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.
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.
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.
My son did not sleep for more than 4 hours at a time until he was 10 months old.
Why? Because I co-slept, rocked him to sleep and breastfed him.
I did try to put him in his crib at 7 months but the truth was, I couldn’t hear him cry. He is my first baby and I’m so insanely dedicated to him being happy all the time. I just could not bear it. Aside of being painfully exhausted, here’s when I knew it had to change.
While I was talking to the pediatrician at Richie’s 10-month well visit to the doctor, he kept throwing his pacifier on the ground to get my attention. The doctor noticed it. A little while later the conversation of sleep came up. The doctor asked me how he was doing and my answer was, “Well, he doesn’t sleep much because he is teething so when he wakes up crying, I just bring him into bed with me.” The doctor looked at me and said, “Teething isn’t going to wake them in the middle of the night. He isn’t sleeping through the night because he is playing you. He knows you will come in and get him. I see what he was doing here a few minutes ago, throwing the pacifier to get your attention. He is very smart. He can and should be sleeping through the night at this point. You need to let him cry it out.”
I was annoyed. Why is he telling me to do this? How can I let him cry? My mother had told me to do the same thing. Why was everyone telling me this? It seemed totally inhumane but the more I evaluated the situation and thought about it; the more I realized that the doctor was right. I would rock Richie to sleep when he woke up in the middle of the night and if that didn’t work I’d just quit and bring him to bed with me. I was doing all the wrong things. But I still couldn’t understand how in the world I could let him cry it out.
So, I called my Mom and she said that being a mother isn’t just about the sweet, loving and easy moments but also about the hard, challenging and tough ones. Which was exactly what this was. It was going to be harder for me than it was for him. It was my job to do this even though I didn’t like it.
I had to understand that Richie was very aware of what was going on. He was crying because he knew I would come in to get him, not because something was wrong. He was fed, his diaper was dry and he was healthy. He was crying because he was mad that I was leaving him in the crib to go back to sleep on his own. It was important that he learn to put himself back to sleep and although hearing him cry was SO super hard for me, I had to realize that part of my job as a mother is to be uncomfortable sometimes and to teach him to do things on his own so he can be independent in ways that are important. Like, SLEEP. We all wake up throughout the night but we learn how to put ourselves back and that’s exactly what he needed to learn. By letting him cry, I was teaching him that he needed to learn to self soothe. It was the HARDEST thing in the world to hear my baby cry but I also knew he was physically and emotionally ready for it. It wasn’t something I could have done at just four months.
I started with his nap and on the first day, he cried for three hours straight. I cried with him – kid you not. As I watched him on the monitor, my heart broke, I felt terrible but I knew he was exhausted. He was going to do this! I couldn’t give up! He stood up in crib, cried, sat down, stopped crying, cried again and did this over and over until he eventually feel asleep on his own. That night, he cried for an hour and each day, it got easier and easier. It took a solid week for him to just lay in the crib quietly until he fell asleep alone. And guess what? He now sleeps 12 hours straight. We do our nightly routine, lay him in the crib and he falls asleep on his own.
The hardest thing I had to do ended being the best thing because my husband and I have the bed to our selves, have time to spend with one another before we get real rest – finally.
Quick, Easy & Healthy Bites to Make your Life Easier
In addition to three meals a day, most toddlers have two snacks and its important that you offer them a broad variety of food that will help them get the vitamins and minerals they need. Plus, the transition from purees to finger foods - and ones that are easy to eat - can be a ton of work so we've listed some quick, easy and healthy snacks to make your life easier.
There is nothing better than fresh fruit. Its packed with vitamins, minerals and full of fiber. Most young toddlers, like my son Richie, can't use a fork or spoon just yet but want to hold food themselves so that they have control. Richie loves when I hand him a banana to chow down on. A thin slice of watermelon on the rind is another one of his favorites. It's even great for his gums when he is teething so I always serve it cold.
