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// Style File: Puddle Jumpin'

Since it's been a bit rainy and we're gearing up for Autumn, I thought it'd be fun to do another installment of Style File. This time I partnered up with Joules to create three fun outfits inspired by three separate pairs of their women's rain boots. I am officially coveting everything below! 

/////// skirt // necklace // umbrella // scarf // bag // boots ///////

/////// umbrella // necklace // boots // bag // skirt ///////

/////// skirt // coat // umbrella // necklace // bag // boots ///////

And yes, I would totally wear those striped rain boots with that frilly tulle skirt. Fashion and function! Though if we're being perfectly honest, I don't look half this put together when I puddle jump with Toby. Maybe I should take it up a notch?! Happy Saturday! xo

// I Gave Up On Breastfeeding... And We're All Happier Because Of It


When I was pregnant with Linden, I knew in my heart of hearts that I'd breastfeed. Never did the thought otherwise cross my mind. When it was brought up in conversation my answer was always the same "Yes, I plan on breastfeeding. As long as I'm able." When I started to think about my answer, I found it kind of strange. I kept saying "As long as I'm able" when asked, but never in a million years did I really think I'd have trouble. Before Linden came along, I thought breastfeeding was this totally natural, instinctual thing that we did as mammals. I mean, that makes sense, right? Boy was I wrong.

I've touched briefly on my struggle to breastfeed, but I haven't really discussed it to the extent that I'd like. This might be a long, choppy post so I'll go ahead and apologize. There's so much that I want to get off my chest, but I'm not always sure the best way to go about it. So I'll just free write.
While in the hospital immediately following Linden's birth, he was a champion nurser. He latched right on, albeit a bit shallow, and ate until he was satisfied and then he'd fall asleep. I requested a lactation consultant come by our room a few times a day to check on us and to help walk me through the process, and her enthusiasm made me feel like I was totally getting it. A few days passed and then it was time to head home. I made sure practice the different nursing positions she taught me, and I always fed on demand. But something just didn't click at home. Linden's latch grew more and more shallow, he never seemed satisfied, and he developed a nice little case of thrush. The thrush continued to get passed back and forth from me to him... mouth to breast. Now, for any of you who haven't had thrush on your lady lumps... it's terrible! Excruciating even. Add that to the long list of obstacles that we were facing at home, and I became depressed. I tried keeping a positive mind through those days, but looking back on it now there's absolutely no denying that I was beyond depressed. The postpartum surveys and questions I've had to answer to at the doctors were all the more telling.

Every single feed was met with sobbing... for Linden and me. Rushing him back and forth to the pediatrician (an hour each way) five days in a row was stressful, and I'd cry the whole way there and the whole way back. I started to dread feeding my own baby. And bonding? Forget about it. There was no bonding happening when just trying to feed him would overwhelm me. Just to add insult to injury, it was World Breastfeeding Week and I was inundated with "Breast is best!" "Breastfeeding is bonding!" and all sorts of propaganda that wasn't intended as mockery, but that's exactly how it felt. Guilt flooded my heart and mind. I cried because breastfeeding hurt, I cried because my baby was never satisfied, I cried because Linden kept losing weight, I cried because the doctor recommended we supplement, and then I cried because I was crying. Everything was hard.

When I touched on our obstacles publicly, everyone was so supportive by saying "It gets better!" "Just keep at it!" "In a few weeks it'll be totally different!" but my mind and body just couldn't take it. The first two weeks of Linden's life, I hardly ate anything. I was in such a deep funk that I couldn't even muster the energy or interest to eat. I wasn't even drinking anything. This of course came full circle and made breastfeeding even harder because all of a sudden I wasn't able to produce much of anything. Even when I'd try to give myself a pep talk to eat/drink, I couldn't. So I'd pump. And pump and pump and pump. I called the hospital's lactation department in tears. I was sobbing so hard I couldn't even tell her my name. Even seeing someone in my own home felt liberating at first, but then it all went down hill once she left. But still, I kept fighting. I wanted to breastfeed. I felt like I needed to. How on earth could I love my baby and give him formula?! The thoughts that clouded my head ranged from ridiculous to downright insane. Despite my family telling me that I didn't have to keep forcing myself to do it, I didn't want to give up. I tried nipple shields, fenugreek, oatmeal... you name it.
A few weeks in and it was all becoming too much. I felt like I couldn't bond with Linden and enjoy him the way I should be able. I didn't want to let his newborn weeks slip past me while I wallowed in my own self pity. I kept searching for "permission" to throw in the towel... from family members, from Mike... from myself. I've never once judged another mother for formula feeding her baby, but I just couldn't seem to offer myself the same grace. Then one day I just stopped. I stopped pumping. I stopped breastfeeding. And I only gave bottles. It was like a switch had been flipped. Linden was happy and satisfied, and I was able to enjoy feeding him. Not only that, but Mike was able to feed him more regularly, too. When I would pump, I could only get 1 ounce total in a half hour. Not nearly enough to satisfy Linden. With being strictly formula fed, everyone could get in on the action. For once he had a full belly.

