A MOTHERS JOURNEY FACING A RARE BREASTFEEDING CONDITION


MRS. NIPPLE SPOTLIGHT SERIES ARTICLE 4 X JESS HOHMAN


mrs. nipple

Many times being a new mother can feel isolating. There are certain situations you might find yourself in and not know if what you are experiencing is normal. I hope the story below will shed some light around DMER, Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. I had never heard of the condition and now feel like I would be able to identify the condition if I had a friend going through this. The more educated we all are around certain postpartum conditions the more likely we will be able to be a resource for other moms. We all need to look out for each other, during this fragile time. So read on.


jess hohman will take it from here.

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Breastfeeding has always been a hard subject for me. 

Let me start from the beginning – the birth of my first son, Brooks. 

During pregnancy and after delivery, breastfeeding exclusively was the plan.  I was fine with deviations from that plan. In my mind, fed is best. 

I was ecstatic that Brooks took to nursing like a pro.  While nursing him in the hospital, I noticed that I would get nauseous every time that I fed Brooks.  I suspected it was the pain meds or other side effects after having an unplanned C-section, so I let it go. 

To my displeasure, the feeling continued after we settled in at home.  In addition to the nausea, I started having intense emotional reactions when breastfeeding.  Not in the soothing, basking in the sunlight rocking your precious newborn way.  Rather, I felt terrible unhappiness and irritability, but only when breastfeeding.

For the 30-45 minutes that Brooks nursed I was unpleasant to be around.  I snapped at anyone who came into the room or dared to speak to me.  It became known that if I was nursing, I was in my room alone to save everyone the pain of being around the monster that I became.  And then, once Brooks was done eating, I morphed back into my normal, albeit tired, self.

I had brought up the nausea with my OBGYN, which had been a nonissue to them.  I figured this new emotional development would be the same, so I toughened up and powered through…for months. 

Once I made it to 6 months nursing my son, which was the goal that I had set for myself, I decided to wean and introduce formula.  I was thrilled.  I had associated this insurmountable heaviness with nursing, and that feeling was almost gone. 

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We successfully weaned, and I didn’t think about it again until I got pregnant with my second son when Brooks was just 9 months old.  After another relatively uneventful pregnancy, breastfeeding was the goal again.  The anticipation of sitting in that darkness for months nursing haunted me.

This time around, my second son, Vance, struggled to nurse a little, eventually figuring it out on his own within a few days.  Once again that gloom came every time I popped Vance on my chest for a meal.

I dreaded nursing.  I dreaded working through the negativity. I dreaded holding my perfect newborn and feeling anything but pure glee.  I felt a terrible guilt associated with my fleeting mental state while nursing.  Why could I not feel the way I was “supposed” to feel when I was given the gift of a healthy baby and a body physically capable of feeding him? 

One morning 3 months later when I was skimming Instagram stories, I heard someone mention D-MER.  A blogger was discussing her breastfeeding triumphs and failures, and mentioned that she knows that there are some women who feel intense negative emotions when their milk lets down.  Her message was that breastfeeding shouldn’t be something that you dread, hate, or that makes you feel any less than.

My ears perked up.  She was talking about me.  Breastfeeding had made me feel less than the perfect mother.  During each feeding, I was filled with an irritation that would later fill me with guilt. 

After some power-googling that morning, I discovered that D-MER stood for Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex.  It is an anomaly that affects a very small percentage of breastfeeding mothers with irregular dopamine activity.  This means that this condition is 100% hormonal.  It is neither a mental illness nor any sort of psychological issue. 

I should have talked to my doctor once these symptoms became the norm.  However, there is such stigma associated with any sort of mental manifestations that I was instantly shameful.  I had already begun to wean Vance because I felt hopeless.  I knew that having a happy momma was more important than having an exclusively breastfed child.  It devastated me though – I  (irrationally) felt like I was starting Vance out in the world with an instant disadvantage. 

I learned from my research that this stigma is a large part of why D-MER is not well known even amongst medical professionals.  Women are ashamed to speak up about unpleasant things in general, too often opting to appear polite and quiet.

In addition to stigma, every sign in the hospital, OBGYN, and pediatrician’s offices clearly delineate the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child – decreased risk of certain cancers for mother and decreased risk of allergies and future infections for baby, and passing along antibodies made specifically for your child.  What kind of selfish person wouldn’t want to give all that to their child when they are physically able?

I felt an overwhelming guilt.  I was so lucky to be able to produce milk efficiently and to have a child who was a good eater.  With all that being the case, in my mind I should nurse regardless of the mental toll it takes on me.  I should have been strong enough to overcome my side effects in favor of feeding my children. 

In reality, I should do what is best for my family as a whole.  I am not an island alone whose needs are disregarded now that there are more mouths to feed.  I now realize that my well-being contributes to the wellness of the family.  And that is something that is not on signs in the hospital. 

I hope that this admission of D-MER and all the nasty symptoms that come along with it encourages others to talk to their doctor’s openly.  Bring this, or any other condition that makes your well being take a backseat, to your doctor’s attention.  Once more people come forward; there will be a stronger justification for research into this condition. 

And finally, to the mom struggling through D-MER:

You are doing your best – trying to breastfeed your child and give him the milk that your body perfectly made for him. But if you are feeling depressed, angry, anxious, or generally unhappy ONLY when you’re nursing him, don’t overwhelm yourself by ignoring those warning signs.

Speak to a doctor, and develop a plan for your family.  If that means medicine, good!  If that means weaning, good!  Prioritize yourself so that you are capable of giving that beautiful child all he needs.

This is your journey, and it is beautiful no matter what. I know you’re trying your best, and so does that sweet baby staring up at you.


some more information around DMER

“Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex, or DMER, is a condition marked by an abnormal chemical and hormonal reaction that causes a brief but abrupt emotional response at milk letdown. “It seems to be a small chemical reaction that causes a huge emotional reaction,” Alia Macrina Heise, anInternational Board Certified Lactation Consultant in Naples, New York, who pioneered research on the condition.

For milk letdown to occur, the hormone dopamine — which controls the secretion of the hormone prolactin — must fall so levels of prolactin can rise. Yet for mothers with DMER, a chemical imbalance or dysfunction of dopamine prevents that from happening.

Symptoms of DMER vary, but they typically include anxiety, irritability and sadness.  Some women may even have suicidal ideations. “This is like being zapped by a dark cloud — it can be very overwhelming and scary,” Diana West, an internationally board-certified lactation consultant and director of media relations for La Leche League.” FN


DUDLEY STEPHENS X MRS.NIPPLE


Maternity & Postpartum


I know many of you are on the hunt for that perfect fall piece to add to your mom uniform. In my opinion Dudley Stephens is it!

Co-founders Kaki Mcgrath and Lauren Stephens created the idea for Dudley Stephens when endlessly searching for fleece that could be used in a fashionable way. Growing up in New England towns they lived in fleece jackets year round. "Fleece was the perfect solution for warmth and comfort, while being easy to wash, environmentally friendly and stylish." Dudley Stephens designs and creates stylish silhouettes using fleece fabric that are comfortable, easy to wear, and that look and feel good. Kaki and Lauren are both local moms and as a team they have a wealth of experience in both the fashion and marketing world.

Though the Dudley Stephen’s line is not maternity/postpartum specific every one of the pieces works well for both pregnant and postpartum moms. They even have the most adorable little girls fleeces as well.

Before I get into why I love Dudley Stephens I wanted to share a 20 percent off code that the co-founders agreed to make available to you for today only. Use the code MRSNIPPLE20 for a one time discount of 20% off your ENTIRE order

You can find out a few reasons below why I love Dudley Stephens but I would like to take a minute to talk about how certain features are very important for pregnant and new moms.

When I was pregnant I lived in leggings, my main concern was comfort. The Dudley Stephens Cobble Hill Turtleneck is perfect during pregnancy and beyond. It is super slimming and gives you the perfect amount of coverage hitting below both the butt and upper thighs. The upper thighs seem to be my problem area post baby and this cut does wonders for my confidence.

I also love the Pacific Vest in Double Layer Vello Fleece, Chrissy from In My Closet Blog, is it wearing below. You can throw it over anything and still accomplish both that slimming and pulled together look. It’s also perfect during pregnancy and will take you from pre-pregnancy through delivery to post baby.

The Brooklyn Bomber jacket is another one of my favorites. It’s perfect for both breastfeeding and baby wearing. It also happens to be the most comfortable thing on earth. The brushed fleece is so soft.

As a mom with young kids I always think about the fabric! My boys have sensitive skin and wearing something soft that’s made right here in Brooklyn makes this line that much better. “It’s crafted there with sustainable, non-iron vello fleece (read: super soft, non-wrinkling, easy wash) spun from recycled yarn.”-ds

Check out some styling tips from Chrissy (In My Closet Blog) & myself below. Take advantage of the discount code at the end of this post! Dudley Stephens very rarely offers a discount this good.




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“As a busy mom with one more on the way, I get dressed on the go, which can be quite the challenge—so I have a few go-to pieces I can throw on and walk out the door feeling put together. The Cobble Hill is definitely one—the length is perfect for moms and easily fits my growing bump. I love how I can wear it with leggings and sneakers one day and skinny jeans and cute flats the next." -Chrissy, In My Closet Blog


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"Another favorite: the Pacific Vest. Talk about the perfect layering piece, especially over my large belly. It effortlessly pulls an outfit together; I love pairing it with a button-down top and jeans. The best part about my DS pieces is that I can continue to wear them post baby!"  -Chrissy, @inmyclosetblog



“Confidence after giving birth can be a struggle, but the Dudley Stephens line is the perfect postpartum uniform. Not only does the material hold up incredibly well after spit-ups and other mishaps, but the pieces are just as functional (pockets!) as they are beautiful, something every new mom needs."

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"Many have a length that’s extremely slimming for the postpartum body, while still providing easy breastfeeding access—and your newborn will always feel cozy against the soft fleece."


If you will be baby-wearing this fall, the Brooklyn Bomber is a must! My five-month- old fits perfectly, all warm and cozy underneath, and I had both hands free during our recent apple picking trip.

More bump-friendly fleece here and here.

HERE ARE MY PICKS:

You can click on anything in bold to check that specific product out.

The Brooklyn Bomber jacket: Caramel brushed fleece

The Cobble Hill Turtleneck ( for a little more coverage) or the Park Slope Turtleneck for a short look, perfect for tucking. My favorite colors are, navy, red, island coral, heather grey, marigold, green, burgundy and natural blush…I love them all!

Pacific Vest in Double Layer Vello Fleece: I love this for layering. Both the navy and brushed black fleece are on my list.

Remsen Blazer in Double Layer Vello Fleece: Love this look and the Tilden Turtleneck Dress especially for the holidays and the office.

SIZING

PREGNANT MAMAS: I would size up at least one size. Doing this will allow you to grow into the fleece yet you will still be able to wear it postpartum.

