Nursing Friendly Finds

Hello! Our little man was born almost two weeks ago (right on his due date!) and we are finally getting back into the swing of things. Karl was able to take a full week off to be home with me and the kids and then we had a long weekend, so I was spoiled in having an extra pair of hands until this week. To say I was nervous for Tuesday would be a large understatement. It turns out that one adult for an almost two year old and an infant just doesn’t seem like enough! Not to mention, I’m not supposed to lift Ricky (or anything else heavier than baby) for 4 weeks! That is a really long time, especially for a little boy who was used to being carried quite frequently. Ah well- so many moms have done this before me and we will certainly survive. Not just survive, but figure out a whole new, wonderful routine!

Let’s talk nursing tops- they are nearly impossible to find or super obviously built for nursing (read-mumsy). After 15 months of nursing Ricky, my nursing wardrobe was still pretty limited primarily because I could never find good pieces that served the purpose but still looked stylish. I made it my goal to find some better options for Raymond because I simply won’t have the option to go sit in the bathroom to nurse this time around since most of the time I will have Ricky with me as well. This is the best time of year to shop, so here are some of my favorite finds!

Nursing Friendly Tops and Dresses

nursing tops and nursing dresses

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I hope this round up helps other moms looking for stylish but functional tops for nursing! Blog post about Raymond’s punctual arrival to come.

My Hospital Bag for Baby #2

My due date is this Thursday and I am READY. My stomach feels pretty much stretched to capacity and baby’s little movements feel more like a kung fu master trying to escape imprisonment than the sweet flutters of a baby. I’m convinced this is going to be our wild child, just based on his/her movements in utero. Any woman who has been pregnant knows that no matter how good or easy your pregnancy was, by 40 weeks (let’s be honest, it’s more like 38 weeks) you are done. That’s not to say I’m miserable, I’m just ready to have my body back and to sit/sleep comfortably again. Funny story- I remember when I was pregnant with Ricky saying that I couldn’t wait to have him because then I would be able to get a good night’s sleep. I knew I would have to wake up with the baby, but at least the time that I was sleeping would be good, sound sleep. HA! Little did I know that my son would wake up every 2-3 hours for at least the first 6 months of his life and that does NOT make for a more well-rested momma. I do not have unrealistic visions of bright-eyed mornings this time around, but I am looking forward to sleeping on my back again. Oh, and I can’t deny that middle of the night baby snuggles are pretty good too.

Not only am I ready to meet my little one, but I feel about as prepared as I can be at home as well. Freezer meals are prepped, Ricky’s overnight bag is packed, baby clothes are washed and the pack n play is set up in our room. My hospital bag has been ready and waiting for the last week- just sitting on my rocking chair in the nursery, taunting me. I packed pretty minimally the first time around and didn’t feel like I was missing anything, so my bag is pretty light this time too! Plus since there are not nearly enough blog postings out there on what to pack in your hospital bag (oh wait…), I decided to enlighten all you soon to be momma’s with my suggestions!

