Breastfeeding Awareness Month + Lansinoh SmartPump, Bessie’s Best Lactation Cookies, & Mason Bottle GIVEAWAY!

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With a second baby on the way, nursing is going to be making a comeback in my day-to-day life! This time around, I am working full-time and pumping will be a big part of my routine. I always get excited when National Breastfeeding Awareness Month rolls around because I know how many moms truly struggle with this aspect of motherhood and it is HARD. And mamas who don’t nurse, I still love you, too, and, support you on your journey of motherhood! You’re all amazing.

From my pictures and stories, it may seem like breastfeeding came so easily to me and my daughter. It sure started out easily in the hospital – perfect latch, ate like a monster, plenty of wet diapers. I was convinced something had to be wrong… it can’t be THIS easy can it? The answer? NOPE. It cannot be that easy. When we got home from the hospital, it was like my daughter totally forgot what the heck she was doing. Her latch hurt, she cried, I cried. It was a mess. I was exhausted and convinced I was doing something so wrong. Some days, I lost my determination to keep going and bottles looked SO appealing. My husband was and is my rock. His encouragement is literally one of the biggest blessings in my life. He saw me struggle and he knew I was struggling. I’m sure he thought it would be easier to just give bottles instead. But, he also knew how badly I wanted to breastfeed and he encouraged me to keep fighting for that. So I did. We did. My daughter did. And we succeeded. We finally got back into a groove and a routine. We had some hiccups along the way, but, we did it. We nursed until she was 2 years old and I am so proud! I think if I hadn’t gone back to work, she probably would have still nursed at least a couple times during the day and night for a bit longer. I have such a special place in my heart for my nursing mamas, whether you’ve nursed for 2 minutes or 2 years.

So, with National Breastfeeding Week wrapping up and it being Breastfeeding Awareness Month , I am so excited to show you some of my favorite products for nursing mamas and there’s an AMAZING giveaway thrown in here too ;) Woo hoo!

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Packing the Hospital Bag!

 

Hospital Bag

Packing the hospital bag.

I’d say this task was even more daunting than packing the diaper bag after the kiddo had arrived earth-side, and now, we’re going to be doing it all over again! I had no idea what my experience was going to be like, what things I’d need the most, what would comfort me the most, and add in “end of pregnancy” hormones… yikes.

Once we got to the hospital, I didn’t even use a ¼ of the things I had packed. When people tell you to only pack the essentials, they’re right. But, what ARE the essentials?! Obviously, the essentials are different for every person, but, I’d like to think that us mamas can agree on some things :)

So, if you are seriously stressing about what to toss in your hospital bag before that buddle of joy (or bundles of joy!) arrive, read on!

Plus,  I’ll be adding a list of top suggestions that all of you wonderful mamas submitted to me!

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Top Essentials from Mamas Like You!

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Are You Back to “Normal” Yet?

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I don’t focus too much on super serious posts. This is mainly because I like keeping my blog fun, happy, and light. However, as a mom, birth and postpartum is something I feel very strongly about and I feel like moms need more advocates for their births and postpartum healing.

Specifically? Postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. 

It’s a real thing and it affects more women than you think. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, 11 to 20% of women who give birth each year have postpartum depression symptoms. If you settled on an average of 15% of four million live births in the US annually, this would mean approximately 600,000 women get PPD each year in the United States alone.” I can guarantee that you personally know someone who suffers from some postpartum ‘thing’, and you probably don’t even realize it. The month of May is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness which also includes Maternal Depression/Mental Health. However, it doesn’t just happen in May and we need awareness ALL the time. There is a terrible stigma attached to mental health issues, which in turn, discourages an alarming number of mamas to seek help. “Only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment.” 

Now, when I was pregnant, I never thought twice about PPD stories or statistics. And that’s the thing, you never think it will be YOU. But guess what? It very easily could be you and it is HARD. 

