Category Archives: Motherhood

Newborn Must Haves We Love

*Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link.

newborn must haves on a budget

 Our little Baby is going to be 6 months old tomorrow (what?!?!).  I know he is no longer considered a newborn (cue the tears!), but having a baby doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always going to be on time with things now.  Hence this post being so late!  

He’s our first, so we had a lot of learning to do those first three months.  It’s no lie we developed a serious crush on some of his stuff and wanted to share our newborn must haves. I wanted to share what we loved and what didn’t work out too great for us.

I tried to keep these newborn must haves within our budget so these are budget friendly items. The ones that seem a bit high are well worth the investment. I would recommend registering for most of these (if not all) for your baby shower.

For Sleep

Fisher Price Rock N Play – He loves to sleep in this during the day while I’m working around the house. He isn’t crazy about the rocking being turned on yet, but he does like the vibrations. I think the elevation is really nice and what he likes so much about it. Plus it’s light, so we can travel with it easily. I like to take it with me when I shower so I can peer out to make sure he’s okay.

dockatot

DockATot – this purchase has been a lifesaver for us!  He loves it, which means he’s sleeping great at night.  We love it because he’s sleeping great, but also because we feel safe with him being in the bed with us.  Plus, when we travel we just take the DockATot with us.  He’s familiar with the DockATot so he goes right to sleep no matter where we are.

Tummy Time

Boppy Pillow – we use this for tummy time, feedings, and sitting up. It works great for tummy time since he’s cushioned all around. I love that case comes off and is machine washable. I like to wash it a few times a week just to keep it nice and clean since he puts his face on it.

Fisher Price Play Gym – we received this play mat during one of my showers. It’s great. With three dogs running around we aren’t crazy about Baby being on the bare floor, so we put this down. It’s cushioned and has a play gym over it for when we lay him on his back.

Mommy Saver Lite App – it flashes shapes and designs that are mostly black and white, but they do throw in some colors.  It also plays a pretty soothing tune while turned on.  He is in awe of it during tummy time and it’s a great motivator for him.

Feeding and Soothing

Dr. Brown’s Bottles– I could go on and on about these bottles! I planned on breastfeeding so I didn’t do much research on bottles. But when that planned failed, we had to resort to using bottles with formula. After the first few days I just knew his little tummy was really hurting. We received some bottles during our showers, but I wasn’t sure if any were made to help relieve gas. I found these Dr. Brown bottles from other mommy bloggers and decided to give them a try. Luckily we received one from J’s aunt. It helped tremendously! Then I ordered more from Walmart and picked up in the store.

JollyPop Pacifiers – We were introduced to these while in the NICU. It really helped keep him calm during all of the poking and prodding. I talked to the NICU nurse and she recommended these due to their shape. She said it really helped soothe them, but wouldn’t cause any problems with how his little mouth formed around the pacifier. She gave us a few to take home and he really loved them compared to our other ones.  Now I’m not going to lie after about the second month, he stopped taking a pacifier on a regular basis.  We tried several other brands, shapes, and so on, but he didn’t like any of them.  I still carry one that we got from the NICU in my diaper bag just in case.  

Travel

Carseat Cover – This carseat cover is perfect for when we’re out and about. Not only does it protect him from the elements – rain, wind, sun and such, but it protects him from germ-filled people. Before I purchased this cover, people always were stopping to look at him. No one tried to touch him, but I knew it was inevitable. After the NICU I didn’t want any sick people getting too close to our precious boy. Now they can’t see him so out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

CuddleBug Wrap Carrier – I came across this wrap online and ordered one. It wasn’t as expensive as some other wraps I saw, which was a nice bonus. I like to wear this even around the house. If he’s a bit fussy then I all wrap him up and carry him while I work around the house. I can do laundry, dishes, cook dinner and clean all while he sleeps. It’s a bit heavier fabric then some other wraps on the market, so I’m not sure how it would go as the only means to carry him on a hot summer day.

newborn must haves

Infantino Fusion Carrier – This carrier is great! It’s a bit lighter so during the hot summer days when we’re outside, I like to use this one.  I took our little guy with me to work for the first 5 months (hello! waiting lists!) so I was able to wear him while I worked.  It was such a blessing!  Now that he’s getting older and bigger, it will transition to other positions.  Since he has good neck control these days, he loves to be facing outward to see everything.

