Holiday Gift Guide with Walmart

Hayes and I have teamed up with Walmart to share some of our favorite things with y’all!! Since Christmas is so close I figured I would share some gift ideas!! Walmart has ALL of our baby favs and must haves so I’ll be sure to link all of those + some fun gift ideas for babies of all ages!! I’m also doing a little gift guide for any girl in your life because Walmart is becoming my GO TO place for all things fashion & beauty accessories lately!!

New Parent Musts + Gifts for Baby

 

Gifts for Her

If you’ve been on the hunt for a fun and affordable gift for a baby or girlfriend in your life, hopefully this list was helpful!!
I am so in love with all of these items and would be THRILLED to receive any of them as a gift!

Walmart – Best of Baby Month

Y’all know I’m ALL about savings and y’all also know I’m a big fan of Walmart!! I love the fact that they always have the best prices and ALWAYS seem to have exactly what I need, especially when it comes to things for Hayes!
Well, good news friends!! They are currently having Best of Baby Month, which means SO many amazing items are marked down right now.
This month they’re offering 30 days of online savings on top brands and more!!
They have tons and tons of absolute MUSTS for first time mamas or even mamas who are about to have their 2nd or 3rd baby. They’re also offering savings on items for moms like me who’s baby is… not so much a baby anymore *cue tears*.
I went ahead and made a list of all of my favorite items but you can shop everything HERE.

We’ve actually been on the hunt for some new bath toys for Hayes and they had THE coolest set available for Walmart Baby Month!! I’m not kidding guys..Hayes literally played with these in the tub for almost two hours.

Keep reading to see a list of my favorites! We own so many of these products and couldn’t imagine life without them. Others I linked because I would LOVE to have them when baby #2 comes around, or heck even now!

All of these have amazing ratings, a lot of them we own or would love to own!!

SOSO many cute clothing items for both boys & girls too!!

Walmart Baby Month ends in just 10 days!! Let me know what you end up getting!!

Weaning – My Experience


Let me start this by saying…
Never, I mean NEVER in my wildest dreams did I think I would be nursing my baby past 1 year.
I knew I wanted to breastfeed and I knew it would have its ups and downs.
My goal was to breastfeed for 1 year, I really never thought about weaning, I kind of just naively thought he would just want to stop once he turned one. (so ridiculous of me, I know) I had also heard so many stories from friends saying their babies just weaned themselves so part of me was also waiting for that…but every single time I thought he was close to weaning himself he’d start wanting to nurse all day every day and it was
E X H A U S T I N G.

I never imagined myself having a 17 month old who would throw an absolute fit if I didn’t give him the boob wherever and whenever he wanted it. It was HARD and I would get embarrassed. I didn’t mind nursing him at home, I actually loved and cherished our morning and bedtime nursing sessions SO much, it was one of the few times he was actually still and I could just look at him & soak him in. The morning and bedtime nursing sessions were my favorite & the ones I miss the most.

I don’t remember how old Hayes was when I really knew that I was ready to wean…The truth is I was never emotionally ready.
I was physically ready for sure. But the thought of it being “the last time” and the thought of my baby not needing me in that way really did devastate me and keep me holding on for a little too long. I remember seeing an instagram post of a mama videoing her last nursing session with her baby girl, she was sobbing and just kept telling her daughter that this was the last time and she’s going to be a big girl now. It hit SO close to home and I sobbed for days and days knowing that our time was coming soon.

I knew if I didn’t set a specific date to stop nursing Hayes that it just wasn’t going to happen and I was going to keep pushing it off…and then my friend Allison texted me letting me know she was offering “The Last Latch” photos on Friday July 26th.
So I decided that Friday would be our last day. I had a few days to mentally prepare myself and also stock up on snacks and new toys to keep Hayes occupied. I’ll talk more about that with y’all in a little bit!

I remember waking up Friday morning knowing it was going to be a day of lasts for us.
I picked Hayes up out of his crib and he would usually always sign for milk and tug on my shirt….
but he didn’t.
It was such a bittersweet moment, I didn’t nurse him that morning and that was really really hard for me but I was also super proud of him and it re assured me that he was ready.
Our photoshoot was around noon, and I really didn’t know what to expect.
I remember getting my hair & makeup done by my insanely talented friend, Bridgette, and talking to her about what was about to happen and how I felt about it all.
I didn’t know if I would feel comfortable nursing him with a camera in my face, or if I would feel weird and out of my element. I had no earthly idea what to expect but I’m happy to say it was SO incredibly special. I barely knew Allison was there and I just held my baby while he nursed and I cried. Cried because I was SO DANG proud of myself. Cried because I was so sad that such a special thing was coming to an end. Cried because I let other people opinions affect me for so long. Cried because I was so excited to have my body back. There were lots of reasons behind those tears but I remember just feeling an overwhelming amount of gratitude. Just so thankful for Hayes and his health and for the opportunity to be his mama.

