First Christmas as a family of four and it was amazing. It goes down in the books as one of my favorites. I can't tell you how sweet it was to snuggle Ryder all day and have Richie running around opening gifts. My heart was so full. Next year will be even more fun when they can both open presents. Ah, such excitement. Children really do make the holidays so much better.
I'm sharing my favorite photos of the boys leading up to Christmas as well as Christmas Day.
These are the photos we used for our Christmas cards.
Christmas morning was so magical. I couldn't stop smiling looking at my boys in front of the tree.
Celebrating Christmas the four of us. Heart melt.
Halloween was the first holiday we celebrated together as a family of four. Rich took the day off and we spent time together. There were a ton of treats involved and we got outside because the weather was just perfect - crisp, cool but seasonably warm for October. It was an absolute blast.
Richie was a scarecrow, the cutest one I've ever seen but I know I'm bias. We tried for the raffia (since it looks like hay) to make it look a little more realistic but he hated the texture so overalls, a flannel, hat and face makeup it was! I feel Halloween will be a lot of fun once he is a little older so we can really go all out and he can help decide what he is going to be.
I had this cute bunny hat for Ryder so I just decided I'd match and be a bunny rabbit too. My little snuggle bunny kept me so warm - a huge plus when baby wearing. I'm such a big fan of carrying him in the sling.
It was a great first holiday for us. We loved all the special family time. Happy Halloween!
Above, I'm wearing You Lingerie's Lark Maternity & Nursing Bra ($52)
The most depressing part of breastfeeding is the ugly nursing bras. They remind me of brassieres our grandparents used to wear: Boring, full-coverage, and made of unflattering material. When I was approached by You Lingerie, I was in shock that their undergarment collection for mothers was so beautiful. Their nursing and maternity bras, sleep and lounge wear are designed to not only be sexy, colorful and luxurious, but they also have been crafted to provide great support and functionality to pregnant and nursing mothers.
Pictured: You Lingerie's Lennox Nursing & Pumping Bra ($56).
You Lingerie's mission is to make breastfeeding and expecting moms feel confident and look beautiful everyday and let me tell you, they do exactly that. Finally! A lingerie company that understands that maternity wear can and should be pretty and therefore make you feel good wearing it.
Below, you'll find a quick review of the Lennox Nursing & Pumping Bra ($56).
In the blur of motherhood its really easy to not feel sexy so, do yourself a favor and invest in a great nursing bra, it works wonders for your self esteem. Well, at least, it did for mine.
Whether you're a first-time parent, second- or third-time parent, you can still ensure that your birth announcement has all the necessary information. When to send announcements, who to send them to, and whether paper or electronic are okay—we've compiled everything you need to know about birth announcement etiquette below.
Information to include:
Full Name of the Baby
Names of the Baby's Parents and Siblings
Baby's Birth Date
When should you send it?
That depends on you and your schedule. You've just welcomed a new baby into your home, so friends and family will understand that you're too busy to send them right away. There's no official cut-off time to send an announcement, so don't stress if a few months have passed. We sent ours 5 weeks after Ryder was born but I definitely rushed to get them out.
Who should you send it to?
This is entirely up to you. You don't have to send it to everyone you know. We didn't. We sent it to everyone who we consider close to us and of course, those that would feel hurt if we didn't send one their way. If you're working with a budget you could send printed announcements to just your immediate family and closest friends and then do an email announcement or a Facebook post to let everyone else know.
Electronic or paper announcements?
The type of announcements you choose to send depends on your preference and what you think family and friends will appreciate. Electronic announcements can definitely be more cost-effective, but printed announcements are lovely as keepsakes. We went with printed announcements.
We chose Basic Invite for our prints and could not be more pleased with the outcome. Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail. They also offer more than 40 different color envelopes. Their foil options - silver, gold and rose gold - are super pretty too.
Basic invite offers so many unique baby announcement cards to chose from. Since we had so many beautiful pictures to share, we decided to go with a folded option. That way, we were able to showcase multiple images of the baby, a family portrait as well as a shot if the two boys together. The name of the card we went with was called "Modern Magazine Mini Fold" and we customized all the colors of the card. We were so impressed with how many options there were.
We planned our newborn photo shoot well in advance and I would suggest this for anyone planning to do one. Babies are the easiest to move into positions and photograph within the first two weeks they are born so its important to have it set up a month or two before the baby arrives. The photographer will likely slot you in around your due date then have you text or call them once the baby is born so that they can fit you in within that time frame of two weeks.
Preparation is key. I bought a few items for the baby to be photographed in but also allowed the photographer to use her own props, outfits and creative design. That's why it's important to choose someone you trust to take the photos. Also, someone whose work you like so do your research.
Our photographer, Ella Blue Photography did an amazing job, was easy to work with and her studio was super clean (so important for a brand new baby). I also really liked her work so I knew they would come out the way I wanted.
Come up with an idea of how you want the shots to look - soft and light, bright and colorful or dark and moody. I liked the idea of using light colors against a white backdrop for the shoot.
