To the Mom with the Loud Kids in the Waiting Room

Recently I found myself in a crowded waiting room with only one empty seat. I was waiting for a routine prenatal check. Several women had babies with them, but one mom in particular had a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. Her children had not yet mastered the art of whispering and were quite vocal in the dialogue with there mom. The older sibling was drawing with some crayons and paper her mother had brought for her, while the little boy ate a snack. Later she blew bubbles for them to keep their boredem at bay. Her only request was that they stay close to her proximity. She never once shushed them. While the children were behaved, it was clear that the noise brought on by the them had gained the attention of everyone else in the waiting room, the majority of us silently glued to our cell phone screens sporting epic double chins as always.

I noticed a few women locking eyes with each other and smirking over the children’s noise level; a few sighing in aggravation.

So, to the mom with the loud kids in the waiting room… Thank you.  Thank you for giving your attention to your children. Thank you for interacting with them and allowing them to interact with each other. Thank you for meeting their age appropriate needs and not giving two flocks of seagulls what others think. Thank you for not shoving devices in their faces while having your own shoved in yours. You rock!

Being a mom is tough, it kicks my a$$ daily, but this mom set a clear example of the type of mom I’d like to be. So often I stress myself out trying to make the people around me happy instead of trying to make my child happy.



If you take kids in public, things will get interesting. I’m personally thinking back to when my son put the death grip on a buggy he didn’t want to get out of in a grocery store parking lot, and once I literally pried him from his seat, he yanked the neck of my dress down exposing God knows how much of my boobs. Well God and the guy sitting in his truck next to my car. I was certain bystanders were dialing 911 to report a kidnapping and/or indecent exposure case. All the poor child wanted was to ride in the buggy a little while longer.

Sometimes motherhood in public can be so stressful that it starts to effect the way you do things. But this mother put her childrens needs above everyone else’s and that is just plain awesome.

30 Awkward Things for My 30th Birthday

30 has always seemed like the age where society expects you to have your sh!t together by now. In honor of my 30th birthday I wanted to compile a list of 30 ways I’m not sure I’m succeeding in adulthood and life in general.

1.  I have a blog called 20somethingSHE.  Changing your blog name is really complicated, and I’m over it.

2. The elastic in my waist is shot beyond repair.   #babiesareworthit

3. Gray hair don’t care…except I do care.

4. I’m still drowning in student loans, its like I’m hoping I’ll get lost in the paper work or something, and they’ll just magically go away.

5. I still don’t feel grownup. The other day I was literally like “Oh my word! I’m somebody’s mother!” Idk maybe by 40 I’ll be grown-up.

6. I still don’t feel settled into my career.  I’ve been a teacher since 2010. It has it’s rewarding moments, and I love the schedule. I’ve recently really gotten into blogging, and I’m working on my second masters degree.

7. I really like cartoons. Bob’s Burgers is my favorite show!

8. I don’t watch the news. I’m so oblivious to what is happening in the world. I guess ignorance is bliss, but more than once I’ve had no idea what people are talking about when it comes to current events.

9. I absolutely hate Facebook. I hate Facebook so much that 90% of the time my account is deactivated. I will get on sometimes if I have something really exciting to post. Talk about feeling out of the loop though, the world has forgotten how to function thanks to Facebook. Recently my husband and I didn’t get invited to a party because “we weren’t on Facebook”… come on people!

10. My boobs…they’ve been to hell and back. They did feed my little one for over a year though.

11. I still can’t figure out how to keep my car clean. My car is either spotless or an absolute mess. Sometimes it’s so dirty, I think it effects my mpg.

12. College kids seem so young, and kind of annoying, which is super depressing.

13. I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I graduated high school.

14. Why do I still have acne?!

15. My eyebrows are now not the only facial hairs I’m managing.

16. If I can’t wear yoga pants, I don’t want to go.

17. Yoga Sucks! Exercise in general is not all it’s cracked up to be.

18.  I officially hate my bra, and can only tolerate it so many hours in a day.

19. Peeing a little when you sneeze, yes this is a thing.

20. My purse is essentially full of medicine, and snacks.




21. I can no longer eat whatever I want. Some foods fight me to the bitter end.  Sweets will give me major blood sugar issues, anything high in sodium leaves me feeling like I’ve been stranded on a desert island, and carbs make me hungrier than I was to begin with.