The So-So Newborn Must Haves

Little Me Swaddles – when we first came home from the hospital and NICU this guy saved us. He loved it how snuggled it made him feel.  As he grew the more he hated having his legs bound.  So we stopped using it after he turned 2 weeks old.  He sleeps great without it, but I still take one with me when we travel just to be on the safe side.

newborn must haves, newborn products

Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet – We let him sleep in a bassinet when we first got home, but realized he never got very much sleep in there.  So that’s when we upgraded to the DockATot.  We purchased this one from Wal-Mart and I used it in the family room or when I took a shower.  It’s on wheels and I can just roll him around the house, which is nice to have!  

We Love Our DockATot

we love our dockatot

When our little one was just a month old we decided to break the one rule I said we would never do – we started co-sleeping.

GASP!

He would sleep maybe 2 hours in his bassinet or crib before waking up wanting to be held. Then we started co-sleeping and the very first night he slept close to 5 hours straight.

WHAT?!

I was sold on co-sleeping that very night. I wanted to make sure we did it safely for both us and baby. I had found DockATot through Instagram and fell in love with the cute designs and the ease of using it. I read testimonials and followed other bloggers that used their product.

Then I took a leap and purchased the deluxe version. It arrived less than a week after ordering it and we used it that night. Thanks to how they take care of their products the case didn’t even need to be washed before we used it the first time.

The DockATot changed how our baby sleeps!

dockatot

He fits snuggly inside and it the DockATot fits between J and I at night. That way either one of us can tend to him if he wakes up. It’s about the size of a bed pillow so it doesn’t take up too much room. Luckily we already had transition to a California King bed months earlier so we weren’t even phased by the addition of another pillow.

dockatot

This picture is embarrassing!  This crazy-mess of a bed is what we wake up to each morning.  J and I have used separate blankets for awhile now – I like multiple blankets and he gets hot way too easily. Plus we have three dogs that like to cuddle up, too.  Somehow we even take off the bottom sheet while sleeping.  I guess we’re just a mess. But Baby has no idea because he’s comfy in his DockATot.  

The only reason I’m sharing this real-life, embarrassing picture is because I was super curious how much room the DockATot would take up in our bed.  

What’s great about the DockATot is we can take it with us. When we traveled to Florida with my family and J’s family we just took the pillow with us. Baby wasn’t even phased by sleeping in a different room since he still had his cozy DockATot to cuddle in.  We shared a Queen bed during our trip and he still fit perfectly while J and I slept great too.  It was tighter than what we were use to, but still worked fine.

If you use my referral code, by clicking here or on any of the links through out the post then you can receive 10% off your purchase!

*I have not been paid for my opinion of the DockATot, I’m just a crazed fan. I do have a referral link that if you purchase from you will receive a 10% discount and I will receive a $5 credit.

Why I Chose To Go Back To Work After Baby

Why I Chose To Go Back to Work After Baby

Choosing to be a stay at home mom or returning to work after baby is a hot topic. I wanted to show why I chose to go back to work after baby.  It’s a emotional topic, but one I think is talked about enough.

I work for my family’s accounting and financial planning firm. The reason we moved to my hometown was for me to work with my Dad to learn the ropes. The thought of deciding to quit my job wasn’t possible. I am needed and I love what I do. 

I actually only took a six week maternity leave from work. I probably could have taken longer, but I also knew that I had work to do. Because I work for my family, I was able to bring Baby with me. It was a nice transition for me. I was able to get the balance of getting work done, but was still able to see him across my desk.

Even if I didn’t work my family’s firm, I’m positive I would have returned to work. It’s more than a financial choice, too. Sure the double income is nice, but honestly money isn’t a primary factor.

After four weeks of being home with just Baby and dogs during the day, I found myself irritable with J. I needed that outlet of talking to someone, working on a bigger project and just feeling needed. Don’t get me wrong, every few hours when Baby woke up hungry I felt very much needed, but it’s different.

working mom

 

Why I Chose To Go Back to Work After Baby

 

I loved my time at home and know when he goes into a daycare in a few weeks I will be a complete mess. I will miss being home with my little boy. It’s crazy – I never saw myself as a mother when I was younger, but the moment I heard his cries and saw him for the first time I knew this is why I was put on this Earth. To be his mom.

And one thing that goes along with being a good mom is providing for him. I want to give him the moon.

