Now, I know what you are thinking, “Why would I listen to sleeping advice from this lady when she says her baby doesn’t sleep?” I know, I know. It’s true, my baby is not a great sleeper, BUT he was once an even worse sleeper than he is now if you can believe that (I sometimes cannot believe it).
When Eli first came home (and for about four months following that) he was up every hour to two hours every.SINGLE.night. We tried EVERYTHING! People kept throwing advice at us, trying to find the solution to this non-sleeping baby, but nothing worked. In my professional mommy opinion (take that with a grain of salt) I don’t think he was ready to sleep. I do not think there was anything we could have done to get him to sleep better. He just wasn’t ready! I know baby sleep can be a controversial subject (cry it out? don’t cry it out? put him on a strict schedule? no strict schedule? etc.), but this is not about any of that and I do not want to get into that in this particular post.
When Eli was around 4 months old his sleep started to be manageable and was so much better than those every two hour wake up calls. He was stretching his sleep time to every 4 hours and that was survivable. I wanted to share with you what products we noticed that really helped make a difference with Eli’s terrible sleeping habits in those early days. These are the products that helped us as parents and that helped Eli be more comfortable with his sleeping, which eventually led to those nice longer stretches of sleep.

These are the items that I will most definitely be pulling out of the storage when the next baby comes!

1. The Woombie

Eli did not like being swaddled with blankets and we did not like swaddling him. It was always a big ordeal. He would fuss and fight it and even once it was done he just always seemed uncomfortable and even from very early on he would figure out how to bust out of his little burrito. We found the Woombie and loved how easy it was to put on him. We just zipped him up in his little pea pod and he really liked it too. I think he liked the fact that the fabric gives a little and he was able to still rest his sweet little hands on his chest while still being wrapped up tight. He was all about those hands being nice and close to him. I also love the fact that you can zip from the bottom up so that was nice during those middle of the night diaper changes and not having to unswaddle him and then reswaddle him while he’s screaming like a banshee! I’ll be honest, Eli still woke up a lot with the Woombie so I wouldn’t say it was a lifesaver or anything (he did sleep longer stretches with the Woombie on than any other swaddling blanket) with his sleep, but I noticed a BIG change with his comfort level once he had the Woombie. He just seemed much more cozy.

2. Gas Drops

The Gas Drops were really helpful for us in those early days. Eli had a hard time with his tummy around two-three months old, especially late at night. Poor thing just seemed so uncomfortable and it woke him up quite a lot. When we started giving him some drops here and there we noticed a difference in his comfort level and they really seemed to help!

3. Video Monitor

This was more for the parents. Obviously, Eli is not getting any better or worse sleep with a video monitor. I found this calming to be able to see him. At first I was constantly looking at it, but now I only check it if I hear him. It is so helpful for us to see if he lost his paci or if he’s standing up (he seems to forget he has the ability to sit back down in the middle of the night even though he sits himself back down all the time if he’s up and playing) or whatever else we need to check in on. I would have worried 30x more than I already do without having the ability to check in on him every once in a while with the monitor! It’s also a plus that I get to watch his sweet and cute little self snooze away. They always look like such angels when they sleep (if they sleep…)!

4. Soft Sheets

I don’t know if Eli even noticed this, but I would like to think so. We use these sheets with his crib. We had regular ‘ole crib sheets when we first started putting him in his crib and to me he just seemed like he could never get comfortable. I don’t blame him. The sheets seemed scratchy and stiff and not very comfy. If he is anything like his momma then he is all about comfort in his bed! I felt bad thinking he could be uncomfortable on those sheets and not be able to tell us so I found these sheets online and they had great reviews! They are super soft. They are like sleeping in a velour track suit. I mean, how is that not the most greatest thing ever? He also seemed to settle better and did really seem much more comfortable once we started using these sheets.

5. This Mobile

We got this mobile when Eli was two months old. I did not rush on getting a mobile when I was pregnant because I did not know how important it would be and how much we would need one. This is very helpful in putting Eli to sleep. We like this one because it plays a little light show on the top of it and he just watches it and watches the animals spin and listens to the soft music and gets very sleepy. I think it is really comforting to him. Although, now that he is standing he likes to stand and attack the animals with all his might.

6. Sound Machine

This is another big necessity in our house. Our house is loud. It’s old. The floors creak and the dog makes a lot of noises … and so do the three cats we have. We do not have a fancy sound machine. We plug the iPad in and use a white noice app that makes static noise. I forgot to put it on once and Eli did not sleep good so, it is very necessary for us. I know a lot of people worry that if you use a sound machine with your baby they will then be dependent on it for the rest of their lives. Eh, not a big deal to us. If we have to carry around an iPad with us whenever we travel or wherever we go so Eli can get some decent sleep then that is fine with us. If he has to have an iPad on (or whatever other latest gadget is out there by the time) with him to get some good sleep as he grows up then that is fine. I think there could be worse! He can always take it with him and it’s no big deal. His college roommate will just have to get over it or else momma bear will come over and rip his face off. Just kidding …sort of.

