it spoiling in the refrigerator. Once the food has frozen solid I just crack the cubes out of the tray and store the baby food cubes in labeled freezer bags.

Step 5: Dinner is Served

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As you can see, the veggies freeze easily into the perfect sized cubes that easily pop out! I then just defrost the cube in the microwave and dinner is served!

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And just look how happy all of this makes my sweet girl!!

Now I urge all you Momma’s to go out and try this!! If I can do it, you can do it!! It is so easy, so much better for your baby and you will save so much money!! I make all of Vivi’s fruits and veggies this way and she loves them all!!

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! Also, if you already make your own baby food then let me know what works for you! Or share one of your baby’s favorite recipes! Either way, I love hearing from you all!

XOXO,

Mrs. Fowler