22. I still haven’t found my clothing niche.  I wore American Eagle from 9th grade until the end of college.  Being 30, means I can’t wear the same clothes as middle schoolers, but I can’t find “my store.”  Currently the majority of my clothes come from Target.

23. I have clown feet. I’ve worn a size 10 shoe since the 4th grade.  Having a baby made my feet even bigger.  I have like 3 good fitting shoes.

24. I don’t want to be out all night.  Ideally I’d like to be in bed by 8:30.

25. My husband and I are still church shopping, I really thought we’d have this figured out by now.

26. I still bite my fingernails.

27. Suddenly I have road rage. I’ve never had roadrage before but now other drivers infuriate me. I don’t ever act on it, I just call them idiots or exclaim the ever so popular “rrrrrreally?”

28. I’m too tired to care. Generally speaking, unless it involves the health and wellbeing of my family, I’m too tired to care.

29. I still add and subtract with my fingers. Math is hard.

30. I avoid words I still don’t know how to spell. Necessary.  Definitely.  Scissors.

9 Must Have Products for Pumping

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

1. Formula

My NICU baby started off on formula.  We used the Ready to Feed Similac because they are so much easier to travel with, especially when formula is not your go to feeding style.  We got off to such a rocky start breastfeeding that during each feeding time I would attempt to nurse, then my husband would feed my baby formula (or pumped milk) while I pumped.  We had to do this for about a week until baby finally latched.  Sometimes I would be in so much pain from nursing that I’d use formula too.  When I started leaving my baby, I didn’t have a lot of pumped milk stashed so we also used formula for those times as well.

2. Medela Pump

This Medela Pump is awesome.  I started out with a Lansinoh Pump, but the Medela is so much easier to use, and travel with, plus it is so much more efficient.

3. Car Adapter+

I purchased the  car adapter to go along with my Medela Pump. When I returned to work I would pump in the car during my 30 minute commute.  Pumping in the car really boosted my supply.   I used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt.

4. Small Cooler

I purchased this small cooler because it would be easy to lug around when I returned to work.  It held everything I needed to pump at work everyday.

5. Medela Ice Pack

I used this Medela Ice Pack in my cooler bag when I returned to work.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Extra Pump Parts

Keeping everything ready and clean can get very overwhelming.  I recommend have extra pump parts so you don’t have to constantly wash something after you use it.

7. Lansinoh Bottles

Lansinoh Bottles are essential for breastfed babies.  They are clinically proven to reduce nipple confusion.  The design of the bottle and nipple enable baby to use the same feeding actions they use while breastfeeding. I love how few parts these bottles have, while also reducing air intake.  They are also BPA and BPS free.

8. Breastmilk Bottle Warmer
The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk. The Kiinde Kozii creates a flowing warm water bath to quickly and gently thaw and warm breast milk according to CDC and USDA guidance. You don’t have to add water each time you use it. It has a timer that lets you know how much time is left before the milk is ready.  When the time is up, the warmer shuts off and completely removes the heat source from the milk, which means you don’t have to worry about overheated milk. Kozii can be used for breast milk, formula, storage bags (frozen or thawed), liner bottles, plastic, glass, and food jars.

9. Hand Pump

The Lansinoh Hand Pump  has two modes to stimulate and express, for for milk in less time. It is great to use when you don’t have enough time for a true pumping session. It is BPA and BPS free.

 

6 Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself During My First Pregnancy (and what I’m doing the second time around)

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

1. Research C-Sections and Vaginal Births.

I was so convinced that my first born was going to be a c section that I never read anything on vaginal births. From exercises to help labor, to pushing, to recovery, I didn’t think any of that information would pertain to me. And wouldn’t you know it, I endured a 34 hour labor and a vaginal birth, absolutely clueless.

With my second pregnancy I’ve been reading about vaginal births and c sections because you just never know.



2. Your not made of glass.

From riding in a boat, to exercise, and exerting myself I was so scared that anything that did may hurt the baby. I spent my pregnancy acting like I was made of glass, and after our baby was born I felt like my bones and muscles were made of spaghetti noodles.  I absolutely hated feeling so weak, especially with a new baby to take care of.