If the iPad didn’t work so well as a sound machine we would give these a try:

Sleep Sheep
Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother

7. Wubbanub

These were huge for us! Eli started using the Soothie pacifiers as soon as he was born, so it’s great that they are the same pacifiers attached to the Wubbanub. These were and still are so helpful with Eli’s sleep because he can easily find them in the middle of the night in his dark nursery and he is able to easily put them in his mouth. When he learned how to put his own paci back into his mouth that was a GAME CHANGER. We were no longer having to run back and forth from our room to his to reinsert the paci. These were a big way that he learned to put them back into his mouth on his own. He is also super attached to them and they’re really cute! He puts himself to sleep when he is sucking on his Wubbanub and playing with their little arms and legs. He LOVES them. We have the giraffe and the elephant.

8. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit 

Two words. LIFE SAVER. I am sure you are like me reading this and seeing the picture of this giant snowsuit and you are skeptical. I was skeptical too, but I was also desperate. The reviews on this suit are really positive and Eli was around 4 months old when I ordered it and this house needed more sleep! I remember when it arrived I was SO EXCITED. I ran down to the laundry room the second it was in my hands and threw it into the washer so it would be all ready to use that night. When it came time to try it Eli seemed fine in it. He definitely preferred this other than being swaddled and he did not seem confused at all about why we were stuffing him into a giant spacesuit. The first night we used it I did not see much of a difference and I was feeling pretty disappointed, but we wanted to keep trying. The second night he actually slept a little better! Was it the suit? Or just a good night? Okay, the third night he slept 5 HOURS STRAIGHT! First time ever! I was floored! We kept using the suit and his sleep improved SO MUCH. I have a friend who I recommended it to as well and it really helped with her baby’s sleep too!
I ended up ordering two more when he went up in size and we enjoyed a good two months of some pretty decent sleep and I credit that ALL to the suit! It is truly what it says – magical! When Eli started to roll over in his sleep and then started standing in his crib we sadly, had to say our goodbyes to the sleep suit and I packed it up with care in the storage to go up to the attic. You better believe we will be busting out the suit whenever we have our next baby.
Magic Merlin Sleepsuit, I love you.

Continue reading

Weekend Recap

We had a really great and relaxing weekend. The weather turned around and it was such a beautiful day on Saturday. I actually have hope that spring will make an appearance this year! :)

Eli in the park
Saturday got me so excited to experience warmer weather with Eli. He is at such a fun age and such a delight and so joyful! We really lucked out with this little babe of ours. I cannot wait to explore different parts of the city and different parks and outside areas with him when the sun decides to make a consistent appearance!

On Saturday Eli and his daddy went to the park while I rested some at home. Eli has not been sleeping too well with his teeth coming through – p.s. have I told you that one tooth has finally popped through?! It’s a miracle people! Eli does actually have teeth!

Any who, Saturday he got to swing in the swings at the park and he LOVED it. He was laughing and giggling the whole time. The wind was a bit too strong though so the boys had to come home early. We are fortunate enough to live very close to a great park (and pool!) so we will definitely be frequenting the swings very soon.

After his first nap we all went out into the frontyard and just sat in the grass. So much fun! Eli loved the outdoors. He was investigating the grass, the twigs, the leaves, you name it! He got to taste some bark (momma was not so thrilled about that) and practice his new crawling skills all over the front yard. Even though we only spent a short amount of time outside on Saturday it got me so excited and I cannot wait to experience all things the outdoors has to offer with my little man!

So yummy!

So far today we have spent it relaxing. We have visited Nanny’s (Eli’s grandma) and spent some time with some of our favorite people (Eli’s great aunt, uncle and his special cousinaunt – no, there is no spelling error there. We call my cousin his Cousinaunt – more on that later!).

Eli and Dane are napping and I am working on editing the cutest cake smash session. Have you checked out my photography website? Kristin Estok Photography and my FB Page is Kristin Estok Photography! I would super appreciate you giving me a “like” on FB and if you’re in the Pittsburgh area and ever in need of photos I am your gal!

Okay, enough of the shameless plug.

It has been such a nice weekend and I got absolutely nothing done that I wanted to (cleaning, childproofing, organizing!), but I will focus on those things this week. I am glad we were able to just enjoy each other and rest.

These are the moments I will look back on and be thankful for the most.

Here’s our weekend recap in pictures! These are a mix of Nikon and IPhone pics! :)

Happy little man!

I hope you all have had a joy filled and beautiful weekend!
So, I guess I only took pics on Saturday ha! Not much to see today, but a whole lot of snacking and lounging!

with love,


Super Easy St. Patrick’s Day Banner and Clover Art!

So, first of all: I am not good at crafts. Like at all. I would like to think I am, but when it comes down to it I am just not. I typically mess up 99% of all crafts that I begin. I just stress out too much about them and go overboard … the pressure!… it’s just a whole thing. My crafts usually end up in a big pile of cut up paper, glue, and thrown scissors and me sulking in my room (sometimes tears are shed).

It’s not pretty.

But I LOVE to decorate for holidays. I just LOVE each and every holiday and having a son just makes it so much more fun! So, there lies the problem. Do I spend money on holiday decorations for each and every holiday that I HAVE (yes, I have to) to decorate for? Or do I suck it up and attempt to find some foolproof crafts that even I can successfully complete?

Sucking it up it is.

So, I present to you my mantle of green clover FUN that I put together for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day and it is all made by ME (well, kind of…)!
I wanted to share with you how I completed these super easy crafts! If you are anything like me and not in tune with your inner craftiness as much as you’d like to be, but have this yearning desire to spew out decorations left and right for each and every holiday then these might be up your alley!

