Tuesday, May 27, 2014

20 Things To Do Before Baby Arrives

I love the blog world and Pinterest for preparing me in many ways for our first born. Of course I was also lucky enough to be the last of my friends to have children so I had lots of advice. I wanted to share some of my own best advice that I found most helpful. Some were tips from the inter webs, friends and some of my own. I gave birth during the nastiest winter and getting out was not pleasant for any one never mind a postpartum mommy and newborn. You learn as you go.  What I have learned is no mother's journey is the same. Each one of us has a unique ride called motherhood. Enjoy it as you go because it goes so fast. Hope some of these hints can help.

Being prepared was key!

Here are just some of the best tips I can give.

Find a pediatrician! We were lucky to have tons of suggestions from our closest friends. I actually put it out in a Facebook post asking local friends who they used. The funny thing is all but 2 friends suggested the same doctors office. Its a family practice and most of my friends grew up seeing the father and now they take their own children there With Jack's health issues it is extremely important for us to love his doctors and we do!

Get familiar with your breast pump. I did not do this. I didn't even take it out of the box before having Jack. I waited till he was home before my crash course in all things Medela. I did regret it. It sounds crazy but I was a little afraid of it. I called a friend who had been an exclusive pumper with her son for advice. Jack refused to latch so we had no other choice. I've learned it was best to do the bare minimum when returning home with baby.

Purchase milk storage bags. I mentioned the best were Target Up and Up brand. They are much cheaper than most and in my opinion much sturdier. Obviously this is for mommas who have a breast pump. Jack was jaundice and had a terrible time latching on so using a pump was key for us.

Make a bunch of freezer meals. In the weeks leading up to Jack's birth we started making meals to store in our freezer. When my mom came to visit she made tons of meals to also keep. Meals that we found easy to freeze were a turkey with all the fixings, baked ziti, beef stew, chili and chicken soup. Another suggestion is picking up some extra tupperware. We didn't and ran out to the store with baby once we had tons of meals and nothing to put them in.

Pack your bags and leave them in a smart spot. I had our bags packed by week 29 after the doctors told us Jack was head down and pretty low. It didn't help that I forgot a bunch of stuff. You can read the post on the on what we packed here. I packed 2 bags; one for my husband and one for mom and baby. I left all of them at my parent's house. They only live 5 miles from our hospital so it made the most sense for us. I have heard it's a good idea to leave them in your vehicles.

Disinfect everything you think you may need. Make sure all the breast pump pieces are disinfected. You will need them. Also, try and disinfect a few bottles and pacifiers. I swear by the Medela microwave steam bags too. Things are conveniently disinfected in 3 minutes!

Visit your hospital, know the rules and protocols. Our hospital is a small community hospital. The front doors lock at 10pm and after that all patients must go through the ER. I didn't tour our hospital because I had an emergency visit at 29 weeks. I met a majority of our nurses and saw the rooms while we were there.

Take Classes. Again, we didn't take classes and I did regret it. I thought the tips from friends and family would be enough. If there is one thing I learned from pregnancy and labor is you can never have enough information but don't let them take over your brain.

Pick out a place where you will purchase your nurses gifts.  See if they will deliver too.  We ordered a tray of cookies from a local bakery. They were nice enough to deliver locally without an extra charge. They were also a lot cheaper and larger than an Edible Arrangement or larger chain.

Charge all electronics and buy batteries. No big deal if you don't have all the necessities. The hospital will have outlets and batteries. We also tried to make sure our iPhones were fully charged at all times when our due date got closer.

Purchase a bottle brush and baby safe soap. This was another thing we didn't do. My husband ran out to Walmart after we got home with Jack to buy both of these items. We like Palmolive Baby best.

Get a folder, binder, and notebook for all baby information. You will get a lot of information. You will also go on a lot of appointments. It's a good idea to keep all receipts for tax reimbursements. Jack has several specialists so we have lots of paperwork and even more questions. I keep a notebook handy for all the questions I may have to ask them.

