Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Postpartum Day 91

10 Must-Haves for your Newborn

1) Halo Swaddle Sleepsack

Our baby girls LOVES this swaddle and we tried a few other types and this one wins the "got most sleep when used award."  She has been a pretty decent sleeper from the beginning and started sleeping through the night by the time she was two months old, and consistently by three months old, even moving from bassinet to her crib.  What's great about these swaddles is that once she is able to rollover, we can still use them as sleep sacks.  (Which may be soon unfortunately!)  They also have a muslin version which we use now since it's summer time and a bit warm.

2) Gas Drops

Most babies are pretty gassy in the first few weeks or months as their digestive systems are figuring stuff out, even breastfeed babies who typically have less of these issues.  This was no different for our little girl, we had a few difficult nights struggling with her discomfort.  These drops were a miracle, they helped her sleep a few extra hours.  We used these several times a day until she was about a month old.

3) Solly Wrap

I didn't go into having a child thinking I'd be an attachment parent, I still don't think I am, my baby isn't even sleeping in our room anymore.  But, I LOVED this wrap!!  And baby V does too, still.  As a newborn, she would sleep in this wrap and I could move around and get some thing done as needed.  This is a product made in the USA and it's very good quality.  You can use it until your baby reaches 25 lbs, it's easy to pack in a diaper bag, helps with bonding, and reduces baby crying.  Totally true, baby V NEVER cries in her Solly.

4) Tummy Time Gym

Our baby HATED tummy time and still only tolerates it because of this gym.  We started tummy time the day we got home from the hospital and tried to do it several times a day once we got the go-ahead from our pediatrician.  We were met by EXTREME dislike of tummy time which was frustrating because everyone wants their children to be able to develop the way they need to.  My Mom bought us this gym after I talked to her about it, and initially my reaction was, "another gym?" But my baby LOVES it, she tolerated tummy time so much more and now that she can hold her head up, she really enjoy the prop pillow and looking in the mirror.  A great idea if your baby does not enjoy tummy time.

5) Pampers Baby Dry Diapers

Diapers?? Well of course, you may say, but wait.  Initially we were only using the Pampers Swaddlers for our baby girl, which worked great.  These were a wonderful addition and still are, to our bedtime routine.  Our baby girl is pretty sensitive to a wet diaper and these keep her comfortable for hours during the night.  She does not fuss for want of a clean diaper, again, it helped keep her happy and asleep as long as possible during the night.  Definitely invest in these as soon as you can, you can even size up on these for night-time for a little extra absorption.

6) Balmax

Balmax again? Yes I'm apparently obsessed and I'm not sure why you never read about this on the Mommy blogs, but my baby has NEVER had diaper rash. Ever. As soon as she gets a little red down there, we wipe this one, and presto, it's gone.  Can't argue with family, my parents used this, and it still works amazing.

7) Breast Pump + Accessories

Another duh factor, but let me explain.  Having a good pump can really set you up for breastfeeding success.  I have been very fortunate in my breastfeeding journey, despite overproduction which caused some issues for me and my baby.  However, because I had a great pump (including a manual pump which I also recommend), I was able to start a really great milk stash for the freezer.  This helps for when the husband is watching her, when I'd like to have a cocktail or more than a glass of wine, and on growth spurt days when my girl is extra hungry.  I also suggest these accessories:

Milkies Freeze Kit - perfect for freezer storage
Milkies Milk-Saver Breast Milk Collector - catches the extra when you're feeding
Infantino Freezer Sleeve - good extra storage
Extra Pump Parts - just in case!
UpSpring Milkscreen Testers - because sometimes it's fun to have some wine and this gives you peace of mind
Pump 2 Nurse "Purse" for Breast Pump Parts - perfect for storage and travelling with your pump
Car Adapter for Pump

8) Baby Connect App

This is by far the BEST app I use for my baby.  It allows you to track feedings (nursing and bottles), sleeping, diapers, activities, milestones, medical data, and communicate between all caregivers.  Both my husband and I use it and it's very helpful to know when baby's last diaper was or how long she's napped.  It's helped us see patterns in her sleep and have good answers to the pediatrician when she asks us about her schedule.  Our nanny also uses it as well.  When you're sleep deprived and can't remember which boob you nursed or the last time your baby had a wet diaper (doubtful but possible) this is the best app for the job.  You can also keep a journal and add pictures and messages too.

