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Giveaway: Introducing Udderly Hot Mama in honor of World Breastfeeding Week

There is nothing I love more than helping hook mamas up with awesome products while also introducing a wonderful business that is dedicated to supporting them. That’s why I’m reeeeeally excited about this giveaway.

I have long been wanting to do another giveaway, since The Mediocre Mama hit 2,000 followers ::mini wave in celebration::, but I’m even more excited because this giveaway happens to fall during World Breastfeeding Week, too. Woohoo!

Udderly Hot Mama is a clothing line specifically dedicated to nursing and pumping mamas. How cool is that? Now, way back when I was nursing (like 2 months ago… dammit, don’t get emo, don’t get emo!) I basically wore a nursing bra and a t-shirt or one of the same two nursing tank tops every day. It was… alright. But there were times when I definitely wanted to look a little more put together. I usually erred on the side of comfort, though, because comfort and easy access are crucial when your boobs are in high demand.

http://www.udderlyhotmama.com
http://www.udderlyhotmama.com

The greater public doesn’t always do that much to support nursing mothers. The world we live in is just not that psyched on seeing women’s breasts doing what nature intended them to do. It’s not uncommon to hear about women getting kicked out of restaurants, pools, or literally have their babies dragged away from them… for nursing. WHAT? I know… but it’s true.

Even the boldest nursers sometimes feel conspicuous while breastfeeding. I tried my best to be bold the second time around. I nursed any damn place my baby needed to nurse and I didn’t use a cover or a towel or hide in a bathroom stall. I just nursed when my baby got hungry. But there were a handful of times I felt the stares. There were also times when I really wished my postpartum belly wasn’t hanging out because of a poor outfit choice.

Needless to say, when I come across a business that is actually working for the breastfeeding mother, to make her life easier and to help her in her breastfeeding journey, I get a little excited.

Also… I may or may not have gotten myself into a situation, once… or possibly twice, where I had to take my entire outfit off in order to nurse my baby (once I realized there was no possible way to get my boob out of there). It’s just what happens when you aren’t used to getting dressed up, get overly excited at the thought and totally space out on the whole, need-to-get-your-boob-out-in-a-hurry-situation- the exact reason why you never dress up in the first place.

The reason Udderly Hot Mama is so awesome and the subject of our World Breastfeeding Week giveaway is because the clothes are designed to make a mama comfortable, stylish and obviously, accessible to her little one. They’ve been featured in US weekly, Celebrity Parents, Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine and various news outlets. And in our opinion, they’re worthy of all the attention.

The Luxe (long sleeve)
The Luxe (long sleeve)

The front of every top easily pulls down so you can nurse your baby. But the coolest part of this clothing line has to be the undercover flap that lays on top of your breastbone and provides a little extra coverage so you don’t have to feel like your entire breast is exposed each time you nurse. The flap easily snaps off so you can remove it at any time, like perhaps if you don’t give a rats ass about extra coverage, or when you are done nursing altogether.

Here is the shirt we are giving away! Isn’t it cute? Read more about it on the site (and it’s hidden features!).

The Sassy Scoop Neck Nursing Shirt
The Sassy Scoop Neck Nursing Shirt, retails for $54.99

Now, listen closely because here are the rules.

All you have to do to enter is the following:

1. FOLLOW: Make sure you are following both Udderly Hot Mama and The Mediocre Mama on Facebook.

2. COMMENT AND TAG: Leave a comment on this blog, on the giveaway post on The Mediocre Mama’s Facebook page (or both) and TAG A BREASTFEEDING, PUMPING OR SOON TO BE BF-ING OR PUMPING PAL! 

3. SHARE: Share the giveaway post via Facebook.

That’s it! 3 steps! 1, 2, 3! Don’t skip any! I can’t way to give this lovely clothing item to one deserving mama bear. Good luck everyone and Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

The winner will be chosen exactly 1 week from today on August 12th, at 12 PM and Udderly Hot Mama will hook you up ASAP. 

