Hi! If you are coming from www.craftychelsea.com, don't be alarmed! This is my new site! You can find all of my old posts here, as well as new ones more focused on pregnancy and babies. If you are looking for something in particular, you can use the search box under my picture. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

This post is sponsored by Bravado Designs. I received free product in exchange for this post, however all opinions are true and 100% my own!

Before Little J was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed him. I knew that that was the best way to get him antibodies and keep him healthy and give him the best start I could (thanks college infant development class). But I also had heard breastfeeding horror stories about painful, engorged breasts, bleeding nipples, and babies who just won't do it. Needless to say I was a little worried. I took a class, read articles online, and asked my nurses everything they could tell me to help breastfeeding be successful. And I was able to breastfeed Little J until he was 8-months-old and my supply got low. With Little A, I knew from the start I wanted to breastfeed her, too. I read up on all my tips I had gotten with Little J, and now I am here to share them with you!

Breastfeeding shouldn't be a battle, it shouldn't be uncomfortable, and it should not be something you dread. It should be a bonding experience and something that you look back on fondly when your child is older. The day I stopped breastfeeding Little J, I cried because it was something I was going to miss doing with him. Since he moves constantly, it was nice to have some quiet time where I could just hold him close. 

But anyway, that doesn't help you. You are here for tips. So here are my tips for successful breastfeeding!
Breastfeeding as soon as possible after baby is born really helps baby start breastfeeding strong.

Self-expressing helps baby go to the breast. Place your fingers directly above and below the nipple and gently compress in, then together.

If baby won't latch himself, put his nose in front of your nipple, tip his head back, place his bottom lip on, and bring the top lip over. When he opens his mouth wide, stick him on!

Baby's chin should be smashed and his nose touching. I know it will look uncomfortable, but this position will save your nipples from soreness.

There should be more areola showing above baby's mouth than below. If you don't know, the areola is the brown part around your nipple.

Avoid using pacifiers or bottles for the first 3-4 weeks. It can lead to nipple confusion. If you are tempted to use a pacifier because baby is crying, just try swaddling, shh-ing, and swaying.

Listen for swallowing. You want to make sure your baby is actually getting breastmilk, otherwise, you will need to reposition them.

Try different positions and find what works best for you and your baby. (The four positions are the football hold, the cradle hold, the cross-cradle hold, and lying down.)
Try nursing more frequently for shorter periods. This can help because you won't be feeding for as long, and while you may think that it would be worse because you have to nurse more often, I promise you, it will help.

Changing baby's position can help vary the pressure points created by baby's mouth. You can try any of the four standard breastfeeding holds: cradle, cross-cradle, football, and lying down. I personally was a fan of the cross-cradle fan with Little J, but everyone prefers different things.

LANOLIN. If your nipples are dry, cracked, or bleeding, try using some lanolin. Just apply a pea-sized amount after nursing (or showering, too) and it can really help to heal those cracked nipples. And the best part is you don't have to worry about wiping it off before you feed baby next because it is natural!

Try some hydrogel pads. They are like gel packs that you put in the fridge and then put on your breasts between feeding. They are small and feel amazing, even though it may seem kind of weird. Do not use heat! That is pretty much the opposite of what you want. The hospital gave me a sample of some hydrogel pads and they were lifesavers those first few days and weeks. You can buy them at Target, Walmart, or other baby stores.
When your baby finishes feeding on one breast, offer the second, He probably won't eat as long on the second breast, but then the next time you feed him, start with the breast you ended on last time. And it is really helpful to wear a hair tie on your wrist on the side he ends on so that you know which side to start on next time!

Stroke baby's hands, legs, or feet if he gets sleepy during feeding. If that doesn't help, try taking off his clothes. This mostly happens when baby is little, and not so much as they get older. It's especially common when you feed baby at night (for obvious reasons).

Burping with breastfeeding isn't necessary, but it helps between breasts and at the end. Air in the tummy may make baby irritable and not cooperative, so if you are having difficulties, try burping your little one!

If baby shows disinterest try to stimulate baby's rooting reflex by touching baby's cheek or lips with your nipple. This may help him latch on and then realize that it's time to eat!

If you have a painful lump on your breast, try massaging it while baby is nursing. Throughout the time I breastfed Little J, I would occasionally get clogged ducts. It really helped to massage them in a circular motion while he was eating. It may not go away immediately, but it sure helps!

