Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Nursing Mama's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Well, it's that time again! Everyone asks what you want and you just kind of stare blankly at them. Not because you don't have a wish list, of course, but because you haven't slept in so long that it takes a few minutes for the wheels to start turning....

Never fear! We're here with a list of our favorite necessary items and little luxuries that will make a nursing mama's life a bit easier and sweeter. Feel free to share it with your clueless spouse or well-meaning in-laws, or maybe use it to discover ideas for another nursing or expectant mother in your life.

If you have not tried these amazing, magical, wonderful things yet, you are really missing out. The ultimate treatment for sore nipples, gels are a must-have for all those brave mamas who are still in the first six-week window.

Supply-boosting teas, while effective, taste notoriously gross. Having tested many of the most popular brands, I have to say that David's Tea's "Tea My Baby" breaks that mold. It's DELICIOUS. The addition of cinnamon and cocoa seem to be what really make it sing!

Like cloth diapers, reusable nursing pads have many benefits like money saved in buying a million disposables, a more environment-friendly product, and the availability of cute designs! I love all the adorable, customizable options this seller has for a pretty great price!

These made an appearance on last year's gift guide, but they are really THAT AWESOME that we had to bring them back this year. While not technically lactation cookies (no brewer's yeast), they do have oatmeal and protein, and are utterly decadent treats.

While we don't insist that nursing mamas cover up, some simply feel more comfortable with a light cover. If this is you, then check out this fantastic scarf: it's beautiful, lightweight, and easy to use when your little one wants a quick sip while you're out and about!

This seller has lots of lovely nursing necklaces to choose from, but the animation geek in me went "SQUEE!" when I saw this adorable My Neighbor Totoro necklace! A great toy for your baby to play with while he nurses (instead of pulling your hair like he usually does....).

Do you live in cheap nursing tanks and stained old nursing bras? Well, turns out you can add a little allure back into your wardrobe while still keeping the girls available for that hungry baby. Nursing bras come in some gorgeous styles and for all different body types, so don't be shy: try one!

Sure, that sexy bra will be great now and then, but after a while, you know you're going to go back to your comfort clothes. A soft, pretty pair of PJs is indispensable when you're going to be up at all hours nursing, so check out all the beautiful options that Victoria's Secret has!

Not only has nursing wear improved in recent years, but there are a lot of non-nursing styles out there that can still work great for a breastfeeding mom. My personal favorite is a knit dress with a surplice or wrap neckline, allowing easy access for baby and a stylish look. Money for clothes is nearly always a win!

If you're still in the early days when each nursing session is at least a half-hour and you seriously need some entertainment, or if you have a busy toddler who needs to be distracted while you nurse his sibling, a tablet can be a great tool for you! For the price, this one has terrific value! There are also older generations that are even cheaper, if you prefer.

And there you have it! Breastfeeding mama gifts to fit every budget this season!

What's on your wish list this year?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Nursing Mama Problems

When you're trying to swap a pacifier for your nipple without waking your sleeping babe:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cloudy With a Chance of Smiles

It's no secret how much I love breastfeeding and the joy it's brought me. But I've also shared before about some of my tough uphill climbs in the roller coaster journey that comes with nursing in particular, and motherhood in general. Those cloudy days are rough, especially when they can range in severity from "I'm so depressed I don't know how to function" to "I dropped the gallon of milk which exploded all over the kitchen and I want to curl into the fetal position."

If you're a mom who's in the throes of one of those cloudy haven't-showered-or-slept-in-days, will-this-hurricane-ever-end, can-I-have-my-boobs-back days/weeks/seasons, lots of hugs to you. I'm not suggesting this little list will solve all your problems, but I'm hoping I can at least give you a chance to smile while you're going through this tough time. So, without further ado...

1. Check out the Humans of New York Facebook page. Brandon photographs people as he walks the streets of NYC and interviews them. The result is often hilarious, melancholy, poignant, or just plain wonderful. His recent trip to Iran resulted in some truly amazing interviews in particular. I love scrolling through and remembering how awesome humanity is.

2. Visit 1000 Awesome Things. I love the poetry there. It inspires me to relish the little triumphs and bits of joy in my day, even when most of the minutes are tough ones. Look at The Kid Should See This. Hands down my favorite blog. It can be so difficult to recharge when you're feeling less than stellar, especially when you have zero alone time. Having a helper hand you wads of toilet paper while you "go" is sometimes helpful and sometimes...not. If you and your little one(s) are on the outs, check out a video on this site together. Learning and marveling together will distract you both from your feelings of stress and help you relax and rediscover what it means to be awed and filled with wonder.

I guarantee you'll find a video here your little one will love, whether s/he's 12 months or 12 years old.
Photo courtesy of The Kid Should See This (see link above)

4. Ask for help. Now, I'm not talking about a cryptic vaguebook. And yes, I am admittedly terrible at the whole SOS thing. But if you can shoot off a text to a family member or friend (or hey, you can call them sobbing if you want, they have to love you anyway) they will jump at the chance to help, whether it's helping with laundry, coming to visit, or just telling a bad knock-knock joke.

5. Celebrate what's right. I've already talked about this before, but if you're in a season when things are grand, pretty pretty please document that grandeur. Because you know what? We humans are forgetful. When we're stuck in the muck it's like we have gratitude amnesia. Having the good stuff written down or typed out or photographed makes it easier to reference when the rainbows and unicorns have left the building. Flipping through my journal I'm reminded of my faith in God (not myself). I see good times and bad in those scribbles, and without a doubt Past Me hollers through the pages, "Hey, maybe this poop-fest won't last forever."

And you know what? Poop-fests rarely do.

What about you? What are your go to strategies for regrouping when you've run out of steam?