I didn’t want that to be our last nursing session because I wanted it to be just him and I.
I wanted it to be at home in our usual spot, so I decided bedtime would be the last time.
I had a lot of anxiety before putting him to bed that night, I remember setting up my phone on Hayes’s book shelf and clicking record. The room was pitch black so I had no idea if it was even recording anything, I just knew I never wanted to forget that moment. I rocked him and nursed him and cried and cried because I knew that really was the last time.
We had gotten to the point where he didn’t nurse long, 15 minutes t0ps…so I made sure to cherish those 15 minutes.
Then I laid him down and walked out and cried on Kyle.
I did it.

The following days were shockingly easy. I don’t know if I was just insanely lucky or what. But I do have some tips & tricks for those of you wanting to wean soon! The #1 rule is to NEVER say “NO” when they ask to nurse. This is HUGE. It will only make them upset & feel confused and like they’re in trouble. I know Hayes pretty well and I would try and get a snack or a distraction before he would even ask to nurse. BUT if he did ask or tug on my shirt I would say something along the lines of “Hey do you want to go get a popsicle?!” in a really excited voice lol and that would usually do the trick. Hayes had A LOT of popsicles those following weeks. Also, be prepared to work a lot harder on keeping your baby busy and happy. I had no down time whatsoever and would constantly make sure he was happy and busy and entertained so I wouldn’t have to deal with seeing him sad about not getting the boob. I knew I couldn’t emotionally handle him being devastated about it so I did everything I could to distract him.

I was really worried about nap and bedtime because I have ALWAYs nursed him before those.
The first night after weaning I sat him on my lap and he was laying on my chest and he just let me rub his back and rock him, he has never done this so I was in complete shock. And then I kind of replaced nursing with rubbing his back.
That lasted for about a week or two. He would just lay down and want me to rub his back and be perfectly happy with it.
He quickly got over that and started throwing fits for naps and bedtime which was hard, I wanted SO badly to rock him or cuddle him or do ANYTHING for him but he would just fight and fight because he didn’t want to go to bed.
We’re at a point now where for naps we get his blankies and bear and I just lay him down and he typically goes down pretty quickly (depends on the day, some days we try and try & he doesn’t nap at all)
Night time has been good lately, We do bath, pajamas, books, brush teeth then lay down!
Hayes has never been super consistent with sleep so some weeks are good & some are really hard.
Just remember that it’s a big change for them too so if it doesn’t go smoothly at first, that’s normal!

Whenever Hayes would ask and distractions or snacks wouldn’t work I would just say “I’m so sorry Hayes, it’s gone gone, you drank it all baby, there’s no more” and just repeat that or things similar to that and hold him and love on him!

A lot of you asked if I replaced nursing with a bottle or anything and I tried! Hayes has never LOVED milk, he’ll only drink almond milk if anything, and he really doesn’t even love that. He’s gone weeks without drinking milk and his Dr said that’s perfectly fine as long as he’s getting other forms of dairy!! 

A lot of you also asked how my hormones and boobs were after weaning. I was SO lucky and they never got super full or engorged and I never experienced crazy hormones. I think it helped a lot that I had slowly weaned Hayes to just morning and night. Towards the end I was definitely nursing him more than morning and night BUT we had mostly weaned down to just twice a day. I think a lot of people experience the crazy hormones and engorgement when they have to stop abruptly. But you just never know!

We’ve officially reached the other side and he no longer asks and if he happens to see my boobs he just giggles or says “milk” but it ends there! haha I’m happy to say that he DOES still need me and our relationship is better than ever!

For all you mamas who are weaning soon, YOU’VE GOT THIS. Your baby will still need you, I promise!!
There are sososo many more amazing and special memories ahead and be you should be SO damn proud of yourself!

Hair & makeup : BespokenBeauty
Photography: LentillePhotography

Walmart Baby Registry – Must Have Items

Y’all, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Walmart is majorly stepping up their game in every area!
I keep finding the cutest clothes for both me and Hayes (try on happening soon)!!
AND I swear they always have exactly what we need when it comes to baby items.
They’ve recently introduced a new personalized baby registry experience and y’all, I am SO impressed!!
My favorite thing about Walmart is that they’ve been able to provide SO much for us through every single phase of Hayes’s life.
Their toy selection has been a life saver for us lately!!
Linking so many of our favorites from birth to 18 months!

