STAY COOL WHEN HOT

Baby in bucket

 

Breastfeeding in the summer: You can stay cool and stay involved!

Beach vacations! Barbecues! Water parks! Summer is such a fun time of year where families enjoy time together and make long-lasting memories. While so many of the great activities to be had this season are outdoors, battling the summer heat can seemingly present challenges to breastfeeding mama’s But, not to worry! There are plenty of ways to beat the heat while breastfeeding your little one. Below are 6 tips to help you stay cool in the rising temperatures (and you won’t have to run inside to breastfeed and miss out on the happenings!)
1) Stay hydrated: It has forever been ingrained in our brains that we should all drink 8 glasses of water a day to get the full 64 ounces. While I don’t entirely think there is an EXACT amount, it is true that breastfed babies get their water from breast milk, so it is important mama stays hydrated…so baby stays hydrated. Keep a couple water bottles stashed in the beach bag (I even added sugar free Hawaiian Punch drink powder…I know, I’m crazy!)
2) Strip, baby, strip: There is literally nothing cuter than teeny baby clothes…nothing! I have spent more money than I would like to admit on clothes that I would never consider buying for my husband, but I just HAD to have for my son simply because they were adorable. There is plenty of time to showcase these digs…but ditch them when you are outside breastfeeding. Keeping baby in just a diaper while feeding will help keep both of you cool. I also encourage mama to do the same. We all came into this world naked!
3) Cool cloths: Wash cloths are not just for bath time anymore…they are portable and instant cool down vessels! A cold, wet cloth placed on baby’s head and skin will combat the rising temperatures. Go ahead, mama…you can do it, too!
4) Play in the morning: The morning time is a great opportunity to be outside with your little one! The sun (and most humans) are just waking up…so, you can enjoy the outdoors, have some quiet time and stay cool! Win, win, win!
5) Splish, splash: A dose of cool water goes a long way! We learned that with the tip of drinking water to stay hydrated and using a cool cloth to instantly revitalize. This tip encourages you to immerse yourself in the water! Get in the pool with your little one and cool off in a snap!
6) Less is more: There are so many awesome breastfeeding products out there which allow mama to cover up while feeding. These are great! I used them when my little guy was breastfeeding and I see people everywhere using them. These items come in many different types of fabric, so choose one that is lightweight for the summer time and save the heavy feather blanket cover up for the winter!
While these 6 tips can certainly help provide a quick cool-down while enjoying the summertime activities, be mindful of the times when you and baby may need to take a short break and retire to the living room for a Netflix binge session. Have a great summer!

SUMMERTIME TRAVEL WITH TOTS

Sunset

I remember getting ready for a summer vacation pre-baby…pack a few essentials, grab the sunscreen (perhaps a couple bottles of wine) and hit the road. There was very little thought put into preparing for a trip. Fast forward several years, our first family beach trip with an infant is upon us and reality hits! What used to be a no-thought-throw-items-into-the-suitcase mentality was now a week-long prep process of craziness!

Reminder notes on your phone to pack the monitor, post its shoved in your purse as cues to not forget the yellow pacifier, email to prompt the packing of the baby body wash…it goes on and on. The once leisurely summer vacation prep has become a strategic, all hands-on deck process and the car that used to remain at half-capacity now is questionable whether the doors will stay shut with all the stuff crammed in.

While the days of minute planning are long gone, below are 8 tips that can help make summer travel with little ones a bit less stressful. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile…. I’ve got you covered!