As a new mom, I already felt overwhelmed, but, I loved the time right after our daughter was born. Then, as 8/9 months postpartum approached, I just wasn’t feeling the same. I still loved being a mom and our daughter is literally the light of my life and my heart wants to burst with the amount of love I have for her (even when she’s being a grouch!), but, there were things that were changing. PPD, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders vary for every person they affect. Below, check out my Top 5 Most Frustrating Things About PPD.


 

 

The Top 5 Most Frustrating Things About PPD

1.) Anxiety– Anxiety attacks are SCARY, especially when they come out of nowhere and you’ve never dealt with them before. I always felt like an idiot for getting so “worked up” over things- things that others would find silly, pointless, no big deal. But, to me, those things sometimes overwhelmed me and I literally could not control it. My poor husband felt helpless, but, whenever an attack hit, he stayed calm and prayed. He told me that every time he began to pray, my anxiety attack would slow and I would calm down. I had NO idea about his praying until he mentioned it one day after an anxiety attack. So, for us, the power of prayer helped and it meant a lot to me that my husband did that.

2.) Feeling Like a Drama Queen– after my PPD and anxiety started setting in, it seemed like the silliest of things could push my emotions off the deep end. I’ve always been a sensitive person, but, this took the cake. I would get upset so fast, when before, the thing I was mad about wouldn’t have even phased me! I felt like everyone just saw me as over-dramatic and ridiculous because they just couldn’t understand. I always felt like I complain too much and that I’m a “Debbie Downer” who can’t just be happy and see the positive all the time. 

3.) Feeling Like a Failure– I know I am a great mom. My family knows I am a great mom. Even though I know this deep down, I still felt like a failure for so many reasons. I didn’t understand why I got upset over random things or why some days my patience was non-existent. I felt like a failure when I couldn’t get my daughter down for a nap or when she wouldn’t stop crying. Those things are SO common for moms, yet, I felt like I was the only one who had this “difficult” child. My sense of reality felt so skewed some days.

4.) Feeling Damaged– This is a BIG one. I still struggle with this daily. Motherhood is tough, especially as a first-time mom. The majority of us struggle with something whether we admit it or not. With PPD/Anxiety, I felt like I did something wrong along the way. I didn’t feel like I was capable of doing things or that other people did those things better than I did. The biggest factor in this is when people say things like “oh, calm down, it’s no big deal”, “if you did this, or this, or this, you’d feel better”, or “stop being so sensitive”. I already felt like I wasn’t normal, and then, feeling like I was damaged because of how I felt made me feel even worse. I always felt like I needed to put on a happy face because people just wouldn’t truly understand how I felt. I felt like I needed to be “fixed” and I still feel this way some days.

5.) The Hit To Your Self-Esteem– motherhood is exhausting for EVERYONE at some point or another. You barely have time to shower, put on make-up, etc. I expected that part of my life to take a hit as a mom because I was no longer my priority- my daughter was! However, with PPD, the exhaustion is different. It’s mental, emotional, physical. You no longer have the desire to be your best, because, you don’t feel your best. At all. You feel like a failure because you can’t balance life as a mom, spouse, partner, friend, daughter, whatever. When your brain is going non-stop, when can you find time to do anything “extra”? You don’t feel good enough so why bother pampering yourself? 

These feelings are so common with moms struggling with PPD and other mood disorders. Finding support and resources makes a world of difference. If you aren’t ready to seek professional help like counseling, make sure you find support in other ways like online PPD groups and friends who are experiencing or have experienced the same things (I bet you have at least one!). You can also check out some of the resources below also. 

I think many people who are not familiar with PPD feel like it’s a quick fix and wonder why we aren’t “back to ‘normal’ yet.” Besides, what IS normal after you become a parent!?

Just remember, you’re not the only one and it does get better with time. Don’t expect a quick fix- it’s a work in progress, but, a beautiful one because you are a mother who sustained life inside for 9 months. You are a wonderful mother whether you believe it or not. You will get through this! 