9) Baby Sparks App

This is my second favorite app.  This app gives a lot of detail about your baby's developmental framework by month.  I say framework because every baby meets milestones at their own pace.  That being said, this app gives you a "schedule" or list of activities and cognitive playtime choice to help engage your baby each day.  It can be hard when you have a newborn knowing how to give them fun and meaningful playtime.  This app gives you so many ideas of how to entertain and stimulate them based on these milestones

10) Uppababy Vista Bassinet/Stroller

So this is a more pricey item and not within everyone's budget, I'm lucky I have some very generous family members, but this stroller/bassinet system has been wonderful and if you can make this fit into your budget I highly recommend it.  This stroller system is amazing.  It comes with a bassinet and a stroller seat, and also works with the Mesa Car seat which we also have.  You can get adapter kits to work with other carseats as well.  This system also comes with bug and rain shields for the stroller and bassinet.  The stroller itself has a large basket which is helpful when it comes to grocery shopping or regular shopping, you don't need an extra cart.  The clip-in system is so easy it makes changing seats a breeze.  So many times when the baby was still sleeping in the bassinet in the morning my husband would un-click her from the bassinet stand right into the stroller and go walking with her and the dog.  Same deal with the carseat.  I will say the stroller is not super compact, but the wheels come off and I can then easily fit this into my smaller car.  Since the bassinet unclicks, we were able to carry it all over the house which helped our baby get used to sleeping on her back which she didn't take to immediately.  I really can't say enough good things about this system.  Since this is costly, if you think of it as an investment it helps.  The quality is amazing and this system adapts if you have a second or third child.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Postpartum Day 90

10 Things You Need in Your Hospital Bag

Don't forget these things and make sure your bags are packed by week 32, you never know when you will be running to the hospital!

1. Nursing Bra

This item is needed on the assumption that you are breastfeeding. Now, I subscribe to the "breast is best" mantra if you are medically able to breastfeed but I know not everyone is able/willing and I would be a bad feminist if I judged anyone for using formula. So. If you are choosing or considering breastfeeding bring a nursing bra, your boobs will be big and full and the support is good when you're getting going with breastfeeding. You don't want to be fumbling with bra straps. Get professionally measured around your eighth month and then again after your milk supply stabilizes.

2. Nursing Pads

See above. Now I brought fabric pads and disposable and I recommend, for those first days, to use fabric nursing pads. Your nipples will be sore and I found relief in the fabric pads. I also recommend bringing these for relief as well. If you have a Health Spending Account, use that to purchase these, any breastfeeding supplies are covered.

3. Fuzzy Socks

Hospitals get cold. Warm feet make everyone happier. Bring some fun, fuzzy socks with grippy bottoms so you don't slide around during contractions. Bring a pair for your husband too!

4. Camera

Don't forget it! And the charger!

5. Towel

I did not bring this and I regret it. The shower in the hospital stank and the towels were worse; they barely cover you and were knarly. After childbirth you are sore and fragile everywhere. And if you breastfeed your nipples will feed awful. You want a nice warm fuzzy familiar towel wrapped around you after that first... dun dun dun... shower of doom! Haha, it's not that bad but it's nice not to have your bum hanging out.

6. Dry Shampoo

I thought I'd feel like washing my hair. I did not. Especially in that shower. So, invest in a good dry shampoo, like this one. I loved the Living Proof dry shampoo, it smells great and my hair did feel cleaner.

