Post Baby Body

Marlow is almost 4 months old! I can’t believe how fast it has gone by! I’ve had a few new moms ask about weight loss after baby and I wanted to do a quick post. To be honest I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost. When I came home from the hospital I jumped on the scale and discovered the batteries had died. So I decided I wouldn’t replace them and I would just go by how my clothes fit.

The main reason I don’t stress about weight loss is because I’m nursing. I know the weight will eventually come off and I don’t want to restrict any food and risk my supply going down. So instead I buy a comfy pair of jeans, a few nursing tank tops (usually black, white and nude), and tops to layer over my tank top. Side note- I find wearing a nursing tank top with a shirt over it is the easiest way to nurse when we are out and about. I can discreetly and easily nurse whenever I need. I like nursing tanks that are soft but supportive (so I don’t need to wear a bra). After Maddox, it took me almost a year to fit back into my pre baby clothes. Full disclosure- If I don’t leave the house I stay in yoga pants and a nursing tank top ALL DAY! ? When I’m feeling fancy I throw on a little make-up… Nope… That was a lie… I throw on big sunglasses so no one can tell.

So I basically bought a few set staples:
– Dark blue jeans
– Black jeans
– Black yoga pants (these high waist ones from Target are awesome)
– Nursing tank tops (From Bravado)
– A lose fitting, soft t-shirt
– A long cardigan (to hide fun new post baby belly and long enough to cover my thighs because they got HUGE.
Here’s an example of what I normally wear day to day.

FullSizeRender

IMG_9897

IMG_9898

Continue Reading

Attachment Parenting

I’ve had many people ask me about my parenting style, mainly my attachment parenting. I’ve tried to write a post about it many times and each time I’ve stopped and started over. There are so many different parenting styles, and we each have to do what works best for us, for each baby, and for our family. Keep in mind that I am currently able to be a stay-at-home mom, and your circumstance may be very different. I’m hoping to convey my feelings without sounding prejudiced against those who parent differently.

What works best for my family falls in line with attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is defined as: a parenting philosophy that proposes methods which aim to promote the attachment of mother and infant not only by maximal maternal empathy and responsiveness but also by continuous bodily closeness and touch.

To me this means skin-to-skin contact as much as possible (especially in the early days), baby wearing, breastfeeding, responding to all my babies cries, co-sleeping, and gentle parenting. Some of these are self explanatory but I wanted to talk about how I respond to their cries. I’ve always thought of crying as the only way babies can communicate their needs and wants. I believe whole heartedly that babies cry for a reason. I’ve never thought of their crying as manipulative or deceptive. It’s their only way to tell you what they need, whether it be hunger, dirty diaper, pain or just needing comfort. I also felt that by ignoring their cries, I would be telling them their voice doesn’t matter. That their one way of telling me what they need doesn’t work.

For this reason, we’ve never considered using the Cry it Out method or sleep training. It’s important to add that neither of my babies have had any medical concerns such as colic that would cause excessive crying.

So when Maddox or Marlow cry, Josh and I comfort them. Sometimes that means picking them up, talking to them, singing, moving to a new environment, distracting with toys, but mainly just keeping them close so we can respond quickly. For example, here’s what we would do when Maddox or Marlow would wake up crying. When they were tiny babies, we always picked them up immediately and softly talked to them to comfort them (i.e. “It’s ok. Shh. I’m here”). As they got older (maybe 4-6months), we didn’t pick them immediately. We cuddle next to them, pat their backs, and talk to them using the same language we did before to reassure them and comfort them. Our goal was for them to open their eyes and realize we were right there and they were ok.

We want to provide constant, consistent nurturing and comforting, and the way we do that changes as they mature. With Maddox, we have gone from immediate comfort when he was an infant, to verbal comfort as a pre-toddler, to encouraging him to “use his words” to express his distress, as he became verbal. Now I see an independent almost-three-year-old who seldom needs the sort of comfort I now offer Marlow, but who still gets our full attention when he does need it. And one of the most amazing things, since Marlow was born, I’ve also noticed Maddox offering comfort to Marlow in the same way that we did to him!

My thought behind always comforting them is that they know we are always there and they are safe, comforted, and reassured. This is what has worked best for my children and my family so far. I would love to hear what has worked for you. We do not all parent the same, but we all want the same thing — happy, healthy, well adjusted children.

Continue Reading

Quick Tip: Diaper Rash

The antibiotics Marlow has been on for her UTI has caused really bad diaper rashes! I picked up a few quick tips that really helped that I wanted to share.