Introducing solids – tips from the mom that has no clue what she’s doing

Well friends, I know this post is long overdue and I’m so sorry to keep y’all waiting!
I’ve been spending a lot more time off of my phone and computer during the day because I want my time with Hayes to be special and with as little distractions as possible. Trying to keep up with a blog, making sure I am present & growing on social media, running an online store and being a dog mom + a mom to an almost 10 month old wild crawler is FREAKING HARD. Honestly, each of those things I listed is a full time job so trying to balance all 5 is pretty dang exhausting, I know SO many of you who do it and make it look like a piece of cake, so SHOUT OUT to all you supermom boss babes! I’m just over here trying to keep my dang head above water!!
I usually call it a successful day if I remember to brush my teeth before 3pm. Lord help me.

ANYWAYS…I’ve gotten tons and tons of questions on how I started introducing solids to Hayes and a lot of you requested a blog post. Not going to lie, I’ve totally been putting this post off – mainly because I’ve been winging it when it comes to feeding him and I feel like I am not a person that needs to be giving out “advice” on this topic when I really don’t even know what the heck I’m doing lol
BUT I think most of you know that when I do come on here (like what, once every two months now?) and share blog posts with y’all it’s not because I think my way is right, or that I have all of the answers, it’s because we’re all in this together and maybe just MAYBE my story of the day will help you feel more normal, or give you an idea, or maybe even just make you laugh, so today’s post is all about introducing solids – from the mama who has no clue what she’s doing.

Before I dive into this post, a lot of you have also asked if I’m still breastfeeding, yes I am! I just nurse Hayes on demand, and it’s been pretty consistent with every 3 hours or so still, but he nurses much quicker these days, well during the day at least, like literally under 5 minutes sometimes. He’s going through a “no bottle” phase right now, so that’s been fun. Oh and lately at night (the last 3-4 nights) he wants nothing but the boob…like from 5pm and on he is such a savage and it’s almost as if my nipples forsake me and go back to the new mom cracked raw and bleeding nips during those hours. They don’t actually bleed and they aren’t cracked BUT I’m just making it a point to say that he is tearing my boobs apart lately and if anyone else is dealing with this please let me know because holy smokes I’m about to just cut my nipples off and give them to him.

OKAY back to the main topic…I’m honestly really surprised at myself because with as much anxiety as I have in general, feeding Hayes solids has never been something that scares me – I know SO many of you have told me that you’re so scared of your baby choking and that’s why you’ve been hesitant to start introducing solids but for some reason that hasn’t been a big fear of mine. Which is shocking considering all of the other things that I’m fearful of, but ya, anyways…
Kyle and I started introducing solids a little before 6 months (pediatricians recommend starting at 6 months) We seriously could not wait to start giving Hayes real food and were SO excited to see his reactions to different tastes. When he was around 5 months we would just give him little tastes of things off of our fingers, nothing too crazy! We didn’t REALLY start giving him food until 6 or 7 months though. We did some traveling during that time and I didn’t want to mess with trying to introduce solids while traveling, especially if he ended up having a weird reaction to something! So once we were done traveling we decided to give it a go.

I honestly forgot what exactly we did first and all the steps we took. I think we tried baby oatmeal w/ breastmilk first, he hated it. Then we tried mashed up avocado, didn’t hate it but still wasn’t a fan, he did seem to like mashed up bananas! But got sick of them pretty quickly. But ya, basically we started out with the usual purees. I would boil veggies and then we’d mash them up into a puree and BOY did he hate them, all of them! It was funny at first, watching him make disgusted faces and of course the overly dramatic gagging was hysterical…I’m sure the majority of you have seen Hayes’s carrot video that didn’t but totally should’ve gone viral lol. Well after about a week  of trying purees and him wanting nothing to do with them I decided to say “screw it” and try something different. Whenever we were trying purees Hayes would actually try to chew them so part of me knew that he was ready for softer foods. So instead of mashing up bananas or avocados I just started cutting them up into super small chunks for him. And just like that, he started to LOVE food. Giving him small chunks of food instead of mashed or pureed food was a complete game changer. I started out with foods that had a really smooth texture so that if he didn’t chew them good they would still go down easily for him! So we didn’t do the traditional purees first like most people, but we also didn’t do baby led weaning…we kind of just did our own thing. I would cut up small chunks of food and feed him myself. Because if I was going to take the extra time to make him a special meal I wasn’t going to let it be all over the floor and I wanted him to actually get nutrients out of it lol BUT then finally around 7.5 months he started wanting to pick up the food and feed himself so I let him and it’s been great! I still feed him some things that are hard for his little fingers to pick up like avocado or bananas but for the most part he LOVES feeding himself.

Our pediatrician gave us this incredibly helpful chart that we keep on the fridge!

{you can download your own copy here}
I was shocked when some of my friends told me they had never seen this chart before, I just assumed everyone gets one!  Like I said, we keep it on the fridge and I look at it pretty regularly. We definitely give Hayes more than just what’s listed, and I’m sure we feed him more than the recommended tablespoon amounts or whatever, I’ve honestly never measured.