Keep it simple and skip busy patterns because they don't photograph well. I wore all white and we dressed Ryder in white, grey, tan, and taupe outfits/swaddles. I wanted to add a touch of color so I had Rich and Richie wear matching light blue shirts. They also both wore tan pants to match one of Ryder's outfits. We all stuck within the same "family" of colors/shades.
Your baby’s safety comes first. If there is ever a point where you become uncomfortable, just let the photographer know. Also, don't be afraid to let the photographer know if you don't like something or if you want something done differently. Communication is key to a successful shoot.
A well fed baby is a happy baby so most photographers will tell you to feed and burp your baby right before your session to ensure a happy, sleepy (“milk drunk”) babe. Same thing applies to a toddler. We made sure Richie had a great breakfast prior to the shoot and brought a ton of snacks.
Photoshoots can take up to four hours so its best to be patient and enjoy it. Moms tend to stress out when it's a new experience for them and they aren’t used to the waiting game that is newborn photography. They see their baby being fussy or having a difficult time getting settled and panic. Choose a photographer that has plenty of experience and knows what they are doing so you don't need to worry.
As a breastfeeding mom I have a double duty. My job is to nourish my baby and myself. What I put into my body is my top priority. It’s ideal to ensure my food choices are full of nutrients that may have a positive impact on Ryder and myself.
One of the most important nutrients to consume is calcium. A breastfeeding mom has a storage of calcium in her bones. Should their diet be lacking in calcium, the body will remove calcium from the bones to supply it to the breastfeeding infant. Some studies have shown a 3 to 5 percent reduction in a mother’s bone mass during breastfeeding, most likely due to insufficient intake of calcium from diet. This can lead to osteoporosis later in life.
Breastfeeding moms should consume 1,000 mg of calcium per day to protect themselves from this bone loss during lactation. Also, your baby needs calcium to develop healthy teeth, bones, muscles and heart. That said, it's important to have three servings of calcium every day. In addition to milk or yogurt and cheese, I'm a huge dark leafy greens fans. Broccoli and kale are life!
I also love Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews as a calcium supplement because its difficult to meet the daily calcium requirement of 1,000 mg every single day especially when I'm chasing a two year old toddler and nursing a newborn. The Viactiv chews also have Vitamin D which is an important nutrient to absorb the calcium. I took them while I was pregnant as well because many prenatal vitamins provide only 20-30% of the recommended daily amount of calcium for women who are expecting .
The Viactiv chews are available in either milk chocolate or caramel flavors. I'm a huge fan of the milk chocolate. I purchase them from my local Rite Aide but they are also available nationwide at supermarket, drugstores and major retailers, including CVS, Target and Walmart. You can find all locations here.
You can read about my favorite breastfeeding foods here.
Ryder Anthony was born August 23, 2018 at 11:22am, two weeks before his actual due date. He joined us weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 20 inches long. That’s a pound heavier than his brother who was a week late! I knew from the very beginning that Ryder was going to be a big baby and that he was going to come before his due date. I just felt it and like they always say, mama knows best.
At 37 weeks, I started to lose amniotic fluid. My water didn’t break but it was a high leak, which means that the amniotic sac was punctured from up top and was leaking slowly. By 38 weeks, my fluid was so low they decided to induce me. I was a little nervous at first but I knew in my heart he was going to be just fine. 38 is full term but I would have liked to have gone into labor on my own like I did with Richie. The nice thing about being induced is that we were able to plan, set up everything for Richie and take our time getting to the hospital. It was a bit of a blessing really because we were able to officially say goodbye to Richie. We weren’t rushing to the hospital at 2am like we were the first time around. AND we were able to get these cute photos of him.
That evening before we left, we stocked the fridge, took our time getting dressed and most importantly said goodbye to our sweet Richie before he went to sleep. We cuddled, watched TV and told him how much we loved him before putting him in his crib and saying goodbye. He really didn’t understand what was going on but we did and it was important for us to have that moment before we would become a family of four and everything would change. For all of us!
I cry as I type this because it’s nearly impossible for me to put into words what that moment was like. My heart was so heavy because I was so sad that it wouldn’t just be Richie anymore but also so full because I knew we were coming back with his best friend for life. Those emotions all at once are indescribable.
As soon as we got to the hospital, they gave me Cervidil to loosen my cervix, which worked slowly overnight. While it was working, Rich and I watched TV and talked about how excited we were to meet this little man. As I became more and more dilated, I used a medicine ball to help with the contractions and to bring the baby down. I highly recommend it. It helped so much.
This photo was taken just after they induced me.
By 8am, my water officially broke and two hours later, Ryder was born. I pushed for just 10 minutes this time. It was a breeze but I felt everything. I got a small dose of an epidural when my water broke that nearly wore off by the time I had to push. And when they took Ryder out to hand him to me/lay him on my belly, he put his little arms out to hug me. My boy embraced me within seconds of his life on earth. That image of his little arms reaching out is one that will forever be ingrained in my mind.