My parents wanted to give my sister and I more than they were given as kids, and I want to give our son more than I was given.  Which is a pretty tall order.  I know I want our son to travel (mainly because J and I want to travel!), to accomplish his goals, go to college and not have to worry about the expense of school, and have fun while he’s young.  To do all of these things, both J and I need to work.  

We need to be saving our money, paying down debt and dreaming of places to travel as a family.  With eliminating one of our incomes, we could still accomplish these goals, but we would have to sacrifice a lot right now and it would take longer to get there.

Another reason I went back to work was to save my marriage.

J and I were talking the other night and came to a conclusion. If I wanted to be a stay at home mom then that would probably be the end to our marriage. I know it’s crazy to say that and probably a little hard. But I don’t know how to do that successfully.

I found myself in my short maternity leave depending on J too much. He was my source for socializing, my relief when I needed a break from sleepless nights, and my punching bag when I got frustrated. Not a literal punching bag, but I just became very short with him over the weeks and I know that wasn’t good.

It wasn’t fair to him and deep down I knew that.  I like to think that I’m a pretty logical person so I could see myself acting crazy, knew it was too much, but couldn’t stop myself.  I realize I was a hormonal mess, but I feel like it was more than that.  I needed an outlet and I couldn’t depend on my husband to provide that.  I needed to find my own.

Work is my outlet.  I get up, get dressed, put on make up and head out the door.  I sit at desk and work on projects for our clients.  I like answering questions and helping our clients solve their problems.  Before having a baby, I really felt my career was what I was supposed to do with my life – crazy, I know!

Why I Chose To Go Back to Work After Baby

Now it’s all about finding a balance.  A balance between putting J first, providing for our son by giving him the foundation he needs and having a fulfilling career.  I will reach that balance at some point and I know I will struggle along the way, but I know I am setting a good example for our son and will be able to do so much with him as he gets older.  

 

How to Teach Your Kids About Money

How To Teach Your Kids About Money

How to teach your kids about money – the simple way!

Learning financial responsibility at a young age is crucial. Your child should know how money works and how hard work is how you earn money. It doesn’t grow on trees and we need to be teaching our children that from very early on.

I feel like my parents did an excellent job teaching my sister and I all about money.  It wasn’t handed to us, we didn’t earn it for making good grades (that was expected), and we learned how to budget out money.

I love my Baby and I’m sure he will be spoiled, but he will know how to work. I think teaching finances to children will help them know hard work is how you get ahead and that everything will not be handed to you in life.

Here’s my top tips for how to teach your kids about money:

Make them work for it.

Don’t just fork over an allowance each week.  Setup chores for your kids to do to earn their money. I  recommend having a standard set of chores to even qualify.  For instance, their bed has to be made and their clothes put away each day before they can do an extra chores to earn money.  

Don’t give them an option.

Chores shouldn’t be optional.  The money is an added bonus, but because they live in your house and you provide their meals then they should be expected to pitch in.  

Let them pick their chores.

Sit your kids down and ask what they want to help with.  My sister and I volunteered for our paying gigs so we felt like we wanted to do them.  It will help your kids take ownership in their tasks.  

I had a friend with young kids tell me this story once years ago and it has stuck with me.  His little girl started fighting with him on drinking her morning milk.  So instead of fighting back or getting frustrated he came up with a plan.  He set out 3 cups each morning and her job was to pick the cup she wanted her milk in.  She had taken ownership over making that decision and she would happily drink her milk from her cup of choice.

Let you kids decide what they want to do and they will take pride in getting it done.

Pay per chore.

Set a price for each task and that’s how they get paid.  It’s not a set amount each week, but they have a maximum amount they can earn.  Now I know each amount may differ between families.  25 cents per chore may work for some while others may give more, but no matter the amount you decide – you need to set a price and stick with it.

For instance, taking the trash to the street is worth 50 cents and bringing the empty cans back is another 50 cents.  Emptying the dishwasher is worth $1.00 and so on.  If they skip a day or a week then they do not get compensated for it.

Teach them how to budget.

I like the idea of having a set amount that goes into savings each week.  You can make it a specific dollar amount or percentage.  I prefer percentage because it also teaches them math each week.  You can set what you think is reasonable, but they know before they can spend any of their earnings a certain portion must be put aside.

10% is a good amount to start with in my opinion.  It’s a round number so doing the math can be easy.  You can have 10% for savings and 10% for tithing to teach your children about charity.

