Last November I shared about a very special trip I took to an incredibly special place, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It changed my life. Literally. Let me explain. I published this post on Thanksgiving day of 2013. I urge you to go read it because most of us have heard about St. Jude and have a general idea of what they do. However, there is just SO much more to the picture than what you see in a 30 second commercial. If you’ve done that, then here goes. Blake was born in August 2014…
About two years ago I left my day job working in the fashion industry and decided to call the blogging world my new day job. To say it was scary is an understatement. I had supported myself 100% from the age of 19 and had always had multiple jobs, even when I was living at home in a very cushy suburb of NY. The thought of relying on my husband while working my way up…even though he was my husband freaked me out. Relying on anyone else hit a nerve for me. Strong and independent had always been my “thing.”
Here are 5 tips for choosing baby bottles. Thanks to my friends from Joovy for sending me some of the Joovy Boob bottles to try out. They have been wonderful and are without a doubt my favorite baby bottles so far!
There are certain things you learn the second time around as a mom. Like that at some point you will utter the phrase “do not eat your toe lint!” only this time maybe you’ll care ever so slightly less. The biggest lesson I learned from Kayla was not to put too much stock in anything based on the fact that it worked for a friend, a blogger, a celebrity, etc. So while I share my favorite product finds with you frequently, I always say that every baby is different. And I thought you might like to learn from some of my amateur mistakes. Therefore, here are 5 tips for choosing baby bottles.
When I was pregnant with Kayla, the whole BPA free movement had just started. The “good” bottles were BPA free and the “bad” bottles were not. At this point, basically everything is BPA free. Initially I wanted to use glass bottles out of fear of using plastic because I remember once tasting the water in a sippy cup I had bought Kayla early on and was horrified to realize that it tasted like plastic. However, glass can be really expensive, prone to breakage and with many brands the silicone sleeves you can buy are also expensive and a pain to get on and off for cleaning.
In the end, I went with the PPSU boob bottles from Joovy. They are a super high end plastic that is BPA, phthalate and lead free. The PPSU bottles also won’t absorb odor or color and stand up to being exposed to the high heat of sterilization or dishwashers over and over again. If you feel glass is the right choice for you then there is a glass version too!
Oh the horror of bottle washing and assembly for tired parents facing complicated bottles! Again, learn from my mistake the first time. There are plenty of bottles out there with these complicated vents that have multiple pieces with lots of crevices. Of course I bought them with Kayla. Remember that you will be washing, drying, assembling and disassembling these things over and over again every day for a long time. Do yourself a favor and check out the components of the bottles you are considering before you buy.
The boob bottles I chose have a single piece vent and are very easy to clean. I was actually shocked by how simple they were and had doubts as to whether they would work. We’ve never had a collapsed nipple or an issue with leakage. Except this one time when I made a bottle and forgot to put the vent in and it leaked everywhere. Face palm. Tired mommy user error.
If you’re looking to purchase baby bottles for yourself, a friend or a loved one, you can pin the image below and it will be waiting when you’re ready! If you’d like more info on Joovy products including the Boob bottle you can check out Joovy.com Want another mom perspective on the Joovy Boob? See what Rachel thought!
How do I describe the first few weeks? Amazing. Overwhelming. Ever so slightly terrifying. Snuggly. Incredibly sweet. Exhausting. It’s been about 6 weeks since Blake entered our world. I mean, it’s been 5 weeks since we entered Blake’s world. There is nothing like a baby to take an otherwise fully functioning person and turn them into a homebound baby clutching couch potato. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved it.
There were a few things I forgot. Like how slippery newborns are when you bathe them. Thank goodness I remembered the first time I picked him up and no babies were actually dropped. At first he was a skinny little thing.
But after getting out of our initial scary newborn weight loss he became a plump little baby pretty quickly. Seriously, can you believe the difference between these two photos? The first one is at two weeks and the second is at 6 weeks. I swear I am not feeding him Krispy Kremes. Not directly at least…
What has been the biggest noticeable difference for me after having Blake versus after having Kayla is that I feel like I have support. Craig is very present and willing to jump in and help. It’s amazing what a difference that makes. The first time around I remember feeling bad every time Kayla cried. Like I should have known why she was crying and how to make her happy. But the reality was that she cried all the time and I didn’t know.
With Blake I’m not going to pretend to be that mom who says “that’s a hungry cry” in a matter of fact tone and moves right along. I’m still going through my mental checklist of what could be wrong. Hungry? Dirty diaper? Exhausted and having that grumpy fit before passing out? I don’t think I’ll ever be that mom who JUST KNOWS. However, I’m willing to place cold hard cash on the fact that those who say things like that have never had a colic/reflux baby before.
