MommyCon Chicago- An Attendee’s Point of View

Earlier this month, I had the privilege to attend MommyCon Chicago! I traveled 6ish hours from Columbus- and it was SO worth it! This mama needed a vacation and I figured what better place than MommyCon?! I took Jackson with me and attended with my sister-in-law and nephew. While I wasn’t totally “child-free,” it was still a little freeing to get out of the house and have two children less for a few days! 😉 MommyCon Chicago was combined with WEAR this year- so we were looking forward to three days of the event!!!

 

We left Ohio Friday morning and made it with very little bumps in the road. We only stopped twice; once for lunch and once for gas. Can you believe we only stopped twice with TWO rambunctious toddlers? Yeah- I can’t either. But it worked out!!! We made it an hour before check-in, but Hilton was amazing and let us check-in early since our room was ready. After we got into the hotel room, we got ready and headed to MommyCon! Luckily, I really only wanted to attend one of the sessions on Friday and it was the last session of the day. After the session- I stopped at the MommyCon Shoppe and grabbed a new Milk & Milk & Milk shirt for Jackson!

Friday evening was the Wear Party presented by Abby’s Lane. Christy from Smartbottoms, Ula from Tula Baby, Julie from Cloth Diaper Geek and Stephanie from Abby’s Lane were on stage and spoke to the party-goers. It was hard to hear the amazing women on the stage, which was disappointing. But we all had a drink ticket, entered to win some prizes, and had some delicious food! (They served brownies, cookies, and a veggie tray with hummus!) Jackson enjoyed dancing to Miss Jamie’s music!

 

Saturday was the main event day! The exhibitor hall was full of amazing exhibitors and I picked up some amazing goodies! 😉 As a blogger for Cotton Babies, Jen Labit invited me up on stage during the mob party! I (unexpectedly) spoke to the attendee’s about why we started cloth diapering and why I started this blog. It was super exciting. I feel like I looked silly- my last “public speaking” was 8+ years ago in high school!

Also on Saturday, I took pictures with everyone I could! I love meeting new people and seeing my internet friends! Saturday felt really hectic so it was nice to be in the hotel connected to the convention center. I could go back to the room as I pleased to just decompress, grab a snack, etc.

 

Saturday night was a night to remember! I snatched tickets for the Tula Party! They did not disappoint- when using the #freetogrow on instagram, there was a printer printing out your photos! There was also an awesome green screen for pictures and they printed out those pictures right there as a souvenir! We were the first to see the upcoming release of the new Free to Grow Tula carriers and we were able to not only see them- but we could try them on as well! And did I mention…. open bar? Yeah. It was a phenomenal party! Perfect for a mom-cation! 😉

 

Sunday was our last day. The initial plan was that we would stay until giveaways that day- but it just didn’t work out. We were tired. And we didn’t pace ourselves well on Saturday. I attended a social media session with Xza and Mat York first thing in the morning and did a little bit more shopping. By that point, the toddlers were done. And the mamas were tired! Plus, add in the fact that we had a 6+ hour drive ahead of us…. it was just time to go. 🙁

 

MommyCon Chicago did not disappoint. Per the usual, we left with amazing freebies from sponsors and bags full of items that we purchased. I got to meet some of my new friends, take pictures with people I love talking with everyday, and got a weekend away. It was perfect. <3

 

 

*Want to see more pictures? Check out my instagram! I took so many pictures and don’t want to overwhelm this post with all of them! 😉

Thinking about attending MommyCon? Check out my “MommyCon 101” Page for tons of helpful tips and information- including a coupon code for your general admission ticket! 😉

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Upspring Baby Products Review

As a MommyCon Parent Squad member, I received the opportunity to try some of the Upspring Baby products made for breastfeeding moms. Jackson is 15 months old and still nurses pretty regularly throughout the day and sometimes during the night. Throughout our breastfeeding journey, we’ve (luckily) had very little bumps along the way. At one point, I had doubts about my milk supply. At another point, I learned (rather quickly) that my breasts don’t respond well to pumping. Recently, I started to doubt my milk supply again- so these products arrived just in time!

 

Vitamins

Upspring sent me prenatal vitamins that you continue to take while breastfeeding. With these gummy vitamins, there’s also a softgel filled with Omega 3, DHA/EPA, and choline. These vitamins are non GMO, gluten free and have no artificial ingredients. I’m really terrible at remembering to take my vitamins, but these are seriously SO good- that I look forward to eating them. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve tasted some horrible gummy vitamins before!) I was prepared to hate them but the Mango-Peach flavor is just right.