These vegetable rice rusks are seriously a genius invention. They dissolve quickly so you don't have to worry about choking and the biscuits are long so that they can hold them to eat. They also help with teething gums. Not only are they easy to unwrap and serve, they are made with all-natural ingredients and are non-GMO. They contain no wheat, dairy, milk, nuts or eggs. They are made with fantastic ingredients that are packed with nutrition. Richie's favorite mum-mum is made with kale, carrot, spinach and cabbage.
We love Dreaming Cow yogurt because it is made with highest quality grass-fed milk. Richie loves the vanilla agave flavor which is lightly sweetened with organic agave nectar and pure vanilla extract. It's also loaded with all the healthy gut bacteria and live active cultures such as S.Thermophilus, L.Bulgaricus, L.Acidophilus and Bifidus.
Outshine Yogurt Bars
Dairy is so important for young toddlers that why we love yogurt. Another amazing yogurt snack we love is Outshine's Frozen Yogurt Bars. Richie not only loves the way they taste but also how they feel on his sore/growing gums (because toddlers teeth, what seems like forever!). We've included all the benefits of these bars here
Plum Organic's Teeny's Fruits
These tiny soft bites contain a full serving of fruit, are non-GMO and organic. They are packed in tiny little bags that are BPA free and can easily be thrown in your diaper bag.
HappyBaby Superfood Puffs
These fruit, veggie and grain puffs are packed with vitamins C, E, B12 and are made with whole grains. They also have 20mg of Choline to support brain and eye health. They are USDA organic, non-GMO, and the packing is BPA free. They come in many healthy flavors. Richie's favorites are Purple Carrot & Blueberry as well as Sweet Potato & Carrot.
Full-fat dairy is important for all toddlers under the age of two and cheese is a fantastic way to get a serving of it. We love Land O' Lakes individually wrapped cheese sticks because they are super small and easy for Richie to hold and eat while we are on the go.
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I'm a fanatic about cleaning and organizing my home. Many think it is impossible to keep your house in order with a toddler but I'm here to tell you it is completely possible. One great way to do this, is to get your kids involved. For example, Richie loves to take things in and out of containers so I will play a game with him to put them back if he has taken them all out. Sometimes, I have to start the process myself by putting them back while he watches then coax him to join but shortly after, he does, then while he is busy putting them away, I can clean something else.
Like all toddlers, Richie is always under my feet wanting to do what I do so another example is that when I'm mopping, I have him join in. I've listed a few other ways to get your toddler involved in cleaning but first, let me tell you about this great mop we discovered.
The Wonder Mop has microfiber grip strips that lift up to 20% more dirt and work 'wonders' (pun intended) on my tile and wood floors. It also has a power wringer so that you are able to remove more water from the mop head allowing your floors to dry faster so you can be back on them sooner. This is especially helpful with a young toddler like Richie since he is just learning to walk. Another plus is that you can wash the mop head up to 50 times. I can't tell you how often I throw out mops because of built up bacteria. Same thing with sponges. I'm constantly switching them out, so the fact that I don't have to constantly buy a new mop is a huge bonus for me. I just throw it in the washing machine and boom, I can use it again without the worry of old grime.
We bought our Libman Wonder Mop at Walgreens but they are also available at Lowes, Walmart and Home Depot.
You can get a $3 coupon just by signing up for The Libman Company's newsletter.
The brand is also hosting a Back to School Pinterest Giveaway. To participate, just pin your must-have cleaning products and enter to win a Libman prize pack.
Tips for Cleaning with a Toddler
Start Them Young
Richie is just about 13 months old but I have already started to teach him to clean up after himself and to help me around the house. Toddlers catch on quickly so you can teach them that they are an important part of making the household run smoothly and neatly by setting these expectations early.
Set a Limit on Toys
Cleaning up is easier when there is less clutter. We keep the toys under control by only having a set amount out for Richie to play with. For his birthday, he got a ton of new toys but we only opened a few and the rest got stored away. In a month or so, we will take a new one out and continue to do this when we think he wants something new to play with. However, one toy will come out and an old one that he is bored with will go away.
