Breastfeeding with a Lip or Tongue Tie

Before and directly after my daughters lip revision

Both of my babies being born with lip AND tongue ties is one of the things I was least prepared for in motherhood. I knew nothing about how common these were, or what a serious problem they impose on your attempts to breastfeed. I want to take a moment to address all the mamas out there just finding out their babies struggle with this, or mamas-to-be that should be informed on potential breastfeeding obstacles like this!

A lip and tongue tie are conditions that cause the skin of the upper lip and underneath the tongue to have limited movement.

I knew my first baby had troubles latching but I didn’t know what those reasons were until she was 5 months old and diagnosed with a lip and tongue tie. Her lip was much more severe than her tongue so we made the decision to revise it, and she breastfed perfectly after that!

If I could go back in time and have knowledge of this problem, it could have saved us months of stress, feedings with a nipple shield, and the gradual decline in weight my baby had from not eating well enough.

The second time around our tongue tied girl is a little bit different and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.

We have (for now) decided not to revise our second daughter’s tongue tie.

Our reasons for this decision are that a) this is procedure that comes with pain and potential risks and b) she is breastfeeding and gaining weight so its affect on her is not severe.

So what are some things that can help if this is a decision you’ve made? Here are a few of the things that have really helped me in being successful while breastfeeding my lip and tongue tied baby.

  1. Become familiar with what a perfect latch is, and aware of the latch your baby is receiving at every feed. Most moms can just put their baby near their chest and let the baby do all the work because latching is not an issue for them. But with a lip/tongue tied baby YOU will have to help do that work. A good latch involves a wide open mouth, flanged out lips, and their chin against you. This perfect latch will not come naturally to your baby. This is of course the single greatest obstacle of a lip/tongue tied baby. Therefore, it is extremely important that you become familiar with a good latch and get as close as possible to it at every feeding.
  2. Do not be afraid to pull baby off and reattempt the latch when something is off. A bad latch can lead to a vast array of problems such as, pain or chapping of your nipples and too much air intake creating gas bubbles for your baby. That is why if baby is showing signs of a bad latch- do not be afraid to immediately remove them and reattach. A few signs of a bad latch- milk leaking, baby making a clicking noise, or no swallowing noise.
  3. Combat the milk leakage with extra burp cloths. Sometimes your baby may need a little extra help in getting their latch right. You may be soaking your bra with the milk dripping out in between that latching/unlatching and repositioning. For this reason I bring two burp cloths with me to every feeding- one to tuck into my bra underneath baby, and one to actually burp her on.
  4. Find the angle your baby finds easiest. My first girl did best with her latch the more perpendicular she was to me. I tried to cradle her in more of a sitting on my lap position to encourage the good latch she gets this way. So try moving around, try different holds or positions and use the support of a nursing pillow!
  5. Keep up your milk supply! A low supply can mean a slow let down of milk. While your baby is waiting for let down, their latch can become shallow and they may pull away getting frustrated. Your baby’s lip/tongue tie is already frustrating in their attempts to eat. Attempting to get a frustrated baby to latch is much more difficult than a relaxed baby. Make the milk more abundant and easily accessible to them so they don’t have to work harder than they already have to for it!

Here is a link to some really genuinely good tasting lactation cookies that I used to help boost my supply, for any mamas in need of a boost!

Hang in there mamas! If breastfeeding your lip/tongue tied baby is your goal, don’t give up. You aren’t alone in this and you can do it!

Bio-Oil Review

I just want to start this post by stating- this is not a sponsored post!

I love working with brands I love but I also love reviewing things that I am not affiliated with so you always know the opinions expressed are 100% real!

This before and after picture I will share will really speak for itself; but here is the bottom line- Bio-Oil is AMAZING.

With my first pregnancy I relied only on a stretch mark massage lotion, with the second pregnancy only on Bio-Oil.

I couldn’t believe that it was possible, but I had far less visible stretch marks after my second pregnancy than my first!

