Category Archives: Baby

Maternity Leave

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The summer I had hoped for has delivered. Twelve weeks of pure happiness. Twelve weeks getting to know you, my little girl. Twelve weeks learning and loving everything about you. Your coos. Your snuggles. Your many facial expressions. Even your cries.

We’ve spent a lot of uninterrupted time together. Some days doing almost nothing, others taking new adventures together. Who knew Target would become an adventure. I’m so lucky to have had all this wonderful time with you, baby girl.

Most Used Newborn Items

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A baby requires a lot of stuff. And it’s overwhelming when figuring out what to buy. I know I was completely clueless. I also didn’t want to totally overload our small house with baby items, so I tried to only focus on getting the necessities. I relied a lot on Lucie’s List (awesome resource for products, pregnancy and baby!) while putting together our registry, as well as asking my sister and friends. Now that I’ve been using things for a couple months, I wanted to share my most used items for a newborn. All items are linked to the product below along with a little about why I like each:

  1. Halo SleepSack: We’ve tried several different swaddles and this one has been our favorite. It’s super easy to use (has velcro so you don’t have to master the swaddle technique), even in the middle of the night when it’s pitch black. It’s also worked well since she was a wee little newborn, whereas some others were too big at first, which made for an easy escape. This swaddle is available in both cotton and micro-fleece. We used the fleece in the very beginning when she couldn’t manage her body temperature, but we’ve since switched to cotton since it’s summertime. We’ll go back to fleece as it gets cooler.
  2. Rock ‘n Play: The perfect easy-to-move napping place. I’ll bring this into the bathroom while I shower, into the kitchen so she can watch me (or sleep) while I cook, and then we use it in the living room while we’re watching TV and she’s napping. The great part is it’s lightweight so I can pick it up with her in it and relocate her to wherever I need to go in the house. It also folds up easily so we take it to the lake and over to grandmom’s house. Another great perk is the height – it’s tall enough that if you have a dog, the dog can’t get too close to baby’s face. *Note: When we took a baby class, the nurse suggested we use a flat, hard surface for her to sleep on at night to reduce the risk of SIDS. With that info, we decided to use a Pack’N Play in our bedroom for nighttime sleeping. Then we use the Rock ‘n Play during the day when we can keep an eye on her.
  3. Burp Cloths: Spit up happens so you need to have something close by to clean up. I’d recommend having about six. I keep one in her room by the changing table (she’s known to spit up after a feeding when she needs a diaper change), in our room in case she spits up at night and in the living room where we spend most of our time. I also always take one with me on walks or when running errands. My favorites are these and these.
  4. Moby wrap: This has been super handy (no pun intended)! A lot of baby holding happens (and is so fun) but you still need your hands, especially when you have a million loads of laundry to do. The Moby wrap has been perfect when I need to do chores around the house. It’s also great for running errands. I’ll put the Moby wrap on myself before I leave the house, then when we arrive to the store I can easily take her out of her car seat and slide her into the wrap. Another perk of this thing – use it when baby is fussy and needs a nap. The closeness of your heartbeat, helps soothe baby and they usually fall asleep right away. And it’s really not as hard as you might think to get this thing wrapped correctly – follow this video and you’ll be golden. You can probably get any other more structured carrier (like the Ergo) but when the baby is a newborn you’ll need to get the newborn insert, or shove a blanket in the bottom of the carrier since baby will be too little to fit.
  5. Rainforest Gym/Play Mat: Now that Frances is two months old and can see more, I pulled out her play mat. And she loves it! The mat on its own is also great for tummy time, which pediatricians recommend you start right away.
  6. Swing: Sometimes it seems impossible to calm a fussy baby. Thank goodness for this swing because it almost always does the trick. Baby Wise recommends only leaving babies in a swing for 15 minutes, but I’ve found that’s usually more than enough time. Typically the swing will calm her down in only a couple minutes.
  7. Boppy: I didn’t use our boppy for nursing when Frances was first born since she was so little and lightweight. Eventually I pulled it out and it makes nursing a lot easier. Just sit down in a comfy place, plop the boppy on your lap and you can nurse hands free – hallelujah! We also use it on our laps a lot when she’s awake. It helps her to sit up and see more, and then we can eat dinner (with both hands) while she hangs out.
  8. Rocker: When decorating her nursery I didn’t want to go too crazy with money (things add up quickly!) but still wanted a comfortable rocking chair since I knew we’d be using it a lot. At first I had wanted this modern rocking chair, but realized not having a high back would be an issue for those late nights. This Ikea rocking chair has been surprisingly comfortable – no complaints from me or Chris.
  9. iPad: This is my toy. It keeps me awake during middle of the night feedings, entertained during daytime feedings and I keep track of when her feedings happen. Yes…there’s a lot of feeding with a new baby, so you’ll want some entertainment for yourself.
  10. Medela Pump In Style: If you’re breastfeeding and going back to work, a pump is a must. This Medela pump is a workhorse and most popular option by moms. While pumping isn’t my favorite, this thing does work well. Just get yourself one of these hands free pumping bras and pumping isn’t so bad.
  11. White noise machine: This is an item my sister told me we really needed…while I wasn’t as sold. But she was right! A white noise machine really is great. We use this in our room at night (Frances is still sleeping in our room) and it’s great for a couple reasons. It’s a good signal to Frances that it’s bedtime. It also benefits us at night because it helps cover up the little noises that Frances makes so that we can get some sleep. Once she started napping in her crib during the day we use the Sleep Sheep. It’s great too, but do know that it only plays for 45 minutes, so having a noise machine that plays non-stop is also something you may want to have.