Okay, listen up because it’s about to get pretty complicated up in here.

Nope, that’s not true. It’s not going to get complicated at all.

Clover Banner: 

Supplies Needed:

supplies needed
1. Green felt (I made 11 clovers and ended up using 5 pieces of felt)

2. White thread and a needle (or any color of thread your heart so desires)

3. Good pair of sharp scissors.

4. A clover to trace or if you are artsy (I’m jealous of you) you can just draw your own clover straight onto the felt. I am not artsy and had bought some foam clovers from Michaels earlier and traced them straight onto the felt.

Okay, so I first started by measuring out my thread to see how long I wanted it to be on the mantle and how I wanted it to hang. Once I did that I could get a good idea of how many clovers I needed to cut out.

Next, I just traced the clovers onto the felt with a sharpie and cut, traced, and cut, traced and cut! So simple that even little ‘ole me could do it!

Once I had the amount of clovers that I wanted (it took 11 for my banner) I threaded my needle and just put two stitches in each clover towards the top of the clover. I then tied off the thread with a knot and hung the banner on my mantle with tape!

Final product
Voila! Complete!

You should have seen how proud I was when I completed this and did not screw it up! I was walking around the house with my chest puffed out with pride and then running back to the living room to peek at the cuteness that my incompetent crafty hands designed. My husband came home and I immediately drew him into the living room, pointed at my masterpiece, cocked my head to the side and said, “Did you see what I did? Did you see what I did there? Pretty great huh?”

I know, I know, but this is a BIG DEAL PEOPLE!

Framed clover ombre art:
Supplies Needed:

1. Foam clover stickers from Michaels or any type of foam Clovers or stickers that are Clovers could work too!

2. A frame of your choosing.

3. Something to stick the clovers on. You could use the back of a picture or construction paper or whatever you desire.

4. That’s it. That’s literally it. Pretty impossible to screw this one up. I promise!

I totally thought I was being a genius by doing the clover ombre art and then after doing some researching I discovered that I am totally not the only one to come up with this idea! Ah, c’est la vie!

I got the big bag of foam clovers at Michaels and it came with all different shapes and sizes of clovers. I knew I wanted to fill my big frame with something for St. Patty’s day – why not more clovers?

I actually just flipped over my Valentine print and used the back of it and just unpeeled the foam clovers and stuck them on the way I wanted them. I made sure they came off without ruining the print first!

Framed clover ombre

BOOM DONE. So simple and fun!
Okay, I MAY have overdone it with the whole clover theme over on my mantle, but I couldn’t help myself AND I only wanted to use supplies I had on hand so I made due with what I had… and what I had were A LOT of green and a lot of foam clovers. Maybe I’ll find a way to throw a leprechaun or a rainbow in there somewhere. Any ideas?
Alright, there’s my crafting for the MONTH! I am done until Easter!

Have any super easy and simple St. Patrick’s Day crafts? I would love to hear them!

with love,


Breastfeeding Mini-Series Part One: My Story

Breastfeeding Mini-Series:
Part One:

I am SUPER excited about this Breastfeeding Mini-Series we are doing. Each Monday (starting today) for the next three Mondays my posts will be dedicated to breastfeeding and will be providing you with some super helpful tips and encouragement from me and from some other super amazing guest bloggers!

So, I encourage you to tune in on Mondays for the next three weeks and you can hear from Tiffany over at The Austin Family Diary and Danielle over at ooh breathe, just breathe.

I wanted to do this mini-series because I have had a lot of newly pregnant friends or moms ask me questions about breastfeeding and I thought it would be helpful to hear from some other new moms who have gone through it and are currently going through their own adventures with nursing.

I am going to kick off the mini-series by sharing my personal adventures with breastfeeding. I am NO expert on the subject, but I did learn (and still am learning) a lot about nursing throughout these past 8 months nursing Eli. Everyone has their own story and everyone finds different things that work for them and this is mine!

My Story:

Little Eli
Before Eli was born I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I diligently read up on it, I went to the classes on it, and I scoured the internet for any and all breastfeeding articles that I could find so that I was fully prepared.

Lesson 1:

As prepared as you think you are before having your baby you will never be prepared enough and that is okay. I have a tendency to obsess and obsess and consume so much information that my head hurts and if I could do this all over I would STOP obsessing over trying to learn everything there is about breastfeeding. When the time came only a small portion of it was beneficial to me.

When Eli was born he was SMALL he was 5 pounds 7 ounces. They immediately put him to my chest and he would not latch. “No big deal. He is probably just tired we will try again later,” they said. Well, we tried again later and he would not latch and we tried and we tried and we tried. He was being carefully monitored due to him being so small and when they tested his glucose levels and realized they were way too low we had to supplement with formula. Cue the dramatics. I was a blubbering a mess.
Lesson 2:

If you have to supplement with formula IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. I had it embedded in my head that I was failing right off the bat as a mother, but I was feeding my child what my child needed at that time. I was being a good mother, but at the time it felt like anything but that.

Probably the most frustrating part of the whole experience was each and every nurse that came through had different advice to give me. One would tell me to pump, one would tell me not to pump, one would tell me I was basically starving my baby and one would tell me that I was giving them enough and supplementing was not necessary anymore. Gah!