I've been "wearing" Linden since his first few days and despite it not being breastfeeding, it has allowed me to bond with him in a way I can't even explain. I now look at this little guy and love him more than life itself. I felt so much shame for bottle feeding him, but I did (and do!) so much research. The best formulas, support groups, etc. It's because of other moms out there sharing their struggles and their stories that I've come to peace with our decision. Does that mean I don't still mourn the thought of breastfeeding? No way. Sometimes I'll be wearing Linden through the house after a feed and I'll just start crying because I wanted nothing more than to breastfeed. It still breaks my heart to know that I didn't get to experience that with him. But because of other wonderful blog posts I've read from moms just like me, I no longer feel shame about how I've chosen to feed my baby. He's fed every time he's hungry, and he's growing just as he should. I'm able to focus on things that are much more important like actually creating a bond between me and him.

That's not to say I haven't (felt like I've) been met with the stigma that comes with bottle feeding. Mike and I took Linden to the mall one afternoon and he decided he was hungry so I stopped, made him a bottle, and fed him while sitting in one of those little massage chairs in the middle of the walkway. While most people just marveled at how adorable he was, I did get a few stink eyes from older women. I didn't say anything to Mike in the moment, but I told him about it a few days later and I just cried and cried and cried. Granted the ladies didn't say anything to me (so they very well could have been stink eye'ing something else) but the inner shame I felt about feeding him projected itself on anyone who would look at me funny. It didn't feel fair to be shamed for giving my child exactly what he needed. But since then I've come to terms with not everyone being okay with our decision. There are plenty of other things that people give me the stink eye for. Adding one more to the list can't hurt, right? I was bottle fed, Mike was bottle fed, and Toby was bottle fed, too. In the grand scheme of things it can't be that bad. Instead of focusing on what I "missed out" on, I've decided to cherish what I do get to experience... and that's being this little guy's mom. Definitely something I don't want to take for granted.
Maybe I'll be more aware of the struggles that come with breastfeeding the next time around. I think my naiveté about the whole thing didn't help matters much. I never knew it would be so hard. I think I'll know more of what to expect the next go around, provided we're able to have more children. But even if it proves to be impossible, I'll feel completely comfortable bottle feeding that baby, too. Sometimes it's hard to not beat myself up for not "trying harder" or "sticking it out," but I know that if I had kept going the way I was going, I would've found myself even farther down that black hole of PPD.

I definitely want to share the blog posts, websites and resources that I've found to help me through the past several weeks. I think by lifting the veil of the difficulties of breastfeeding, the stigma associated with bottle feeding, and just sharing real life experiences, so many other new (and repeat) moms will feel comfortable making the decision that is best for their family. With his reflux and milk allergy, I just choose to celebrate when we get through an entire bottle without him screaming his head off or refusing to eat. Little victories.

Bottle feeding may not be right for everyone, but it has been absolutely perfect for our family. Whether you bottle feed out of necessity or simply because you want to, you shouldn't be shamed for nourishing your child. I think it's wonderful that breastfeeding is celebrated, but we shouldn't forget about the other moms out there. Rather than put breastfeeding moms on a pedestal, we should celebrate parents in general... feeding their babies when they're hungry. No one is going to know (or care!) if my child was formula or breast fed when he's playing on the playground. It's an unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves. And there are so many reasons for bottle feeding. Adoption, breast cancer, a working mom who can't pump while on the job, etc. We're all doing the best we can. Thanks for letting me share my story. I guess part of me thought it was this "big deal" and that I needed to keep this "secret." Like heaven forbid someone on the internet catch a glimpse of a bottle in the background of a photo. Seriously, those are things that I thought. It's so silly to have that mentality. But at the same time, you can probably tell that I'm still trying to come to terms with everything. While I feel "totally" okay with our decision, I'm still bummed and I still find ways to justify it, even though it's not necessary. Kind of like convincing myself it really is okay, ya know? I hope that if you've experienced something like this or if you do in the future, you'll feel comfortable sharing your struggles and feel proud about the decision you've made. It doesn't have to be some big shameful secret that you hide from. But it's not like you need my permission or approval either! xo