EVERYONE ELSE: Think about how you want the fleece to fit. I ordered the Brooklyn Bomber jacket in a small and it fits perfectly. I also ordered the black Cobble Hill Turtleneck in a small. I don’t mind the more fitted look with the black but when I order my next few (today) I’m going to go with the medium because I like to have some room. I’m usually between a small and medium because of my broad shoulders.

Use the code MRSNIPPLE20 for a one time 20% off your ENTIRE order from 6am-midnight today only.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

Now for my fun announcement! As I mentioned earlier Dudley Stephens is run by two moms and they are an inspiration to other moms trying to create something in the entrepreneurial space. That being said, I feel like this is the perfect opportunity to announce the name for something I will be launching in February. I did an instagram poll last week presenting both names for my future business, Mom Friends by Mrs. Nipple vs. Mrs Nipple & Co. Many of you also gave me your ideas which cracked me up! Some of my favorites, Nipple Nation and The Daily Nip. It was a landslide and it seemed like everyone wanted to keep the nip front and center so it will be called, Mrs. Nipple & Co.! As always thank you for your continued support on this journey.

xx

Mrs. Nipple

HELLO FALL


My recent fall shopping trip & my fall wardrobe staples


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Check out a few finds from a recent shopping trip + my fall staples from previous years. I included photos of myself in some of the pieces below each category. At the end you will find all the products.

  1. DENIM:

I wasn’t really on the hunt for denim because I’ll be living in THIS pair for the rest of the fall but I came across the pair of awesome wide leg cropped jeans below. I fell in love. They look great with a pair of cool sneakers or booties. I’ve never purchased a pair of jeans this cheap and I’m so impressed. I would say they are true to size and need be washed often because they do stretch out. You can shop them below under denim.

2. SWEATERS:

Ok this is what I was really on the hunt for. H&M did not disappoint. I’m not sure if they changed some things around at manufacturing but the quality seemed much better than previous years. I tried on and purchased all of the sweaters below. I love every single one. I love the look of a chunky sweater tucked into wide leg jeans like the ones above.

3. VEST: My favorite purchase from last fall was this really cool long sweater vest. Also perfect for breastfeeding. I was pretty upset because it sold out right after I bought it and I wanted to buy it in one more color. I have the green/navy reversible vest and the tan is on my wish list.

4. BOOTS:

ALL WEATHER WEDGE BOOTIES: I love my pair of all weather wedge booties. I bought them in black but also love the brown. I wore them all fall/winter long and they still look great.

RAIN BOOTS: I bought my first pair of Hunter rain boots ever last year. I basically waited so long because I think they are pretty ugly. I just hate when you walk in them and they bend and change shape in the strangest ways. That’s until I found the ultimate Hunter rain boot. The Norris Field Neoprene Lined Hunter Rain Boot. These are your average hunter boots on crack. They are made from a new soft rubber compound that maintains strength, while being flexible to allow ease of movement. Meaning your legs wont look like they are made out of play dough. You can find my full review of them, HERE.

BOOTIES: These booties are my favorite for fall. They wore beautifully and I can’t wait to rock them again this year. Last year they sold out very quickly so I would grab these ASAP. You can shop them, below.

OVER THE KNEE BOOTS: OBSESSED. So obsessed. I’ve been looking for a good over the knee boot for years and I can’t wait to pair these with beautiful flowey dresses and skirts. I wore them through last fall and they are still looking great. WORTH the price tag.

WEDGE SNEAKER: I love this camo print wedge sneaker.

JACKETS

RAIN JACKET: I bought this for Ireland and it did not disappoint. I absolutely love the material, it holds it shape perfectly no matter what. You will look completely tailored in this rain jacket, even when it’s pouring buckets.

SUADE JACKET: I love everything about my Blank NYC suede jacket. Black for the winter brown for the fall. It’s such a great staple that won’t go out of style.

LIGHT WEIGHT JACKET: I’m not a brand person but my Barbour jacket was such a good purchase. It is so sharp looking. I still love it just as much as the day I bought it.

COAT: You know that one piece of clothing people stop you in the street about? I bought a J. Crew color block coat a few years ago and I cant tell you how many times I’ve been stopped about it. The navy coat below is up there is my opinion with my color block coat. I plan on ordering it soon as sizes are running low.

SKIRTS: This classic faux suede skirt with buttons up the center looks so great with the over the knee boots above. I also love the flowey flower print skirt you can rock it with booties or sneakers and a chunky sweater with a slight tuck. perfection!

DRESSES: I love a flowey dress with over the knee boots and a fall vest or chunky sweater/cardigan. You can find some pictures of ones I wore last fall below. I can’t find my favorite from last year but this is similar, HERE.

HATS: I love hat attack for everything hats. You can find my favorites below.

DUDLEY STEPHENS will be my new go to for everything fall this year. I’ve been wearing my pull over and new bomber a ton. check back on Thursday for an awesome collaboration.







DENIM

SWEATERS

SHOES

SKIRTS

VEST

COATS

HATS

DRESSES

PPD AND THE LOSS OF A BEAUTIFUL SOUL


This is kara’s story through her sisters eyes


This is such an important topic and a checklist in the doctors office is not enough for diagnosis. Postpartum depression is a real mental illness. There is a need for educating families, loved ones and mothers around what to look out for and for being able to differentiate what are normal emotional fluctuations from what should be addressed by a professional. There is a real lack of education from our medical system. Please read this and help Lauren and her family spread the light.

Here is kara’s story told by one of her sisters, Lauren.

Lauren will take it from here.

You can’t change the past, you can’t change the future and you can only change the present one moment at a time.

Never have I wanted more than to change the past, to go back and undue what was done. To wake up every morning and just for a second before I open my eyes try to imagine that things were different. To go back and do things differently, to see things differently, but we can’t, we can only move forward. 

My sister, Kara (Morrow) Kovlakas was a vibrant, outgoing and loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, teacher and friend. No one loved life more than Kara, she was always the brightest light in any room. She was born 22 months after I was and as children we fought like most sisters do, but as adults she was my best friend, my closest confidant. We were each others maid of honor, we drove cross country twice, traveled too many times to count, we share a lifetime of memories. 

Already a mom to her daughter, Aydan who was born in September 2012, she had her son, Ari on January 14th, 2016 and it was one of the happiest moments of her life. For the first few months after Ari was born, Kara seemed so full of life and energetic. As any mom/parent knows, juggling two kids under the age of 4 is a difficult task on all days.  She had doubts and moments of struggling but seemed to be able to pull it all together.

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Then in early August 2016 that all changed. Kara’s thoughts became jumbled and confused. She would talk herself in circles and have endless doubts about what kind of parent she was. There was a cloud of sadness/darkness that was following her everywhere. She couldn’t see past her current mood at most times, she was only seeing the negatives in life. She was taking out her pain on her husband and children. Kara struggled with anxiety her entire life, she was seeing  therapists/doctors to seek treatment/medication but to what extent that played into the end result I am not sure we will ever know.

By September, Kara had returned back to teaching her 3rd grade elementary class after having been on leave since having Ari. We thought this would help, she thought it would help. She was talking about the future and how things would be better when the kids were older, when they had more money, etc. She continued to express positive thoughts about a future time but couldn’t find happiness in the present day.  We thought she was getting better, trying to find a happy place again.

On October 13, 2016, Kara left the house in the morning, kissing her husband and sending Aydan off to preschool with her Mimi (Kara’s Mom) and then dropped Ari off at daycare like it was any normal day. She waited for her husband to leave the house before going back home and ending her life. She would have turned 33 years old the following day. I don’t want to refer to it that she ‘committed suicide’ - she resorted to suicide, which she perceived, in her unwell mind, to be the only possible solution to her tremendous suffering.

We found out later she had called out sick from work the night before. She had planned this. The day before she had a great day with her children and seemed happy. I live 3 miles down the road from her house and I was home all day. Kara and I have 4 other sisters who are her best friends. We had been supporting her as a family. My mother was helping her get out the door every morning by taking Aydan to school. Anything we could do to ease the burden she was feeling. We offered to check her in somewhere, but she refused. We had wanted her to seek more treatment but she convinced us she could handle this. She convinced us she was getting better. Her husband was supporting her every step of the way in whatever choices she was making. She was seeking outpatient treatment. She had a lot of support, more support than most people ever receive.

Kara’s story needs to be shared so that people understand postpartum depression is a real mental illness. I am not sure what Kara was feeling or going through but she was depressed and had anxiety. From what I have since learned about postpartum depression, in extreme cases it can lead people to have psychotic thoughts - the term is postpartum psychosis.  I don’t know if this is what she had, she was also taking medications so that could have added to her compounding issues.

If I were being honest with myself I know that the depression and anxiety was present long before Kara was a mother.  I have spent everyday since she left us struggling to understand why she chose this and trying to move forward in this world without my sister and best friend. I am a new Mom also and have needed to call her a million times to ask her advice. She was an amazing mother; she always seemed to know what the right thing was when it came to her children. I will never understand how she could leave them.

But here we are. This is the new world we all live in. As a family, it is our job now to help her husband take care of her children. To make sure they grow up surrounded by love and security. To make sure they know how much their Mom loved them. To share our memories of her and keep her alive in the only way we have. We need to figure out how to live the rest of our lives without her. We are all forever changed by her decision, we will never be the same. We will never take a picture of the 6 sisters again.

 It is our job to talk about Kara and share her story in the hopes that we can try to help other families from not going through a tragedy like this. This can happen to anyone. You never know what someone is struggling with on the inside but new mothers in particular are vulnerable and we all need to be more aware. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. How are we really feeling? How are you really doing? What are the signs that you should be on the lookout for? This is a great place to read up on postpartum depression if you aren’t sure. Click, HERE.



“Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.” – Unknown



Shortly after in August 2017, my family and I launched ‘Light for Kara’, an advocacy and informational website, with the hope that by spreading awareness and sharing Kara’s story we can prevent another family from suffering the tragedy of losing a loved one to this treatable mental illness. If you would like to read more about Kara’s story, and my family’s journey to spread awareness about perinatal mood disorders, please visit our website: LIGHT FOR KARA.

 

In continuing with our mission, we are hosting the first annual Light for Kara 5k for Maternal Mental Health, a 5k/1 mile walk/kids fun run, on Saturday, October 13 (full details below). We have partnered with Postpartum Support International - CT Chapter (PSI-CT) to raise money in support of the wonderful work they do throughout CT helping both mothers and their families. We also plan to donate a portion of the proceeds to Malta House, a Norwalk based women’s shelter that supports pregnant and parenting mothers. Both groups are registered non-profits and donations are tax-deductible.

 We would love for you to join us as a runner, walker, or even as a volunteer. In the event you are unable to attend but would consider making a donation, you can do so through our 5k website. If you know of anyone who may be interested in participating in any way, or even learning more about Light for Kara, please feel free to forward this email.

