project baby #2 {nursing essentials}

Back in April I shared my newborn and post-partum essentials that were important to me in those first few weeks when Daphne was so tiny and new. (And see my post-partum essentials with Eloise here.) Now that we are seven months out, I wanted to update again with my nursing essentials since these are the things that are (or have been) important to me for a much longer amount of time and will likely be until Daphne weans.

Post-Partum-Essentials

{one} (Reusable) Nursing Pads.

For me reusable nursing pads are must and Bamboobies are my go-to. Even after my supply had come in and leveled out, I still found that leakage was an issue, so these help me from having to change clothes (or at least my shirt) multiple times per day. Plus, once baby sleeps thru the night and you are going 10 to 12 hours between the first feeding and the last, you want something that will help absorb. I like the thin, heart-shaped pads for daytime since they fit smoothly, but then I like the thicker, round ones for nighttime use.

{two} Nursing Bra.

Like most new mamas, I spent the first weeks (okay, probably months) in softer nursing bras meant for sleeping. Then once my milk came in I started wearing “real” nursing bras, including underwire ones (which you have to be careful with when your milk is coming in). I still had nursing bras from when Eloise was little but found that I needed/wanted a few new ones.

I kept seeing blog posts and ads about a new brand called ThirdLove and decided to finally buy when they released a line of nursing bras. I opted for the wireless one and have been really impressed. The biggest thing about nursing bras (for me) that you don’t have to think about with regular bras is how easily the cup flips or folds down; I have a few that don’t do this well and end up soaked in milk at the end of every feeding! ThirdLove’s cups are super soft and fold really well down plus a bonus that the straps don’t slip. Guys, this is life-changing!

The other secret to nursing bras (which I have shared before) is that Nordstrom will convert any regular bra into a nursing bra for a nominal alteration fee (like $15). Definitely worth it if you are particular about a brand, or have a unique band or cup size.

{three} Tanks.

As with Eloise, I don’t like nursing tanks. I think they can be great for those first few weeks, but beyond that, I like the support (and look) of a bra. But, I do wear a tank top basically every day so that when I do nurse, my belly isn’t exposed; I just pull down the tank when I need to nurse. I have multiple tanks with the thin (spaghetti) straps from both H&M and Old Navy in white, black, and grey that basically covers any shirt situation along with an old “nude colored” cami (similar to this) which is great for under white shirts.

{four} Boppy Pillow.

When nursing Daphne, I have found that I use my Boppy nursing pillow so much more than I did with Eloise (seven months out), like whenever I am home during a feeding. I find it is much more comfortable for me to have the support of a pillow and will probably continue to use it until Daphne is too big! This time around I also bought this beautiful pillow cover from MadlyWish which is made from the Rifle Paper Co. fabric line. Guys, it sounds silly, but this pillow cover makes me so happy. I wish I would have gotten a fun cover for the Boppy when Eloise was little. Instead I used the very juvenile ones that came with the pillow. So, get a Naked Boppy Pillow and find a shop (there are tons on Etsy or Instagram) that sells beautiful covers and you are set!

{five} Hydroflask Waterbottle.

Until about two months ago, I was using the same Camelbak waterbottles that I got when I was pregnant with Eloise. They worked fine and were great for keeping me hydrated during pregnancy and post-partum. However, when they started leaking (from the drinking spout) and becoming harder to clean, I started shopping around for something else. Enter: Hydroflask. I had heard great things about Hydroflask from other mamas but couldn’t get myself to buy a waterbottle that was so expensive! But then I did. And it was so worth it. Seriously. My water stays cold for hours or until I drink the entire bottle (usually the latter). If you are on the fence at all about one, do it. I got the wide-mouth one and added the straw lid because with two little ones, I never have two hands available to screw open the lid!

And along with these essentials, I probably should mention a breast pump. I didn’t have a great experience pumping with Eloise but we bought this new Naya Smartpump this time around and I really, really like it (well, as much as you can like a breast pump). A lot of people are surprised when they find out that I pump because I stay home with the girls, but sometimes I need to be able to be away from Daphne and we also give her a bedtime bottle which (right now) is pumped milk, so I am currently pumping twice per day.

What were your nursing essentials? Did they change over time or from your first kiddo to your second (or third)?

