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? 

Did you know I launched a new blog in October 2016? Check out For the Love of Mom where there’s less kids stuff and more stuff just for YOU! 

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

Did you know I launched a new blog in October 2016? Check out For the Love of Mom where there’s less kids stuff and more stuff just for YOU! 

7 Breastfeeding Essentials

When my son was a newborn I had a couple of different friends ask me how nursing was going and both had told me that it was “beautiful”. I remember thinking, there is nothing beautiful about this. I will say that the way he knew exactly what to do minutes after being laid on my chest as a newborn was beautiful. It was amazing. But, days and weeks later? It was awkward. It hurt. And it hurt. Did I mention it hurt? Don’t believe those lactation experts. It hurts! Thankfully, I did get past the “this is not beautiful” stage and really began to love it. Breastfeeding is beautiful and it is something special that you and your baby have just between the two of you. But, yes there is a bit of a learning curve. And, now that I’ve done it, I totally get why so many women give up in those first few weeks. There are a lot of great products to help nursing moms. I have compiled a list of 7 Breastfeeding Essentials that really helped me out as a new nursing mom. 

(This post contains affiliate links; I may receive  commission for purchases made through these links.)

7 Breastfeeding Essentials - Diary of a New Mommy

  1. Lansinoh SoothiesOh. My. Word. These things are AMAZING! My sister is a lactation consultant (I know, how lucky was I?) and she swears by these. In the beginning when I was experiencing a lot of discomfort, she ran out and bought me some. Like I said, amazing. They instantly sooth nipple soreness. Seriously, get themLansinoh Soothies Gel Pads. 7 Breastfeeding Essentials - Diary of a New Mommy
  2. Lansinoh Lanolin – Also for the soreness (cracking, blistering… oh my!). In those first few days/weeks, you will be sore. Unless, of course, you have nipples of steel. I only had a small tube that the hospital gave me. I didn’t even use the whole tube but it was still very helpful to have on hand, especially for the first couple of weeks. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin. Breastfeeding Essentials. Nipple Cream. Nursing Supplies
  3. Sports Bra – A friend of mine suggested that I buy nursing sports bras as they are more comfortable. I have one that someone gave me but I actually ended up buying regular sports bras. I eventually started wearing regular bras but at first I only wore sports bras. And when I say “regular” I mean regular.  I’ve never purchased a nursing bra. (And only own the one that was given to me.) Sports Bra. Breastfeeding Essentials.
  4. Nursing Pads – For the leaking. Need I say more? I used Lansinoh Disposable Pads. They worked really well for me. Breastfeeding Essentials - Diary of a New Mommy. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.
  5. Ice Pack – In the event of engorgement, you will want an ice pack. I used a regular old ice pack but there are ice packs and cold compresses specifically for breastfeeding. Whichever you choose, make sure there is an ice pack in your house! Breastfeeding Relief. Breasfeeding Essentials.
  6. Water Bottle – Get the biggest water bottle there is. Nursing makes you thirsty. Really thirsty. I got a 32 oz.  hydro flask as a gift when I was pregnant and it was perfect! Breastfeeding Essentials - Diary of a New Mommy
  7. Nursing Cover – This is probably not something you will use right away, unless you plan on having lots of guests that you feel comfortable nursing in front of but not so comfortable that you don’t care if they see your breasts. But, when the time comes, you will may want a nursing cover. I don’t use a cover a whole lot, only because we’re pretty much always home. But I do have a cover. One of my biggest tips on choosing a cover, is get something lightweight. After all, it is going over your baby’s head! You want to make sure it’s not too heavy, so it doesn’t get too hot in there. There are a lot of different covers to choose from. You could go with the sheet/apron looking kind. I was given two of these. Free works for me. Or you could go with some of the more fashionable covers.  I was recently introduced to Hannah Grey Nursing Couture through Instagram. They have some really cute covers that can be used as ponchos, scarves and even car seat covers or blankies for baby. I really love their collection! Oh, and did I mention they’re offering us a discount? Use my code “diary15” for 15% off! This offer ends May 20. 

    Use my code "diary15" until May 20 for a 15% off discount.
    Use my code “diary15” until May 20 for a 15% off discount.

So, that’s my list. These are the things that helped me in my nursing experience. (Yes, I realize I didn’t include pumps. We’ll talk about that later.) What are your nursing essentials? 

 

8 Ways to Play with Your Baby (0-3 Months)

It is never too early to play with your baby (in fact you can even play in utero)! Play is crucial for your little bundle’s physical, emotional and mental development. Babies are born to learn from our sensitive, loving care – this means, you are the best teacher! Also, playing with your baby is a great way for you and baby to bond.