Make it Fun
We put the music on when we clean so we can dance and sing while we do it. Or I tickle him along the way. Anything to make it less mundane. When he gets older, we will most likely need to incorporate a game or chore list that we can check off but the idea is to make it feel less like a chore and more fun.
Praise Them for a Job Well Done
Be encouraging and thank them for their effort in helping. We say good job over and over while Richie is putting away his toys so he knows he is doing a good thing. This will resonate with them and they will want to continue to help. Soon they will even feel pride in their accomplishments.
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When it comes to food, the transition from baby to toddler is a big one. Breastmilk or formula and purees turns into a full on schedule that includes bottles of milk, snacks, sippy cups and meals. Meals become finger foods, not purees, and ones that are easy for them to chew. Safety is really important which can make the process a little stressful. It is also a ton of work. I admit that it was rough in the beginning and my creative juices definitely weren't flowing. But now that I have put some time into the transition, I've got a nice schedule and database of recipes, snacks and on-the-go ideas.
I'm also very picky about what I give Richie to eat. 90 percent of what I feed him is organic, all-natural and always dense with nutrition. I read labels like its my job. If I don't recognize an ingredient and if it has too many, I don't purchase it. So, discovering a new snack that is healthy and easy is more exciting to me than finding an amazing fall jacket, ah #momlife!
Recently, we discovered Outshine's Simply Yogurt Bars. Here's why they are our new obsession:
Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars come in many flavors but our favorite is strawberry.
You can purchase these bars with 75 cent coupon at Stop & Shop, Martin's Food, and Giant Food Landover.
We purchased them at Stop and Shop. You can find a coupon for the bars here.
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My husband bought me a great camera just after the babe was born because he knew how much I enjoyed taking photos and capturing our memories together. It is one of the best gifts I've ever received so for Richie's first birthday, I really wanted to take his Cake Smash photos myself. It is such a big milestone and leading up to it I was a mess - very emotional that he wasn't going to be a little baby anymore - so this was a great way to distract myself. Plus, I want Richie to have these when he is older and know that they were a gift from me.
Here's the step by step process of how I did it.
Pick your theme
I, personally, think your theme should have meaning and represent something nostalgic. It makes it all the more special. I decided to go with a nautical theme because Richie was born in August, we live near the beach and its one of our favorite places to go as a family, and his birthday party was hosted at my in-laws which is on the water. We spend a lot of time at their home as well so the theme was an organic choice.
Pick an outfit to match your theme
I decided to put Richie in a bow tie, diaper cover, and a birthday hat. There were plenty of beautiful options for first birthday outfits on Etsy but I knew he would wear it once and that it would get ruined from the cake so I decided to go the less expensive route. I ordered the matching bow tie and diaper cover on Amazon. The hat I purchase for like 2 bucks at Party City. I'm all for an amazing outfit to photograph your babe in but since he would be mostly bare, I didn't feel it was worth spending the money.
Get a photography backdrop
I went with vinyl for Richie's backdrop but some prefer muslin or paper. The most important thing to look out for is one that not only has a backdrop for the wall but also flooring. That way, you can sit the baby on top of it as well. These backdrops range anywhere from $30 -$100. The one I purchased was $40.
A backdrop won't be enough for the shoot. You'll also need decorations for the set up. The different accessories add layers and more depth to the photo. I purchased most of the accessories on Amazon, a few from Wayfair and Homegoods. The decor elements I purchased went with my theme. These included seashells, anchors and a fishing net. I also bought a ONE banner with a nautical theme from Party City to hang across the top of the backdrop. I repurposed these items for his birthday bash a week later so they didn't go to waste.
Most bakeries are savvy and know all about cake smash photos but in case they do not, let your bakery know that you need a miniature option and the cake should match your theme. For Richie's, we had it customized with an anchor and chose blue tones to symbolize the ocean.