 

  Light for Kara 5k for Maternal Mental Health

Saturday, October 13, 2018

7:30am Registration | 9am Race

Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CT

Register | Volunteer | Donate

 

 Thank you for your unwavering support,

Lauren Morrow Shrage

on behalf of Kara’s Family - August 2017

FLAT HEAD SYNDROME & BABY HELMETS


THE MRS.NIPPLE SERIES X ARTICLE 2 DEVON


This is a topic I have always been curious about and another reason I'm so grateful so many moms are sharing their stories. If you have ever wondered why some babies wear helmets or are starting to notice your baby’s head taking on a less than round shape then this is a must read. Yet another story about the power of a mother’s intuition!

I'll let Devon take it from here: 

The doctor entered the room, “Plagiocephaly as a result of torticollis.” My husband and I just looked at each other. “Sorry but English is our first language.” The doctor laughed, “He has an asymmetrically flat head from stiff neck muscles.” Ah, okay, that we could understand.

Rewind 3 months earlier when we welcomed our first child into the world. I didn’t have a difficult labor, as in no long drawn out process of pushing for 72 hours or anything crazy.  However, I did have an epidural so I was basically chillin. When the time came that I needed to begin active labor and push, it came to my doctor’s attention that our son was transverse. Typically a doctor will see this and call for an emergency c-section, but my husband and I made it very clear that we wanted to avoid that by any means necessary. Thank God our doctor was old school, the type that wore the same small yellow round frames and a bowtie to every appointment and I like to think every delivery under his scrubs. In any event, he knew the method of flipping the baby while still inside the mother’s birth canal and ensure he came out head down. After a successful flip, our sweet boy entered the world and he was absolutely perfect. He always looked so peaceful when he slept, his head tilted slightly to the left and swaddled just right by his daddy who really should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for swaddling babies. 

We had been home for about a week and like with all first born babies, it is a life altering adjustment for everyone.  However, the silver lining was that he was a decent sleeper. He would sometimes sleep for four  hour stretches and he loved to doze in his swing and carseat. Looking back at pictures, I’m not sure how we missed  In every picture of him whether he is awake or sleeping, he always was comfortable with his head tilted to the left. After about three weeks, kI was giving him a bath and I noticed the back left side of his head seemed like it was a bit flat. My husband agreed but when we brought it up to our family they passed us off like we were just worrisome first time parents. “Don’t worry, it will even itself out.” That was the common statement all of our friends and family members gave us. But the more the days went by and the more people said assured us, the flatter it seemed to be getting.

I remember vividly, it was Mother’s  Day and my mother-in-law took me to the local nail salon for a pedicure. Looking back maybe it was a sign from the universe. I'll never forget the owner of the salon walked out from the back room and as he walked by the back of his head was the flattest I’ve ever seen, the equivalent to a 90 degree angle. Not kidding. I remember looking at my MIL and crying saying “I don’t want him to have a flat head!” She reassured me he wouldn’t and that he was still young and it would “round out.” 

The next day I called and made an appointment with a doctor’s office called Cranial Technologies. They specialize in identifying and treating babies and children with various forms of plagiocephaly as well as providing a safe and effective Dynamic Orthotic Cranioplasty, otherwise known as the DOC band. My husband and I did not know what to expect at our initial eval and had never even heard of a DOC band before. All we knew was we were going to show the doctor our baby’s head and hopefully get some confirmation that we were not crazy and that our baby’s head really was flat.

The first step, aside from just checking our baby over, was to have some imaging done of his head. This is the cute part. They put a little ped type thing on his head and sat him in a chair, although at just 3 months old there wasn’t much sitting on his own so I had to hold him up. Then they start taking 3-D images of all angles of his head to be able to see more clearly than by the naked eye. After about 10 minutes of imaging, we were back in the room waiting for our doctor. She came back in the room with the images of our son’s head in her hand.  “So how does it look?” my husband asked reluctantly. “He has a severe case of plagiocephaly as a result of torticollis.” I'll never forget the feeling I had when she said that, it was a mixture of relief, guilt and sadness. She showed us the images and we could easily see how badly shaped his head had become. The more pressing thing according to our doctor was that because he had flatness on the side of his head and not in the back, it was beginning to change the shape of his face. The flatter it became the more his left cheek started to protrude. The minute we were shown the images, I saw it all and I couldn’t unsee it. I remember crying a little and I think my husband was in slight shock but we both knew it all along. 

The good news was he qualified for the DOC band and we could get the process going immediately. The band is really just a little helmet that is designed specifically to your baby’s head and stays on 23 hours a day, with the exception of bath time, no matter what. It is designed to apply custom pressure on various areas of the head to redirect the natural growth of the head into a normal shape. The amount of time each child has to wear their helmet varies based on the severity of the case. 

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Treatments usually start when the child is between the ages of 4-6 months and can last until they are 18 months of age. For some children a second helmet is recommended for maximum benefit. The difficult part for me was the amount of time he would be wearing the helmet. My poor 3 month old baby has to wear this helmet all day, everyday, for the next 6 weeks-4 months! Summer was just starting and this poor kid was going to be sweating! To my surprise, he did much better than I thought. I imagined he would be pulling at it and crying, but he didn’t. So this began our new normal. 

Every week we would go back to see the doctor and she would measure his head and make regular adjustments to the interior of the helmet to direct head growth and ensure we would see optimal results. Believe it or not, the helmet is super light weight and didn’t effect him or his play at all. We got used to seeing him in it and used to seeing all the weird looks from strangers. People thought he had some sort of disability and when they asked, we would reply,  “Oh, he’s fine. He just  had a flat head!” 

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In conjunction with the regular DOC band appointments, we were also attending weekly physical therapy sessions to help with the torticollis. The goal here was to loosen up the tight left neck muscles and strengthen the right side that was weak. This part was equally as crucial because if we didn’t fix the torticollis he would continue to lie on his left side and his head could potentially begin to flatten again. After 5 weeks of PT sessions with the doctor and daily home workouts, we saw a huge improvement in his posture and an improvement in his sleeping as he now was able to roll over. 

The DOC band is basically a very plain, white helmet. My husband and I were shown some helmets that parents had decorated with stickers and writing but my husband knew exactly what he wanted to do. We were making this a football helmet! Against my better judgment, I let him choose his favorite team, which is unfortunate because my favorite team is better but that’s a another story. We found a really cool guy almost a mile down the road from our doctor who does vinyl custom wraps on everything from cars to lap tops so we thought why couldn’t he design a wrap for our helmet? It was his first DOC band he ever did and it came out better than we could have imagined! People would come up to us after we had it wrapped and said, ”Oh my gosh what an awesome helmet! Where can I get one?” We always laughed and would say that they definitely didn’t want this type of helmet,  but it always made us feel better when people would be so  complimentary.

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About 7 weeks had passed since he had been wearing his helmet and we had a routine doctor’s appointment. I remember being in the office and our doctor came in to take the measurements of his head. She was so shocked to see how far along his progress had come and wanted to do another round of imaging. We had more pictures taken and after looking at the images, our doctor was amazed. His head was almost perfectly shaped.  She said it was the fastest adjustment she had ever seen and that we would definitely not need a second helmet. In fact, he would most likely be out of the current one in another 2 weeks. I couldn’t believe it! In just 7 short weeks his head was almost perfectly shaped!

We went back two weeks later to do our final consult and more imaging. The doctor provided side by side images from when we started to where we were now and my husband and I were astounded. Seeing what his head looked like when we began to where we were now was night and day. Our doctor was so pleased with his progress that she asked if she could share his before and after photos with future patients because this was one of the best results she had seen in her 27 years of practice. We,of course, said yes and left the doctor that day helmet free. 

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Looking back, it was the best decision my husband and I ever made. I think sometimes if we had listened to our family and friends we would be in such a different place today. I see him running around now at 3 years old with all his hair grown in and you would never be able to tell that anything was ever wrong with him. That is the best part of all of this. We trusted our gut and came together as a team to do what was best for our child and family and we could not be happier. 

Devon @devondiaz11

Please see this article for more information around plagiocephaly, HERE.   

If you are interested in getting your babies DOC band decorated you can find DJ Brown's information, HERE. 

BREASTFEEDING WITH INVERTED NIPPLES


THE MRS.NIPPLE SERIES X VOL. 1 RUBY


Kicking off the Mrs. Nipple new series with our first article coming from Ruby @Rubixcube17 with her experience around breastfeeding with inverted nipples. I really love this piece and hope it spreads awareness. 

Enjoy!

Xx 

Mrs. Nipple 

Ruby will take it from here:

It's not something that's spoken about often, to be honest I didn't even know it was an existing issue until I realized I in fact owned a pair of breasts with flat/Inverted nipples. Let me start at the beginning. When I found out I was expecting I was over the moon, and immediately started reading all the "what to expect" books. I wanted to be prepared, and succeed in things important to me, the main one being Breastfeeding. I knew it was going to be hard, I was prepared for the sleepless nights and long feedings, but I had also read countless times it was natural act between mother and baby and of course, breast is best. I was determined, I was ready - I was not prepared to be let down by my own body. My breast feeding journey only lasted 4 weeks, and was full of challenges. Cracked nipples, multiple bouts of Mastitis, undiagnosed lip and tongue ties, small baby who struggled to latch and put on weight and finally, one flat nipple and one inverted nipple. Believe it or not, I didn't even know until I had already given up Breastfeeding. How did this happen you ask? It's because NO-BODY speaks about  this affliction! A flat nipple is where you have no protruding nipple from the areole and an inverted nipple is where it is pulled in towards itself- basically the baby has nothing to grasp on to.

 

I had noticed during my life my nipples never seemed to "stand out" as I had noticed other women's do so through their tops, but to me this was a good thing, convenient even as I could go bra-less in outfits no worries- never did I think I would see the day I was jealous of how much a women's nipple would protrude. 

Our first feed after my daughter was born she wouldn't latch, and when she did it was hurting like hell. The midwives weren't worried and told me she would get it. Next 3 feedings I had to be hand expressed for colostrum as my daughter still wasn't latching, and even then the midwives did not mention that anything was amiss with my breasts. I persevered an eventually got her latching, despite how much it hurt I was determined. 12 hours later I already had 2 cracked nipples, by 3 days old I was already at the GP for mastitis, then a lactation consultant. It was here I was introduced to nipple shields. These are basically very thin pieces of silicone that suction your nipple in and created more of a shape for your baby to latch onto.

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I later learnt (too late) nipple shields are a great tool for people with flat/inverted nipples however they were given to me to give relief from the cracks. Again, nothing mentioned about my breasts, I was oblivious. They put the mastitis down to my daughters shallow latch (again, due to undiagnosed lip ties, these two problems made breastfeeding next to impossible) and told me she would learn to latch with the shields, and then I would need to wean as they were only a short term solution.