7. Surprise for Spouse
This is optional but after all the steps taken to get to your baby, your husband/wife has probably gone above and beyond for you in many ways. Granted, you were growing a person inside you but it can be just as hard for your spouse. So, what's a better thank you than surprising them with a little token of your appreciation.  In my case, I got my husband a cool t-shirt. He LOVED it and wore it the whole time we were in the hospital.

8. Snacks

Mostly for your husband, but also to supplement hospital meals.  Nice to have something yummy after labor.

9. Nursing PJs

I also did not bring these and I regret it, the hospital gown got old after awhile and wasn't great for when I had visitors.  Find something comfortable, soft, and roomy.

10. Extra bag

We brought home a ton of diapers and other odds and ends that the hospital provided for us so make sure you have a way to carry them home!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Post-Partum: Day 40

Motherhood.  It's finally happened to me. I'm tired, frustrated, happy, and feeling very grown-up.
 Baby V is my world and puts me into a new generational timeline, I'm no longer the child, but the parent, my parents are the grandparents, and time presses on faster than I want. She's a month old already.  I thought it was time to open the blog up again as both a journal and presumptive guide for any new moms who are interested. Today I want to talk about my pregnancy and being post-partum and bequeath any knowledge I gained during this time.

10 Things That Got Me Through Pregnancy

1.  Nutella


This should be fairly self explanatory but personal to my pregnancy.  Indulge in your cravings but make sure you are walking every day to stay healthy and get ready for labor. My husband sings my praises about how I handled labor but I wish I'd been in better shape, especially during the pushing...

2. Belly Band


I didn't wear this all the time because it's a little warm for under pants but this helped me feel comfortable when wearing dresses and gave me extra belly support when I started getting bigger. I liked the BellyBandit Flawless Belly, but there are probably others that would be just as good.

3. Maternity Pants

Still wearing them.  Soo comfortable.  Get a bunch and enjoy.  Invest in a good pair of maternity jeans because you will wear these the most and you need a pair that can take a belly beating. 

4. Mother's Oil

Don't hate me too much, but I have zero stretch marks on my belly.  Zero.  I had an 8 lb baby and nadda.  I'm going to give 50% credit to my genes and the other 50% to this product, Mother's Special Oil. Used in tandem with drug store cocoa butter, twice a day, I definitely got nothing.  Also it smells amazing.  Use in combo with the Flawless belly and you are go to go!

5. Fitness Ball


This was so helpful in dealing with back pain, which you WILL get.  And it sucks.  I used this alone and instead of a chair sitting at my desk.  I still had back pain, lots of it, but this helped.  Any ball will do, make sure you get the right one for your height, this is the one I got.  I did not end up using it in labor, I honestly don't think it would have helped, but I did bounce on it a bit during early contractions.  Also good for postpartum exercises.

6. IKEA Elephant

I bought a pregnancy pillow. I didn't end up using it, for whatever reason it just didn't work for me.  I got really stiff.  So, I used this to snuggle with, to help with side sleeping, and it worked great.  To each their own though.  Plus the elephant is adorable and it was a gift from my husband when he went off to basic training.

7. Pregnancy Chalkboard

I was really unhappy with the peel and stick variety I bought for this purpose but ultimately making little drawings and tracking the belly progress was a joy and fun for both me and my husband.  Invest in a good one, it's fun.

8. Ovia Pregnancy App


I loved getting updates every day about what changes my baby was making as well as having a place to track milestones, find medication and food safety info, and information about doctor appointments.  Perfect for the type A expectant Mommy.

9. Belly Buds

Seems silly, but as a musician these were an essential in our house.  It was so fun having the baby react to different types of music, or in our case, different classical composers.  Also, baby's first kicks came at 17 weeks with Handel on my belly.  It was amazing.  Belly buds isn't an essential, but it was so much fun.