You'll also want a cake topper, not candles for obvious reasons - they are dangerous and you don't want to risk your babe getting a mouthful of wax.
You should have everything laid out the morning or night before so you can play around with the set up. You also don't want to be doing it last minute. Make sure the set up is complete so you can put the baby down just before you start the shoot. You'll also want to set your camera on the tripod with the frame and settings in line with the shot. That way, you just have to click.
Get your baby at the best time of day
You want your babe to be in a good mood for the photos so pick a time of day that he or she is most happy, not when they are tired or hungry. Richie is a little more sleepy after his first nap and much more smily and active after his second so that's when we decided to do it. He also had a belly full of breakfast and lunch so dumping all that sugar into his system wasn't as aggressive as if it were empty.
Perfect example, here is Richie tired and over the cake smash at the end of the session.
Have someone help you for the execution
You'll need help executing the photo. I had my sister, brother-in-law and husband help me. My husband and brother-in-law stood behind me to get Richie's attention for the camera and my sister was there to protect the cake and make sure he didn't knock it over before I got some pictures. And thank goodness she was there because he did knock it over and she caught it just before it was ruined. My suggestion would be to do the same. Have someone close by to help then a person or two behind you so you can get a few shots of the baby looking at the camera.
Good luck, friends. Drop a line below if you have any questions.
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Tiredness Has a New Meaning
Everyone warns you about the tiredness, oh the bone crushing tiredness that comes with being a parent. But nothing, I repeat NOTHING, can prepare you for what a sleepless night(s) feels like.
I’m a control freak and a perfectionist so this one was the hardest for me. I’ve learned to let go more. Like, a whole lot more. I’m still working on this because it’s a tough one but my house is a lot messier than it ever was, my nails don’t get done as often as they used to, I shower less…I could keep going but overall, I’m a HOT MESS and I’m learning to embrace it. It’s my new story. Motherhood is a gift and its so much better than running around in my perfect little outfit doing God knows what. I seriously cannot remember what the heck I did with all that extra time I had. WOW.
Embrace Each Phase
Most moms will tell you that it gets easier but I was lucky to have a mom friend that told me the truth. It doesn’t get easier. Why? Because once you think you’ve got it down; you’ll have to start all over again. Babies are constantly changing. I thought that feeding around the clock was hard but what I didn’t know was that the newborn phase was the easiest. I had so much free time, which is probably why I was blogging so much more than I am now. Yes, feeding the baby around the clock is hard work but it was all I did. The baby ate, slept and pooped. Once that phase was over, there’s night weaning, a tighter and more filled schedule, teething, keeping your baby occupied because they want more attention, way less time for yourself because they sleep less than they did during the day when they were just newborns, the introduction of solids (holy work), teaching them to sit up, and tummy time. Right now, I feel pretty good, like I’ve got the hang of this new phase but I know it will all change once he is mobile then we will have to START. ALL. OVER. AGAIN.
Let Your Baby Be a Baby
Doctors and other moms are always forcing you to get your baby to grow up so fast. They try to get you to teach your baby independence so early. Who’s weaned, who’s potty trained, who’s sleeping alone all through the night, who’s reading chapter books? Whoever achieves independence first wins. Why are we rushing them through babyhood? My doctor was forcing me into getting Richie into the crib at 3 months. I’m glad I didn’t listen to him. I was really rattled for a while when I thought that I was doing something wrong by co-sleeping until Richie was almost 7 months. But I wouldn’t take back co-sleeping with my sweet babe for one second. Not one. Because he won’t be a baby forever and having him close to me was so special. I was able to easily nurse him and it was peaceful knowing he was safe. He’ll sleep in his own bed now for the rest of his life. I got to snuggle him for 7, just 7 months. Don’t rush things if you don’t want to. Your baby can be a baby. It’s OK.
