Monday, February 28, 2011

What's in my Bag?

One of my favorite columns in US Weekly is the "What's in my Bag" segment. Danielle from over at Sometimes Sweet just ran a "What's in my Diaper Bag" post and invited her readers to do the same. What a great way for us Mamas to share our secrets on what we can and can't live without! I think there's a lot you can tell about a lady from what she totes around in her purse, don't you?

1. Since Brees is only three months old and therefore still requiring a ton of supplies, I am full-time carrying a diaper bag at this point. Why fight it, right? This particular diaper bag is a Skip*Hop messenger bag and I adore it. The size is not overwhelming to carry around yet it is full of compartments and pockets and can carry a crazy amount of goods. It's made of a very durable canvas that can be easily cleaned. The strap is my favorite part: it is designed to hang securely on your stroller or shopping cart, making it super convenient for you to be hands free but leaving the bag very accessible.

2. This is a quick change diaper kit made by Kalencom, a local company from New Orleans. I love supporting local Louisiana merchants and try to do so as much as possible. This nifty little changing station stores diapers, wipes (it actually comes with a wipes storage box), and has a front pocket for whatever other goods you may need. It is eco friendly and is AZO phthalates free. It's long enough that no part of your baby has to touch any public bathroom germiness. I love this kit so much because it holds enough that if I am going somewhere close by and don't want to take my whole diaper bag, I can just grab this convenient little tote and roll. If you can't tell, I really get off on efficient, organizational tools.

3. Extra outfits for the angel. Learned that one the hard way.

4. A book for Belle and a book for me. We are a reading family and we always have books in tow. Great way to pass the time in a doctor's office, distract crying babies, or occupy a grumpy 6 year old.

5. My new Udder Cover , a great little nursing cover-up that is not only big enough to cover both me and baby but also includes a nifty rigid neckline that allows you to peek in at baby without compromising your modesty. Also pictured here is my fav swaddling blanket, made by aden+anais. Super soft, big enough to swaddle baby comfortably, and way multi-purpose. We use ours not only as a blankie but also as a cover-up and sun screen.

6. Lip gloss, cell phone, rosebud salve, and Merle Norman mineral makeup on the go: because Mama needs a little love, too.

7. Overstuffed, busted up wallet that desperately needs to be replaced. Also, anti-bacterial hand moisturizer and spray-on hand sanitizer. I'm a nurse, we like clean hands.

8. Boudreaux's Butt Paste (another Louisiana gem), baby lotion and powder, and deodorized trash bags for baby hygiene on the go. Also, extra breast pads and Lansinoh cream for Mommy, cause you just never know what the boobs have in store. Literally.

So there you have it. I have no idea how this went from a what's in your bag to a full-on product review but as many of you know, I am pretty darn thorough. What does my bag say about me? That I like to be prepared, I value organization, and I really dig cleanliness:) You can take the nurse out of the hospital, but you can' know.

Now, on to Project 31!!

Day 3. Who is someone you know who inspires beauty?

This is my beautiful cousin, April. Beautiful inside and out.

She is a girl's girl, a wonderful conversationalist, witty, ridiculously smart. She is the mother to three beautiful boys, all under the age of three. Yet I have never seen her stressed, never hear her complain. She LOVES, loves with all her heart. She cares about people, deeply, and is so warm and real. She has the sweetest laugh and the biggest smile and when she gives you a compliment, of which she does often, you know that she is being sincere. Her words are encouraging and her actions selfless. She is an elementary school teacher and I imagine her students must think she's the cat's pajamas. She loves to let loose and have a good time but is just as content cuddling on the couch with her hubby and three little bears. She always looks effortlessly chic and I secretly want her hair.

When both of her parents died in a tragic accident a few years ago, I watched her evolve into a strong, fearless woman. She took in her little sister and together they have carried on with their lives in a way that I imagine makes their parents sing. When she could have buried her head and heart in sorrow, she instead chose to live her life to the fullest, to carry on the name of her parents, to enjoy the blessings God has given her, regardless of her loss. People tell her that she is just like her mother, and I can not imagine a better compliment to give her as her mother was an angel.