 

Powder Drink Mixes

I also received samples of their Milkflow Fenugreek + Blessed Thistle Powder Drink Mixes. I received the Orange, Berry and Chocolate flavors. Here’s how they affected my milk supply:

On day one, I just received my package and couldn’t wait to try one. I also received a shaker bottle to mix it up quickly and easily. I went for the Berry flavor- because I just don’t think you can go wrong with berry drinks. I honestly really liked it. It smells a little weird- you definitely can smell the fenugreek! But it’s sweetness of the drink masks the flavor of the herbs. Pretty good! I couldn’t see much of a difference yet, but I was sure it took more than one drink to pep up my supply. That first night, I could tell a difference in my milk supply. It really felt like I had more milk. Jackson wasn’t fussing at me as much as usual and wasn’t unlatching like crazy, like he had been.

Throughout the past few weeks, I added the drink mixes into my water. (Or milk- the chocolate mix uses milk instead of water.) I have really noticed the affect on my milk supply. It’s been awhile since I would leak from the opposite side he was nursing on- but it has started happening even in the middle of the day. My opinion? They work! The Berry flavor is totally my favorite of the three choices. (Which, is also the only flavor conveniently sold at my local Target!)

 

Coconut Oil

Also in this Upspring goodie box, was coconut oil. Not just any kind of coconut oil but 100% Pure Virgin Coconut oil. It’s USDA certified organic and is lanolin, petroleum, paraben, gluten, and GMO free! We replaced lotion after bath on Jackson with this stuff- and it’s amazing! He smells good and his skin is so much softer! It’s also helped his eczema! I’ve also used it a few times on my lips since they’ve been extremely dry- darn Ohio weather! There are so many uses for coconut oil and I’m finding new uses for it every day.

 


Upspring also included Breastmilk Alcohol testing strips and Nipple Balm. While I haven’t been able to use them, I still thought I’d give you some information on them as they are great additions to any mama’s breastfeeding supplies!

 

Nipple Balm

Nursing can be so tough on our nipples. I don’t know how I would have continued breastfeeding without nipple balm. I have not had the opportunity to use this specific nipple balm, but I would definitely keep it around if I need it in the future! 😉

This nipple balm is made with beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, calendula flower extract, and rosemary seed extract. All these ingredients are natural and 100% organic. No need to wipe off before nursing baby again!

You can also use the nipple balm as a lip balm, dry skin moisturizer, ointment for cuts and scraps, and so much more!

 

Breastmilk Alcohol Test Strips

While studies have shown that some alcohol consumption while breastfeeding is okay, some mothers don’t want to chance the slightest amount of alcohol in their breastmilk. Upspring created these handy test strips that take just a few drops of breastmilk. You can either drip a few drops onto the strip or dip the strip into a small container of breastmilk. Within 2 minutes, you’ll have a result of whether or not there is alcohol detected in your breastmilk. I have found these at my local Target store- and they’re available online.

 

 

All in all, I highly recommend all of these products from Upspring! A huge thank you to MommyCon and Upspring for sending me the package to review! My milk supply, my toddler, and I thank you!!! <3

 

 

 

*Please note: I did receive these goodies in order to conduct the review. No other compensation was made. My opinions are 100% my own.

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10 Tips to Make Your MommyCon Experience Amazing!

 

Another post for the MommyCon Series! Can you tell I’m a little excited? I’ve been to two MommyCon events so while I wouldn’t consider myself an expert MommyCon attendee- I’ve been around the block twice so I’ve learned a few things. Here are 10 tips to make your MommyCon experience amazing, fun and the best that it can be!

 

10 Tips as a MommyCon Attendee

Plan your day ahead of time. MommyCon is very fast paced and a lot goes on throughout the day. There are multiple rooms with different sessions going on plus the vendor area. Writing out your schedule ahead of time on paper or your phone is a great idea. You don’t want to miss the seminars you wanted to attend because of mom brain! (I highly recommend attending Cloth 101 with Jennifer Labit and Kim Rosas’ Reusable Menstrual Products seminar!)

 

Grab your tickets early. While MommyCon is a huge event, there are restrictions to how many people can attend due to the location. MommyCon  events tend to sell out, so waiting until the day before isn’t the best idea. MommyCon offers Presale tickets at a super discounted rate, some promotions throughout the year for discounted tickets, and Bloggers/Street Team/Parent Squad members have discount codes. (You can find mine here.) If plans change and you can no longer attend the event, MommyCon does not refund your ticket BUT they do allow selling of your tickets on your location’s Facebook group.