M

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project baby #2 {newborn & post-partum essentials}

This time around I felt so much more prepared for post-partum life with a newborn (though the toddler is throwing a bit of a curveball!), but there are a few new things that I have found especially helpful these first weeks! {See my past newborn and post-partum essentials.}

Milkies Milk Saver - Copy

ONE. Milk Saver. This is something that was shared by a  good mama friend and that I never would have bought or tried without a personal recommendation. You basically stick it into your bra on the opposite side that you are feeding on, and it catches the milk that you would otherwise leak (or let-down) into a nursing pad or bra. It doesn’t seem like much, but especially when I have gone a long time between feeds (like first thing in the morning after going all night) I can get half an ounce to three-quarters just from one side! Then I add this milk to the milk I am pumping, and since we are still only doing a one-and-a-half ounce bottle each evening, it makes a difference. One thing to note is that it’s foremilk (and not hindmilk) so it won’t fill baby up as well, but I would rather Daphne drink it than it all be wasted.

Pumping Bra - Copy (2)

TWO. Pumping Bra. If you are going to pump, you might as well pump both sides (there are some exceptions to this) and it really sucks if you have to hold the pumps onto your breasts (haha, pun intended!). I have used this pumping bra for both girls, and even if you don’t use this exact one, get one if you are planning on pumping at all. These bras make pumping hands-free which is amazing; my first pumping session a few weeks ago I didn’t know where this bra was and it was the longest 15 minutes of my life! Plus, When I am pumping, it is total mama time and I give myself full permission to zone out on Facebook or Instagram.

LilyPadz

THREE. LilyPadz. Nursing pads, especially in these early days and weeks, are super important. I used the reusable Bamboobie ones (and still do at nighttime) but these LilyPadz are a game-changer! They are sticky silicone pads that basically prevent leaks between feedings (unless there is a LOT of milk leaking!). My advice would be to wait a week or two after birth before starting them because your nipples will be super tender and maybe a little raw. Plus, if you are using any type of ointment or cream, these are a no-go.

FOUR. Lactation cookies. There are some foods that are supposed to increase milk supply, a few of them being rolled oats, Brewer’s Yeast, and flaxseed. And it just so happens that if you add these things to a chocolate chip cookie dough, you get chocolate chip cookies that help you lactate! I tend to always have a sweet tooth post-partum so I don’t have any problem eating a few of these thru-out the day! {We call them “Mama’s special milk bars” at our house so that Eloise doesn’t realize that I am actually eating cookies all day long… though I think she might be catching on.}

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of thick cut oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons Brewer’s Yeast

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flaxseed meal and water; set aside 3 to 5 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix and add vanilla. Beat until well-blended.

Sift dry ingredients, except oats and chocolate chips. Add butter to dry ingredients. Stir in oats and then chocolate chips.

Drop on parchment paper on baking sheet. Bake 8 to 12 minutes.

*recommendation to eat 4 or more per day!

FIVE. Sleeper gowns. We had a few of these with Eloise, but I don’t remember them being as helpful as they are this time around. I basically mean a nightgown that has snaps or a zipper for easy diaper changes in the middle of the night. It is hard enough to change a newborn’s diaper with any outfit on since you are doing it so frequently, but in the middle of the night (or even a sleep deprived day) a simple in-snap is much-needed.

SIX. Gloves. Also another thing we didn’t use with Eloise. Maybe it is because we started trimming her nails earlier? But, we used gloves on Daphne for the first five weeks since her little nails grew so quickly (and were so sharp!) and the in-hospital pediatrician recommended we don’t trim her nails for the first few weeks since the nails are basically fused to the skin at that point. A lot of newborn tops and outfits have built-in gloves which is super helpful, but I would still recommend picking up a pair!

June and January Booties

SEVEN. June and January booties. Eloise was born in the summer (during our hottest month) so socks weren’t really a thing we worried about until she was quite a bit older. But, since it was still pretty cool in March, I did worry about Daphne’s feet being too cold. I picked up these June and January booties (because they were impossibly cute!) with a clothing order before Daphne was born, and quickly found out these booties were perfect in lieu of socks! They have Velcro and are actually small enough around the ankle to stay on Daphne’s feet (which is the big issue with socks for babies). I ended up ordering another couple of pairs because I was so happy with them and Daphne was wearing them (and still does) every day.

EIGHT. Swaddle blankets. We probably have ten or fifteen swaddle blankets (at least!) that have accumulated from the time Eloise was born. They make great gifts and are actually really useful as a make-shift nursing cover, burp cloth, car seat cover, etc. and, for swaddling! Both of our babies have loved/needed to be swaddled for soothing and sleeping, and even though we use a zipper swaddle at night (we have been using this one with Daphne) we use a blanket a lot during the day which is why they are all over the house! This grey one from Lou Lou & Co is my absolute favorite though because it is super soft, a little stretchy, and makes for a great swaddled baby! I think it may become my go-to baby shower gift.

What were your essentials?