By treating the savings and tithing as a bill they are learning how to budget their money before spending which can really help them understand how expenses work.

Just a few simple steps can really help teach your kids about money.  It doesn’t have to take hours each week, just a few minutes every Sunday and your kids are getting a budgeting lesson.  I love the idea of passing on the work ethic my parents instilled in me to our son.    

Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding

breastfeeding vs. formula feeding

Most moms would hope and plan on breastfeeding their little one. I know I did. If anyone asked what my plan was I always answered with a strong “Yes, I plan to breastfeed.”

I had been financially preparing for baby, but I had planned to breastfeed so long that I even took out the cost of formula from our budget. But things don’t always work out like you plan.

Breastfeeding was hard for me and Baby from day one. I didn’t know what I was doing and the lactation specialist at my local hospital stopped by for a 5 minute visit. She tried to help, she said she would be back, but we never saw her again. So I was out of luck on getting any help. A nursery nurse came by and said if I had a nipple shield. I was told in that quick 5 minute meeting with the specialist that the nipple shield was the last resort. I was telling the nursery nurse I preferred to not use one, but it was too late. She grabbed it, stuck it on to “show me just in case” then put Baby on it. I was so confused, tired and really out of it after my C-Section so I didn’t fight it.

I was never shown how to make my baby latch and after several failed attempts I started relying on the nipple shield. I thought my baby was getting enough breast milk, but he wasn’t. That’s why he ended up at the NICU at only 5 days old. He wasn’t getting enough to eat and my body wasn’t producing what he needed. One night it was about 2 am and I was in tears trying to soothe him. I tried breastfeeding, which would work for about 20 minutes then he would start crying and screaming again. I tried rocking him, holding him, bouncing him – everything I could think of. I was just praying that I could figure out what was going on.

breastfeeding vs. formula feeding

After hours and hours of this, I couldn’t wait until 9am. That’s when we went in for his first pediatrician appointment. 9am couldn’t come fast enough. I just remember watching the time tick by, it was going so slow and my baby was so unhappy. Looking back at it now, I probably should have called to get in first thing, but I didn’t know.

At his appointment the nurse weighed him, 5 pounds, 1 ounce. He dropped 15 ounces since he was born – 5 days ago. I knew that amount was a lot and I asked the nurse if it was normal, but I already knew the answer. The doctor came in and after a few brief questions about breastfeeding and his stools, we were rushed to the lab for blood to be drawn. I was told by the nurse to not go home or wait at the lab for results. I was to come immediately back to the doctor’s office.

10 minutes after leaving the lab, I heard the nurse’s phone ring. I heard her talk to the doctor and we were then given a bottle of formula and a bottle. I was told we could try breastfeeding, but he really needed to get his sugars up fast. They were way too low. Scared and worried, I skipped trying to breastfeed and just gave him the bottle. The doctor wanted him to drink an ounce. He gulped it down. So fast. I cried.

My baby was starving and I now saw how hungry he was. I hurt for him.

The doctor came back in once the rest of the results were in. He wasn’t in good shape. He was dehydrated, had jaundice, and his sugar level was too low. Not to mention losing over 16% of his body weight was more than worrisome. The doctor told me I had a few options at this point:

First, I could go to the hospital in town and be admitted to either the NICU or I could drive the hour and half to the next largest hospital and be admitted to the NICU there.

NICU?? My stomach sank and I squeezed my little boy closer to my chest. I asked her for her recommendation and she said the larger hospital would have the best support for breastfeeding. It was decided – J and I packed up a few nights worth of clothes and headed out of town as fast as we could.

Once we arrived, he was swooped up by the nurses while we scrubbed in. By the time we got back there he was already hooked up to all of these wires and monitors. They asked me the same breastfeeding questions and I answered the same way. But this time I knew he wasn’t getting enough and my emotions were running high.

The nurse requested a lactation specialist to come in. She worked with me on the pumping and breastfeeding. She said he had a good latch, but I need to work on my supply. So I was to breastfeed, formula feed then pump every 3 hours. I was exhausted after the first day. I couldn’t stop crying, I had barely slept and my body was hurting.

It was hard to breastfeed with all the wires and with him being so weak so I stopped. I would just pump after every feeding. When I had enough breast milk then I would feed him that instead of formula.