IMG_3401

  1. Rinse wipes before using them. You don’t have to rinse every wipe but I did this about half the time. Even though I use pampers sensitive wipes they still have some disinfecting chemicals that can further irritate diaper rash.
  2. Use a hair dryer to completely dry everything! Turn the hairdryer on low and cool settings.
  3. Triple Paste diaper cream! It’s the BEST. Use tons of it!
  4. Diaper free time. Letting their bottom really air dry can be huge help! It’s not easy to do but I bought doggy pee pads at the store and I would lay them down on the floor and her play mat for her to sit/lay on to play. Much easier to clean up a mess that way!
  5. Frequent Diaper Changes: I literally change Marlow’s diaper as soon as she goes (sometimes before she’s actually done..whoops)!

*Side note with antibiotics: Ask your pediatrician if you can give your child probiotic! I give Marlow half a pack of Florastor of Kids twice a day. It comes in a powder form so I mix it with 2oz of water and give it with a medicine dropper. Probiotics are good for so many reasons but they are especially important when taking antibiotics.

IMG_3391

Continue Reading

Favorites: The Shop Binxy

IMG_8580I had no idea how different shopping with two kids would be! Marlow doesn’t love her carseat so keeping her in her seat in the shopping cart isn’t really an option for us. Not to mention there’s no room in the cart for groceries if her carseat is in there! If she’s asleep, I can put her in her Ergo Baby carrier and carry her that way sometimes. However, if she’s awake she wants to be looking around and interacting with people!

So when I saw the ShopBinxy I knew it would be perfect!It’s a baby hammock for your shopping cart! It’s soft and comfy, like laying in a hammock. She can still look around and be entertained. And it’s designed so I am still able to put groceries below her! Maddox also LOVES that he can turn around and play with her while he’s sitting in the cart as well. This awesome new inventions made shopping with two kids SO easy! Here’s a link to the website www.binxybaby.com Check out the pictures below of us shopping at Target!

IMG_8592 IMG_8583 IMG_8556

Continue Reading

Favorites: Wooden Teething Toys

IMG_3624I wanted to start sharing some of my favorite baby things! First up on my list are Finn + Emma Wooden Teething Rattles.

I got these toys for Marlow but Maddox clearly loves him! He hasn’t even let her play with them yet! Not sure if it’s the cute animal designs or the soft rattle sound but he loves them! I know Marlow will soon too!

I’m obsessed with these teething rattles! They are made from Indian hardwood, finished with natural vegetable seed wax, and filled with beans. Check out this awesome organic company at  www.finnandemma.com! I love that all Finn + Emma products are made with G.O.T.S certified materials using fair trade labor practices.

IMG_3640  IMG_3619 IMG_3622  IMG_3627 IMG_3639  IMG_3618

BONUS Get 15% off your order using this link: http://finnandemma.refr.cc/2HRN53H

 

Continue Reading

First Trip to the ER

Once again, I’ve killed all my plants…

So Marlow and Maddox were both sick the past few weeks. We went to Marlow’s one-month checkup, expecting an easy visit, only to find out she had a fever. She was eating and sleeping just fine and acting totally normal. I was shocked. Then we were sent straight to the ER. Marlow was catheterized, had a spinal tap and blood drawn. Scared me to death, but unfortunately that’s all apparently standard when a 6 week-old gets a fever. Finally, we found out she had a UTI. She had no other symptoms, and doctors said luckily, thanks to finding it at a scheduled checkup, we caught it early. However, not knowing what was going on, seeing Marlow get poked and prodded, and staying in the hospital for 2 days was not fun. It was terrifying, heartbreaking, and traumatizing at times. To be honest, at one point I had convinced myself something was seriously wrong. I was expecting the worst! The fact that Marlow was so young made it all so scary, but to add to that, this was our first ever kid ER visit.

To make things more complicated, and of course scarier, when they were doing Marlow’s spinal tap they hit a blood vessel, which put some blood in her spinal fluid, so they had to do a brain ultrasound to make sure there wasn’t bleeding in her brain leaking to the spinal fluid. That took 30 minutes and it was the longest 30 minutes of my life. I was convinced they found something horribly wrong, and I almost passed out I was so stressed. When the doctor came to read the results from the brain ultrasound and told us everything was fine, I was so happy and relieved I literally burst into tears. It was only a UTI, which is easily treated by antibiotics, and we were headed home 2 days later. I am beyond thankful that it wasn’t something more serious!

Once we got home and just as I was starting to relax, Maddox got sick with some sort of virus. My stress level flew through the roof again, worrying about Maddox and about Marlow getting his virus.  When kids are sick you drop everything and focus on them. So to all those parents out there who have or have had a sick kid… My heart seriously goes out to you! Stay strong and tell the rest of us how to help you. Seeing your child sick or in pain is beyond anything I ever imagined.