Avoid using soap on your nipples because it can lead to soreness and cracking. You obviously can't help getting shampoo on your body when you rinse your hair, but when you are using body wash, skip your nipples and you should be fine.

If engorged between feedings, you can pump or even just self-express a little bit. Sometimes baby won't eat as much because he isn't feeling well or maybe he just isn't as hungry one day (as long as he has normal diapers, he should be fine). If this happens, you might get engorged. Using a breast pump after or between feedings can help get rid of a little of that engorgement. And if it's just a little painful, you can just try to self-express a little bit by placing your fingers above and below your nipple and compressing. Sometimes just a little bit is all it takes to feel better.

One of the most important tips I can give you for successful breastfeeding is that you need to be comfortable both when you are breastfeeding and when you aren't. The best way to do this is to have a supportive bra. You need a comfortable bra that is supportive, but not restrictive. A bra that is too tight can lead to engorgement, plugged milk ducts, or a breast infection. You also want one that will be easy to use while you are actually breastfeeding. Next week I am going to share how to pick the best nursing bra for you, so check back and see what I love about the Bravado Designs nursing bras and tanks!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Project Lead Kindly

Hey everyone! I have something really big to share with you today. My friend Pamela from MacDonald's Playland and her husband Scott have started a nonprofit organization called Project Lead Kindly. Project Lead Kindly assists mothers and children affected by homelessness and domestic violence by providing charitable service and grants to assist them in getting closer to safer, stable housing as well as educational or professional dreams.

Project Lead Kindly

In college, I did an internship at a women and children's shelter. I mainly worked with the children at the shelter, and it was hard to see how the women didn't value themselves and weren't able to change, even for their children. They wanted to, but they didn't believe in themselves and didn't know how to change. Something I love about Project Lead Kindly is that they work to change that and to help women value themselves and change where they are in their lives.

Project Lead Kindly is on a mission to spread the message that ALL can do good and spread kindness, no matter their circumstances.

I am asking my readers and blog friends (calling out Britni at Play. Party. Pin., Carisa at Messes to Memories, and Britt at My Little Sunshines to participate by:
1) Creating your own "Spread Kindness, even when...(fill in the blank)" sign and take a photo of it!
2) Sharing your photo THIS WEEK on Instagram or Facebook. Be sure to tag Project Lead Kindly and/or tag it #projectleadkindly so they can share your photo which will inspire others going through difficult challenges!
3) Tag at least 3 friends and ask them to create a "spread kindness, even when..." sign too and ask them to join in and post the photo on their favorite social media.

Join us in inspiring someone out there to know they are not alone and still have light within them to do good, no matter what life throws at them. Let's remind people of their light and assist mothers & children in need!

You can connect with Project Lead Kindly on their Facebook page, Twitter account, or Instagram feed. 

Visit www.projectleadkindly.com to find more ways to lead kindly and to assist mothers & kids affected by homelessness and domestic violence. Thanks for taking the time to share this important message!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Maternity Pictures by Kandice Stewart Photography

When I was pregnant with Little J, I gained 50 pounds. Needless to say, I did not want to spend the money to get professional maternity pictures done. I did not want to remember my chubbier self. But with Little A, I only gained 33 pounds by the end, and I felt so much better about myself. I worked out, ate better, and made sure I wasn't constantly snacking. There was also my sister's wedding at 35 weeks pregnant, so I wanted to make sure I didn't look huge in the pictures we would forever see.

Anyway, I felt much better this time around, so I wanted to get some maternity pictures done! I had my lovely friend Kandice from Kandice Stewart Photography take these beauties here in Iowa. We had a lot of fun taking them, despite getting bit by about a million mosquitos! Kandice did a fabulous job, and I absolutely love the way these pictures came out. I am so happy with them that I wanted to share them with you!

Please do not use these for anything other than inspiration for your own maternity shoot. Thank you!

If you want to see the full shoot, check out Kandice's blog here.

Also, if you love my dress as much as I did, it is from Pink Blush Maternity.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cheesy Pesto and Tomato Pasta

Last year my husband and I tried to start a patio garden and within a few weeks, everything died. This year I asked one of my friends who had an amazing garden last year for a few tips, and oh boy did it make a difference! We have beautiful flowers, basil, and two types of hybrid tomatoes. And when our basil plant started producing like crazy, plus our tomato plant started producing beautiful red tomatoes, I knew it was time to create my own recipe. I decided to go with a spin-off of the Noodles and Co. Pesto Cavatappi, because it is delicious and I wanted it at home. It turned out AMAZING, and because there are no pine nuts in the pesto, it is okay for people allergic to nuts (like me)!

