Category Archives: Stuff for Mom

Best Public Nursing Spots (If You Want a Little Privacy)

To continue our posts for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. . . 

A friend of mine recently had her first baby and posted a status update on Facebook about nursing in the Anthropologie dressing room while shopping. Breastfeeding definitely gives new meaning to a quick shopping trip, as in be prepared to do it if you’ll be out longer than a couple of hours.

I breastfed my daughter for over a year, but it took me quite a while to become comfortable with nursing her out in the open using just a cover. Nursing was so painful for me at first that I often sat in tears while Olivia ate, and that wasn’t something I wanted to share with every shopper that walked by me in the mall. So I became adept at scouting out the most nursing-friendly stores, restrooms with lounge areas, and lactation rooms that afforded me a little bit of privacy. I also became an expert at nursing in the backseat of the car in a pinch!

I eventually worked my way up to claiming a bench outside Lord and Taylor as my favorite nursing spot at the mall, but until then, this was my go-to list of the best public nursing spots. Please leave a comment to add your favorite(s) if it’s not on the list so we can help some new mamas out!

Nordstrom (nursing room in the women’s restroom as well as a lounge area)
Baby Gap (nursing/dressing room)
BuyBuy Baby (Mother’s Room)
Babies R Us (Mother’s Room)
Lord and Taylor
Saks Fifth Avenue

Did you have a go-to nursing spot when you were breastfeeding, or do you currently? Leave a comment to share! 

How to Get Rid of Plugged Ducts

Since August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I thought I’d do a series of posts focused on nursing. As a new mom, I was beside myself when it came to breastfeeding troubles. So I am paying it forward in the hopes of helping another new mom through a tough spot.

I nursed my daughter for 13 months, and plugged ducts were the bane of my existence nearly the entire time. I once had one so bad that it was larger than a golf ball! The lactation consultant at our pediatrician’s office told me if it didn’t clear up within 24 hours (I’d been dealing with the pain at that point for about three days), I would have to go to the ER! I was able to clear the duct so it never came down to a trip to the hospital, but those were some of the most excruciatingly painful days of my life.

Here’s hoping you never, ever have to deal with plugged ducts, but if you do, here are a few tips and tricks that worked for me.

Heat and massage. This is a package deal because neither works as well without the other. Try warm compresses and then massage your breast in a circular motion, pushing the plug toward the center. You can also try massage while laying in a hot bath. One method that finally brought me relief was to lean, submerged, over a huge bowl of hot water and massage downward. I will warn you that the massaging hurts, but if it clears the duct, it’s so worth it.

Lecithin. This supplement is what finally helped me prevent plugged ducts. You can get it in capsule or granule form (I recommend the capsule) from Target or Walmart. I took one 1200 mg pill three times a day like clockwork.

Try “dangle feeding.” As if you don’t already feel like a cow, this method just perpetuates the feeling that you exist solely for the purpose of milking. But while it feels strange, it did work for me once. Lay your baby on his or her back on the floor and get on all fours over top. Allow your baby to nurse in this position to allow gravity to help clear the plugged duct.

Don’t stop nursing! I made this mistake the first time I had a plugged duct. It hurt so badly that I stopped nursing on that side. BIG mistake. Even though it hurts, try nursing on the plugged side first. When your baby is really hungry, the suck reflex is stronger, which could end up helping you out. If it’s just too painful to nurse, at least pump on the blocked side. The one thing you don’t want to do is allow more milk to back up in there.

Take care of yourself. Trust me, I know this is easier said than done when you have a little person (or two or three) relying on you for everything, but it’s really important. Be sure to get some rest, drink lots of water, and eat healthfully. Ask for some temporary help if you need it to give yourself a break. I wasn’t very good about doing this at first, but once I did, I think it really made a difference (both for my recurring plugged ducts and for my sanity).

Try Ibuprofen. A plugged duct causes major inflammation, so some Ibuprofen can help with both that and the pain. Check with your doctor to find out exactly how much you should take.

While it may feel like the plug will never go away (my longest one lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of four days!), it does eventually clear up, so try not to panic. If you start to run a fever or show other symptoms, call your doctor. If after several days of nursing and treatment you still have a plugged duct, talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor. There are medical procedures, such as ultrasound, that can help in extreme cases.

Get a Jump on Fall Fashion with Great Sales!