// Win An Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump!


The first few weeks of Linden's life were hard when it came to breastfeeding. He never seemed to be satisfied and we were advised by his doctor to supplement since he was losing so much weight. My lactation consultant advised that I pump after every single feed in order to stimulate more milk production in hopes that it'd help alleviate the problem. I stressed over my milk supply morning, noon, and night. I was constantly worried that he wasn't getting enough (obviously he wasn't since he kept losing weight) so my breast pump quickly became my best friend. While I was never able to pump more than an ounce or so at a time, I'd celebrate each little session as a victory. A pumping session was never even remotely enough to satisfy Linden, but I felt some slight reassurance knowing exactly how much I was able to give him. That's the one thing about breastfeeding that's so hard... knowing how much they're getting when they feed. 

Our breastfeeding journey hasn't been something straight from a movie or a magazine, but I'll leave that for another post (coming soon). Instead I'll just touch base on what I really love about my Ameda pump and then I'll get to the good part... giving one away!

(any excuse to post pictures of this snoozin' little dude!)

When I first opened my Ameda box I was totally overwhelmed. It looked like it was going to be so confusing to put together. So many parts to unwrap and pieces to assemble. Finally one night I put on my big girl britches, broke the wrapping open and was overwhelmed for a completely different reason. I was overwhelmed at how simple it was. Why did I think it was going to be such a huge to do?! Compared to the other breast pumps I looked at and contemplated, this one was without a doubt much easier to handle in terms of instructions. I had that bad boy ready to go in under 2 minutes. When it came to using the pump, it was just as simple. I really was not looking forward to the tedious act of washing and sterilizing each piece after each use (especially since I was hooked up to that thing every hour or two), but everything came apart easily. It isn't a "hands free" pump so I used one of my nursing bras (that doubles as a pumping bra!) to help me feel more comfortable during those long pumping sessions every day. Overall, two thumbs way up for my experience with my Ameda. I don't think anyone likes being hooked up to a pump, but at least it wasn't a terrible experience for me. It sure beat the thought of manually pumping or pumping one side at a time.

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Now I'm giving you lucky gals a chance to win your very own Purely Yours Double Electric Pump! Check out the details below to get in on the action! If you're not expecting, or just aren't in the market for a new pump, consider entering for a friend or family member who could benefit from this awesome gift! You can even donate it to your local women's shelter or another mother in need!

To be entered to win the Ameda
Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump

Please share one thing about motherhood you're most looking forward to
(or that you already love) and leave it in a comment below

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For additional entries, please do any of the following
(but be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry!):

Follow The Clueless Girl's Guide on Bloglovin // Follow @kaelahbee on Twitter // Follow TCGG via GFC (in the left sidebar) // Follow @kaelahbee on Instagram // Like TCGG on Facebook // Tweet the following: "Fingers crossed I win the @MyAmeda #PurelyYours breast pump on @kaelahbee's blog! thecluelessgirl.com"

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A winner will be chosen at random next weekend and contacted to claim their prize. You have seven ways to win! Please be sure to leave me a way to get in touch with you in case you're the lucky winner! Good luck to everyone who enters! Happy pumping! xo

* I received a Purely Yours breast pump free of charge, but was not compensated for this review or giveaway. I simply wanted to help make life a little bit easier for a fellow mama out there by giving away another pump. Thanks to Ameda for being so generous!