My cousin April is beautiful inside and out, the kind of woman I want my little girls to look up to. She is kind with her words and selfless in her actions. She looks at life as an adventure and her energy positively infects every room. She inspires beauty not just because of her obvious good looks, but because of the way she gracefully lives life. Every woman should be so lucky to know a spirit such as her.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Um, maybe it's time to start being a responsible parent and actually use the straps intended to keep the baby in place?!! Baby Brees has become quite the wiggle worm and this is how I found her in her swing. Way to go Mom!!!

In other news, Project 31:

Day 2. What makes you uniquely you?

When I think of what makes me unique, the first thing that comes to my mind is my family. We are a big, loud, warm Cajun family. My mother has 5 siblings and we grew up all living in the same small Louisiana town on the bayou. I am blessed to have over 60 cousins, all of which I see on a regular basis. So much of who I am has been shaped and molded around our Cajun culture and our close family ties. I grew up with a team of moms and dads in the form of loving aunts and uncles. My best friends are my cousins. They say it takes a village, well, we are the living proof. My family is the reason Shawn and I moved home to the bayou from the big city. When Isabelle was born, we knew that we wanted to be close to this big, crazy bunch. I wanted her to have the same experience growing up as I did. I wanted her to be able to go to school with all her cousins, have her grandmother live right next door, to know that this special little town is where her roots are. We have lived here for almost 7 years now and I know in my heart that it was the best decision we ever made. Being close to the ones you love is invaluable. The support system we have here is unbelievable. There's something so incredibly real about knowing that if anything goes wrong, you have an unlimited number of people who will unconditionally love you and be there for you.

My family is everything to me. The way we all walk into each other's houses without knocking, the way you can always count on a certain aunt to give you all the town gossip, the uncle who always stops by to help take your trash out, the late night talks on the porch with the cousins. I grew up thinking everyone's family was like that. But no, they are not. We are unique, we are blessed, and I am a thankful woman for having so much love.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Project 31

A friend of mine sent me a challenge today, a soul searching quest called "Project 31". I decided to embark on this journey and will be posting for the next 31 days accordingly. Click on the tab on my menu bar for all the details on this lovely idea!

So, Project 31 starts now!!

Day 1. What does beauty mean to you?

To me, beauty is about confidence and believing in yourself. Beauty is about constantlystriving to be a better version of your truest self. Being able to stand on your own two feet and appreciating all that God has given you to make you unique. Understanding your positive attributes and then using them to make the world a better place. Letting your inner light shine for all to see. When I let that confidence exude, when I allow others to see my brightest light, when I have faith in myself and all that I am, that is when I feel the most beautiful.

My Belle

This is Miss Isabelle, our darling 6 year old.

She is in first grade this year and my oh my has she blossomed into a beautiful young lady. She has entered a whole new phase of self discovery and growth this last year and continually amazes us with her witty jokes and insightful words. Her interests are as varied as the stars in the sky, her personality is as big as the universe. She has a beautiful collection of friends and is a real life social butterfly. She is giggly, loud, and big in everything she does. She is mischievous at times but very honest about her mistakes, very aware of her responsibility to others. She is very goal oriented and enjoys having a list of tasks to perform. She is in her fourth year of dance at the dance studio I studied at and is a natural born performer. She loves to sing and pretend and can often be overheard talking to herself or putting on a production for her dolls. She enjoys cooking and helping mommy and daddy. She loves her new baby sister more than I could have ever imagined. I had feared she would have jealousy issues after having been the only child for so long, but they have already formed a bond that I can see will bind them together for a lifelong friendship. She is very smart and learns new concepts quickly but sometimes has trouble in school due to her constant need to talk and make others laugh in class. We are working on this:) She is extremely affectionate and needs lots of cuddles and physical displays of love, which we are happy to oblige. She is very messy and unorganized and keeping her room clean is a daily struggle. She is a collector and memory keeper and has just started keeping a diary. I plan to help her start her very own scrapbook soon as a way to keep all of her treasures together.