Ryder nursed within minutes of being born, just like his brother. He came out hungry and ready to eat. He didn’t poop on everyone like Richie did but he did pee all over the nurses once they took him from me for his first wash. What can I say, my boys like to eat and go to the bathroom. Ha.
My husband went home to take care of Richie after Ryder was born and the next day, he brought him to the hospital to meet his brother. I didn’t think I could be in the hospital alone without my husband who was there the entire time when Richie was born but it was so beautiful to be there alone with Ryder for the first few days so that we could bond. I also felt so much better knowing my husband was taking care of Richie and no one else. They have such a great time together and Richie was in his own home so it was perfect.
The boys meeting for the first time. Richie was so eager to hold him. It was seriously the sweetest .
Richie was born August 7, 2016 so my boys are almost exactly two years apart. You can read Richie’s birth story here. The best thing about Ryder’s Birthday is that the 23rd of August is the first day of Virgo. Richie is a Leo so even though their Birthdays are just two weeks apart, they are both different signs. Rich and I were happy about that but even happier that Ryder ended up being an August baby (Instead of September. His official due date was the 8th) because we can have joined birthday parties for them.
And then there was four!
Welcome to the world sweet Ryder. Our hearts are so very full.
Happy Birthday to my sweet babe. These last TWO years have been the best years of my life. Thank you for choosing me to be your Mom. You brighten my day every day with your sweet smile, contiguous laugh, compassionate soul and overall beauty. You are one gem of a boy and I’m so incredibly lucky to have you
Richie went crazy for his cake which was filled with cannoli cream. We didn't even cut him a piece, we let him eat straight off one side of it just like we did for his first birthday cake smash. He was an absolute mess but enjoyed every minute of it so it was perfect. Below is a video of him enjoying his cake.
That face. He was a true ham for the camera on his big second birthday.
I was so honored when my sister asked me to be my niece's Godmother. What an incredible honor. Yesterday, she was Baptized. It was such a special day full of celebration and happiness. This little beauty fills my heart with love and joy as if she were my very own. Here are a few of my favorite snaps from the day.
Fourth of July is the last holiday I’ll celebrate with baby number two in my tummy and Richie running around so it was very special to me this year. Rich had off from work for the entire week so we celebrated the entire time. It was spectacular.
The babe watching fireworks for the first time with Dad. His reaction was priceless. Pointing with fascination and making this face 😮!
First and only Fourth of July with baby number two in my tummy and my little babe Richie running around. 🇺🇸
It was so hot that I took over Richie's kiddie pool to cool off. He didn't mind at all. He's such a good babe.
Richie loved these little mini flags. He walked around with them almost all day.
I was so excited when Delta Children asked me to tell you guys about their amazing, new line of Jeep Brand strollers because they are such a great company and we were looking for a jogger to exercise with.
We chose the Cross-Country Sport Plus Jogger from the collection and fell in love the second we took it for a ride. This stroller is so lightweight, provides such a smooth ride and I'm obsessed with the fact that I can adjust the handle bar almost 180 degrees. You really need a jogger like this if you’re going on runs. A regular stroller doesn’t provide enough versatility. The babe is also in love with it. It’s so roomy and the snack tray is huge - right up his alley. We are huge fans!
Their expansive collection of strollers include everything from double strollers and joggers to easy folding and lightweight options. The technology they use features shock absorbing wheels for rides on rough terrain - exactly what we were looking for.
Delta Children also offers nursery furniture, kids' furniture, baby gear, toys and more. Use code babiesandbackbends at the link here and get 15% off any of their fantastic items.
One thing I regret when I was pregnant with Richie is not having professional photos taken of my big, beautiful belly. This time around, I was going to have professional family shots of my husband, Richie and myself. That was until Richie and I were chosen for a FREE Mommy & Me Maternity session. I cannot tell you how excited I was! At first I was a little bummed that my husband wasn't going to be involved but then, I realized how beautiful it was that it was just my first born and I because one of my biggest worries about having my second baby is that it will no longer just be Richie and I. That I might not have enough energy or time to divide my love between the two of them. That being said, the idea of JUST US being professionally photographed, made me cherish it that much more.
Here our some of our favorite snaps taken from One Spilt Pea Photography.
Gender Reveals are such a fun, creative and exciting way to get your family involved in revealing the sex of your baby. They are so popular today but many people don't know how to plan one especially without knowing the sex themselves. Today, we are explaining the key steps in planning your own.
Here's a video of ours. We decided to do it on Easter because we knew we'd have our family together on that day.
How to determine the sex of your baby while still keeping it a surprise for yourself
Around 16 weeks, your doctor will be able to offer a blood test that will determine the sex of your baby. You tell the doctor and all the nurses in the office that you do NOT want to know the results. Instead, ask them to write down the sex of the baby and seal it in an envelope. One thing that is very important to note: tell them to make the result CLEAR. For example, have them write the sex of the baby on just a plain piece of paper instead of enclosing the actual report from the lab. The report can be very confusing and you want whoever you choose to read the letter to pick the appropriate colored balloons (or whatever props you choose) and plan a successful reveal.
