Confessions of a First Time Mom

Not too long ago I wrote a post on my breastfeeding confessions. After that post, I got to thinking that it might be fun to share some of my first time mom confessions. I’d love to hear some of yours, too. Make sure you leave them in the comments!

Confessions of a First Time Mom - Click to find out the only pregnancy book I read and my strange first pregnancy symptom. What's your confession?

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more information.)

The only pregnancy book I read cover to cover was Baby Bumps by Nicole Polizzi (a.ka. Snooki from The Jersey Shore). I probably should be embarrassed to admit this but I’m not. It was a really good book. Especially, since I faced an unplanned pregnancy. Though Nicole’s circumstances were very different, I could relate to and felt comforted by her initial feelings toward finding out she was pregnant.

I once got out of the car at a stop sign, while very pregnant, because I was angry (over something really stupid, of course). I ended up in Starbucks sitting at a table crying to some strange man about my problems. Hormones anyone?!?!

One of my first pregnancy symptoms was gas. I looked it up and it’s totally normal. I then called a friend and asked her why I’ve never heard anyone talk about this. Seriously. Why? Am I the only one?

I got a lot of nose bleeds when I was pregnant. Another symptom I had no idea about!

I was so sleep deprived the first month of my son’s life, I hardly remember it. So glad I recorded a lot!

I was really freaked out to use that Nose Freida thingMy son was 4 months old the first time I used it. And, yes, it is as amazing as everyone says. If you don’t have one, you should get one… if you can get over the fact that you’re sucking up snot!

I have second guessed my son’s name. A lot. Don’t get me wrong, I love his name. In fact, I wrote it down a couple of years before he was born. But he actually goes by his middle name (the name I love) and I’ve often thought maybe I should have just gone with that as his first name. Also, he has a hyphenated last name. I’ve wondered about that decision many times. Ugh. 

I once referred to my son as “my nephew”The really bad part is, it wasn’t that long ago! But, in my defense, I was an aunt for 19 years before becoming a mom. It takes some getting used to!

Motherhood is way more fun than I ever expectedI knew that I would love being a mom but I also knew that it would be tiring and hard because that’s what I constantly hear moms say. All. the. time. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how fun it is!

These are just a few. I could probably write a book with all my confessions. Who knows?!?! Maybe I will!

Ok, you’re turn! What’s one of your confessions? 

How to Manage Your Team in a Snap

I have made it a point never to say the words, “I can’t wait until…” when it comes to my son because I know that time will pass quicker than I would like and all too soon these will be the days I will long for. With that being said, I am really looking forward (because I can wait) to the day my son starts playing sports. I can already picture him in his little soccer uniform, running in the wrong direction. It’s going to be adorable. Trust me.

Team sports were a highlight of my childhood. I guess that’s why I look forward to having my son in them. Also, I know that being a part of a team teaches kids valuable life lessons and skills.

As wonderful as playing sports can be, though, it also can be quite a bit of work for everyone involved – the child, parents, coaches. There’s a lot of coordination. Thankfully, technology can really help with this. If you have the right tools! (How did my parents keep everything straight without cell phones and Facebook?)

How to Manage Your Team in a Snap! Are you a parent of kids in sports A coach Click here to check out this app and website that will help you manage your team in a snap! Team Snap.

(This post has been sponsored by TeamSnap. However, all opinions and views are my own. Please read my disclosure for more details.) 

I was recently introduced to TeamSnap, a website and app (available on iOS and Android) designed to help coordinate all the details involved with managing sports teams. Though, we’re not quite there yet I played around a bit with it (I may or may not have made my own team) and I really love it! In fact, I wish I had something like this when I was a children’s pastor and had to coordinate various groups and events. I could have just as easily used this to coordinate practices for our musicals and even to handle communication with parents for camps.

How it works 

Basically, someone creates the team (i.e. manager, coach, team parent, etc.) and adds members to the roster. When a member is added, he or she will receive an email invite to join TeamSnap. Upon accepting the invitation, that person can then set up an account. Parents, grandparents or guardians can sign up as “non-members”. They can also add additional contacts for the family. All of the contacts will receive updates and alerts. This really helps when you have multiple family members chauffeuring your little athlete around. As a coach or manager, you can easily communicate with the entire team all the important details from practice schedules to fees to who’s bringing snack! 