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Play Cafe- Keeping parents sane since 2015

It’s mid-summer and this stay-at-home mom gig is getting ROUGH. We’ve been to the pool, the library and the zoo about a trillion and one times. We’ve built forts in the living room, made doll houses out of cardboard boxes, taken walks, played in the sprinkler, had playdates with friends and obviously, saw Inside Out (OMG. If you haven’t seen it yet.. GO! RUN! It’s too adorable for words). But despite my best efforts, my heels are dragging because it’s about that point in the summer when all the parents start getting that glazed over look in their eyes and asking “wait, so… how many more days till school starts?”
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I LOVE summer. I really do. It’s still my favorite season and I don’t want to wish it away. But I tell ya, my kids and their unquenchable thirst to be entertained is starting to give me an unquenchable thirst to just sit and do nothing. Just to have a moment to sit and stare, perhaps not be asked 14,288 questions per hour and maybe have a cup of coffee is just about all I want to do these days. Oh! A conversation about something other than fairy princesses, boogers or butts would be good, too. But let’s not go crazy here. A cup of coffee and a moment to zone the eff out would do just fine.
Enter: Play Cafe. It’s the new Baltimore spot that’s rescuing exhausted parents one locally grown, fresh-made sandwich at a time. It’s located in Hampden at 3400 Chestnut Ave., just two blocks from The Avenue and it’s goal is to give parents a spot to go that is just as enjoyable for them as it is for their kids. It is “kid-friendly” at it’s finest with it’s fun play area that is just for little ones. But that’s not the only perk. It has tons of great, healthy snacks that parents can feel good about giving their kids. While there are plenty of salads and sandwiches to pick from, there’s also kid-themed snacks like Ants On a Log and peanut butter (or nutella!) with apples or bananas. Obviously, there is coffee, coffee and more coffee and tables and chairs in the cafe area for the parents to post up in.
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While I spent my first visit… doing absolutely nothing (aka drinking coffee, eating a delicious macaroon and playing on my phone and of course, occasionally redirecting a wandering baby), I can’t wait to go back with a friend for an actual conversation! With a grown up! While sitting… in a chair! Sheesh. It really is the little things in life, isn’t it?
There is a $5 minimum for kids to play which is easily accomplished by purchasing a coffee and a snack. Talk about a cheap date! But I’m even more pumped because I just found out Play Cafe has a ton of events coming up that I won’t have to bodily drag anyone to because they will jump in the car willingly with the promise of playing with toys that don’t belong to them (which is always so much more enticing than their own toys) and being entertained by someone other than me (I’m getting a little boring these days).
Upcoming events-
  • Monday, July 27th at 10 am is “Monday Mumbles” with Mr. Danny is a puppet show, plus role play and arts and crafts AND lots of zoned out parents… jk… kind of (this is the last one for the summer but he’ll be back in September).
  • The First Friday of each month at 10 am is Tot Storytime & singalong with Aunt Whiz
  • Saturday, August 15th from 6-8 pm is Family Movie night/social, Robin Hood is the feature film!
  • check the website for more events soon! 

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This spot is great for summer, of course, but it’s open year-round (hello, middle of winter panic.. I almost forgot about you!) It’s the perfect place to head to when you just need a break or a fun activity for the kids that won’t break the bank. They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. And you can also host a party there!

I’m so thankful for this addition to my hometown of Baltimore. Sorry if you don’t live here, folks! Hopefully a Play Cafe of something similar with pop up in a town near you. It really is something to rejoice over.

Welcome to Bmore, Play Cafe!

Visit the website and stay up-to-date on their events by following Play Cafe on Facebook!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions here are 100% my own. If you wish to contact me about a product review or a sponsored post, email Sarah.bregel@gmail.com. 

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Review: Well-Rested Family

My son, Tener, who is now nearly nine months old was never a fan of sleeping without a nipple in his mouth. (Note: Please resist the urge to say “well what man wouldn’t love that?!” This joke has been told again and again. Somewhere around my 95,387 straight day/night awake it lost it’s hilarity.)This baby was/is very latched on in every possible way and even though I consider myself to be a pretty hands-on, attachment parent-ish type of person, this level of latched on was getting… pretty rough.

Not only did my son want to sleep with a boob in his mouth and only with a boob in his mouth, he needed complete and utter silence to sleep for more than like seven(?) seconds. No distractions whatsoever. Let me be clear- COMPLETE AND UTTER SILENCE AND ZERO DISTRACTIONS IS A JOKE WHEN YOU ALSO HAVE A 4-5 YEAR OLD SPECIES FLINGING HER BODY AT YOU EVERY TIME YOU ASK FOR QUIET OR SIT DOWN.

