Baby Juliza: Month 9

Wasn’t I just pregnant? Like yesterday or something? I was, right? And yet somehow, the child who was in my belly is now a 9-month-old crawling, standing, biting machine!


My hubby and I thought this photo was the most accurate representation of how mischievous she is these days. And here’s another to show how increasingly difficult it is to get a photo of the child while she’s sitting still.


I have entirely too many photos of her in various versions of this position from this month’s photo shoot. She’s crawling like a bullet, and will sit still only for food or when she’s really sleepy.

And speaking of sleep, we’re facing issues with that too. This time last year, I was feeling karate chops and kicks in my belly, trying to get a comfortable night’s sleep. Now, I’m still feeling those chops and kicks, trying to get a comfortable night’s sleep, but that’s because Juliza often refuses to sleep in her own bed. My hubby and I are left fighting for what little space is left in our bed. And in our bed, she sleeps like a champ. A beautiful, angelic, torturous champ.


#babyjuliza is even more beautiful when she's asleep. ūüėĀ Playing around with a few new camera apps on my iPhone6. Loving it so far. #POMELOcamera

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We’re working on it, and I think a lot of the issues stem from the fact that she’s teething again ‚ÄĒ¬†cutting her two top front teeth this time. Still, I hope we work it out soon, because as much as I love snuggling with my jellybean and I have no problem nursing her at bedtime, mama really can’t function very well after too many nights of crappy sleep.

She’s been doing better of late, so let’s hope the trend continues.

In other news, she’s standing up on her own really well! She’s even taken a couple of tiny steps, though she promptly fell on her butt.


She's getting her balance down! She does this all the time, and I try so hard to get her on video, but she's usually not having it. I don't think she noticed I was doing it this time. She's also taken a couple of steps. #mamaisnotready #babyjuliza @rfahrenhyt

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I’m excited that she’s progressing really well, but I don’t know that I’m ready for a walker. As it is, I spend half the day chasing my speedy little crawler to every corner of the house, and we’ve had to get creative about boxing her into a smaller area. I can’t even go to the bathroom without being followed. When she starts walking, all bets are off.

As it is, her newfound ability to pull herself into a standing position often leads to unexpected results ‚ÄĒ¬†though those results sometimes lead to really great photo ops:


Someone found her reflection in the mirror! #babyjuliza

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The crazy thing is that even as she works toward all this newfound independence, she’s simultaneously become really clingy. Like scream every time I walk out of the room, clingy. Or cry because she can see me, but not touch me, clingy. I may be going slightly crazy as a result. As fortunate as I know we are to work from home and have JuJu with us all day every day, that also means she has little to no interaction with other people on a regular basis. My mom, sister and nieces came over the other day, and she barely even let them touch her.

Like many other things about babies, I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that this is a phase, and she’ll find her way out of it eventually. Still, once we finally get her to take milk from a sippy cup, we may put her in day care at least half-day so she can get some social interaction with folks other than us.

My baby is growing up, and I’m trying to heed the advice to enjoy this while it lasts. Because Ja’Naya is proof that Juliza will be a baby today and a big girl tomorrow.


This time Juliza has her sister’s footsteps to follow. Ja’Naya takes her big sister role seriously, and it makes my heart soar daily to see how much they love each other.

Until next month…

Baby Juliza: Month 8

I’m a little late with this month’s photo and post, mostly because I’ve just need to relax a bit and I haven’t been in the sharing mood for the past few weeks. But I actually really love this ritual of taking Juliza’s photo in the same place every month. It’s really nice to be able to look at all of them and see how much she’s changed in this short time.

So with that, here’s my 8-month-old big girl!


You may have noticed those two teeth right there in front. Well yes, they’re in, and amazingly enough, she hasn’t bitten me yet. This is what I was most worried about with our continued breastfeeding, but it hasn’t been a problem thus far. And JuJu is only too happy to show off her teeth with big, cheesy smiles. My child smiles with her whole face, right down to the wrinkled nose and squinted eyes. And I can’t help but smile back at her. Every. Time. It’s irresistible.