 

Features 

There are a lot of great features to help the coach (and parents) stay informed.

  • Roster – See the names and contact information of the people on your team.
  • Schedule – View the schedule for games and events, including directions.
  • Availability – You can indicate which games and events you will attend.
  • Tracking – Keep track of required tasks and items.
  • Payments – You can see what teem fees are due, as well as who hasn’t paid yet.
  • Statistics – View both individual and team statistics.
  • Refreshments – Sign up to bring refreshments and see who is scheduled.
  • Media – You can post photos, videos and other files for the team.
  • Messages – Send e-mails, post or text all or part of the team.

 

Team Snap - Schedule your sports team in a snap. Click to find out more!

Try it for yourself! 

As you can see, you can manage everything on TeamSnap and it’s really easy. And if you know me, you know that I love easy. I highly recommend that you try out TeamSnap. And thanks to TeamSnap, you can try it for four months for FREE. This is a $72 value. NO credit card required. 

What are you waiting for? Get signed up today! 

How do you think TeamSnap can help you? 

3 Easy Keepsake Ideas for Busy Mamas

Years ago, I got really into scrap booking. I loved it. I bought the whole Creative Memories Kit (being a student at the time, that was a major purchase). There was only one problem. I didn’t have much to scrapbook. I was still a little too young (and broke) to have a very exciting life and, as a ministry student, I didn’t have the traditional college experience.

But, still, I tried. I have a lovely scrapbook with the brand new car I got at 21, New Year’s 2002 when my friends and I stayed at a nice hotel (and then stayed in our room all night because we were afraid of all the drunk people), a road trip to Disneyland, and my friends and I posing with the books we bought at Barnes & Noble (I told you).

I finally gave up on documenting my life and I ended up making a scrapbook as a Christmas present for my mom. My friend and I would meet with some of the moms from church and scrapbook with them. I would frequently comment that I wished I had something to put in my book and they frequently assured me that when I did, I wouldn’t have the time and would fall very behind.

Boy were they right!

When I have a few spare minutes, I almost always choose a shower.

Still, documenting my son’s life is important to me. I want him to be able to look at pictures of himself and read about the things he was doing and saying. I’ve found 3 easy keepsakes to help with this!

3 Easy Keepsake Ideas for Busy Mamas - Click to see these easy ways to document your baby or child's life!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information.)

Words to Remember Book 

I received this book as a gift from a friend at Christmas time and I totally love it! It’s just a journal to remember the things your child has said. I’ve only written in it less than a handful of times and that’s really what I love about it. When I do write in it, I just jot down the new words my son is saying and date it. It only takes a few minutes and I don’t feel like a bad mother for not keeping a daily journal of my son’s life!

Old School Photo Album 

When I was pregnant I decided that instead of a Baby’s First Year book I would just buy a simple photo album, print pictures from Wal-Mart and put them in. (OK, fine, I actually have two books because I filled up one book with the first 6 months!) This is such an easy option for documenting the first year (or any year, really). Of course, it still requires a little work.

My Social Book 

If writing and printing pictures still sounds like a little too much then My Social Book is perfect for you! My Social Book takes pictures, status updates, etc. from your Facebook timeline (or Instagram feed) and puts them into a book. It looks like your timeline… in a book. It’s really cool! I had one made from the time I announced my pregnancy publicly (at 28 weeks. Yes, I said 28 weeks.) up until my son’s first birthday. I could not be happier with the outcome of the book. As you can see from the unboxing video. I will definitely be making more of these books.

Use this link for 25% off at My Social Book. 

Do you have any easy keepsake ideas?

The Truth About Co-Sleeping

My son and I co-sleep. Actually, we bed share (more on that later). This is a fact that I didn’t use to talk about openly. Yes, there was a little hesitation to open myself up to all of the “opinions”  but, more so, because I know that there are legitimate concerns about it. But after months of trying to hide it like I hid the emergency formula (you can read about that in Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom), I started noticing something – a lot of moms co-sleep, at least sometimes. Like me, though, many don’t willingly offer that information. Specifically in the U.S., sleeping with a small child is not culturally acceptable.