My husband, little babe and I moments after we found out we were having another BOY.
Chose someone you trust to open the envelope
This is a tough one because you want all your close friends and family to be surprised but you do need one person that you really trust to know the gender first and help plan the actual "reveal" part of the party.
Be prepared to document
Before the event starts, make sure you’ve setup a way to document the event. If you have a nice budget, you can hire a professional photographer or videographer for the event. Alternatively, assign one of your friends to take photos. Or, be creative and grab a Polaroid. Have guests write well wishes for the baby on the back of the Polaroid shots as they come out of the camera.
We used a tripod for the video and assigned my mother-in-law to take the photos.
Pick a way to reveal the gender
The entire point of a gender reveal party is to work your way up to one big moment to reveal the gender. We chose to use confetti pops (pictured above). We gave the job of popping them to my husband's nephews because we knew it would be a super fun way to get them involved. Here are some of the most popular ways to reveal the baby’s gender:
They say all pregnancies are different but I didn't believe them. Not one bit. When I was pregnant with Richie, I was a superstar champ. I had zero morning sickness, worked out the entire time, only gained 25 pounds, and overall, I felt amazing. This time around I was a walking zombie barf bag. Sick as a dog. Name a symptom and I had it. The worst part was the constipation (TMI, I know) but really. I looked pregnant right away because of the severe bloat in my belly. I didn't only have morning sickness, it was ALL day sickness.
I was convinced it was a girl. How could I feel like this when I didn't with my boy? But nope, I was wrong. I'm pregnant with a boy and at 18 weeks, I started to finally feel better. Don't get me wrong, I am still so insanely tired ALL. OF. THE. TIME and I don't feel amazing however, that I-want-to-die feeling has dissipated. Here are a few remedies that worked and still continue to work for me.
I take this supplement in addition to my prenatal vitamin. The extra dose (50mg) of it is essential for a healthy nervous system and metabolism. It helps to produce amino acids and metabolize macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Consuming enough Vitamin B6 is a crucial to the function of nearly every aspect of your body and health, from blood cell production to brain function.
You can combine vitamin B-6 with Unisom (at bedtime to sleep at night) and that helps big time as well. This combination (vitamin B-6 and Unisom) is what you will find in a prescription drug called Dicelgis. My doctor gave me this and it made me so much more constipated. It also made me drowsy. I found that the at-home remedy of vitamin B-6 with Unisom (when I needed it at night) was a much better alternative.
This was so hard for me because I have an extremely active toddler to take care of and I hate being stuck in the house for long periods of time BUT my body wouldn't let me do otherwise. I had to take it easy so that I could get through the worst of it. Even now, I rest when my body is telling me to. Growing a baby is hard work. Add a toddler to the mix and its double time exhaustion. I let myself be a little more lazy then I ever have. Sometimes the dishes don't get done or the laundry folded and that's all good. I've learned to give myself a break. It's essential.
Gummy Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are aggressive. They are very heavy, hard to digest and can make you feel more nauseous. Gummy prenatals have the same amount of vitamins needed to grow a healthy baby but are much easier on your belly. I love these because they have added folic acid.
Don't Lay Down After Eating
This was another hard one. As soon as a meal hits my belly and the warm blood rushes through my body, my eyes glaze over and I'm ready to jump into bed but I learned my lesson when I woke up from a nap and vomited everywhere. In the first months of pregnancy, your metabolism slows down so you have to move more after meals otherwise, the food just sits in your belly. It will either cause nauseousness and you'll vomit or you'll get severe heartburn. I, unfortunately, experienced both so I made it a goal to clean the house or go for a walk after a big meal.
Staying hydrated has been key. It has helped with my headaches, constipation and overall sickness. If I drink plenty of coconut water and regular water (I love to squeeze lemon in it), I feel less nauseous and don't get as many headaches as I did before.
Find your Trigger Foods
There are foods that you could eat before you were pregnant that you just may not be able to eat now. Keep a diary of what you eat and when you get very sick, so you can weed out what is no good for you during your pregnancy. My trigger foods include red meat, soda of any kind (some suggested ginger ale for nausea but it had the opposite effect for me), and tomato sauce (holy heartburn!).
Don't Do Anything that Can Make you Dizzy
Pregnancy effects your balance and can throw off your equilibrium. I learned this the hard way. I was twirling around Richie and it made me so nauseous that I threw up. Long trips in the car make me extremely car sick. I also find that if I look down too long at my phone or a book then try to stand up quickly, I get extremely dizzy. Be conscious of fast movement whether it be yours or your surroundings (i.g. a car, a moving train, airplanes, etc.). If you plan on going on a long trip, Seabands have been known to help with motion and morning sickness as well.
