My Boobs Get Answers!

Two months ago, my boobs had a lot of questions. Now I’ve finally got some answers. So let’s take a gander at what I was so worried about…

When will I be able to sleep without a bra again?

No idea. But not yet. Mostly because of this:

Will I eventually be able to go without nursing pads?

Ha ha ha ha, no. At least for me, each letdown still makes a pretty significant amount of milk and as I have one baby and two boobs, there’s always one side that needs protection. I went one night without nursing pads and had to go back to sleep with a soaked shirt.

How come they bother making cloth nursing pads when they don’t work? (Am I buying the wrong ones? Am I just a super lactation machine?)

I have a nursing pad review coming up to cover this exact issue. The short answer: most of them don’t work very well for me. The ones that work well aren’t flattering. It sucks.

This is why disposable pads exist.

If my nursing bra is sticking out all the time, why don’t they make it in cute colors and patterns so people will just think it’s a cute tank top?

Apparently my preferred bra now does come in hot pink. I really need to get one.

I tried on a lot of nursing tanks when I was around 6 weeks postpartum and hated all of them. But now that I’m a bit further out they’re much better. The shelf bras are still not awesome, but they are wearable.

Will it always hurt when I take a shower? Man, those things turn into rocks the minute I step under the water. And let’s not even discuss when I dry myself off.

This is one really wonderful change. My boobs are back to normal when I shower. I do prefer to shower not long after feeding the baby, but it’s much more comfortable.

When will I get to reclaim my boobs as a part of my sexuality? They look awesome, so I’d really like it to be soon…

Since I’ve moved out of the rock-hard phase and the ow-my-nipples-hurt phase, my boobs feel much more my own again. And I am enjoying their awesomeness. Yay cleavage!

Is it just me or do they always smell vaguely of milky sweat?

Another welcome change. This can happen if I forget to change my nursing pads for a while, but otherwise my boobs are no longer weirdly smelly.

Long story short, there’s a BIG difference between breastfeeding the first two months and breastfeeding afterwards, at least for me.

I no longer need nursing pillows or supports. I no longer have to spend 15+ minutes on each feeding. I don’t have to worry about positioning the baby just so. I was so happy when I no longer had to hold Tesser’s head to get her positioned. Now she can do a decent amount of the work herself once I get her in the right hold.

I’m learning that it goes in phases. We already had a period where Tessa latched badly and seemed more interested in chewing than sucking. It ended. We’re now masters of nursing in bed at night. And as she’s getting more aware and interested in the world, using my nursing cover is now an adventure as curious baby hands and feet are grabbing it and hurling it in various directions.

Now I get smiles while I nurse and it’s sweet. I have fed her on the train, in the car, and pretty much everywhere else. I’ve pumped with my double pump. I’ve added a hand-pump to my collection, which is super easy to stash in my purse.

So all in all I’m feeling pretty confident for now and for the future. But you can expect me to be back when she starts getting teeth…

See posts on breastfeeding and more in my New Moms Series.

And now a giveaway! This is my Get Ready for Breastfeeding pack, assembled of the various stuff I’ve collected that didn’t get used or opened. All of it is brand spanking new. Includes:

  • Lansinoh Lanolin (40g)
  • 2 Medela nipple shields (sizes S and M)
  • 1 Medela quick clean micro-steam bag
  • 1 sample pack of Medela disposable nursing pads
  • 1 sample pack of Medela quick clean wipes
  • 1 sample pouch of Medela tender care lanolin
  • 1 package of Medela colostrum collection and storage containers
  • 1 sample bottle of Johnson’s head to toe baby wash
  • 1 package of the infamous Mesh Underwear

I hope to make someone’s early days of breastfeeding a little bit easier and I know a ton of people have had babies lately. It would also be great for someone who’s currently pregnant. The lanolin alone is worth a decent amount of cash and those micro-steam bags are the best.

Congrats to Kat, our winner!! Best of luck to your friend on her upcoming baby!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling me what you’ve learned about breastfeeding or what you hope to learn.