Lesson 3:

If you are having trouble DEMAND over and over to see a lactation consultant. I was practically begging them to let me see an LC and they kept telling me they would see me before I discharged, which makes no sense to me why they do that. I was having trouble NOW and did not want to wait two days to figure out how to nurse my newborn.

After being SUPER annoying :) a lactation consultant came to my rescue and played therapist while I sobbed into her shoulder about how I was a failure and could not feed my baby. She was awesome. We hatched a plan. Boom done. Okay, not so much, but she did give me a plan and I really like plans so I felt better.

Eli sleeping

The plan was totally and utterly exhausting, but the idea of giving up just did not settle with me at this point. So, since my milk was not in yet here was the plan that I had to do while waiting for my milk to come in:

1. Put Eli to the breast to see if he would latch (he wouldn’t)
2. Supplement with formula
3. Spend 15-20 minutes pumping immediately after he ate his bottle so my body will start producing milk
4. Repeat about every hour since he was wanting to nurse that often.
5. Contemplate heaving my pump out the window and running it over with my car.
I wanted to shove my pump down the toilet after about two days of this and my freaking milk would not come in. It took awhile for it to finally arrive. During my time of waiting for my milk to come in I think I called my pediatrician’s office (who had a lactation consultant there) 100 times threatening to quit nursing (like she cared that much). Oh, and I cannot even count on my fingers how many times I would text my friends and say “Okay, I am quitting today for sure.” (Thanks for dealing with me friends!) But I just couldn’t. I spent too much time trying to get this to work that I had to see it through.

Lesson 4:

LEAN ON YOUR SUPPORT. I had such supportive family and friends in the beginning and it really helped. It is also beyond helpful to lean on people who have been there. I cannot tell you how good it felt to hear from people who went through the same experience. To hear someone say “Hang in there once you’re through that first month it is smooth sailing.” That gave me a light at the end of the tunnel to keep walking towards.

Once my milk came in (I think it was fully in 8 days later) Eli started latching like a pro and we could stop supplementing with formula. Finally!

Even after my milk came in I continued to doubt myself and I doubted that he was gaining weight. At one point I was so convinced he had lost weight that I stomped down to my pediatrician’s office and had him weighed. He had gained almost two pounds in a week! I was stunned! It was the BEST feeling to know all of my hard work was paying off and that was a big moment for me because it pushed me to keep going.

Lesson 5:

If you need reassurance go get it. There are plenty of places to weigh your baby. Go to your pediatrician’s office, go to your local La Leche Group or find a local breastfeeding support group and they will most likely have a scale and you can weigh your baby to see how much they are gaining or to see how much they ate after nursing them. It is such a reassuring and special feeling to know what you have been working so hard at is paying off.

Those first couple of months were most difficult for me with the constant nursing (also, I got mastitis TWICE and felt like I was going to keel over). I felt like it would never end and that I would constantly be stuck to my rocker nursing my baby with no time for anything else. Eli was nursing every hour and a half around the clock and it is exhausting. I wanted to give up so badly, but I knew that breastfeeding was what was best for him.

Bonding with Eli skin to skin

I was not fully prepared for how time consuming breastfeeding is. I did not really process that before having him. If I could go back I would embrace how time consuming it was and not be so worried about every little thing. I would just soak it all up and just feed my baby.

Well, that is our story. Now that I look back it was only a month or two of having difficulty nursing and then like everyone said, it was all downhill from there and we just fell into a groove and it worked. I get teary eyed at the thought of quitting nursing now and I cannot believe I am even typing those words! I used to curse breastfeeding every second when Eli was first born!

If you’re having a hard time the best thing I can tell you is just have patience, lean on your support, and feed your baby. Even if that means feeding your baby is with formula – that is fine! Do what works for you and what you need to do for you and your family and just soak up that little one and plump them up!

Next week Tiffany will be discussing tips and tricks for breastfeeding. Definitely pop in to check it out. I wish I had read her list in the beginning of my nursing adventures because there are some things on there that I had never heard of that sound super helpful!

To the Man Behind the Scenes

I rave about Eli quite a lot (obviously, with good reason!) on this blog, but I think I need to take a minute to do a little raving about the man behind the scenes on this lovely and love filled holiday!

I would not be the woman I am today or the mother I am today without my husband. He pushes me, encourages me, and motivates me to be the person I strive to be and to be the wife and mother that I should always be.

If you would of asked me if this would be my life 5 or 6 years ago I would have laughed and screamed a resounding “HECK NO!”
I loved Dane with everything inside of me the SECOND I met him. We quickly became close and dated on and off (much to my dismay) for most of our senior year of college. I am so glad we went through some bumps in the beginning of our relationship because it honestly built us up and allowed me to see a part of Dane that I did not even realize I needed to see and it made me realize just how much I loved him and just how much I wanted him to be a permanent fixture in my life!

our wedding day

We have been through so many fun adventures together in our (almost) five years of marriage and I would not take any of it back! We have seen the world together, chased our dreams together, and have brought the most beautiful and joy-filled baby into this world together!
I think with a baby it is easy to allow life to get busy and to go by too fast. You are tired and you are drained and you are exhausted by the time the end of the day comes and husbands can get put to the side while you are trying to keep this small human ALIVE and HAPPY (I mean that is HARD WORK). I know that I have allowed Dane to get set to the side way too many times and way too often. I am still trying to balance this whole tending to my baby and my husband thing.