Keep track of all the wonderful things happening during your pregnancy! I am a picture taker. I try and keep track of everything exciting that happens in our lives and pregnancy was no exception. I currently have a photo book project in Shutterfly that tracked my pregnancy. I like to keep the projects open because you never know when a 50% coupon may arrive in your inbox.

Water proof your bed, couch and car! A friend of mine warned me about this and I'm so glad I took her suggestion. My water broke as I was about to sit on my couch. I'm so glad I had extra covers on my couch. I also made sure to cover the bed (although I could barely sleep in it towards the end), I had extra towels with me at work and in my car just in case!

Install and assemble all baby items you may need. When Jack came home from the hospital we had all the larger items put together. Our cradle, MamaRoo, Pack and Play and co sleeper were all ready to go. We knew we would be using all of the above items so putting them together made the most sense for us. We did not put together some of the other smaller items and we didn't wash all of the clothes we were given as gifts. We didn't use a lot of items we received like the Ergo insert (it was way to cold to bring Jack out on walks and we tried to put him in it once. He hated it.) The items we didn't use we exchanged for diapers, wipes and other necessities.

Relax and pamper yourself! I didn't do enough of this when I was pregnant but when I did get a pedicure it felt like heaven! It did however bring on some contractions for me. A good friend of mine had a pedicure and went into labor with her twins. My feet hurt so bad towards the end I would have paid the girls extra just to rub my legs and feet.

Stock up on quick things to eat. I live in a 3 floor town house. We have LOTS of stairs. One of the first things the nurses tell you not to do is climb stairs after your birth so getting to and from the kitchen in our house was difficult. I made sure I had a stock of easy to carry food. I had granola bars, trail mix and pretzels close wherever I felt hungry.

Purchase thank you cards, print labels. I was shocked at the amounts of gifts we were given. Jack received gifts from family, friends, friend's families, children I work with, neighbors and coworkers. I had picked up a few thanks you cards (16) and ended up having to pick up 3 more packages!!! I had printed some labels ahead of time as well. We were so lucky. Jack is very spoiled.

Create diaper stations on each floor. Like I mentioned our 3 floor town house isn't the ideal spot for new moms. My sister in law brought over her extra changing table and my husband set up a changing table on our main floor. We have separate stations. We have diapers, wipes, ointment, lotions, changes of clothes and anything for new baby on both floors. We did sacrifice some of the room on our main floor but its well worth it. Isn't that what parenthood is all about anyway?

Bookmark your favorite birth announcements. We did not know what we were having so I had looked up several birth announcements before Jack arrived. I bookmarked my favorite gender neutral, girl and boy announcements. Once our newborn pictures were done it was easy to put them together and place an order. Don't forget the coupon codes if you order from Shutterfly or Snapfish. Coupon codes are all over.

Enjoy a nice dinner. We just happened to wait till the very last night as a family of 2 for this fancy dinner. About 6 hours after our nice dinner Jack began his journey into the world. My suggestion would be to avoid the very last few days to indulge in a nice dinner. It may be a while before you can do it again.

Hope this list will help you. Please remember every mommy and every baby are so very different. If you are expecting you will see tons of posts like this one and get even more advice from everyone; friends, family and even complete strangers from the supermarket. Find your own way, recover in your own time and take care of yourself and baby. Most of all enjoy the journey.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I've seen a few of these floating around the blog world. I always find these fun to read so I hoped on the bandwagon too.

...Loving- These adorable Pottery Barn hats with matching diaper cover. The Coldplay station on I tunes radio; REM, Snow Patrol, Oasis, Keane. I can't get enough! Hallmark Baby clothes, so cute!

...Wishing- I had an easier time losing the post pregnancy weight. I wish I wasn't so down on myself about it too!

...Waiting- For my husband to hang up pictures (my least favorite job) so we can make progress on our living room gallery wall and Jack's nursery! Yes, my son will be 5 months and his walls are still bare.

...Walking- Not as much as I should!