This time I try to be as active as I can so that I don’t feel so weak after the baby is born. I trust the my body will keep baby and I safe.  I try to do cardio strength/training workout videos, walking around the neighborhood, and just keeping up with my toddler.

3. Calories still count.

I ate whatever I wanted with my first pregnancy. I couldn’t help but have that “whatever I’m pregnant” attitude about food. Turns out all that extra poundage does not come out with the baby. I was mortified with my postpartum body. I was able to lose the 40 pounds I had gained within 5 months (with the help of breastfeeding and calorie counting), but my body was still so changed. One person even said to me, when I was 6 months postpartum, carrying my son on my hip “oh my gosh your already pregnant again?!” Epic Fail!

This time I still eat what I want but I try to always put fruit and veggies first. I also know that many cravings go away if you just ride them out for a bit. I’m not depriving myself of anything (besides alcohol) and I’m certainly meeting my daily caloric needs, but I’m more aware that regardless of pregnancy calories are calories. And cheetos dipped in icing, although delicious, do not need to be eaten every day.

4. Don’t swear off ANYTHING!

I said that my exclusively breastfed baby was going to sleep in his crib, in his bedroom from day one. The first meal he ever had was formula and he slept in the bed with my husband and and I until he was 15 months old. Don’t swear off anything.

I haven’t said a word this pregnancy about my goals or intentions.

5. Don’t underestimate yourself.

Although I was so convinced that my baby would be a c section. I also knew that I had no intentions of feeling the true physical pains of child birth. I got an epidural pretty early in my labor. Looking back I wish I would have taken advantage of being able to walk around to help the baby move down more on his own. I bet my labor would’ve been shorter. And I bet I would’ve been able to handle the pain.

With my second pregnancy, I have been reading a lot of information about exercises that help you prepare for labor. I really want to help myself naturally as much as I can, before deciding whether or not to get an epidural.

6. Don’t rush your pregnancy.

At the end of my pregnancy I was so tired of being pregnant and I absolutely couldn’t wait to meet our baby. But I had no idea how much I would miss being pregnant. When your pregnant your baby is always with you. It eats when you eat and sleeps when you sleep (ideally). After that first baby comes you literally go into a culture shock of how drastically your life has changed.

My babies will be 21 months apart. Although being pregnant with a toddler is not the same as being pregnant with your first. I’m still making more of an effort to enjoy this pregnancy while it last and looking forward to meeting our little one when the time is right.



Labor, Induction, and Delivery: When Your Birth Story Stings a Little

I am enternally grateful that I was given the gift of pregnancy and even more a healthy, happy, baby boy. Throughout my pregnancy I read of mothers that mourned their labor and/or delivery for one reason or another. Maybe they had an unplanned c-section, or they felt they were treated poorly by busy doctors; regardless of the reason each time I rolled my eyes and snubbed the ungrateful mothers. How could they complain when they still went home with a baby, when so many women aren’t able to conceive, or tragically do not get to go home with a baby, but now I understand. When the birth of your baby does not go the way you planned, it stings.

It is ok to mourn the birth experience that didn't happen.

If we crossed paths throughout my pregnancy you would have heard me say two things, as I said the two phrases over and over again for 9 months. “I don’t want to be induced.” And “This baby is going to be a c-section.” I can’t really remember why I didn’t want to be induced, maybe I was worried I would rush a baby that wasn’t ready, and carrying a boy, everyone warned me not to do so. I slightly remember feeling like most inductions became long labors that turned into c-sections, but I’m not sure what I was basing that off of. And I just knew he would be a c-section because I (my mother’s first baby) was a c-section at 10 pounds and 22 inches long, and my baby was measuring big at every ultrasound.

Even though I was so headstrong about not being induced when the word induction rolled of my doctor’s tongue around 36 weeks, I was slightly intrigued. The teacher in me wanted to put my baby’s birth on a calendar, and he was due 4 days into the New Year, she was offering an induction that would get me that awesome income tax break you get when you have a child, and goodness knows I was in major pain.