I remember when Eli was first born and we were nursing around the clock and trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and being parents (with no sleep) I said to Dane, “I don’t have anything to give to you right now. I am giving everything to Eli. Every part of me is going to him right now and I’m sorry, but I can’t give anything to you.”

I should not have said that. I should have said “I have little left in me right now, but I love you so much and you will always be my number one love. I am trying to get the hang of this motherhood thing and am keeping my head above water and if it seems like I am not there please know that I am. I am always there and I love you so much.”

So, Dane that is what I MEANT to say. You are never “put to the side”. You are always my number one love and I want Eli to always know the love his parents have for each other. I need to do better at being present and being a WIFE because I would not have this bundle of joy and love if it weren’t for you.
I love you so much Dane!

Dane and Eli

Thank you for loving me and your son so well and thank you for giving me the greatest gift you could have ever given me through Eli.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

with love,


Little E is 9 Months Old!

Eli all grownEli turned 9 months old yesterday! Woohoo! I cannot believe how close he is to being a year old. Well, I can believe it and I can’t. I can because he is already acting like a toddler 90% of the time and I can’t believe it because well, I feel like I just birthed him yesterday! I probably could have worded that a little more ladylike. Oh well, you all get me.

So, what has little man been up to this month? A LOT. That’s what. He has been a busy boy. So busy in fact, that 9 month pictures were pretty much impossible to accomplish. I took what I could get and called it a day.

I did not edit any of his pictures. I am too exhausted to do much of anything so please forgive me for the quality of these and I hope I forgive myself when I am printing these down the road for his first birthday (eeks. Oh well, I will get over it).
Let’s see what Eli was up to this past month:


Still nursing! He nurses about 5 times a day and has solids 3 times a day. He is starting to eat more and more table food and less purees. I hope to completely phase out the purees by the end of this month, but they’re pretty darn convenient at times.
Favorite Foods: He still LOVES puffs, cheerios, and cheese! He also loves to suck on lemons (weirdo), he likes black beans, tofu, eggs, avocado, chicken, turkey, pasta… he pretty much has loved everything we’ve given him so far! I would say his FAVORITE table food that he enjoys eating is bananas. Boy goes crazy for them bananas.

Least Favorite Foods

I cannot think of anything he doesn’t like at the moment! He’s a great eater (so far! fingers crossed that continues).


He says “mama”! He says mama and he knows what he is saying! When I walk into a room he will look at me and say with his sweet little voice, “mama!” He also associates Dane with “dad” (which is good because Dane is his dad :) and he is trying so hard to say “Jack” (our dog). I think he is going to be a big talker because he babbles ALL DAY LONG! Wonder where he gets that from … :)

Favorite Activities

Eli and his touchy ball

Homeboy is on the MOVE! He is officially crawling on hands and knees and boy, is he fast. All babies are probably fast at this, but he seems really fast to me! This is just new for me! I am BEAT by the end of the day. I am way more tired these days than when he was a newborn. He is into EVERYTHING and everything he is not supposed to be into {of course}!

He also started to stand up on his own (when holding onto something) this week. He really likes to do this before nap time in his crib and it is a fight to get him to take a nap (so much fun for mommy!). He is starting to try to let go while standing and stand unsupported. Scary! He tried to let go and take a few steps towards me today! He face planted.

I cannot believe how fast he is growing up. All of this is so exciting, but mommy needs to get in better shape and get some more energy so she can keep up with mister Eli!

Least Favorite Activities

Car trips! He does good on the way to somewhere, but never fails that on the way back he is ticked off and cries the whole way home. His stubborn side is really coming out and if you redirect him somewhere or take something away from him that he is not supposed to have you will hear about it because he will be mad!


Oh, sleep? What’s that? I have forgotten. You know how I was just going on and on about how he was finally sleeping in my last month’s update? Yeah, don’t do that. Don’t be me. Don’t rave about how much their sleep has improved because they will PROVE YOU WRONG and make a fool out of you.

Eli officially has two teeth (yay!), but when the teething started the sleeping through the night ended (boo!). We have not gone back to sleeping through the night since his teeth started cutting through. He has his two bottom ones and one of them just cut through and I can see it today so I am hoping sleep will come back!

Please, sleep! Please return to us!!


He wanted this picture so bad
• Started crawling this month
• Pulling up and standing
• Has 2 teeth
• Says “Mama” and “Dada” clearly
• Waves hello and goodbye
• Starting to point at things
This has been a really fun and BIG month for Eli. I am trying to adjust to these new skills he’s picked up and to keep up with him! Staying at home with him all day has reached a whole new level. I would not change it for the world, but I would gladly accept more sleep and a few naps throughout the day! 😉
We love you to the moon and back my sweet Eli!

Until next time,


Breastfeeding Mini-Series {Guest Post} Part Two: Tips & Tricks

Today I am handing over my blog to a sweet friend of mine, Tiffany from The Austin Family Diary for Part Two of the Breastfeeding Mini-Series! If you haven’t checked out Part One from last week you can check it out HERE.