No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. One entry per household according to the directions set out in the post. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Wednesday, June 27th at 6 pm Eastern Time. One winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive their prize. If a winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by Don’t Mind the Mess. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.

SnoozeShade Review and Giveaway

I’ve always been more of a laid-back parent. When Graham was born I was determined to get by with as little baby gear as possible. This second time it’s not about cutting back, it’s about thinking smart. With two kids I have a different set of demands and needs. I need baby gear that makes my life easier and my kids happier. So this time I have a more expensive stroller that takes up less space and works better on public transit. I have a breastfeeding pillow that costs more but helped me through those hard, early weeks.

And now I have the SnoozeShade.

When Graham was a baby I didn’t take him out much, but Tessa doesn’t have a choice. She gets dragged to playgroup and the park and the store and wherever else we’re headed. She has to accompany us to my errands and Graham’s activities. It isn’t amenable to naptime.

So I saw the SnoozeShade as something I could use to help Tessa deal with our busy schedule.

Here’s the SnoozeShade original on our stroller with Tessa’s bucket seat.

Before the SnoozeShade I did what a lot of people did: I draped a blanket over the seat. This didn’t work so well. The blanket would get blown off with the slightest wind. And it’s no good for warm weather, since the already-hot carseat would lose airflow.

The Shade is very simple and fits on any stroller. It’s a flexible material and has 6 places to attach, so you can easily adapt it to fit. I put some of the loops around the seat’s shade to hold it in place and it worked just fine. It takes just a couple seconds to put it on and the loops are in a bright-colored fabric so they’re easy to find.

Now that it’s warming up, I worry about Tessa getting too much sun. Even when she’s awake, she doesn’t enjoy having the sun in her eyes. The SnoozeShade blocks 94% of light so it’s good for sunny summer days. Plus the breathable mesh fabric means she gets cool breezes instead of getting stifled.

I started leaving the SnoozeShade’s two bottom loops attached all the time so I just had to pull it over the seat.

As you can see, I just tucked the shade into the basket. It was great to leave it there, even when I folded up the stroller. That way we always had it around.

In the two weeks we’ve had it, we’ve used it a lot. In fact, we’ve used it nearly every time we used the stroller. It is now one of my must-haves that I always want with me, and I love that I can keep it in the stroller as I don’t need anything else in my packed diaper bag. Tessa has been completely happy in it, whether she’s awake or asleep. And it’s definitely helped prolong her naps when we’re out and about. Feeling sleepy at playgroup? On it!

(I love her little foot sticking out.)

It gives her a little privacy and means the kids running around won’t be poking their heads around her seat to see what she’s doing. It’s also great if you hate people trying to touch your kid. SnoozeShade will make sure no prying fingers get near your baby’s sweet cheeks.

Of course the most important thing about SnoozeShade is whether it helps the baby sleep.

Judge for yourself:

That is one peaceful sleeping baby.

The SnoozeShade comes in a special size just for an infant bucket seat, though we used the Original. There’s also a size for Double Strollers and one for Playards. You can check out all the different models at their website.

If you’re always out and about with your stroller, I definitely recommend the SnoozeShade to keep in your stroller basket.

And just for my wonderful readers, we’re giving away a SnoozeShade Original for one lucky commenter! To enter, leave a comment below saying where you’ll be using a SnoozeShade with your stroller. The park? The grocery store? An afternoon walk? You must leave this comment FIRST to be eligible for any bonus entries.

Plus you can get a BONUS ENTRY by following @SnoozeShade on Twitter. You must leave an additional comment telling me you did it, including your Twitter handle.

Or you can get a BONUS ENTRY by watching a SnoozeShade video on their YouTube channel, where they show you how the shade works on various strollers. You must leave an additional comment with the name of the video you watched.

That’s a max of 3 entries per household. Rules are below.

And as another special bonus for The Mess’s readers, SnoozeShade is offering 20% off purchases of any SnoozeShade products from their website with the code DMTM20MA. This code is already active and will be good for the next two months.

Good luck, everyone!!