So needless to say… I’ve once again killed my plants… I can’t totally blame the circumstances because well… I kill plants all the time. But this time I feel like I at least had a legit reason for neglecting my plants.

Continue Reading

Bringing Home Baby

13308275_682624648352_211249782888313148_o-2Our friends and family have commented at what an absolute rock-star of a big brother Maddox has been since Marlow was born (And I totally agree). Preparing for Marlow’s arrival was very different from preparing for Maddox. We already had most of our “baby necessities” that we acquired when Maddox was born, so one of the main things we really tried to focus on was preparing Maddox. We talked a lot about Marlow and what would happen when she was born.

First, we shared our plan for what would happen when Mommy and Daddy went to the hospital. Until our first night in the hospital, Maddox had never spent the night away from us. So we worried this separation might be tough. To prepare, we discussed, almost daily, how Mommy and Daddy would go to the hospital and Maddox would go stay with Lolli, Poppi and aunt Kelsey. We talked in detail about how much fun he would have, where he would sleep, and when he would come see us. We also had him tell us what the plan was and what he wanted to do. I really think all the preparation and discussion made for his easy transition! He was amazing and never once seemed upset or unhappy about being away from us at all!

The second thing we really focused on was discussing with Maddox exactly what it will be like when we bring Marlow home. Very early on we started reading “new baby” books with Maddox. Our favorites were: I’m a Big Brother, The New Baby, My New Baby and Babies Don’t Eat Pizza. (Thanks for books Lolli!) The books were the best help for us. Reading them together really opened up the conversation for us to talk with Maddox. Some of the books are step by step bringing baby home, and others go through examples of what new babies can and can’t do.

Lastly, throughout the pregnancy we talked with Maddox about Marlow as a real baby, who was already part of our family. We really tried to include Marlow in all our conversations. When we were playing, we talked about how we will play with Marlow. We still do this. When we are building with blocks, we talk about how Marlow may knock our blocks down and how that’s what babies do sometimes. When we eat, we talk about what and how Marlow will eat. You name it, we try to talk to about it

So while it’s only been 4 weeks, Maddox has been a truly amazing big brother! He looks at her with great tenderness. He sings to her, and if she cries he offers comfort. We do everything we can to make him feel included and important when it comes to Marlow. He is our “big helper” and he loves doing jobs to help take care of his baby sister. I can’t predict how the future will be, and I’m sure there will be crazy days, but so far the transition of bringing Marlow home has been a very smooth one, and I credit really thorough preparation for that.

Continue Reading

Co-sleeping with two: DockAtot

I had some people ask if we were co-sleeping with Marlow and if Maddox was still in our bed as well. The answer is yes and yes! And here’s how co-sleeping is different with two kids!

Co-Sleeping with Maddox was easy. We have a king size bed and there was more than enough room for us all to safely spread out and give Maddox the room he needed. Since Maddox still sleeps in bed with us, we knew we needed to have a plan in place for when Marlow came.

My plan was to have as many options as possible and figure out what worked best for us when she got here. I figured she’d sleep in bed with us like Maddox did, but just in case we needed options! We started by building a separate co-sleeper that attached to our bed. I’ll be doing a separate post about this later. We then bought a DockAtot to go in the co-sleeper.  We use this in the wooden co-sleeper (instead of a typical crib mattress) as well as on the bed with us. With Maddox still in the bed, we wanted something that we could put in the bed that had a raised edge on it for extra protection. The DockATot is a multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock you can take anywhere. We looked at lots of other moveable “bed” type things, and this one seemed perfect for our needs. The fact that I can easily move it from the co-sleeper to our bed has made it worth every penny! It’s super comfy and Marlow loves it! Check out the pictures above of Marlow and her DockAtot.

One other thing we took into consideration was sleeping position. Our bed is pushed up against the wall so only one side is open. Marlow sleeps on the outside protected by the DockAtot and the co-sleeper, then I sleep next to her, and then Maddox and Josh trade between who sleeps closest to the wall. This way I can be a barrier between Maddox and Marlow, I have easy access to the co-sleeper, and I can easily nurse her throughout the night as needed. Here’s a few more pictures of how we co-sleep!

IMG_7324       IMG_7323

Continue Reading

Lorena Canals Rugs

 

image2-2So I literally DO NOT buy rugs!

I love rugs, but with 5 dogs, a 2 1/2 year old, and one more on the way I had accepted the fact that rugs were the enemy! The one time I bought a rug, I swear my dogs had a race to see who could pee on it first and Maddox did his best to spill every possible drink, food, paint, you name it, on said rug. I can only spot clean so many things, and having rugs cleaned that often costs a fortune, so eventually I threw it away.