And yet… many of us do it. But, wait, aren’t we the culture? Something is amiss. 

I am not writing this post to declare that all parents should co-sleep. What I hope to do here is shed a little light for parents that are considering co-sleeping, are co-sleeping and maybe even those who shame others for doing it because there is a lot of misinformation and fear surrounding the topic.

The Truth About Co-Sleeping - Is it really bad to co-sleep Click here to find out the truth!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information. 

Co-Sleeping doesn’t have to mean sleeping in the same bed. 

Co-sleeping is often used to reference parent and child sleeping in the same bed but co-sleeping doesn’t necessarily have to be thatCo-sleeping is sleeping in close proximity of the child (close enough to touch) but not on the same surface. For the first month of my son’s life, this is what we did. I had the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper and I slept as close as possible to my son without him being in my bed. Then we transitioned to bed sharing. Which, is exactly how it sounds – sharing a bed. 

Co-Sleeping can help baby breathe better. 

When baby and mom sleep close, their breathing patterns will sync up. This is especially helpful in the newborn stage, when the baby’s sleep pattern is irregular. In a sense, baby is still learning to breathe and being close to mom while sleeping helps with this process. 

Co-Sleeping babies spend less time in deep sleep.

Now, this may sound like a negative thing but when it comes to concerns such as SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) this is actually a good thing. One of the concerns with SIDS is  the lack of sleep arousal but when sleeping next to mom, mom and baby have what Dr. Sears (my go to guy!) calls synchronous arousal. This means when one stirs, coughs, etc. the other does as well. Again, this is a huge benefit in preventing SIDS. In fact, sleeping in the same room decreases the chance of SIDS by up to 50%

Co-Sleeping may actually help baby to sleep better than sleeping in a room alone. 

My son had terrible separation anxiety starting at about 6 months. I used to joke, “it’s like he thinks I’m gone forever”. Well, guess what. He probably did. Babies don’t have the reasoning that says, “she’ll be right back” or “she’s just sleeping in her own room”. Babies also don’t have the out of sight out of mind ability that we do. When a baby under one wakes during the night and mom is not there he panics. When a baby wakes in the same room he is more likely to fall right back to sleep.

Again, I am not trying to convince anyone that they “should” co-sleep, I am just addressing the fact that co-sleeping is not bad. There are many benefits, in addition to the ones I’ve shared in this post. That being said, it is important that parents who decide to co-sleep do so safely.

5 Tips for Safe Co-Sleeping: 

Parents should never bring a child in the bed when they have been drinking or under the influence of drugs.

Parents that smoke should not co-sleep/bed share.

Moms that smoked during pregnancy should not bed share.

It is not recommended that formula fed babies bed share, ever.

Make sure sheets are tightly pulled, baby’s area is free of pillows & blankets and the bed does not have any gaps for baby to fall through.

Check out this article for more tips on safe co-sleeping/bed sharing. 

If you would like more information on co-sleeping I would recommend checking out the articles and books listed below. Bed sharing has been a wonderful experience for my son and I… and I am not ashamed to say it!

Co-Sleeping and Bed Sharing 

Co-Sleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes

Cosleeping Around the World 

Sleeping with your Baby (Book) 

The Baby Sleep Book

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom

In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, I thought I would share some of my breastfeeding confessions. Also, I am sharing 12 really great breastfeeding posts written by a few of the mamas from my Mom Blog Tribe. Make sure you scroll down to check them out – these moms have some great experiences and advice!

Ok, let the confessions begin..

Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mom - Breastfeeding Blog Post Roundup & Super Basic Breastfeeding Checklist included - Click to get it!

I didn’t enjoy breastfeeding for the first few months. 

The first day my son was born, I was in complete awe over how he nuzzled his way down to nurse within minutes of being laid on my chest. But once we left the hospital that awe went straight out the window. It hurt. It was awkward. And it hurt. When my friends would tell me that I would start to love it, I had serious doubts.

I constantly questioned my milk supply. 

There was no reason to, I just did. My son gained weight fine, he peed and pooped as he should but, still, I was always thinking I didn’t have enough.

