January 14, 2018

Supplementing with Formula

Happy Sunday! Today I wanted to touch back on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is feeding baby. If you all follow my stories on IG, you know I'm always sharing shots of pumping at work - it's a hard job! I get asked a ton of questions after these posts and I always refer people to this huge pumping post I did a while back. It's got every tip I could think in there about pumping, and even a bit on supplementing with formula.

But I still get so many questions on whether it's ok the supplement that I wanted to dedicate a post on it. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH SUPPLEMENTING WITH FORMULA. I always like to joke that I was exclusively formula-fed (I was) and I'm healthy and happy and most days relatively smart, Nathan too! Of course we now know that breast feeding has a ton of benefits for both mama and baby, so I think all of us now aim to be able to breastfeed. But sometimes it's not always possible to exclusively breast feed, and I am 100% against ever shaming a mama for this! I'm in the camp that believes at the end of the day FED IS BEST. So if you have to supplement here or there, or consistently, you do what you gotta do! Love your baby and provide them the best that you can (including the best you, which means not killing yourself over one aspect of providing for them)!  

Ro is 10-months now and since about the 8-month point I've had to start supplementing a bottle or two daily. I can only realistically pump once daily at lunch time so my supply has taken a huge hit. And she's eating nearly everything as far as solids now so she really isn't nursing/drinking breastmilk as much as she was prior to eating as much "real food." Initially I was spending a lot on name brand formula, but I later learned that the FDA has very specific nutrient requirements for infant formula and most are overall the same. So I started saving a bit of money and buying store brand formulas. Most recently we used Comforts Infant Formulas that have all of the vitamins and minerals baby needs (and come pediatrician recommended). They just came out with non-GMO Infant Formulas that are produced using ingredients that haven't been genetically engineered; we love this one (it's equivalent in nutrition to the Enfamil Infant formula we were using previously)!

I also love the storage container of this formula - it has a tab that keeps the scoop up and out of the formula (I always hated having to stick my fingers into the formula, even with clean hands) and a nifty little corner for leveling the scoop. Little things but they make a difference! Hope you guys appreciated this quick post. I really just wanted to normalize supplementing a bit more and share a brand that has been helping me save some money (and sanity, pumping is no joke). Breath easy mamas, you got this! Thanks so much to Comforts Brand for sponsoring this discussion! Comforts Infant Formula can be found exclusively at any Kroger family of stores.

December 27, 2017

Bedtime Routine

I'll start this post by saying one thing - there are routine people, and then there are people who, let's just say aren't huge fans. I actually fall into the category of "not a huge fan." Every family does what works for them though, and that is all that matters! When we first had Liv, I fell into the trap of thinking I had to have a solid bedtime routine to actually get a child to sleep, and that if we strayed from this we would be horrible parents, screw up her development, or at the very least just get crappy sleep. Thankfully it didn't take long to realize she usually slept however she wanted with or without the full routine - so we for the most part tossed it out the window. 

But now with three we have something like a routine going on, and it's working for us, so I'll share that today (got a ton of questions after sharing their shared bedroom on the blog so wanted to help out)! I'll also say we never did sleep training or cry it out or anything else that required reading a book. 

We actually only do bath time/showers every other night at most, (it's more like twice a week most weeks) but if it is a night that the girls are still wired up closer to bedtime, we absolutely do baths/showers. Since our 2 bathroom condo only has showers we had to get a little creative - Livi almost always showers - she loves singing in the shower! Elli sometimes will shower with Livi, but more often her and Ro get a bath together. We searched a long time for the right fold up tub, and I then I realized we had an unused Sterilite container under our bed so I tried it out while deciding on a tub - let's just say that almost 5 months later we still use it and it is perfect. 

After bath time and getting jammies on, I nurse Ro - some nights because of when I last pumped I give her a bottle of breastmilk or formula instead (helpful too when Nathan can feed her and help out with bedtime)! She usually gets pretty sleepy while drinking, when she's done I put her down in her crib and falls asleep. 

I get asked a lot about the girls' sleeping arrangements - they all share the same room. Ro stayed in our room in a bassinet until just over 6 months, then we moved her with her sisters. They do great in the room together with a staggered bedtime. They're all pretty heavy sleepers so it's rare that if one wakes up crying in the middle of the night they wake up any of their sisters. We didn't know that it would work out but you never know until you try it! This is really key with kids - the idea might sound scary or you might be worried that it would never work, but honestly our fear holds us back from things working out more than anything! Just try it! Anyway...

If Nathan's home he gets solo time with the girls while I'm getting Ro to sleep - he isn't always though, and those days I can usually still get Ro down in the playroom with the other 2 playing - they just have to respect that it's "quiet time" and Ro has to go night-night. And believe me - it doesn't come without having to threaten that they'll go to sleep now too if they don't play quietly! 

Once Ro is down, I spend a few minutes with Elli, and after it's time to get her down. She climbs right into her bottom bunk (it's literally just a mattress on the floor under a loft bed, it's not an actual bunk bed) - but perfect height for her to climb right in and lay down. She gets her back patted for a few minutes but then can usually fall asleep on her own. 

Finally Liv. She's the big girl, so we spend some extra one-on-one time either reading or drawing or watching a show. Livi is probably the easiest to get down - she knows when she's tired and usually will say "mommy can I rest my eyes now" or just "ok time for bed." Sometimes I do have to force the issue though, and then the line "ok, you get to pick one toy to bring to bed, what are you bringing?" works well - she gets her toy and we get her into bed. We tuck her in and give her a kiss and she'll go to sleep on her own. 