Tiffany’s baby, Elliott and my sweet boy, Eli seem to have a lot in common and that includes their nursing journey thus far! I knew she would have some great tips to assist with breastfeeding. So, sit back, grab a cup of coffee and read away! I promise you will find this information extremely valuable!

Breastfeeding Mini Series
Part Two: Tips & Tricks

Hello to Sounds of My Pitter-Patter! I’m Tiffany from The Austin Family Diary and I’m here to give you all my breastfeeding tips and tricks. Some of these I definitely didn’t know about before my breastfeeding journey began and I wish someone would have told me otherwise. I can happily report that I’m still successfully breastfeeding my 8 month old Elliott.

Holding a baby

I remember reading this and thinking ok I’ll drink my normal glass or two like I’ve always done…no. You need that water. Not only for your milk supply…but nobody likes waking up with cotton mouth. So grab a few fun water cups (preferably 20oz+), fill them up and have them ready at all times. Place them around the house where you are most likely to be nursing.

Gel Soothes

Go ahead and throw these in the fridge now. These will feel so good on your sore nips. The nurse ended up giving me some and I will always be thankful to her.

Nursing Pads

nursing pads
Stock up on these. I seemed to go through them quite a bit in the beginning, now not so much. There are a few different brands so try out a few to see which works for you. My favorite are the Lansinoh brand.


A Breast Pump

Even if you are planning to stay home, you might want to think about getting a pump. Get in touch with your insurance to see if they cover it. And make sure you sterilize your pump parts/at least open it and see how it is put together. This will save you from a lot of frustration at 2am when you’re completely engorged, exhausted and crying with a 3 day old baby and having to sterilize pump parts. Thank goodness for husbands. Speaking of sterilizing…grab a box of these awesome sterilizing bags.

Nursing Cover

Honestly…I don’t have a specific cover. I just tie a knot in my aden + anais blanket and drape it over. It’s a lot bigger than a regular cover and I always have one with me.

Lansinoh TheraPearl

Lansinoh TheraPearl
I’m so glad I had these around. If you get lucky like me and end up with mastitis or a clogged duct, these guys will come in handy. Or if you have a strong letdown, throw them in the microwave for 15sec and stick them on your nips for a bit.

Nursing Friendly Clothing

It’s really helpful to have a few nursing friendly tops. I’ve pretty much changed my wardrobe to tops that make life easier while nursing, especially if we’re going to be out and about. If I’m home, I pretty much live in cami’s, but if I’m out I usually wear something that’s a little looser or stretcher to pull down for easy access. Definitely makes nursing in public more comfortable.

Find a breastfeeding support group

I can not stress this enough. I can honestly say I’d probably not be breastfeeding now without that group. Having a support system has been lifesaving. I remember hearing that as well and now I totally get it. Ours is led by a lactation consultant which is so helpful in case you have any specific questions. We meet weekly at the hospital and I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear other women going through the same struggles that you are and to also be there to reassure new(er) moms when they need it. It’s more than just a breastfeeding group…it’s more like a mom’s group. There are different topics each week including baby wearing, baby sign language, etc. Going to this group has also helped me gain confidence with breastfeeding in public. Although I always feed with a cover, it’s no big deal for me now.


Thanks so much to Kristin for handing over her blog for the day! I don’t have all the answers but I have gone through quite a bit and can help with supply issues, mastitis, clogged ducts and latch issues.I hope you all enjoyed this post. If you ever have any questions on anything or just need some encouragement, please feel free to email me at theaustinfamilydiary (at) gmail (dot) com.

It’s The Little Things

its the little thingsI decided to join a link up to do an “It’s the Little Things” post. Basically, you just share about whatever little things your heart desires. You should definitely join. Reading the other posts is so much fun!

I’ve been thinking about the little things of my every day life lately. It sure is the little things that carry me through to the next day. Days are long and can be trying with little ones, but those small moments, those sweet glances and those sly and sweet smiles are those little moments that make those long and trying days worth it. Am I right or am I right? :)

So, it sure is the little things. The little things wrap around my whole heart and make it swell with joy.
It’s the way Eli wakes up every morning happy and thrilled to see me. Like he has not seen me in days.

It’s the way he reaches for me when I walk into a room.

It’s the way he holds onto my hand for longer than just a small moment just because he knows he can and he knows I am there. I will always be there.

It’s the way he eats his cheerios and how one (or two or three) always gets stuck on his cheek or on his neck. I always find those dang Cheerios around my house hours after he’s eaten them.

It’s the way he smells. That sweet and innocent baby smell. I hope I can always remember that smell.

It’s the way he rubs his eyes when he’s sleepy and how he clings so tightly to me as we travel up to his nursery for his naps.

It’s the way he says “mama” when he looks at me. That right there. That is enough to get me through the darkest of moments and the toughest of days.
It’s the way he looks up at me when he is nursing and how he holds on tight to my necklace each and every time.

It’s the way he furrows his brow when he finds something new.

mischevious Eli

It’s the way his crazy hair sticks straight up off his head.
It’s the way he smiles. Oh, how he smiles. He is so joyful 90% of the time and it is impossible not to jump in and be joyful with him.
He is my sweet boy who is so full of the little things. The little things that make my heart whole and makes me want to fall to my knees and thank God over and over and over for giving me this little miracle. This little boy who makes my world dance and makes me be a better person.
Thank you thank you thank you God for these little things.