I haven’t even taken my summer vacation yet, but I am already getting ready for fall. Lucky for me (and you!), many stores are too. Most stores are putting new fall merchandise on sale to entice customers in the door, hoping that they’ll help to clear out the summer inventory as well while they’re there. Gap was having a 40% off sale the other day, and I snagged this great sweater for $24. From the look of things, stripes are going to be HUGE this fall, because they are showing up everywhere!

Gap Colorblock Sweater, $39.95

I also picked up a pair of jeans while I was at the Gap because my favorite pair are so well-loved that they have holes in the knees. The 1969 Sexy Boot jeans fit really well, and they’re just $59.50. I just can’t justify the crazy-expensive jeans I used to buy pre-Olivia. It’s way more fun to spend that money on cute new clothes for her!

Gap 1969 Sexy Boot Jeans, $59.50

A couple of days before that, I picked up a pair of skinny cords from Target. They are a bit darker in person than they are in the picture below (more of a mustard yellow), which makes them great for fall. And at $23, you can’t beat the price! While I love, love, love my Vintage Matchstick Cords from J.Crew, even at the outlet they’re just a bit more than $23, so I couldn’t pass these up. (Not that that will stop me from scoping out the outlets on vacation to hopefully pick up another J.Crew pair!)

Target Mossimo Cords, $22.99

Have you come across any great fall fashion deals? Be sure to share the details!

Margarita in a Can {They’re good. Seriously!}

My brother brought Bud Light’s new Lime-a-Ritas to dinner the other night and I, the on-the-rocks-extra-salt margarita snob, was certain they’d be terrible. Much to my surprise (and chagrin), however, they weren’t. They were actually pretty good. Nothing will ever beat a fresh mixed margarita, but for those nights when your stress level requires 100 cc’s of alcohol stat, these will certainly do the trick. And the best part is, the only effort you have to put in is popping the top!

Disclaimer: Don’t be stupid. Make sure you’re 21 before you try these. At the very least, don’t tell the arresting officer that you learned about them here!

Wedding Inspiration & Planning Resources

I realize this post isn’t about moms or kiddos, but I imagine there are plenty of other moms out there who, like me, are providing wedding advice or planning help to friends and family.

My younger brother recently popped the question to his girlfriend (now my future sis-in-law!), and they have tapped me for wedding advice and planning know-how. It may have been five years ago, but I clearly remember that overwhelming feeling that hit me shortly after I got engaged, when I realized just how much work goes into planning a wedding. It’s almost a full-time job.

Sure, it’s fun to go dress shopping, decide on colors, etc., but it’s also super stressful—so. many. decisions. And if you decide to DIY the heck out of your wedding like I did, well honey, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

To help out my favorite new bride-to-be, Caity, and all other brides/planners out there, I’ve compiled a list of helpful and inspirational websites to help you make some of those important decisions.

1. Snippet and Ink—Beautiful photos and inspiration, with some great DIY ideas!

2. Style Me Pretty—So. many. pictures.

3. Weddingbee—All kinds of info and even an online shop.

4. Hostess with the Mostess—Great “real wedding” inspiration.

5. The Party Dress—I love this blog for kids’ birthday ideas, but they have a fabulous wedding section as well.

6. Rustic Wedding Chic—Caity, I think this blog was made for you!

7. The Knot—The Godfather of wedding sites. A little bit of everything.

8. Pinterest—Pin, repin, and go nuts! Create a wedding board and start searching for inspiration.

9. Ruffled—Great professional photo ideas and nontraditional details!

10. Oh So Beautiful Paper—Amazing invitation ideas and photos. Really great if you’re doing your own invites.

11. 100 Layer Cake—Stunning photography, unique touches.

Happy planning!

Photos: Courtesy yours truly, by Daniel Min Photography

Hey, Four Eyes, Check Out Warby Parker

I have been meaning to get some prescription sunglasses for, well, ever. But I just couldn’t stomach the idea of spending $300 on sunglasses. I can’t see two feet in front of my face without my contacts or glasses, so wearing my glasses on sunny days is miserable. I toyed with the idea of taking my glasses off on a recent (very bright) drive home from work so that I could wear my sunglasses. That “brilliant” plan lasted all of five seconds before I panicked that I might hit a small child or something. So when my coworker told me about Warby Parker—their hipster styles, low prices, and awesome mission—I decided to give them a peek. (I mean, any company that sells a monocle is definitely worth a look, right?!)