In new developments, Juliza is crawling. She still seems to prefer rolling across the room ‚ÄĒ¬†and I’m still in shock at how fast she does that ‚ÄĒ but she can crawl and will do it when she feels like it. At the moment, her favorite activity is pulling herself into a standing position when she gets a good grip on any and everything, from the sofa cushions to mommy’s hair or daddy’s face. Whatever works.

And standing up usually leads to this:

She loves to walk, with help, of course. And she also loves to dance. Thanks to mom and dad, that usually happens to the beat of reggae or soca. You may want to turn down the volume before you watch this one:

My island baby already knows what life is about :)

We’re just a few short months away from her first birthday, and I’m already getting wistful about it. But at least I’ll always have these posts to look back upon with fondness. I just wish I had done the same with my older daughter…

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August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and there have been events going on all month long to help promote and normalize breastfeeding. This week ‚ÄĒ August 25-31 ‚ÄĒ¬†is Black Breastfeeding Week.


Sounds innocuous enough, right? A week to encourage black moms to nurse their babies. I even wrote a post for Black Breastfeeding Week when I was pregnant last year and planning to nurse. In fact, though I knew I wanted to try nursing with baby Juliza, this event is what helped cement in my mind that I really needed to breastfeed. That it was important and life-saving and necessary. Reading stories from other black women who felt the same offered a type of solidarity that was genuinely encouraging.

Well, unfortunately, there are a lot of women ‚ÄĒ specifically white women ‚ÄĒ¬†who have taken offense to this. Who insist that black breastfeeding week is racist, that it only serves to divide the breastfeeding community and that it’s exclusionary. Who insist that if there were a “white breastfeeding week”, we’d all be up in arms.

Well, here’s the thing. The breastfeeding community is already divided. The numbers tell us that. White women are statistically a lot more likely to breastfeed than black women. They are also more likely to continue extended breastfeeding beyond 6 months or a year. The result? The rates of infant mortality and low birthweight in the African American community are higher.

The point¬†is that it’s super important that we all work to encourage more black moms to nurse ‚ÄĒ for our¬†health and the health of our¬†babies. This isn’t about excluding anyone. White women who have a problem with this, I’m going to address the rest of this post directly to you:

It’s really sad when breastfeeding advocates can’t see the importance of speaking to women where they are ‚ÄĒ even if that means targeting their race.

If you feel excluded from this week, imagine how moms of color feel in every other conversation about breastfeeding. Realistically, the face of breastfeeding in this country is white. It always has been. When you walk into a La Leche League group, chances are most, if not all, of the members and the leader are white. The lactation consultant at your hospital or birthing center? Probably white. The posters in the WIC office, magazine ads or commercials about breastfeeding? Probably feature white women.

So if you want to go there, “white” breastfeeding week is every week.

And images like this one, featuring black women feeding our beautiful brown babies the way nature intended, are rarely included in breastfeeding advocacy:


Yet, you get to assume that when white women are featured and included, that everyone is included and invited to the conversation. That may be true in intent, but it’s rarely true in execution or outcome. And that’s called white privilege.

The whole point of Black Breastfeeding Week is to show black moms that we breastfeed too, and that there is nothing wrong with it. To combat the perception that breastfeeding is just something that white women do. Because unless we actively seek out other black breastfeeding moms, it can certainly look that way. To combat a culture that would tell us to “take that baby off your titty” or question if you’re only breastfeeding because you¬†can’t¬†afford formula. To combat a culture that would call you a sexual deviant for breastfeeding a toddler or tell you you’re going to make your son gay by breastfeeding him. To encourage women who may never have seen anyone in their family or larger community breastfeed, ever.

And yes, breastfeeding moms¬†of all races¬†face some of these issues. But can you imagine if your whole family ‚ÄĒ whole community ‚ÄĒ¬†was largely ignorant about the benefits and necessity of breastfeeding? If even your doctor and nurses assumed you didn’t plan to breastfeed¬†and pushed formula on you simply because of your race?

This¬†matters. It matters to see women who look like us proving that breastfeeding¬†is OK. That it’s natural and normal and beautiful and life-saving, no matter what anyone else might say. It matters to have people who understand your experience as a black woman saying these things to you.