 

Join the Facebook Group. Speaking of the Facebook group- did you know that MommyCon has Facebook groups for the different locations? This is a great place to be to find out important information. This is also where they’ll share volunteer opportunities and sneak peaks to the event behind the scenes. Like I mentioned above, this is also the perfect place to find a buyer for tickets you may no longer need or where you may be able to find tickets yourself if the event has sold out! (You may even be able to grab a VIP ticket this way!)

 

Get your goodie bag later. The goodie bags will not run out. (Usually there’s actually some extras at the end of the day.) But they will get heavy. And bulky. And you can’t just check them in somewhere for later. If you don’t want to carry them around all day, wait a little bit to get them. Just before lunch is the perfect time because chances are- you’re going to your car or hotel room anyways. And if not- its the perfect time to dip out and head to your car or hotel room since you won’t miss any sessions.

 

Bring snacks or get lunch close. Lunch break is an hour long. This may seem like a lot of time- but once you take your goodie bag to your car and scope out the nearby places, lunch will be over in a flash. Just like planning your day ahead of time is important, figuring out your lunch plan is important too! It’s a long day so you’ll be starving. (Trust me on that.) Have a plan for lunch and a backup plan in case the first place is too busy or closed. My first year, the places we wanted to eat were closed. (Silly large cities.) And my second year, lunchtime is when I discovered I locked my keys in my car. Ended up eating lunch at the hotel’s Starbucks while waiting for AAA. You better believe I’ll know what I’m doing beforehand this year! 😉 Also scope out the nearest coffee shop. If you’re lucky enough to have a coffee shop in the connecting hotel- take advantage of that. You may be wired with caffeine, but it’ll keep ya going all day long!

 

Take pictures! Take lots of pictures! The day flies by so fast and you’ll want to remember the cool toy your kiddo loved at the event, meeting somebody you follow on social media, and just your overall experience. I highly suggest you bring your phone charger too just in case. If you have service or wifi at the event’s location, put your pictures on social media and tag MommyCon and/or use the hashtag for the event! All the mamas at home are waiting to see/hear about your day! 😉

 

Wear comfortable shoes. It really is a long day. And while you think you’ll be sitting a majority of the time while attending sessions, it’s still a lot of walking. Don’t wear heels unless you’re a pro at them. And don’t wear brand new shoes unless you want blisters. Be comfortable.

 

Pack light & babywear. Chances are, you’re going to be shopping for a few things during the event. The vendor’s hall is usually pretty packed with your favorite vendors and full of ones you’ve never heard of before (and will also love!). If you’re going by yourself, pack a small bag with just the necessities. And if you’re going with a little one, pack only the things you will need and leave the “maybe needs” in the car. Try to not bring a stroller if you’re bringing a little one too. While MommyCon doesn’t have a “no stroller” policy, they may ask for you to park it along the outskirts of the room or ask you to fold it up if it’s too crowded. There are so many little ones crawling and walking around that you really need to be careful. While going stroller-less isn’t an option for all parents, if it’s an option for you to just babywear- please do that.

 

 

Bring a friend! My sister in law and I have made it our thing. We love going to MommyCon together and making it a “Mom’s Weekend Away.” There are so many other parents to mingle with at the event sp there’s always the option of making new friends! But if you know someone expecting, trying to conceive, or another mama with little ones, why not ask them to come along??? You may be able to convert someone into cloth diapering, show them the awesomeness of babywearing, or give them a day kid-free!

 

Snatch a VIP spot! I’ve never attended a VIP session so I really can’t speak much on this topic. You can totally have an amazing time at MommyCon with a general admission ticket and no extras. But if you have the funds and the availability to attend a VIP session (or two!) then go for it! VIP sessions have extra goodie bags and they’ll also snatch you another entry into the giveaway! (Look for a “MommyCon VIP Sessions 101” post later this week!)

 

Need more MommyCon Info? Check out the other posts in my MommyCon Series! This series of posts is leading up to a MommyCon ticket giveaway!!!!! 😉

 

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MommyCon 2017 

It’s crazy to think that there’s only a few months left in 2016 and that we’re already looking forward to events in 2017!! MommyCon has announced their 2017 cities and I’m so excited! (You’ll be seeing me in Chicago.) MommyCon 2017 is gearing up to be pretty amazing!

Don’t know what MommyCon is? MommyCon is a parenting event that brings together the community of parents that believe in parenting their children more naturally. This means breastfeeding, babywearing, maybe cloth diapering, etc. Of course you don’t need to do all of those things to be welcomed- MommyCon welcomes all parents and caregivers with open arms! At MommyCon, you’ll get to shop with some amazing vendors, listen to inspirational speakers, and maybe meet a new MomFriend! 🙂 You can read some other posts I have written about MommyCon here!