I was too lazy to pump. 

The only times I ever pumped was during the engorgement stage and the few times that my son slept through a feeding. (I know there’s different school’s of thought on this but mine is, unless there is a medical reason to wake the baby for a feeding, I don’t!) Other than that, I was just way too tired physically and mentally to keep up with pumping on a regular basis.

I gave my baby some formula.

Being away from my baby and unable to feed him was extremely rare but for such events (since I didn’t pump) I had formula.

I hid said formula because I was ashamed. 

Yep. I have only ever told a couple of people (until now, that is) that I had formula on hand as backup because I felt so guilty and feared being judged.

I worried that my milk wasn’t good enough for my baby. 

Ironically enough, I often worried that my milk wouldn’t be nutritious enough and frequently thought that maybe I should just give my son formula.

I co-sleep because, again, I’m lazy. 

To me, one of the biggest perks of breastfeeding is you don’t actually have to get up to feed the baby. Just make sure the boobs are out and sleep tight. (I love my sleep!)

I’ve never worn a nursing bra. 

A friend of mine told me to buy nursing sports bras. So, I went to the store to get one and… yikes…  they’re expensive. I bought two regular old sports bras for less than the price of one nursing sports bra. I wore those for awhile then, eventually I just started wearing my regular bras again. I fill them in a little more than before but, to be honest, I kind of like it.

I have nursed my son while in a moving vehicle. 

Don’t worry, he was safely buckled in his car seat. I’ve also nursed while sitting in a kids’ playhouse at one of those little kiddie land places, in the bath tub and on the toilet!

I’m pretty shocked that I have breastfed so long, or at all. 

I initially set a breastfeeding goal of 6 months because mentally that felt much more doable than a year or more. But, honestly, I had little faith in myself that I would make it past the first two weeks (I’m pretty sure my support people had even less faith in me!). I was quite shocked that I even made it to six months let alone 14 months (and counting).

Please note, I am speaking from the experience of someone that had minimal challenges. We had a very small latch problem that was fixed in the first three days and my son had oral thrush for two months but there were no major difficulties for us. So, for me, the biggest battle was really and truly my own will and mindset.

What breastfeeding confession do you have? 





As promised, here are some really great Breastfeeding articles from my Mom Blog Tribe. Check them out! 

The Early Days of Breastfeeding – Sophia Says Hello

Intimacy and the Breastfeeding Mother – Lactivist in Louboutins

Breastfeeding My Biggest Nursing Surprises – Short Sweet Mom

5 Things to Include in a Distraction Free Breastfeeding Zone – SoLace in a Small Town

Challenges with Breastfeeding a Toddler – Healthy Happy Thrifty Family

Lessons in Breastfeeding – Momma Junebug

These are a Few of My Favorite Breastfeeding Things – Naturally Made With Love

Breastfeeding While Traveling – Tapped Out Travellers

Confessions of an Exclusively Breastfeeding Mom – From Nurse to Mom

Working Mom Breastfeeding Essentials – Fab Working Mom Life

15+ Recipes that Boost Lactation for Breastfeeding Moms – Fab Working Mom Life

Remembering the Last Latch – Fab Working Mom Life




One more thing! Are you a soon-to-be breastfeeding mama or know someone who is? 

Get a FREE Download of my Super Basic Breastfeeding Checklist. 

 Super Basic Breastfeeding Checklist - Click for a FREE download

7 Ways to be Kind of Crunchy

 

If you’re a mom, chances are you’ve heard of “crunchy moms”. You know… the ones that don’t vaccinate or wear deodorant. They clean with vinegar, they’re obsessed with essential oils, only shop at farmers markets, cloth diaper, wear their babies and breastfeed toddlers. Oh my!

Of course, not all crunchy moms do all of those things – the scale of “crunchiness” definitely varies – and while I’m not really into labels, I do think there is something to said about being even just a little crunchy.  According to crunchymoms.com “crunchy” means being “environmentally, health and socially conscious”. There are a variety of ways that we can do this. And, honestly, I think we can all stand to be a little crunchier.

Why wouldn’t we want to be conscious of these things? 