My entire body was swollen, one night I said to my husband “I think that even my fingers are swollen now.” His courageous, some say idiotic response was “Your whole body is swollen.” I was pretty puffy, getting up, sitting down, getting in and out of my car, and walking hurt! It felt like my pelvis was going to snap in half and I just knew when the doctor checked to see if I was dilated that she’d shake hands with my baby and that I’d be whisked away to labor and delivery right then and there, but every time I had a pelvic exam I wasn’t dilated at all, none, I was so disappointed.

I felt like my body didn’t realize that I was pregnant, more like my body thought I’d gone on a fast food binge with no end in sight.

That induction sounded sweeter and sweeter everyday, and I eventually scheduled it. I was embarrassed that I had scheduled the induction I swore I’d never have, and secretly hoped that I’d go into labor before that day came. I even considered cancelling it a time or two. I can remember one night crying my eyes out to my husband, worried that I was making a terrible mistake. I worried that things would go wrong, or that baby wouldn’t be ready, or even that I would stress the baby out, all because I decided to be induced. I tried to explain to him that if anything went wrong I wasn’t sure I’d ever forgive myself.

I also worried that not being induced might also be dangerous because my baby was sooo big. How big? At my 34 week sonogram, he had a 38 week head. YIPES!

Induction day came and I still wasn’t dilated. We checked into the “Hospital Hotel” as I began to refer to my spa stay trying to make myself forget that I was about to have to face a lot of fears, needles, blood, pain, and hospitals in general.

At 6pm on December 29th the process had begun. I had a fresh face of makeup and I was armed with dry shampoo, should I need it, I wanted to look good in my first pictures with my baby. I was told I couldn’t eat again until the baby was born, which was fine because I was way too nervous to eat anything.

The first step in the induction process was the insertion of Cervidil to soften my cervix.  It had been recommended to me by my doctor, when I continuously was not dilated during my pelvic exams.  The nurse inserted the tampon like contraption, and my husband and I attempted to get some sleep.

Throughout the night the nurse would wake me up to tell me that baby was “unhappy” based on his heart rate, and she readjusted my monitors and gave me some oxygen several times.  I wasn’t really worried, I was half asleep and convinced that I’d moved the monitors on my stomach causing them to get a bad reading.

I did notice on the monitors that despite not actually being in labor prior to arriving, and not having been administered pitocin, I was having contractions due to the Cervidil.

Around 4am, I was ready to unhook myself from all contraptions I was hooked up to and walk my ass home. I was tired, uncomfortable, and the contractions were starting to hurt. Some how the nurse calmed me down, and said that we could officially start the Pitocin to kick my induction into gear, so I stayed (like they really would have let me leave anyway).

That morning around 9 AM my husband went home to feed our dogs and take a shower. While he was gone the doctor came and broke my water. I’ll admit, That. Shit. Hurt., and I felt sad. I felt like there was officially no turning back, that I was forcing my baby to come whether he liked it or not and to make matters worse, the nurse made a comment about seeing meconium, to my doctor as some fluid rushed out of me. The doctor did not think there was any meconium, so the matter was dismissed before it was ever a concern.

Soon I requested an epidural, which was pretty easy. Looking back, I wish I would have walked around some prior to my epidural, to help baby move down, and to rid of some pain naturally. But I had no intentions of having an epidural free delivery, so I decided I should get it before the pain became too severe to stand it.

At my hospital no one is allowed to be with you when you get an epidural, besides the nurse and doctor. This 28 year old wanted her mama, but my mom wanted no part of seeing THE NEEDLE anyway. So the nurse and I were in the bear hug as I got my epidural and I had a great appreciation for her presence. As I maneuvered around to get my epidural I gushed what felt like gallons and gallons of fluid. That is such a weird feeling, it feels like you are wetting your pants, but you can’t “hold it.” As my poor nurse cleaned up the mess she commenting again that she thought she saw meconium.

I really started to worry, but she reassured me that I didn’t need to worry unless she said so. For the rest of the day, a possible delivery time was pushed back further and further and my dilation progress was slow as molasses. I really started to worry for my baby’s health because my water had been broken for so long, the thought of meconium was still in my head, and I didn’t ever think that I’d be dilated enough.

Sometime in the evening I fell asleep, and when I woke up at 11 PM, still hooked up to an IV, an epidural, a blood pressure cuff, all while in the worlds most uncomfortable bed, and still very, very pregnant, I had a break down.