If you’re ready to buy your tickets, use the code FLUFFBUM17 for $5 off your general ticket admission


Here is the CONFIRMED schedule for 2017 events!

  • Chicago: March 3-5
  • NYC: March 25
  • Memphis: April 29
  • Austin: June 3
  • Vancouver, CA: July 22
  • OC: August 12
  • Orlando: September 2
  • Atlanta: October 28

My favorite MommyCon areas? The Babywearing Lounge. The Cloth Diaper Resource Center. Vagina Village. Of course, the vendors with all the awesome stuff to buy! And there are so many inspirational speakers loaded with so much knowledge (and laughs!) to share.

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My Feeding Journeys + MiLK Conference Giveaway

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This week, #MomLifeMonday and #WinItWednesday are colliding! A huge thank you to MommyCon’s MiLK Conference for sponsoring this post and providing the tickets to giveaway!

*Before I became a mother, I had how my babies would be fed all planned. They would be breastfed for at least 6 months, until they started on solid foods. I would make their pureed baby foods and they wouldn’t eat “junk.” Little did I realize, babies don’t follow the plan.

 

Aubrey


Aubrey was our first baby, born when I was still a kid myself. I hadn’t been around breastfeeding much before becoming a mother. However, I figured it was something natural so it should work out just fine. I purchased nipple cream, a breast pump, breast pads, and a boppy pillow. I thought I was set and ready to go.

After Aubrey was born, we had a difficult start. She didn’t seem to be interested in nursing and her blood sugar was a little low. There was a point in time that she didn’t nurse for over 8 hours. After nursing again, they let us go home as long as we followed up with her doctor in a few days.

Breastfeeding was extremely painful for me. My nipples were raw. They were cracked and bleeding. I was putting Vitamin E on them plus the nipple cream. I distinctly remember, and it almost sends chills down my back now, crying when she would start crying in hunger. My poor baby wanted to eat but I didn’t want to feed her. I would cry and ask my husband, “what kind of mother doesn’t want to feed her baby?!” It was hard for us. And I decided to somehow, stick it out.

I started pumping in preparation to return to work. I had a cheap breast pump that I picked out at Target just because it went along with the bottles we picked. It did nothing for me. It would suck and suck but nothing would come out. I could nurse her just fine at this point with very little pain but I just couldn’t produce enough milk to store and to keep her satisfied. We fell into a rabbit hole and decided that we would start supplementing with formula.

The start of our formula journey was when she was 6 weeks old. I had that “plan” of just breastmilk until 6 months old so I felt a little guilty. At this point, she was half breastfed and half formula fed. Within two weeks, I was too overwhelmed as a mother at 18 years old. I needed life to be just a tad bit easier. And then she became 100% formula fed.

Looking back now- I feel like I had a strong lack of knowledge and support. I *could* have successfully nursed her until she was at least 6 months old. I *could* have nursed her until a year. I *could* have nursed her until she naturally weaned herself. Facebook Groups weren’t so much a thing when she was born and I was the first of my friends to have a baby. I had no idea what I was jumping into and thought that the most natural thing in the world would just come….. naturally. The super sore nipples could have been caused by a number of things. And I really wish I would have known to find a lactation consultant to help me ASAP. Aubrey was my first little guinea pig, if you will, on this whole being a mother thing.

 

Baileigh


Before Baileigh was born, I started doing more research on breastfeeding and how I could be more successful with the next baby. She was born 18 months after Aubrey so things were still fresh in my mind. I knew to start lathering my nipples up with cream even in the hospital. I knew that I wanted to get a freezer stash started and that I was going to have a much better pump as my sidekick. I had made all these “plans” again. Afterall, I had been there and done that. It just had to be easier the second time around, right???

Wrong. Baileigh and I had a pretty good nursing relationship from the start. She had an okay latch and it most definitely wasn’t as painful as it was with Aubrey. I had the same goal of exclusively breast milk for the first 6 months. I didn’t have to return to work as I had become a stay-at-home mom but I still wanted her to take a bottle. Three days after having her, I started pumping with a Medela manual pump. My goodness- I loved that pump. Baileigh took to the bottle so whenever we left the house, she would have a bottle of breastmilk so I wouldn’t have to nurse in public.

Here’s where I think I went wrong. I was so worried about my supply dropping like I felt like it did with Aubrey…. That I started taking a supplement to boost my milk supply. Fenugreek. I smelled like a pancake house and not in a good way. I had such a strong letdown that I started to almost choke her when she would nurse. I just had way too much milk! This little baby was only 4 weeks old and I could easily pump 10 ounces in a session. WOW, right?!