Liv as a baby was the hardest to get down - from 0-4 months we walked around for what felt like hours trying to get her to bed after an elaborate routine. And then we scratched that and from 4-18 months co-slept. And then we got her in own bed and sleeping on her own (it happened really easily actually) and now she is the best sleeper of them all. I share this because, again, we place a lot on initial sleep routines and schedules, worried we're going to screw them up, but it's really not that big of a deal! 

Usually Ro is down by 8, Elli is down by 8:30, and Liv by 9. Again - nothing in our house is set in stone, but most weeknights that's how the timing works. I hope this post could be a little helpful to some of you, at least to just show you how one mom of 3 makes it work for her family! 

Bedroom for 3 under 3

Alright, Liv is 4. So technically can't call them 3 under 3 anymore, but a few months ago they were! On my IG stories today I posted a quick 15 second 360 degree view of the girls' shared bedroom and got a flood of questions about where everything is from so I thought it would be easier to do a quick post here!

Bunk bed (really a loft bed with twin mattress below on the floor) - we LOVE this bed, it's sturdy, adorable and low to the ground. And it was about $200. Comes in tons of finishes as well if white isn't your thing ;) We bought these mattresses and these waterproof mattress protectors - they've been incredible. 

Girls' sheet sets (pattern is called Khaki)

Wall lamps (I edited out the cords for the picture but these are plug in which I love and have an easy on/off switch) - they are from Ikea, I spray painted the bases gold. Unfortunately I don't see them online, but these are very similar.

Toddler chairs. Liv got hers for her 1st birthday and when Elli got old enough we had to add a second! Pretty soon we'll be buying another one (or buying the larger size for Liv and having the younger two use the ones we already have). 

Crib. We love this crib. It's minimalistic, can transition to a toddler bed if you wanted to, and comes in at just under $100. 

Rug - My exact style I think was discontinued (or just sold out everywhere) - it's called the Blonda in beige; but I love this one too - so whimsical for a kids room! And the best part is it's machine washable

Dresser/Changing table - it's really just a dresser (I spray painted the knobs gold), and I attached the changing pad using velcro strips! We've had it since Liv was born. 

Girls prints - check out this quick Instagram post where I explained how I made them! These were the type of frames. The other artwork is mostly from HomeGoods (or painted by Liv)!

I think that's most of what's in their room! One last special thing is the giant sock monkey Nathan won for me at a carnival (super special to us - the first thing Nathan bought when we found out we were pregnant with Liv was a little sock monkey). 

December 20, 2017

Last Minute Santa


Aaaand I literally just ordered the girls' gifts last night. But thanks to Amazon Prime they'll be here by tomorrow! PS if you don't already have Prime, membership is on sale now, I highly recommend!! I've gotten a ton of DMs asking about what I'm getting the girls this Christmas, so I figured I'd make a quick post sharing! I'll start by saying Liv is at the age where she is obsessed with Shopkins and Hatchimals (what the actual hell lol); but she has a ton of shopkins so she's not getting any for Christmas, and my mom wanted to buy her the Hatchimal. I told her that was absolutely fine by me! It's so hard trying not to spoil kids - especially when you have a large family. When we lived closer to family and spent Christmas with them we actually would purposefully only buy 1 or 2 gifts for the girls, the rest came from family and they could open everything Christmas morning. While our family is still amazing and sends gifts, they usually aren't here in time to be opened Christmas morning, so this year we really felt the pressure to buy a few more purposeful gifts just so the girls could have a few presents to open from Santa Christmas morning. Sounds silly as I write it, but I'm sure most of you guys get it! 

Here's what I ordered and why:

Pink felt letter board - Liv is doing an incredible job having learned her alphabet and now trying to put words together - I think she'll love spelling words out on this board! I got one in grey too that Elli can unwrap, but it's a little advanced for her so I'm sure I'll be using this one more to help Liv put together things on hers!

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History - I've been a fan Vashti Harrison's illustrations for a while now, so you better believe I had to get my hands on this incredible book she just released! Livi has been obsessed with reading and I really want to nurture that as much as possible, so these short stories will be amazing to read to her and her sisters! They are gonna KNOW their history and that they are standing on the shoulders of giants!

Calico critters rabbit family, dollhouse, and car - Liv and Elli have both been into independent play and creating little stories with their toys - I think it's finally time I got them a dollhouse. My plan is to have Liv unwrap the house (and I'll put two rabbits in the house) and have Elli unwrap the car (the other two rabbits in there). With multiples I have to make sure everything seems "even!" 

Mini brooms. Times two. The feminist inside of me struggled with this one, I didn't really want to further engrain societal standards that women should be cleaning etc. etc. BUT, we went to a friend's house (actually one of Nathan's attendings) who had an incredible playroom full of every toy you could imagine, including a cleaning set with mop, broom, etc. And Liv and Elli fought over who played with the broom the entire night. They loved the damn broom. So they're getting brooms. If I had boys they'd get a broom too. 

Doll stroller. I bought Liv the denim version of this exact stroller 2 years ago for her second birthday, and the girls have used it down to the point of it having holes in it. And now they fight over who gets to push the baby in the stroller. So stroller upgrade x 2. I love the price of this one, it's really well made, and it folds flat when not in use. 

Wooden walker + wagon. Poor Ro seems like she got left out, but she didn't! It's just she has no idea, so I'm ok with only getting her one special thing, and she has ALL of the girls gently loved on toys, so it seems like she's getting "new" toys every week! But she is currently coasting on all of our furniture and we donated our previous walkers, so my Ro is getting a new ride! Looking forward to seeing her push this around and practice walking! It later can also be used as a wagon so I'm sure it will be loved for years to come. 

What did you guys get your littles this year? Would love to hear!

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