So not only did the oil keep me from getting more marks during the pregnancy, but it visibly lessened the look of the ones I had from the first time around!

Post Baby Number 1

Post Baby Number 2

*Both photos unedited and taken at 1 week postpartum.

I recommend this product to any mamas-to-be as the best way to combat stretch marks!

How To: Take & Edit Bright, White Photos

Flatlays and white backdrop photos are one of the biggest trends on instagram right now. When posted regularity they create a great, bright aesthetic to your page that draws people in.

I’m too big on outdoor shots to stick exclusively to an exclusively indoor, white aesthetic. However, I still love the way the look as an addition to my page anytime!

I’m going to share my tips on one of my latest photo projects to help you achieve that look for yourself!

Items needed-

If you’ll be photographing a newborn, or flat laying products I’d recommend buying a photo backdrop online. Here’s an example of one from amazon.

If you’re into family lifestyle shots or have older kids, shooting still in front of a small backdrop won’t be best. We got a great fluffy white comforter that has been great for these types of photos.

I love to use my Nikon for these photos to ensure I get crisp photos. If you’re using an iPhone, turn up the sharpness when editing.

Run into Hobby Lobby or Michaels if you need some easy photo props to add. I love to buy the wreaths or anything floral whenever it’s on sale so that I always have some cute things on hand to throw into a photo!

Photo technique-

Make sure you are directly centered above or in front of your subject.

If shooting a sleeping newborn/child add all props quietly around them once they are asleep. If the child is awake, have your area ready and be prepared to take your photos quickly so as not to irritate them.

You’ll also want to (attempt to) remove unwanted distractions like lumpy blankets or binkies.

Editing-

The quickest, easiest tip to instantly improve your photos without an app is to make a few adjustments in your photos app.

First, adjust orientation and cropping so photo is straight, and centered.

Second, turn up the shadows! Instantly lifts your photos brightness without washing out the subjects.

If you need any blemishes removed or lumps/wrinkles blurred out, I would recommend editing with the (free) Airbrush app.

These type of photos don’t need any heavy filters, that will just distract from the white aesthetic you’re trying to create.

Instead focus on adding clarity with sharpness, brightness with shadows, and saturation if more color is needed.

BeforeAfter

I hope that this will help you all to create some great photos!

Baby Breathing Monitors|Review

If you ask almost any new mom to be what their biggest fear entering motherhood is, it’s usually SIDS. As a first time mom, I had no idea what this even was, which scared me more. I feared every single time I tried to sleep.

Mamas, sleeping well whenever you get the chance to during the newborn phase is SO important. If you’re like me, and you’re worried about your tiny little babe’s breathing every time you go to sleep, luckily there are now devices we can use.

I am so passionate about this, like a lot of mamas that have bought one. That is because of just the one night at a couple weeks old where Ellie’s breathing alarm went off, and I saw her face pushed up against side of her bassinet. We had a little bassinet that went in between my husband and I in bed, and we didn’t realize that my husband’s side slightly dipped down causing her to roll and have her side pressed against the side of it. Needless to say we moved it out of our bed after that night! I can’t say for sure whether the monitor saved her life that night but I can tell you that $80 was beyond worth it to me.

So as a first time mom, I did plenty of research when considering which breathing monitor to get, and there was a wide array!

The first I considered was the Owlet monitor. This is a smart sock that not only monitors breathing, but oxygen levels. This information is then sent to your phone. This sounded absolutely incredible to me, however the price was just too steep for us when considering the long list of other baby products we still needed to buy. I also read a lot of reviews saying the sock either fell off easily, or gave their baby a slight rash. We ended up with a squirmy babe with sensitive skin so I’m happy we didn’t go with this one. However if you have a baby with breathing issues or a preemie, I’m sure this one would be worth the extra money and peace of mind.