Please, spare me the crap about how “talking about race encourages racism,” or how we’re the ones who are “making things about race” because that makes no sense. Race is a factor, whether we talk about it or not. Your whiteness allows you to ignore that fact because it’s not something you have to deal with on a daily basis. Contrary to what you’d like to believe, talking about it attempts to make the issue less taboo so we can actually FACE our racial differences instead of sticking our heads in the sand and pretending they don’t exist.

But Lord, if I had a dollar for every time a white person said “talking about race just breeds racism”, I’d be rich. The only way we’ll get past racism is to talk about it in real, honest terms and actually LISTEN to each other. Negating the experience of a person of color just because you can’t relate is a glaring example of white privilege.

If you take offense to that, I strongly suggest you look inside yourself about why. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about you. Period. If you call yourself a breastfeeding advocate and you can’t be an ally and support black moms in our breastfeeding efforts, however we choose to do so, then just stay out of the conversation, because your bigotry is not welcome.


That time of year has come again: Back to school. I fully admit that I’m one of those parents who looks forward to it ‚ÄĒ probably because I work from home. Entertaining kids all summer while you’re all cooped up in the house for most of the day is ‚ÄĒ well ‚ÄĒ challenging. And with back to school¬†season¬†comes shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. For¬†their basic school supplies, but also snacks, and new clothes and shoes that actually fit, among other things.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing bits and pieces of our back to school experience. First up: Shopping for school supplies.

I know there are some people who love this part. Me? Notsomuch.

My daughter went back to school last week, and before that was the tax-free shopping weekend that comes around every year about this time. Would it have been more cost-effective to shop then? Absolutely. But you couldn’t have gotten me in a store for any reason, because I knew they’d be packed and crazy. Instead, we waited until just after the sale to get our shopping done.

One great thing about shopping at Walmart for school supplies is that lists for all the¬†schools in the area can usually be found front and center. This was especially necessary this year, since my daughter started a new school less than 2 weeks after we moved, so we really had no idea what she’d need.


As it turns out, in addition to your typical supplies like glue sticks and notebook paper, she also needed classroom supplies, like tissue, paper towel, baby wipes and sandwich bags. All-encompassing lists like this make shopping at Walmart worth it, because I can get all of it in one place.

Thankfully, we had some of her other supplies on hand, thanks to my stockpiling throughout the year. If we’d also had to buy binders, markers, scissors, pencils, flash drives and more, that would’ve made this a costlier endeavor. As it was, even with some snacks added for good measure, we came in just under $35. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Of course, my daughter had to get all that stuff to school. Luckily, her aunt gifted her a really nice backpack for Christmas last year, and it’s still in great shape.


Once we got all the supplies, the excitement for school really ramped up. My baby couldn’t wait to walk out the door on the first day of school.


How is it that she’s already in fourth grade? Where did my baby go?

Anyway, I’m just glad the year has started smoothly. Soon, I’ll share some back to school style, for boys and girls, and crafts with you.

Has school started yet in your neck of the woods? Are you and your kids excited?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

When Walmart asked me to share my morning routine, I wasn’t sure how to approach it at first. Because routines are ‚ÄĒ well ‚ÄĒ routine. Boring. Rote. By definition. But life is never really boring, is it? And those routines are the things we remember when the years have passed us by. I can still remember the sweet smell of the bathroom when I took morning showers after my mom as a little girl and how stressful it was in high school whenever we broke routine and I had to ride the city bus to school.

In hopes that my kids will remember our morning routines fondly, here’s a play-by-play of just what we do when we wake up, and the products that help us do it. A “Morning in the Life”, if you will.


6:40 a.m.¬† | ¬†Baby Juliza is awake. I am thankful for the video baby monitor gifted to us by my friend Linsey, because I can see that she’s chatting to herself contentedly in her crib and there’s no need to rush.

6:43 a.m.¬† | ¬†Ja’Naya wakes me up. You read that right. For the past few years, my oldest daughter has set her alarm, and she gets herself out of bed and starts to get ready. She usually comes to get me after she gets out of the bathroom, if I’m not already awake. When she walks out, I lay in bed for a few minutes checking my email and scrolling through Facebook.