Let me just tell you, this recipe is amazing. It is creamy and cheesy and full of fresh garden goodness. I have made it several times since coming up with it about a month ago, and I'm sure you will fall in love with it, too! Plus my basil plant just keeps putting out a ton of leaves, and I need to use them somehow!

This dish is delicious at lunch or dinner, and the leftovers taste good, too! That is, of course, if you have any!

Cheesy Pesto and Tomato Pasta
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves 4

  • 10 oz. bowtie pasta
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 5 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1 tomato, diced
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. While pasta is boiling, make the pesto! Combine the basil, olive oil, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and garlic in a food processor until mixed well. Add in 1/4 c. mozzarella and blend until it doesn't get any more chopped.
  3. In the same pan you cooked the pasta, melt butter over medium heat. Add in the whipping cream and let it get thick, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the pesto and let the sauce thicken more, about 7 more minutes.
  5. Add 1/3 c. mozzarella cheese and stir until melted.
  6. Toss in the pasta and diced tomatoes.
  7. Serve!
I seriously hope that you get to try this recipe, especially with basil and tomatoes from your own garden. I don't know why, but it just tastes better when you eat it knowing you grew part of it!

So really, I beg you to try this recipe. You will not be sorry!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Meet Little A

As many of you may already know if you follow me on social media, Little A was born on September 4th!

She was born at 8:10pm, weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz, and is 21 inches long. She is absolutely perfect.

Needless to say, we are in love and I may be a bit busy the next few weeks as we adjust to having two littles instead of one! I will post her birth story in a few weeks, but for now, enjoy the sweet picture!

Monday, September 8, 2014

How to Survive a Third Trimester Road Trip

Two months ago my husband and I drove from Iowa to Colorado to Idaho, and then back to Colorado, and then back to Iowa. Oh, and I was 32-34 weeks pregnant. Driving over 3,000 miles in two weeks while in your third trimester is quite the adventure. It was long, uncomfortable, and it was a relief when we finally got back home! Along the way I learned several ways to make a road trip better during your third trimester, so here they are!

1. Plan on Stopping. A lot. With growing baby pushing on your bladder you will have to pee a lot. So just plan on stopping every hour or so. Add extra time to your plans because if your navigation says it will take 10 hours, you will take 12 hours. Trust me. Just plan ahead and plan on stopping.

2. Wear Pants with a Loose Waistband. I highly suggest wearing sweatpants or tie-pants that aren't tight. You want to be as comfy as possible, and the maternity pants with the over-the-belly band can be hot and uncomfortable when you are sitting in a car for a long time. I just wore some old sweatpants that fit below my belly and that are really loose and they were perfect.

3. Wear Short Sleeves and Bring a Sweatshirt. Any woman knows that you are extra sensitive to temperatures when you are pregnant, especially in the third trimester. So if you are going to be in a car with other people who have normal temperature feelings, you want to make sure you will be able to adjust without making everyone else adjust. So wear short sleeves in case you get hot, and bring a sweatshirt in case you get cold.

4. Wear Flip-Flops or Slip-On Shoes. Do not wear socks. Your feet will get hot, you will want to take your shoes off, and if your feet get swollen from sitting for so long, you will want to make sure you don't have shoes that are too tight or constricting. Depending how far you are in the third trimester, you may be so swollen that you won't even be able to wear shoes other than flip-flops. And even if you can wear sneakers, it's so much better not to on a road trip.

5. Drink a Lot. I know this may seem like a bad idea in a car on a road trip, but when I told my doctor I was going to be going on a road trip, she was very insistent that I drink a lot. Yes, this will contribute to stopping a lot, but you don't want to get dehydrated and start having contractions. Trust me.

6. Flex Your Legs and Your Bum. Sitting in a car for a long time can cause blood clots in your legs, so every 20 minutes or so, my husband and I always say "Flex!" and we both flex our legs and our bums. It helps with cramping, too, and it is even more important when you are pregnant and can't get up and walk around a lot.

7. Bring Snacks and Drinks. Especially snacks with protein. If you come prepared with snacks and drinks, it will be a lot better (and cheaper) than paying for snacks and drinks at gas stations. And you can bring a wide variety in case you decide you want something sweet, something salty, or something more filling. It's a lot easier and you won't always have to go buy things when you stop.

