Wednesday, November 26, 2014


When I created my baby registry for Violet, I put in a lot of research hours trying to find the perfect everything.  I wanted to get things that were practical, good quality, and could stand the test of time.  I searched for things with tons of reviews by other moms and would always read the bad reviews first to see if it was something I could live with.

Looking back on Violet's first year, I just thought I'd share my favorite items.  Some of these are obvious and are a necessity, but others just made life a little easier.
  1. Sleep Sack---  I love the Halo Sleep Sacks.  They are safer than a blanket and I know my sometimes wild sleeper stays covered.  I bought the ones that were 100% cotton, so they were soft and comfortable and they were perfect for warm weather.  I've washed and washed and washed these and they are in just as good of condition as the day I bought them.  Now that the cold weather has made its way down south though, I knew I needed to get something thicker to keep our little girl's toesies warm.  I recently bought Violet the Baby Deedee Sleep Nest and let me just say I want one in my size.  It is super cozy and I rest easy knowing she stays warm on cold winter nights.  (Though it's not winter yet, it sure feels like it!)
  2. The Snotsucker---  Okay, so the idea of sucking someone's snot out of their nose is downright disgusting.  However, when it comes to your own child, boogers are seriously the best of the bodily fluids to deal with.  This thing is way gentler on a baby's delicate nose than the bulbs that can cause their inner nostril to become inflamed.  Plus those bulbs are supposed to be one time use.  The Snotsucker can be washed with warm soapy water and is as good as new.  Now maybe this is TMI, but if you ever have a baby was a particularly hard booger, I always shot a little breastmilk up Violet's nose to soften it up.  (I'm sure a mom somewhere can appreciate that tidbit.)
  3. Pacifiers---  Ohhhh pacifiers.  They are a blessing and they are a curse.  You can't live with them and you can't live without them.  Violet was a baby who sucked to soothe, so it was either going to be a pacifier or her thumb.  There were many a nights (too many) where I'd wake to Violet crying because she lost her pacifier.  What I liked about the Soothie was that it was one solid piece of silicone, so I never had to worry about the pacifier somehow coming apart and becoming a choking hazard.  Jon's boss told him the best thing they ever did was teach their babies to suck their thumbs.  So, next baby it's definitely something to think about.  I know thumb sucking is much more difficult to stop than using a pacifier is, but there were definitely some months where I considered the pacifier a thing of the devil.  (P.S.  Don't forget pacifier clips!)
  4. Video Baby Monitor--- I have a Sony video baby monitor that I'm not impressed with.  I ended up having to get a regular (non-video monitor) as a back-up because literally the first night Violet was in her room, the sound cut out.  Sony's customer service is also not awesome, so next monitor, I'll definitely be going with a different brand.  All that being said, video monitors are awesome.  Being a first time mom, in the beginning I felt it necessary to constantly make sure Violet was breathing.  I'm sure many of you can relate to this. :)
  5. White Noise---  I read soo many reviews on sound machines and was unable to find one that I felt was worth the purchase.  Instead I bought an mp3 download of a "cozy heater" that's 10 hours long!  We transferred it to an iPod, put it on loop, and hooked it up to some speakers in her room.  Best $5.99 I've ever spent.
  6. Baby Carrier--- I tried a bunch of different baby carriers and ended up liking Baby Bjorn the most.  It's super convenient to put on and allows me both hands to get stuff done while wearing her.   
  7. Hyland's Products--- So I've only used their teething tablets and cold tablets, but both work amazingly well.  
  8. Wipes Warmer--- Our first winter with Violet was one for the records.  It was cooolllddd.  There were days that southern Louisiana was literally the same temperature as places in Alaska.  Craaazzzyy.  I'm sure Violet's little bum appreciated the warmth of wipes during the many, many diaper changes.  (This particular wipes warmer is meant to be used with reusable wipes---a must have if you're a cloth diapering mama.)
Over the weekend, Jon's brother and his family came in to celebrate Thanksgiving early.  We ate Thanksgiving dinner, Southern style---fried shrimp, fried fish, fried bell pepper, boiled shrimp, grilled oysters, fried turkey, pecan pie, and peanut butter and coconut pies made by Mennonites in South Georgia.  It was gloriously gluttonous.  

Side note:  There's no such thing as a non-action shot with a 12 month old. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014


I expected breastfeeding to be easy.  How hard could it be to pop a boob in a baby's mouth?  Ugh.  There was so much (basically everything) that I didn't know and learned the hard way.  Thanks to some lactation nurses, a dentist, Google, and a couple of friends who were pros, I survived.  (And I can't forget the superior support my husband gave me through out it all!)

Within moments of being born, Violet was diagnosed with a tongue-tie (and later a lip-tie).  Violet's tongue-tie kept her from being able to suck properly causing her to practically choke when nursing.    Her lip-tie prevented her from getting and keeping a good latch which caused her to suck in a lot of air.  It also kept her from being able to hold a pacifier and she desperately wanted to suck to soothe. 

Because of the ties she had lots of gas and reflux, which meant lots and lots of crying.  Nursing her took upwards of 45 minutes every two hours and burping took 20 minutes...sooo when you have to feed a baby every 2 hours that meant if at 12:00 a.m. she started nursing, she didn't finish till 12:45 a.m.  Burping ended around 1:05 which gave me about 55 minutes to sleep before the next time she needed to eat.  Don't forget about changing diapers.  To say it was exhausting is an understatement.  I have literally never been so tired in my entire life.  I didn't even know what sleep deprivation was until this time.  I might have thought I did, but boy did I not.  