In essence, my son was almost never sleeping, not during the day or the night and it was bad. Real bad. No, he wouldn’t sleep in the car either or wrapped in his ergo/moby wrap/any variation of baby-wearing devices. Yes, I tried them all. Tenny said, via hysterical sobs, “GIVE UP AND GIVE ME YOUR BOOB.” And for lack of a better option, I gave up trying any other means again and again. But then co-sleeping became an endless game of nursing non-stop all night and flailing and rolling and nursing and waking cranky and with red, pathetic eyes every damn day (the baby, not me!… well, yeah, me too). And all hell broke loose. After about 4.5 months of age, this kid wanted to see and do everything regardless of his exhaustion. Some babies people were just built that way. Wouldn’t you know it, I’d birth that kind of human. I’ve always liked to do things the hard way, I guess (damn, stubborn Aries trait!).

Enter: Dawn Braun, gentle sleep-coach extraordinaire and the well-rested voice behind “Well Rested Family” of the Annapolis, Maryland (and surrounding) area. I contacted Dawn who uses the techniques based on the book “Good Night, Sleep Tight” by Kim West, aka, The Sleep Lady when I was absolutely on my last leg, my last bit of patience, energy and had cried all my tears. Tenny was about 7 months at the time and I’d been awake consistently for about three months. I was admittedly, nervous and unsure about any type of sleep-training, even something with the word “gentle” in it. To me, sleep-training seemed unnatural. Babies weren’t meant to be good sleepers. They were supposed to be close to mom all night. They weren’t supposed to be easy. It was an is my feeling that babies need comfort from their parents when they are brand new into this would the same way that they need food. It is as basic a need as any. Sleep training of any kind didn’t really seem natural, but I knew something had to give. Nothing that was going on with my son’s sleep really seemed all that natural, either. He was waking constantly, never sleeping for more than 10-15 minutes and I was losing hope and getting seriously overwhelmed.

Dawn Braun, "Well-Rested Family" with her well-rested family... don't they look rested?
Dawn Braun, “Well-Rested Family” with her well-rested family… don’t they look rested?

After talking to Dawn during our consultation, I started to think of sleeping as a skill and one that I would help him learn to embrace and hopefully be able to use for a lifetime. Some of us come by this skill easily, some of us don’t. One good thing about Dawn, that makes her an excellent sleep coach, is that she was willing to work with what I was comfortable with. I credit most of our success to this fact. If Dawn had tried to push me to let my baby cry too long or had given us other techniques I didn’t feel comfortable with, I probably would’ve quit before we started. But I never felt I was doing anything to scar my baby during the course of our training and I never felt pushed, either.

The process was pretty simple. Because Tener wasn’t really comforted by anything other than nursing and we had no real way to get him to sleep and stay asleep, we had to get over this hump to start. We were allowed to hold him, rock him, comfort him in any way we could (which my husband was much better at given his non-functional nipples) but he had to find sleep on his own so that he would learn how. I began nursing him downstairs rather than in his room, then Marshall would take him upstairs and begin a bedtime routine. It only took a couple of nights before Tener caught on that he wasn’t going to be nursed or rocked completely to sleep and he started sleeping better almost immediately. After the first night, it got better and better but I was nervous for when it would be my turn to put him down. I kept a sleep log and checked in with Dawn via phone/text/email so she could help us navigate the days/nights.

Turns out, once the system was in place- nursing downstairs, then going up to start our routine, he didn’t resist me as much as I expected. While we would definitely go back in to re-rock and soothe, we started to have confidence that he was going to get to sleep and it started happening easier and quicker. Full-disclosure- my baby still wakes up in the night and when he does I nurse him back down. I actually really like this because I’m allowed to nurse him to sleep in the night and I get my fix. We also still rock him before bed and comfort him as needed. This program has varying degrees and admittedly, I didn’t want to tackle the full-scale “sleep-training” program but you totally could and should, if you want to!

With Dawn’s help, we did what we felt comfortable with and we have a pretty damn good sleeper to show for it. He still doesn’t sleep on the go, wrapped or in the car or whatever, but he sleeps. And that is an amazing gift. He currently takes two good naps a day and wakes (on average) twice a night. We had regressions (which scared the crap out of me because I thought we were back where we started) but Dawn assured me that these can happen, especially on the verge of developmental milestones (like crawling). But with each regression, we got back to our routine a little easier and a little faster.