In addition to three meals a day, its important to snack! I have almonds, Lara bars, and tangerines in my bag at all times so that I can easily eat something. You never want your stomach to be empty. That's when the nausea sets in.
Richie loved all the treats, toys and books we put in his Easter basket. This was the first year, he was able to enjoy it. Last year, he was a little baby so it was a lot of fun watching him open it on Easter Sunday.
The babe was into the Easter bunny. I think he is all around pumped for the holiday because it involves candy. It was all around a beautiful holiday with family.
We couldn't be more thrilled to announce that our family is growing. Our little babe is so excited to be a BIG BROTHER and to have a lifelong best friend.
My husband and I are over the moon excited but also nervous about this new beginning we are about to embark. We will be sharing our journey with you, including everything from our gender reveal, how we will prepare for baby number two, getting Richie ready to be a big brother, how we'll get two babies to fit in one room until we purchase another home, and the overall, emotional roll coaster we'll experience along the way. Hope you will follow our journey and possibly learn something through our experience.
My heart is so full because of you my sweet little Valentine. I’m so lucky I get to be your first kiss, first love and first friend. You’re my world. Happy Valentine’s Day.
We took the exact photo for Valentine’s Day two years in a row. Richie was so little and sweet in the first. This year, his is such a big boy but still so sweet. My little Valentine and I had a great day together.
Those cute little thermal leggings Richie is wearing are from Jojo Maman Bebe, a U.K. based clothing company we fell in love with the moment we opened the first package. The fit was perfect, the fox on the tush was beyond adorable, and come on, baby thermals - amazing! I never had to worry about him being cold when we were outside and they easily fit under his clothing. Richie was just five months old in the photo above and since then, we have purchased a ton of different items from the all-weather, nautical inspired clothing brand.
From rain boots and winter hats to sweaters and jumpsuits, we have never been disappointed. Here are a few reasons we are obsessed:
The clothing is stylish and trendy
You'll see everything from Nautical designs, and classic blue gingham to dainty embroidery and smocking. You'll will also love it just as much as your children do. In my opinion there are a ton of brands out their making cheesy children's clothing and it doesn't need to be that way. You should be able to dress your child in fashionable items that are affordable and well-made. This brand offers just that.
The quality is outstanding
Even after many wears, I was able to save and store away all of the items I purchased for the next baby. Also, washing their clothes never comprises the fit. A huge bonus in my book.
The apparel is comfortable
Richie is always able to move around with ease and comfort. I'll admit was hesitant about the snow and rain boots but he was able to walk in them without an issue.
Another one of my favorite things about that brand is that they have such festive and beautifully made clothing for Christmas. The sweater vest Richie wore to visit Santa, his Christmas morning pajamas and the adorable cashmere jumpsuit he wore for our family photo shoot were all purchased from JoJo Maman Bebe.
We couldn't wait to get Richie out into the snow in his new boots (pictured below) which are fleeced lined for extra warmth and super easy to get on. Next year, we'll get another pair and will likely get his winter coat from the brand as well.
On the site, you'll also find maternity clothing, nursery items and gear, as well as gifts and toys. Check it out, you won't be disappointed.
We just received some gorgeous new Spring items from JoJo Maman Bebe which we will be sharing on our Instagram page so be on the look out for those.
Happy Shopping, Mamas!
The happiness that was Christmas. Watching our babe open gifts for the first time was everything and more. This one goes down in the books as my absolute favorite.
We originally made this ginger bread cookies for Santa but Richie decided that Old St. Nick would be just as happy with chocolate chip so we've had nothing but crumbs left.
His fascination with our snow globes was nothing short of magical. If only we could see the world the way they do.
This is our little spot in the morning. He waves goodbye to his Dad out the window then we sit and have a drink. He has his juice and I have my coffee. Here he is trying to tell me a story. I’m not sure what that story is but his animated facial expressions, hand gestures and blah blah blahs are at an all time high. He has also been sharing his food and really won’t stop holding it out until you eat it. It’s very cute that he wants to share but we are all, “no thanks, kid.” Especially when it’s a half eaten snack covered in slobber.
Dad comes home. The babe runs to hug him, Dad changes his clothes, they lay in front of the tree together and snuggle. Then, I run like a crazy lady to find my camera and snap because my goodness this is so darn sweet.
This is what it really looks like to work from home. He climbs on the table, I yell at him to get down, he starts crying and I'm trying to listen in on a conference call and hold him so he doesn't fall down.
Baby proofing is no joke. Since I work from home, it is super important that my house be insanely baby proofed for a few reasons - we are in the house often, I'm busy juggling a lot at once and sometimes I can't pay as close attention as I would like to. Don't get me wrong, Richie is under constant supervision but for the times I jump on a conference call or have to type an email, my eyes are not glued on him. Its important that I can have a little bit of ease knowing he isn't going to get hurt if I look away for a few seconds.