There you have it – a lot of stuff, but it does all get used. Shout if you have any questions or any items to add to your must-have list for newborns!

High 5 for Friday

1. So a bird got in our house the other day (through the fireplace chimney somehow – poor thing!), which caught both me and Moose by surprise. The bird started flying into every window, so I quickly opened the back door but he refused to use it. Moose was right behind the bird, trying so hard to catch it in his mouth. I grabbed a piece of cardboard hoping to direct the bird to the door, but it didn’t work. Instead he just flew in the opposite direction. I was worried the bird would land on Frances or that Moose would eat the poor guy. But eventually…and after probably being frightened to death by the giant 95 pound Moose, the bird made it outside.

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2. My mom brought us these beautiful flowers from the Roswell Farmers and Artisans Market. The vibrant colors have really perked up our dining room table this week.

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3. Ellen is back with new episodes!

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4. Naked babies are just too cute.

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5. I wore my hair curly this week for the first time in a while. I think this might start becoming a more regular occurrence…it sure is easy.

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What To Pack in Your Hospital Bag

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I didn’t pack my hospital bag until after my water broke and we were rushing out the door. While I don’t recommend this approach, if it does happen to you, remember the list below and you’ll be golden. For those of you who don’t procrastinate like me, I’d recommend packing your bags around week 35.

Do keep in mind the hospital provides you with A LOT. So even if you forget something, don’t sweat it, they may have it. Also with that being said, there’s a lot you don’t need to pack since the hospital will likely provide it (like pads for you, and diapers, onesies, socks, hats and mittens for baby).

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For you:

  • Bathrobe/PJs/Yoga pants: Comfort is key during and after labor. You’ll be put in a lovely, backless hospital gown, so you’ll probably want to bring a bathrobe in case you end up needing to walk the halls during labor. The bathrobe is also comfortable once your baby has arrived, as are pajamas and/or yoga pants.
  • Slippers/socks: Some people love their slippers, if you’re one of them – pack them. If not, no problem, the hospital will give you slip-proof socks that you can walk the halls in. You can also bring your own socks. I ended up wanting to wear socks during labor because my feet were freezing.
  • Phone/tablet/chargers: You’ll want to let your loved ones know of the good news so make sure you have your phone and charger! You’ll also want some entertainment/device to Instagram, so bring the electronics you use most. I took my phone and iPad.
  • Camera: You are going to have so many precious moments to capture. If you remember only one thing, let it be your camera!
  • Nursing tanks: If you plan on nursing, pack a couple of nursing tank tops (or bras). I preferred the tank tops because they also doubled as my shirt. This one was my favorite because it sucks in your belly. Oh and get ready for your boobs to be hanging out non-stop. At first I was shy and apologetic when a nurse would walk in, but then I realized that I didn’t care (nurses walk in your room constantly). I’m sure they’ve seen their fair share of women breastfeeding, so I figured no need to be embarrassed and cover up.
  • Nipple Cream (if planning to breastfeed): The hospital will provide you with some, but it will likely be lanolin based. I found that this Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter (olive oil based) worked best and wished I would have had it at the hospital…because your nipples will hurt.
  • Toiletries: A shower will feel so amazing once you finally get the chance/energy to take one. The hospital will have your standard hotel toiletries, but if you are picky about your soap, face wash, shampoo or conditioner, I recommend bringing your own travel size toiletries. Also bring your makeup – you’ll be taking lots of pictures. And you’ll want to feel like yourself after you’ve been a sweaty laboring mess, so a little makeup helps.
  • Going home outfit: It’s up to you if you want to be comfortable (think: workout clothes) or cute, but do remember you’ll likely still have some baby weight hanging around. I recommend packing maternity clothes to wear home.
  • Extra bag: Again the hospital is going to give you a ton of crap. And like my co-worker told me, I’m going to tell you – Take everything that isn’t nailed down! Take the supplies you’ve been using for yourself – pads, mesh underwear, socks, disposable ice packs, water bottle, etc. For baby take extra diapers, wipes, onesies, socks, pacifiers, hats, mittens (so they don’t scratch their precious faces), blankets (if they let you take them), nipples, breast pump parts (I used a pump while at the hospital because Frances was having trouble latching at first and we decided to try a bottle. Anyway, they ended up letting me take the removable parts from the pump – so the bottles, nipples, tubes, etc.).
  • Pillow for you and/or dad: Are you or dad picky about your pillow? If so, bring it! Especially if your partner is picky because he’ll be the one forced to sleep on a not-so-comfy couch. You’ll get the bed.
  • Snacks: Hospitals are not known for their food. Also they typically only provide meals for mom. Oh and if you’re breastfeeding you’re going to be extra hungry. Plus you just went through labor, which is a workout! So make sure you have you and your partner’s favorite snacks on hand.