No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. Three entries per household according to the directions set out in the post. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Sunday, June 10th at 12 pm Eastern Time. The winner will receive a SnoozeShade Original, a retail value of $35 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by SnoozeShade. Don’t Mind the Mess is not responsible for any problems with receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.

 

I received a SnoozeShade Original free of charge from SnoozeShade for purposes of this review. SnoozeShade is also providing the prize for the winner. All opinions are my own.

Drool Baby Expo 2012!

When you’ve got a baby around, “gear” suddenly becomes a very important word. It’s all about finding the right thing to make your life easier so you can manage all the other non-baby things in your life.

I’ve talked a lot already about the things that make my life easier in my Favorite Things posts. And there are always more things I’m adding to the list. So I’m super pumped to head out to Drool Baby Expo on May 15th to check out all that is new and awesome in the world of baby-dom.

Drool Baby is put on by the must-visit toy store in the Boston area, Magic Beans. And all the big names in the baby world will be there. Just to name a few:

  • Nested Bean, the makers of the Zen Swaddle, which Tessa proudly modeled and currently enjoys at naptime. You’ll see her picture when you visit!
  • Rebecca Deaton Photography, who did the awesome photography for Charlene’s Baby Gender Reveal Party and Tessa’s swaddler photo shoot.
  • Sage Spoonfuls, a new baby food making and storing system.
  • Skip Hop, the classic diaper bag brand.
  • Medela, who make virtually all the breastfeeding paraphernalia I own.
  • Happy Baby and Ella’s Kitchen, makers of my go-to food on the go.
  • Cybex, the people who made my beloved carseat/stroller combo.

Drool Baby lets you get up close and personal with all the new products. It’s particularly awesome if you’re looking for carseats or strollers or other big purchases. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for what to get for a convertible car seat once Tessa grows out of her bucket seat. (Carseat favorites Britax will be there. And when it comes to strollers? You name it: BabyJogger, Bugaboo, BOB, Maclaren, Phil&Teds, UPPAbaby, Chicco, Bumbleride, etc.)

And this isn’t just a chance to check out products. There are prizes and I hear the gift bags are to die for.

I know this all sounds great and I’m not going to leave you empty handed.

I have ONE DROOL BABY TICKET TO GIVE AWAY!

So, if you’re in the Boston area on May 15th at 5:30 pm and you have a baby or you’re expecting a baby or you’re shopping for the perfect baby shower gift, come join us at this awesome expo!

To win, leave a comment to this entry. Rules are below.

This is a quick one! The winner will be chosen on Tuesday, May 8th at 12 pm Eastern Time.

If you don’t win, tickets to Drool Baby are still available! There will be awesome discounts and special offers so you won’t want to miss it. Plus I will be there! We can totally hang out!!

No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. One entry per household. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US and Canada. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Tuesday, May 8th at 12 pm Eastern Time. The winner will receive a standard ticket to the Drool Baby Expo, a retail value of $35 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be provided by Magic Beans. Don’t Mind the Mess is not responsible for any problems with receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.

Blog Better Boston, Baby!

I’ve got a whole slew of special offers at the end of this post, so make sure you get all the way through it!

Maybe it’s because my pregnancy had me housebound for a couple months. Maybe it’s because I spent the months before that working and crazy busy. Maybe it’s just the excitement of a new baby. But I’ve been feeling super social lately.

When you have a new baby and you leave the house, everyone is ready to give you a medal. It is basically the lowest bar you’ll ever have in your life. Appear somewhere that is not your house. A medal for you! You don’t have to look good. You don’t have to have makeup on. It’s not necessary that you have showered in the last week. You don’t have to wear clothes that fit. Just be somewhere. Medal.

For me it’s been really easy to get out and about this time around. (Definitely wasn’t last time.) At first I took advantage of having help around the house from my husband, my mother and my mother-in-law over the course of several weeks. I went shopping. I got a massage. I went to dinner.

But I upped the ante one weekend when I saw that a local blogger would be unable to attend Blog Better Boston and had a ticket available. The deal was sealed around 3 a.m. while I was up for a feeding and when Eric woke up that Saturday I asked him if it was okay if I took off for at least part of the day. I said I’d take the baby with me and he was fine with it.