My nurse checked my cervix to see my progress and again pushed back a possible delivery time. I was so disappointed to still have no baby. I was hungry, tired, and completely over the whole process. I wiped all my makeup off my face, threw my hair in a ponytail (which is hard as hell to do with a IV in your hand) and begged my nurse for a c-section. I cried and told her that I was done and just wanted it all to be over with.

My husband calmed me down, he reminded me how far I had come, and that I was so close, I’m so thankful for that moment with him.

Around 2am, on now December 31st, I was miserable. I was clinging to the bed rails begging someone to help me. I was in so much pain and I couldn’t pin point where it was or how it felt.

My nurse told me it was time to push, she turned on a few lights in the room, and went to call my doctor. My husband held my hand and said a prayer. We were ready.

I could tell with my very first push that I was doing it all wrong, my face filled up with blood. So the next time I did my best to send all my energy to my core. After a few pushes I threw up and that indescribable pain had gone away. Turns out I just had a tummy ache.

After I got the hang of it, pushing felt easy, and sometimes I’d keep pushing even after they had stopped counting, I was ready for my baby. The room seemed peaceful with just my husband and the nurse, the room was dimly lit and after pushing for a little while she got me to rest and let the baby move down some more on his own. In my mind I was still convinced, that pushing would turn into me having to get a c-section.

By the time the doctor arrived they could see his head, the feel of the room seemed more rushed and frantic, as all the lights were turned on and more nurses had come to help with the delivery. I kept my eyes closed the entire time until I heard my husband gasp “oh my God,” I opened my eyes to see my baby boy being born. He was curled up in a ball asleep.

 “We don’t want him to cry,” my doctor explained to my husband and I. 

She went on to explain that there was meconium in the fluid and after my husband cut the cord, several nurses took him to the corner of the room and suctioned out his airways.

The room was silent. My husband and I looked at each other scared to death, we held hands, I silently prayed every prayer I could think of while he watched the clock. A minute later and we could hear small whimpers from our son. The nurses explained that he’d need to be taken to the NICU right away, and off they went.

What just happened? I’d carried a baby for nine months, labored for 34 hours, and I had nothing to show for it. 

My husband followed the baby to the NICU. I was being stitched up by my doctor for some minor tearing. Nurses seemed to be coming and going, none of them really acknowledging me. I was convinced the worst had happened, and that everyone was avoiding conversation and eye contact in fear that I’d ask questions.

My husband returned a little while later with a pediatrician who explained what was going on. I was moved to a wheelchair and taken to see my baby. My 9 pound 5 oz, 22. 5 inches long, 39-week gestation baby was in the NICU. He had an IV, oxygen, vital monitor, and a tube removing fluid from his stomach. He looked pitiful, but when I spoke to him, he looked around as he recognized the voice he’d heard for so long. I touched his legs and feet and told him I would see him later.

I was moved to a new room, my parents and my husband’s parents helped us get settled in and everyone went home.

What was supposed to be such a joyous time, as we smiled over a beautiful new baby, passed him around, kissed him, and talked about who he look like, was me and my husband in an empty room.

We cried, we prayed, we argued, and we slept. I felt like the nurse took pity over me, and I was having a huge pity party of my own. I told the nurses to leave me alone and asked that a “No Visitor” sign be placed on my door. Later I had a fit that no one was around and that I felt abandoned. I lashed out at my husband and he went home to take care of our dogs and himself.

While alone I cried and cried, I was so scared for my baby, so sad that I couldn’t hold him or get to know him. So upset that he couldn’t feel the love that we were all beyond ready to give him. My dad came by and helped me settle down and I got ready to go visit our baby again.

I was overwhelmed at how friendly the nurses where, they made me feel so much better. One NICU nurse leaned down to my level, she could see my pain, the pain I’m sure she see’s in all mother’s eyes that come to see her. She told me that it was ok to mourn the way things had happened, that it was ok to be sad that plans had gone arry. I felt so understood and better about my situation. If she wouldn’t have told me that, I know it would have taken me a lot longer to “get over” the way things happened. I don’t know her name and can barely recall what the nurse looked like. She didn’t work anymore shifts the rest of our stay, but she help me tremendously.