And so we entered 4 weeks of where I would use the shield, my breasts would drain, my daughter would feed and the mastitis would go. I would try and wean the Shields as advised, and 3 days later mastitis would return. The reason for this was because my daughter had nothing to grip on to she would either be clamping down with a very shallow latch, causing the ducts to block, or she would consistently fall off and get tired, not draining the breast.  It was hell, I was depressed, stressed, frustrated, my baby wasn't gaining weight, my nipples were bleeding and damaged, and worst of all I was not enjoying the newborn stage and slowly resenting my daughter every time she wanted to feed. Enough was enough, at her 4 week check she was a mere 26 grams (0.9oz) above her birthweight, I had had mastitis 5 times, and I finally made the decision to formula feed. I had attempted pumping to see if I could pump exclusively and my body just doesn't respond to pumps, I felt I had no choice and something had to give.  

My daughter thrived on formula, she gained weight, I started to enjoy her. I went to my 6 week post partum check and was asked about BF. I explained what had happened and the Gp examined me and said "I'm not surprised you had challenges with your flat and inverted nipple". I was gobsmacked. I asked what that meant. He explained and showed me pictures and it all started to make sense. I was so upset and felt so let down by the professionally trained lactation consultants, He was also shocked it hadn't been mentioned to me.  It was also here my daughters lip ties were found. Two separate issues that, had they been diagnosed, we might've had a successful breastfeeding journey. 

My daughter is now 18 weeks old and I still have many regrets about the whole experience. After doing research I have found videos with techniques on how to BF with flat and inverted nipples, information that says continued use of nipple shields are sometimes needed in cases of flat/inverted nipples, and have looked into private lactation consultants who can specialise in this area.  I would hate for anyone to go through what I went through, ASK for help, push for answers, check your nipples and ask the questions!  I hope to try again with a second baby when the time comes, and I will be armed with the knowledge this time to hopefully succeed. It is POSSIBLE to breastfeed with flat and inverted nipples, however it is more challenging and you will need help and support. Good luck ladies, breastfeeding is the hardest thing I have ever done and we deserve all the support and help we can get!

 

Thanks,

Ruby (Rubixcube17) 

SLEEP GUIDANCE & OUR JOURNEY


Our experience getting Ford to sleep through the night  


Sleep is hard to come by these days. I miss those Friday nights that would end with, "Well, let's just see what time we wake up". While those types of weekends will be a thing of the past for at least a decade, there are things you can do to help set your household up for "success" which I know is always a messy word with kids. The first few months are usually filled with sleepless nights but let's also look at those first 2 years. 

First, I am going to talk about how offering Ford sleep guidance went and then I'm going to talk about our sleep journey as parents. 

I waited until 8 months to offer sleep guidance to Charlie. I hate the word training...sleep training. It sounds so cruel. Charlie slept in our room until he was seven months old and even though Ray wanted to start offering sleep guidance much earlier, I just couldn't do it. Charlie was on the thin side and I didn't think he could handle it. When we did it at 8 months old and it only took a few days and  I immediately regretted waiting so long. 

This time around has been very different. Ford is a much bigger baby and he feeds for comfort off and on throughout the night. I just went back to work and came to terms that I just can't be a human pacifier any longer. Our doctor said we could even start before four months but I felt most comfortable there. Yes, I am aware of the AAPs view on sleeping in the same room as the baby. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "The best place for a baby to sleep is in his parents' bedroom. He should sleep in his own crib or bassinet (or in a co-sleeper safely attached to the bed), but shouldn't be in his own room until he is at least 6 months, better 12 months."

If you move your baby out of your room earlier, like we are, I would just be extra cautious around having a safe sleeping environment. As a working mom of two under two with a baby that was only waking up in the middle of the night to breastfeed for comfort, I decided to move him at four months since I felt he would be worse off crying for milk in the middle of the night when he knew it was right beside him. 

Our sleep training plan was very straight forward.

We agreed to move Ford into his own room but kept him in his bassinet and Dockatot since he was already very familiar with his sleep set up. I use a noisemaker, the lollipop baby monitor plus the v-tech sound monitor. I use the Oillie swaddle since he is so snug in it, I figured that paired with the Dockatot would offer womb like comfort. I also slept on a sofa near his room for the first 10 days because I felt guilty. I never let Ford fall asleep with a pacifier because I wanted him to learn to fall asleep without any sleep props. He also cries when he drops the paci and there's no way in hell I'm going to be running back and forth all night. 

As I said, I did feel guilty. To get over that guilt I decided to start thinking about it differently. My baby has been waking up throughout the night greeted each time with warm milk that helped him drift right back to sleep. Instead of helping him learn how to put himself back to sleep and teaching him that it wasn't morning time, I was just too exhausted to deal with that and would "put a bandaid" on the entire situation by just whipping my boob out so I could get back to bed. Though of course this was the right thing to do for the first few months, it was now time to offer Ford some sleep guidance. 

I would also like to point that as adults we wake up multiple times per night and roll over and go back to sleep. Instead of going back to sleep (this is what we want to teach our babies to do) they just cry. We think they must be hungry so we feed them. They just need help getting back to sleep. Unfortunately feeding them isn't the long term answer. 

THE PLAN

We decided to let him wake up and cry for a few minutes before going in. I started with setting the time around 10 minutes, even though our doctor said it would be ok to go an hour. I quickly learned going in after such a short time made things worse. We quickly moved the 10 minutes to waiting 15 minutes (it was so hard) but that extra 5 minutes made a huge difference. Ford never even made it to 15 minutes but 12-13 minutes seemed to be his sweet spot.

We put Ford to bed at 7 pm with the hope we could get him to sleep every night from 7 p.m - 6 a.m. 

The first few nights he was pissed. He woke up around 4 times a night but every night he would eventually put himself back to sleep after 10-12 minutes.

By night six I saw significant improvements. He dropped one of his wake ups. A few days later he dropped another. Listening to him cry was hard but as the days went on he slept longer and longer periods between wake ups and cried less and less.

By two weeks Ford was sleeping from 7 p.m - 6 a.m straight through the night. I check my Lollipop monitor app every morning and he might moan or let out one cry here and there but the only time he cries now is if he gets out of his swaddle.

It was a very long 2 weeks, but the key is not to give in and not to give up. The moment you give in and offer a feed you set back the progress. That being said it's ok if you can't handle it and do this. Nothing is perfect and you will have set backs. We went away last weekend and I think the change in environment threw Ford off so I offered him a feeding at 5 am when he woke up at 4:30 am crying. I immediately regretted it when he then woke up looking for that same feeding at the same time the next morning. 

My takeaway for you is: Consistency is KEY

OUR SLEEP JOURNEY AS PARENTS

The moment Ray found our we were pregnant he vocalized his opinions around sleep and kids. He witnessed the benefits his sister experienced with a good sleep schedule and really thought setting up some sleep boundaries would do wonders for us and our children. I have to say that looking back on our sleep journey with Charlie it really has been a blessing. 

Charlie goes to sleep every night at 7 pm and wakes up around 7am. He takes a nap at noon everyday and sleeps anywhere from 2-4 hours. He rarely fights us and sometimes even dives into bed. He sleeps in a sleeping bag swaddle and started taking a pacifier to bed around 8 months old. He has never been allowed to fall asleep in our bed, EVER. Like not even once. I'd be lying if I didn't say I would love to have him fall asleep in my arms a few times cuddled in bed but it's not even worth starting bad habits. Having a well rested child was tops on the list of our priorities when it came to raising kids. These work for our family and we've had great success. I believe most of it is due to consistency for which I have to thank my husband. At the same time we are in no way the type of parents that rush home on a Saturday just to get the kids in their cribs by noon for nap time. We try to also be flexible and realistic. That's why creating a sleep environment on the go is also very important to us for the times we can't make it home. My go to sleep tools for sleep on the go are the Hushh noise maker, HERE and our sleep shade, HERE. 

I also would like to note that just because Ford is sleeping well now doesn't mean his sleep schedule will never change. There are sleep regressions that we still will most likely run into but for now I'm very pleased with this outcome. 

BACK TO SCHOOL BOY PICKS


Back to school & little boys 


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Here are my little boy picks for back to school! They spend a ton of time outside at Charlie's new school so I included rain overalls. I didn't even know they existed, they are like snow pants but for the rain! I'm so happy I found them. I realized Charlie was pretty much out of clothing because I've been squeezing him into clothing from last summer. He will have a bunch of new options for his first year of school. I'm not that into busy character tops for kids but I find myself caving more and more because I know certain tops will make Charlie happy. He's not that into Disney characters yet but I included some fun options. Out of all of the busy or character tees we just got the one with the bus and one with tractors. H&M always has great Disney & Sesame Street options with out the $$$ price tags. All of the clothing below comes in baby - 4 years old. I'm a big fan of H&M for kids. They use organic cotton for some of their clothing and it seems to hold up better than some other popular baby brands I've tried. 

We got Charlie's backpack from Monogram Mary. It's navy seersucker and is going to have a truck on it with his name. I wanted to give him something he would be so excited about on the morning of his first day. Knowing Charlie he will be talking about his truck backpack all day long. She also makes a very cute pink seersucker option. You can shop the bags, HERE. There is also a matching snack pack & lunch box. You can shop them, HERE & HERE. She also makes a great children's tote. This is a great extra bag to send your child to school with or to keep at their school for an extra pair of clothes and things like that. You can find the tote, HERE. 

BACK TO SCHOOL PICKS FOR THE LITTLE GIRL IN YOUR LIFE


BACK TO SCHOOL & GIRL PICKS


How cute is my niece?? I love shopping for little girls clothing. Everything is so adorable. If I had a little girl her style would definitely have some edge. My go to for most kids clothings is H&M. Surprisingly they do use nice material for many of their kids clothing, many items being made with organic cotton. I also have had good experience with H&M clothing lasting through multiple washes. Ford wears so much of Charlie's old clothing which is mostly H&M and it's still in great shape. I usually size up when buying kids clothing because I would like it to last as long as possible. Check out my top back to school picks below! These sizes range from baby - 4 years old.

We got Charlie's backpack from Monogram Mary. It's navy seersucker and is going to have a truck on it with his name. I wanted to give him something he would be so excited about on the morning of his first day. Knowing Charlie he will be talking about his truck backpack all day long. She also makes a very cute pink seersucker option. You can shop the bags, HERE. There is also a matching snack pack & lunch box. You can shop them, HERE & HERE. She also makes a great children's tote. This is a great extra bag to send your child to school with or to keep at their school for an extra pair of clothes and things like that. You can find the tote, HERE. 

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The Lollipop Baby Monitor


Mrs. Nipple's Review of the Lollipop baby monitor


I was so excited to try out the Lollipop monitor. I've had my eye on it for months. I am always drawn to innovative products and at first sight you know this camera is going to be different. 

I registered for the Nest when was pregnant with Charlie. Though I still think it's a great product I was not willing to pay the steep subscription fee allowing you to see the recorded footage of your child. I loved using the nest as a nanny cam and would always check on Charlie and our nanny when I went back to work. For that purpose, the Nest is wonderful. Now that I have the Lollipop camera as a baby cam I would choose the lollipop over the Nest every single time and I’ll tell you why.