Though I have been called a hippie and the other day my mom told my brother that I don’t use soap (not true by the way!), I wouldn’t consider myself super crunchy. I have just found little ways to be a little more environmentally, health and socially conscious.

Here are a few easy ways to be kind of crunchy: 

7 Ways to Be Kind of Crunchy

Buy natural products as much as possible. 

Natural products really aren’t that hard to come by anymore and they are better for both your health and the environment. Consider switching out things like your detergent, dish soap and cleaning products with a natural brand. Some of my favorites are 7th Generation, Honest Company, BabyGanics and Dapple. Yes, natural brands can be expensive, this is why I like to have a few favorite brands that I can switch between based on sales!

Make your own products as much as possible. 

This kind of stems from the “but it’s so expensive excuse”. Making your own products can save you a significant amount of money. Like I said earlier, my mom told my brother that I don’t use soap. He was disgusted and I got a good laugh but it’s actually not true. I made Baby Wash when I was pregnant and started using it on myself because I wanted to eliminate soaps with fragrance. I’ve been using the wash ever since and when my son came along, I started using it on him. This has saved me a huge amount of money. To date, I have spent less than $33 on body/baby wash since March 2015.   (You can get the recipe here.) I also made diaper cream for my son when I was pregnant, for less than $5 and we haven’t even used half of it yet. (Get the diaper cream recipe here.)

Use reusable bags. 

So simple yet so many of us just don’t do it. Leave several in your car. Something else I often do is use my reusable bag as a “purse”. I just throw in my wallet and a couple of diapers/wipes.

Find little ways to conserve water and electricity. 

I have often joked that my lack of daily showering isn’t because I’m a tired mom but because I am doing my part to end the drought in California! All joking aside, cutting back on showers whether by shortening your shower by a few minutes or taking one less shower a week all together is certainly not a bad idea. Did you know the average American shower uses 17.2 gallons of water? Check out this article for more ideas on how to conserve water in your shower time.

Also, an easy way to save electricity is by unplugging unused appliances. Not only will this conserve energy but it can save you money, too!

Always have vinegar and coconut oil on hand. Always. 

I never cease to be amazed by how much you can do with vinegar and coconut oil. I use vinegar in the wash, to wipe down counters, unclog drains (just add baking powder)… and I keep seeing more uses for it! And coconut oil? I’m pretty sure you can use coconut oil for anything. I currently use it as face wash but if that’s just too crunchy for you, it’s also a great eye makeup remover! There really are a ton of home remedies you can do with these items. 

Invest in essential oils. 

I’ve used some essential oils here and there but I recently received a DoTerra starter kit with Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint from a distributor I met on Instagram (her name is Rachel and she’s AWESOME. You should check out her feed! Also, though I received these products for free, all opinions are my own). It’s only been a couple of weeks since I received the oils and I have already used them for all kinds of things. The package arrived right as I was leaving for a camping trip and when I came back, I brought allergies back with me. I used a combo of the three oils to relieve them and they really worked! I also had a horrible headache the first night we came back, so I rubbed some Peppermint on my temples and within an hour the headache was completely gone. Then I caught some kind of stomach bug. (I know… so many issues!)  I used  Peppermint, lemon and coconut oil (always on hand, right?) and rubbed it on my stomach. It took a couple of times but the bug was gone within hours. My mom had the same thing and it held on for a couple of days. I totally give the oils credit for my bug being gone so fast!

There are so many uses for oils from cleaning to medicinal.

Drive Less. 

When I lived on Oahu in Hawaii, I did not have a car. That was not initially the plan but I quickly realized that I didn’t really need one and I actually liked not driving – no car insurance, or repairs or gas  meant more money in my pocket! Plus, I felt like one less car on that tiny rock was definitely a good thing. Oh and I felt so much healthier (and less stressed!) because of all the walking I did!

I realize there are places that being without a car would be difficult but there are definitely still ways to cut back on driving (unless you are in a really rural area). Now, I  do have a car but since there is a store within walking distance rather than jump in the car I will walk (except when it’s 100 degrees out!).

These are just a few of the things I have found that help me be a little crunchy. What crunchy habits do you have?