6:47 a.m.¬† | ¬†I go¬†to Juliza’s room to find she and Ja’Naya playing. That’s what big sisters are for, right? Early morning play dates. Right?
6:49 a.m.¬† | ¬†This is usually when I’d feed the baby, but she woke up at 2:30 a.m. for a rare middle-of-the-night feeding, so she’s not hungry yet. I change her diaper instead, and head downstairs with both girls to make breakfast.
6:55 a.m.¬† | ¬†I set Juliza up in the living room with her sister so I can¬†cook. Some mornings, Ja’Naya actually makes breakfast for herself if I’m still with the baby. What can I say? The child is very independent.


6:58 a.m.¬† | ¬†I stop to clean the kitchen. Cleaning isn’t my favorite task, but see…there’s this thing. I can’t¬†bring myself to cook if the kitchen isn’t clean. So I’ll always stop to wipe things off, load the dishwasher, etc. before I start to cook. I can’t help myself. This is why we like to keep Clorox wipes on hand, though. For quick cleanups like this one. I prefer Seventh Generation wipes, or even Clorox Greenworks, but those can be hard to find.
7:08 a.m.¬† | ¬†Back to breakfast. I’m making scrambled eggs for the whole family.


7:15 a.m.¬† | ¬†¬†The eggs are done,¬†so I put a waffle in the toaster for Ja’Naya. I keep saying that I’ll make them from scratch one day, but that day isn’t today. When we do buy pre-made, we love Vans frozen waffles, and blueberry is her favorite.

7:17 a.m.¬† | ¬†Ja’Naya comes into the kitchen to prepare her water bottle and snack for school. We keep relatively healthy ready-to-go snacks on hand, like Quaker chewy granola bars and Mott’s chewy¬†fruit & vegetable snacks.


7:20 a.m.¬† | ¬†Ja’Naya sits down to eat, and I remember to give her a Disney gummy vitamin. She’d been taking them religiously last school year, but when we ran out, I kept forgetting to pick up a new bottle. I didn’t forget this time, and the bottle was just $3.


7:22 a.m.¬† | ¬†Juliza and I head upstairs to wake up Daddy. Even his sleepy face is handsome. I know it will be a while before either of us gets to eat, but at least the eggs are made. We can add toast and fruit when we’re ready.


7:27 a.m.¬† | ¬†Remember how I said Juliza wasn’t hungry when we first woke up? Well, that’s changed, so we¬†head into her room to nurse. This quiet corner is our favorite spot.
7:39 a.m.¬† | ¬†Juliza is “done”. Alas this is a trick she’s played many times before. She’s just distracted and looking around every time someone walks by the door. She keeps coming back back for more.

7:43 a.m.¬† | ¬†She’s actually done this time. Just in time too, because it’s about time for Ja’Naya to head out to the very nearby bus stop, so we go downstairs to see her out.
7:52 a.m.  |  The bus arrives.
7:53 a.m.¬† | ¬†The bus leaves. I never realized until now that there’s literally a one-minute window for the¬†kids in our neighborhood to catch the bus.

7:56 a.m.¬† | ¬†Juliza, Daddy and I sit in bed for a bit ‚ÄĒ¬†until she spits up. Now, I have to change the sheets. I put her on the floor with her toys.
8:10 a.m.¬† | ¬†Since she’s playing happily and Daddy is with her, I go run a load of laundry and do some quick decluttering in the living room and our bedroom.
8:45 a.m.  |  I take a break to check email from my phone.
8:52 a.m.  |  Time to change JuJu out of her pajamas, because she spit up again.
9:00 a.m.  |  We head downstairs to find Daddy sweeping the kitchen, so we play for a bit while we wait for him. Because neither Daddy nor I have eaten breakfast yet.
9:11 a.m.¬† | ¬†Juliza is starting to get fussy and I know that means it’s almost nap time.