He was doing great, but my milk supply was not. I was barely getting an ounce throughout the whole 24 hours, but I was told to keep with it.

motherhood, unite in motherhood, baby boy, newborn

We came home and like clockwork I fed him a bottle of either formula or breastmilk then I would pump for 20 minutes. After 3 weeks, I was still barely getting enough for one bottle a day of breast milk.

He was doing good with the formula. He was growing and becoming more alert. He no longer screamed out of hunger, which was an amazing feeling to know I was keeping my baby satisfied.

I kept trying to pump breast milk. I read article after article, I talked to the lactation specialist once we were home, I tried herbs and teas and still nothing. My supply started dropping. Once he turned one month old I was getting less than 5 mL a day when I pumped. I tried an electric pump, a hand pump, manually expressing milk. I tried it all. I would sit with ice on my wrapped wrists from hand pumping all day.

I was stressing myself out, making myself sick. Yet, Baby was still thriving. He was still growing. At his one month checkup he weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces. He was doing great! I was the one that was a mess.

I felt like I failed my baby because I couldn’t provide breast milk or breastfeed. But he saw me as the provider of food. He didn’t know the difference, he just knew that when he was hungry I was there to make him feel full.

I tried hard for over a month to provide my baby with breast milk and I couldn’t do it. In the end I had to realize my sanity was better than 5 mL of breast milk a day. So I stopped.

Now he is a 100% formula fed baby and he’s happy, healthy, and growing like a weed. Does it make me less of a parent because of it? No. If anything it makes me a damn good parent for trying to so hard and making sure my baby is taken care of.

Should I be judged for not breastfeeding? No. Absolutely not and neither should any other mom who decided to formula feed their child.

Should I feel guilty? No. I did the best I could and am still providing my child with nourishment.

Our Organized Baby Dresser

Note: Some links in this post contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my blog!

organized baby dresser

I love organization. Something about not having to think when trying to find something, just puts me at ease.  I have to be honest though, I’m not a perfectly organized person.  Just ask J anytime I’m trying to find my phone or car keys.  Don’t get me started on my debit card – I can never find that! 

Here’s my favorite ways to be organized:

My closet, for instance, is color coordinated. You open the doors and will see all the blues together, blacks together, reds together and so on. It’s pretty. Makes getting dressed easier in the morning since my most recent-worn items aren’t in the front. I can grab and go without thinking, “when was the last time I wore this top?”

My monthly bill system is organized perfectly for me.  Paid bills in one folder, need to pay in another, our check register is on Google Sheets and updated on a daily basis.  I also have a budget binder with a debt tracking sheet and monthly bill tracker.

The junk drawer in the kitchen is another story. It’s actually two small-sized drawers because I out grew one drawer. It’s on my to-tackle list, but it just hasn’t been a priority yet. You’re better off not even trying to find anything in those drawers. It would take forever and you’d probably make a mess just digging.

baby boy, motherhood, mommy blogger

Why I wanted an organized baby dresser.

With Baby here early and all of my plans for his arrival thrown around, I was really glad I had his nursery organized. I worked hard on getting the dresser perfect a few weeks before he arrived. I wanted to make sure it was functional and easy to use. Especially since it has a dual purpose of dresser and changing table.

I wanted diapers and changing products close-by without over taking the top of the dresser. I wanted burp cloths and frequently used items at arm’s reach that way I could keep a hand on him at all times while he’s on the changing pad.

Once the organizational plan was ready, then it was easy to follow-through with it. Now when laundry is done or diapers are purchased they have a home. Which means no piling or putting things off until later, which I am the queen of (hence the junk drawers).

How to Organize Your Baby's Dresser

The first thing to start with is the perfect dresser.  I received mine as a Christmas present from my parents.  Originally it was going to be my dresser and my old one was going to become the baby’s.  However, that didn’t happen.  Being super pregnant by the time we finished the nursery left me no motivation to switch dressers and move them all over the house.  So instead the baby got the new dresser.  I think it works out better.  The drawers are a bit deeper, which means they can hold more baby clothes.  Especially right now with his clothes being so tiny, they don’t hang very well.  I found this dress, a nouvelle dresser that is similar at Wal-Mart that is right on budget for a inexpensive nursery makeover.  

organized baby dresser, organized nursery

Top Drawers:

Miscellaneous hospital papers and keepsakes that will end up in Baby’s memory book is in one drawer.  The other drawer holds his diapers and wipes.  That way when we’re changing his diaper, we don’t have to stretch or bend to reach a new diaper.  Plus it keeps the clutter on top of the dresser to a minimal.