Give Yourself a Break
I stopped trying to put on my super skinny jeans. I stopped trying to have it all together. Ok, another one that is SO hard but I’m learning to be easier on myself. At the end of the day, try not to beat yourself up for all things you wish you had done. They will get done in their own time. When I look back on all I’ve accomplished in these short 7 months, I am amazed. Thank GOD for my insanely helpful and supportive husband, but holy crap, we kept a human alive and healthy for this long. We are amazing.
Mom Friends Are Your Sanity
I would've NEVER been able to make it through these months if I didn't have my mom friends. These moms are there to remind you that you are normal. You are amazing. And you can do it. They've been there. They've been through it. And the good ones will NEVER judge you.
You'll Have More Patience
Babies can sense when you are rushing. Babies can sense frustration. Patience is important when you are taking care of them. When I feel myself on the verge of losing it, which is easy to do when you are exhausted, I remind myself of that. I have to dig really deep. But I’ve learned to take a deep breath and let it the frustration go.
**I started writing this post when Richie turned 6 months then well, Mom Life, so I'm sharing his 6 months photos anyway. Because come on, he is so darn cute.
That there newborn baby sleeps through the night
When Richie was just shy of three months, I had a friend tell me her baby (who is the same age as Richie) was sleeping through the night. Which most of the time means 6-8 hours straight. I remember feeling so bad about myself. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t my baby sleeping through the night? I was rattled. I read articles online, I tried swaddling him differently, I tried noise machines, I tried everything you could think of. I felt so down about myself. Then, the more I read and the more I spoke to other moms, I realized it wasn’t true. And if it was, it definitely only happened a few times.
Here’s why. If you are breastfeeding your baby, there is absolutely no way your baby will sleep through the night. AND they shouldn’t. Breastfed babies need to eat every 2-4 hours throughout the night and if they aren’t up to eat, you need to wake them. Once babies are no longer newborns, they don’t need to eat as often through the night but that doesn’t mean they will sleep. So, if someone tells you that their baby sleeps through the night every night, they are lying. Their baby MAY have done it a few times but I’m telling you that babies aren’t robots and there is zero way this happens every single night for them. Don’t kill yourself. You are doing an amazing job.
Feeding the baby cereal at night will make them sleep longer
Your parents, grandparents and aunts will tell you to do this. They will tell you to feed your newborn baby cereal in a bottle so that they will sleep through the night. “We did it and you are ok!” That’s what they will tell you. But guess what? There is more research today and the research says, DO NOT do this. Why? Because your baby has a very big chance of choking and there little bellies can’t handle it. There is also research that suggests it leads to obesity. Want to know the best reason? It doesn’t work! Once my son turned 4 months (recommended time to start solids), I gave him cereal and it changed nothing. It’s a myth. Don’t fall for it.
They have time to work out, get their hair done, or doing anything for themselves
Let’s be real these things are for the moms who have nannies or a lot of help from family members. If you are on your own raising your kid, these things are just not happening because when you do get a second to yourself you will use it to sleep, zen out in a quiet room or just chill. And that’s coming from me, I can be vain and always want to look my best, but after a baby, it just comes last. Taking care of your baby then yourself by getting rest so that you can take care of them takes priority.
That they don’t feel sad sometimes
Babies make you over the moon happy. They are a blessing. They bring so much joy to your life. But, motherhood can make you sad sometimes and it’s totally normal. You lose a piece of yourself when you have a baby. You miss out on things you used to do so freely. You struggle to figure who you are - a mom, a career woman, a working mom, a wife, etc. Unfortunately in this world, you need to make great money to cover daycare so being a working mother is sometimes out of the question. Then there is the guilt, anxiety, and nervousness of leaving them to go back to work. For me, there was and is, the struggle of figuring out how to have it all. How can I have a successful career, be an amazing mom and wife, get in shape, have nice things, a beautiful home…the list is endless. I still struggle to figure this out and what I remind myself is that other moms put up a front that they have it altogether. It is absolutely impossible. We aren’t superheroes. What is important is that we find the few things that make us most happy and focus on them.