9:27 a.m.¬† | ¬†Hubby and I finally get to eat breakfast. He was sweet enough to add some turkey sausage to my plate¬†because he knows they’re my favorite. He may or may not also have added some grapes, and I may or may not have eaten them before I remembered to take this photo. We eat in the living room while I¬†bounce Juliza on my shoulder since¬†she’s sleepy and cranky. Of course, she forgot she was sleepy as soon as she spotted my plate. So I shared a few tiny pieces of egg with her. The girl likes to eat.
9:40 a.m.  |  I hand a still-sleepy Juliza to my hubby so I can put our breakfast plates in the dishwasher and run a load.
9:45 a.m.  |  She falls asleep on his shoulder, and he goes upstairs to put her in her crib.
9:47 a.m.  |  Finally, hubby and I sit at our respective computers. Time to officially start our work day.

As I documented this, I realized how fortunate we are. The combination of two parents who work from home + one school-aged child really make our mornings a lot less stressful than they could be. Remind me of that in a few months when the baby is a lot more active and I have to feed her more than just breast milk.

So, what are mornings like at your house?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Baby Juliza: Month 7

Baby’s first year out of the womb is pretty amazing to witness. It seems like one day, all they can do is eat, sleep and poop. And maybe blink at you a bit. Then the next day, they’re sitting up, bouncing, crawling, talking, eating food, and generally growing up way too fast.

We’ve hit the 7-month mark, and I’m just captivated by the little person Juliza is becoming.


Will you look at that face (and those eyelashes!)? It brightens every single day, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Even when she scratches herself in the face because her nails act like I’m feeding her MiracleGro. In fact, her whole growth pattern, nails included, would indicate we’re feeding her some kind of super food.


My tiny, 6lb. 12oz. newborn is no more. I’m a little misty-eyed about how fast this is all happening, but I’m more excited about how far she has come.

She’s still sitting up like a champ, for extended periods of time, and she rarely falls over any more. She also seems to enjoy putting her hands on the floor in front of her, then flopping over onto her belly. And she’s become very proficient at scooting backward once in that position. It won’t be long before she starts crawling.

A mobile baby. That’ll be really easy to handle, right? *Sarcasm*

Another major development is that she’s learned how to clap. Like full on applause. I caught a little of it in this video, but she’ll usually do it for a lot longer.

Clapping aside though, the biggest development since last month is that she’s talking! Not quite in full words yet, but let her have this win, ok? I was ready to disown her because in spite of the lovely, fun labor it took to get her into this world, she still stabbed me in the back and said “dada” first. And she even has the nerve to be smug about it.

Relax people. I know “dada” is easier to say. And I’m kidding about disowning her. Sort of.

But she also says “nana” and even “ny ny”, which is one of her big sister Ja’Naya’s many nicknames. Juliza will repeat sounds for you when you say them over and over and again. Yet, “mama” remains elusive.

I guess I can take solace in the fact that I’m her favorite source of comfort at the moment. This may only be because I’m also her favorite (read: only) source of milk, but I won’t be picky.

She’s cutting a couple of teeth, which means my comforting powers have been tested quite a bit over the past few weeks, but at least she hasn’t bitten me. Let’s just hope it stays that way.

Until next month…

It’s World Breastfeeding Week (barely, since today is the last day), and I thought now would be a great time to update you on my nursing journey. Because while I think it’s important for all of us to work toward normalizing breastfeeding, I think it’s especially important for African American moms to be visible, because breastfeeding rates are significantly lower in the black community, and infant mortality is higher. Visibility is how we reduce the stigma attached to nursing. Sharing my stories and photos shows how truly normal breastfeeding is, and hopefully, that will encourage other moms to give it a try, or continue longer than they may have.


Seven months in, I am so thankful that I’ve been able to exclusively breastfeed baby Juliza for this long and that some of the biggest challenges are far behind us. I was blessed with a baby who had an awesome latch from day 1, so that helped us avoid some of the challenges that other nursing moms commonly face. I’m grateful for that.

Because of that early connection and determination to work through any and all challenges, baby and I are in a great stride. I imagine it feels like a marathon runner would in the middle of a race: After the starting jitters but before the nerves take over toward the end when you wonder if you’ll be able to finish. Especially because now that Juliza is older than 6 months, I’m starting to get The Question. Breastfeeding mamas know the one I’m talking about.

“How long do you plan to keep doing that?”