Upper Middle Drawers:

I keep the most used items in the next two drawers so I can reach them without having to bend if he’s on the changing pad.  I placed all of his bibs, burp cloths, receiving blankets in one drawer.  The other one holds his current-sized onsies and socks.  We also put his swaddles in this drawer.  He isn’t a big fan of the swaddle now that he’s a bit older.  It’s still nice to have in arms reach, but we don’t use them as much anymore.

Lower Middle Drawers:

I do get into these drawers a lot, but usually when he’s in his crib or if J is around.  I put his sheets and waterproof mattress protectors in one drawer. His towels and washcloths are in the other drawer.

Bottom Drawers:

Here is where I placed any clothes that are too big right now.  I have them organized by sizes so when he grows into them I can just move them up to the other drawer.  

How do you have your baby’s dresser organized?

I also have plenty of room in his closet for hanging clothes, but he was so little at birth that most of his onsies wouldn’t fit on the baby hangers.  He’ll eventually grow into needing clothes hung up, but we’re not there yet.

Motherhood: What I’m Meant To Do

motherhood, unite in motherhood, baby boy, newborn

I’m only a little over a month into this whole motherhood thing and I have to tell you – it’s hard. Really hard. But it’s also worth it, every second of the sleepless nights, the skill with balancing a baby while making a bottle and the art of the quick diaper change – it’s all worth it.

Last night while up at 2 am feeding Baby I realized that this is why I’m here. If you would have told me at 20 years old I would have felt fulfilled sitting in the middle of the bed with one dog at my feet, the other taking over my pillow while soothing a fussy baby because he’s hungry, I would have said you were crazy. I didn’t grow up wanting a child. I really thought a life without a family is what I wanted. I was young and stupid.

I’m so glad I found J and we decided as a couple to start a family. This little boy frustrates me in the best possible way. I’m becoming a baby whisperer and finding strength when I didn’t think I had any. During his NICU stay I rallied and was able to take in what the nurses were saying, curb the tears and be strong for him. I wasn’t strong for myself, I was strong for my child. He needed me and I couldn’t let him down.

This is what life is all about. Motherhood. I know I have a lot of learning to do and I know he will take joy out of scaring his poor mother one day, but right now I will hold him and snuggle him tight every chance I get.

motherhood, unite in motherhood, baby boy, newborn

As I write this post, Baby is sitting in his rock ‘n play after tummy time.

The last pediatrician appointment I was informed that Baby has a mild case of Torticollis. Which is similar to a crick in the neck from how he laid in my womb. It’s mild and she recommended we go to physical therapy to learn some exercise to help.

We had our first physical therapy appointment earlier this week and I learned that Torticollis is very common and his case is very, very mild. So with appointments and exercises at home, he should be fine.

But it’s scary. I want one doctor’s appointment where everything goes well. The first we were admitted to the NICU. The second was his circumcision, which went fine so I guess it was a good appointment. The third was a checkup and his umbilical cord wasn’t healing great so she put some medicine in it to help dry it out, which caused his belly button to be rubbed raw and another visit the next day to make sure everything was okay. The last appointment was when we were told about his case of Torticollis.

I want one appointment where everything is great – his weight, his belly button, his neck, everything. I know it will come and I realize how lucky we are. These issues could be severe. I know that. But, ugh, just one appointment where we don’t have to come back the next week or go to another specialist. That’s all I want.

motherhood, unite in motherhood, baby boy, newborn

Being a new mom is hard. I never realized just how stressful and fearful being a mom is until I became one. I think I took advantage of how strong my mom was while I was growing up. Even when I was delivering Baby and had to be rushed for a C-Section. My Mom was worried about me, her baby. I get it now.

To all of us in the bonds of Motherhood. The stress and fear isn’t going to get easier, but hopefully we can lean on each other for support without judgment.

My Favorite Newborn App

favorite newborn tracking app

I wanted to share a piece of my sanity while juggling a newborn with first-time parenthood.  I’m not going to lie – it’s hard having a newborn at home when I have never had a child before.  Everything is new and scary.  Plus, my brain has turned into mush.  Days run together and I can’t keep track of feedings all that well.  

I shared his birth story last week and talked about the trip to the NICU, I’m very aware of his feedings.  I want to know how much he’s eating, how often he’s eating and then his diapers.  I want to make sure there isn’t anything out of the ordinary that I should be worried about.  