Then one day the rug fairies send me Lorena Canals Rugs!! First of all, their rugs are adorable! But most importantly they are MACHINE WASHABLE and they actually hold up in the wash! I kid you not. I got my new rug, waited for it to get dirty (I think it took 2 days) and poof, right in the washer it went! It came out looking exactly the same (but clean, of course).

Since Maddox still co-sleeps and Marlow will be co-sleeping there was really no need for separate bedrooms. We decided a shared bedroom for storing clothes and a shared playroom were better. So I wanted a rug that was gender neutral. When I saw this one with a boy and girl on it, I had to have it! Cute side note: When I first put the rug down he said “Look that’s Maddox, a heart, and Marlow.”

So I just had to share this rug from a great company that understands the needs of all the moms (and dads) out there who want good design in a rug they can enjoy using!

IMG_2858

 

Continue Reading

Maddox’s Birth Story

With Marlow’s arrival getting closer and closer, many people have asked about Maddox’s delivery. Like most people, I remember it as a complete whirlwind, but here’s what I remember!

Maddox was born at 1:42 am on September 26, 2013. His due date was September 21st . That Tuesday, the 24th I went into my doctor’s office, concerned I hadn’t felt Maddox move all day. After an ultrasound and fetal heart check they determined everything was fine but he was basically out of room. Under the doctor’s advice (not my midwife) we checked into Northside Hospital that night to try to start the delivery process. Around 9pm I was given Cervidil to soften my cervix, because I wasn’t dilated or contracting (Maddox clearly wasn’t ready to make his entrance!) That night in the hospital was the worst. I couldn’t get comfortable, the nurses came to check on me every few hours, and I hardly slept at all (if any).

By the next morning, I had started to dilate and was having small, consistent contractions. My original goal had been to have a natural, drug-free delivery. After discussing everything with my midwife, we decided against Pitocin and instead to do everything possible to increase contractions naturally. This included constant walking/movement, lying in certain positions, sitting on an exercise ball, and other medical but non-drug alternatives. (Feel free to ask questions if you want more specifics).

Luckily, all our efforts worked and I progressed slowly throughout the day! Unfortunately, due to all our efforts, lack of sleep, and intense back labor I was exhausted! I tried different positions, taking a hot shower, laying in the bathtub, and various breathing/massage techniques to cope. But eventually I decided to change my original drug-free plan and get a “walking epidural.” That was the best decision for me! It allowed me to sleep for about 3 hours. When I woke up I felt rested, but by that time I was in full-blown labor! The epidural had worn off, and I had the intense urge to push! Around 11pm I couldn’t take the back labor anymore, and I told the nurse to call in my midwife. The labor pain was unlike anything I ever expected. I had expected labor pain to be intense contractions around my stomach/diaphragm that would come and go, but that wasn’t the case at all. All my pain was concentrated in my back. It was intense, constant shooting pain and pressure that felt like I was being ripped open from the inside out. There was never any relief or moments to catch my breath as I had assumed I would have in between contractions.

When my midwife came in around 11:30, I started to push. Maddox hadn’t progressed far enough down, and I still wasn’t completely dilated yet, but the uncontrollable urge to push took over. With my mom and Josh each holding a leg, I started pushing (against my midwife’s advice to wait a little longer). After over two hours of actual pushing, repeating many times “This isn’t going to happen… He’s stuck… This isn’t working… and… I can’t do this” they finally saw the top of Maddox’s head! At that point I leaned back on the bed and said “SO PULL HIM OUT! GRAB HIS HEAD AND JUST PULL HIM OUT!” I’m pretty sure everyone in the room laughed as my midwife explained that it wouldn’t work like that…I wasn’t done. Soon after they convinced me to keep pushing, and a few minutes later Maddox was born! He came out calm and serene with eyes wide open! He didn’t make a sound (which scared the hell out of me) and I swear he looked right at us! Maddox weighted 9lbs 1.2oz and was 21in long. He also had a head full of fiery red hair!

We were very lucky, having had no complications, and Maddox’s heart rate stayed steady and calm through the entire delivery! The pain was unlike anything I ever imagined, but I had an overall feeling of surreal calmness throughout the delivery. I was surrounded by extremely supportive, loving family, had an incredible midwife and I couldn’t have done it without them! Did I follow my original “birth plan”? Not exactly. Do I wish I had gotten an epidural for the actual delivery? Maybe a little, but I’m happy with all the decisions I made at the time! Mostly importantly, I’m glad Maddox was happy and healthy!

So my birth advice. Make a birth plan if you like, but don’t be disappointed if things don’t go according to plan. Listen to your midwife/doctor. Accept support from those around you. And look forward to your own happy outcome! Every birth is different, so we’ll see how it all goes with Marlow!

Continue Reading