8. Walk When You Stop. When you stop for meals, try and make sure you walk around. It will help you feel more relaxed, especially if, no when, you get uncomfortable and your legs, hips, and butt start going crazy. Even just a little walking around when you stop will really help.

9. Wear Compression Stockings. Okay, so this isn't for everyone, but if you have varicose veins (thanks baby) or bad swelling, it will really help. This was something my doctor strongly encouraged and it helped a lot. Without the stockings, my veins would have hurt, gotten worse, and my legs would have been way more swollen. They helped a lot. So if you have varicose veins or your legs are pretty swollen already, you really want to check them out. They are worth it.

So there you go! I made it across five states and back, and so can you! Even though it's really hard and not the best way to travel, sometimes you have to take a road trip in your third trimester, and now you can have the best drive possible!

Do you have any other tips about how you can survive a road trip during your third trimester?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pretty Mama #2: Sheer Cover Studio Makeup Review

I received free product in exchange for this post, however, all opinions are true and 100% my own!

Welcome to Pretty Mama #2! This series is aimed at helping busy moms find easy ways to feel and look their best! Three weeks ago I shared with you my new favorite mascara, Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. Today, I am reviewing Sheer Cover Studio Makeup, an easy way to get a flawless finish without too much work or heaviness.

photo taken by Kandice Stewart Photography

I wish I could say that I have outgrown the pimples and blotchy skin of my teenage years, but unfortunately, I have not. My cheeks do not have a nice natural blush look and I frequently get pimples that turn red and stick around for days. My skin tone is pretty uneven, but I have never been one of those girls who uses a ton of foundation to smooth and even their face because I don't like the heaviness of liquid foundation. 

Chelsea, meet Sheer Cover Studio Makeup. 

The set comes with:
Base Perfector Primer
Perfect Shade Mineral Foundation
Conceal and Brighten Trio
Sun Kissed Bronzing Minerals
Lengthening Mascara
Lash Extending Fibers
A set of application brushes

At first I was a little overwhelmed by all the steps I had to take to get the full effect. As a busy mom, I can't spend too much time getting ready or Little J will destroy our bedroom! But it really wasn't that hard and didn't take very long to get all the makeup on, and oh boy, it was worth it.

The first step is the base perfector primer. I loved this stuff. It smelled amazing, made my face feel silky smooth, and after I put it on, I didn't feel like I had anything on my face. This was probably my favorite step in the whole process because of how it made my skin feel.

Next was the Conceal and Brighten Trio. I didn't think the mirror was very helpful in the compact because it was so tiny, but it wasn't really a problem. I liked that there were two different shades in this for concealing because I was able to blend them to make the perfect match on my face. It didn't take a lot to hide my pimples or uneven spots on my face, either. Once I was done with the concealer I used the brightener around my eyes. It made me look more awake and hid the circles under my eyes from being a busy mom!

Then I used the Perfect Shade Mineral Foundation. I had used a mineral foundation before, but I liked this one because it was so light and really blended well with my skin. It didn't look like I had caked my makeup on, and my skin looked smooth (and might I add flawless). Plus I didn't feel like if I brushed up against something my makeup was going to come off. Because as a mom of a toddler who likes to get up in my face, this is important to me.

The last step in the foundation is the Sun Kissed Bronzing Minerals. I like this one a lot because you can use either a lot, or just a little, and it can be used anywhere else on your body you may want to add some bronzing (I didn't try, but I like that I can). I first blended the two darker colors to contour my face, and then used the light powder to highlight some more. I barely used any and I felt like it made a big difference, which was awesome!

The Sheer Cover Studio Makeup also came with Lengthening Mascara and Lash Extending Fibers. I have used another kind of mascara with the fibers, and I think I liked that one more. This one didn't quite give me the volume or length I wanted, even though it did still put some added volume and length to my normal mascara.

Overall, I really enjoy using the Sheer Cover Studio Makeup, especially the primer and foundation parts. It evened and brightened my skin, didn't feel heavy, and was easy and didn't take too much time to apply. I don't know if I would use it every day, but it definitely made me feel beautiful and made my skin look flawless!

And just because I feel like I have to, here is a lovely selfie after using the Sheer Cover Studio Makeup.

See how flawless my skin looks? And right now, the amazing website Modern Mom is giving away a year's supply of Sheer Cover Perfect Shade Mineral Foundation! It's really easy to enter, and ten people will win, so why would you not try to be one of them! Click HERE to enter!!! Good luck!