Saturday, October 19, 2019

Motherhood: The One Thing Anyone Can Do For A New Mom


Becoming a mother is no doubt a time of transition. It is beautiful, it is sacred, it is special and it is challenging. You are filled with so many emotions - happiness, excitement, worry and anxiety. You hope you are doing all you can to give your child a wonderful upbringing and to be the best you can be for him or her.


Your mind is going a million miles a minute, thinking about someone else- putting another person's needs before your own, but then also trying to maintain your sense of self. Learning a new type of balance in a very unbalanced time in your life. Learning to take slivers of me time when you can, because it is oh so important. Trying your best to remember to feed yourself before 3pm or to take a long shower.

On any given day, a new mom is singing, comforting, loving, entertaining, feeding, bathing, cleaning, wiping and teaching her little one around the clock. She loves every part of her new job and new life but- it is new and it is different.

There are no doubt so many ways a woman's community gathers around her at this time - offering wisdom, advice, friendship, laughter, company and sometimes if she's lucky - home-cooked meals.

But here's one thing we can all do for the new moms in our lives - whether they are close friends, a family member or a stranger you meet on the bus...and that is this:

Say hello to her first.

Granted the baby is cute, the baby is cuddly - but she has been around much longer than the baby and wouldn't it be nice to let her know she matters just as much now as she did before? That she matters independently of the sweet baby in her arms?

I remember a few interactions I had in the early days that left me questioning whether I had become invisible. So I can say with some authority that it likely won't make a difference to the child whether you smile and play a few minutes before or afterwards, but to the mom - it will count.

In the first 3 months after giving birth, I feel like this is so important. This the time in her life where everything has changed drastically and so this simple gesture that seems small on the outside, can make all the difference. Especially to a woman who has given of herself, her heart and her body to birth another life.

She probably sees herself as part of a mom and baby package right now. She probably doesn't always recognize her own needs. She probably could use a tiny gesture to let her know she's still the individual that she was before the baby arrived.

So if you only do one thing for a new mom you know, please do this:
Just make her feel like you see her too. Just look at her, smile and say hi to her first.  I bet it will matter.






Friday, September 27, 2019

Motherhood: 3 BEST Newborn Products and 3 Purchase Regrets

3 BEST Newborn Products and 3 I Could've Passed On

There are so many surprises when you begin your journey as a mom. The first thing that surprised me was how much you can love someone you literally just met! How you can instantly feel like you've known them forever. It's an incredible feeling.


After that I was surprised by how much laundry there is.

No really- what the heck is with the laundry? Not just her clothes but MY clothes too. I had no idea how many times I'd be changing my own clothing every day- especially during the first few months.

Another surprising thing, was just what it takes to get out of the house. With or without the baby. I remember our doctor telling us to start getting ready to leave the house an hour before we normally would in order to get somewhere on time. She wasn't kidding.


Luckily - I managed to streamline the process and bit and shared about it in a post on my blog. If you're in that early phase and are finding it difficult to get out of the house you can read my tips to make it a little easier over here: Tips for Getting Out of the House with a Baby

I'm surprised that I still find it challenging to take alone time for myself - especially for things that are just for fun like getting my nails done or going shopping (for myself not for baby- shopping for baby is way too easy- this was surprising too.)

Another surprise- how there are very few pictures of me actually with my baby (even though we are together all day, every day) - we are working on changing this!

There's tons of little surprises, I tell you!

Some of our favourite newborn products were also a surprise to me - as were some of the biggest regret purchases.

I guess that makes sense- because you wouldn't purchase or inherit something if you didn't think it would be helpful.

Below, I'm sharing the best three surprise products that were so useful and amazing that I'm still using them. I also share three things I could have lived without!


Top Three Products


These products were by far the MVPs of our entire baby experience so far. In fact, these are all products that I didn't even realize the value of until I was using them day in and day out. Some of them I wouldn't have even purchased if it had not come recommended to me.

The most amazing thing about all three of these products is that we are still using them today at 6.5 months!


Milk Snob


I had no idea how much I would love the Milk Snob nursing cover. It's stretchy and stays securely around your body so you don't have to worry about your cover flying off. It has made nursing in public so much more comfortable for me and stretches enough to give baby space while she's feeding.


It's also been amazing as a cover for her stroller and has helped me put her to sleep while on the go and has offered an extra layer of protection from wind and germs during colder seasons.

I've LOVED the Milk Snob and it is one of my favourite things for the baby. I love it so much I bought two so one can always be available even if the other is in the wash. We never leave home without it.

Snuggle Me Organic


The Snuggle Me Organic was a hand-me-down from a friend and another product I really didn't realize would be so useful to me. I realize in Canada they are not considered "sleep safe" however, this was amazing during the first few months when babies spend so much of the day sleeping. We used it for her to nap/lounge while we were awake and watching. Later, as she got older, we also used it in our bed to give her her own space.