I think that adding baby Brees to our family reiterated to Shawn and I how much Isabelle has grown. It's one of the most soul connecting things to witness when you see your baby grown into her very own person, when you see yourself and your husband alive in another being. She is vivacious and energetic and brings a beautiful energy to our world. We are learning to appreciate her qualities while still steering her into the right direction, which is one of the hardest things about parenting. You want your child to be who they are yet you also want them to be the best version of themselves they can be.

Isabelle has helped me grow into a mother, taught me to love with reckless abandon, and inspired me to live out loud. We are so proud of this little butterfly and can't wait to see what she will become.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hospital Story of the Week

Yesterday was one of those days that reminds me of why I do what I do. One of those days that drains you emotionally and physically. One of those days that keeps you up at night because your head and heart are still at work with the people you cared for.

One of my patients went from bad to worse yesterday in a matter of hours. She was admitted into the hospital a few weeks ago with a blood clot in her leg, went through surgery, and was expected to make a speedy recovery considering she had no other health problems. God had other plans for her. In the weeks following her surgery, she developed a whole slew of health problems that eventually led to her coming to our unit and receiving very aggressive treatment to stay alive. But now, after a few weeks, her body has just grown tired and she has slowly begun slipping away.

And her family, who have been by her side day and night, finally realized it yesterday. They saw it in my deliberate body language as I moved around her room, the urgency in my steps as I quickly walked in and out, the intent way the doctors looked her up and down, the hushed tones we spoke in at the nurses' station. The energy was shifting and they knew why.

But they weren't ready to accept it. They pleaded with me to give them concrete answers, a timeline for what to expect. They cried as her breathing became more labored and begged her to open her eyes.

And I cried with them. I hugged them, rubbed their backs, prayed with them. I ushered them into a state of acceptance, gave them encouragement but also allowed them to feel the grief that would soon wash over them. I assured them in every way I could that no matter what, we would make their mother as comfortable as possible. We would be there for them every step of the way. Because that's what we do. Not because it's our job but because it's who we are as caregivers.

It was time for me to go home, clock out and return to my own little corner of the world. But my heart was aching for this family and I wanted to stay with them to offer whatever support I could. When you see a grown man hug his dying mother and sob, "Please don't leave me Mama, I need you! I love you!", your heart can not help but swell.

It's one of the hardest things about being a nurse: giving of yourself and providing the care people need while still protecting your own heart. I sometimes have a hard time keeping that balance. But it's also one of the most gratifying things about my job as well. Because I truly realize how fragile life is, I see how short and swift this journey can be. A day like yesterday makes you come home and squeeze your babies tight, whisper I love yous to your husband, call your parents and thank them for being there. Days like that put things into perspective. And no matter how hard those days can be, I know that I am a better person for them. I woke up this morning feeling alive and thankful. Ready to not just be, but ready to LIVE.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I have been dancing since I was three years old. Ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz. Nothing makes
me feel more alive, more creative, more in tune with who I am than when I am dancing. I miss it. I performed in my last recital when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Brees. When fall classes started, I was too far into my pregnancy to continue. I told myself that
I would start again this spring, but trying to balance work, breastfeeding, and enjoying my children at this precious age has taken priority. It's such a difficult thing, the balance. Maintaining who you are while still giving of yourself to all who need you. It sometimes makes for some very difficult decisions.
Not that I'm not loving where I am in my life right now, though. I seriously couldn't be happier. I absolutely love being a nurse and am so thankful to have a career that is so fulfilling and also offers my family financial security and benefits. And on the four days a week that I am not working, I get to be home with my sweet angel baby and volunteer at Isabelle's school. What a blessing to be able to work and still be involved in my children's daily lives!!
But I'm itching to strap on a pair of ballet shoes. I'm craving that physical creativity. There's a little voice inside my head that doesn't want me to forget that part of myself.
So, maybe it's time to listen to that voice, use it as motivation, let it fuel me for the months ahead. Is it feasible to go back to dance class right now? Probably not. Does that mean that the opportunity won't present itself again in the future? Hell no!! There will be a time, a season, when I will run back onto that stage with a vengeance! There will be a season when my kids are a little older, my job more conducive, my time more flexible. And when that happens, I will dust off my gear, warm up these old bones, and DANCE!!!! I will get back into the medium that allows me to be an artist, affords me the chance to have something that is all mine...
And I will be a better mother for it. Because I will be showing my girls what it means to be dedicated to a passion. I will encourage them to never stop doing the things that you love, even if it means you have to keep it tucked away for a while....


