Baby Items I'm Glad I Bought + Ones I Wish I Hadn't

In case you missed it, I shared a few of my favorite baby items (and a few I could have lived without) over on Apartment Therapy last week. The funny thing is, the list would have been totally different if I had written this when I had Violet! Is it just me or did anyone of you have a different must-have list for each of your babies?

Because I Actually Get to Feed My Baby Real Food This Time Around...

Even though Lucy is my second baby, I feel like a new mom when it comes to feeding her. With Violet we weren't able to give her anything but breastmilk or her prescription formula until she was over a year old due to her extreme food intolerances, so I never really got the experience of feeding food to a baby. Now that I'm fully into that arena with Lucy (she's now ten months old!), there are a few things that have been quite new for me.

1. Food stains! Violet's clothing stayed sooo much cleaner than Lucy's does - I didn't realize how messy feeding a baby can be!
2. We go through bibs like crazy - I feel like we have a thousand and I just can never keep enough clean to last the whole week.
3. Sticky fingers, sticky faces, general stickiness. Of course, when Violet was a toddler we dealt with the sticky fingers thing but we were blissfully unaware of how sticky a baby can get.
4. Where do you feed them when visiting friends? I'm not about to lug my high chair everywhere we go, so where do you put your baby when you're visiting a friend (or even a restaurant) who doesn't have a high chair? I usually end up just holding her on my lap, but what a disaster that always turns out to be! I'm thinking maybe we should have invested in a portable high chair of some kind, but now I'm wondering if it's a little late in the game to actually get our money's worth out of it? I'm really liking this one by Inglesina:
So pretty! It comes in a bunch of pretty colors and has gotten really great reviews, plus they're not too pricey. Any words of wisdom? Is it worth it at this point?

Thanks so much from a second time mama, first time baby feeder lol! xo, Lauren

P.S. Tips for Little Eaters

Favorite Parenting Links Lately

Looks like I'm not the only mom dealing with mom guilt, sleep issues, and those oh-so-adorable but manipulative creatures that they call three-year-olds. Who knew?

I feel like I could've written this post myself - I'm not a shopaholic by any means, but I've been struggling to curb my spending habits and live within our means as much as possible while I'm off work this year with my babes. Going from being a two income to a one income family is no joke.

Looooved reading Em Henderson's birth story - she's always so candid and real.

I so frequently find myself telling Violet that's she's beautiful (because she is - both inside and out). I also tell her she's smart, funny, cute, thoughtful, a hard worker, a good listener, and a wonderful sister, but not as often as I tell her that she's beautiful. This post made me really think about the words I use with her and how that may affect her perception of what's most important.

This is exactly why I hate shopping at places like Toys R Us, and yes, even Target for toys. Why are the aisles all so segregated by gender? My kid loves princesses to be sure, but she also loves playing ninja, barn, shooting her bow and arrows, building with Legos and blocks, and doing science experiments. My nephew loves his action figures and play kitchen equally. And seriously, quit it with the color thing already! My daughter's favorite color was blue until someone told her it was a "boy color". If I ever find out who that person was they'll get a piece of my mind, that's for sure.

"I hear ya. I feel ya. I know."

Camp Out in the Nursery

Truth be told, you’ll be spending many nights camping out in your little one’s nursery. So why not take the decor all the way with a fun camp-inspired look? It’s one of my favorite nursery themes that can work for boys and girls alike. To keep things from going over-the-top, I prefer pieces that have that rustic and natural feel, but with a modern edge. Think warm wood tones with clean lines and traditional patterns in fresh color palettes. Here are 20 of my favorite pieces that fit the bill. You can find all of the sources over at my post on

5 of My Favorite Cribs Under $400

In my last post I chose my five favorite cribs in the under $200 price range. But if you've got a little bit more wiggle room in your budget it can really open up your options in the crib arena. Here are five beautiful cribs under $400:

1. Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib: $379
2. Honest Collective Crib: $399 (I love that when you purchase one of these cribs, The Honest Company will donate one to a family in need)
3. Babyletto Skip Convertible Crib: $299
4. Karla Dubois Oslo 3-in-1 Convertible Crib: $399
5. DaVinci Highland 4-in-1 Convertible Crib: $389