You’ll forget about childbirth after you hold your baby in your arms
This one is my favorite. You will only forget the pain of childbirth if you actually ingest the drugs they offer you after the birth of your baby and then never stop taking those drugs. It’s a myth. You will never forget the pain of childbirth. But the craziest part is that it likely won’t prevent you from doing it again. I, personally, would do it 10 times over.
That they napped when their baby napped
Who are these people? If you enjoy living in squalor amid mounds of dirty diapers, go ahead and nap when the baby naps. If you don’t mind giving up your chance to jump in the shower or empty the dishwasher, go ahead and nap when the baby naps. But if you don’t have tons of help or anyone dropping off dinner, you may need to accomplish something when the baby naps. Just saying.
What I love about babywearing
Babywearing has been a big part of child rearing in many cultures for centuries and has become more popular in the Western culture over the past few decades. By doing a little research, you learn that there are many reasons why it is good for you and your baby. My personal favorites are:
Finding the right carrier
I was on a mission to find the most comfortable carrier for Richie and I because I have a far walk to my car garage and there are many steps up to my doorway. It didn’t and still doesn’t feel safe to carry him all that way without the support of a carrier. I also need to have free hands so that I can carry packages in when my husband isn’t home.
I tried three different types before I found the one that works best for us. Let me tell you, Babywearing can be trickier than it looks and it can seem daunting at first. Most baby carriers have a learning curve and they require practice to become comfortable with them. However, once you’ve chosen the right carrier and learned how to use it, babywearing will become second nature.
The brands we tried
It was important that I could put it on without the help of someone else because I planned to use it when my husband wasn’t home. This wasn’t possible with the Ergobaby carrier because it has a very hard to reach clip in the back in between the shoulder blades and neck. I have very flexible shoulders and arms but it was still impossible for me to clip it on my own. I also didn’t love how bulky it was. Richie never felt close enough in this carrier. In all the times I used it, he never once fell asleep in it so he was never as comfortable as I would have wanted him to be in it. This carrier was also hard to store because it’s so big. I wanted something I could throw in the diaper bag after using,
This wrap was very easy to put on but was very constricting. There are loops to put your arms through then wrap the baby in but because those loops are sown in, it’s hard to have wiggle room for when the baby grows or if you want to wrap it in a different way. It is, however, small enough to store in your diaper bag.
Solly Baby Wrap
This is the wrap we liked best because not only is it easy to put on, it doesn’t require the help from someone else. It is super comfortable too – soft, flexible and lightweight. The wrap has a lot of fabric and is super long so it allows for you to really wrap your baby up so he or she feels close and comfortable but it’s not to constricting like the Baby Kat’an. Even though there is a ton of fabric, its very easy to wrap up and store. Another plus!
Tips for getting on a carrier
Happy babywearing mamas!
It’s been exactly two months since Richard Owen was born. He is a happy, healthy little man but my husband and I feel like we’ve been hit by a truck. I’m so amazed by how much we have muddled through. Here are some things we learned to make your first eight weeks easier.
Holy Crap! Literally. The first poop is like black tar. We weren’t prepared for that. Its very thick too so it sticks like glue to their little bums. It’s called Meconium and it’s made up of everything he collected while in utero. Very different from the poops that come after, those are mustard yellow and seedy.
The first month, he pooped after every single feeding. Insane diaper duty! Oh and what they say is true. Breastfed baby poop doesn’t smell. I thought it was bull but it’s true! We are, however, bracing ourselves for the odor that will come once he starts eating real food. Not something we are looking forward to.
No one told me how much a newborn baby sneezes. I remember Richie having a sneeze attack at the hospital and we franticly called the nurses in thinking something was wrong with him. Nope! It’s totally normal. It’s how they clear their nasal and respiratory passages of congestion and airborne particles.
The sneezing is actually cute. Richie would sometimes sneeze 3-4 times in a row and we would crack up over it.