Hospital Bag for Mom and Baby

For You and Hubby

  1. Bath robe– this is number one and so good for when people are coming in and out of your room. Nursing can be challenging at first and it is nice to be able to throw something on quickly to cover up, not to mention much cozier than hospital gowns. I suggest one made of modal so there is a lot stretch.
  2. Nightgown/pajamas that allow for easy nursing access. Target’s Gilligan and O’Malley brand has a few really good options!
  3. Nursing tank top– again, you want something that gives you easy access during those first couple days, but also that you are comfortable wearing in front of visitors/nursing staff. I got a basic black and white from Destination Maternity that held up well with Ricky. These were great for layering under cardigans so I didn’t always look like I was wearing a nursing outfit.
  4. Nursing pads– If you are lucky enough to have your milk come in right away, you are going to want to keep a set of nursing pads on at all times. When your body is still regulating and figuring out this whole breastfeeding thing, leaks are far more likely to happen than later in the nursing period when you have things more under control. I prefer Lasinoh brand, a few of the others can feel more like tissue paper and make crinkly sounds- not ideal when trying to be discrete 😉 I only pack a few sets in hopes that I will not be at the hospital longer than 24 hours.
  5. Lanolin nipple cream– this will help prevent chaffing and chapping in the early days of breastfeeding. I promise it will help- use it.
  6. Loose sweatpants- embrace the boyfriend pant. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you’re not going to be slipping on your pre-pregnancy jeans in the hospital. Not gonna happen, especially considering you’ll most likely still look like you’re in your 2nd trimester (don’t worry, your uterus will shrink back down and so will your waist, but give it more than a few days). You’re going to want to be as comfortable as possible on your bottom half, which involves all things loose with extra room for those really, really nice hospital diapers. Did I say diapers?! I meant underwear…
  7. Large underwear- pack a few pairs that are up one size from your normal go-to. Let the granny panties shine- this is their moment. The hospital will provide mesh underwear along with MASSIVE pads- use them. They may not be the most flattering or comfortable things you’ve ever worn, but they get the job done. I also pack a few of my own extra large pads just in case, but didn’t end up using any of my own during my hospital stay. Here is a little tip- you know those Victoria Secret coupons you get in the mail for free underwear every once in a while? Use them throughout your pregnancy to stock up on bigger sized, full backed underwear- that way you are not distraught if they get ruined.
  8. Nursing bra – I realize a lot of these suggestions have to do with easy access to the girls, but that is a pretty big deal in the first few weeks. I really like these overnight bras. One thing I didn’t realize is that you’ll need to wear a bra (or cami with a built in bra) at night for quite a while because nursing pads at night are a must and something has to keep those things in place.
  9. Flip flops and warm socks. Hospital rooms can get chilly, so cozy socks are nice when you’re staying over night. You’ll also want flip flops for the shower as well as to walk down the halls in case you need to go to a different room for some reason.
  10. Toiletries- you are going to want to have your own bathroom items to make you feel a little more human during that first shower after labor. You will be worn out and unsure of how your body just performed such a feat, and it will be very nice to smell good and maybe even put on a little makeup to cover up those under eye circles. If you are lucky, people will stop by to see you and maybe even take pictures- it’s nice to not look quite as tired as you feel.
  11. Extra pillow because hospital pillows suck and your hubby might be nice enough to stay the night with you 🙂
  12. Outfit for hubby- if he doesn’t plan to go home overnight, then he’ll probably want a change of clothes as well.
  13. Snacks! Labor is not a short process (unless it is for you, you lucky B!) and you never know when it is going to happen, so having some snacks on hand for the man holding your hand is probably a good idea. Granola is our go-to.
  14. Chapstick. Everything I read about labor before I had Ricky said to bring chapstick because your mouth gets so dry during labor. This is true, but I can definitely say I never once thought to myself, “Hm, my lips feel a little chapped, can someone get me some gloss?” I was glad that I had it afterwards though.
  15. Camera- I got my DSLR camera right before Ricky was born and have not looked back! I definitely don’t know how to use it to it’s full potential, but it has been wonderful to be able to take high quality photos of my little man throughout his life. I am excited to be able to snap more than a few of the new little one as well, especially those first couple days! Don’t forget to charge the battery!
  16. Power cords- because it would be a travesty if you were not able to tweet/insta/post photos of baby immediately after delivery 😉 Just kidding… but you probably will be upset if you aren’t able to get ahold of friends/family who have been waiting on news!

For Baby

  1. Swaddling blanket. Hospitals provide a very nice, gender neutral blanket for baby, but you may want to bring your own for photos.
  2. Hat/Bow. Again, the hospital will provide a blue and pink hat, but you might want a different one for photos or to take baby home. I will admit that we did not bring our own for Ricky since we didn’t know the gender and probably will not bring one this time. If we have a girl though, someone will be making a trip to the store for at least one bow headband.
  3. Going home outfit. Baby will stay wrapped up in a nice little hospital provided onsie during the entire stay, but you will probably want to pack a special outfit for the little one to make their homeward journey.
  4. Baby wipes. This is one thing I did not bring for Ricky because I assumed the hospital would have them. Our hospital provided all the diapers you could need, but used washcloths instead of baby wipes. That is all well and good, but I would have preferred to have normal wipes to use during our stay instead of having to get a washcloth wet in the sink to change baby’s many poopy diapers.
  5. Boppy/ breast-feeding support pillow. Even if you are a seasoned breast-feeding mommy, it is helpful to have a little extra support when baby is so tiny. It may be bulky, but it was definitely worth it to me to have the boppy at the hospital