Basic Information About PPD, Anxiety, & Other Postpartum Mood Disorders
Postpartum Progress

Postpartum Depression Statistics

The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

The 6 Stages of Postpartum Depression

Help & Tools

Six Things You Should Avoid If You Have PPD

6 Tools To Help You Feel Supported & Understood

New Mom Checklist for Maternal Health

Support, Events, & Health Resources

Climb Out of the Darkness 

Postpartum Depression Treatment Programs & Specialists

Postpartum Depression Support Groups in the U.S. & Canada

Have you struggled or are you struggling with PPD? What is the most frustrating thing for you?

 

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Rubbermaid Tupperware…My kryptonite. + GIVEAWAY!

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As a mom, I have a whole new appreciation for tupperware. As a kid, I always knew my mom loved hers, but, I didn’t “get” it…until now. I hoard tupperware like nobody’s business and I am not ashamed. I have tupperware of all sizes- little enough for my husband to take dips to work for lunch and big enough to store enough watermelon to feed an army (aka my toddler). I have specific tupperware for freezing and specific tupperware for things like spaghetti- I can’t have ALL my tupperware stained red, no way. I even have a special tupperware container to store homemade diaper pail fresheners…it is permanently peppermint scented. 

Lately, with our Renovation going on and my broken ankle, we’ve been doing big, family-style style dinners with my parents, Gramma, me, my husband, and our daughter. That makes 6 of us with a sometimes ravenous toddler (depending on her mood for the day). My mom’s been the main cook since I was in a non-weight bearing cast for 4+ weeks. She makes a bunch of food with plenty for leftovers! And what else would I want to store those leftovers in besides my amazing Rubbermaid tupperware!? Nothing. I love it more than my scarce alone time…okay, maybe not THAT much ;)

I was more than excited when I got to try out some of Rubbermaid’s best tupperware- their large Party Platter and their Easy Find Lids 24-piece Set. Be still my heart! This is one of my ongoing mom dreams come true…more awesome tupperware to add to my collection! I received the platter and set a few days ago and I am in love with them!

Plus, one lucky person will win their OWN set of (1) Party Platter and (1) 24-Piece Set of Easy Find Lids! Woo hoo! Good way to start the football season off when you have tons of snacks and leftovers from your game day parties!

Enter below!

Let’s start with the specifics…


 

Party Platter

  • Large outer container with a secure lid to hold chips, veggies, and other snacks
  • Removable Twist & Seal™ dip container nests snuggly into the base
  • Leak-proof Twist & Seal™ lid secures the dip and prevents spills
  • Divided platter base keeps different foods and snacks separated
  • Outer lid snaps onto platter base for a tight seal and secure transporation
  • All components are BPA-free
  • Microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe
  • Available in ONE SIZE- outer container is 2.3 L/9.6 cups; dip container is 473 mL/2.0 cups
  • Available at Kroger, Publix, Meijer, and select online retailers
  • MSRP $8.99

Easy Find Lids

  • Lids snap together and to container bases so you can always find the right lid
  • Graduated sized containers nest for compact storage
  • One lid fits multiple bases
  • Square shape for optimal space utilization
  • Microwave / Freezer / Dishwasher Safe
  • Thick, durable container walls for everyday use
  • Bases and Lids are BPA FREE
  • Available in a variety of sizes
  • Sets range from $8.99-$25.99 MSRP
  • Individual containers range from $2.50-$8.99 MSRP
  • Available at Walmart, Target, various grocery stores (Kroger, Publix, Fred Meyers, and select others), & Club Stores (Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s)

 

Now, I love pretty much every piece of tupperware, but, these Easy Find Lids are my favorite. The pieces are solid and sturdy without being too bulky. These pieces ALWAYS stay organized inside my lazy susan (and yes, I have an entire lazy susan dedicated to tupperware…no judging!). Everything “snaps” together so there’s no loose pieces sliding around and no crazy organization needed. Another bonus- multiple lids fit multiple containers! I also love that the lids and containers are BPA-free. That’s important to me when I’m using the containers to store food in that my family will be eating!