The next product I looked into was the Angelcare movement monitor. This one monitors the movement of baby with a sensing pad that goes underneath them. This one is closer in price to the one I got so I heavily considered it. However, many moms said after about three months old their babe started rolling off the pad and they started getting a lot of false alarms. I also read it was quite hard to install and I am NOT tech savvy.

I could not be happier with the one I got.

Snuza go!

There are different types of Snuzas. The Snuza Hero has a feature that gently vibrates to try and stir the baby if no movement is detected for a certain amount of seconds. I felt this feature was unnecessary to me, I just wanted to be alerted if breathing movement stopped so I could try to rouse or just check on my baby. The Snuza Go! Is the less expensive version which was also very helpful to me and my budget!

The Snuza is a small clip that goes on the edge of their diaper, and the sensor feels their breathing from their stomach moving up and down. First of all, Ellie never noticed it was there and it never left a mark on her or anything. Secondly, I never had to change the battery! I used it EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. from birth until about 9 months. At 9 months I started getting false alarms as she became really active, rolling and wiggling and also able to take it off on her own. By then, I was naturally ready to stop using it and so was she. Third, and most importantly, it gave this super anxious mama peace of mind. I got so many more hours of sleep thanks to the Snuza. When she had bronchiolitis at 4 months old and I was terrified to sleep every night for weeks, knowing I had the Snuza on was the only thing that made me allow myself to get the sleep I needed.

*Please note, no breathing monitoring devices can prevent SIDS.

Goodbeing subscription box review

Hey guys! So it looks like subscription boxes are here to stay! This growing trend is really fun and inexpensive for the most part. But which one to choose? There are SO many.

Goodbeing boxes are natural health and wellness products delivered monthly. In my first month’s box I received something for my hair, something for my makeup, something for my body, something for my skin.

So here’s what I love about a Goodbeing box:

  • They offer an array of healthy and natural products. I love the variety and not knowing exactly what you will get.
  • They always send you new brands you probably haven’t heard of (and may fall in love with.) When that happens, you get exclusive discount codes to use when shopping that brand.
  • All natural products. I don’t by any means exclusively buy natural, healthy products. But I love to find these, support still growing brands, and add healthier beauty and wellness products into my day to day life.
  • You get to hand select two of your items every month. This is by far my favorite thing they do. They email me when it’s time to select my items for the next months box and I’m always so excited by what I picked, and to see what surprises are inside.

If this sounds like something you’d like to try, go check out Goodbeing!

http://goodbeing.com

Goodbeing has sent me their product free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

Our Sleep Through the Night Bed Time Routine


Bed time routines add another thing to your already jam packed to-do list as a mom. If you’re like me, by the time the clock strikes bedtime- I AM DONE. I want to be in bed, laying down, with no more toddler climbing on me.

But here’s the thing- it is SOOOO worth it. 

If you’re having trouble getting yourself to put in the extra time and effort to create a bedtime routine consistently, think of it this way. Any of the extra effort you put in before bedtime ensures that you put in less work in the middle of the night, and get a fuller, longer, more restful night of sleep. And so does your baby!

If you can’t already tell, bedtime routines are just my favorite thing in the universe. Even on nights where my little one seems wound up and not ready for bed at all right before I start the routine, it has never failed that by the time I set her in her crib she’s 100% ready to drift off.

As soon as I started this routine at around 10 months old, my daughter has slept through the night 10-12 hours. Combined with our gentle sleep-training method (see last post How to get your Co-Sleeping and Codependent Baby to Sleep Through the Night) she even learned how to soothe herself back to sleep if she awoke crying in the night. It’s saved me countless middle-of-the-night visits to her room!

Here is a detailed description of Ellie’s nightly routine.

Step One. Breastfeed.

If breastfeeding, it is vitally important not to breastfeed them to sleep. It creates a dependency on you to fall asleep, and if they awake in a place different from where they fell asleep it will always startle them. I had breastfed her to sleep for her entire first 10 months of life so imagining changing this was just crazy to me. But again, SO WORTH IT.