P.S. 5 Favorite Cribs Under $1000 + 5 Favorite Cribs Under $200

5 of My Favorite Cribs Under $200

When we put Violet's nursery together, we were on a shoestring budget, especially when it came to home decorating. But that doesn't mean that you can't have a stylish nursery. I did a lot of shopping around, made use of hand-me-downs and yard sale finds, and did a few DIY projects in order to decorate the space within our means. Sometimes I feel like I see all of these gorgeous modern cribs in my favorite nurseries, and their price tag is like a mortgage payment. If it's doable for your family financially, I say go for it, splurge on the crib of your dreams! But if not, don't despair - these five cribs are all under $200, look great, and will be perfectly lovely for your little guy or gal:

1. The Classic Jenny Lind - This one is definitely a favorite for me (obviously since it's the one I chose for my girls' nursery!) - I love the classic look and its versatility. The Jenny Lind will look at home in most any space - whether the style is modern, eclectic, classic, or vintage, the Jenny Lind is kind of a chameleon that can hang with most any look. At $159, it's a little more expensive than the one we purchased (it was made by Delta and we paid $103), but that one doesn't seem to be on the market any longer.

2. The IKEA SNIGLAR - Clean lines, warm wood tones - simplicity at its best. This is my favorite crib from IKEA, and at a price tag of $69.99 it really can't be beat.

3. The Baby Mod Modena - This is another crib that would work well in a lot of different nurseries - modern, woodsy/rustic, or even traditional. It comes in a variety of colors and sneaks in just under the $200 mark at $199.98.

4. The IKEA SUNDVIK - At $119 this is a little pricier than the SNIGLAR, but it comes in gray-brown, white, and black-brown, so if you're looking for a non-wood toned option, this is a great bargain.

5. The IKEA GULLIVER - The most expensive of the IKEA cribs, this one is $129, which is still one of the best looking and most inexpensive cribs out there - really IKEA gives you, as always, a lot of bang for your buck. It is available in both white and birch.

And if you're looking for more options, check out my favorite 5 Cribs Under $400 and 5 Cribs Under $1000.

P.S. 6 Tips for Decorating a Nursery on a  Budget and 16 of My Favorite Sources for Crib Sheets

Handmade Love

Loving these beautiful felt flower pieces from The Felt Flower Shop on Etsy. What a pretty way to brighten up your home this winter, and bonus - you don't have to water it! (Or replace them every month for that matter).  xo, Lauren

Handmade Love

Aren't these just the most adorable hair clips you've ever seen? Violet would go gaga! You can find these and more pretty clips and headbands in a lovely little Etsy shop called Jellabee. xo, Lauren

The Hot Topic Post - Breastfeeding, Weaning, and Sleep Training


I made the decision to breastfeed Lucy when she was born, but I didn't know how long I would be able to do so. I've been on a maintenance medication for a medical issue I have that I wasn't able to take while nursing. After discussing my options in detail with my doctors, we decided that I would go off of the medication and breastfeed my baby for as long as I was able to do so. At almost eight months in, my symptoms flared up and I had to wean. I'm truly thankful for the time that I was able to feed my baby and have that special bonding experience with her, but it was never easy.

I thought after breastfeeding Violet for almost eight months (I had to wean her because of her medical issues) that it would be easier this time around. In some ways it was, but in other ways it was a completely different experiences. At the beginning her latch felt like razors were grinding back and forth against me. It was incredibly painful - something I never experienced with Violet. Luckily I sought out the help of a lactation specialist and we were able to do a few simple exercises that dramatically improved Lucy's latch. I'm so glad I talked to her because otherwise I don't know how long I would have kept at it. Another big difference was that Lucy almost never fell asleep while nursing, where that was one of the only ways I could get Violet to sleep. Even at night, Lucy would wake up, nurse, and then I would put her back in her bassinet and she'd fall asleep. I think I had a really strong let down, so that may have prevented her from really relaxing while she nursed. I'm very thankful that I never had to deal with supply issues or mastitis or any of the other many more serious issues that many women have to face. It's amazing that something so natural and at one time essential as breastfeeding can be so complicated and difficult.