So Tessa and I packed up and went to a blog conference, specifically the brand new Blog Better Boston.

I didn’t know how long we would stay. I brought the stroller and a fully stuffed diaper bag. I took a seat in the back and settled in.

Luckily Tessa kept it down to just a few squawks. We did diaper changes on the floor of the restroom and feedings in the back row.

I know everybody loves babies, but WOW everybody loves babies. I swear Tessa had a little tractor beam that pulled in everyone within a five-foot radius.

Since she was such a hot commodity and since there were free drinks we figured we’d join our pals at the afterparty. The Mommy Bloggers gathered the wagons and dished. We passed the baby around. Ovaries swooned. (Baby #4,Annie! You know you want it!!)

To everyone’s amusement, when my burger came out (with a fried egg on top) I had a very fitting dish for a breastfeeding mama. Look closely:

That, my friends, is a boob burger, is it not?

And right behind that boob burger is a boob-chomping baby under my nursing cover. If you’re wondering, it was one seriously tasty burger. (The Seoul Burger at the Think Tank, if you’re wondering.)

And now for a moment from our sponsors. Blog conferences are ripe with sponsors and I like to highlight the ones I particularly enjoyed. Plus a lot of them offer promo codes for our readers so make sure you see what’s available!

There were a LOT of style and fashion bloggers at the conference, which was a bit intimidating for the mom-types. My sneakers were definitely not 4-inch heels, and my t-shirt and fat postpartum jeans were from the Gap. But the great thing about having a room full of style bloggers was that a lot of our sponsors were oh so stylish.

I’ve put together a Pinterest board of my favorite offerings from the sponsors. Here’s a couple of highlights that I love.

 

Lace Affair, at laceaffair.com, has all kinds of clothing and accessories but I stuck to just one thing: dresses. They had some gorgeous ones to show us and I could not get away from that part of their site. I am all over this black and white garden-party dress and I think I’m really going to buy this red-and-white number.

 

Definitely give them a look, and save 20% with the coupon code BLOGBOSTON.

 

Stephanie Johnson makes small bags for travel and convenience in a variety of styles and colors. This is the Riviera Maya collection, which I know is kinda loud but I find it crazy adorable.

You can get 25% off purchase until May 1, 2012 with the promo code “Boston”.

 

Eyefly is an offshoot of Bluefly.com (LOVE) but they make glasses. Really cute glasses. When I saw their display I wanted to try them all on. Even better, all glasses are $99 and prescription lenses are free. Here are the frames I really want to buy:

You can save 15% with the promocode BBBDMTM

There were two jewelry sites there. The first is Gemvara, which has a lot of lovely, simple pieces but also lets you customize. You can go diamonds or emeralds, or keep it cheap with other gemstones in the same item. Their pieces are classic and I honestly could have pinned almost all their pendants and rings because I liked them so much. I have been wanting to get something to commemorate my two babies and I found two great ways to do it at Gemvara. First, there’s a little birthstone necklace, simple and classic. Graham and Tessa’s birthstones are Ruby and Amethyst.

But what I like even better are these little initials. I want to put them both together on a chain, a little “g” and a little “t.”

Gemvara is offering a discount, just go to the site gemvara.com/bbb2012.

The other jewelry site was InPink, which has a really wide variety of pieces and GREAT prices. Looking through their site reminded me that I am probably too conservative when it comes to my jewelry and I should branch out more. Like with this branch ring:

Or this pink necklace and earring set:

Gemvara is great for important pieces, I will probably point my husband there in the future. InPink is great for smaller purchases, have a friend’s birthday coming up? You should be able to find something there.

InPink was lovely enough to give us gift cards. So now I have to decide what to pick. Along with those two pieces I’m also considering these:

Thoughts, dearest readers??

[polldaddy poll=6094111]

I had a great time meeting bloggers. Conferences give me the opportunity to ponder where I want the blog to go. Definitely helps me feel connected and motivated. I hope to make the blog better all the time.

Giveaway alert!!