New Parent Worries
The first two weeks are easy breezy. All he did was eat and sleep. Aside from the new parent worries – for me, that was checking him 1,000,000 times to make sure he was breathing – and lack of sleep since they feed throughout the night, it’s a pretty chill time so enjoy every second of it.
Around three weeks, we learned what gas was all about. My goodness, that was insane and still is. The remedy: burp them like crazy, bicycle their legs and make sure they sit up for 20 minutes after eating. Works like a charm!
Sleep or Lack Thereof
The truth of the matter is you are not going to get sleep so don’t obsess over it. Just get used to it and do whatever works. For me, it is all about survival! I let Richie sleep on my chest, in bed with us, in the swing. Whatever works! I learned from my pediatrician and tons of research that babies cannot form habits this early on so I’m doing whatever it takes.
For the first month or so, Richie slept in a bassinet. Pediatricians will tell you that babies have to sleep lying on their backs since new research suggests that it’s the best way to prevent SIDS. However, once your baby gets a fussier because of all the gas, you will do anything to make sure they sleep more comfortably and for us, that is keeping him a little elevated.
A few of my parent friends suggested a Sleep and Play long before we even had him but we didn’t listen for the reasons I mentioned above. At week six, we broke down and bought one! So happy we did because it allowed him to sleep a little longer without waking up from the discomfort of gas. My advice, get the Sleep and Play!
By week three, I had to store away his newborn clothing and newborn diapers. There were clothes he didn’t even get to wear. I cried putting them away (yes, I’m hormonal! I blame it on the breastfeeding). I couldn’t believe my little itty, bitty baby graduated from his newborn clothing already. My advice to any new moms, don’t invest in clothes or diapers in this stage. You are better off getting size 0-3, not NB. They will last longer.
By week four, he was much more alert when he was awake and we started to see his first smiles. This was the best time to break out the camera!
Now, at week eight, not only is he all smiles, he is trying to talk by cooing and gurgling. It’s the cutest thing ever! It really helps remedy the lack of sleep we are getting.
Month two to three will all about scheduling and getting him to sleep throughout the night. I pray to the sleep Gods that by month three, I will be sharing with you how I got him on a perfect schedule.
Every day is a new adventure with our baby boy but we are listening to all the advice and soaking up all the newborn deliciousness. He won’t be little like this forever so we are cherishing every step – challenging or not!
Most mothers, including myself, tend to spend most of their time preparing for the baby during pregnancy that they forget to think about themselves. There is a fourth trimester that many women don’t know about called the postpartum period. This trimester is the first three months after giving birth where you are learning, healing and having MANY sleepless nights. I’m going through this period right now and there are a few services we signed up for that have helped me adjust. Most importantly, they have allowed me more time with my baby boy.
I read many articles about the essentials for postpartum. Most of which included things for the baby like swaddles and diapers then things for Mom like nipple cream and a good nursing bra. Sure, those things are important but what has really helped me are these five services. They make for great gifts for new parents and if you are expecting, I’d suggest adding them to your registry. In my opinion, they are just as important as a stroller or bottles because they will allow you more time with your little one.
Meal Delivery Program
Sorting through menus for takeout or scrambling to look up recipes to cook dinner is NOT something you are going to want or have time to do. We were lucky enough to receive Blue Apron as a gift from my in-laws and it is magical. It’s a company that delivers a weekly shipment of three original recipes and all the ingredients necessary for making them – portioned, packaged, and refrigerated. There are other programs similar to Blue Apron such as Freshology, HelloFresh and Purple Carrot. Whichever works for you but a definite timesaver!
Even if you have a washer and dryer in your house, this service is fantastic because they not only wash and dry your clothes but also fold them for you. Folding clothes after the third sleepless night will be impossible, trust me. Many local laundry mats offer this service. We use one that is just around the corner from our home. There are even some companies that will pick it up and drop it back off for you.
Stop & Shop’s Pea Pod service will make your life easier by delivering your groceries to your door. You shop online, set up a delivery time and boom, they show up with your groceries to your home. It costs $10 for delivery but when you sign up as a new customer, you get 60 days free delivery.