 

When we had Ford I started thinking of which camera would work the best with our lifestyle and needs. Somethings that were important to me were getting a good view of him on any of his many contraptions. Now that we live in a home, a much bigger space, being able to see him in different areas of our home was important to me. Being able to place the camera pretty much anywhere is a really great feature.

 

Another great feature is how clear the picture is. I can get such a clear view of Ford that I can actually see him breathing and making little movements which is very important to me.

 

I also wanted a camera that could offer us smart data. I didn't want to scroll through a whole nights worth of footage to see if Ford woke up. I wanted to be able to glance at a summary of how the night went. I love how the lollipop monitor has crying detection and then captures the clip of the footage when he was up and saves it for you. 

 

SOME OTHER THINGS I LOVE

Option to keep the Wifi connection private- This is a big topic. It's scary knowing others can get access to your baby’s live video. This is an important feature as It significantly reduces the risk of hacking. Outgoing video streaming will be blocked in that configuration.

 

MOBILE APP FEATURES:

Easy to use

Intuitive navigation when using multiple cameras

Audio and video quality is excellent

 

 

CAMERA FEATURES:

Infared night vision - Such a clear picture even at night

VOX - The Voice Activated Alert (VOX) feature allows you to conserve power on the video monitor. For example, you may want your video monitor to shut off when your babyis sleeping, and turn on when your baby cries. Adjusting the VOX sensitivity levels determines how sensitive the camera is to your baby's cry.

Multiple cameras- especially important with multiple kids

Two-way talk

Noisemaker & lullibies- LOVE this feature. Especially for traveling. There are so many different options from blow dryers to Mozart. If Ford wakes up from a nap early I put one of the options on and he drifts back to sleep. 

video recording & snapshot

zoom

You can view camera from outside of the home

You can send access to other people

128 degree view

720p HD-  I don't even know what this means but it is SO clear

Audio only mode - If you don't want to keep your phone on the whole night you can do the audio only version. Your phone screen will be turned off, but you’ll still receive the audio feed from your baby’s bedroom and you can easily turn on the video stream if needed. It basically acts as a baby crying detector in that mode.

Very well priced- $134 

 

 

The only two things I will point out.

 

1- I had to lower the sensitivity level of the background noise because I was getting way too many alerts. Once I did this it fixed the problem

 

2-I'm kind of over using my phone as a monitor when I'm home but I love the flexibility it offers when we are out and when we are traveling. I also can’t see myself walking around the house with a baby monitor. I've come up with the perfect system for our lifestyle. 

 

I use the lollipop monitor paired with an "old school" V-tech audio only baby monitor. The audio only monitor was very cheap and came with two bases. I leave one in the kitchen and one next to my bed. When I go to bed I put on the V-tech audio monitor and use that throughout the night. If Ford wakes up, I can hear him through the V-tech monitor and can look right on the lollipop monitor app to see what’s going on. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is check my lollipop monitor app. My favorite feature is that it shows me how many times Ford woke up and I can review the clips. Before I had this monitor I could never remember how many times I got up in the middle of the night to feed Ford because of the exhaustion I was experiencing. I wish I had this monitor because I know I was overfeeding him. This is by far my favorite feature. I am even considering purchasing another one for Charlie’s room. 

You can purchase the Lollipop baby monitor, HERE. 

You can purchase the V-tech audio only monitory I use paired with the Lollipop, HERE

 

 

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DAYTIME VIEW

DAYTIME VIEW

NIGHT VISION

NIGHT VISION

AUDIO ONLY MODE

AUDIO ONLY MODE

MY FAVORITE V IEW 

MY FAVORITE V IEW 



Pacifier Weaning


mrs.nipple & weaning

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Pacifiers are such great tools for the beginning of a child's life. They offer so much comfort and help free up some time for us mamas! They also reduce the risk of SIDS, satisfy the sucking reflux, and help them self soothe. When your baby hits age 2, it's time to start thinking about weaning. This is because all of the negatives start outweighing the positives between age 2-4. Though it is a wide range I have decided to stay on the safe side and wean early. 

“Before age 2, any problems with growing teeth usually self-correct within 6 months of stopping pacifier use,” says Evelina Weidman Sterling, PhD, MPH, co-author of Your Child's Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents.

After the 2-year mark, problems can start. Your baby's top or bottom front teeth may slant or tilt, Sterling says. And the problem can worsen as time goes on.

“Pacifier use after age 4, which is when permanent teeth start to come in, can have major long-lasting effects on adult teeth,” she says.

Charlie is 22 months old. He uses his pacifier during naps, at night, and for car rides. He also uses it here and there throughout the day for comfort. I did not want to do anything "cold turkey" since he has such an attachment to his pacifier and I wanted him to be very much involved in the weaning  process. He also has been caught removing his 4 month old baby brother’s pacifier and putting it in his mouth. This is another reason he really needs to be part of the process. Charlie and Ford use the same type of pacifier. I really love the Natursutten pacifiers and I'm just not willing to give his brother any other brand for long term use. 

We just started the weaning process and my goal is to remove it from his routine completely by mid October. I am doing it in stages. 

Stage 1: Focus on Charlie taking his pacifier out of his mouth and leaving it in his crib without removing it myself. I think I’ll give him up to 20 minutes before I would eventually intervene. My goal would be for Charlie never to use his pacifier when we are in the house or out & about unless we are in the car. 

Stage 2: Once he starts taking the pacifier out of his mouth on his own when he wakes up before we go downstairs and leaves it in his crib without me asking for at least 7 days in a row, I will then stop the pacifier use in the car. For the first week I plan on giving him a new little toy or something to distract him in the car and hopefully he will not miss it. During this time I will also stop using it for naps. I am going to introduce a new stuffed animal and book during this time.

Stage 3: After napping successfully without his pacifier for seven days I am then going to remove his pacifier during nighttime sleep. I again will introduce a new stuffed animal and book. 

Stealing pacifiers: If and when Charlie takes his brother’s pacifier out of his mouth and puts it in his own, I am going to use those as teaching moments stressing the fact that he is now a big boy and big boys don't use pacifiers. I will also remind him pacifiers are for babies and Ford is a baby. If this doesn't work (I have a feeling it's not going to be a perfect transition) I will use the 123 Magic/timeout theory where he may spend a few minutes in timeout if he doesn’t obey after 3 tries. 

This is my own plan and I have not tried this in full yet. I will share our progress on instagram so please follow along if you are interested. Stay tuned! Wish us luck. 

If you want a three day plan read below:

Your child can be binky-free in just three days, says Mark L. Brenner, author of Pacifiers, Blankets, Bottles & Thumbs: What Every Parent Should Know About Stopping and Starting (Fireside). Here's how to do it.

Day 1: In the morning and at bedtime, tell your child that you can see she wants to do lots of things that make her older. Tell her that's a good idea, and that in three days it will be time for her to say goodbye to her pacifiers. Tell her you know she can do it and that you'll work together on it. Keep the talk to 30 seconds and don't sound as if you're asking permission. If your child responds, reflect back her feelings—"I know you don't want to"—then move on. Don't worry that your child will become anxious if given advance warning. "That's a myth," says Brenner. "Like adults, children like to prepare themselves physically, psychologically, and emotionally for change."

Day 2: Repeat the same 30-second talk twice daily, only replace "in three days" with "tomorrow." Don't try to sell her on the idea. Keep your tone and manner matter-of-fact.

Day 3: Remind your child that it's day three and time to gather up his pacifiers. Act as if you're going on a scavenger hunt and ask your child if he'd like to help. Even if he refuses and protests, proceed to collect his pacifiers, place them in a plastic bag, and put them on the front step for "pick-up by the recycling truck." Explain that the pacifiers will be made into new tires or toys. "Children recognize that recycling is purposeful and intelligent, and will be far less upset than if you throw their treasured pacifiers in the trash," says Brenner. Which is not to say your toddler won't have a meltdown. Be empathetic, but firm, Brenner says, adding that most children get over losing their pacifiers within 48 hours.

 

 

 

Willow Pump Review....Too good to be true?


Mrs. Nipple's honest review of the Willow Pump


Too good to be true?

I'm writing this blog post while pumping in a coffee shop. Yup, you heard me correctly. I'm writing this blog post while pumping in a coffee shop. From the moment I announced I was trying out the Willow Pump, the DMs came streaming in. So many mamas out there were just as intrigued with this new pump, which seems to be first in class in the hands free "discrete" category. I received so many questions about the Willow Pump. Is it really actually quiet? Will I be able to attend a business meeting while wearing it? Can I get things done around the house while pumping? The number one question being, is it worth the money? It's like that unicorn...you've heard of it but you've never actually seen it...so does it actually exist? 

First I'll start with the set up...

This pump is simple to put together. It's just a few pieces, a quick charge, downloading the Willow app and you are ready! I also recommend watching the educational videos so you know exactly what you are doing. Then like anything else it takes a little practice. 

Learning curve

Willow advises that you pump at least 7 times within the first 7 days. That's because with Willow, it does take a little time to master it. It is not your average pump. Willow offers the option of a coaching call to help you during those first few days. I highly recommend jumping on this call. I think those that like the Willow don't mind putting in the extra effort upfront to then get the benefits of using the Willow vs. your traditional pump. A few things to focus on during this time is mastering placement of the pump on your breast, emptying the remainder of the milk from the pump into the bag, and changing bags mid-pump. I picked these because these were the three areas that took a little time mastering for me personally. You really have to get your nipple lined up correctly. With this pump, you can not see where your nipple sits while pumping like you can with the traditional pumps. The bags are also different than your traditional bags. You have to get a good seal (with proper alignment!) to prevent air from filling the bags and you also need to turn the pump a particular way to prevent leakage of your liquid gold after you pump. The customer service was great and having a coach to walk you through these areas was super helpful. It still takes practice to get these new skills down, but the benefits of the pump can be worth it to some.

Parts and way less of them

One of the things I hate most about another pump I’ve used and most traditional pumps is the amount of parts: the bottle, the flange, the plastic piece that goes on the outside of the back of the flange and the rubber piece that goes on the inside.....times two. Pumping on the go is not easy for a number of reasons and one reason is this...so many parts! Willow clearly has the traditional pumps beat here. There are 3 pieces plus the bag, but when you're done pumping you just take the bag right out, it's presealed. There is no question that it is easier to travel with the Willow vs a traditional pump. You only have to wash 2 parts and they are dishwasher safe. 

Time

I did find I was pumping for longer periods of time with the Willow pump vs. the traditional pump. I think this was due to the fact that the Willow bags only hold 4 oz of milk each. For some this is fine but I like to pump as much as my body will allow when I'm pumping which is over 4 oz. The Willow app alerts you that you reached 4 oz of milk and you have to take the bag out and insert a new bag. I get into a grove while pumping so this kind of messed with that grove a bit. I eventually ended up deciding to stop at 4 oz unless my breasts were engorged. 