Our baby continued to make positive gains, and had no negative effects from the meconium. He was discharged a few hours after I was. Being in the NICU, put a huge dent in our breastfeeding journey, but we still made it to 15 months.

It took a while for our birth experience to stop hurting.  I’m not sure that it hurt my husband like it hurt me.  I was so sad that the happy times I had played over and over in my head ended up being very scary, and very hard.

To this day I’m convinced that the Cervidil stressed my baby out, causing him to release meconium early. He’s 15 months old now and it no longer stings to think of when he was born.  Now that I’m pregnant with our second child I have no intentions of using Cervidil, and hope to avoid being induced the best I can.  A small part of me worries that we’ll find ourselves back in the NICU for another reason, or something else will go wrong.  I try to pray and remind myself how much worrying is going to accomplish.

Labor, Induction, and Delivery: 10 Things You Need to Know About Cervidil

The following information was retrieved from cervidil.com and is only intended for U.S. patients.

I’m not sure if my baby would have been born vaginally, had it not been for Cervidil, but I’m certain he would not have gone to the NICU. I have no intentions of ever using Cervidil again.

I am not a doctor or medical professional, but I am convinced that Cervidil is the reason my baby went straight to the NICU after birth. In my birth story I talked about how my doctor recommended Cervidil prior to the induction of my labor because I had not dilated at all.

I was induced at 39 weeks, not for medical reasons, but to insure that my doctor delivered the baby, to have the baby prior to the new year, and because I (not my doctor) was worried my baby was too big.

I spent my entire pregnancy researching inductions, but I never researched Cervidil, even after my doctor made it part of my birth plan.

I’m not sure if my baby would have been born vaginally, had it not been for Cervidil, but I’m certain he would not have gone to the NICU. I have no intentions of ever using Cervidil again.

10 Things You Need to Know About Cervidil

 

  1. Cervidil is a removable vaginal insert (much like a tampon) that helps your cervix ripen, soften and thin, similar to the way your hormones normally would have. (cervidil.com)
  1. It is approved to start and/or continue the ripening of the cervix in pregnant women who are at or near the time of delivery and who have a medical reason for inducing labor. (cervidil.com)
  1. Cervidil is inserted by your doctor or midwife at the hospital, and it is easy to remove when they decides it’s time. (cervidil.com)
  1. The part of the insert that is near the cervix gradually delivers a hormone similar to your body’s own hormone, dinoprostone.(cervidil.com)
  1. Cervidil has been around for over 20 years. (cervidil.com)




  1. Cervidil is the only FDA approved vaginal insert to help get the cervix ready for labor. (cervidil.com)
  1. More than 5 million Cervidil vaginal inserts have been dispensed in the United States. (cervidil.com)
  1. While Cervidil is inserted, your doctor will carefully monitor your progress and your baby’s well-being and will determine when the insert should be removed. (cervidil.com)
  1. In rare cases, the use of Cervidil has been associated with an increased risk of a life-threatening event to the mother called “amniotic fluid embolism.” (cervidil.com)
  1. The most common side effects of Cervidil are contractions occurring at a rate faster than normal and signs that the baby is exhausted or in distress. (cervidil.com)

For more information on how Cervidil effected me and my baby, read my birth story.


Top 6 Gender Neutral Toys for My 1 Year Old

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

It can be so frustrating when you buy toys for your child that they are not interested in.  I wanted to make a list of the toys that hold my toddlers attention, that he plays with most often day after day. I don’t always want to rely on screen time to hold my little ones attention when I’m getting things done. We have a little girl on the way too!

1. Fisher-Price Shooting Stars Glow Soother

My baby absolutely loves his crib toy. It plays lullabies, nature sounds, or white noise.  Beads tumble from the top, and it glows without being too bright.  It has a button that he can press himself.  On most nights, if he wakes up he’ll turn on his crib toy, I can hear it through the baby monitor.  It helps him go back to sleep! I received this as a baby shower gift, but knowing what I know now, I’d pay triple for this soother.

2. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Baby R absolutely love this walker.  He sits and plays with it more than he walks with it.  I has a removable front panel, and so many different sounds and songs.  He never gets tired of it.  The wheels work on all floor types, and can even be locked if needed.

