The Friday Five – Breastfeeding

The Friday Five – Breastfeeding

Hello.  I would love to welcome you to a brand new weekly feature here on The Crafty Organized Mom – The Friday Five.  Each week, a group of five fabulous moms will come together to offer you some really great advice about an important parenting topic.  We will choose a different topic to feature each week so be sure to Subscribe to our newsletter so you will never miss a post.

This week we will be focusing on the important topic of breastfeeding.  While every mother will have her very own journey and relationship with breastfeeding, it can be so helpful to get the advice of other moms that have been through the experience before.

My First Breastfeeding Experience

I remember when I was a brand new mom and essentially all I knew about breastfeeding was that I was going to do it no matter what.  Social Media wasn’t nearly the powerhouse that it is today and the class that I took did little to prepare me for the actual realities of being successful at breastfeeding.  It was given by a nurse that preached how natural and wonderful it would be.  So I went in gung-ho and because of a poor latch, ended up engorged with cracked and bleeding nipples.  It took three days for anyone to tell me something was wrong because I just assumed I had to deal with it.

Thankfully I was able to get the support of a lactation consultant that corrected the latch and ordered me a hospital grade pump to give my nipples a chance to recover.  It took my daughter and me another month or so to get the hang of it and we went on to have a wonderful 10-month run.  But gosh, I wish someone had told me how hard it would be to start and how important getting help early was if it hurt.  It would have saved me a lot of pain and tears.  With my next two children, I was so much more prepared and confident and things went much better.  I asked for a lactation consultant to come and assess my latch early and it made a big difference.

I hope you will find some great wisdom in this post that will help you along with your own breastfeeding journey!

Katie Mac | From North to South

www.fromnorth2south.com

Full disclosure, I never had the intention of breastfeeding. I just couldn’t get myself comfortable with the idea. Then after joining some support groups online, speaking with those mamas and hearing about their journeys, I decided I would ‘give it a go’. It was the best choice I could have made. Our breastfeeding journey lasted about 6 months with my first. I rarely fed in public, and if I did it was under a cover that was a battle to keep on. With the encouraging words and support of my groups, I ditched the cover with baby number two and made it 9 months before he lost interest. By the time baby number three came along, I felt like I was an old pro. We are almost 10 months in and going strong.

I was fortunate to have such great experiences overall. There were definitely those days, those days when I just wanted to throw in the towel, run to target and buy some enfamil. Those days when my nipples hurt so bad I had to walk around topless to avoid any irritation. On those days I turned to my support systems. My husband, my mother and every other mother dealing with the same issue. Facebook groups are a godsend to moms. There’s a group for everything. Whether you’re a first time mom struggling with a latch, or a ‘seasoned’ mom who is dealing with a first time issue. The best advice I can give is join a support group and ask questions, share pictures and know that you’re not alone.

Vanessa Pak | The Four Pak

www.thefourpak.com

I think the key to being successful at breastfeeding is to just go with the flow (literally and figuratively!). I had every intention to breastfeed, but once my twins were born, they were four weeks premature and in the NICU for about a week and a half. Feeding at my breast didn’t come too easily for them, and I’m sure my feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed didn’t help. Luckily, they took to bottles very easily so I decided to exclusively pump and give them my milk in bottles. Pumping for two was not the easiest thing in the world, and my babies only got breastmilk for their first four months, but that was pretty good in my book! You have to remember that fed is best and you’ll get through whatever breastfeeding challenges come your way!

Erica Gilliam

www.ericagilliam.com

When I found out I was going to be a mom, I looked forward to being able to breastfeed.  I knew that it would be such a beautiful time with my daughter.  However, my daughter was born 8 weeks early and after being introduced to a bottle in the NICU, she had complete nipple confusion.  She would scream for hours and I became an overwhelmed, emotional mess.  After 2 months of trying, pumping, lactose teas and cookies, diminishing returns, working with multiple lactation specialists and nipple shields, I made the decision to let go.

While it was not what I had envisioned when becoming a mom, switching to formula was the best decision for both me and my daughter.  If you are a mom who is struggling with breastfeeding or simply can’t for whatever reason, know that you are not alone.  Everyone has opinions, but you must make the decision that is right for you and your family.

Tiffany Houseman | The Wholesome Housewife

wholesomehousewife.com

3 Important Things You Need to Know If Breastfeeding

#1 Baby should be checked for tongue/lip-tie ASAP after birth

With my first, I suffered through every feeding for 10 months until we finally figured out that Baby Boy had both a tongue AND lip-tie. They were causing my plugged ducts, nipple pain, thrush, unexplained fevers, and shooting, burning breast pain. First feeding after his laser surgery was nearly pain-free.

#2 Nursing can be uncomfortable at first

Even if Baby does not have either tie, it may still be a little uncomfy at first as your body gets used to the friction from nursing. Changing positions of hold can help and I highly recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter!