The good news is that I think the universe has thrown Craig and I a bone. Blake really only does seem to cry when he’s got one of the three aforementioned situations going on. Crying with a purpose. Something I would have traded my left arm for with Kayla. In fact, he’s starting to smile. Apparently he really likes to smile.
I felt so lucky to capture one of his very first smiles. It was given to Craig after doing a double shift on night duty. YES, my husband has been doing night duty. My number one regret from Kayla’s first year is never asking for help. I was up SO many times a night, every night for almost the first year. I stopped feeling human. It’s amazing how much sleep deprivation affects you as a person. 25 year old me wanted to say I could do it all. I could not. 31 year old me knows better and is not afraid to admit it. SO I guess if nothing else, that has been the biggest lesson of the first few weeks. Help is good. Smiling babies are even better.
I’m so excited to work in partnership with Cryo-Cell to bring you these 5 tips for cord blood and cord tissue collection. They are helpful tips for storing your cord blood collection kit and what to do in the hospital.
As you probably know by now, our highly anticipated arrival has arrived. The funny thing about childbirth is that it’s one of life’s (slightly scary) unscheduled surprises. You know, unless of course it is scheduled in which case it’s still exciting and maybe still slightly scary. A few weeks back I told you that we would be banking cord blood and cord tissue with Cryo-Cell. This was my first time going through the process and while it’s pretty straightforward, I’ve got a few tips for you to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
That’s right, don’t be a procrastinator. Most banks can’t process the cord blood and/or tissue they receive until they have all of your paperwork. Which makes sense. Our kit came with paperwork that required me to answer some medical and personal questions, along with a few things for me to sign that reviewed the process, what I would be responsible for and what I could expect from Cryo-Cell.
You’ll be assigned a rep who will talk to you over the phone before your kit comes and you can go back to them if you have any questions or concerns like in my case where your due date is approaching (because you’re already procrastinated) and you’d feel better emailing or faxing the documents back to make sure they are on file before you deliver.
First of all, you don’t want to forget it at home. Duh. Second, you don’t want to have to make the old “my dog ate my collection kit” phone call. Seriously, you just never know what your favorite furball will do. Charger recently ate Kayla’s preschool diploma. For real. Fortunately, that was fairly easy to get replaced. Within your kit, there are things that a pet might smell and be curious about, like the anti-coagulant. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you do have pets, store your kit with your hospital bag in an elevated location that they can’t get to versus on the floor.
Another thing to be mindful of is the temperature of the area in which you are storing your kit. As much as it may make sense for your trip to the hospital, do not store your kit in your car in the weeks leading up to your delivery. You’ll want to keep it in a cool but not freezing cold place and out of direct sunlight to keep the temperature somewhat consistent. I found that the top of our changing table was the right place for my stuff, since it was out of reach for Charger and Stella and in an area of Blake’s room that didn’t get attacked by the strong San Diego sun.
Kits from different cord blood banks are slightly different and what they ask of your doctor can vary. In our kit from Cryo-Cell, there were detailed instructions for Craig and I to read as well as for our doctor to review. Personally, I would recommend taking the time to read both sets of instructions so you and your partner feel aware of what’s being asked of your doctor. Deliveries can be hectic. We had our own scare right as I started pushing and Blake’s heart rate took a steep dive. Thank goodness it quickly recovered, or we would have wound up with an emergency C-section. At that moment, I was freaked out and trying to remain calm and nobody was thinking about a collection kit.
Your doctor’s priority (rightfully so/thank goodness) will be safely delivering your baby and making sure you are okay. If things get hectic, your partner should be the one to make sure that the medical team remembers to collect the cord blood and cord tissue once things seem okay with you and your baby.
This is a big one. Like I mentioned, things can get crazy in the delivery room. You will also be on a euphoric OMG we just had a baby high and/or dealing with the shock and surprise that after a long wait your tiny person is finally here! And you are responsible for them…forever! Odds are that everyone will be tired. Blake arrived after 11pm and I had been up since 3:30am. Craig and I were both exhausted by the time they finished collecting everything, cleaning up the baby and tending to me.
You’ll probably need to contact the medical courier your cord blood bank works with so they can come and pick up the completed kit. Unless your labor is crazy fast, odds are your partner will have some time on their hands. I had Craig set an alarm on his phone to go off every hour after we were admitted to the hospital. This way in the exhaustion and excitement after birth we didn’t forget to call the courier. I think it was a smart move and one I would highly recommend to friends.
Relax and enjoy your new baby.
Thanks to I and Love and You for sponsoring this post so I can share how to introduce your dog to a new baby. We love I and Love and You‘s dog treats. #Furreal
It is no secret that our family is quickly expanding. Two years ago we added Charger and last summer someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to get a second dog. Okay, maybe that someone was me. I got the vibe that Charger really needed a buddy and my best efforts at wrestling with him on our living room rug were not quite the same as a canine companion. Enter Stella. She was found on the street pretty much dying of parvo, was turned over the local animal shelter here and beat the odds.