Thanks to Ashley & Jess for the link up!

What are the little things that get you through your long days?

New blog + a FUN Giveaway!

Hello and welcome to my brand new blog! Isn’t her make over fabulous? Girl has got it going on! My new blog design was created by Little Web Writing Hood. She is great and I highly recommend her services if you need any website, blog, etsy shop, etc. design!
I am so excited about this new blog and all the new plans I have for it.

When I first started blogging it was just to keep people updated with Eli, but I soon found the blogging community to be a really fun, supportive and encouraging community and wanted to keep it up. It is such a fun and creative outlet for me. I hope you can find my posts encouraging and inspiring!

I have a lot of fun and new posts coming up within the next few months.

Some of that includes:
• My favorite quick and easy meals/recipes
• Guest posts on motherhood, breastfeeding, etc.
• Any DIY projects I can find and complete out there without screwing them up (I am pretty incompetent when it comes to crafting).
• I am also so excited to show you some room makeovers we are working on
• …and SOMEONE’S (hint: he’s about 16 pounds, really cute, and is the cause of my sleep deprivation) first birthday is in May and I have such fun plans for his birthday that I can’t wait to include you in on.

So please join me for the fun if you feel so inclined!

Any who, enough of the rambling. Let’s get on to the FUN giveaway I have planned for today!

you are loved
+ a $10.00 gift card to Yellow Bungalow Shop!

I wanted to do a fun giveaway to kickoff my new blog being up and running! I have been working on my gallery wall in my living room for a while now and it is basically complete and I am in LOVE with it. I call it my Eli shrine because well, it’s pretty much all pictures of Eli – can you blame me?

My sister-in-law over at I Love Rehabs (she has a great DIY/wedding planning/creative guru blog – go check it out!) put it up for me because me and hanging things just doesn’t go well. It usually involves me throwing a mini fit and threatening to burn the walls down (I’ve never denied that I am one for the dramatics). Any way, we got all the frames up and I placed my favorite pictures along with some other fun items and my favorite prints.
I wanted our wall to be FUN and JOYFILLED and COLORFUL. I want it to be a happy place and soon I want it to be filled with Eli’s artwork and pictures that he creates himself. I don’t want our house to be one that looks like there are no kids living inside. I want our walls to be screaming that little feet live here and that we have FUN in this house and celebrate all the moments in life. I think my little gallery wall conveys that (just wait till I get my hands on all the other walls in my house!).
I am seriously OBSESSED with prints. I think they are a fun way to add some flair to your home that can really describe you and your style. I am a sucker for a good print.

photo album

I randomly came across Yellow Bungalow Shop a couple months ago and ordered the “Dream Big Little Chief” print and loved it so much that I contacted her for more and asked if she had any prints I could get at a discount to use for a giveaway. Her prices are so reasonable and her shipping is just ONE DOLLAR. yay!
These two prints I am giving away are PERFECT for a nursery, gallery wall, or for a present for a baby shower, or just a good present for any mother out there. They’re the sweetest prints!
So, the giveaway are these TWO prints and a 10.00 dollar gift card to Yellow Bungalow Shop.

The rules to this giveaway are pretty dang easy. I didn’t want anything too complicated.

Just comment below in the comments section WITH your email address and tell me what you would do with this print. Make sure you check that you commented in the rafflecopter!

photo albums

I am not basing my winners off of the comment – that is just how you enter. You can earn additional entries if you decide to do any of the other options on the rafflecopter,but those are not required they will just earn you extra entires! You have 7 days to enter and the winner will be chosen randomly by the rafflecopter!
Good luck! Thanks for participating!

Relactating After the Flu

I know this may seem like a strange topic, but this was a pretty big deal in my life for a little over a week and I thought that maybe it could help someone else who encounters this same issue because it is STRESSFUL.


Last week I got slammed with the stomach bug and it all but destroyed me. Okay, maybe I am being a LITTLE overdramatic, but it was BAD. Sorry to be graphic, but I was throwing up every 45 minutes for almost 24 hours straight. I was severely dehydrated and I was unable to take care of Eli. My husband stayed home with him and I tried to nurse him as much as I could, but my body just ached so much and I was so tired that I attempted to sleep for most of the afternoon while my husband gave him bottles of my pumped breast milk (very thankful I had a freezer worth of pumped milk and probably the one and only time I wanted to praise the breast pump!).

The following morning around 4:00 a.m. when Eli usually wakes up to eat I felt decent enough to breastfeed him. I immediately noticed a decrease in my milk.

1. I did not have a letdown and I have ALWAYS had a strong letdown that I have always been able to feel to the point that it has been almost painful.

2. Eli was getting frustrated and kicking and pulling off. I did not feel full in my breasts and I just knew my milk had diminished.

Dang you FLU!

So, I did what any mature 28 year old mother would do. I PANICKED! I started to cry and moan to my husband that my breastfeeding days were over and that the flu destroyed me and everything about me and that I would never be able to breastfeed again. I have never denied being dramatic! But I seriously was so scared that I would not get my milk supply back to where it was and it’s been really important to me that I am able to breastfeed Eli to a year old.