10. My Husband

My rock. My step stool. My chef. My housekeeper. My best friend. My lover. My coach. My support. My mirror. My comfort. My masseur. My chauffeur. My baby daddy. My partner. My life. I don't know how single women do it alone...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Post Graduation: Day 274

Another year come and gone.  Another year.  I must say, while I had many beautiful moments during 2014, it has definitely been a year of tremendous growth and some difficulties.  After an amazing 2013, I hope that 2015 will be a much more positive and positive year.  We have spent six months trying to grow our family, nearly succeeding, and now back to the drawing board again which has been very trying, especially for those who are lacking in patience.  This time has truly strengthened the bond with my husband and our marriage.  For that, I am grateful, I am blessed to have the most kind, understanding, patient, and supportive partner.  He has gotten me through this year.

I have not had a physical day planner in awhile, since iPhones can accommodate most of my calendar needs, but I thought this year I should revert back to this:

I have so much coming up in 2015, I love writing out daily to-do lists and making daily goals for myself to stay active and organized.  I have two major auditions coming up which will require a lot of preparation.  With so many possible changes coming, I need to stay focused.  For the first time in forever, I will be starting the New Year in the same place (geographically) as I will end it.  This is our home now, and I am so excited for what lies ahead!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Post Graduation: Day 229

Yes, I'm back. Hi there. It's been a really, really long time since I posted.  I'd like to say it's because I've been too busy, but in reality it's because I haven't been busy enough.  I know, it doesn't make sense, but in reality, I'm not going to post about long boring days doing house-wifey things.  But today, I came across this on my phone:

Wow.  A whole year has gone by since I sent my soldier off to become GI Joe.  Wow.  That kind of blew my mind.  Not just how fast a whole year had gone, but how slow it felt, and how much has happened.  Barely three months into marriage, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, my man was off, not knowing the next times I'd speak to him, with just the promise of letters.  I still can't believe it was real sometimes.

I'm going to recap how much has happened in the last year since he left:

  • I left my job in Philadelphia.
  • I left Pennsylvania and moved to DC.
  • I was unemployed for four months.
  • Enough family drama with my sibling to last a lifetime.
  • My husband graduated from basic training.
  • My husband started his new job.
  • Auditions and master classes.
  • A death in the family.
  • We celebrated a year of marriage.
  • My niece turned one.
  • I got a new job.
  • I got pregnant.
  • I had a miscarriage.
All of that feels like enough for more than just a year.  Even a lifetime.  It's been a difficult year, I'm not going to lie.  There has been a lot of hard break and difficulty and negative things, but so many positive things, so many successes.  Even though it's not New Years yet, I feel compelled to begin contemplating the things I hope for this upcoming year, a year as an official Army Wife.

Now, before you leave with too much seriousness.  LOOK!  Vanilla extract in the making!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Post Graduation - Day 21

Howdy Internet.  Bet you thought I had completely abandoned you.  Well, I almost did, it's just been a little nutso around here.  My weekends have been reserved only for my husband these days, which pretty much stops the productivity in my life for that time and keeps me on my toes to catch up the rest of the week.  Such is the life of a commuter couple.

Most recently I did get a day off from work for Good Friday and we drove up to New York City to visit our music family.  There are only a few people for whom I'd visit and spend my day singing a nearly two-hour mass, haha.  It was a nice time, never long enough, but the drive up was pretty brutal.  Good 'ol New Jersey traffic.

Saturday was simply the best.  Errands followed by egg dying and visiting with my Mom, then baking and decorating Easter desserts for the rest of the day.  A little sample of the fruits of our labors!

Minion Egg!

Chocolate Covered Peeps

Sprinkles, sprinkles, and more sprinkles

Cake Pops
The cake pops were the biggest hit!  They taste kind of like petite fours, I might need to use this recipe for all family gatherings from now on.  I got the recipe from SkinnyTaste.com and it was delicious.  We had so much fun decorating these.  Great idea for an at home date too.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Post Graduation - Day 4

No words Internet... just a picture in summation... after a most wonderful series of days...

I'll be back soon with more, but an extra special thank you to all of those who helped us get through this challenge.