...Planning- Family pictures! I'd love to drop a few pounds first. I'm thinking of taking them at the Country Club where we got married. I'd love to have pictures of the 3 of us in the same spot we were married. I may also hold out until the fall and take them at the Orchard where we had our 1st date and where were engaged. I also need to plan Jack's christening. I have to get through the Great Strides Walk a Thon for Cystic Fibrosis next weekend.

...Wanting- The weather to be nice for the holiday weekend. The forecast looks terrible for the entire weekend. Rain starts tomorrow and goes until Monday.

...Eating- BEETS! I'm obsessed with them lately. I've been craving them on salads lately. My new favorite is mixed greens, beets, dried cherries, goat cheese and topped off with Ken's Italian dressing (The one made with cider vinegar) and sprinkled with some french fried onions.

...Thinking- There were more hours in the day! I can't seem to fit anything into my days. I can't even sleep

...Dreading- Work! Every day I'm there I'm wishing I was home with my boy. I miss him so much that all the little things that happen on a regular work day are so intensified.

...Watching- Breaking Bad! Since cutting cable we are catching up on all the series we never really watched. We have become obsessed with Breaking Bad! We are in the final season and I'm getting anxious that we will have nothing to watch when it ends!!! I'm also watching Dawson's Creek when I need a break from all the meth making.

...Obsessed- This necklace! 

..Laughing- This picture....

Go home Jack, you're drunk!

...Excited because I have a 4 day weekend and Brian is also! We are going to have a family day on Saturday. Tuesday we have an appointment with Jack's respiratory specialist but it's still 4 days with my guys!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Returning To Work After Baby

I've been back to work for over a month and while it has not been easy or fun we have gotten our schedule in order and it seems to fit for us. Our mornings are hectic as to be expected. No matter how early we wake up I always feels like I'm rushing around. I usually end up realizing I didn't eat breakfast on my drive to work. It will get easier, I hope, or at least I hope to find a good balance.

It was not easy returning to work. Missing my little boy was the hardest part. The other inconveniences were definitely not fitting into any of my pre pregnancy work clothes and getting used to pumping at my desk.

Here are just a few tips and suggestions on how I made going back to work and how I made pumping a little more bearable.

- You will cry and it's is perfectly normal. I treated myself to a Starbucks in hopes that it would make it better. It didn't help but it was tasty!

- Invest in a Medela breast pump. Mine was free through our insurance company.

- Don't feel guilty. Don't let others make you feel guilty for going back either.

- Purchase extra pump parts to leave at work. You will find getting out of the house each day is tough and the less things you need to remember the better!

- Waterless wipes help immensely! They conveniently clean your pump parts quickly!

- Stick to your pumping schedule if you have one. If not pump as often as you feel comfortable. By law you have the right to pump upon returning to work. It's very tough and I find myself having difficulty sticking to it most of the time. I try to pump 3-4 times at work and during my commute.

- Make sure your employer and your HR department know you plan to pump before you go back so they can make arrangements. My HR department offered a mini fridge for my office to store milk.

- Get a hand free nursing bra. This is the one I've been using. Many people also make their own by cutting slits in their sports bras. This is a much cheaper suggestion.

- Don't compare yourself to other moms! Be proud of yourself and all of your little victories.  Trust me, just getting out of bed after waking up every 3 hours is a little victory!

- Try to freeze some breast milk before going back to work just in case. Pick up some formula just in case. I got free samples after signing up with Similac. We stayed with Similac because it was given to Jack to supplement while we were in the hospital. Our pediatrician also gave us free samples.

- Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't doubt yourself and your abilities or supply. The less stress you have the more you can pump.

- Bring an article of baby's clothing, blanket or something that smells like your baby. hold it when you pump. I've heard this may help your supply.

- Look at your baby's picture or a video while your pumping.

- It's OK. It's ok to be tired. It's ok to supplement with formula if you aren't producing enough. It's ok to be sad you're leaving your little one. It's ok if you don't have everything in order or if your don't have a schedule in place or if you can't stick to it.