So, after Dane talked me down a bit I began to research on what to do and found out that this is actually very common after the flu due to how dehydrated you are. I became determined to get my milk supply up and guess what? I can proudly say that a week later it feels like it is back to normal. I know a week does not sound like a long time, but when you nurse your baby 4-5 times a day every day then a week can seem like a lifetime! Here is what I did and what worked for me to get my milk back up after that evil and nasty flu temporarily stole it:

1. Nurse, nurse, nurse! I went back to nursing Eli every two hours. He was not too excited about this. Eli is not the most dependent on nursing and never really has been. I won’t be surprised if he weans himself soon, but the more you put the baby to the breast the more your body will know that it needs to be making milk.


2. Pull out that pump. I had just retired my pump literally the day before I got sick. I remember smugly packing up all the parts and thinking how done I was with the pump. Yeah, the evil little sucker (literally) showed me! I pumped after Eli went down for the night each night until my milk came back up. Again, it told my body to make more milk!

3. Mother’s Milk Tea. LOVE this stuff. I buy mine at Target. I had three cups a day and always have mine with about a tablespoon of honey. It makes it more tolerable for me!

4. Fenugreek. Along with the Mother’s Milk Tea I took about three Fenugreek pills a day.

5. WATER. I am really bad about drinking water. I admit it, I don’t like water. I don’t like the way it tastes and I think it’s boring and I can list 100 other things I would rather drink before water. I know, I’m bad. I gave up my coffee and all other drinks that I prefer (soda, juices, etc.) for that week and literally spent my days chugging water to make sure I was well hydrated. Eli, if you are ever reading this I hope you see this large sacrifice I made for you – DRINKING NOTHING BUT WATER FOR 7 DAYS!! 😉 I kid, I kid, but seriously…. I do not like water …

6. EAT. This one was hard for me. I did not want to eat much after that flu came in and wrecked my body! I mean, I had lost 6 1/2 pounds after the flu was done with me! It was so important for me to get a lot of calories in and to keep my energy up and get back to normal and that was SUPER important for my milk supply. I could not eat whole meals so I snacked a lot and all day long. These foods helped a lot with increasing my milk supply:

– Steel cut oats
– Spinach
– Garbanzo beans
– Sweet potatoes
– Brown rice
– Garlic
– Nuts – I ate a lot of almonds and macadamia nuts!
– Salmon

I started to notice a big difference in my milk supply on day three, but I continued to do all of these things for a week to be on the safe side. I have always enjoyed breastfeeding and knew it was something I wanted to continue, but did not realize how important it was to me until I felt like we were nearing the end when I almost lost my supply. I am so thankful my milk is about back to normal and am really hoping we can make it to my goal of a year nursing – we are so close!

Has this happened to anyone else? Any other tips on increasing your milk supply after the flu?


Breastfeeding Tips For New Mom From A Veteran Mom

Newborn baby breastfeedingCongratulations for deciding to go the natural way-breastfeeding your lovely little one. Even if you are just planning to breastfeed him for just a couple of months, you are a super mommy for doing this! The first few days of breastfeeding a really important for the baby as the colostrum contains vital antibodies that protect the body against any diseases and also strengthens the immune system of the baby.
There is more to breast feeding than just putting your baby to the breast. It’s hard and not at all easy! Hats off to you mamas that have done it!
To make the experience much easier for any new mom, here are some tips that will help you.

Ensure you get the right latch

This is important. If you do not have the right latch, you will end up with sore and sometimes damaged nipples. There are so many online resources that will show you how the proper latch looks like. In a nutshell, it’s all about the lower part of the breast and areola being in the baby’s mouth so that the nipple is hitting right at the upper palette so that the milk is stimulated.

Do not panic if it’s painful

At the beginning, breastfeeding really hurts. Your nipples are often cracked and your breasts are sore. The first two weeks breastfeeding were tough for me. Anything that touched my boobs was hurting and I kept wondering if this is what I would go through until baby was weaned. At the same time I was also taking samples of my medical receptionist resumes to various places because we needed extra income. Well, now that we are more than 6 months, it not as painful as it was in those first two weeks. It actually becomes natural and you do not feel any pain.

Moisturize your nipples

Moisturizing your nipples really saves you from chapped and painful nips. You don’t have to use those overly expensive nipple creams, olive oil works wonders and it’s inexpensive. Lanolin cream is also another great alternative.

Never stop trying

I know too well it can be so easy to give up breastfeeding, but hold on, better days are coming. Try and put your baby back to latch as many times as you can so that both of your get used to it. Get all the support you can from online communities, friends, family and other nursing moms. Whatever it gets to get you through the tough breastfeeding phases, do it. You will be glad you did. During those times I was looking for a job, I met a lpn who was dropping their resume samples at the same hospital I was and she was also breastfeeding. We instantly became friends and we would motivate each other when the going got tough.

Keep it natural

Until you have established a good breastfeeding routine, avoid introducing any bottles or artificial nipples. This helps in establishing a bond with your baby so that the baby does not get confused with your nipple and artificial ones. The motion required suckling an artificial nipple and the nursing one is totally different and you could end up confusing your baby.
Finally, ensure you nurse your baby in a quiet and calm environment so that you have an interrupted milk let down. After some time, you will simply need to unhook your bra and your milk flows naturally.

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