Brees is 3months old now. Here are her stats:

1. We are now breastfeeding like a well oiled machine. During the day, she nurses every 3-4 1/2 hours. She gets her last feeding at about 8 pm and then doesn't nurse again until the morn. Alleluia!! I haven't had to use any Lansinoh cream in weeks because my nipples are now primed. No soreness or dryness whatsoever. Latching on is a breeze and both of our confidence levels are on point. What a great feeling to be in such a great routine!!

2. She is sleeping through the night!!! She sleeps from about 8 pm until around 6 or 7am. On my work days, I get her up at 5 to nurse her before I leave but then she goes right back to sleep until it's time for Shawn too bring her to the babysitter. Getting a full night's rest again is something I will never take for granted!!!

3. She can roll over from her tummy to her back. She can also do a mini-pushup. She is putting weight on her legs when we hold her in a standing position and she has excellent head control. She squirms and moves around so much that her socks are constantly slipping off her feet:)

4. She is very alert and can now recognize familiar faces. She smiles when she spots one of us and has even begun giggling when we tickle her. She coos and says "ah-goo". She is, however, a much more serious baby than Isabelle was. She is very intent and frequently looks like she is in very deep thought.

5. She had a mild case of RSV this month and spent a tough week coughing and sniffling and receiving breathing treatments. She is completely over it now but we are still watching her closely for any signs of a relapse. Her reflux seems to be under control as well. She is currently taking Prevacid 15 mg at night before her last feeding and it has been highly effective. Since beginning this med, she still has the occasional spit-up but no longer cries out in pain when she does. It has completely wiped out any and all gastrointestinal pain symptoms like tensing her body up, crying when she spits up, etc. I haven't had to use any gripe water or Mylincon drops since we started the Prevacid, which further proves to me that she never did have gas or colic but was simply suffering from acid reflux. Thank God for good medicine and proper diagnoses!!

There are not enough positive words I could use to describe this little angel. She is the easiest baby I have ever had the pleasure of caring for. She rarely cries, sleeps and eats great, and is content just sitting in the lap of someone she loves. She is a blessing to all who know and love her and has filled up places in my heart I was not even aware of...

Stay tuned for an update on Miss Isabelle, 6 years old going on 20...

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Saturday morning and Daddy is at work today, just us girls here at home. We started the day by sleeping in and then cuddling in the big bed. The girls enjoyed a few Saturday morning cartoons while Mommy sipped on yummy spearmint tea. We have no other plans today except to enjoy this beautiful spring preview weather, play a few rounds of Barbie Loves Ken, and cook something delicious for our hard working papa. This is exactly the kind of day I need after a very hectic week. Time with my girls and piddling around the house, the perfect Saturday for me...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Magical Belly