The Snuggle Me was perfect for making her feel safe and cozy when she still had the startle reflex. We still use it on occasion now, and in it our daughter is able to sleep in the family room, even while we are moving around right beside her.

Beluga Baby

Our Beluga Baby carrier was another item I just couldn't have functioned without! It's so soft and stretchy and has been amazing for keeping the baby with me while I've taken walks, done things around the house and prepared meals too. Around the 6 week mark, our baby went through a phase where she did not want to be put down.

The carrier was amazing because its not too big or bulky and it hugs the baby close to your body. The sense of security and calm that our baby got while being in this carrier was truly amazing. Some days, it even helped to put her to sleep when she was extremely fussy. It's also great to take on the go or for travel because it folds up nice and tight to pack away.



An honourable mention goes to the Uppa Baby Bassinet which has been amazing to take with us on the go to people's houses, or for walks. It has a pull down canopy and UV shade which

has been amazing to create a dark space for napping. Our baby has loved napping on the go in this sleep safe bassinet and I really don't know what I'm going to do now that she has out grown it.

I should also mention that this is a product that I didn't realize would be so useful to me initially so if you're shopping for a stroller, I'd recommend the Uppa Baby brand as the bassinet comes with some models.

Regrets

With all the things I was gifted, someone passed on to me and that I bought myself, there were bound to be a couple of things we could have managed without. These items aren't "bad" per say, but they just didn't get a lot of use in our home - or definitely not as much as I expected.

Dr Brown's Sanitizer

I was lucky to be able to breastfeed and so we didn't have a need for many bottles and as a result we didn't use the sanitizer much. I felt the need to wait for a bunch of things to sanitize all at once so I didn't really end up sanitizing with it very often. I felt it was much easier to just boil some water or use a microwave sterilizing bag vs keeping a large sanitizer on our counter. In case you do end up bottle feeding however, this product would be a game changer! One of those things, you won't know till you know whether you will need it or not.

Bumbo

The Bumbo seat was a hand me down and while it was nice to have (especially with a tray!) I think the amount of time a child would fit in this chair will vary. I'd definitely recommend a sit-me-up chair but I'd probably go with Summer Infant or Fisher Price for this.


Pumping Bra

I quickly learned that washing all the parts of a pump multiple times a day really sucks. The harder it is to pump, the less likely you are to pump. A lot of people choose not to pump and now I understand why.  I kept up with pumping because I wanted the flexibility of being able to give the baby a bottle when we needed to. I also really liked giving one bottle at night so we knew how much the baby had to drink. It helped us understand her other cues and predict some of her sleep habits.

It was much easier for me to set up both sides of my pump in the morning and use one for an am pump session and the other for a pm session. I also learned that you get more milk from a session when you express while you pump, so the bra just seemed useless to me. Some people swear by it, but for me it made the experience a little less natural, so I preferred not to use it.

Notable Mentions

The following two items aren't super big regrets,  but I thought it would be helpful to mention a few reasons why we could have pumped the breaks on these -

Fancy Outfits for the Baby

While it is so fun to buy cute dresses and party outfits- truly they often out grown these before you can make use of them. The best gifts to buy a newborn are the every day kind of clothes- sweat pants, jeans, cotton sleepers and burp clothes/bibs are always useful.

Sleep Sacks

Buying multiple sleep sacks at once has been a bit of a regret because you really don't know what your baby will like and what TOG (heat value) will get them the best sleep. I'd recommend buying one- trying it for a few nights and then seeing if you want a second one or if you want to try another brand.

So far we have had success with the Halo brand in 0.5 TOG (very light blanket).


So there you go - my top three products and three shopping lessons learned thus far in parenthood. Hope this helps you when you're buying gifts, building a registry or "adding to cart".  If you'd like to see a full list of my Baby favourites, check out my Amazon page here



Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Motherhood: Baby Favourites 0-3 Months

Baby Favourites 0-3 Months


Now that I have cleared the newborn phase of my little babe's life, I thought I would share some of the products that helped us most while our baby was in the 0-3 period. It's such a precious but crazy time and I know I appreciated all the advice and sharing that my mom friends did with me to help me through the transition.

Today I thought I'd write about some of my essentials for life with a baby that I found to be helpful to have around during the early days.

Of course, I loved having traditional items like Muslin blankets (a must), a stroller (we chose the Uppababy Vista and Mesa car seat ), burp cloths and bibs. They were so so helpful and if you want to see the items that were the best for our little family, I have linked them all in my Amazon Storefront to make it super easy to shop from.


Resources


My number one favourite book during this time was The Wonder Weeks. There is also an app you can make use of.

The theory behind the book is that all babies go through 10 fussy periods in their early years and that these phases are linked to developmental growth periods. By knowing what is going on developmentally, you can prepare yourself and support your child without getting frustrated or losing your cool!

Loved this book and highly recommend it.


Sleepers and Gowns


In the beginning, we used sleepers all day, because our babe was literally sleeping almost all day. I loved cotton one pieces with zippers and my favourites were from Burt's Bees, Carters and Baby Gap.