For me, the ties made breastfeeding really, really painful.  Like, I needed to bite down when she was latching just to keep from screaming.  And that's with a nipple shield.  Without it, I was in tears.  I hated breastfeeding during this time.  To this day it makes me sad to think I hated what was supposed to be a beautiful bonding experience.  

Violet was 2 weeks and 6 days old when we had her ties revised by a dentist.  When Violet was born, no on in the state of Louisiana performed laser revisions.  We would have had to travel to Texas.  (Let me just add that it would have been a nightmare to travel with a crying, refluxy, gassy baby.)  Amazingly though, the stars aligned, and it just so happened a dentist in Baton Rouge was being trained and preparing to begin performing laser revisions.  We hit the jackpot.  Seriously.  Those 2 weeks and 6 days are the most horrifically memorable times and I am so grateful my breastfeeding relationship with Violet survived it.

Despite everything I've said so far, the decision to have Violet's ties revised wasn't an easy one.  The thought of putting her through pain was overwhelming.  If any moms out there aren't sure if they should revise, here's why we did:
  1. Violet was already in pain every day from the gas and reflux her ties were causing.  
  2. Drinking from a bottle wasn't a solution.  The only part that got better with her drinking from a bottle was I wouldn't be in pain anymore.
  3. Considering how tight her tongue-tie was, she would without a doubt have speech problems when she started to talk.
  4. Her lip-tie could (and likely would) cause food to become trapped in her gums causing tooth decay and dental issues.
  5. Breastmilk is a mom-made wonder food.  
Was the revision painful.  Yep.  I wish more than anything she didn't have to go through it, but I know she benefited from it.  Literally the evening after her revision, she nursed without a nipple shield and it wasn't painful.  Her gas and reflux almost immediately disappeared.  And nursing sessions dropped down to only 20 minutes, then 10 minutes, then less than 5 minutes long!  It took a few months to really master her latch (with both me and a pacifier), but it wasn't stressful for either of us.  If I had to do it again, I would, and if any future babies need revisions, I will.

About 3 months postpartum, I noticed my letdown was taking so long.  Every nursing session became a stress event for me.  Would I be able to feed my baby???  On top of it, I noticed I was losing a lot of hair.  I know they say hair loss is normal, but I really felt like I was losing so maybe I should wear a hairnet in the kitchen.  And the scariest symptom I was experiencing was rapid weight loss.  One week I was losing the annoyingly slow expected amount of weight for a breastfeeding mom, the next I was down to 97 pounds.  I researched my symptoms (which also included irritability, night sweats, muscle soreness, forgetfulness, difficulty falling asleep at night and extreme fatigue during the day) online, and though nothing was clearcut, I self-diagnosed myself with postpartum thyroiditis.  Postpartum thyroiditis is actually not all that uncommon, yet it is grossly underdiagnosed.  I'm still on the thyroid roller coaster---hoping to get off soon!  Prayers please!  (If you suspect you have postpartum thyroiditis, get with an endocrinologist ASAP.)

My goal from the beginning was to exclusively breastfeed Violet for her first year of life.   Minus a three day nursing strike in her 11th month, I was successful!  My advice for new/soon-to-be moms who want to breastfeed is to seek help if you're having a tough time.  Ask friends or family who've breastfed, look for support groups on Facebook, and talk to lactation consultants.

Hopefully my struggles experiences can help another new mom who maybe comes across this blog at 1:05 in the morning after feeding her baby for 45 minutes, burping for 20, and can't fall back asleep because her boobs hurt so bad she's trying to Google an answer!

Now for some pictures of our sweet Violet.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


This post is a little later than I'd hoped, but I've been a little (okay, a lot) sleep-deprived since Violet decided to be awake hours at a time in the middle of the night.  The worst night she went down at 7 o'clock and woke up at 10 o'clock AND WAS AWAKE FOR SEVEN HOURS.  Good grief!  I was traumatized.  And I was tired, so tired.  I wanted to roll up a hundred and snort some coffee.  But let's be real---I'm a stay-at-home mom, so it woulda been a cheap, hollowed out BIC pen.

Any other nights before this horrible night, whenever Violet woke up because of teething or whatever the reason, I knew she'd go back to sleep, even if it took an hour.  Ever since that night I felt a panic whenever she woke up that she wouldn't go back to sleep.  It's been three weeks (a llooonnnggg three weeks), but we are finally getting back to normal.

Now, back to the party.

For our little pumpkin's first birthday, we had a costumes encouraged party!  Violet dressed up as a little jack-o-lantern, Jon dressed as a skeleton (made by himself out of white duct tape and black clothes---he's a crafty one, my husband), and I dressed as a black cat.

When Violet awoke from her nap, I went in with my costume on and meowed.  She was so excited she kept pointing at my nose and whiskers and saying "hiiiiiii" over and over.

Violet had a ball at her party.  She ran around everywhere and was just the sweetest with everyone (especially those who fed her).  She really knows when to ham it up.

The party was a complete success!  Violet had so much fun and ended up with more toys than we know what to do with!