  • Grab bag: Pack a bag that is easily accessible with a couple of diapers, wipes, a change of clothes and whatever immediate essentials your baby requires. Most of your luggage will have all these items 10-fold, but this quick bag will alleviate you having to rummage every time one of these objects is required.
  • Unpack upon arrival: While it may seem like you packed your entire house, the vacation destination is still different than home. Try to unpack all baby’s belongings once you check in to your temporarily domicile. This will allow your little one to feel comfortable when surrounded by familiar items and smells.
  • Dress in layers: I swear, it is a law of nature…If it’s cold outside, the inside of a vehicle or plane will be sweltering. If it’s 90 degrees outdoors, it will be like an ice box indoors. Instead of packing a carry on full of clothes for all seasons, simply dress baby in layers that you can strip or add depending on the temperature.
  • Nap-time travel: If possible, try to schedule travel during the time baby sleeps. It may seem like a silly concept (especially for flight travel) but it changed my life when my little one slept during that majority of our trip to Florida. I almost had some time to relax…almost.
  • Downsize: Baby’s require a lot of gear! If possible, try to minimize by wearing your baby and ditching the stroller. A baby carrier will save you money for air travel and space for car travel.
  • Loosen up: While routines are good to keep (especially for keeping your sanity) unpredictability is inherently a part of traveling. Try not to stress too much when your at-home practices and vacation-practices don’t exactly jive. Baby will sleep, baby will eat…so, just enjoy your time together!
  • Invest in zip lock bags: These bags are super versatile! Carrying small supplies, bottles, formula, waste containers, snacks…the list goes on and on. Grab a box and hit the road.
  • Day-one downtime: It is fun to experience all your vacation has to offer, but there is plenty of time for that. Keep the day of your arrival low-key so family and baby have time to adjust to the new location and restore your body from the travels.

Traveling with a baby is crazy, especially the first go-round, but it is amazing time together. Take mental notes of what works for you and add to this list for future trips. It will get easier!

 

POST-PARTUM PARTY

Support Hug

Baby Showers have been around forever! It is a time to celebrate the mom-to-be with essentials she will need on-hand for when baby arrives. These are great! They are fun! They are appreciated! Finally, the little one is born…and mama’s got the blues.

Don’t get me wrong, giving birth to a baby is the most incredible feeling in the world, but it can sometimes leave a woman feeling a little down and emotional. This is the time for a shin-dig honoring the incredible woman who birthed a human! So, ditch the Baby Shower and opt for a Post-Partum Party!

A Post-Partum Party is an opportunity that (not only) celebrates mom but offers a chance to show support following the delivery of a little one. This is the time that a woman needs loved ones in her corner providing encouragement, small pieces of revitalization and endless words of love. This is the time to party!

For mama’s who are open to visitors, a “Sip & See” party offers a themed-cocktail and photo opts with the little one. A “Post-Baby Boutique” theme prompts party-goers to bring a fun-flowy article of clothing for the new mom (as our body is not quite back to its original condition, but you still want to feel human.)

Many families ask for a few days, a few weeks or even a few months of alone time before visitors…that is perfectly fine and extremely understandable (Lord knows I was a hermit for quite some time after Benjamin arrived!) Being supportive does not require being in-person. The party could be in the way of a “meal train” where friends and family sign up to deliver ready-made dinner to mama’s home or schedule times to grocery shop on her behalf. Some parties simply involve sending letters or small care packages to brighten up her day. The gestures may seem insignificant, but (trust me) the impact is infinite.

There are so many feelings that come after delivering a baby (a topic that requires its own blog…stay tuned), but support is what new mom’s need and support comes in so many amazing forms!

Flower

SAFETY FIRST

Sleeping Baby

When I think of my home, I think of a cozy place full of love. Walking through the front door after a long day at the office, I hear my son living life to the fullest as sounds of laughter and joy fill my ears. I work hard every day to make sure home stays a safe haven for my child.

While most parents who are expecting a child (or have children) are diligent in keeping their home a safe place by ways of “baby proofing”, there are some often-overlooked household items that may pose a hazard to little ones. I am not necessarily about the mindset that my baby’s entire existence should be bubble-wrapped (well, I may have considered it once or 2,000 times) I do believe that parents should be mindful of what is within baby’s environment (and reach.)

Each family has their own method of ensuring the safety of their babies, whether through gates, latches, the aforementioned bubble-wrap or simply experience. Whatever works for you, works for me! Below is a simply a list of items that could be used as reminders to keeping baby safe.