I always laugh at the moms who say they are going to watch their child and not go crazy with baby proofing. Even if you have help, we all get interrupted from time to time to answer the door or run to grab your phone that's ringing in the other room. It's important and less stressful to know your home is safe. Plus, the constant vigilance of baby-death-and-injury-watch is utterly exhausting.
See below for some tips on how to baby proof and for a list of essentials, check out our 8 Universal Baby Proofing Must-Haves.
Richie getting ahold of the fruit in the kitchen. I allowed him to play with this bowl of fruit but whats important is to pay attention to what they can reach for. He is growing so quickly that he is now able to grab things of the counter.
When to start
You should make your home safe the moment your baby starts sitting up for long periods of time or even before that if you can.
Richie was sitting then started crawled out of nowhere. Just boom. Off to the races. We couldn't believe it. We didn't see it coming and of course, we were rookies so we had to rush to baby proof the entire house which was a little stressful. I'll be honest too. I was procrastinating because I knew I would have to put away a lot of cute decorations and furniture. SO, my advice is don't do what we did and get it done as soon as possible so you don't have to worry or rush.
Lower the crib
We lowered the crib once just before Richie was about to sit on his own then again when he was sitting. As soon as we caught him standing up, we lowered it all the way. Don't wait. Lower it. Better safe than sorry.
Rugs or mats
It takes babies some time to become expert crawlers. I remember Richie getting tired and putting his head down a lot when he first started. We were afraid of him hitting his head on the tile and hardwood floors so we gated the non-carpeted areas until he was crawling for a solid 3 weeks. Then, we let him explore a bit more because we knew he wouldn't hit his head on the harder surfaces. We also put out a colorful play mat for him to crawl on which was cushioned for his protection. If you decide to put down carpets, don't forget non-slip pads.
Store your bag safely
From mints and makeup to loose change and Advil, there are so many hazardous things in my bag so I always store it on top of my dresser in my bedroom. We lock the bedroom door too because its the one room that is completely off limits for Richie. I make it a habit to put it in the same exact spot every day.
For the times I do allow Richie in our bedroom (which is rare), he is into everything including the closets. Even for a room that you mostly keep off limits, it is important to baby proof them anyway.
The dishwasher is so extremely dangerous and corrosive for children - the sharp knives, glass plates and poisonous detergent. In order to keep Richie safe from it, I only load the dishes when he has zero access to it so that means nap time, when he is in his high chair, or when my husband is playing with him in the other room. Its just not worth it for me to turn my back for a second to grab a dish out of the sink and boom, he grabs a knife.
Plastic bags from the grocery store
Throw those bad boys out as soon as you unload your groceries or use cloth or paper bags instead. Reason number 2948846 that I love Traders Joe's - paper bags. I never have to worry about Richie get ahold of a plastic bag and it ending up over his head.
Get down on their level
This seems like a no brainer but its actually a smart thing to do. Get down on their level and look at all the things they can see, touch and grab. This is important to do this at each stage when they are crawling, walking and have the ability to climb. There may be hazards that you don't even know about. For example, Richie is now tall enough to grab things off of the counter so we have to be even more cautious of what we put down and how close we leave it to the edge where he can easily reach it.
I know, just the thought of it is exhausting but it is so necessary. Richie is 15 months old and still sometimes puts random things in his mouth. You'd be surprised how easily something hazardous could fall onto your floor. Loose change from your husband's jeans, a screw from a piece of furniture, the plastic ties from tags on clothing...the list is really endless. I vacuum every single day, sometimes even twice a day. I bought a cordless light weight vaccuum which has been super helpful.
My boy is a climber. I think most boys are so we put safety bars on the windows we tend to keep open to prevent him from falling out - God forbid. Something important to note: safety bars should only be installed in main rooms where you keep windows open. They are not to be put in bedrooms in case of a fire. If you would like to install bars in your child's room, make sure they are the kind that can easily be taken out. If your child's room has more than one window, then I would recommend only putting them in one window so you can free up the other. Its also important to wrap up all the dangling cords to our blinds so that they don't pull the blinds on top of themselves. Long cords can also get caught around their necks so its a good idea to wrap them up so they are out of reach.
Make sure the toilet has a lid lock on it. If your baby pulls themselves up onto the toilet, they can fall in and not know how to get out. There are some scary statistics out there of babies drowning this way. Lock the toilet and if you can, keep the door shut at all times.
He is able to climb now so its important to keep the bathroom door shut but also put a lock on the cabinets that I thought were too high for him to reach.
Cabinets & Drawers
Lock all cabinets and drawers, not just the ones in the kitchen. We locked the cabinets and tried to keep the drawers above them free from lock but as soon as Richie was tall enough, he was also able to open those.
Dresser drawers are important to lock because children not only can open them but pull them hard enough that the dresser falls on top of them. Very scary and it happens way more often then you could imagine. It could also be deadly. Another solution for this is to use a brace that secures the dresser to the wall. There are many companies that sell the hardware for this and some new furniture companies provide the hardware with the dresser. We recently purchased a new dresser from Wayfair that came with the hardware to secure the piece to the wall.