I am one of those really weird women who actually LOVES being pregnant. Seriously. Both of my pregnancies were incredible experiences. It's such a wonderful time to focus on your health and revel in the beauty of your body doing exactly what it was intended to do. I love how thick and shiny my hair gets, the magical glow of my skin, and who doesn't love a nice set of pregnant boobs, right? The aftermath is always a little disheartening when the reality sets in that now you have to work your ass off to try to salvage some sense of your former self, but I try not to focus on that. After all, I have a gorgeous little angel baby to love on and that is worth a few extra pounds for sure...
The magical growing belly, what a work of art...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet lovie dovie

For as long as I can remember, I have always been slightly annoyed by Valentine's Day. I'm not exactly sure why. Nothing traumatic has ever happened to me on that day, nothing devastatingly sad. I've just always resented it as a whole, with its overpriced floral arrangements and the bizarre images of a chubby toddler threatening to shoot people with his primitive weapon. My sophomore year of high school, I rebelliously wore all black and frowned all day in protest of all the giggly girl excitement. When I was 18 and living the single life in San Diego, my girlfriends and I had dinner at a restaurant that specialized in "stinky food" and laughed about how lucky we were that we didn't have to worry about disguising our bad breath because of some guy. Even after falling in love with my soul one, I never could get on board with all the pink and red cheesy goodness. Shawn has always said that we don't need a special day to remind us about love, everyday is Valentine's Day. We have both been quite cynical about the whole thing.
But then we had this little girl, this fiesty, beautiful, intelligent, creative little girl. And she forced all of our cynicism right on out the door.

Since she was three years old, Miss Isabelle Grace has been completely obsessed with Valentine's Day. Except she calls it "ValenTIMES Day":) She starts making preparations as soon as Christmas is over. "Mommy, how much longer 'till Valentimes Day?" "Mommy, I think I'm going to go with a Barbie theme this year. With a lot of pink!"
She makes cards and draws pictures of herself holding hands with various male classmates and oohs and aahs over all the stuffed animals and heart shaped boxes on display. She has big plans of baking brownies and cookies and sharing them with her friends and talks about her class Valentine's Day party for weeks. Her excitement is palpable.
One day last week, I finally asked her, "Belle, why do you love Valentine's Day so much? What is it about this holiday that makes you so excited?".
She very insightfully replied, "Mommy, Valentimes Day is special because you get to tell everyone you love how much you really love them. You get to give them heart gifts to make them feel special. And you get to spend time with your family and be happy together."
Huh. I was, for once, lost for words. My six year old child had just schooled me.
I find myself getting swept up in Isabelle's spirit this year. Her genuine excitement is contagious. Her sincere desire to spread love to those around her is infectious. She has no hidden agenda, she's not just following the hype. She just wants to enjoy the people in her life and celebrate the love she feels in her heart.
Now THAT is what Valentine's Day is really all about!! That's what I really should have been thinking about all these years. Not resenting the marketing agenda of chocolate companies, but celebrating how full my life is, how lucky I am to be in love and to be loved. Whether you are in love or single, we all have relationships that are worth rejoicing over. We all have people who bless us and keep us sane. And that most certainly deserves a day of recognition.
Today's festivities are all about family and love. I have lots of little lovie dovie activities planned and can't wait to share them with the people whom I hold closest to my heart.
Thank you, my sweet little Belle, for once again opening my eyes to new truths and my heart to more love. Thank you for allowing me to push my jaded views of the world out of the forefront and just enjoy life. Thank you for making me believe in fairy tales all over again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hospital Story of the Week

Patient: Hey there gal!! Whatta ya say you and I blow this pop stand and head down to the cafeteria for some chocolate cake? My treat!

Nurse (AKA Me): I would LOVE some chocolate cake right now. But unfortunately we can't do that:(

Patient: Well why the hell not? A pretty little gal like you deserves some chocolate cake. Especially on the arm of a fine man like myself!

Me: First of all, you're very sick and shouldn't be hanging out in the cafeteria. Second of all, you're a diabetic! You can't be eating all that chocolate, your sugar is already too high!