  • Small socks: Albeit, arguably the cutest piece of baby gear, small socks can pose a choking hazard to little children. These adorable clothing items need to be watched carefully since they tend to jump-ship when the laundry is removed from the dryer or get pulled off baby’s feet…and straight to their mouth.
  • Pet products: Animals are adorable! I love them! However, they also have small chew toys, treats and food/water bowls on the floor that could be within reach of a little one and present a choking hazard. Pets are instinctual, if you relocate these items out of baby’s scope, they will acclimate.
  • Plants: I am all about the greenery, but leaves, dirt and stems could pose a choking hazard. Additionally, some “common” plants are poisonous. Make sure to keep the lovely flora in a place that can’t be grabbed by little chubby hands. Plus, this higher location is closer to the sun. Double score!
  • Purses: If you are anything like me, your purse is full of all kinds of small items. Pens, gum, wrappers, the errant paper clip, the rogue Advil. Storing handbags on an out-of-reach shelf or drawer will keep contents out of baby’s mouth.
  • Refrigerator Magnets: While artwork that adorns my refrigerator is lovely and colorful, what attracts my son are the magnets holding the pieces of creativity in place. I have learned (the hard way, unfortunately) to hang these masterpieces high.
  • Trashcans: Awesome for ditching the disposables but seen as a treasure chest for little ones. Many companies offer receptacles with a lock to prevent trash from getting into the wrong hands…or mouths.
  • Toilets: While toilets provide no interest to adults (aside from their intended use) babies see them as perfectly-sized pools. Toilet locks are readily available, so snap them on and fear not.
  • Outlet covers: I purchased close to 100 of those small outlet plugs, went around the house stopping up all open outlets…just to find my son yanking them out. How he achieved that goal? Who knows? I ended up replacing them all with full face plates. Start there.
  • Tablecloths: Super fun to pull…super dangerous when plates or decorative items come crashing down. You can do without until baby is older.
  • Gifts: It is very thoughtful when someone brings a present for the kiddos, but the giver may not realize certain pieces can be dangerous if not age-appropriate. Make sure to check for loose or small items before letting baby play.

I am the first to say that my child has picked up a few things around the house that I could not, for the life of me, figure out how he got his little paws on…so, this list (by no means exhaustive) simply serves as a reminder. Stay safe!

JUST BREATHE

I remember counting down the days until my baby boy arrived into the world. I was elated, nervous, emotional, hesitant…literally every emotion a person could feel, I felt. Preparing myself for a tiny human is a feeling I cannot even put into words, as nothing I had ever done in my life required so much brain power. I am a OHHHself-proclaimed planner! I like to have things in order. I like to have loose ends tied up. If I don’t have an answer to a question, I stop at nothing to find out…that all changed when June 17, 2015 was upon me, Benjamin was born and I felt completely misplaced!

A million questions surfaced. What if he doesn’t latch on to my nipple to breastfeed? What happens when he cries and I can’t soothe him? What will I do if my son doesn’t fit into the newborn clothes I bought? Will he even like me? When will the umbilical cord stump fall out? Should I save it? Where should I store it? I was like a child answering questions with additional questions. It was maddening!
The doctor handed me my perfect little baby boy and all the chatter in my brain instantly ceased and peace surrounded us both. I still had questions, but the answers did not matter at that moment in time…everything was still as our hearts became one.
When becoming a mom for the first time, there will be so many feelings and so many questions. While not all can be answered, I would like to lovingly pass along a few pieces of advice that helped me:

1) Less Is More: It is good to be prepared, but try not to overdo it! My nesting period consisted of purchasing at least 10 different blankets, onesies, socks, mittens, teething rings, mobiles, song machines, white noise machines, ocean waves machines…you get the idea. It was mid-June when I brought my baby home and all he required was a short-sleeved onesie. Don’t get me wrong, I used most of the items I purchased eventually, but for months (and for certain items, years) my house was packed full of unused gadgets…and I was going out once a week to purchase items that he needed immediately.
2) Don’t Weigh In: You created a human inside of your body! A human! A brain, a heart, lungs, fingers, toes…you created all of that…a creation that carries with it some weight (both physically and mentally.) You only get to experience this stage with your newborn once, so enjoy it! Be consumed with this time together, not consumed with losing weight immediately upon delivery.
3) Most Importantly…Be You: While comparing notes with other mommy’s and their experiences can be helpful and cathartic, the notes shouldn’t be used to gauge how you are as a mom. We are all individual and unique, therefore your situation will never align with someone else’s. Every mommy is doing it right!

Mommy Kiss

Whether this is your first time at being a mommy or you are a seasoned mommy of multiples, the most important thing you need to provide to your baby is love. Love is a huge concept which knows no bounds and requires no planning…it simply comes effortlessly when you hold your child for the first time and forever. Enjoy it!