 

Is it really silent?

The Willow Pump is definitely quiet but it does make sounds. It makes the most noise in the beginning while it is in the stimulation phase, before switching to expression, but even during that time it is so much quieter than your average pump. Would you be able to hear it in the quiet section of the library? YES!  But not in a coffee shop. 

How discrete is it?

Can you pump while holding your baby, cleaning the house, folding laundry, sitting in the corner of a coffee shop or driving? YES!! Are you going to pump with the Willow while you are walking around town? I doubt it. I wear a 34 B and it look like I have DDD or even bigger....I can't remember what comes after DDD like maybe X or something like that?! Well, then my boobs are XX while wearing the Willow. There's no way you will catch me walking around town looking like this, but it sure does help while driving or cooking dinner. I actually wore them while eating dinner with my parents and it was so nice not having to spend an extra 30 minutes I didn't have to pump with the door closed. It also feels nicer. I often feel like I'm pumping myself as if I am a cow when I use a traditional pump. These slip right into my bra and that's it! 

Cost

There's no question that the Willow is expensive. On top of the price of the pump, the bags will also cost you a pretty penny. That being said I know many mamas will spend the money on a pump that could really fit into their lifestyle. Willow now offers financing, with payments starting at $43/month. You can also use your FSA/HSA funds as well.

Would I recommend the Willow?

I think it really comes down to what your needs are and how motivated you are to learn to really use the Willow correctly. If you occasionally pump and you can usually find time to sit down in a discreet place while  pumping, then this may not be for you. If you are always on the go, have multiple children, can't find a second during the day or constantly traveling and can't always find a discreet area to pump, then the Willow is a wonderful option. It's not perfect. I'm going to say it again, it's not perfect which you will usually find with something so innovative, but because I spend 60 percent of my time in my car because of my job, it's an easy choice that the Willow works with my lifestyle. That being said, if I'm home on a Thursday night and the kids are asleep, I will reach for my traditional pump because it pumps the milk in less time and can hold greater than 4 oz of milk. 

To learn more you can find a link to the Willow Pump website, HERE. 

If you have any specific question please ask them on instagram under comments or send me a DM. 



An epic Oktoberfest bash for the One year old in your life ... Charliefest


Charlie's first birthday & How to throw an Oktoberfest party 


 

I remember Charlie's first birthday party like it was yesterday. A year of sleep deprivation, teething and endless doctor's visits deserved some MAJOR celebrating. We all know first birthdays are more for the adults than the kids, and since we had not thrown a proper party since our little guy entered the world, I decided to throw one hell of a surprise party for Charlie's first birthday. Surprise party for a one year old? Why not!! Charlie was born on October 11th so I thought an Oktoberfest party would be the perfect idea. This wasn't your average Oktoberfest party...so we called it Charliefest.  (Poor Ford ..... I feel like going large for number one is such a first child thing).

1. The invite...If you've been following me for a while or even just have read my bio, then you know I love a good laugh. So in proper Mrs. Nipple fashion, we had a surprise party for a one year old. It actually ended up being fun seeing the expressions of our guests when they walked into an Oktoberfest party. I used paperless post because who has time to actually send invitations. Here are the invites: 

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                                                                                           SHHHHHHH ....... IT'S A SURPRISE PARTY 

                                                                                           SHHHHHHH ....... IT'S A SURPRISE PARTY 

2. The theme....If your baby is born in late September or October having an Oktoberfest themed birthday party is a must! It's easy, the food is delicious...think soft pretzels and brats, the beer is flowing and being able to give a corset boob cake to a breastfeeding one year old, I mean what could be better? Yup!  Oktoberfest it was....though we called it, Charliefest. I started planning just a few weeks before the big day because I decided to change the theme last minute. It was originally supposed to be, Oh, the Places You'll Go...womp womp. We had the party on a roof top in Greenwich. I wanted the kids to have fun activities (Charlie has many cousins) but like I stated earlier this was really for the adults.

3. Charlie's outfit...I ordered Charlie an adorable lederhosen outfit from Etsy. You can find it HERE. I then found the perfect pair of green shorts. You can find them HERE, knee high socks HERE and cute shoes HERE.  He was unmistakably a little German boy, ready to party! I loved THIS natural looking crown which ended up matching his outfit....and yes, he only left it on for maybe a minute, but we did get some adorable photos! I had her make the crown so it fit all the way around his head not just on top like the one I linked. I also purchased a hat HERE from the same shop through Etsy. 

4.The decor.....My parents brought some old beer steins that we filled with sunflowers. My mom's neighbor made us the perfect Charlie's biergarten sign and I ordered another sign that read, "Charliefest, Prost" from Etsy(it is pictured above), you can find it HERE.  Charlie also loves dogs, so I threw in a dog balloon and some beer mug & pretzel balloons to complete the look. I picked all of those up from the Balloon store in Tribeca.  I ordered the gold letter CHARLIEFEST balloons but as cool as they look they are kind of a waste for an outdoor party. They would not stay still so you could hardly tell they were supposed to say. I bought all Oktoberfest plates, cups, balloons and little things at Party City and Oriental Trading. You have to order online for most of the items. HERE are the plates etc. I think there is a fine line between going over the top and making it cheesy. I just ordered some balloons, plates, little containers for the brats, pins, little lederhosen ducks for the kids. HERE is a link to the Oriental Trading goodies. I also linked other items I ordered, like big beer mugs below. 

5. The food...My family is Lebanese and Italian so naturally the most important part of a party is the food. I ordered soft pretzels, a mixture of brats and buns all from Schaller & Weber. Think old-school German market & butcher shop with a wide variety of wieners plus other imported sundries. You can also sip and shop which I really appreciate...I was pregnant though..yada yada yada. This market is a great place to drop in if you are ever on the Upper East side of NYC. They have a window where you can get different types of brats ready for take out. I love the Saigon Special, it's my favorite, so I decided to recreate it for the party.  I was able to even bribe one of the guys there to let me purchase their special sauce that wasn't for sale & they also gave me a secret recipe for another sauce that my mom ended up making. I did tell him I would never share the recipes...but to be fair I wasn't a blogger at the time. We did a few different types of brats and then offered the Saigon as the special. It was a bauernwurst topped with a daikon carrot slaw, cucumber, fresh jalapeno, cilantro & sriracha aioli.  The brats paired with soft pretzles was the perfect combo. We also made pretzel necklaces so people could munch and sip all party long. We love wearable snacks!

6. The sweet stuff....There is a traditional German cookie called Lebkuchen. It's a heart shaped cookie that tastes similar to a gingerbread cookie. These cookies have been a staple of Oktoberfest since the 1950s. They are heart shaped, come in all different sizes and can be worn around your neck. We had @Crazyconfections (I highly recommend her and she's based in Stamford CT) make Charliefest Lebkuchen cookies for dessert. I went to multiple bakers who said they couldn't make the cookies just how I wanted them but she said no problem. They turned out PERFECTLY. She also made the perfect cake for a one year old.....a boob cake. Yes, you heard me correctly. It wasn't only on theme because it was a German girl with the long blond braids and a corset top, but I was also still breastfeeding Charlie, so of course he would want a boob cake. I ended up making my own smash cake which is SO easy. Don't waste money ordering one of those. See my smash cake post, HERE and I also made mini cupcakes, perfect for the kiddos. You can find the rubber pan HERE. Kids love them because they are truly bite size. 

7. Keep them busy....activities for the kids. We have a lot of friends with young children and Charlie has many cousins so I definitely wanted to include games to keep them occupied. When the kids walked in each one got a german name tag that read, "Hallo Mein name ist". You can find the name tags HERE.  I had two babysitters run the "kids corner" and my nieces helped out. We had the kids string pretzel necklaces when they arrived and my nieces painted the kids faces with glitter & stencil kits. You can find them below. I ordered a bunch of fun games from amazon. You can find them all below, as well. The prizes and goodie bags consisted of unicorn poop marshmallows, unicorn poop lilipops and unicorn poop slime. For the little guys I ordered THIS kids fence and THIS foam mat for the ground. It was nice being able to cage in our children so we could enjoy ourselves...all the parents agreed. 

That is how you plan the perfect Oktoberfest bash. Even though we had the party around the same time the real Oktoberfest takes place, this theme would be a hit all year long. 

 

 

 

 

MAMALOGUES


#MAMALOGUES  & A FEW OF MY FAVORITE REGISTRY ITEMS 


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I have a feeling if you are reading this then you are either a new or expecting mama so CONGRATULATIONS! I'm going to be sharing a few of my favorite registry items along with some mamlogues of how these products help me bond with my boys.

Two issues that stand in the way of bonding with my babies is when they are over stimulated or colicky so these products help with those two issues. If I were to recreate my registry these would be top on the list.

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First, the Phillips Avent anti-colic bottle. Not all babies will be colicky. My first wasn't but my second had all the signs of colic and was very fussy. He ended up actually being diagnosed with a lip & tongue tie at 2.5 months. When Ford (my second) would feed he would get air in his little tummy which is very painful. This bottle helps limit the amount of air that gets into a babies stomach during feedings and therefore helps with colic. It's not a bad idea to have a few of these bottles on hand just incase you too end up having a colicky baby. In my experience my favorite memories of bonding with my boys are when they are happy! This will help get you that happy baby if he/she is sensitive to extra air in their tummies. You can find these bottles, HERE. 

Second, a sleep cover! This was a lifesaver. I'm not a mama that likes being inside all day prisoner to my boys nap schedule. That being said my boys do have strict nap schedules because they are happiest when they get their sleep. This cover has a universal fit. It actually fits on every stroller (umbrella & full size) even on bassinets! It creates the perfect sleep environment. It blocks out 97% of light, it's completely breathable and has UV protection. Whether I have errands to run or we are at the beach this beach cover is my go-to. Since young babies can not wear sunscreen I like using this all summer long. You can find it, HERE.  This sleep cover paired with this travel noise maker make the perfect pair. You can find the travel size noise maker, HERE. These two products help create balance in our relationship. Finding ways to to create a peaceful sleep environment for your kids on the go is very helpful. 

Last but not least, my favorite on the go play mat. This play mat is perfect to use until your babies start walking. It folds up into a bag for easy transport! This is one of my favorite travel items. You unfold it and all of your toys are right on the mat! You can find it, HERE. Some babies get bored when you are at lunch or events...even at the airport. This is so fun for babies. When we travel I put new toys in the bag so it's a surprise when I open the bag and the new toys are sitting there....it also helps keep the boys occupied. 

You can watch the video below to see all the items! I run through each one. Head over to instagram to comment on what products helped you bond with your babies and share your #mamalogues 

A MOTHERS INTUITION


Ford's story 


I've been putting off writing this blog post all day. I'm not really sure why but I suspect it's because I've tried not to think about how the last three months really didn't turn out like I thought they would. I remember when Charlie was a newborn I wanted time to stand still. He would sleep on my chest for hours during those first three months. He was the happiest and most predictable baby. I always felt comfortable bringing him anywhere, even the library in the quiet section :) If he was fussy he was hungry and that was it. He could even sit in a dirty diaper for hours with not a peep.