Patient: Honey, my leg is rotting off, my nuts are the size of a grapefruit, and I've had diarrhea for 3 months now. Do you really think a little chocolate cake is going to hurt at this point? Besides, that's what they make insulin for!

Now that's what I call optimism!! I made sure that Mr. Fiesty got some chocolate cake on his lunch tray that day and I sat with him and we watched Sportscenter as he enjoyed each and every bite. Then, I gave him some insulin:)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination,your creativity,or your curiosity. It's your place in the world, it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live." ~Dr. Mae Jemison

Oh, Precious Time

My dear sweet hubby asked me out on a date the other day. A real, old fashioned "Will you go out with me?" kind of proposal. And the first thought that crossed my mind was "HOW? WHEN? There's no time for such luxuries!". Of course I didn't say this out loud to him, but man was I thinking it! But this rigid reaction of mine really got me soul searching, really made me examine the tangled web of emotions that is my brain lately. How can I do it all? How can I be all things to all people? How can I work three 12 hour shifts a week and be an awesome nurse, then come home and spend the rest of the week being a domestic goddess, cherish my time with my infant, help my 6 year old with her homework and cart her around town for all her activities, not to mention spend quality time with my husband and support him as he finishes up his college degree? I feel like by the time this is all done, there's just not a whole lot of time left for a social life anymore. The reality is, though, that I'm perfectly okay with this hard truth because I know that this phase is short-lived. This time in our life is not permanent, it won't always be this kind of crazy. Part of me just wants to enjoy it for what it is. But then the other part of me craves a night alone with my man, enjoying uninterrupted conversation and actually eating an entire meal while it's still hot. I'm just not ready to leave the baby yet, though. Period. Maybe that's the working mommy guilt talking. I have a hard enough time leaving her to go to work, I'm not ready to leave her just for my own selfish pleasure. But is it really selfish to take ONE night off? Of course not. That's just my guilt talking again.

BALANCE. I constantly strive for balance. I constantly have to remind myself to RELAX. Give yourself credit. Believe in your mission and purpose. Know why you are doing things. Remember your intentions.

There will always be conflicting feelings when it comes to children and work and nights out and husbands feeling left out of the loop. But I have to do my best to maintain my balance and give myself a break. I have to remember that the reason I go to work is to give my children a better life. It's not easy, but it's what's best for our family.

And most of all, I have to remember my husband and be thankful for a man who still loves me enough to ask me out. Even though we spend every waking second together that we can, we still need time set aside to just be a couple in love. Not talking about bills or carpool or homework or schedules. Time to just adore one another and appreciate the bond that has carried us through 12 beautiful years together. Our priest once told me that in a family, God must come first, then the marriage, then the children. It is sometimes our natural tendency as mothers to put the children first but he explained to me that the marriage must come first in order to set the foundation on which the whole family rests.

So there's a little look inside my conflicted head this morning. I'm so happy with where we are right now and with what we have created together. But I must also recognize that when your husband asks you out, you better consider yourself the luckiest girl on earth and take him up on it. A night out with Shawn is pretty priceless.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baby Art

Someone sent me a link to this amazing video today. A mother, her camera, a sleeping baby, and a TON of imagination. Click here and prepare to be inspired...

Product Junkie No More

About three months ago, I started using Wen hair care products. One of my coworkers has the most gorgeous hair I've ever seen and after lusting after her shiny locks, I finally asked her what the hell she was using. She emailed me the website and I ordered my first shipment within minutes. I didn't read any of the promotional info, I didn't need to be convinced. Her hair was enough to convince me, I wanted hair just like hers.

Now, usually when something like this happens, I end up being extremely disappointed. My hair is curly and tends to be a bit coarse. I also live in one of the most humid climates in the continental US. But after the very first time I used it, I noticed an immediate difference in my hair. It was softer, shinier, and way more manageable.