That is really it. Most of what you would normally pack in your diaper bag, the hospital will provide so there is no need to bring/use your own! If you have any extras you don’t think you can live without, go ahead and pack them, but consider leaving an extra bag in the car. That way you don’t have quite as much to lug around in between rooms, but it is always a quick walk away if you need/want it! Family/friends are also wonderful resources for picking up last minute necessities, like Sour Patch Watermelons or Arby’s 🙂

Best First Birthday Gifts

Ricky still plays with many of the toys he received for his first birthday and with his second birthday fast approaching, I’m trying to come up with a list of gifts with the same sort of longevity. Alright, his birthday is just over two months away, but knowing that there will be a new baby before then makes me pretty confident that a birthday list will not be at the top of my priority list come September. So, while I troll the internet for 2nd birthday lists, I figured I’d provide you with my favorite gifts for a one year old!

First birthday gifts are tricky because a lot of kids are still in the early stages of walking/getting around and at a very transitional period in their interests and abilities. Keep in mind that whatever you get for a little one’s birthday does not have to be their favorite thing that week, or even that month! Most kids get the bulk of their toys at birthdays and Christmases, which means those toys need to last for a while and it is ok to get a toy that the little one might not be ready for quite yet. I like to stash away at least half the toys from holidays/birthdays and bring them out over several weeks, once current toys start to lose their appeal. So, here are some of our favorites that have stood the test of time (so far)!

Best Birthday Gifts for One Year Olds

First Birthday Gifts

Melissa and Doug Car Carrier– This toy has been a favorite of Ricky’s for at least 6 months. He first received the toy at around 15 months and didn’t show a ton of interest right away. Within a month though, this became a daily favorite. He loves to place the cars on the carrier, move it up and down, as well as play with the four little cars by themselves. The best part is that I don’t foresee this getting put away in storage any time soon.

Melissa and Doug Stacking Train – Stacking toys are great for toddlers and this is no exception. Ricky’s obsession with vehicles actually started with this little guy. He calls it his “chooch”- short for choo, choo, of course!

MegaBloks– MegaBloks First Builders legos are wonderful for encouraging creativity in little ones! Ricky and I have spent many hours playing blocks and if he gets sick of them after a few days of playing blocks all day, I put them away for a week or so and then get them back and his excitement is renewed. These are just a classic toy that will keep kids’ interest for many years.

Wooden puzzles– These are great for little hands and are guaranteed to last. There are tons of great options out there, but we really like Melissa and Doug sound puzzles, this shape puzzle, and this Janod dinosaur puzzle.

Lawn Mower (or other mini-me objects) – Kids at this age love to mimic mom and dad. Some of Ricky’s favorite mini-me toys are his lawn mower, mini Dyson (for real, you guys- kids seem to adore vacuums) and a kid-sized broom.

Fun Sippy Cup – This might seem like a silly gift since most parents have strong preferences for different types of sippy cups, but I assure you that they will be thrilled after you introduce them to this little beauty. Karl and I saw the Lollacup on Shark Tank (fave!) and had to try it! It is a little pricey compared to most sippy cups, but this is not your standard cup- they aren’t joking when they boldly state that the straw allows little ones to actually drink all the fluid in the cup. Having tried many cups, this is by far my favorite.

Riding Wagon – I’m a little obsessed with our wagon. It is awesome. Granted, we probably didn’t need the full blown “deluxe” model, but our parents spoiled us and I’m not complaining. I have no doubt that this thing is going to last through all the kiddos and it is a huge bonus that we won’t have to worry about upgrading to a bigger version as our family grows. If you have a little more sanity and aren’t planning on quite so many kids, you could probably get a slightly less obnoxious version 🙂 Either way, a wagon is great for a first birthday as it is right when a little one is starting to be able to ride around and they have a good amount of time (hopefully) before they start refusing to sit and want to walk on their own everywhere.