Baileigh then started having some belly issues. Well, more like spitting up issues. She had always spit-up just a little bit. But this was like, projectile vomiting. I specifically remember a middle of the night feed and I thought her head was going to spin around like a horror movie. The amount that she vomited all over the bed was WAY more than I thought she could even have in her little body.

Baileigh also had some problems gaining weight. She was so tiny and petite. At the recommendation of our pediatricians, we started adding some cereal to her breatsmilk bottles. It helped to hold the milk into her belly, but just not enough for me to feel like she was nutritionally getting the milk she needed. Those pesky formula companies…. I had formula cans in my cabinet from the free samples they sent me. They won. I couldn’t see my baby not gaining weight anymore. And I couldn’t deal with all the spit-up anymore. I also was dealing with postpartum depression and I’m sure that wasn’t helping anything.

We quit breastmilk almost cold turkey at 6 weeks. At this point, I felt like a complete failure. How could so many mothers nurse their babies for so long yet I couldn’t seem to last more than 6 weeks?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “bashing” formula moms at all- but this wasn’t what I had planned for my babies. This wasn’t the healthiest option I saw for them and it just wasn’t what I had wanted.

 

Jackson


Jackson James- my little game changer. Before Jackson was even conceived, I found my support groups. Knowledge, power, support, confidence, and perseverance was what was going to get me to my goal for at least one of my babies. And with him, I even edited my goal to wanting to nurse him for one year.

When Jackson was born, we clicked right away. He was a boobie monster and loved mama’s milk. I decided to wait to really pump because being a stay-at-home mom, it wasn’t necessary for a bottle. There would be a minimal amount of times that I left him and it wasn’t going to be a for awhile anyways. It was just me and him- and that was A-OK for me.

Remember how I had hoped everything would just come naturally? I was waiting for a problem to occur: cracked nipples, bad latch, drop in supply. I was just waiting. Luckily, it didn’t happen in the beginning like it had with the girls. We were smooth sailing through our journey.

Months went by and he had only had breastmilk. My first *successfully* breastfed baby. I had support from family and friends. I nursed in public. I pumped when needed, and that was it. Everything was wonderful!

And then it wasn’t. Two things happened: Jackson’s weight gain seemed to have plateaued. And I needed to pump to leave him… And my boobs decided they weren’t going to cooperate anymore. I was worried that my supply had finally dropped. I was worried that Jackson wasn’t actually getting what he needed from me anymore. I tried lactation cookies, I tried increasing my water intake, I tried fenugreek again. Nothing seemed to be working. I even tried an electric pump and that got out less than my manual! I was so frustrated.

I had family pressuring me to try formula, so I did. After all, formula companies sent me formula while I was pregnant. Wouldn’t you know that a baby at 8/9 months old wouldn’t drink formula after only having breastmilk as their milk source? Yeah- I figured that too. Lucky for me, I have some amazing friends that knew my goal and knew my struggle. I now have an amazing supply of frozen donor milk in my deep freezer for when we need it. My supply has come back enough that I don’t wonder if I’m making enough.

We are just under a month away from his first birthday. I will have nursed my baby, with a little help from donor milk and a splash of formula, for one full year. I made my goal of 6 months of just breastmilk. I know there are many women that nurse for years and years and multiple babies. And compared to them- my story seems dull and silly. But it’s a part of my motherhood journey. And accomplishing this year makes me feel, well, kind of badass. My body has successfully nourished another human being though 9 months of pregnancy and almost 12 months earthside. <3

 

 

 

MiLK Conference

The second annual MiLK Conference will be held in Costa Mesa, CA November 11-12. It will be MommyCon’s final event in 2016. MiLK is an infant feeding conference for parents and parenting professional. It’s set-up to provide not only nutritional information, but support and an educational platform for the health of children. Want to go? There’s one of two ways from here- you can purchase your tickets using my promo code FLUFFBUM16 for $5 your ticket price OR you can enter to win the rafflecoptor below and win a pair of 2-day tickets! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Getting Ready for MommyCon & Using Their New App! 

  
Less than a week away until I’ll be at MommyCon Chicago and I’m so excited! I’m officially in “getting ready” mode and have started thinking about what I’m packing for the trip…. And what I want to buy at the event! 😉 
I can’t tell you how often I find myself on the MommyCon app, scrolling through the schedule and looking at the vender list. I’m trying to get a good “game plan” together for the big day so I don’t miss the things I really want to miss! Wait- you didn’t know there was an app?! Yes! It’s new to the MommyCon scene this year! Here are some screenshots so you can see it for yourself: 

 

The front page shows you the list of cities they’re attending in 2016. Pick which city you’ll be visiting- in my case, Chicago.