// Rust + Ruin

Rust + Ruin  Clueless Girl's Guide
Rust + Ruin  Clueless Girl's Guide
While I'm in no hurry to rush Summer off just yet, I do love the color palette that comes along with Autumn. Rust is without a doubt my favorite color to wear. I know I'm breaking the "No white after Labor Day" rule but it's not like I ever paid that much mind anyhow. This is what I wore out and about on Sunday when Mike and I had a mini "date day." It has actually been cool enough to enjoy wearing a cardigan outside. I do love the lower temps of the season, but I'm just not ready to say goodbye to the bright green foliage. Once the leaves have fallen everything feels so sad and gloomy. I guess I'll snap as many outfits in front of the trees as I can before I have to find interesting walls to take their place. Anyway, about this outfit! I picked up this dress on clearance at Maurices back at the beginning of Spring. I seriously think I paid all of $3.50 for it! It's a size larger than I normally wear, but I anticipated this post-baby body so the extra room is kind of nice. I'm a huge fan of Maurices clearance racks because you can get all kinds of goodies. I bought 2 other dresses the same day and not a single one was over $5! 
 Rust + Ruin  Clueless Girl's Guide Rust + Ruin  Clueless Girl's Guide 
As for the little date Mike and I went on... We've been trying to make it a priority to spend time together, just the two of us. My parents kept the boys while we went off to eat and watch a movie. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was perfect. We even headed home early because we remembered Toby had some homework he needed help with, and I wasn't totally confident that Linden would do anything other than cry all day. While out and about we managed to chow down on some Mexican food and see Into the Storm. I had high hopes for the movie. As soon as I saw the trailer for it in the Spring, I was determined to go see it. Mike is not a fan of anything tornado related, but he agreed to go see it with me since he got to pick the movie last weekend (Let's Be Cops... which was hilarious!). Into the Storm was decent, and the CGI was pretty darn impressive, but it lacked a lot of storyline and in the end it just sort of fell flat. It wasn't any Twister, that's for sure! A mid-day matinee was just what we needed though, no matter what we saw. I love being able to sing along to Spotify in the car, converse over lunch without being interrupted by a million questions or crying, and sitting side by side in silence. I love all the hustle and bustle that comes with two kids, don't get me wrong. But sometimes it's nice to just be.
Rust + Ruin  Clueless Girl's Guide
Rust + Ruin  Clueless Girl's Guide
Linden is still battling the reflux, and Toby came home with yet another sickness from school. I'll tell you what, elementary school is tough with all the germs! I've been trying to keep Toby away from the baby but he's so adamant about being around his little brother that it's almost impossible. Lysol and Germ-X and Emergen-C for everyone! The sicknesses are so bad here in town that the doctor was completely booked for a couple of days. We finally got Toby an appointment for this afternoon, but I'm sure it'll just have to run it's course. Since Linden has been pretty needy lately (and going through another growth spurt) I've been wearing him non-stop. Sometimes I'm able to sneak away to the computer to do a little work, but mostly I've been camped out in the rocker in front of the TV. I guess there are some perks to my gig though... endless Netflix binge watching is kind of nice. I've been making it a priority to break out of the house as often as I can though. Yesterday I met Mike in town for some lunch. Again, nothing fancy (Subway!), but it was perfect. A reprieve from the grey walls of the living room haha. 

I am currently wrapping up three design projects and blog installations, so I'll luckily have some more time to tackle my personal to do list. I'm also working on a hefty load of blog content (for once!) so I'm excited to try and finish that. If you have any requests for specific blog posts, feel free to leave them below or get in touch! I'd love to hear what you'd like to see :) Until next time... xo

Maurices dress
Target cardigan
Blowfish boots

PS; I'm in dire need of some new Netflix and Hulu+ shows to watch! I just wrapped up The League (!!!!), The OC, and The Fosters. We're currently watching Switched at Birth together. Since Mike hates when I watch shows without him, I need something new to power through. Share your Netflix wisdom and suggest things that are worth watching! Movies or shows, whatever! (Bonus points if it's a show with like a million seasons... Those 3am feedings feel like they take hours!)

// Linden Atlas - Newborn Photos - Him and Honey










We snapped these photos of Linden when he was just a couple of days old. Of course he had to be stubborn and be wide awake for the whole thing, but we love every single picture so so much. All six pounds of wrinkly goodness... scrunched up! He's yet to hit nine pounds still, but these photos already feel like distant memories. I'm so in love with that lil' ham. xo

I'll be sharing Linden's birth story next week if you're interested!

* You can see more of our film photography at Him + Honey.