What is Wen? It is a one stop shop product: shampoo, conditioner, and a detangler all in one. It contains all natural ingredients and is designed to not strip your hair of its natural oils. The products do NOT contain sodium laurel sulfate or other damaging detergents so they do not lather, which I will admit took some getting used to. I was afraid that without lather, my hair wouldn't feel clean. But it is exactly the opposite: my hair actually feels more clean and I have less build up. My color is more vibrant and I have less frizz than ever before (and considering I live in Louisiana, that's saying a lot).

Visit the Wen website for more info, it's SO worth your time:

Shiny happy hair for a somewhat disheveled mommy:)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Adventures in Breastfeeding

I believe breastfeeding to be a learned art, an ongoing experiment between mother and baby. It requires so much patience and flexibility, forcing you to try and then try something new and then try again. Before you know it, though, the connection is made by both mama and baby and it becomes second nature. The patience and the persistence pay off as you develop a routine and your baby gains confidence, giving mama confidence. Nursing my baby has been one of the most enlightening and empowering experiences of my life. The natural bond that forms through nursing is priceless. Knowing that I am providing my baby with nature's purest form of nutrition makes me feel so productive. It makes me feel that I am doing exactly what I was intended to do, what my body was designed for.

We tried many different elements over these last few weeks. Different positions, different schedules, different supplies. Some worked well and we have continued using them. Others proved inefficient and ineffective and we were forced to adjust. Here are a few things I have learned in these first 12 weeks of nursing Brees:

1. Medela Soft shell nipple shields are AMAZING!! These wonderful little inserts were given to me by the hospital's lactation consultant on day 2 postpartum. You simply insert them into your bra over your nipples. They allow airflow and protect your nipples from friction. Using these for the first 2 weeks postpartum prevented my nipples from any soreness or cracking.

2. Lansinoh cream is a must! This cream is made of pure lanolin and contains no additives or preservatives. It is perfectly safe for baby and does not need to be washed off prior to nursing. I've found that applying it before I get into the shower also helps to reduce nipple sensitivity. This cream is extremely soothing and helped prevent any soreness or drying. I was given several tubes by the lactation consultant at the hospital to start and then found a great deal on thereafter ($7.50 for a 2 ounce tube).

3. There is a definite balance between feeding "on demand" and having a "schedule". This is one of those very controversial topics that spark great debate and fury amongst many mommy circles. I read quite a few different parenting philosophy books with both of my children and basically just took bits and pieces from each one to suit our family's needs. For the first two weeks, I nursed Brees on demand but was careful to really listen to her cues. Between weeks two and three we stretched her feedings out to approximately every 2 hours. By week 4, she was nursing every 3 hours. This was all very give or take, however. When she cries, I take several different factors into account. First of all, what does the cry sound like? Second, what time did she last eat? If it was only an hour ago and her cries are loud, fast, and accompanied by a stiff body, she most likely is not hungry but instead has gas. But if she is rooting and sucking on her fist 90 miles to nothing and her cry sounds like an "Ah ah ah", then maybe she just needs a feeding sooner than normal. Figuring out these cues and maintaining a feasible schedule is all about consistency, paying attention to your baby, and good 'ole fashioned common sense. I have never had a schedule set in stone for her, forcing things on her just because the clock says so. On the other hand, I've never just whipped out the boob every time she whimpers either. There's a balance between schedule and need, it just takes time and patience to figure out the balance embraced by your baby.

There are a million and one more things I have to say about breastfeeding (considering it takes up a large portion of my day), but overall, I'm just really happy with where we are right now. Brees is a very content baby and I look forward to our feedings so that I can be close to her and give her what she needs to thrive. I look forward to continuing on this journey with my sweet angel...

When the weather is cold

When the weather is cold, this little Cajun girl likes to hibernate. I do not feel an ounce of guilt for spending the day camped out in the living room, movies on demand, brownies in the oven, babies in their pjs. When the weather is cold, I am thankful that no one has any excuse to leave the house and I can selfishly have my family all to myself.