With football season here, the weekends are full of get-togethers and parties. The new Party Platter from Rubbermaid is the perfect thing to tote your snacks and dips in. You have 4 larger spots for veggies, chips, crackers, fruit, whatever you want! Then, you can store whatever dip you want in the included center tupperware without it leaking all over the snacks! Super easy and no weird nooks and crannies to clean. That’s great when you’re worried about more important things like just getting the dishes done quick so you can spend time with your friends and family and watch the game! Check out some of our favorite snack and dip combos for get-togethers here! :)

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Enter the giveaway below and share with your friends and family! :)

Good Luck!

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Rubbermaid Party Platter & Easy Find Lids Set Giveaway!

*DisclaimerCrunchy on the Weekend does not get monetary compensation to review all products. On occasion, companies will send me a product for review on my blog. I personally decide which products to review and feature on my blog- these are products or services I would use myself and for my family. Receiving products does not influence my final review at all. I will not we be held responsible if you decide to purchase an item and you are dissatisfied with it. I state my opinions on the products and do not claim any guarantees for you as the reader.*

Keeping Your Sanity in Chaos

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Being a parent is TOUGH. Go ahead, you can admit it. There are days when you let your kiddo eat puffs and grapes for every meal (I promise I won’t tell…my little one does it at least once a week). There are days when you AND the kids don’t make it out of pajamas (guilty again)! There are days when you realize you’ve been wearing the same yoga pants for 3 days (I’ll admit I lose track when I resort to dry shampoo and think my hair is cleaner than it really is). There are days when you have an enormous “to-do” list and you’re lucky if you can get 1/2 of one task accomplished. There are days when you have the entire house to clean and your little one decides you will be her slave and nurse all day, forcing you to be stationary on the couch ALL.DAY.

I get it, because, I know those days all too well. And to top it off, that’s just a REGULAR, NORMAL day. 

Lately, our house has been ranking in the upper levels of chaos with no mercy.

When we suddenly decided to think about putting our house up for sale, we realized we had a hefty “to-do” list before that would be possible. We’re not talking painting a few rooms and cleaning the carpets. Nope. We’re talking full-on construction and renovation project over weeks and weeks. On top of that, we decided to do most of the work ourselves, thanks to the amazing handyman skills of my Dad. 

We were pretty prepared for the timeline and work that would be ahead of us. 

BIG SURPRISE when I ended up breaking my ankle and having to be in a cast for 4+ weeks and being unable to bear any weight AT ALL. I’m finally in a walking boot, but, this was a major setback since my Mom and Gramma had to help with our daughter EVERY DAY while I was in my cast. Without that help, we would have been in a pretty bad place all around! So, instead of being done with our renovation project at the end of August, we’re now looking at being done at the end of September. 

Even better is the undeniable lack of routine in our household right now. Nap times? Ha! If we’re lucky.  Our good eater enjoying a plethora of nutrient-dense foods? Popcorn, tortilla chips, and grapes count, right? Bedtime routine? Now you’re really being hilarious! Kiddo going to sleep in her own bed at night before snuggling up with us later on? You have to be delusional! 

If I thought our day-to-day was hectic already, a renovation and broken ankle made me laugh at my previous daily mom “struggles”. Compared to lately, my days of having a fully functional ankle were a dream world! 

So, when your daily routine gets COMPLETELY thrown off a cliff by a broken bone, illness, or other major event, how do you deal?

Sh*! happens. REAL life happens. Bad days happen. Illness happens. Broken bones happen. Day-to-day life with a family is never ideal. Never flawless. Real life is how you handle those things when you really don’t want to or hadn’t planned to.

ADAPT AND OVERCOME, MAMAS. 

1.) Ask for help. 

When I broke my ankle (at a workout in the park- thanks for throwing me off track on my first day, ankle!), I was so freaked out about how I was going to care for my child and household. I expressed this fear to one of my fellow MOPS moms and she immediately asked if we could use some meals. This amazing mama (you’re seriously an angel, Ashleigh!) organized a meal train for the first 2 weeks. I am eternally grateful to all of the mamas who jumped in, regardless of their OWN daily demands and struggles, to help us adjust to our new “normal” for the next 6+ weeks. We not only had meals, we got fruit, cookies, and sides to go along! Huge help when our fridge was bare.