 

3. Feels Real Books

These board books have photographs of animals and have “feels real” textures for baby to touch.  There are several different books, we have them all!  These books really hold his attention, which I love because, duh, they are books, and I want him to love books!

 

4. VTech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train

This toy is made to grow with baby.  It can be used as a floor toy, riding toy, baby walker, and pull toy.  It comes with alphabet blocks that when dropped down the chute land in the wagon, my baby loves that part! It even recognizes what letters are being used on the key pad. Even if we turn off the music and lights, he still loves to play with his train!

5. Bright Starts Baby Light and Giggle Drum

Baby R can see himself in the reflective drum, which he loves!  It has 3 different playing modes and responds to baby’s taps on the drum with sound and lights.

 

6. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy and Friends Learning Table

Baby R really enjoys playing with this activity table.  I like it because it has continuously helped him become a more confident walker. This activity table has over 60 songs, tunes, and phrases and the table top can be laid flat on the floor.

First Pregnancy Mistakes: Setting Yourself Up for Failure

Don't set yourself up for failure.Ok, I’m allowed to say this because I have crossed the threshold between my 1st pregnancy and motherhood.  If you are pregnant with your first child (and have not other children) do yourself a favor and SHUT UP!


Yes, you are pregnant with an actual child, yes you are entitled to your own opinions, and goodness know you have 5,000 of those already, but every time you open your mouth in regards to your birth plan (Ha!), parenting style, or how your baby is going to sleep through the night, you are digging yourself deeper and deeper into the hole of shame.

I call it the hole of shame because every single time I failed (and fail) to live up to those goals and aspirations I had for myself and my child, I feel ashamed, like a big, fat, failure.

As if parenting isn’t already hard enough, don’t add to it by setting yourself up for failure time and time again.

I get it, the load of advice, especially the out dated old school advice, can get really, really, old, and you’re more than entitled to your own opinions and plans.  But keep it to yourself, you have no earthly idea what you’re in for, and people are only trying to help.

I don’t recommend using the words “never,” ever, and don’t argue with someone that gives you advice with what you plan to do instead. Plan to prove yourself with your actions, not your words.



Must Have Baby Stuff: 6 Items I Wish I Had From the Start

6 Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Parents learn very quickly that things constantly change and the only way to make it out alive is to monitor and adjust accordingly.

6 Must Have Items for You and Your Baby

I spent countless nights searching on Amazon for things that might help taking care of a new baby just a tad easier. I joined mommy groups on Facebook, searched Pinterest, and had many many trail and error experiences, not to mention many many wasted dollars.

I created a list of 6 awesome products that got me through the baby stage without absolutely going bonkers.

Snuza Hero

The Snuza Hero is a movement monitor that alerts baby and parents when no movement have been detected over certain periods of time. First the baby is alerted with vibrations, then the parent and baby are alerted with an alarm.  I purchased the Snuza Hero prior to my son’s arrival, but once we brought him home, I was too scared to use it. I was worried that the rubber sensor would irritate his tummy, or just plain bother him. I was worried that the device would have “false alarms” and do more harm than good. One night, when baby was probably 5 weeks old, and I just couldn’t stand the sleepless nights and constant worrying anymore, I finally decided to try the Snuza Hero. I could tell right away that my baby didn’t even notice it. False alarms were not an issue and I finally was able to have some relaxing sleep. I used this little do-dad until baby was about 6 months old. I highly recommend this to new parents.

Rock n Play

I was initially against using the Rock and Play. It has a lot of bad online reviews regarding SIDS and causing flat heads. Eventually I gave it a try with the Snuza Hero and a 4Moms newborn insert and it worked wonders for my baby. I think the incline and the way it cradles baby really helped him stay asleep, and the insert gave me piece of mind for his head. The one I bought had an automatic rocking feature, and played music. I used this until baby started sitting up on his own.

Medela Pump

I started out with a Lansinoh Signature Pump, I did like it, but once I tried a Medela Pump in Style I never looked back.  The Medela is more powerful and is easier to get set up and put away. The Medela has an adjustable speed, which helps you find the right speed and comfort level for yourself. All of the parts that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA and DEHP Free, and it even has a car adapter for pumping in the car.  I highly recommend the Medela if you are planning on pumping at work.