Some babies are just tough. Some babies just fight sleep and will keep fighting sleep because it’s their nature and they won’t do anything else until they learn how. If you’re struggling with sleep, if you’re losing your damn mind, I urge you to get help from a gentle sleep coach. It has changed my life in a very short time and I’m happy to recommend Dawn (isn’t it ironic that that’s her name? The Dawn of a new day? The bright, sunny, well-rested morning?) to anyone and everyone who asks. She will absolutely help you create a program that works for you and doesn’t make you hate yourself. I’m even more a believer that you don’t have to let your baby scream relentlessly now than ever. There is a better way.

Mamas… papas, take care of yourselves, guys. You’re important, too.

Good night, sleep tight.

Find Dawn’s page at www.wellrestedfamily.com or on Facebook.

This is a sponsored post. I received a discount to Well-Rested Family sleep-counseling in exchange for documenting my experience on this blog. All opinions are 100% my own. If you wish to contact me about a product review or a sponsored post, email Sarah.bregel@gmail.com. 

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Sponsored Post: Introducing Jesse the Jack’s ABC App!

Let me begin this post by saying we aren’t big on apps over here. Correction, we aren’t big on apps for kids (duh, I love my apps)Believe me, it’s not because I don’t want a half hour to myself here or there or because I’m vehemently anti-technology. Hello, I’m a blogger! No. It’s more that I’m terrified of having to fight off my almost 5-year-old daughter from trying to steal my phone approximately fifty-five times a day. Whenever I’ve downloaded an app for her thinking, ‘this will be for an emergency car-ride situation only,’ she’s suddenly asking all the time if she can use it and so… DELETE. Bye-bye mommy time.

Luckily, my kid is starting to show some self-restraint as she nears her fifth birthday. Hooray! She’s also starting to show an interest in learning to read. Hooray again! So lately we have been starting to introduce the alphabet and pick out books at the library which pay attention to letters and spelling, even some of those “I can read” books. I’m not about forcing kids to learn to read before they are ready because I don’t believe young kids should have to struggle to learn something that is out of their reach. So it’s nice to see the signs that reading is on the horizon, all on it’s own, without any pressure from mom or dad, or the alternative-style school my daughter currently attends.

So when I was asked to review Jesse the Jack’s ABC Zoo App, I was like, ‘alright. We’ll give it a whirl.’ It is after all, the perfect timing for us in terms of where my daughter is developmentally. So we downloaded the app and I told my daughter we would first check it out together and then she could play it by herself for about 20 minutes. It might not sound like a lot but she was pretty amped given she doesn’t usually get free reign over the phone.

JesseWearingSunglasses_iPad

We discovered the app has two modes- story mode and game mode. We wanted to try game mode first and see if it was something fun or educational or both. You’re introduced to Jesse, a cute Jack Russell terrier, who takes you to his ABC Zoo. The first screen comes up and says “A is for…” and it’s the child’s job to pick the matching animal. This would be slightly too challenging for my daughter, but there’s help. The child is given three choices to pick from and when you put your finger over each animal it says its name. There is an outline of the correct response that the child must drag the animal into.

Jessie the Jack's ABC Zoo App.
Jessie the Jack’s ABC Zoo App.

My first thought was “this could totally build confidence in learning the correct letters that start each word.” My daughter completed the alphabet in about 10-15 minutes and then wanted to do it again. Oh, I almost forgot the best part! When you get a couple of correct answers, Jesse the Jack does tricks for you. He flips, he blows bubbles, he plays dead, he even rides a skateboard. It’s cute and silly and my daughter thought he was hilarious. I wasn’t sure exactly what his role in the game would be, but I have to say, he’s a pretty good motivator that pup! Next we tried “story mode”, which was an animated story about the same characters in the game.

When it comes to Jesse the Jack and his ABC Zoo, I was definitely pleasantly surprised. While my daughter won’t always have free reign, this is one app that won’t get deleted. I’ll be down with letting her use it to reinforce the reading skills she’s learning elsewhere from time to time. To her, it feels like a special treat and I’m excited to know she is building confidence with letter recognition! Each child is so different, so I would encourage other parents to look for signs that their child is ready to begin reading. If they are, I think this app makes a great addition to other techniques learned at home and at school.

The app ($1.99). and iBook ($.99) are available TODAY, October 22nd, on iOS (iPhone, iPad, coming to Android early 2015) for download. Go here to get them!

Find Jesse the Jack on Facebook here.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions here are 100% my own. If you wish to contact me about a product review or a sponsored post, email Sarah.bregel@gmail.com.