-If you are not breastfeeding, just make sure they have their bottle, water, or a snack right before you start the routine instead of directly before bedtime.

My absolute favorite nursing dress from Undercover Mama. Click the photo to check them out!

Step Two. Get their room ready.

I make sure her lovey is in her crib and a pacifier is nearby. Then, I turn on her night light and white noise machine. Now the room is all dimmed and ready for us to come in to get dressed for bed in at the end of the routine.

Step Three. Bath and Brush Teeth.


Ellie’s pediatrician recommended nightly baths for her eczema, to help remove the dirt that collects on her skin every day. Ellie loves bath time and it reminds her that she needs to start getting ready for bed. Also luckily, Ellie loves teeth brushing. (Maybe in part to her cool electric toothbrush with Paw Patrol characters on it!)

-If baths have never been associated with bedtime for you, or you don’t usually bathe every single day- still consider adding this step. Having a solid routine with a few consistent steps to it signals your child that they need to wind down for the day.

Step Four. Lotion, PJS, and a song.

Lastly, I lay Ellie down on a furry rug in her room. While lightly singing a song, I dress her in a night-time diaper, put lotion on her, a little bit of essential oil for sleep on her chest, and one for teething on her jaw-line. Then I wrap up my song, button up her pjs and give her a big hug and kiss before laying her down. She watches me leave the room, and quietly turns on her side and falls soundly asleep.

These are all the products I use in Ellie’s nightly routine.

The bed time caddy I made to keep all her routine products on hand.

It may be a lot of work, but it is also some of my sweetest, most cherished time with her. It is nice to relax, wind down and get ready for bed together. And best of all, it is followed by 10 beautiful, glorious hours of uninterrupted SLEEP.

How to Get A Meal Delivery Service (Without Increasing Your Grocery Budget)

If you aren’t familiar with meal delivery services by now, they are a subscription based box of prepackaged ingredients to make healthy home cooked meals with. On average they cost around $10 per person per meal. There is a wide range of companies in this market already, including:

  • Home Chef
  • HelloFresh
  • Plated
  • Gobble
  • PeachDish
  • Blue Apron
  • Terra’s Kitchen
  • Green Chef
  • SunBasket

Just to name a few!

I’ve had a few friends tell me that the biggest con to these is, you still have to grocery shop. So what’s the point? Well for me, and I think most moms will agree, I absolutely do not have the time to make a meal plan, go buy every ingredient for every dish, and then take the time to cook an amazing home cooked meal every single night. I’m definitely no chef, and I needed some help. 

My biggest pros to a home delivery service: Meals are already set and you don’t need to plan. I am not a great cook by any means. The simple directions inside have made me cook way better meals that I would never attempt on my own. They are usually simple, and quick. Of course there are some exceptions, but for the most part I am only ever in the kitchen away from the baby for about 30 minutes. They are delivered straight to your door and automatically billed so you don’t even have to think about what to do for multiple dinners per week.

But depending on which service you choose, how many meals you’d like and how many people are in your family, this can cost near between $50-$100 a week. How can you make that work when you still have other groceries to buy? 

Here are the tips I’ve used to successfully keep our grocery budget the same after adding a meal delivery service to the equation. 

***This plan is based on an average 5 meals a week eating at home, and two days a week eating out.***

  1. Keep other meals of the day simple. Stick to a few key meals for breakfast and lunch that you can interchange. (Breakfast- oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, cereal, waffles) (Lunch- sandwiches, granola bars, trail mix, jerky)
  2. Shop in bulk. Costco is my world, guys. You can go and buy two giant loaves of bread, a huge jar of mayo and a big pack of lunch meat for about $15 and have lunch off that for a few weeks straight! (Other good bulk items- granola bars, cereal, applesauce for kiddos)
  3. Plan for a simple meal on the night(s) you don’t have meal delivery service for. We only have 2 nights a week unaccounted for with meal service- so I will buy a few simple ingredients to make just one meal that we can have leftovers of the next day. (Ex.- Pan of baked ziti, Pan of enchiladas, lasagna, fajita tacos, etc.)
  4. Buy ready to eat snacks or meals from Costco’s freezer section. If there’s a night where you’re on the go, not very hungry, or just generally busy- but these out. (Ex.- taquitos, yakisoba meals, frozen tacos, raviolis)