JERRY

Benjamin has just recently been introduced to a timeless classic…Tom & Jerry. While I love the old school cartoons kicking a comeback, I did not recollect from my childhood watching days all the violence.

I walked through the living room the other day carrying a pile of 2-day old laundry that had been just sitting in the dryer and saw Benjamin watching poor Tom getting shaved down to his skin by a fat man with a samurai sword. YIKES! While I retrace my steps for the third time to clean up the trail of tiny socks and Paw Patrol underpants, my toddler is laughing hysterically as Tom’s skin is now being essentially removed from his own body and fashioned into a bonnet atop his own head.

When I finally had the chance to get “American Girl” out of my head (thanks Silence of the Lambs for the skin suit image) I pounced on the remote and explained to Ben that Tom & Jerry had to go “night night.” At this age I either have to bribe Benjamin with something sweet or convince him objects went to sleep in an effort to avoid a total meltdown.

This trick seemed to work until my husband decided it would be funny to instigate the situation by pointing to random objects in and around the house and call them “Jerry.” The little Jurassic Park Jeep-driving Lego man… “Jerry.” Mr. Potato Head… “Jerry.” The deer that have taken up permanent residence in our yard that Ben visits in the morning… “Jerry.” Now, everybody is a Jerry which reminds Benjamin that he wants to watch…Tom & Jerry. Mom life.

Jerry

 

Delivery Day

Due to a very long history of fibrosis (thanks mom!) the moment I found out I was pregnant it was made clear I would have to schedule a C-section. I always thought the idea of scheduling the day your baby would be delivered was a funny concept. You could essentially count down the seconds until you brought a new human into the world.
The date was set for June 17, 2015 at 10:00am. Me and my husband were prepping for the day. Making sure we had several changes of clothes, the breast pump, the Boppy, the 6-foot-long body pillow, 16 tiny shirts, 13 pairs of baby socks, a noise machine, day shoes, night shoes…you get the idea. (Spoiler alert! The only thing I should have packed was a suitcase full of suppositories…courtesy of the gas that is pumped into your abdomen prior to baby removal that makes you feel like you want to just die!)
Anyway, I digress. As it were, 12:09am (9 hours and 51 minutes before my scheduled C-section) contractions begin. I calmly (ha!) alert my husband and we gather our truck load of “necessities” and head to the hospital. I get checked in to a room and after several minutes the nurse confirms I am going into active labor and Benjamin will be arriving a few hours sooner than expected! I am elated and scared and sweaty and fat. Here we go! I am ready!
As I am about to be rolled out of the room another mother arrives and the doctor needs to deliver her twins first. So, I do the waddle of shame back to my bed-cot where I get an intravenous injection of (what I can only describe as) Red Bull & 5-hour energy to stop my contractions. I have never been to a rave, but I can only imagine the feelings are similar.
My heart rate spiked… I felt like I was talking to my husband the same way the advertisements speed through the points of a promotion that would prevent people from purchasing. Although I felt like I was on some sort of illegal upper, the contractions slowed down allowing the whore of a mother who took my turn in line to deliver her babies (I am sure she is super pleasant, but that is not how I felt about her at the time.) Finally, I was up! I was ready to go! Put me in coach! Then…another mother came in, with another set of twins!
Same story, I was injected and transported back to rave-land. Time was speeding up and standing still at the same time. 9:00am is now upon us. The doctor comes in and finally wheels me back to the operating room where I am set up to get cut open. Lovely. While I am being prepped my husband is in another room donning his dress and face mask. A few minutes later a man I have never seen enters the room and sits down next to my head. I am confused, but there is a lot going on and I don’t think much of it.
The doctor asks me if I am ready. He begins the motion of starting the procedure. I am finally able to pause the cause just long enough to ask the whereabouts of my husband. Everyone looks at me like “poor girl, you’re just confused” then assures me it is fine, we are going to get started. It took a few minutes for the whole room to understand the man sitting next to me was not my husband, but another expectant father that was in the same room as my husband when he was called back…with the same name.
I now have a random “Scott” in the room about to watch the delivery o

Newborn

f another man’s baby. “In the 25 years I have been doing this, that has never happened!” exclaimed the doctor as my Scott enters. A few minutes later my sweet baby boy makes his debut appearance into the world. This quirky day set the foundation for Benjamin’s existence. June 17, 2015. …the day my life began.