M

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project baby {newborn essentials}


as promised, here are my essentials for a newborn. obviously this isn’t everything I needed or used for eloise when she was a teeny babe, but if my memory serves me right, these are the things that helped us tremendously! aaron & I were both pretty adamant about not filling the house with baby gear (& stuff) & we did a pretty good job (& still do).

also, see my pregnancy essentials & post-partum essentials.

{one} swaddle blankets. even if your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled, swaddle blankets still come in handy & have lots of uses: spit-up rag, nursing cover (tie two ends together & slip over your head!), blanket, car seat cover, sun shade, & the list goes on. eloise LOVED to be swaddled (we called her our baby burrito) for those first months. we loved the aden & anais ones, especially the larger size.

{two} Rock N’ Play. we had the standard rock n’play (just had a vibrating function) & it was hands-down the most used piece of baby gear we used. it is lightweight, keeps baby propped up, & cradles baby just a bit. we kept it by our bedside to use as a bassinet (for the first five weeks), used it all over the house as a place to have eloise sleep or hang out (particularly useful when you want to shower & no one else is home), & used it as a travel bassinet when we took a road trip to boise at christmastime. I know the new versions of the rock n’ play include lots of fun features, including self-rocking (!). I don’t know whether we will make the upgrade for any future baby, but we will most definitely be using one of these.

{three} Boppy pillows (nursing & lounger). the Boppy nursing pillow was & has continued to be a lifesaver. I have used the Boppy pillow for nearly every single nursing  session with eloise. even aaron uses it when he gives eloise a bottle. it is also great for newborns when the neck isn’t quite strong enough to make tummy time more than just a face plant (see eloise here). the Boppy newborn lounger was also awesome those first months to give eloise a place to hang out. we used it on our couch a lot & once I started pumping during the day that is where she hung out (before she could roll). we didn’t have a swing (ever) or a bouncy seat (until a few months in) so if we weren’t holding her, she was hanging out in the lounger.

{four} toys for tummy time. it was other mamas who first suggested that I add toys to our baby registry (thanks amanda & kendra!). it never dawned on me that baby might need toys so early, but we definitely used them starting those first few weeks. we had a few early favorites: Oball rattle, loopy rattle, & monkey. I would also suggest some type of mirror. during tummy time, we would hold a toy out in front of her face a few inches, & then move it from left to right & up & down once she started tracking.

{five} mama friends & a community. I didn’t know how isolating being a new mama would be, but it really is. regardless of how you are recovering (from natural birth or c-section) you will likely be home a lot those first weeks (or months). venturing out of the house is important, but it is so much work to get out of the house with a newborn. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have a local organization PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) which I have talked about before. the entire point of the program is to help build your community (your village!) by placing you in a group of other mamas (or parents) who live in your neighborhood & have a child the same age as yours (within a few weeks or months). for 12 weeks I was able to meet with these other new mamas & get out of the house for a few hours on monday morning. if you are expecting a baby, be sure to ask around to see if there are new parent groups (facebook is a good resource) that you could join. on a bit of a related note, setting up a meal train (or having a friend or family member set one up) can be helpful. it is so nice to have food prepared for you & maybe even someone to hold your new babe while you eat (or shower or sleep). & if you aren’t feeling up for visitors, food can still be dropped off at the front door.

{six} baby carrier. baby wearing has been a thing for some time, & aaron & I were both on board with it. I had heard mixed reviews about the Moby wrap so I opted for the K’Tan wrap instead. I used the K’Tan a lot in those early months when eloise was sleeping all day & would nap on me in order to get things done around the house, or just to walk around. the only thing about the K’Tan is that it is sized, so we just got one that fit me (I had an XS). we also got an Ergo carrier because every parent we knew had one & loved it (we had a Nordstrom edition I snagged at last year’s Anniversary Sale). the Ergo 360 was just coming out when I was registering & since it had no reviews, I opted for the well-loved original. we starting using it with eloise when she was just a few weeks old (with the baby insert) & have loved it ever since. it is sturdy & completely hands-free, & aaron & I can both use it (with some adjustments on the straps). I used the Ergo everywhere – the grocery store, walking around Greenlake, vacuuming the floors, window shopping. next time around we will probably try the Ergo 360 (since it allows for front-facing) & the Solly baby wrap (since I have heard good things about it). regardless of what type of carrier you use, definitely try one (or two)!

& lastly, I would recommend a good baby phone app (see here where I talked about the Baby Connect app) & a journal of some kind (or a blog) since those early days & milestones happen so quickly & you just don’t have headspace to remember every little thing!

mamas – what were your essentials for those first few weeks & months?

M

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project baby {pregnancy essentials}

Pregnancy_Essentials

this post has been a long time coming & I was hoping to get it out sooner, but better late than never, right?