2.) Accept the help.

As moms, it’s hard to put your pride aside sometimes and admit that, yes- you, supermom, need some help. It’s okay, and believe me, no one will think less of you for it. I not only have my Mom and Gramma helping with my day-to-day stuff, they’re also helping with packing our belongings, scheduling appointments, cleaning our house, doing our laundry, cooking us meals, staging our house for moving, and the list goes on. I would have never been able to do even a fraction of that stuff with this broken ankle. Just graciously accept the help when someone offers, and when you’re feeling better, pay it forward!

3.) Try to get organized.

One of our biggest struggles with me being down right now is our household, well, EVERYTHING. I’m always the one in charge of our household binder including bills, checking account register, grocery lists, food prep/meal prep, cleaning (for the most part), and miscellaneous things here and there. With our routine being so out of whack, our household binder went downhill, FAST. We were forgetting due dates for bills because our routine was simply gone and my typical routine of seeing our calendar on the fridge with the bills written down (on a daily basis) was long gone. Grocery trips were done by my husband (with baby in tow) or by my mom. We were constantly forgetting things because I wasn’t able to make a quick notes throughout the week like usual. So, if something catastrophic happens to your day-to-day routine, carve out some time to get organized. Designate duties to your husband, kids, whoever. Make notes on how you usually do things so people can just take charge. Ask for help!

4.) Let it go.

Whatever it is that has forced its way into your normal daily life, accept it. It’s happened, and as frustrating as it can be, it can’t be changed (in most cases at least). We all have our way of doing things and it’s hard to forfeit that and let others take control of our usual daily tasks. I like to fold laundry completely different than my mom does, but, she’s doing me a GINORMOUS favor by doing MY laundry so I deal with it, thank her, and just tell her where things belong! The alternative is me trying to hobble down a flight of stairs to our construction zone of a lower level while trying to figure out how to get the laundry baskets down there on crutches…not a good idea and a recipe for more broken bones. Don’t dwell on the fact that some things may not be done the way you’d normally do them. Just let it go and know that eventually, you’ll be back to doing those things YOUR way!

5.) ENJOY IT.

Yep. I said it. And no, I’m not being delusional or facetious! This will obviously not apply to all derailed routines, but, you can try it regardless.
As I’ve been stuck on the couch for the last 4+ weeks with minimal movement besides the necessities, I’ve come to realize that this happened for a reason. I know, I know- overly cliche, right? Bare with me.
As a mama who has struggled (and still is struggling) with PPD and postpartum induced anxiety, this broken ankle has allowed me to take a break. It has allowed me to open up to some of the closest people to me and allow them to see my daily struggles as a mom. It’s allowed me to focus on my blog, freelance work, networking, and in some ways, myself. I was so stressed out by so many things, and then, I break my ankle. Am I glad it happened? Not one bit. It added to my stress at that moment. However, it happened and I know it happened for a reason. As much as I don’t want to admit it, it was nice to not have to clean the house, cook meals, and change diapers. I was essentially good for boobs to nurse my daughter, and, arms to snuggle her. It wasn’t an ideal “vacation”, but, it was a little break and I know things will return to normal, eventually. You’re not less of a mom for wanting a break once in a while.

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Your kids will survive a not-so-perfect bedtime routine. Your spouse will manage to figure out your side of this parenting thing. Your family will realize how insane your kids can be on a daily basis when they’re seeing them for more than an hour or two at a time. Your spouse and kids will realize how much you do for them and see that they’d be screwed without you :) Your family will understand why you’re exhausted half the time when they see you. Your kids will realize that they can’t and don’t want to survive on popcorn for the rest of their lives.

We forget how specific our routines are and how they impact our daily life. We stress out at the first sign of change and think about all the negatives. We overwhelm ourselves with schedules and routines. We rarely stop and think about the positives in our daily life and why the craziness makes it worth it.

We all want a break, and when we get it, we want our craziness back. We must be INSANE, right!? Yes. Yes we are. And that, is what makes us moms.