  

Here are all the things app has to offer- see the schedule, the exhibitor list, the speakers, etc.

  

Take a look at the speakers!

 

Catch a peak at the vendors and exhibitors to plan your day.

  

 

Take a look at the schedule for the day. You can click on the topic and read about it to decide if that is a session you would like to attend.

  
    

You can even share your experience on the app! Take a picture and share it on Facebook, Instagram, or text a friend!

Take note that the app will not be up to date for all cities right now. Each city will have complete information the week of the event! 🙂 I’m so excited to continue using the app this week in preparation for the Chicago event and I’m sure it will be an invaluable tool come Saturday! You can find the app easily by searching “MommyCon” in your App Store. It’s made for both android and iOS.  
***Don’t forget to get your tickets for MommyCon 2016, WEAR, or MiLK! Use the code FLUFFBUM16 for $6 off your general admission ticket to any MommyCon event in 2016. Offer not valid on VIP upgrades.***

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The Great Debate: Breastfeeding vs. Bottle Feeding

  
In the land of Mommy Wars, breastfeeding versus bottle feeding seems to be a great debate. Every mom has a “side” and finds the need to stand up for that side. Which is…. In my opinion- kind of ridiculous. 
You see, I’ve been on both sides so I can totally feel this way. I’ve been the breastfeeding mom and I’ve been the pumping mom and I’ve also been the formula feeding mom. Heck- I’ve done all three with just one kid! And do you know what the most important and consistent thing about these were? My babies were fed. They were loved, had milk in their bellies and were healthy. And that’s what mattered. 

 

Aubrey drinking a formula bottle.

 
There are pros and cons to every choice you’ll make for your baby and there will always be someone judging whichever choice you make. In the end- it’s your baby. It’s your decision. And it is whatever is best for your family. I’ve been the mom that had PPD and struggled with bonding. I’ve been the mom with supply issues. I’ve been the mom with oversupply. I’ve been the regret mom. I’ve been the mom with bleeding nipples. 

While I want to encourage others to breastfeed as long as possible, I also want to encourage mothers to make the decision for themselves and for their babies. If you’re so frustrated with breastfeeding that you feel like you can’t function as the mother you want/need to be for your baby… Then don’t breastfeed. We live in a world today where you have options. Although- I will mention that I am loving all the breastfeeding snuggles I get with Baby Jack and the minimal mess that comes with it. 😉 

 

Baileigh being breastfed.

  

Aubrey helping feed Baileigh a bottle of pumped breastmilk.

  

Baileigh drinking her bottle of formula.

 
Motherhood is hard enough as it is without people debating on how you should raise or feed your child. Remind yourself what’s important- your baby is fed, your baby is loved and your baby is healthy. <3 

 

Baby Jackson being breastfed.

  

Husband feeding Jackson a bottle of pumped breastmilk.

 

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MommyCon 2016 Promo Code

 

It’s time to start planning out your trip to MommyCon this year! Need a MommyCon 2016 promo code to get a discount? Use the coupon code FLUFFBUM16 for $6 off your general admission ticket!

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Breastfeeding Must-Haves for Baby Jackson

I’m not going to lie- I’m kind of nervous to breastfeed again. With the girls, I had some obstacles along the way that made me give up after a couple of weeks. But this time- I’m determined to get this thing right. My goal is to breastfeed him for at least a year. I’m planning on exclusively giving him breast milk, but with pumping and going back and forth between breast and bottle. Here are some of my breastfeeding must-haves that you better believe I’ll have on hand well before he makes his arrival!

MY BREASTFEEDING MUSTHAVES

Earth Mama Angel Baby Products

This one is a no-brainer. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s products are all natural and organic. They’re also vegan and cruelty-free. You can feel good about using their products and knowing that you aren’t putting toxins onto or into your body.

  • Milkmaid Tea: Sometimes mamas need a little boost in their supply. I have heard amazing things about their Milkmaid Tea and in my opinion, it wouldn’t hurt having this around to drink if I feel my supply is running low or if I think he needs a little more.
  • Booby Tubes: These are an all-natural, gel-free breast pads that are used to help some of the discomfort that can accompany breastfeeding. They can be easily heated in the microwave or oven and help encourage milk flow, prevent clogged ducts, and promote let down.
  • Natural Nipple Butter: Ahhhhh. Nipple Butter SAVED my poor boobies with the girls. I didn’t use EMAB because I had no clue it existed but this time, I’ve already started a stock pile. Their Natural Nipple Butter is lanolin free, GMO free, and certified organic. It’s smooth instead of sticky and seriously wonderful. We actually use it as lip moisturizer around here right now! 😉

Medela Pump

A breast pump is a very important must have for me! I am the kind of mama that needs a break every once and awhile (don’t we all?!) so it’s important to me that I can feel confident in my husband feeding him. I want to have the option of giving him milk in a bottle, whether it’s because I need to run errands and leave him home, need an extra few hours of sleep at night and let husband have evening duty, or just letting the girls experience feeding their baby brother. I don’t see the need for an electric pump since I won’t be pumping multiple times a day, so I’ll be using a Medela manual pump.