So all in all, I can keep my grocery budget nearly exactly the same as it was before. Dinner ingredients consumed a lot of the grocery budget with fresh veggies, sides, and fresh meats. But by only shopping for a couple very simple meals each week, I lessened spending and was able to use that extra for the meal service. However, these tips have helped me save money on groceries even when I wasn’t using a meal delivery service! I hope they can help you too!

Long Road-Trips with a Baby


I took my 9-10 month old on an all summer long road trip accross 8 states. And guess what? It was actually fun! Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t count how many people looked at me like I was certifiably insane after telling them I was taking her on this road trip. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I have always been a roadtripper. I enjoy jumping in the car and heading out on a good old fashioned road trip talking, laughing and eating junk food with my hubby. Before we had Ellie we drove from Arizona to New York, DisneyWorld, and New Orleans! 

Obviously, our lives have changed a bit since then. But we’ve always been strong believers in the fact that having a baby doesn’t have to run our lives. Of course things are a little different, but we don’t let Ellie hold us back from anything we really want to do, especially when it comes to trip taking! 

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and road tripping with your little here’s what you’ll need to consider!

This one tip made absolutely a world of difference in our road trip experience- take one fun/extended break in the middle of the day. We would map out our day and decide what city we would want to stop in for lunch. I ran the city through my TripAdvisor app, and found a list of things to do in the area. One day we found a great aquarium/ botanical gardens/ zoo. One day we didn’t have many choices, so we just stopped at a local park and ate some lunch while letting the baby get much needed out of the car time! By the time we put her back in after those 2 hour breaks she was ready to relax and nap in the car until we stopped driving in the evening. 


Mentally prepare yourself for a slow and steady pace. We were road trip warriors before- we would make quick, efficient stops spaced out really far apart. Not even the most well planned out road trip with a baby will make that happen. You can still make stops as efficient as possible by matching stopping points on your map to the times your baby will need to eat. But remember, your baby will still decide how this goes down! So if you go into the day with a relaxed attitude, you won’t be constantly disappointed or overwhelmed if things don’t go according to your plan.


Pack a big bag of various toys. Having different toys to interchange makes a big difference, my little one gets tired of a toy after about half an hour. Being able to switch them out can put off the inevitable “I’m bored” cry. 


When on a multiple day trip- don’t buy your hotel until the day of. If you’re a big planner, you may think this is crazy but hear me out. Whip out your handy-dandy TripAdvisor app and search for hotel deals later in the day when you have a realistic amount of distance to travel ahead of you. If you make hotel plans that are 3 more hours away and your baby has reached their absolute limit of car seat time for the day, you’ll wish you would have waited to buy the hotel. You can search plenty of hotel deals through the app that are not unreasonably priced, or search airbnb’s instant book options! 


And as always, dont forget an insanely well stocked diaper bag. Road trip musts for the diaper bag include baby snacks/pouches, plenty of diapers/wipes, pacifiers/ pacifier wipes, hand sanitizer, poop bags, and baby laundry stain pen. 

Ellie having a great time chewing on a straw after a giant diaper blowout😒


Do all these things, and you can have fun on the road with your baby too! Happy road-tripping!

How To Make And Store Homemade Baby Food

For some reason, not even the smallest of parenting decisions is safe from mom-shaming these days. So, of course, whether you feed your baby all organic homemade baby food, or store bought jars is just another debate. My stance on this is the same as it is with most everything, just do what is best for you and your baby! Make these decisions based on what will make your life simple, happy, and help your baby thrive.