We are all so different. No one new mom does everything perfectly and if she does I want to meet her and pick her brain. Hopefully these simple tips will help some new moms on their journey back to work.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My 1st Mother's Day

For the 1st time I was able to celebrate Mother's Day with not only honoring my mom but feeling the love on a whole new level. On Sunday Jack woke up at 3 and again at 5:30am to eat and then woke up for the day at 6:30am. I took the 3 and 5:30 feedings because I try and nurse whenever I am not at work. Jack resisted the boob for 3.5 months so I'm getting all the bonding time in that I can. By 6:30 I   was spent! I woke up Brian and curled up in bed, all by myself and slept in until 9:30!!! It was GLORIOUS!!!! 

I woke up to a happy little boy and my favorite breakfast; bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel with chocolate milk and coffee (NOT DECAF. I deserve it. I've been such a zombie lately) Most of the morning we cuddled and just relaxed. 

My sister in law had our nephew's 5th birthday party on Sunday so we spent the afternoon with my in laws. The weather was beautiful and we spent most of the day outside. We snuck in some mommy and me pictures. I must pick my favorite to add to our gallery wall soon. What do you all like? Hopefully by our Father's Day pictures I'll fit in more than 3 outfits!!! 

We topped the night off with a venti iced coffee and we cooked dinner for a few days. 
Great news is I didn't have to wipe a butt or clean up poop all day long! 

I also saw this and I hold it close to my heart. Being a mom of a child with cystic fibrosis is tough. This makes it all very real but I love my life and boy! 

Hooray for Mother's Day and all the lovely mommas out there. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

What I Really Want For Mother's Day

As my first Mother's Day approaches I find myself thinking about what I really want. I don't want jewelry, flowers or anything tangible.! Instead all I really want is more time! I really want more time with my son, more time in the day to clean, cook, and just time to relax and be a family.

In the day to day rush and struggle to get things accomplished I often find myself feeling so guilty.  When I'm preparing bottles for the next day, lunch and household chores all I really want to be doing is playing with Jack. I want to sit on the floor with him and cheer him on as he tries to roll over.  I want to listen to his chatter and his new found love of blowing raspberries.

I'm out of the house 10 hours a day. I think I can speak for many working moms that they feel as if they miss so much. I know SAHM have it tough and it isn't easy but I envy them and the time they get to spend with their little ones.  I am so afraid I will miss the first time he rolls over, crawls, stands or says his first word.  I find myself keeping jack up late to hang with him.  I just don't want to miss a thing.

Happy Mother's Day to every mommy out there. I hope that you enjoy every second with your little miracle.  In this hectic life take a little time to breathe and enjoy! You deserve it for all you do and all the love you give. 

This weekend I intend on snuggling my little man extra! I want to appreciate him and the miracle that he is.  I want to celebrate how Jack has made my life whole and fulfilled every wish and dream I have ever had.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Baby Jack- 4 Months

Weight and Height- 

Jack's appointment is Wednesday but if our home scale is right he is up to 14.14.  If it is right, holy cow!!! 

Jack continues to go back to his group of specialists. We continue his nebulizer and percussion therapies 2 times a day.When he would scream through them I would have a break down each time. It's a much calmer routine these days. We are all feeling grateful and relieved! He has a slight cold. He seemingly has bad allergies. He always has boogies!

Jack is a great sleeper. He always has been. He is waking us up now to eat. Some days it is 1 or 2 times a night. 

Jack barely cries.He is such a happy little boy. He doesn't even cry when he wakes up in the morning! Most mornings he's talking, shaking his legs and smiling away! 

I swear it looks different each day. I think he may be a strawberry blonde.

Blue, blue, blue! 

Jack is wearing 3 months. He also fits in 0-3 and 3-6. His length forces him into large pajamas especially feeties.

My boy is FINALLY nursing.  It took him 3.5 months but he is doing it. We nurse whenever I am with him. I continue to pump while I'm at work. His formula intake is down from 2 bottles to 1 or even no bottles a day. His intake with each bottle is 6 ounces.

He likes chilling in his gumbo watching hockey and cartoons. 