#3 It’s worth sticking out

Some mamas can’t produce enough milk or have health issues themselves preventing a good breastfeeding relationship, but in most cases that’s not the case. Your milk is important for baby, and nursing releases feel good hormones to relax you. Don’t give up, Mama, it’s so worth it!

Betsy Smith | Bug and Baby Girl

www.bugandbabygirl.com

I was as surprised as anyone when my son’s first birthday came and went without weaning. I had planned to stop breastfeeding at a year and, believe me, friends, family, and strangers made it clear that I “should;” some because they thought breastfeeding a toddler was strange and others because they were convinced it was dangerous for the pregnancy I was carrying.

But, unsolicited advice aside, my son, my doctor, and I were all happy, so I decided to roll the dice. Everything I read told me that he would, likely, self-wean during the pregnancy and, if he didn’t…well…I figured we would cross that bridge when we came to it.

Well, he didn’t. So we crossed the bridge.

And, because motherhood is nothing if not surprising, I realized that the hard choice I thought I was making was actually the easy one. So many times, I watched them together, seeing the comfort that my son took in being at the breast with his baby sister, and wondered why the world had tried to keep this secret from me. This “hard” thing was easier for my two sweet babies, who never had to question their place or whether there was enough of me to go around.   And it was certainly easier for me than having a one year old ransacking the house while I nursed a newborn all day.

To everyone’s surprise, I nursed my babies side-by-side for another two years. And, like so much of my breastfeeding journey, it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was so much better.

~

I hope you have enjoyed this post and have found some great inspiration from some amazing moms!  Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates.  When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!

Heaven Sent It

Heaven Sent It

When I was about nine years old, I had my first experience with death.  My great-grandmother passed away.  She was older and had experienced deteriorating health.  She had lived a very good life and it was just her time to go.  I remember being sad and I very clearly remember that I was not invited to any of her services.  My parents must have decided that I was “too young” or didn’t need to go.  To this day, I am still sad that I didn’t have the opportunity to pay my final respects to my great-grandmother.  I now know that as a parent, it can be extremely hard to know how to support your child through the grieving process.  Especially when you are grieving yourself.

Saying Goodbye

A little over a year ago, my father-in-law passed away after a three-year battle with colon cancer.  While I think we are all grateful that he no longer has to experience the pain and ugliness of the disease, we are all shattered that he is gone.  My husband was extremely close to his dad and he still struggles to figure out how life is supposed to go on without his dad.  As a spouse, it has been a journey to figure out how to support my grieving husband.  Some days I feel like I do okay at it, but most days I feel lost in how to comfort him.

While supporting my husband has been a journey of its own, supporting my children through this loss has been another element that I have struggled to find the best path.  My youngest was just a month old and I am grateful every day that he got to meet his grandfather, even if he won’t remember.  My middle child processed the loss in a very straight-forward way.  “Tata is in heaven”.  To him, nothing else mattered and he was at peace with it.  My oldest was crushed.  She was very close with her grandfather and she couldn’t comprehend a world in which he wasn’t here.

An Angel Named Sophia

Heaven Sent It

One of things that has been an absolutely incredible blessing in helping my daughter process this loss has been an angel named Sophia.  Sophia lost her father in a tragic accident when she was just five years old.  She started a journal to keep the memory of her father alive.  At just 8 years old, she started a non-profit, Heaven Sent It,  to help other kids coping with the loss of someone important to them.  She puts together amazing care packages that help grieving children start their own memory journals and process their losses.  She includes a personalized letter to each kid she sends a box.  You can read all about her amazing story here on Today.com.

Perfect Timing

Heaven Sent It

My daughter received one of these care packages and as fate would have it, the timing was incredible.  She was having a particularly difficult week and was really missing her grandfather.  Sophia and her team of “Heavenly Helpers” personally package each box with a specific friend in mind.  And let me tell you….the boxes look so awesome!

Heaven Sent It

When the box arrived, I knew exactly what it was and couldn’t wait for my daughter to get home from school to open it.  When she got home, I just gave her the box and let her discover what was inside.  She found the letter first and sat in complete silence as she read.  Then, the tears began to roll down her cheeks.  She was so touched by Sophia’s story and that she was chosen to receive one of the boxes.

Heaven Sent It

Inside her box, my daughter found lots of thoughtful gifts:

  • A personalized letter and pictures from Sophia
  • A journal to capture her memories of her grandfather
  • The book, Always Remember by Cece Meng
  • A necklace with a beautiful poem inside
  • A game to play
  • An “adult coloring book” type journal to color
  • Picture frame to decorate and put a picture of her grandfather

I am just so blown away by every single aspect of this experience.  This young girl is so thoughtful and wise beyond her year.  In her pain, she found a way to not only to celebrate her father but to help so many other children suffering from the loss of a loved one.  To a child grieving a loss, it is so impactful to know that you are not the only one going through such an experience.  Sophia is truly an angel!  The work that she does is nothing short of incredible.