Via Warby Parker

Warby Parker was started by four friends looking to rebel against overpriced, bland prescription eyewear. While the selection of frames isn’t staggering, the styles are offbeat, well-made, and only $95 ($150 for prescription sunglasses- still a steal)! Plus, for every pair they sell, the company donates a pair of glasses to someone in need.

Warby Parker only has a handful of showrooms across the country, but you can select up to five pairs to try at home. They ship the frames to your house free of charge and include a paid return shipping label for you to return the glasses after you’ve tried them on.

I decided to go with the Mabel sunglasses in Greystone. Pretty snazzy, right? (No picture of myself in them yet—I sent them back before I thought to snap a photo. Oops!)

Via Warby Parker

I just have to go online and place my order, and I’ll finally be able to stop driving with my hand over my eyes when I wear my glasses. Yay!!


Custom-Blended Whiskey Just for Dad

My husband loves a nice glass of scotch or whiskey in the evening, so when I heard of the custom-blended, personalized malt scotch whiskey from Whisky Blender, I knew I’d found the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Now, you’re probably thinking “way to give the gift away by blogging about it before Father’s Day.” And yes, my husband does read my blog. However, he knows better than anyone that I nearly explode with excitement when it comes to giving gifts. I can’t wait to see the reaction a perfect gift elicits—to me, it’s better than receiving a gift myself. As soon as the bottle arrived in the mail all the way from Scotland, there was no way I could wait another week to give it to him!

Whisky Blender allows you to create your own blend from among their seven different whiskies, with names like Banana Split, Vanilla Fudge, and Smoke on the Water. I don’t drink whiskey, so I know pretty much nothing about the flavors or how to put them together, so it was a total crap shoot. Ryan eagerly taste-tested it, however, and I’m happy to report that he said it was really good!

The whole thing was a bit pricey with shipping (£75.69, or $94.66), but I loved the unique concept and the personalized label. Since this was a Father’s Day gift, I labeled his blend “Daddy’s Wawa,” since “wawa” is Olivia-speak for water.

The bespoke bottle takes a couple of weeks to arrive after you place your order, so it’s a bit late now for Father’s Day, but this is definitely an idea to keep in mind for your next gift-giving opportunity!

Cutoffs That Won’t Make You Feel Like a Hooker

I love cutoff jean shorts for a casual, beachy summertime look, but my oh my are they hard to pull off without looking hoochie-fied (or 16 years old). I’m only 5’2″, so shorts tend to run long on me, making my legs look stubby. The alternative, however, is usually booty shorts that are only appropriate if you haven’t hit puberty or are dancing in a rap video.

So I was thrilled to find Paige Denim’s Silverlake cutoff shorts. They’re sexy in an “I just woke up and threw these on because I don’t try too hard” kind of way, but they’re not so short that I feel inappropriate. They are currently on sale for $83.40 (regularly $139). That’s a lot of money for a very little bit of fabric. So it’s a good thing I scored mine at Marshall’s for $39.99! And even that was pricey for shorts in my book. But with a fit like this. . . so worth it!

Guest Post: When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work Out

I had a pretty difficult time breastfeeding, which I talked about here. My friend Shannon also had a less-than-ideal breastfeeding experience with her first child, but she had to deal with a grief and a guilt that I never experienced. Breastfeeding didn’t work out for Shannon and her son, and she agonized over it for months. But time gives us perspective, and Shannon has been kind enough to share her story in the hopes that it will help other new moms who might be struggling with breastfeeding.

© Jerry Bunkers

Breastfeeding is supposed to be a natural bonding experience between a mother and child.   I went into childbirth with no doubt that I was going to breastfeed my son. After all, there is so much research supporting breastfeeding and its positive lifelong effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”   Because of this research, I was determined.   No matter what, I was going to breastfeed my newborn son.

Like many things in life, what I expected did not happen. Not even close. The agony started in the hospital.  My son, Finn, would not latch, and lactation came in to help us with every feeding.  Finally, the head lactation specialist said, “Well, I don’t usually recommend this, but I guess you are going to have to supplement with formula.” The first pang of guilt coursed through me.  Am I doing something wrong? Will my baby be okay even though I gave him formula?  These thoughts raced through my mind.  Lactation continued to visit and, because I work in the hospital, I knew that we were the lost case of the weekend.  My son was the only full term baby in the Newborn Nursery who would not latch and needed 24/7 help with breastfeeding.