 

Boppy Pillow

I already have two- one for upstairs and one for downstairs. I loved the Boppy pillow with the girls- it just made breastfeeding SO much easier in bed or on the couch. I was able to support the baby better and not have to hunch over. It was especially useful in the middle of the night. I never really figured out the whole “sleeping while breastfeeding” thing so I would sit up and use the Boppy for all night feedings. I’d just throw some pillows behind me, a pillow on my lap plus the Boppy- and we’re all set!

 

Bamboobies Nursing Pads

Bamboobies are known for their re-usable breast pads. While I think I’ll have a few on hand- I prefer disposables since I’ll have plenty of laundry to do in the beginning with cloth diapers, new baby clothes that get spit up on, and the usual family’s laundry. I remember leaking pretty badly with both girls so having pads are a must! The Bamboobies disposable nursing pads are made with bamboo- making them more eco-friendly and softer than your conventional disposable nursing pads.  They also are made with a unique backing making them more breathable for sensitive skin. And who doesn’t have sensitive skin in that area the first few weeks? I believe these mixed with the EMAB Natural Nipple Butter will be a lifesaver!

 

Kiinde Twist System

This is something completely new to me. I’m super intrigued by this system and REALLY want to try it out. Basically, there’s an adapter to fit most major pump brands. You pump into their storage bags and then can store them in the freezer. Thaw them out, put the bags into their feeding bottles, attach the nipple and BAM. You feed your baby. There’s no dumping the milk into a bottle or another container so little room for spillage and wasting that precious liquid gold. Another plus- all you need to wash is the nipple. Uhmmmm, less dishes?! Heck yes. This is every mother’s dream. The bottle nipple is actually also designed to encourage natural latching so baby won’t deal with nipple confusion and won’t become lazy on the breast. This seems like the perfect system and I’m so excited to try it out!

 

There you have it! My list of must-haves! Hopefully these products will help our breastfeeding journey and will be lifesavers like I think they will be! Tell me in the comments below- what are your must haves? 🙂

 

 

 

Please note- I was in no way compensated for this post by these brands.

 

 

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MommyCon Discount Code 2015

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Have you dreamed of meeting other cloth diapering, babywearing, breastfeeding and natural parenting people?? Have you wondered or wished that you could be at, oh… I don’t know, a convention that brings these kinds of parents together??? Well, here’s a game changer for you: MOMMYCON! MommyCon is just that and more!

Are you ready for MommyCon’s 2015 schedule??? So far, this is what has been released. We’re waiting on just a few more cities and dates to be announced.

February 21- CHICAGO
March 28- ATLANTA
April 18- MINNEAPOLIS
May 23- ORLANDO
August 22- WASHINGTON D.C

Visit MommyCon’s website for more information. I’m excited to actually attend MommyCon this year in Ohio! They haven’t announced the official date yet- but you better believe I’ll be there!

Fluff Bum Babies is a part of their Sisterhood Blogger program again this year. This helps me give you a discount code and in turn, I earn a small percentage for compensation. So a huge thank you for using my discount code in advance!!!! 😉 This code is valid on general admission tickets only. It is not valid on pre-sale or VIP upgrades.

So tell me…. Which location will you be attending? Will I be seeing you in Ohio?!

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My Exclusively Pumping Story

I started out my pregnancy just like everyone else…confused. Perfect strangers would come up to me and ask me 100 questions about how I would raise my child. These strangers made me feel like I HAD to Breastfeed, cloth diaper, baby wear and do everything else that “the perfect parent” would do. It was completely frustrating to me but I decided to try to research as much as physically possible to make the best decision I could.

My husband and I attended Breastfeeding classes and I became increasingly confident that I could do it! My husband is one of those people who read everything the experts say and thinks we have to do it EXACTLY by the book. This is something I find incredibly annoying and incredibly beneficial. Ha Ha. Let me follow that by saying, if my husband was not so adamant and supportive of my Breastfeeding I would have given up on day one.