 

 




Lansinoh Bottles

I heard so many great things about Dr. Brown bottles that I registered for them, pre-washed them and all, but baby never really seemed to like them and there’s so many pieces to one bottle. I tried a Lansinoh bottle that came with my pumping kit, and absolutely loved it. I strongly recommend these bottles, especially for breastfed babies. I do wish that they were available in glass bottles, and additional colors though.

Halo Sleep Sack

I was so cautious about putting baby down swaddled in a blanket, and I was always so worried about keeping baby the right temperature. Halo Sleep Sacks are so great at keeping baby covered without posing the dangers that blankets can cause. There are several different varieties. We loved this kind the best. They all zip from the bottom, which makes diaper changing a breeze. I do not recommend the fleece versions though, they are very hot.

Milk Snob

I didn’t even know Milk Snob nursing covers existed until my baby was 4 months old. I was a little concerned that the price was high for a hunk of fabric, but knowing what I know now, I would pay double. These covers, cover everything. Baby cannot kick it off of you, its not too hot or too sheer and its so soft. My Milk Snob was used as a nursing cover, and security blanket. You’ll love using it as a car seat cover too.

6 Must Have Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

Pumping at work can be so daunting and can discourage a breastfeeding mother retuning to work, from continuing her and her baby’s breastfeeding journey.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that helped me successfully breastfeed for 15 months, even after returning to work 12 weeks postpartum.

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

1.  Don’t be afraid of formula.

My baby’s caregiver always had formula as a back up.  It really took the pressure off me because some days I just didn’t pump enough or baby was really hungry.  The caregiver knew to always use the pumped milk before using formula.  And my baby had had formula prior to my return to work, so he was accustomed to it.

2. I recommend having a Medela Pump.

I have this one.  The book bag makes everything easily accessible. Medea also has a car adapter.  When I first retuned to work I was using a Lansinoh pump, after I switched to Medela, I was pumping more, and had a much easier time lugging everything around.

3. Consider pumping in the car.

I had a 30 minute commute, so I would often pump in the car, after I made the switch to the Medela pump.  I purchased their car adapter, and used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt. The extra pumping helped me increase my supply too.

4. Use a small cooler.

I purchased this small cooler because it looked more like a lunch box than a cooler.  I kept it in the fridge at work, but it also kept everything cold on days that I kept it with me instead.

5. Use the Medela Ice Pack.

I used this Medela Ice Pack.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Use one set of pump parts a day.

You do not need new pump parts each time you pump during the day.  All you need to do is keep your pump parts cold.  My cooler had two pumping bottles, and two spare bottles in it each day.

7. Pump into the bottles your baby uses.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me, and may not for you either, but there is a way around it. I was using a Medela pump, but my baby used Lansinoh bottles.  My cooler had two capped Lansinoh bottles, and two Medela bottles topped with the pumps parts.  On a typical day I would pump 10 ounces, which filled both Lansinoh bottles. I kept an extra capped Lansinoh bottle in my Medela book bag. After each pumping session, I would pour the milk into the Lansinoh bottle.  Each day when I picked up baby, I would place the capped Lansinoh bottles in the fridge.  Tip #7 is crucial because chilled breastmilk separates, and much of the fat will stick to its container once chilled.

8. Get a breastmilk friendly bottle warmer.

The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk.  My baby’s caretaker would warm the Lansinoh bottle and top it with a Lansinoh nipple, easy peasy.

9. Work out the details before you go back to work.

Prior to returning to work I talked with my pricipal about when and where I thought I could pump.  I pumped 3 times a day, for 20 minutes at a time, in a small storage room.  It was not an ideal location, and I was walked in on a few times.  I always kept my back to the door just to be safe.  Also ideally you need 20 minutes of pure pumping, try to factor in additional time to get set up, etc. 30 minutes would be best.

10. Keep you eyes on the prize.

Countless times I was beyond ready to throw in the towel.  Keeping up with all the bottles, being unavailable during my planning time, the awkward moments of being walked in on or lugging my supplies around, I was ready to give it all up. I would just remind myself that my goal was to nurse my baby for a year, and I did not want my job to get in the way of that.

Don't let the fear of pumping at work put an end to your breastfeeding journey. These tips will help you be successful!