Stella is forty-something pounds of feisty, survivalist pitbull-mutt. She loves to play, pretty much isn’t afraid of anything and is a sad eyed, melt in your lap pile of mush when she’s tired herself out. She gives Charger a total run for his money and they are truly like siblings. With baby Blake entering the picture (OMG this house is getting smaller by the day) introducing a new baby to two loving, but high energy dogs has been very much on my mind. Therefore, I thought I would share a few tips for introducing your dog to a new baby.
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of not always reinforcing certain “rules” or letting subpar behavoir slide with your dogs? I have both raised. One for each dog. Much like with young children, sometimes it’s really easy to let the occasional over excited jump slide. Or maybe it means when they sneakily jump into the bed at 2am, you casually ignore your newly acquired foot warmer.
What works before bringing a newborn home might not after. So if you think you might be co-sleeping or doing a 2am feeding in your bed, then perhaps it makes sense to reinforce to your giant furry friends that jumping on you even at that hour isn’t going to fly. Preferably before that jump startles a baby you just got to sleep.
Reward repetitive good behavior with some special treats you might not normally give your dog. It makes it clear that you’re happy they are following your lead and that they should keep doing it. Stella’s favorite are the I and Love and You Free Ranger Bully Stix , which come from grass fed cows. Fancy!
Odds are, you’re going to be doing some hard time in that glider or rocking chair and manning the changing table. Odds are, your dog is going to want to be with you. I’ve spent some time sitting and working from the chair in Blake’s room while Charger and Stella nap on the floor. A couple of times they have started playing and wrestling on the rug in there and I’ve put a stop to it immediately, letting them know that this is not a place to play.
I’ve also left some low lying stuffed animals and toys in the storage unit and on the floor in there. Charger in particular thinks stuffed animals are a delicacy. I’ve been surprised that so far, we haven’t had any violations or stuffed animal carnage. Perhaps they get it that this room has rules and isn’t a free for all. I’ll take it.
This is nothing new, we’ve all heard it before. Since dogs are ALL about smell, it makes perfect sense to take on of the many little flannel swaddles the hospital will throw your way and let your new baby snooze in it for a bit before sending it home with your partner or a relative. I had my parents put one of ours right in the middle of Charger and Stella’s beds so they could check it out and cuddle up with it.
By the time Blake came home, they were very interested in checking him out, but we’d already established that his scent belonged here. You can even do this right when you get home and before you remove the baby from their little infant car seat.
If there is one thing I’ve learned about life with energetic dogs, it’s that exercise is key to good behavior. 2 dogs plus pent up energy equals frustration for all parties and it doesn’t have to be that way. Before coming home from the hospital, ask a relative to take your dog for a long walk or throw a ball for them. Hire the local teenager down the street if you need to. I think it’s worth it.
Your dog is going to be SO happy to see you for the first time in 30,000 years –okay, probably 2 days, but you know how dogs are when it comes to being reunited with the ones they love! Bringing that delicate little baby into the house will be a lot easier if you make sure your super excited dog is already super exhausted.
Like I mentioned before, positively reinforcing good behavior seems to make all the difference. We don’t give Stella and Charger a ton of treats, but use them for very specific things normally. Stella still gets crated when we leave the house, so all I have to do at this point is say “crate” and she walks right into it and patiently waits licking her chops because she knows she’s getting a little treat.
I mentioned the Free Ranger Bully Stix earlier. We sometimes use kibble when training Charger and Stella since they seem to think it’s still a treat and the pieces are small so you can use a bunch without worrying about pudging up your pet. I also really like these Free Ranger Bully Stix from I and Love and You because they provide a fair amount of entertainment (it takes Stella about 20 minutes to get through one) they’re a lot safer than things like raw hides, they’re made from grass fed cows and aren’t exposed to chemical processing. Most importantly, she LOVES them.
The reality is that with two big dogs running around, we’ll always have to be mindful of this new little person. Setting some ground rules and letting the dogs know from day one that he’s their buddy, but they need to be gentle and well behaved around him is key. I’m amazed at how Charger has become like another watchful eye when it comes to Blake. He is the first one to his side when he hears any kind of fussing and often parks himself where Blake is sleeping as though he’s keeping watch over his new buddy. It’s pretty adorable to see. I’m fairly certain that Charger’s mind will be blown when Blake starts eating solids and he experiences the joy of the high chair food drop. Exciting times ahead!
If you’re thinking about switching your dog to a super high quality dog food, then here’s some great information on making the transition. And if you’re looking for deals, adorable pet pictures and some good humor you can check out I and Love and You on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.