Store away furniture that can be dangerous
For us it was our coffee table because it had sharp edges, it was in the middle of the room he spends the most time in and was easy. It's important to discipline your child and educate them on what is hazardous but its a lot of work to keep out piece of furniture that can put them in harms way.
For a list of essentials, check out our 8 Universal Baby Proofing Must-Haves.
Baby proofing is a big, tedious and sometimes expensive task. What you'll need may depend on the features of your home but we've rounded up our favorite universal child safety products to make your life easier.
For tips on child proofing, check out A Work From Home Mama's Tips on Baby Proofing.
These help protect children from sharp edges. We prefer these to the foam ones that stick around the entire piece of furniture. The foam ones ruined one of our side tables. Richie was able to pull it off (which completely defeats the purpose) and when he did, it took the paint off of the table. They also aren't as nice looking. These corner guards are sleek, simple and get the job done without ruining furniture.
The Hamptons Baby Caring Corner Guards, 8 pack, $11.99
Kids have a fascination with doors. At least my kid does. This guard protects their little fingers from getting pinched or jammed. The foam guard attaches to the door providing a soft cushion between the door and door frame so that your child's fingers do not get caught. It also prevents children from getting locked inside the room.
Finger Pinch Guard by Wittle, 4 pack, $10.97
Locks for your Stove
The regular plastic covers didn't fit around the knobs of our new LG stove so we got these locks instead. What's great about them is they not only protect your child from turning on the gas, they also come down long enough to lock the oven door. They also look nicer than the big bulky plastic knob covers.
Stove Stoppaz Universal Kitchen Stove Knob Locks, 5 Count, $9.99
Magnetic Child Safety Locks
These magnetic locks are genius because you cannot see them from the outside, they don't ruin your furniture, and they help from getting your child's fingers stuck in between. We used these for all our kitchen cabinets. They stick on in the inside of the cabinet and are adhered with strong double sided tape so they can easily be removed. However, there are a few small catches. It can be a pain in the neck to open cabinets constantly with a magnet and you have to use them on cabinets that have enough of a lip to adhere them to. For the cabinets we couldn't use these on, we used the safety latches (below).
Kiddos Plus Magnetic Safety Locks, 8 pack, $19.99
These safety latches stick on without having to drill holes - a huge plus in our book. The also come in different colors to match your furniture. We used these for the stove, drawers to bedroom dressers, and drawers to our furniture in the living room. Its super important to keep the dresser drawers locked so that they can't pull the dresser on top of themselves. We also tested them out and they needed a lot of strength to peel off so we knew they were safe for Richie (who loves to pull things). The adhesive didn't ruin our cabinets or drawers either.
BabyKeeps Child Safety Locks, $18.97
Cord Wind-up for Blinds or Curtains
Its important to wrap up dangling cords from blinds for your baby's protection. There have been some cases of babies getting the cord wrapped around their necks. Richie is now tall enough to grab ahold of the cord and likes to pull on it. Our fear is that he may pull hard enough where the blinds could come falling down on top of him. These plastic wind-ups get the job done and are easy to use. We always err on the side of precaution and for less than 10 bucks, why not?
Rhoost Blind Cord Wind-up, 2 pack, $8.99
Toilet Seat Lid-Lock
We keep the bathroom door shut at all times but as a parent its impossible to get dressed alone (or in peace ) so for the times Richie is in the bathroom with me, this lid-lock comes in handy.
Mommy Helper Lid-Lock, $7.60
Electric Outlet Cover
Covering your outlets is most likely the first thing parents will think of when baby proofing but these outlets are by far the best we have used. Richie is so great with his fingers and was able to figure out how to get off the cover to the outlet. He was also able to pull out the plastic ones that plug in. What's fantastic about this brand is that it not only is very hard for children to figure out, you never have to take it off to plug something in because they slide over, immediately locking the outlet. You can also use one outlet while the other remains locked and safe. In addition, they look exactly like a regular outlet so they aren't an eye soar in your home.
Universal Electric Outlet Cover, Self-Closing Switch Plates Guards Kit, 4 Pack, $9.99
For tips on child proofing, check out A Work From Home Mama's Tips on Baby Proofing.
We did our own little photo shoot in the house the morning of Thanksgiving. Our little ham was all for it. Sharing a few from the day.
Richie was just two months old last Halloween so this year felt more like his first. Since he is older and mobile, we were able go all out with his costume and take him to a kiddie party to celebrate. My husband even took the day so that he could come with us to watch Richie play with his friends, see a show and play in the ball pit. It was so special.
When I was younger, Roald Dahl was my favorite author. I loved all his books; James and the Giant Peach, Matilda and Fantastic Fox. But my all time favorite was and is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory so it was only natural, I'd want Richie's first real costume to be a character from the book. I also thought it would be that much more special if I made his costume myself, so I did.