Stylish Mom Bags (aka avoiding looking like a hobo)

It is the natural instinct of a new mom to pack ~7 bags every time they leave the house with a newborn. These bags will often include (but are not limited to): 5 diapers, wipes, blanket, extra blanket, change of clothes for baby, change of clothes for mom, pacifier, at least 4 toys, water for mom, possibly bottle for baby, sunhat or winter hat, diaper cream, baby lotion, changing pad, bib, pajamas for baby in case you stay out late, cheerios in case your newborn suddenly decides to start eating solids, highchair cover in case you decide to stop at a store or restaurant, and possibly a pack n’ play just because you’re trying to build up your mom strength. I like to think I’ve (appropriately) toned it down since those days. I’m happy to switch back to my beloved diaper bag once the new baby comes along and needs a few more things, but while I’m rocking out with just Ricky tagging along, I’ve been on the hunt for a mid-sized cross body. Ideally I’ll also be able to continue to use this smaller bag when running quick errands with the baby and Ricky. I finally pulled the trigger and invested in this beauty today, but here are some of my other favorites.

Favorite Cross-Body Bags
(that are big enough to carry a diaper)

Cross-body purses1 / 2 / 3 /

Now the question is, what exactly is in my “mom bag”? My tactic is to keep one bag stocked for a trip out with Ricky (errands, park, play date), a bag stocked for my own outings (date night, girls night), and a small zipper pouch of my must-haves that can be easily switched back and forth between the two. I have high hopes that I’ll be able to use one section of the new bag for my basic zipper pouch and the other for Ricky’s most basic needs when running quick errands.

Bag Contents

My zipper pouch:

  • Keys and wallet
  • Pony tail holder
  • Burt’s Bees Chapstick– I’m a die-hard fan and have yet to find a better basic
  • Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry– one of my favorite beauty products. Goes on like chapstick, but adds just enough color plus can be layered for a slightly more dramatic look if that is the goal.
  • C.O.Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine– apparently I’m a bit of a lip product addict considering my most basic, must-have bag contains 3 lip products… I like to think it is ok though because they each serve their own purpose- moisture, color and shine!

My bag:

  • Lipstick- this varies depending on what I’m wearing that day, but this is my every-day favorite! Again with the lip products, I know, I have a problem…
  • Small brush & bobby pins
  • Compact mirror- apparently I get vain when I’m out by myself 😉 I like to think most moms do this too, since you are definitely not thinking about pulling out a mirror when you’re out and about with little ones.
  • Orbit gum. Karl teases me that I’m the definition of a brand loyal shopper. Once I find a favorite, I rarely stray.
  • Gift cards. A while ago my MIL gave me a cute little card holder (similar) to hold all my gift cards and it has been extremely helpful in actually reminding me to use them! I had a bad tendency of leaving the cards home and then unintentionally going to places that I had cards for, but not getting to use them. Gotta love the little things that keep life more organized and simplified.

Ricky’s bag:

  • 1 diaper (maybe 2 if I know we are going to be out a while)
  • Small pack of wipes
  • Ricky’s Auvi-Qs 
  • Pack of these fruit snacks- one of our best Costco finds
  • Sunscreen (in the summer)
  • Travel container of Cheerios
  • Sippy cup or water bottle for us to share, depending on the outing
  • Antibacterial sanitizing gel (B&BW PocketBac)

The top four items are what I bring with me when running quick errands, the other items are for longer trips. My secret to keeping our diaper bag so lean is an always-stocked kid car bag. I use a Thirty One Zipper Pouch and just keep it in the pocket behind one of the front seats. It contains 2 diapers (make sure to update the size as your little one grows- I’ve made the mistake of forgetting before and it isn’t pretty), mini baby wipe pack, small blanket and one plain white onesie (again, remember to change out the size as your little one grows). This way you always have these items with you as back-up to your diaper bag stock and don’t need to worry about physically carrying them in and out everywhere you go!

I’ll leave you with a couple photos my little future farmer. We spent yesterday evening helping my father-in-law plant his beautiful garden, with promises of lots of fruits and veggies in our future 🙂

FIL's garden

Ricky planting