8 Ways to Play With Your Baby - Diary of a New Mommy

Here are 8 ways to play with your baby:

  • Face to Face – Babies love face time (I mean, the original face time). And they respond more favorably to happy faces. So, engage your baby by looking in his/her eyes, smiling or even making some funny faces. Remember that newborns only see inches away, so you’ll have to get nice and close if you have a new little love.
  • Peeka-Boo – This game will be your friend for a long time, so you might as well get to practicing now. Hide behind a wash cloth, receiving blanket or your hands and call your baby’s name. Then… “peek-a-boo”! As your baby grows you will notice that he will become more responsive with smiles and eventually laughs.
  • Reach Out and Touch Something – Many baby items come with mobiles or hanging toys of some sort and for good reason! Reaching out will help baby develop hand eye coordination (also many of these items help baby learn things like colors, shapes, etc.). Use one of these toys to play a game of reaching out. Talk to your baby as you touch the items. What color are they? What shape is it?
  • Music Time – Babies love music! It’s soothing to them and it may even enhance their mental development. You can play all types of music for your little one. Sing and you can dance, too – baby will love the closeness!
  • Reading – It’s never too soon to start reading with your baby (in fact, many moms do so during pregnancy). Reading is great for language development.
  • Balloon Kick (1 month or older) – I found this on Pinterest when my son was a newborn and decided to give it a try after somehow acquiring a helium balloon (I think he was around 2 or 3 months). Tie balloons to your baby’s ankles, allowing her to kick and watch the balloons move. This is not recommended for baby’s that can roll.
  • Sensory Play – Your little one learns through all of the senses. Use sensory play to help your baby learn. The type of play will evolve as baby gets older but even from birth you can engage your baby in touching and feeling the world around him.
  • Rattle Socks – Put socks on your baby with rattles and let her kick away!

Now, I didn’t want to insult you by putting tummy time but, of course, this is a great (and doctor recommended) way to play with your little one from birth.

How have you played with your baby?

8 Ways to Play With Your Baby (Newborn to 3 Months) - Click for ideas on how to play with your little one.

Easter Activities for Babies

Easter Activities for Babies - Diary of a New Mommy

Easter is just around the corner and while your baby may be too young for an Easter Egg Hunt there are still plenty of activities for him/her to enjoy! Here are some ideas on how you can play with your baby using plastic eggs.

Easter Activities for Babies:

Easter Egg Shakers – Babies love to shake stuff up! Get a plastic Easter egg (I prefer large ones for safety reasons) and fill it up with rice, pasta or beans. Or you could fill multiple eggs each with a different filler. Tape the egg up. I used clear packing tape. My son love his egg shaker!

Egg Crawl (or Waddle!) – Place plastic eggs around the room and encourage your baby to crawl or walk to collect the eggs. For safety, tape the eggs up. Again, big eggs might be preferable. Especially for younger babies.

Eggs in the Basket – Help your baby put eggs in (and out of) a basket. You can count the eggs with your baby, identify the colors or you could even use your egg shakers and shake them up as you put them in the basket.

Crack the Egg Place sensory items such as felt, fabric, tissue paper (just be sure to closely supervise so baby doesn’t eat it) inside eggs. I even used a sock! Help your baby “crack” open the eggs and take out the sensory items. Talk to your baby about the item’s color, texture, sound, etc.

Again, I strongly recommend taping the eggs for these activities (except for “crack the egg”) and I prefer to use larger eggs because they can’t fit in my son’s mouth! Adult supervision is strictly advised.

3 Reasons to Skip Store Bought Baby Food

Every day my Instagram feed is loaded with pictures of green stuff – green smoothies, green drinks, green powders. Everyone seems to be going green these days. If you’re not familiar with them, all of this green stuff usually has two intentions: 1) to give us adequate nutrition and 2) to cleanse our bodies of all the toxins and “junk”.

We are very aware that the processed foods we put in our bodies is inadequate. And, yet, we continue to start the most vulnerable of our species off with store bought (processed) baby food.

3 Reasons to Skip Store Bought Food - Diary of a New Mommy

In my post 3 Reasons to Skip Rice Cereal, I talk about the importance of setting our babies up for optimum nutrition and healthy eating habits. In short (but you should still read it), we are getting our little ones hooked to sugar before they can even walk! I suppose you could call this a sister post with the same mission – giving our babies the best nutrition we possibly can. This is what I personally try to do. I do have a container of Organic Happy Baby Puffs on hand (most of which end up on the floor while my son keeps busy waiting for his meals!) but, other than that, we don’t do any store bought baby foods.