It’s probably a well-meaning question, but the implication is that the baby is getting “too big for that.”

My answer is usually “at least a year.” Because that’s what I promised myself. But the more I read about the benefits of extended breastfeeding and spend time with other nursing mamas online, the more 12 months feels like an arbitrary timeframe chosen for no valid reason at all. I’m really leaning toward letting Juliza wean when she’s ready. I never saw myself breastfeeding a toddler, but if it’s still beneficial to her, I can learn to live with a new self-image.

Of course, my mind may change the first time she bites me.

It’s Teething Time

If there’s one thing that gives me pause about extended breastfeeding, it’s teeth. Juliza is cutting her first two right now, and it’s been ‚ÄĒ¬†ahem ‚ÄĒ¬†interesting.

Teething means that mommy is the pacifier. Not in the traditional sense, though Juliza is nursing a bit more than she was before. She just wants to be with me ‚ÄĒ¬†on me ‚ÄĒ all the time. Daddy gets a lot of love too, but there are a lot of times when she just wants mama, and I’ve figured out that teething pain is part of it. So I let her chew on my fingers or even my clothes sometimes, because it helps. Thankfully, the crankiness is usually short-lived. She is putting EVERYTHING in her mouth and going through 5 bibs a day, but at least she’s not screaming her head off.


The thing is, when she’s latched, I don’t feel her teeth at all. But when she wants to gnaw on my fingers or my face or my arm, I realize just how sharp those tiny teeth are. And I’d rather not feel them on my nipples. Ever. Especially later on when she has more than just two teeth.

From what I’ve read, baby is more likely to bite unintentionally if she falls asleep at the breast, because then she’s not really paying attention to her latch. And Juliza has a habit of falling asleep while nursing. Still, she hasn’t bitten me yet, and I’m praying she never will. Say a prayer for us. For real, for real.

Because there’s something else these new teeth have affected: Bedtime.

Getting Baby to Sleep

To be fair, we recently moved into a home where Juliza now has her own room. Between the move, sleeping in a room alone and the teething, the child flat out refused to sleep in her crib at night for the first 10 days or so. She’d start the night there, but wake up 3-5 times before morning. Not to nurse, but for comfort. She’d go right back to sleep the very second I picked her up and put her on my shoulder or gave her my fingers to chew. She spent a few nights in our bed because I just didn’t have the energy to fight with her.

As you can imagine, this horrible sleep pattern made baby and mama very cranky.


But when my husband and I realized she was cutting teeth and that was the likely cause of some of the sleep issues, we decided to give her a dose of Tylenol just before bedtime one night to help with the pain. That night, she only woke up once, and my husband got her back to sleep in her crib before I even realized she was awake.

Now, I’m happy to report that for the last several nights in a row, she’s slept all night in her crib, even without the Tylenol. I’m not sure if that one night of peaceful sleep helped her realize she could get comfortable in there, but whatever the reason, I’m so happy that this phase seems to be over for now.

However, there’s another sleep issue we’re battling: Falling asleep. The child fights her sleep harder than Mike Tyson. It’s rare for her to fall asleep on her own (unless we’re in the car, because car = sleeping potion).

She always wants the warmth of another person ‚ÄĒ usually me. And even then, on my shoulder or across my chest, she’ll still fight sleep. Why don’t babies realize they can just close their doggone eyes and go to sleep? My goodness!

Anyway, this is especially true when it comes to daytime naps, but her last feeding of the night does a pretty good job of knocking her out.


There have been moments when, as I rocked and sang her to sleep for the fourth time in one night or had to stop everything during the day to get her down for a nap, I’ve thought that I’d created a monster. A monster who can’t fall asleep without help. But then there are moments when we lay together and she snuggles her face into my neck, and I wonder how I could ever lament this. When I feel like there’s no place I’d rather be. Because baby snuggles? The best ever.

So I’ve decided that I can handle this. If she will at least sleep in her own bed — and she seems to be back on track with that — I can handle having to physically put her to sleep. I’ll enjoy these moments of closeness and remind myself that this phase won’t last forever. I’d much prefer to look back on our bond with misty eyes and a full heart than to regret missed opportunities to just enjoy our connection.