I am almost certain (because I have taken polls!) that I am the only mama who misses being pregnant… don’t get me wrong, I love being eloise’s mama! but I adored being pregnant & look back on that time fondly. I feel very fortunate to have had a very healthy, fun, & low-risk pregnancy, & I wanted to share some of my must-haves. {I am putting together my essentials lists for post-partum, newborn, & possibly feeding (solid foods), so stay tuned if you are interested!}

{one} jersey dresses. I didn’t end up buying very many maternity clothes & really tried to either wear or buy things that were non-maternity. one of the great pieces that I wore over & over in my last trimester (& since it was warm by then) was a jersey dress. I owned a few pre-pregnancy that I was able to make work, including my favorite target purple maxi dress that I wore to the hospital! but, the best dresses I found for pregnancy were Sonnet James dresses. I discovered SJ in the fall of 2013 & quickly ordered the Stella dress for our trip to Hawaii. hands down one of my favorite dresses ever! I picked up a few more once I found out I was pregnant because I knew I could wear them during my pregnancy & after. I worried a bit that I might stretch them out, but I haven’t had any issues post-partum. I have found that my Quincy & Doutzen dresses (mine are past season colors) are a bit long when I don’t have a bump, so I will probably be visiting the Nordstrom alternations department in the very near future {my Stella & Kate dresses are midi length & are perfect!}.

{two} reusable water bottle. water, water, water. my midwife couldn’t stress enough how important it was that I stay hydrated during my pregnancy. I knew I needed to find a good water bottle that could travel with me between home, work, & everywhere in-between. thanks to amanda for her recommendation on the Camelback bottles! having already been thru this with her first child, she knew exactly what I would need, plus because of the straw end it could be used hands-free which was perfect for labor & delivery! I ended up with the Camelback Eddy Insulated Water Bottle (& also the non-insulated version) & they were perfect!

{three} body oil. for me pregnancy brought on some mild acne & very dry skin. {for the acne I used Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash that is free of salicylic acid & benzoyl peroxide.} I had read that body oil could help prevent stretch marks (though the truth is that stretch marks are genetic. you can do some things to help, but you cannot actually prevent them…) so I started my search for a body oil. it didn’t take me long wandering down the aisles of target to find Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Body Oil. I fell in love instantly! it soaked into my skin & left it feeling silky & hydrated, & had the most amazing lemon scent. I used it all over my body after showering, including my bump, & the smell of lemon will always remind me of my pregnancy with eloise!

{four} low-impact workout. the best advice about working out during pregnancy is to have an already-established workout program that you can continue thru-out your pregnancy. luckily for me, my workout of choice is Pure Barre & it is a great workout that can be pretty easily modified for mamas-to-be (there is a Baby on Board package – 3 months unlimited class pass). whatever workout regime you choose (yoga, running, Zumba, etc.), just stick with it! there were a few weeks during the first trimester that I had to forego my beloved PB classes because I was just so sick, but for the majority of my pregnancy I was attending class twice a week, & even went to class two days before eloise was born! I had a healthy pregnancy & I was able to keep active; I know this is in part because of staying in shape.

{five} ginger chews. oh the nausea of the first trimester. I felt nausea many, many times before I was pregnant (thanks in part to being very motion sick as a kid) but nothing can prepare you for nausea during pregnancy! I don’t like spicy, but these Gin Gin chews saved my life! I kept a stash everywhere just in case – desk drawer, purse, nightstand, car. you can pick them up at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

{six} prenatal vitamins. this is not meant to be medical advice (since I am not a medical doctor) so follow whatever recommendation your own doctor gives you! for me, my OB-GYN had me taking pre-natal vitamins years before I was pregnant. her recommendation was that any woman that was pre-menopausal should be taking pre-natals; there is no harm, the first few weeks of pregnancy are the most important for these vitamins (& most women don’t even know they are pregnant yet!), plus it is great for your hair & nails! anyways, I was taking some generic woman’s multivitamin from target, but had to find a new one as soon as I got pregnant since they were making me sick. I found the Rainbow Light Prenatal One Mulitvitamin and Spectrum Essentials Prenatal DHA at Whole Foods & no longer had any problems with my tummy. I always took them in the middle of dinner (usually my biggest meal) so that I knew I had enough food in my belly, though I take them now before breakfast (usually) & I haven’t had any issues. the multivitamin is a pretty big tablet (it pretty much has to be or else you have to take lots of pills) & if you have trouble swallowing big pills I am almost certain there is a capsule form. the DHA is great because it isn’t fish oil (it is vegan except for gelatin in the capsule) so there is absolutely no aftertaste!

mamas & mamas-to-be, what were or are your essentials?

M

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