Heaven Sent It

Please be sure to check out Sophia’s website!  Also, if this little girl’s mission has touched you in any small way, I greatly encourage you to make a donation to help her continue her mission and help as many grieving kids as possible.

I hope you have enjoyed this post!  Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates.  When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!

Easy DIY Fabric Bunting

Easy DIY Fabric Bunting

I’ve developed a small obsession with fabric buntings lately.  You may also know them as a fabric banner.  They are really inexpensive, so simple to make, and seem to add just the right touch to any party or special occasion.  I recently used them at my son’s baptism party and my son’s first birthday party.  I’ve had several requests to either buy one or directions to make it yourself so I thought I would share the step-by-step simple directions with you so you can make your very own fabric bunting for your next party or special occasion.  If you’d prefer to have one made for you, please contact us and send us your request.

Supplies

(Directions are for 2 – Eight pennant fabric buntings.  Adjust your supplies up or down based on your desired length)

  • 3 Coordinating Fabrics: Either Fat Quarters or 1/4 yard cuts will work.  Prewash all fabric.
  • 1 Coordinating Spool of 1″ Ribbon
  • Paper Template (see directions below)
  • Rotary Cutter and Cutting Surface (alternatively fabric scissors will work but will take you a lot longer)
  • Ruler
  • Sewing Machine with Coordinating Thread
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Spray Starch (optional but recommended)

Paper Template

Fabric Bunting Template

The paper template is really easy to make.  Start with an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of cardstock (printer paper will work if you don’t’ have cardstock, but won’t stand up as well.

  1. Draw a 6″ line across the top
  2. Measure 3″ to the center and draw an 8″ line down forming a “T”
  3. Draw a line from either side of the top line to the middle bottom line.  These lines should be approx. 8 3/4″
  4. Cut out your template

Step-By-Step Directions

Ironing:

  1. Fabric: Iron each cut of fabric.  Fold in 1/2 the long way – right sides out.  Spray with starch and iron again.
  2. Ribbon: Fold the ribbon in 1/2 and iron a fold in the ribbon.

Fabric Bunting Ribbon

Cutting

  1. Lay out your first fabric on your rotary cutting mat – Remember that it should already be ironed in half
  2. Trim the open end so that the fabric is exactly 8″
  3. Lay your pattern on the left edge of the fabricEasy DIY Fabric Bunting
  4. Cut each edge of your first triangle.Easy DIY Fabric Bunting
  5. Flip your pattern to cut an upside down triangle with your next cut.
  6. Continue alternating cuts until you have cut all the way across the fabric.  You will end up with two cuts of fabric back to back with right sides facing out.  Leave each set together.Easy DIY Fabric Bunting
  7. Repeat for each selection of fabric

Sewing:

  1. Take your first triangle set (two pieces of fabric wrong sides together) and sew down the right side of the triangle and up the left side of the triangle.  You will leave the top unsewn for now.Easy DIY Fabric Bunting
  2. Continue to do this for each triangle set you have cut.  It’s easier to “chain sew” these, meaning to just keep sewing from one triangle to the next.  Just leave a few stitches in between each triangle.  I decided to sew mine in the order I wanted to create the bunting in so I didn’t have to sort it later.Easy DIY Fabric Bunting
  3. If you chain sewed your pennants, cut them apart.  Make sure they are in the order you will create your bunting.
  4. Grab your ironed ribbon.  Leave a length of ribbon at the beginning of your bunting depending on how much extra length you need to tack/tie it up.  I stapled mine to the fence, so only needed about 2″.  You may need more or less depending on how you want to use it.
  5. Fold the ribbon on the top of your first pennant.  Sew with a zig zag stitch sewing the pennant into the ribbon.Easy DIY Fabric Bunting
  6. Repeat until you have sewn ribbon across all of the tops of your pennants.  You can sew either direction, so choose the one that feels the most natural to you.  I made two buntings so that I could lay they across the top of each other.  Adjust your bunting to fit your individual project.Easy DIY Fabric Bunting
  7. Finish the ends as you desire.  I lopped the end back on itself and sewed it down.

Easy DIY Fabric Bunting

That’s it!

You now have your own fabric bunting.  This would be perfect for party decor that you could use over and over.  It would also be a perfect project for your child’s room or baby’s nursery.  I would love to see pictures of your beautiful fabric buntings!  Send me your picture at: [email protected] and I may feature a few on this post.

Smash Cake

I hope you have enjoyed this post and all the step-by-step guide to make your own fabric bunting!  Be sure to stay connected to all of the great ideas from The Crafty Organized Mom by signing up for updates.  When you do, you’ll also grab a free copy of our Family Meeting Guide + Meeting Printable!