Here are 3 Reasons to Skip Store Bought Baby Food:

  • It may have been on the shelf since before your baby was born. Did you know that baby food can have a shelf life of up to two years? Even the “healthier” organic baby food. Think of the preservatives and additives it takes to keep food “fresh” for this long.
  • The vitamins and nutrients have been killed off. In order to avoid contamination, the food needs to be cooked at high temperatures. While this may keep food safe, it certainly does not keep it nutrient rich. During the cooking process, the food is actually stripped of it’s vitamins and nutrients. This is where additives come in, to make up for what has been lost but, unfortunately, these substitutes simply can’t replace the real thing. So, we are left with food that has little nutritional value compared to when it started.
  • It’s expensive. Ok, so this one doesn’t have anything to do with nutrition but, to me, giving my baby something that is healthier and cheaper is a total win-win. It costs between $50 and $100 a month for store bought baby food. I spend approximately $22 a month on my son’s food. This is a $28 savings from the low end of store bought food costs. That’s a pretty big savings!

I know that one of the biggest draws of store bought food is the convenience but, it’s just as easy to grab a banana on the way out the door! I’ve even fed my son more prepared foods in the car, at a restaurant, the mall… pretty much anywhere. I just throw it in a bowl and go.

These are just a few things to think about the next time you head to the baby food aisle!

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Baby’s First Easter Basket Ideas

With less than three months until my son’s first birthday, I have to admit I’m a little sad that we’re almost out of “baby’s first” holidays. I know he doesn’t know the difference but to me every holiday has felt like a double celebration – whatever the day is about and the fact that my son is here!

Call me crazy, but I waited a long time to have a kid.

I think this first year of holidays has also felt so significant to me because each one has caused me to think about the traditions that I want my son to grow up with, the things he will come to look forward to year after year.

This brings us to Easter baskets.

Baby's First Easter Basket

Seriously, does a baby really need an Easter basket? No, of course not. But does any kid need an Easter basket?

I can understand why some parents might skip an Easter basket for the baby’s first Easter but I’m looking forward to getting this tradition started this year!

Here are some ideas if you are putting together an Easter basket for your little one’s first Easter.

Baby’s First Easter Basket Ideas:

Contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure page for more information.

Books. Books are always a great gift idea. I ordered two books for my son’s basket. They’re both from Usborne (have you heard of Usborne? I’m seriously in love with their books!), Baby’s Very First Little Book of Bunnies and Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Animals Book.

Baby's Very First Little Book of Little Bunnies

Touchy-Feely Animals Book

Binkies. If your baby uses binkies, chances are he or she could use some more. My son has an on again off again relationship with binkies but when it’s on I need to know there are binkies in the house. Especially since when it’s “off” I am his human binky! I think these Tommee Tippee binkies, are adorable.

Tommee Tippee Pacifier

Pacifier Clips. And since those darn things are so easy to lose, you might want to throw in some pacifier clips, too!

Pacifier Clips

Sophie the Giraffe. Chances are your little one is teething or will be soon. Sophie the Giraffe is a teether, not that you needed me to tell you that. It’s on all of the must-have lists. If you don’t have one already, now might be the time to pick one up.

Sophie the Giraffe

Bandana Bibs. Speaking of teething… chances are, you might have a little drool problem. Well, not you, your baby. I love bandana bibs. Seriously. Love.

Bandana Bibs

Happy Baby Superfood Puffs. For older babies, a snack like Happy Baby puffs is a pretty inexpensive treat to add. This is another item that will be in my son’s basket. I’m going to buy it anyway, so might as well fill up the basket!

Happy Baby Organic Puffs

Sippy Cups. If you don’t already have a few sippy cups or if you’ve been wanting to try a different one this might be a great time to get a couple. My son is becoming more and more interested in sippy cups and I’ve been wanting to try out the Tommee Tippee Mealtime Trainer, so this is another one that will be in his basket.

Tommee Tippee Mealtime Trainer

Sunglasses. Get your little one ready for some sunshine with an adorable a pair of sunglasses. Target has them starting at $5.

Girls SunglassesBoys Sunglasses

So Adorable Baseball Hat. Ok, the name definitely says it all. These hats really are so adorable. My son has one. It’s not something I would normally put on him but one day in a mad dash for a hat, any hat, I picked one up at Target. This would be a fun gift for an Easter basket (they have other animals as well).

Boys Fish Hat

Baby Einstein Roller Pillar Activity Balls. My son loves these things! These activity balls are the perfect size, are different (bright) colors and they each have sensory type items inside like mirrors, chimes, etc. They would be a great addition to an Easter basket.

 

Pillar Roller Balls