Leading up to Halloween, we found a fox costume in the store. Richie loved it because it's super soft so we bought it. He would randomly bring it in to me from his room so that I could put it on for him. Including some images of that one below as well. It was such a memorable Halloween.
I was lucky enough to nurse my baby just 30 minutes after he was born. I’ll never forget it. They laid Richie on my chest and my husband and I stared at him for a good while then he ran out to get all of our family members in the waiting room. While he was gone, Richie kept moving his way up my chest and to my breast. I looked at the nurse and said, “Oh my God, I think he is trying to nurse.” Then BOOM, all the things I learned in my breastfeeding class popped into my head. I was like, “I got this. I’m going to feed this baby right now.” And I did, just like that. It was a gift for it to happen so natural and easy for me.
My goal was to nurse for an entire year. That didn’t work out. Welcome to #momlife. Things don’t always go as planned. Fine. I did however; nurse Richie exclusively for 9 and a half months then slowly introduced formula before completely stopping at 11 months when I started him with whole milk. I’m so super proud of that but I will likely do a few things differently the next time around. Here’s what I learned that I think will help me to nurse for a year and maybe even beyond with my next baby.
For more on breastfeeding, check out my posts on The Biggest Breastfeeding Myth and My Favorite Breastfeeding Foods.
Handle one day at a time
Something about that 9 month mark made me feel like I just couldn’t take anymore. I needed a break. It was then that I also took my first short trip away from Richie and my husband for my sister’s bachelorette party. While I was gone, my husband had to use my entire stash of frozen breast milk. It was gut wrenching. The thought of having to pump again to build it back up was nauseating. I enjoyed nursing but loathed pumping. Had I just relaxed and took one day at a time, I would have recovered from that feeling but instead, I went out and bought the formula.
Find ways to introduce Dad
I didn’t do this – at all – which is why I was so exhausted and run down and over it. When you nurse, you are solely responsible for feeding your baby. What I should have done was use my stored breast milk and have my husband feed him one bottle a day (probably best to have done at night) so that I would have had a break and got some well deserved rest. It was a total rookie mistake. I wanted to take it all on and the truth is, I loved nursing him and I’m also a control freak but after awhile, I was just worn out. Had I let my husband help earlier, I probably wouldn’t have burned out so quickly.
Wait until 6 months to introduce solids
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, I would suggest waiting until 6 months to introduce solids. I was so excited, because Richie is my first, to introduce him to purees and cereal. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction to different foods, sit him in his new highchair, and prepare food for him. What I didn’t realize was that he would nurse less because of it and in return, my supply would drop. I was able to continue to nurse him but it was harder to get extra milk from pumping. Prior to solids, I was making so much extra.
I also didn’t realize how much more work I was adding to my already busy schedule. If your baby is gaining appropriately and it is safe, my suggestion is to wait so that you can nurse longer.
Different women may have different reactions to dieting and exercising when nursing but for me (and a bunch of other Moms I have spoken to), it completely affected my supply. I was still making milk but not nearly as much as when I ate more calorie packed foods. For example, I was dieting then one night I cheated and had pizza. That night, I woke up completely engorged. Calories helped with my supply. Big time.
Also, as a very personal side note, that was another reason I wanted to be done with it. I was vain and hated the fact that I couldn’t drop the last 10 pounds because of nursing. I regret that now. The weight doesn’t matter. I won’t care about this next time around. You are lucky to be able to go through this phase at all – having a baby and nursing them is a gift. My vanity got in the way.
I enjoyed it very much. I was good at it. I loved the bond we shared but what I didn’t know was how fast it all goes even though everyone was saying it. When you are exhausted and can’t see straight, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is an end and the newborn phase goes FAST (just not while you are in it). For my next, it will easier because I now know that the first year flies by and you inevitably miss those sweet tender (and insanely exhausting) moments when you have breast milk all over you, haven’t showered, and are a walking zombie. Trust me. You will.
This post is sponsored by Cuddl Duds and Kohl’s but my love to #liveinlayers is all my own.
There are so many things to love about fall - the beautiful colors of autumn leaves, the crisp smell of the air and the excitement of putting together new (warmer!) outfits. Our favorite way to curate our autumn wardrobe is L A Y E R I N G.
Layering is about pairing together different types of clothing to create a warm but thrown together look that seems effortless but stylish. I'm pretty sure it all started in the mid-90's when the Olsen twins were throwing on mountains of bohemian fabrics, coats, and long scarves. A decade later and its still on the fashion agenda. Toss in the confusing up and down climates of fall and we're left wondering how anyone expects us to dress for weather that can run from 50 degrees in the morning to 70 by late afternoon.
There is a secret formula that layering involves and we've complied three looks in partnership with Cuddl Duds to help navigate through the transition of seasons as well as some tips for layering this year's most coveted styles. A quick tip: You'll find that Cuddl Duds long cardigan and a black turtleneck are key, long-wearing purchases (both can be found at Kohl's).
A roll neck turtleneck will work under almost anything.
natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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