Once I realized that Hayes loved to actually chew his foods I started to get a lot more adventurous with foods I would give him. Instead of mashing up veggies I would cut them into small pieces, put a little oil on them and then put them in the oven for 20 minutes or so to soften them up a bit. Hayes LOVES meat. Turkey and chicken are his favorite, I just buy organic turkey lunch meat and tear it up or a rotisserie chicken and peel off pieces for him. Eggs are another one of his favorites. I’ve realized he loves something for about a week and then if I try to keep giving it to him he gets annoyed because he wants to change things up, which is totally understandable. I think noodles might be his absolute favorite thing, he never gets sick of those and could eat A TON. I’m kind of at the point where I don’t know what the heck to feed him lately. He’s starting to get bored with his usual meals so I need to change things up…I always find myself going to BrittLessers Instagram page when it comes to baby food ideas! She’s always feeding her dude the best stuff and shares awesome ideas and recipes!

Here’s an example of what a typical day looks like for us:
Wakes up at 7ish – Breastmilk
(he nurses about every 3 hours, every day is different though! Some days he’ll be too active to stop and nurse and others he’s super consistent and will do a full nursing session every 2-3 hours)
Breakfast – cheerios / eggs / fruit/veggie pouch / bagel / pancake / banana
Snack – Puffs / Teethers / Cheerios
Lunch – Turkey / chicken / veggies / pouch
sometimes he’ll have another snack before dinner
Dinner – Usually the same as lunch – we’re pretty boring over here – going to start trying to make his meals more fun and more of a variety

Hayes is NOT a fan of broccoli, he’ll eat peas and zucchini and squash (roasted in the oven), loves sweet potatoes! He likes small chunks of sweet potato though not mashed! He really gets most of his fruits & veggies from the Happy Baby Pouches, they have them by age which is great! Some days he’ll literally go through 4 and other days I can barely get him to finish one. I’m pretty sure you can get them anywhere, we typically grab them at either Kroger or Target!

Q&A:
1. How long did you wait between giving him solids/introducing him to a new solid? 
I’m pretty sure the rule says to wait at least 2-3 days before introducing a new food in case your baby has some sort of negative reaction to a food, that way you’ll know which food your baby is reacting too!…but we never followed that rule. I have been so chill about food it’s honestly kind of weird, because I totally am a paranoid helicopter mom. I should probably start being a little more cautious.

2. How long do you continue supplementing with breastmilk after starting solids?
Breastmilk or formula should be your babes primary source of nutrients until they’re 1! It’s totally up to baby and mama on how long you continue to breastfeed after that!

3. How did you get over fear of him choking?
I talked about this a little in the post but for some reason this hasn’t been a big problem for me or a big fear of mine. Maybe because Hayes has always been a good chewer??

4. How much solids is he eating per day and has his milk intake decreased?
Honestly, every day is SO different. Some days he can’t get enough solids and I feel like he’s just eating all day long, and other days I almost feel like I have to force feed him. His milk intake has definitely decreased since starting solids…but with that as well, every day is different. Some days he’ll nurse constantly every 2-3 hours and take both boobs and other days he’ll latch on one boob for 2 minutes and that will be all for that session.

5. How many times a day and days of the week did you start feeding solids?
I may be answering this wrong, because for some reason it feels like FOREVER ago that we started introducing solids…even though it’s literally only been 4-5 months. But I’m pretty sure once I started I’d try to give him solids 3 times a day every day, even if it was just a tiny bit. Some days he wasn’t interested and others he was!

6. What was your go to brand for rice cereal / oatmeal?
I only tried Gerber, but he wanted nothing to do with it – Hayes has got a weird thing with textures! lol

7. Do you like your hair chair?
Yes! It’s honestly super easy and convenient and ridiculously affordable. I’ve heard really great things about the Beaba high chair but it’s definitely pricey!

8. How and when did you introduce peanut butter?
This is one thing I AM fearful of! We haven’t introduced peanut butter yet. A friend told me that her pediatrician gave some to her baby while they were there just in case anything happened they were already in a safe place and literally right in front of the dr!  I’m going to ask ours about doing that at Hayes’s next appointment!

9. When did you introduce a sippy cup with water?
At Hayes’s 6 month appt our pediatrician told us that he could start drinking small amounts of water with every meal! It took him a little while to get the hang of it but now he LOVES his water. It also took some trial and error with sippy cups. Our favorite has been the Nuby sippy cup. Other ones tend to come out SOOOO slow.

10. Did your pediatrician suggest bottle first and then solids or the other way around?
My pediatrician actually told me to feed him solids first and then nurse afterwards…buttttttt I nurse him first. lol Clearly, not a rule follower.

I hope this answers most of y’alls questions!! SORRY it took me so long to finally get this post up!
Hope y’all have a great week!!