With that being said, there are a lot of reasons why I started to make all of Ellie’s baby food at home. But it’s mainly due to the fact that she has an extremely sensitive stomach. I haven’t quite figured out all of her food allergies and sensitivities yet, but have figured out a few things. It seems like at least for now her digestive system is just too immature to handle any food additives or preservatives. She gets sick and throws up for hours after having these. If that’s not motivation to start up a homemade baby food stockpile then I don’t know what is!

Only problem was, I had no idea where to start. What foods do I make? How do I make it? How do I store it? Through trial and error I’ve created a system that works really well for me. So if you’ve decided that homemade is going to be the best route for your family, I hope these tips can help you get started!

First things first. Based off what age your baby is, decide what foods you’d like to prepare for them. Stage one foods are for babies between the ages of 4-6 months. Since Ellie is so finicky, she’s still mainly in this stage at 8 months. Some really easy stage one foods to make at home are apples, pears, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and peas. Other good first foods are avocado and banana, but you won’t want to freeze these. Just pop ’em open and serve them up fresh. You’ll want to make sure that if you’re just beginning solids your purées are very smooth and diluted with water or breastmilk. Stage two foods will begin to introduce baby to a chunkier texture.


Next you’ll need to decide how you’re going to make it. Of course, you don’t need any fancy baby equipment to make purées. But, new moms are pretty notoriously low on free time! I personally have really benefitted from buying an all-in-one baby food maker because of its convenience factor. I use the Beaba Babycook to steam, purée, and reheat all in one. It has really streamlined my baby food making process and makes it easy for me to get it all done during nap time!

For storage, most commonly you’ll see moms using ice cube trays. This is convenient for measuring out one ounce of food at a time, but inconvenient for storing large amounts of different types of food. I wanted to be able to clearly store, label and date all my various amounts and types and mixtures of baby food- so I decided to use breastmilk storage bags. Make sure that you’re using frozen purees within 3 months for optimal nutrition, and no later than 6 months total. The other great thing about these is that you can toss them in your bag on the go, like if you want to have some at grandmas’ house. When ready to eat, just run the sealed bag under hot water for a couple minutes and you’re ready to go!

After a successful nap time or two your freezer stash can be just as full as mine with delicious organic homemade baby purees!

Seasons Of Life With Your Baby

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. More specifically, the way us moms struggle with both wanting the hard times in our life with a newborn to pass, and feeling emotional as soon as that time is over. I define a season of time with your baby as a memorable period of time that is marked in your memory with a few key struggles or milestones. It starts off with the pregnancy season, and man is that a long one. For me, my key seasons from there break down to: pregnancy, birth-6 weeks, 6 weeks-3 months, 3-6 months, and 6-8 months. My baby girl is only 8 months, and I am so glad to have so many seasons of life with her ahead of me. But I want to talk today about the ones already gone by.

I’ve realized that the comforting advice most people have given me on my constant struggles with my very difficult little girl is, “This too shall pass.” And maybe once or twice I did find comfort in that. Until I realized that wishing this season away will only bring on a new one with new challenges, ones that I again have no idea how to conquer. Because that’s what motherhood is. Thinking we can’t possibly conquer what’s in front of us each day, and somehow with the love of our babies we make it through.

As I lay here in between breastfeedings feeling the pain of mastitis in my body with my little babe sleeping on my chest, I know that there will be a day when I’ll look back on this time with nostalgia. Breastfeeding has somehow turned out to be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but the reason I keep doing it is the same reason I know I will long for it when it’s over- the unbreakable bond between me and my baby girl. As I feel the end of our breastfeeding journey getting closer everyday, I’ve realized how much importance moms need to place on being happy and present in whichever season we’re currently in.
I hear you, mom who can’t remember her last full night of sleep, won’t it be nice when your baby doesn’t need you as much anymore? Will you find yourself watching your growing child wishing they’d curl up in your arms late in the night to be comforted back to sleep? I’m writing this because with all my challenges so far, I’ve been that mom. That mom who’s just waiting for this season to be over. But I cannot waste anymore of my precious time with my baby having that attitude.