I was given discharge instructions to have Finn attempt to breastfeed while my husband simultaneously squirted formula through a syringe in the side of his mouth.  This was an agonizing experience for both my son and I, and it was clear that it was not working.  In tears, I looked to my discharge instructions from Lactation.  The bottom line of the sheet said, “No matter what, do not give in and give a bottle!” What was I going to do? I felt so helpless and scared.  I knew my baby needed to eat, but I felt so inadequate giving him a bottle because I felt like my chance at breastfeeding would be blown forever.  After a few breakdowns, I finally gave in.  Finn took the bottle and was so happy. He was finally able to latch easily and enjoy a feeding.  I began to relax slightly. My restless newborn was actually happy.

Fast forward another month.  At this point, I had given up on breastfeeding completely after consulting with Lactation several times with no success. I was pumping and giving breast milk via bottle.  I felt pretty good about this, because hey, even though I was not breastfeeding, at least Finn was getting my breast milk.  Well all of a sudden, at month two, Finn began to break out in a terrible rash around his mouth and neck and refused to take a bottle.  After several appointments with specialists and frantic phone calls to our pediatrician, we realized that Finn was allergic to both milk and soy and could not tolerate breast milk.

Finn was started on Nutramigen, a hypoallergenic formula that is dairy and soy free.  My son’s temperament changed completely in 24 hours.  My fussy baby that screamed for 8 hours a day was now a happy child.  On one hand, I was so relieved.  However, I also felt so lost because that meant I could no longer offer breast milk. I continued to pump and save my milk, hoping that maybe one day Finn could use it.  After two more weeks of pumping, I finally stopped.  My terrible, agonizing journey of breastfeeding was over, but my feelings of inadequacy continued, especially with probing questions about nursing.

After this experience, I have realized that most people ask about breastfeeding after you have a newborn.  Let me tell you, for a mom who is having difficulty with breastfeeding, this is not a welcome question.  I felt like I had to justify putting Finn on Nutramigen for several months after I stopped nursing.  So many people asked why he was on formula and gave me a strange look when I said that I was not breastfeeding. I felt like I had to go into the long-winded explanation that I just described as to why I couldn’t nurse.

I know that, for many mothers, breastfeeding is the clear choice.  However, this does not mean it is right or even possible for everyone.   New mothers are extremely vulnerable, and the judgment that some people pass about breastfeeding can be enough to put a new mother over the edge.  A new study in the August  2011 edition of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that women who struggle to breastfeed in the first two weeks after giving birth are more prone to postpartum depression.  My experience supports this study.  I am usually such a happy person and was not myself through this feeding struggle.

If a mother is not breastfeeding, it could be for a variety of reasons.  People need to respect that and not pry so much into other people’s lives and experiences.  When a woman has a newborn, people need to be focused on the miracle of life.  As long as the baby is healthy and thriving, who cares if they are getting breast milk or formula? If the baby is healthy and happy, that is all you can ask for as a new parent.

Will I breastfeed my next child? I certainly am going to try.  However, if it does not work out, there is no way I am going to go through that grief, agony, and guilt again.  I am going to focus on enjoying my newborn.  Having a newborn is one of the most amazing experiences, and there is no way that I am going to let breastfeeding get in the way of this incredible miracle.

The New “Shops” at Target

I went to Target yesterday for the first time in a while and was surprised to see that they have adopted “shops” much in the way the new JCP has done. It must be the latest thing in retail. Target’s shops include The Webster (Miami), Privet House (Connecticut), Cos Bar (Aspen), Polka Dog Bakery (Boston), and The Candy Store (San Francisco).

The Candy Store’s collection of gourmet and nostalgic candy would make a cute and quick hostess gift for all those summer barbecues, and some of the Cos Bar nail polishes are bright and trendy but a little out there for me.

The real stars of the shops are Privet House and The Webster. The kitchen and housewares from Privet House are great. A few of my favorite pieces:

Warren Orchards Black Fig & Honey Candle, $15.99

Open Storage Box, $34.99

White Embossed Pitcher, $24.99

White Round Basket, $34.99














The Webster shop features men’s, women’s, and girls’ clothing, as well as shoes and accessories. I scored this great sheath dress, which doesn’t look like much on the hanger, but it fits really nicely:

Sheath Dress, $39.9

A few of my other Webster favorites:

Infant Girls' Swim Suit, $14.99

Dress, $42.99

Men's Button Up Shirt, $29.99

Cap Toe Flat, $29.99















The prices are a tad higher than you usually see at Target, but they are on par with some of the other designer partnerships Target has done in the past. In any case, it’s nice to see a little something different for a change!