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Our daughter is the laziest baby ever. Even in the hospital, with the lactation consultants help, I struggled to get the proper latch and was in a lot of pain. We went home on a Friday and by Monday morning I was dreading feeding Myla because it hurt so bad and was so miserable. When those nosey strangers tell you that you HAVE to breastfeed they don’t tell you how incredibly hard it is. It’s like they forgot or something, I don’t know, but I’ll never forget.

This is the look I kept getting from Myla in the hospital.  "Yeah right mom, good luck getting me to eat from those things..."

This is the look I kept getting from Myla in the hospital. “Yeah right mom, good luck getting me to eat from those things…”

One morning I was feeling Myla and pulled her away to find blood all over her mouth and face. Screaming for my husband, I was thinking I somehow killed our baby, until I realized that it wasn’t her that was bleeding… It was me. I was so raw that my nipples had actually begun to bleed. It was awful. That day just so happened to be Fathers Day. I decided that as a present to my husband (and myself) that I would pump and let him feed her for the first time. I fumbled with the pump and hoped I was doing it right. For the first time, I wasn’t dreading feeding my child. She drank the bottle so well that I decided to exclusively pump from then on out.

There are many reasons some moms choose to exclusively pump for their babies. I chose to do this because traditional breastfeeding was not working for us. I was miserable, and Myla was hungry. “If mommas not happy, no one is happy.” That is the best advice I ever got and I totally agree!! There is almost no information or support for exclusively pumping mommas out there so here’s how it works!

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You pump just as much as you would feed your baby. At first, I pumped about an hour before she would be ready to eat. You pump, on a pressure that is comfortable until the milk stops flowing. It takes awhile at first but your body will get the hang of it. I would then pour the fresh milk in a bottle and let her chow down! She ate so much better this way, and actually started gaining weight like she was supposed to! YAY! I was blessed with “over production”, meaning I produced more milk than Myla needed so I had a wonderful stockpile in my freezer! Fresh milk only lasts a couple days in the fridge so every 3 days or so I would pour my fresh milk into the freezer safe bags with the date and lay flat in the freezer. What is great about a freezer stockpile is that when your little one starts eating cereal, you can thaw and use the milk in the cereal instead of water. Double the nutrients!

Once Myla got older and my body got used to the pumping I could go longer without pumping and not have to pump as long. I got down to as little as 3 times a day and only pump for 20 minutes or so. The downfall for all this for me was I could not go longer than a week without getting clogged ducts. If you know what these are you know how painful they are! I would spend almost an hour in the super hot shower trying to message them out so I could sleep at night. Then Myla and I got Thrush. Thrush is basically a yeast infection on your breasts and the baby’s mouth. Its terrible. So So terrible. At around 5 months I had decided that I had enough and it was becoming more of a pain. Hubby and I own our own business, so our schedules were crazy!! After attempting to pump in a moving car one too many times I knew that my lifestyle wasn’t cut out for this. Once again the thought popped into my head, “If mommas not happy, no one is happy!”

I started weaning myself off the pumping. I need to express how important it is to go as slow as possible because you can get so many infections and pain from doing it too quickly. It involved a lot of Advil and ice packs, and could never be described as fun!

Once I finally got dried up, Myla had maybe 2 weeks worth of milk left in the freezer that I continued to give her. Once I got down to about a week left I started mixing in the formula. We started out with Similiac Supplementation, which is meant for breastfed babies. This tastes the most like breast milk so it was an easy transition. At first she would drink 2 oz. of formula and 4 oz. of breast milk. Every couple of days I would up the formula and decrease the breast milk.

Myla was officially a formula baby. While part of me is mad at myself for not sticking it out, I am ultimately happy. I wish I loved breastfeeding as much as some moms do, but I hated every second of it. Formula actually improved Myla’s well being. She wasn’t going #2 any more than 2 times a month. The formula and the introduction to cereals helped her become more regular. The doctors were incredibly concerned with her bathroom habits and were on the verge of recommending some drastic measures. I could not be happier with my decision to give her formula.

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This is Myla now.  She just had her first birthday and could not be a happier (and more ornery) girl in the world! If you are feeling lost like I was for almost the whole first year of her life, just keep in mind you are not alone.  Also, look at the picture above.  Myla is healthy, happy and couldn’t be more perfect!  Whatever you chose to do for you and your little one is the right choice.  Either way, your baby will be happier if you are happy.  You don’t have to torture yourself to make your children happy.  They are going to be happy if you are!

If you would like to see what my ESSENTIALS for Exclusively Pumping are, you can check out this post from my personal blog, Myla Moo Review!

It has been wonderful sharing my story with the Fluff Bum crowd! Thank you so much Amanda for inviting me to do this entry!  -Jess

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