Housekeeping services can be expensive but so helpful. To cut costs, I set it up so that the company (I use Molly Maid) comes only once a month for a deep clean. That good scrub really helps then its just maintenance from there.
Amazon Prime is my number one recommendation. It's an online shopping site with fast delivery as well as free shipping and returns. I have used this service almost every single week – sometimes twice a week – to purchase things like diapers, baby wipes; you name it. It’s by far the best site to shop on. You can order something on a Wednesday and it will arrive on Friday. Genius!
I’ll start by saying that I definitely didn’t think labor would be a walk in the park but there were things that no one told me. Here are five pretty big things that surprised me the most.
LABOR IS INSANELY PAINFUL
When I was pregnant and asked mothers about their birthing experiences it was like no one wanted to tell me the real gross, horrible truth about their labor.
"It was painful but so worth it in the end" is what they all said. Is this some type of universal response that I don't know about? Is it because mothers don't want to scare moms to be? Or perhaps, it's to convince yourself that it wasn't that bad so you will do it again? Maybe it’s just a super personal moment that women don't want to share? I don't know but today, I will share what no one else shared with me.
Labor is not only painful, its scary. The unknown of how you will deliver is nerve racking. Well, it was to me. Unless you plan to go straight into a C-section, take your birth plan and throw it out the window! Sure, you MAY follow some of your plan but you cannot control how your body will respond to labor, which way the doctors will advise you go based on how you and the baby progress and what your mind will tell you (because its a whole new mindset once you feel that pain!).
There are so many variables that will happen or not. Will your water break on its own or will they have to do it for you? Will you dilate on your own or will you need to be induced? Will the baby be face up or down? Breech? Can you handle the pain or will you need an epidural? C-section or vaginal delivery? Will you tear?
You can’t control how labor will go down so birth plans, in my opinion, are really just a way to get your mind off of all the other ways your body might respond.
You won't be wearing your cute thongs for a long time. In fact, you won't even be wearing your ugliest period underwear. You'll be wearing these mommy diapers they give you in the hospital because you bleed for up to 6 weeks and very heavily for the first two postpartum. Awesome.
YOU WILL CRY - A LOT!
The hormonal changes in your body are so intense that you become very emotional after having a baby. For me, I cried because I was happy and nervous, not because I had the postpartum blues, which some women do get.
I remember feeding Richie in the nursery and just crying because I loved him so much. My husband came into the room and was like, "What's wrong?" I had to explain that they were tears of happiness. I cried when someone told me not to pick up my baby every time he cries. I thought, what type of monster would do that to a newborn. I want to attend to every single one of his needs. I also cried (a lot!) when my husband had to go back to work. He got one lousy week off to spend with us. It flew by and I was so sad. I wasn't only sad that he wouldn't be there to help but that he would miss those very first moments of his son's life. I can cry right now as I type this. Anyway, my point is. You will cry. And that's ok.
THE SHAKES & SWEATS
The drenching night sweats after childbirth will be a shock. They were for me. I will never forget, in the hospital, being completely drenched and shaking so violently that my teeth were chattering. I buzzed the nurse and she just gave me an extra blanket. Like no big deal, it’s just your hormones going haywire. Yikes. This continued for about two weeks.
SITTING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE
I had a vaginal birth and was so completely sore down there that I needed strong pain medicine. The worst part was that I was breastfeeding and needed to sit to feed my baby. Those first two weeks were BRUTAL. One of my closest girlfriends had a C-section and sitting for her was just as painful because of all the stitches. My recommendation – ice packs!
In the end, I got through being uncomfortable and in pain. I did what I had to do to take care of my baby just like everyone else. I never knew I could endure this much and take care of another human being. Cliché as it sounds; women are strong and amazing! We have a strength that cannot be measured. You really realized this when you birth a baby. It's such a beautiful thing and I feel proud to have gotten through it although I am pretty sure this thing called motherhood is just getting started...
natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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