The Breastfeeding Bond


What I’ve come to realize is that all of this is directly tied to our breastfeeding bond. Her desire to fall asleep on me. Her desire to be with me whenever she wants comfort. I obviously have a strong bond with my older daughter even though she was bottle fed, but this feels different.

I quite literally cannot be away from Juliza for more than a couple of hours at a time, because she has started refusing a bottle. Every feeding for the past 4 months or so has come directly from the source. This means that when I am away from her, I find myself constantly worrying that she will starve. Even when I’m just at the grocery store for an hour.

A bit irrational in that situation? Perhaps. But when you are the main source of nourishment for your child, it changes the way you perceive your time together ‚ÄĒ and apart. Which is why I find my parenting style changing as the the days march on.

With my older daughter, I encouraged her independence almost from Day 1. I wanted her to be able to sleep in her own bed, to be with other people without crying, to self-soothe when she was cranky. I wanted to spend a day without my baby without panicking (yeah, right) or worrying that she was miserable. This was easier to do because she took a bottle, because it meant that any of my loved ones could feed her. She was still particular about who she’d take it from, but at least it wasn’t just me.

This independent spirit shows in the child Ja’Naya is today. But with Juliza, I find myself wanting to hold on more. I’m a lot quicker to comfort her when she’s upset. While the “cry it out” method worked for Ja’Naya after a few heartbreaking days, I don’t even have the wherewithal to try it with Juliza.

I think I’ve lost my mettle. I may be becoming ‚ÄĒ gasp ‚ÄĒ¬†an attachment parent.

There’s nothing wrong with that, obviously, but I never saw myself becoming this mom. I still tend to encourage independence when I can, so I’m not going full attachment, but Juliza and breastfeeding absolutely have changed me. And I can’t say I mind it one bit.


My family and I recently moved, and we are in our glee at the moment. After years of apartment living, we are finally in a house! It’s a rental, but it’s a beautiful rental with a lot more space than what we had before. Plus, no neighbors downstairs or upstairs. I’d call that a win.

But the one thing our new place lacks is the one thing we took for granted when we had free access to it: A swimming pool. We used the pool in our apartment complex all the time, because the kids all love the water, including baby Juliza. Truth be told, my husband and I love it too. So much that we were hoping to find a neighborhood with a pool because we knew we’d miss it.

Our new neighborhood, unfortunately, doesn’t have one. That doesn’t change the fact that summertime in Georgia is ridiculously hot. Couple that with the fact that our new home doesn’t have any outdoor shade ‚ÄĒ not even a tree on the property ‚ÄĒ¬†and you’ll understand that spending any time outdoors during the daytime means being hot. Very hot.

Walmart to the rescue.

When they asked me to share a summer story, the first thing that came to mind was “gazebo!” Because shade. But we’ll probably buy one of those during the off season when they’re on steep clearance. The next thought was “pool!” Thankfully, Walmart has all manner of pools that are easy to set up at home. Inflatable ones. Ones with hard sides. Ones with soft sides. Quickset pools.


We thought about getting a large one that my hubby and I would be able to enjoy with the kids, but as it turns out, we can’t do that. Our new backyard isn’t fenced, and it wouldn’t be safe to have a permanent (or even semi-permanent)¬†pool without a hard cover, lest any neighborhood kids or pets find their way to it when we aren’t watching.

Instead, we chose a smaller scale pool that we can set up when we want to use it, and put away when we’re done.

Small as the box looks, this is a pretty big pool. 8 feet in diameter and 18″ deep, to be precise. So big, in fact, that it took a full hour to fill it up with a garden hose.


This was met with impatience by the kiddos, of course. But when it was finally time, everyone dove in ‚ÄĒ even the baby. Well, she didn’t dive, exactly, but you know what I mean.




I’m still holding out hope that we’ll find a public pool nearby, because I actually enjoy swimming laps for exercise. Still, in the meantime, this will give us a way to cool off when it’s scorching outside. And who knows. If we ever get a fence, we just may invest in a larger pool, because it’s really nice to be able to walk right out the back door and take a few steps to the water.

What about you? How do you cool off when it’s ridiculously hot outside?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.