For baby:

  • Blanket: I’m sure you’ve been gifted a few adorable blankets for baby. Pack one to bundle around your new bundle when you make your grand exit out of the hospital. At this point babies are still learning to control their body temperature, so extra warmth is ideal (even if it’s 90 degrees out – like when we left the hospital with Frances!).
  • Going home outfits (in a few various sizes): You don’t really know how big or small your baby will be, so bring a couple options. I was nervous that Frances was going to be a big baby (Chris was almost 10 lbs!) and thought she’d end up skipping right past her adorable Newborn-sized clothes into the 0-3 months size. Well the opposite ended up happening…she was even too small for the Newborn size (she weighed 5lbs 15oz). So bring a few sizes. We were gifted onesies that were size 5-8lbs and these were what she ended up living in for the first few weeks since Newborn and 0-3 months swallowed her whole.
  • Car seat: This is another one not to procrastinate on! Luckily we installed ours just a few days before Frances was born, but I never got a chance to have it checked by a local fire department. So just like your hospital bag, I’d install your car seat around week 35.
  • Car seat Instruction Booklet: Likely you’ll have absolutely no idea how to work the crazy contraption that is a car seat…at least we didn’t. Bring the instruction manual so that you can read all about how to safely put baby in there. Usually there is a manual in the actual car seat (as long as you didn’t cut it out). Legally the nurses aren’t allowed to help with this step, so it’s up to mom and dad to figure it out…although if your nurse is nice, she’ll likely watch you and assure you that you’re doing things just fine.

Just remember, if you forget something, it’s not the end of the world. All you’re going to care about is that sweet, sweet baby. If you really end up needing something, there’s a good chance the hospital will have it. Otherwise, you’ll be there for a few days so you can always send your partner out to get what you need…or ask a visitor to stop by your house or store and grab something for you. People love to help so don’t feel guilty about letting them!

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Frances: Two Months

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Two whole months. In some ways it feels like Frances is already so grown up with her chubby baby rolls, smiles and cooing. But then I see my 15 month old nephew and remember what a tiny little newborn she still is.

Sleep deprivation from the past couple of months make it hard to wake up in the mornings, but knowing I’ll be greeted with a giant toothless smile sure makes up for it. Frances is happiest first thing each day. Breaking free from the swaddle and being told good morning as I pick her up and give her a big hug and cover her in kisses.

Right at 8 weeks, she decided to sleep through the night! She’s been keeping it up pretty well, but there are still some nights we get up around 4am or 5am for a feeding. Since I consider that the middle of the night I put us both back to bed and then she’ll sleep another 3 hours or so.

Frances really is a happy baby. One of her favorite things is getting her diaper changed. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as we lay her on her changing table, she is happy. She also loves standing (as we hold under her arms) so she can look all around.

I recently pulled out the play mat that my sister gave us, thinking it may still be too much for her at this age. To my surprise she instantly fell in love! She giggles and dances as she takes in all the colors and sounds.

We’ve been joking that she’s spoiled because boy does she love to be held. So much so that most of her daytime naps end up being on my chest, lap or in the Moby wrap. Even when she’s awake she wants to feel the warmth of someone holding her. And she doesn’t like to sit still for long. She’d rather be on the move, wandering around so she doesn’t get bored.

We do have one big hurdle to overcome – taking a bottle. It’s funny because up until a couple weeks ago, Frances had no issue with a bottle. Since she would take one even from me, I assumed she’d continue to, so I didn’t exactly follow the pediatrician’s advice to give her a bottle every day. We went a couple day stretch with no bottle, and the next time we tried to give her one she absolutely refused. We’ve tried to work with her but so far we haven’t had success (insert screaming crying). I ordered new bottles (we’ve been using Medela bottles since they go so easily with the breast pump) and now we’re going to try out the Born Free bottles. According to Lucie’s List (my favorite baby resource) they’re the best at mimicking mom. Fingers crossed they work. Otherwise the teachers at daycare are not going to be happy with me…

2 Months Stats from her visit this morning:

  • Weight: 11lbs 2.5oz (44th percentile)
  • Height: 22.5in (48th percentile)
  • Head circumference: 15in (44th percentile)

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