This time around I weaned much more gradually (with Violet I went cold-turkey) - starting out with replacing one feeding a day with a bottle and slowly working our way up. Although I would have kept breastfeeding if I would have been able to, I was looking forward (or so I thought) to sleeping through the night. My experience with Violet was that she slept much better after switching to formula, but again, it was completely different this time around. If anything I'd say Lucy got worse. She was extremely gassy and started to wake up four times a night. We tried a few different formulas, eventually resorting to Nutramigen, which is hypoallergenic. Even that didn't help.

I finally decided to talk to my pediatrician. I have a lot of trouble asking the advice of pediatricians after what we went through with Violet. I went from completely trusting doctors to feeling like I had to completely ignore their advice and follow my instincts as a mother. It was like they weren't really hearing me, or at least not believing what I told them, and they kept suggesting ridiculous things like putting Violet on acid reflux medication, switching her back onto regular formula, and to continue feeding her solids even though it caused major and very very scary allergic reactions. If I had done any of those things she would have become much much sicker and could potentially have had a life-threatening reaction. We've since switched pediatricians and although I really love our new group, it's been difficult for me to put my trust into the opinions of doctors when it comes to my children.

Nevertheless, I talked to our nurse-practitioner (my favorite member of our practice - she actually recognizes us when we go in, remembers Violet's issues, and seems to genuinely care about my kids and about me), and she suggested that I try a different formula (and gave me samples), as Nutramigen is very expensive and didn't seem to be helping. She also recommended that I push solids more and cut back on the formula a bit. And lastly she suggested that I try some sleep training, as Lucy is old enough to sleep through the night, has no known medical issues, and is the right age for it. I've always felt that sleep training wasn't for me and endured Violet's night waking until well after she turned one (heck, she still comes over to our bed in the middle of the night a lot of nights), and with one child it was doable, but with two kids it's a completely different ball game. I can't nap when Lucy naps during the day because I have Violet, and Violet wants my attention all of the time. I felt like she was getting the short end of the stick with a zombie mom and I was starting to feel mentally and physically not well, so in spite of completely disliking the idea I decided to give it a try.

After looking at a lot of options we've started a modified cry-it-out, where we go in every five to ten minutes to give Lucy back her pacifier and settle her back down. It's been really hard. It feels very unnatural and goes against all of my motherly instincts. I've wondered why it should have to be so unnatural to get your child to sleep at night, but then I realized that a baby sleeping in a crib is not natural at all either, so I guess in a way it makes sense. Co-sleeping is not for us for many reasons - I'm a very light sleeper, Lucy will not go to sleep in our bed (even if I rock her to sleep and lay her down next to me - she always wakes up and gets really really upset), and my children are both very thrashy sleepers. (Plus, of course, it's not recommended due to the fact that it's not as safe, although I would never judge anyone who does co-sleep. It seems like the most natural thing to me, and I'm sure it can be same when done correctly)

When she cries it's really difficult for me not to give up on the idea and go in - the mom hormones start raging and I become a complete basket case, so I decided to put on some white noise for myself (she's always had white noise while she sleeps too), and I often Skype chat with my sister who gives me support. We're currently on night three, and it's been going well. The first night I'm honestly not sure how long it took because I was so tired I was almost falling asleep standing up, but the second night it took 20-25 minutes (with me going in to check on her twice), and she slept through the night until 8:30AM! Tonight it took about 30 minutes (with Kev going in to check on her a few times - we take turns every other night putting the girls to bed - I put Violet to bed one night and he puts Lucy down, and the next night we switch kids). We'll see if the same magic works again.

It's probably the hardest thing I've ever done - I've got extreme mom guilt issues with everything from whether or not I feed my kids organic strawberries to do I play with them enough during the day or if I play with them too much to the point that they live in squalor, to whether I should stay home with them or work to support our family, and I know all of the arguments against cry it out, but I'll just say I'm doing what I feel is best for my family - for all of us to get sleep, and for my girls to have a present, loving, and happy parent during the day. For those who choose not to sleep train I applaud you, for those that have sleep-trained, now I understand.

One important lesson that motherhood has taught me is that every family is different and that I should not judge the choices of other mothers and fathers - they're probably doing the best they can for their family. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding, co-sleeping or crib sleeping, sleep training or not, working outside of the home or staying at home, we're all just doing the best we can.

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