I really loved these Kimono style robes from Parade Organics. We still use these in the 3-6 month phase that we are in now. These robes make night-time diaper changes a breeze and also doubles as a bit of a sleep sack.



Toys


At this stage babies don't really need much to entertain them. But books are always a great thing to start collecting as they can grow with them.

For a 0-3 month old, I'd recommend books with high contrast, black and white pictures. As baby's eye-sight develops, high contrast really helps them to focus and build concentration. Small sized board books are great for baby to hold and to take with you on the go.




Colourful, soft toys with rattles, tags and mirrors are also a crowd-pleaser at this age!

                       

Having a place to lay baby down for tummy time is very helpful. We loved our Skip Hop Play Mat. Bonus- the Farmstand theme helped expose her to fruit and vegetables way before she was even ready to eat.

Sleep


For bedtime, we preferred the Halo Bassinet which was gifted to us. It was truly amazing- especially for me as I was recovering from a C-Section. The sides were made out of mesh so our baby felt comfortable as she could see us. We also loved that it was easy to get her out of bed for night feedings and changes.



We also absolutely loved the Snuggle Me Organic lounger. This was one of those products that I didn't know I needed at all. It was probably one of the best surprise gifts we received!

Our baby was super comfy and cozy lounging in this for short naps when we were watching her. This was a product I really didn't know I needed until I was in the Newborn stage and realized all she wanted was to feel close and secure.

These Sleep Sacks with the wrapped arms were so helpful too! They are made by Halo and we loved them to help transition her out of a swaddle and into a sleep sack. 

Feeding


For Feeding, I was lucky to be able to breast feed my baby and used a pump so dad could help with the bedtime feed. Our favourite bottles were the Como Tomo bottles - they had the most real look and feel as well as anti-colic valves to help the baby's tummy.

My pump of choice was the Medela Free Style. After some time, I learned that washing the parts was the most tedious part so I used one side of the set up for a morning pump session and the other side of the set up for an evening session. This helped me avoid washing both sides twice a day - which mostly saved my sanity! (lol- but not really.)


Hope this list of my favourite things for the 0-3 period and helps anyone doing some shopping or planning for a baby in their future. These are just some of the items that were helpful to us. If you want to see more of the items that were best for our little family, you can check out the links in my Amazon Storefront and shop away!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Recipe: Homestyle Cornbread

Bring on the Cornbread


The air has a bit of a chill in it these days and it's like a push of a button- you begin craving comfort foods. Over the last few days, I've been thinking of all the muffins and baked goods.

Decided to make some Corn Bread this week to enjoy with some soup or even just on its own. Let me tell you - it was super easy and super delicious. This recipe needs to get on your meal plan this month!

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
1/2 cup sugar (I used raw brown cane sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup of melted butter (unsalted)
1 cup of milk
shredded cheese (optional - I used tex mex shredded cheese)





1) Grease a loaf pan with oil or butter. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2) Combine the dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, sugar, salt, baking powder).



3) In another bowl whisk together the eggs, butter and milk.



4) Combine all the ingredients and pour into the loaf pan. Bake (middle rack) for 25 - 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Motherhood: It's a Balancing Act

A Life and Motherhood Update

My baby Liyana and I are 6 plus months in and here's what I know: Mommyhood is all about balance. 



Balancing your chequebook, balancing your time, balancing your feelings -balancing your energy! 

It's like hanging a painting- one day you're a little to the left, the next day you're a little to the right. You gotta keep adjusting!

As a mama you give yourself to the baby, your partner, the family, your friends....I'm still learning to give myself to ME.

What I'm Working On



These days, I'm taking extra time to check in with myself, find time for my health, look for ways to force myself to take a break because there is always something else to be done. 

Finding small opportunities to take some time for yourself can be rewarding- as long as you don't take too much time and feel the mom guilt. (Ah, you need to balance that too!) -  all while keeping baby on his/her optimal schedule might I add.

How to Reset

While every day is a different story, today I have made it a priority to try to find a little more balance. I may teeter off my path again tomorrow...but I will have to reset and readjust as the baby's needs and schedule changes. 

Step one today is sitting down to make a plan so I can keep my balance as much as possible- I'm looking to fit in classes and baby activities, increased fitness opportunities for me, more time for my work, some professional development and meal prep! 

You know what they say, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail - so I'm hoping making a written plan will help me make the best use of the little personal time that I have. 

These are the things that I find fill my cup, uplift me and give me energy and strength to take care of my little lady. 


Wish me luck! What are you trying to balance these days?

P.S. our cutie mommy and me yoga gear is by @jillyoga_com I absolutely love their matching sets for Moms and their littles, ranging in sizes from infant all the way to teens. If you know me, you know I live for the matching outfits! Check out Jill Yoga 's pop- up shop at Shops on Don Mills or visit their website to shop.



Thank you to my friends at Jill Yoga for sponsoring this post. As always, all views and opinions are my own.