I’m going to use this space below to journal about each season I’ve had with Ellie. So many moms I’ve talked to, including my own, just can’t remember all the little things that happened to them and their babies at the beginning. So I encourage you, whatever stage you are at in life take time today to think about the parts of it you will miss when they are gone. Do not dwell on the challenges your child is giving you in this season but rather, embrace them. Take some time out of your day today to appreciate your child for everyhing that they are right now. And if you’ve found your seasons passing too quickly, find the time to journal about yours too. That way even when a season has passed, you will always have memory of it. Here are my seasons so far.

 

Pregnancy



My pregnancy was not planned, but not unwelcome. I took the pregnancy test like I had a couple other times since getting married, knowing it would come out negative, but-UM IS THAT POSITIVE? I was almost numb to it initially, not knowing exactly what this change would mean for me and my husband or what to expect from it in anyway. But once my mind had been wrapped around it I was in full-on mom mode. They say a woman becomes a mother when they find out they are pregnant, and a man becomes a father once the baby is born. For us that saying was 100% true. Looking back I can tell I was a bit overboard as a pregnant woman (foreshadowing of what kind of mother I’d become.) I didn’t eat, or do, anything that any person had ever said may possibly affect my unborn baby negatively in any way, shape, or form. Recently, my husband laughed as I ran across the room picked up and threw our dog in the back yard, screaming at her for nipping at the baby. “Don’t mess with mama bear.” He said.

Well that statement has really been true of me since the beginning of my pregnancy. This overprotective quality can be great in most moms, but as a woman with anxiety I struggled through every minute of every day of my pregnancy. I told myself that she was too good to be true, I almost never was able to visualize actually getting to hold her in my arms. I spent my maternity leave days crying in her rocking chair, begging her to kick me and tell me she was okay in there. My anxiety while pregnant nearly crippled me, mostly because of impossibly hard personal life situations. I honestly thought I would lose her every single day.

Although my paranoia was extreme it really did prepare for what was to come, constant worry over another human being. I’ve worried for her since long before she was born, and now that I know her I know it will never stop for me. And I am perfectly happy with that.

My pregnancy continued to make me think I would never get to hold her as it dragged on and on. Until I was 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant when Elliana Reign was finally born at almost 10 pounds. (That last 8 days felt longer than the entire rest of the pregnancy!)

My only happiness in the pregnancy season was my ultrasounds and checkups. Facing my constant worry and fears and drowning them out in the sweet melodic sound of her strong little heart beating and the sight of her squishy little face and pouty lips in the 3D images.

 

Birth- 6 weeks



This season was marked by trying to breastfeed, trying to taking care of her while I recovered my pummeled body, and long, long baby naps. Aside from my own pain and recovery, this was really an easy time with her. Thinking back on how much my newborn slept really makes me miss that time! She woke at night every 2 hours to breastfeed and stayed the same during the day. My only real problem at this time was that the nurses in the hospital gave me a nipple shield to use. I spend the second night in the hospital sobbing crying because Ellie wouldn’t eat. I hadnt slept for 2 full days at this point and then there it was. The nipple shield. This would prove to challenge me for months to come, but we’ll get to that later. Ellie also had jaundice, which can be common. But I had no knowledge of this at all. So as a first time mom this seriously worried me! The adjustment period to sleepless nights wasn’t hard for me because I barely slept as the giant pregnant watermelon person I was. Lots of friends and family organized bringing us meals and I had so much help. This season was one of huge adjustment, and a whole lot of happy!