Then Ford came along. From day one he seemed so uncomfortable and I had an overall feeling something was just not right. I couldn't put my finger on it. During our one week check up I told the doctor that he was fussy, seemed uncomfortable after feedings and had bad gas. He was 100 percent breastfed so I knew this wasn't supposed to be the case. The doctor didn't think anything of it and told me if he was even colicky that wouldn't present itself until week two or three. I then said there also seems to be something  off about his face. It seems stiff.... The doctor looked at me like I had three heads. As I was leaving the office, he asked me, "Are you OK?"  I just couldn't shake the feeling that something was just not right with my baby. When I left, I took ten minutes in the car and just sat thinking .... am I going crazy?

Instead of deciding, YES,  I am crazy, I headed right over to the ENT specialist thinking what if he had suffered a trauma to his face during delivery. Ford's arrival was a very intense, but quick delivery. The ENT examined him and determined that everything was fine. So, I took a breath and chalked it up to fourth trimester fussiness. However, I still couldn't shake my gut feeling that something wasn't right and found myself searching on the internet late into the night, still unable to find anything that made sense.

After 4 weeks of countless hours of fussiness, crying and one very uncomfortable baby, I decided enough was enough. Instead of feeling like wanting time to stand still, I was sitting in the living room one day praying time would speed up. I couldn't take it anymore. Seeing Ford in pain and also being around a fussy baby all day was just torture. No cuddles, hardly any smiles or interaction. I felt guilty but when people were around, I would immediately hand him off. 

I then decided no matter what, I had to figure this out. When I googled colic, it seemed like "colic" is just not really ever figuring out what is wrong with your baby but having to wait a few months for it to clear up.

I brought him to a GI specialist. You can read that post HERE. She had me cut out dairy and at first I thought it was really working...but it ended up not making much of a difference. I had trouble picking a photo for the GI & Colic post. I wasn't sure what photo to post on instagram. Should I post the picture that summed up my reality? My baby screaming in pain? Was that picture too intense ... too real? I thought in that moment I needed to admit to myself that this is my reality. The night that blog post above went live, something beautiful happened. Mothers from all walks of life commented with their similar stories of living with a fussy baby. Some moms had questions and other shared their personal stories.

And then, a few hours later, I checked my instagram and found this..."He looks like he has a lip tie from this picture. Seeing a specialist would probably be helpful. My son had a lip tie and it caused so many issues, from gas to not getting full. His dad also has one and it created a gap between his teeth." 

Oh my goodness!   WHAT I thought, is a lip tie? I had never even heard of a lip tie.

More comments flooded in....

Did you check him for a lip tie? ..then another "Have you had him checked for a lip tie by any chance? Looks like he may have one from this pic. I know that can cause fussiness as well." Then another, "Has he been checked for a lip tie? My daughter had one and was miserable acting (tons of screaming) until we had it reversed by laser. It can cause reflux, gas etc." 

Ford was asleep and for the first time I anxiously waited for him to wake up. I googled lip ties for hours. I thought there's no way he could have one. He was looked over at the hospital and he's been seen by two specialists and our primary care doctor multiple times. Someone would have obviously checked for it.  

The moment he woke up I opened his mouth and OMG!!! THERE'S A LIP TIE!!!

It all made sense. EVERYTHING came crashing together along with a wave of anger and guilt. I knew I would never get that time back with him. And all of these doctors...how could they possibly over look such an obvious thing??  

After being up all night, I needed answers. I showed up at my primary care doctor unannounced. It was immediately confirmed. I couldn't see our regular doctor,  but another doctor at the practice examined Ford. "Yeah, it looks like he has a lip tie." That was it??  She didn't seem very concerned. Should I see a specialist? The doctor basically shrugged her shoulders and said since he's gaining weight I shouldn't worry.  What?? Weight? That's all you care about? What about the fact my baby is in constant pain? 

I asked to see a specialist and was sent back to the ENT. That appointment didn't go so well either. "Yes, he has a lip tie and a little tongue tie. He's gaining weight so I wouldn't worry. Are you sure it's not reflux?"  NO!!!  I said I've been to a GI specialist and it's NOT reflux!! I  couldn't believe what I was hearing! "Are you sure?", he pressed.  "You should try reflux meds. And these lactation consultants are sending me way too many lip and tongue tied patients. They so over react." I felt like I was taking crazy pills. So many moms said their babies lip and tongue ties caused gas pain, fussiness and colic like symptoms. 

My next stop was to an oral surgeon. I couldn't believe I was having the exact same conversation. Since the baby was gaining weight, he advised it might be a good idea to wait a few years. Weight again seemed to be the only concern. He also gave me very incorrect information. He said if he did not stitch the muscle together after the lip tie, it would definitely reattach. He said he would have to put him under in the hospital to perform the procedure.  I left that appointment so upset! I immediately called my primary care doctor with whom I couldn't get an apt earlier that week. He said he has seen many babies in his practice who have had great experiences and never needed to be stitched or go under anesthesia. I was given such horrible misinformation. 

My husband's co-worker then gave me the name of a specialist, Dr. Siegel, in Huntington that successfully helped his baby. Dr. Siegel is the first and only Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in the United States that was awarded a fellowship in the American Academy of Pediatrics. I made an appointment for 2 weeks. My husband walked in that night and found me staring at Ford and basically sobbing. I just wanted to feel a connection and it was so hard for me and him. We decided to call back and basically beg for an appt. They got me one the next day. I walked in and he told me Ford had a stage 4 lip tie (worst level) and a tongue tie. All of the air I was hearing him swallow during breastfeeding was due to the fact that he couldn't properly latch. I had such an aggressive let down that he was gaining weight despite all his challenges. His lip & tongue tie paired with an aggressive let down resulted in one fussy baby. 

The doctor then proceeded to swaddle Ford, put little glasses on him and in less than 2 minutes lasered off both ties. Two minutes and it was all over. That was it.

I was supposed to immediately feed him, so I did. I know some babies have trouble latching after the procedure, but not Ford.  He fed beautifully and as I put him down to learn how to do the mouth exercises that I would have to do for two weeks to make sure the ties did not come back, he smiled!! I could never put him down ever without him screaming bloody murder. I would have to rock him with the noise maker going full blast just to get a minute. Not this time! He smiled at me with a really long cute smile and all that time that we didn't bond just melted away. So many thoughts ran through my head but the one I remember the most was, "There you are...I knew you were in there somewhere". 

It will be two weeks this Thursday, July 19th,  and for the last two weeks every 5 hours around the clock I have had to stretch out his upper lip and tongue to make sure the ties don't grow back. Even with stretching out his wounds, he's a much happier baby. The first week he was definitely still fussy, but a different kind of fussy. I could tell it was from the procedure. I never thought I would be able to say this, but this past week Ford has been the easiest baby, just like Charlie.  We recently started building a beautiful relationship and it is the best feeling in the world. It's like we are making up for lost time. 

I keep thinking what if I never posted that picture, what if I never shared my story, what if those mothers felt it might be too forward to post their intuition, what if I listened during those first few drs appointments, what it I didn't trust my motherly intuition?? 

Two seconds. Two seconds is the amount of time it would take to check if a baby has a tongue or  lip tie. It would take 2 seconds to change the first few months or years of a child's life, of those early bonding days where new mothers are in need of that connection with their babies to get them through the day. Two seconds. Lip and tongue ties go overlooked way too often. I'm not sure if doctors don't take them seriously or don't believe they really cause anything but all it would take is 2 seconds. 

After talking to multiple mothers with the same exact story, I know its not just me. Dr. Siegel was a wealth of information. He explained that not only can lip and tongue ties cause so much discomfort for the child during feedings and after feedings, but it can also cause speech issues, dental issues, sleep apnea and even can significantly change the way a child's face develops. We are talking about lifelong issues. 

Many times they go undiagnosed until kids are getting braces. One mother told me her daughter had been going to a speech therapist for years and the therapist had overlooked her lip tie. The dentist caught it. They had it lasered, and she stopped speech therapy. One mom had a child that was not talking at two and a half year old. After multiple specialist and no answers they eventually discovered he had a lip tie. After the lip tie revision his vocabulary exploded.  Another mother told me her daughter was misdiagnosed with reflux. They had her lip tie reversed and she came off of reflux meds shortly after. Story after story.....

I just hope this reaches as many moms as possible. If you have had a similar story please go back to instagram and share. If you have questions go back to instagram and comment. I feel so grateful for this platform. I want to scream our story from the mountain tops and spread the word. I feel like I need to pass the gift of bonding on to other moms  that those  three mothers gave to me. Never ever question the strength of a mother's intuition. 

 

A few other things: 

-You can see a chiropractor that specializes in working on babies right before & right after the revision. Many mothers told me that body work really helps after this procedure. 

-There are occupational therapist that also help babies and children after a tongue or lip tie revision. One of the therapies is called Craniosacral Therapy. This website HERE is a great resource to find an OT near you that specializes in ankyloglossia (tongue tie) & lip tie therapy. There are also a bunch of very useful resources for the parents, you can find them HERE. 

-Visiting a lactation consultant is always a good idea.

-You can find the benefits of body work after a revision, HERE. 

-We used infant Tylenol to help manage Ford's pain. 

-I also put organic coconut oil on my fingers while doing the lip & tongue exercizes every five hours. 

-One mom swore by this homeopathic solution she gave her baby. See below. 

Homeopathic recipe 

2 tablets of arnica, 2 tablets of chamomile in one ounce of purified water. ( check with your doctor first) Just mix it up in a dropper and give the baby a drop or two when he/she needs it. 

-There are also facebook support groups. Many mothers found these so helpful. 

-This website has a bunch of good post procedure information along with video tutorials of the lip and tongue stretches to prevent reattachment. HERE and HERE

 

NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE


Nordstrom picks 


I spent way too long looking at the Nordstrom anniversary sale. I compiled some of my top picks. If you find items that are sold out just check back because many items will be restocked. This is a GREAT opportunity to buy baby gear and classic women's pieces that won't go out of style. 

My top pick for kids is the NUNA carseat and native shoes. I am a huge fan of both. We LOVE our Nuna car seat. I have both the infant and convertible carseats. I can switch both from car to car in less than 5 minutes.

For women my top three picks are the Emerson boy friend jeans, the Soludos flats, and the Ugg wedge booties. I have two pairs of the Emerson jeans (I've had them for years & they my fav.) I got ton of use out of both the Soludos flats and Ugg booties. I highly recommend all three of these products. 

If you sign up for a Nordstrom card you can get access to the sale now but if not general access starts on July 20th and runs through August 5th. 