I’d also like to offer my readers the chance to WIN A $50 GIFT CARD from INDi Custom Premium jeans. You can find them at Indicustom.com. While this won’t cover a full pair, it’ll cut a nice chunk off the price. You can customize your pair by style, wash, color, and more and shipping is free! If you’d like to enter, leave a comment with your favorite cut of jeans. (Is it bad that I still love flare? These days I’m mostly boot cut, though.) Honestly, I’d use this myself, except I’m in no condition for new pants right now.

Thanks to all the Blog Better Boston speakers, staff and sponsors. As an attendee I received a $50 gift card from InPink, a Stephanie Johnson clutch, a $50 gift card to INDi, and a pair of Eyefly glasses. I was not required to blog any of these items and have simply posted items that really caught my eye.

Giveaway Rules: No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment with your favorite cut of jeans you agree to the rules of this giveaway. One entry per household. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 6 pm Eastern Time. The winner will receive a discount code for INDi, a retail value of $50 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be sent by me within 30 days of the end of the contest. Don’t Mind the Mess is not responsible for any problems with shipping or receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.

Friday Reads: Penguin Threads Giveaway!

Some of us book lovers are a bit more quirky than others, but I know most of us have a thing for beautiful book covers. I’ll buy a book I love if I love it, sure, but if a book has a swoon-worthy cover, I will buy it without an instant’s thought. A book I like pretty well can get added to my collection if it has a killer cover. (On the other hand, I won’t buy the hardcover of Freedom, though I liked it pretty well, because I found the cover horrible.)

Classics tend to come out in many editions, new ones every so often, and I always have to check them out at bookstores because who doesn’t want a particularly gorgeous copy of a book they love? Too often I’m disappointed by what I see. They slap a painting on the cover (which may or may not be appropriate for the story) and they’re done.

But every so often you find a set of unique covers for wonderful books that just make you happy.

And that is why I’m writing about the new Penguin Threads Classics. The series has new covers for Black Beauty, Emma and The Secret Garden and they’re not just any covers. They were designed with embroidery by artist Jillian Tamaki.

She has a beautiful post that shows them off to great effect. The covers themselves aren’t embroidered (they’re not crazy) but they’re embossed and very touch-oriented.

I have for you readers a copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett from the Penguin Threads series to give away. It doesn’t just have a totes gorgeous cover, but it’s a good quality paperback, with nice thick pages. I’m going to let it speak for itself for a moment.

I’ve folded out the cover on both pictures which explains the size. I also love the inside of the cover.

I love how unique these are.

To be honest, I seriously considered keeping this for myself instead of passing it along, but I figured I already have a pretty copy of The Secret Garden that’s part of my childhood set so it wasn’t really fair for me to have two.

If you must get your hands on a copy, you can find them on Amazon or on the Penguin site. They would make a great gift.

Now for the rules of the giveaway!

To enter, leave a comment on this post within the giveaway period. Make sure you include a valid email. If you win, you’ll need to provide me your name and address, which I will not share. 1 comment per household, please. Family and friends may enter, of course. (I consider you all friends anyway, so I’d be in trouble otherwise.)

And now all the nitty gritty rules. Please read if you plan to enter.

No purchase necessary. By leaving a comment you agree to the rules of this giveaway. Limited to entrants over 18 in the US and Canada. Contest begins as of the time of this post and ends on Thursday, November 3rd at 6 pm Eastern Time. The winner will receive a copy of The Secret Garden from the Penguin Threads series, a retail value of $16.00 US. The number of eligible entries received will determine the odds of winning. The winner will be selected using the “And the Winner Is” plugin. Winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours to receive their prize. If the winner does not respond within that time, a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be shipped by me within 30 days of the end of the contest. Don’t Mind the Mess is not responsible for any problems with shipping or receipt of the prize. This contest is governed by the rules of Massachusetts, void where prohibited.

So tell me about your favorite covers! What is your most gorgeous book? And good luck!!

I was not compensated for this post or giveaway. I received this copy of THE SECRET GARDEN for free from Penguin. Thanks again to publicist Gabrielle.