We have one down. Most days start at 5am. We begin with a bottle, wait an hour and do his treatment. He usually falls asleep after his 8am bottle and again in the late afternoon. Our nights usually end with an 11:30 bottle and bed. 


He is so incredibly happy and friendly. Jack reacts to me as well and everyone else he is familiar with. ! Every time I speak to him he smiles. He imitates mouth movements. Jack is starting to blow raspberries. He tries to giggle but he always sucks the air in and no sound comes out. He goes to anyone and enjoys being held by every one. 

Jack celebrated his first Easter. 

Jack likes to sit on the kitchen table and watch mommy cook. 

Bath time is his favorite. He loves being almost completely submerged! 
Music- We all love the Frozen station on I tunes Radio. He still like when I sing to him. 
Family- He loves his grandmas and grandpas. He spends each day with older cousins, 1 and 4 years old. 
Bouncy seat- We got everything plus more at our shower but this little guy loves this $3 find from a yard sale. We burn out batteries like nobody's business.
MamaRoo- Its so soothing for him.
Cartoons especially KungFoo Panda

Getting his boogers sucked out.
Having his hands covered  
Trying to sit up on his own. 

Every Sunday he has face time with his friend Michael. 

Being at work is tough. I think I'm getting there. I hate being away from my little man but I like the routine of getting out of the house. I'm exhausted pretty much all of the time but its a good tired. I really want to start losing some weight. Since nursing I feel like it may be easier than just pumping. 

Jack is so close to rolling over. He gets frustrated when he can't but he'll get there soon. He chatters often, looks for things, focuses on things, people and voices. He sits in his Bumbo chair and is almost all the way up with out being propped. He bares his body weight and would much rather be up than in a seated position. 

Jack kind of enjoyed his first hike. 

Chicken Nugget, Stinky Doodle, Bug, Noodle, Jack Frost, Hungry Jack, Jack Attack

Look how he has changed! 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 5

(how about we pretend it's still yesterday, ok?)

What a difference a year makes.  May 5, 2013 was like any other Sunday.  We woke up early, cleaned the house, went grocery shopping and ate at a delicious Greek restaurant. We also bought a kitchen table. I thought that would be the most exciting part of our day. We thought...

A few days earlier I hadn't been feeling great so took a test that was negative and felt a discouraged. Later in thew evening Brian was working out and it dawned on me I was really late. I had one test left so I took it and everything changed.

Who knew 2 little lines would make life so much better.

We made a wish and you came true.

May 5th will never be the same. Every May 5th and every other day will forever be better with my Jack!

Guess who is also 4 months old this May 5th!?!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

No Spend May

I am going to try a little something new this month. I don't know how it will work out but it's worth a shot. I'm going to avoid spending any unnecessary money during the month of May. Since going back to work I took a pay cut by only working 32 hours a week. I also have serious spending issues. Both of these make it very difficult to save any money. I didn't save a penny in April and I'm feeling pretty guilty about it. Although I love all the new things I was able to purchase for Jack he didn't need any of them. Same goes for me. I've bought things for myself that I did not need. I'm the kind of girl that buys things because I think I deserve them and work hard for them when in fact I can barely remember what I buy. I have closets overflowing with stuff, cabinets overflowing with makeup and hair care products. What really matters is not buying insignificant stuff. It is the people who love and care for you that matters. 

I've decided not to spend anything unnecessary but there will be 2 purchases for my mother and mother in law for Mother's Day. 

What I won't be spending cash on:

- Eating out
- Coffee
- Clothes
- Shoes
- Accessories
- Toys for Jack
- Clothes for Jack
- Make up
- Cable- We already canceled cable last month and we are already saving $53 a month.
- Anything from Home Goods because I'm addicted

I will admit I have several gift cards. I am not opposed to using them this month. I'm no saint! I have some Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Macy's and some local restaurants I will probably use during the month.

In addition to my spending freeze I plan on doing some of the following to help save cash.
- Clip coupons
- Use on line garage sales and consignment shops to try and sell our unnecessary items
- Meal planning

Has anyone participated in anything like this?
Tips and hints on ways to save?

Wish me luck!