 

6 weeks-3 months


6 weeks. That’s all it took for my baby to learn to start sleeping through the night! This baby thing was going to be a breeze ,wasn’t it?! Well, just when you think you’ve got them figured out, your baby goes ahead and switches it up on you. But for this time, she was an angel. Sleeping in her rock and play every night from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. This time period was marked by adorable milestones like cooing noises, trying to hold her head up, trying to sit up, and her first laugh. This is the time we really started seeing her little personality and it was such an incredible blessing. She was gaining weight on track and exclusively breastfeeding. Another golden season, but the one to follow would not be the same story.


3-6 months


Ah, where to begin with this season… My little angel baby got sick at 3 months old it eventually turned into bronchiolitis, which kept me up checking her breathing patterns all night every night. Every night for 3 months I gave her her bath, her eczema cream, her nose drops, used the nose Frieda, put on some baby Vapor rub, cleaned out and ran the humidifier and started the diffuser with essential oils to help her breathe. I ran myself ragged taking care of my sick baby, maybe that was why I got so sick too. After months I was given antibiotics and started to improve. If only it could be that easy for babies.

Around 4 months we slowly started introducing solid foods. She loved it and thought everything besides peas was absolutely delicious.

One night we sat at my parents house, having dinner and letting them help us with the baby. We had given Ellie Zarbee’s cold medicine a few hours before. Suddenly, Ellie projectile vomited her last meal all over my mom. Which wasn’t too unusual, she has done this quite a few times. But this time, it didn’t stop every couple minutes she would start up again getting sick everywhere until she had nothing left. She continued gagging and coughing even when her stomach was completely empty. This is when we called the nurse hotline and they advised us to take her to the children’s hospital to ensure she doesn’t get dehydrated. After a few very scary hours, we did a breastfeeding trial, she kept it down, and we went home. I thought to myself, it had to be the cold medicine, right? Until the next time it happened. Ellie has now had these violetly sick reactions 4 times. Each time I am just as worried as the last time. I spent these 3 months listening to my baby cry,  cough, throw up, and breathe raspy breaths. So you can be sure that when the doctors told Ellie started dropping rapidly on the weight chart that I was more than a little overwhelmed.

I breastfed my baby every two hours for up to 40 minutes each time. I was going crazy spending all of my life stuck on the couch with my nipple shield and boppy. I could supplement her with formula or pumped breastmilk, if only she wouldn’t vehemently refuse every brand, shape, and size of bottles. And I was so nervous to give her solid foods, not knowing what was causing her reactions. I worried over her day and night. I cried myself to sleep watching her, knowing that despite all my efforts I was failing her. This time I lost almost all of my joy as a mother and felt the season I was in would never end. But that’s what seasons do, they end.

 
6-8 months 

I had come to a decision. I couldn’t keep trying my futile methods of nipple shield weaning or offering bottles just to have them refused. My babies weight gain had come to a halt and I had to try something else. So I made the choice to revise Ellie’s lip tie. The doctor let me know I could choose whether to have the procedure done on her lip, her tongue, or both. I’m so happy that I was able to discern as a mother that she needed her upper lip revised more than anything, because she couldn’t flare out her upper lip at all.

We waited for her bronchiolitis to clear before having the procedure, which was probably more terrifying for me than for her! A couple weeks after, her lip was healing up nicely. Suddenly, she decided she didn’t need the nipple shield anymore. It was a game changer for us both. She started eating 5 minutes every two hours instead of 40, and she will now even take the occasional bottle. I’m taking her to allergists and gastroenterologists to determine what her allergies may be. And she is thriving on her weight gain which is all I hoped for on those 3-6 months old nights. We had the blessing of taking her to Disneyland with my entire family.


Seeing her grow and exude happiness in this season has made me appreciate how far she’s come. How far we’ve both come. I’m so thankful we have so much time ahead of us right now. She just started crawling, and I am embracing all the change that brings. I love the season of life she is in right now. And I’ll be just as happy when the next one arrives.