 

KIDS/BABY GEAR & CLOTHING

 

 

WOMENS PICKS 

Super Soccer Stars & Mrs. Nipple

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I had two loves as a kid growing up, dogs and soccer. I couldn't get enough of both.  So, I was beyond excited when I found out that there was actually a soccer program in Greenwich for kids  in the toddler set called Under 2's Kick & Play program from Super Soccer Stars. I did some investigating and discovered that the Kick & Play program is specifically designed to target the natural progression and age appropriate milestones all part of a healthy development a child goes through. It took me no time at all to make sure Charlie was enrolled. I especially was excited because this is an outdoor program for kids, and let's face it, kids need lots of outdoor time. Because it is scheduled on Saturday morning, the whole family was able to go and cheer Charlie on.  I also experienced how much fun this program is. The instructors are all great with the kids with their laid back no pressure approach. They even had large puppets to demonstrate soccer moves! As the instructors were encouraging the exploration of all those gross motor skills needed to play any sport, they incorporated original music and language so it's so much more than running and kicking. They offer birthday parties 

Kick & Play, a comprehensive developmental program for toddlers ages 12-24 months, is a perfect fit for you and your little one! These classes are geared towards the natural progression and acquisition of age-appropriate milestones. Not only does Kick & Play utilize the foundations of soccer to build upon gross and fine motor skills, but paired with our original music, child-size character friends, and highly trained instructors, the program also focuses on language and communicative growth. Not to mention the added social benefits that come from participation amongst peers, Kick & Play facilitates a way for children and their adult counterparts to develop a deeper and richer bond. You will be amazed by all the things your toddler can do, given the simple structure and consistency of the Kick & Play curriculum.

They also do birthday parties and hold customized private groups as well for families in their backyards. Private groups tend to be very popular in the area as it allows families to create a schedule around their busy schedules. It is also a great way for getting moms together to have coffee while their little ones play.

The Nipple's Family Update


Life Update & The Nipples 


As if our lives weren’t crazy enough with two under two and only nine weeks postpartum, we decided it was long past due to take the plunge and buy our first home.

If you have been following our family story, you are aware that it has taken us quite a long time to find what will hopefully be our forever home.

With my love for homes that are at least 100 years old dripping with character, and my husband’s preference for anything that doesn’t require a handyman, it should come as no surprise that it took 3 years to find something we both love.

I’ve mastered the art of house hunting while breast-feeding a newborn, chasing a toddler, and  taking a house tour during contractions. Those days are finally over. I'm really not sure what we’re going to do with all of our free weekends since they were previously filled with countless hours on Zillow and many many open houses. 

It’s been three years since Ray changed jobs and we relocated from NYC to Greenwich, CT. We had assumed that we would only be in our apartment for a short time since we had every intention of moving into a house.  However, living on Greenwich Ave. proved to be the perfect transition for us, as we were being weaned from our city lifestyle. With everything at our fingertips, we rarely needed a car, except for our evening visits to Tod’s Point. 

Charlie also loved living on the Avenue. He  had a ring side seat watching every car and truck parading down the street.  So we weren’t totally shocked that his first word was truck! But with the birth of Ford, we outgrew our apartment overnight. 

Though I never knew how overwhelming the home buying process could be, I’m so happy that our change of address is now set in stone. 

We officially moved into our new home yesterday. We’ve been working nonstop to get as settled as possible before Charlie returns on Saturday after spending a week with his grandparents. I’m beginning to realize that those “free weekends” will now be filled with furniture shopping and decorating as we begin to call New Canaan home.

    

WHAT'S IN FORD'S DIAPER BAG (2 months old)


THE PERFECT TOTE & DIAPER BAG


Town and Country Tote

This tote has the features I need in a diaper bag. It's just the right size, it has a zipper to keep everything inside and an organizational insert so you can find what you need during a meltdown...all without breaking a sweat. It has a very classic and timeless look. You can also get the bag monogrammed. Ours is hand painted! This is far from your average diaper bag. You can find the bag, HERE. 

HERE is the link to the outfit I'm wearing. 

Bourdreaux's Natural Butt Paste®

I love Bourdreaux's Natural Butt  Paste. Not only is the consistency thick enough for great coverage but it's not so thick you feel like you need to soak your hands to get all of the residue off. Charlie has only had one diaper rash in the last 18 months and I truly do believe this product has helped keep his bum healthy. I'm always very conscious of the type of products I use on Charlies's skin. The natural butt paste uses all natural ingredients including, soothing aloe, beeswax, and Peruvian balsam oil. It is FREE from: dyes, preservatives, parabens and talc. 

Honest Company Soothing Baby Bottom Wash

Ford's poop does not smell yet but when it starts to this will go in his diaper bag! Have you ever changed your baby's poopy diaper but the smell just won't go away? There were times when my husband and I were actually checking our shoes and wiping Charlie clean 2-3 times because we could not get rid of the smell. Then we started using this soothing bottom wash. I'm not sure why it works so well but it does. It completely takes away the smell which is especially important when you don't have a bath tub handy. It's also all natural made with organic aloe, witch hazel, and botanical extracts, not to mention it has NO: SLS, sulfates, phthalates, parabens, fragrances, dyes, formaldehyde, MEA, DEA, TEA, or most common allergens. However, if your child has a bad diaper rash, I would NOT recommend spraying this on the area.

Boogie Wipes

A few friends of mine introduced me to these over Christmas. They swear by them. We tried them out and I can see why. Boogie wipes contain saline. Saline dissolves snot and mucus! When infused into a moist wipe like Boogie Wipes, saline makes mucus easier to wipe away while remaining gentle enough to comfort stuffy noses. Because saline is natural and hypoallergenic, it can soothe even the most delicate skin without irritation. 

Pamper Swaddlers, size 1

I am usually very good at staying organic/all natural but I couldn't find a diaper as good as these guys. I tried a bunch of brands that were just so stiff and non absorbent. These have been the best for our family. I recommend trying out a few different brands to see which ones work the best for your baby. 

Water Wipes

WaterWipes are my favorite wipes. A baby’s skin is much more delicate than your own, so it should be cleaned with only the gentlest and purest elements possible. WaterWipes are the only wipes made with just water, specially purified and softened, with a tiny drop of grapefruit seed extract. WaterWipes have been carefully designed to be gentle on babies’ sensitive skin. They are the only wipes that contain 99.9% water and a drop of grapefruit seed extract – a natural skin conditioner. 

Extra change of clothes

I keep at least two change of clothes in our diaper bag at all times. I try and pick pieces that are easy to to throw on in public. Usually pieces without buttons.

Gathre Diaper Mat 

I love the micro Gathre diaper mat. It is made out of bonded leather which is a luxurious material that is extremely soft. The bonded leather is water impermeable, regulates well in the heat and is stain resistant. The top surface of the mat is made with a synthetic layer of polyurethane. This allows for it to wipe clean easily and maintain high resistance to stains. The backside is a soft suede leather. This fits perfectly in our diaper bag and comes in a bunch of really cute prints. 


A few other things you will find in Ford's diaper bag.....


Burp cloth: We use THESE & THESE

Our portable noisemaker: You can find it, HERE.This comes with us everywhere. It's rechargeable and is great for babies that get fussy on the go. 

Arm & Hammer bags: You can find them HERE. They come with a compact dispenser. The bags are infused with baking soda for safe, effective and natural odor elimination. Great for changes on the go and storing dirty clothing. 

Pacifier (Ford is having trouble taking one but this is the brand we use): You can find it, HERE. 

Muslin blanket: You can find it, HERE. 

Small Little Giraffe blanket: You can find it, HERE. 

Bottles & Formula: Ford exclusively breastfeeds but if you bottle feed you will also need bottles & formula. We use THESE bottles. 

Hand sanitizer for mommy & daddy: You can find it, HERE. 

A small stuffed animal bunny that plays music

5 SLEEP TIPS FOR YOUR BABY

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I ran into Hillary today at Music Together in Greenwich. She is a sleep specialist and she noticed I looked exhausted....I mean what mom of an 8 week old and 20 month old isn't?! right?! She shared 5 very simple and easy to follow sleep tips with me to both help set Ford up for success and help me get some sleep. I used all of these with Charlie when he was a baby and he is now an excellent sleeper. She reminded me to start implementing them with Ford! How soon we forget :) 

 

AVOID SLEEP PROPS

Babies should learn to fall asleep on their own without external props in order to avoid night wakings. These props are usually used to help babies fall asleep but are not there when the babies wake up. They include pacifiers, rocking your baby to sleep or letting your child fall asleep in your arms and then putting them in their crib. When your baby wakes up and realizes they are not in the exact environment they fell asleep in, they are more likely to get upset. The props I do use and think are fine include a noise maker and the Ollie swaddle. These tools are okay because they do not change from the moment the baby goes to sleep to any night wakings.

SCHEDULES

Keep your baby on an EAT-PLAY-SLEEP schedule to help ensure they sleep their best. This is a great one. If you feed your child and let them fall asleep, they will always associate feeding with sleep. It is not a good habit to start. If you follow the EAT-PLAY-SLEEP rule you will teach your baby to fall asleep on their own, without the help of the breast or bottle. The earlier you teach your baby self-soothing skills, the happier everyone will be. You will also be setting your baby up for success in the future when breast/bottle feeding will be replaced with solids. The less sleep associations you have to wean your baby off of, the better. 

EARLY BEDTIME

The best bedtimes are usually between 6 and 8 pm. An early bedtime will prevent your child from becoming overtired, which can make it difficult to settle down to sleep. We put both Ford (8 weeks) and Charlie (20 months) down at 7:00 pm. Charlie wakes up between 7 am & 8 am and Ford slept until 4:30 am last night! Having an early bedtime not only breeds more sleep, but it also gives my husband and I some adult time. 

ROUTINES

A soothing bedtime routine will help your child drift to sleep peacefully. A bedtime routine should be anywhere between 20 - 30 minutes. Believe it or not, Charlie both started sleeping in longer stretches and going to bed peacefully when we started to implement a 20 minute bedtime routine. He now knows exactly what is going on and has that time to understand that he is going to bed. My husband bathes him, puts him in his jammies in our bedroom and gives him his bottle as they talk or read for a little while. My husband then lets Charlie turn off all the hallway lights and Charlie says goodnight to all the hanging animal pictures. He then grabs the tags of his two lovies and goes down 99 percent of the time by trying to dive into his crib. 

CONSISTENCY IS KEY

Keeping your child's sleep routine consistent provides security and comfort. It also helps your child understand what is expected of them.  The routine will not work if you do not do it consistently. These 5 tips will not start working right away, so be sure to stick with it!!! Consistency is key!! 

 

Here is Hillary's info! You can also find our go-to sleep tools below :) Everything but the rock n' play! We use that during the day with Ford but not at night. 

 HILLARY CATHERINE SLEEP CONSULTING

SLEEP@HILLARYCATHERINE.COM I 475.328.0230

WWW.HILLARYCATHERINE.COM


SLEEP & HOW TO GET SOME