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but both of my best friends had babies recently. I’m so lucky and excited to have shared this time with them even though we all live hours apart, it was nice to have someone to text my crazy thoughts or fears to.

One friend had her little girl a few months ago and she has always been the planner of our little group. So I was so excited when she was due months before me because it meant I could learn a lot from her. And boy have I!

One of the first tools she recommended was a newborn app called Baby Daybook. I downloaded it before our son was even here just to get familiar with it.

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Now I want to pass on the recommendation to you!

I can track how often he eats, how much he’s eating, diaper changes, tummy time, baths, playing, medicine, breastfeeding, pumping, and so much more.  I use it mainly for tracking diapers, feeding, and medicine.  Baby Denton is taking vitamin D on a daily basis and with my mush brain it’s nice to have something keep track of it for me.  I don’t want to skip a day and this Baby Daybook app really helps.

Not only does it tell me what time he ate, but it has a counter so I can quickly glance to see the last time he ate was 2 or 3 hours ago.  I love that feature!  At 2am it’s nice to see how long he’s going between feedings without having to do the calculation myself.  

favorite newborn tracking app

newborn app, baby daybook app

I’m sure the more familiar I get with his routines and the more comfortable I get as a new mom then I may stop using this app as much.  But I may use it for a good long while since it gives me comfort.  

If you’re expecting or have a newborn go download this newborn app. It’s wonderful!

 

*I was not paid to discuss my love of the Baby Daybook app.  It’s just an app that has really helped a new mom deal with the stress of everything.

Our Little Boy’s Birth Story

birth story, preemie, nicu, birth announcement

I feel like it’s been months and months since I’ve logged on to write a new post. You see, I’m a planner and I had planned on having our little boy on or really close to his due date. I had all these posts scheduled or just needing finishing touches so it would seem like I wasn’t missing a beat. But this little guy had other plans. He arrived 3 weeks early.

Yep, I had a preemie, something I never thought would happen.

Here’s the story of our little Baby Denton. A lot of our friends don’t even know all the details about his birth or how he was admitted to the NICU at 5 days old. But I’m finally strong enough to talk about it without breaking down in tears. Here’s his birth story…

The start of labor.

On Thursday morning I woke up around 1am thinking I had wet myself. I went to the bathroom so confused. I had heard of women having leaky bladders, but I hadn’t experienced this at all. I thought it was odd that it hit so fast in the middle of the night. I cleaned myself up and went back to bed. Within 30 minutes, I felt it again. Then again 20 minutes later. Finally I decided not to go back to bed. I googled what was going on, which is something I tried not to do the whole pregnancy because Dr. Google can really freak me out!

It sounded like my water had broke from what I had read. I wasn’t having any contractions and felt fine other than slowly leaking fluid. At 8am I called the doctor’s office and was told to come on in. The nurse was telling me that about 99% of the time women think their waters have broke, but in reality it’s just urine and nothing to worry about. The nurse practitioner came in and took one of those Ph papers to test it and it instantly turned bright blue – amniotic fluid.

The doctor had me go to the hospital to check myself in – today was the day our baby was coming! I called J and told him, called my sister, my mom and dad and my best friends. Luckily I had packed our hospital bags the weekend before so that was one worry off my mind.

J and I got to the hospital at the same time and I was taken up to the labor and delivery floor. I hadn’t dilated any and my contractions were weak and far, far apart. They decided to give me a low dosage of pitocin and monitor the baby closely. Every time I would have a contraction, his heart rate would dip a bit. I was told that it wasn’t a concern since they were timed with the contractions.

The delivery.

Flash forward 24 hours and I was barely dilated to a 7am and every time they tried to increase the pitocin through the night, Baby D’s heart rate would dip. So they had to back off of the medicine. The doctor came in around 11am on Friday morning and said that if the heart rate dips too much after a contract that would be a concern he might be under distress.

I understood what he meant and decided to just get comfortable for a long day. Then I had a big contraction and his heart dropped a lot afterwards. I was scared. The doctor came right in and said it was probably time for a c-section. Within seconds I was signing forms and being told what to expect.

I started crying. Not because I was scared, but because it was happening so fast. Really fast. I knew I would be okay with a c-section, I knew it was probably the best option for our baby to be delivered healthy and I knew I was in the best hands. It was just overwhelming.

Within 12 minutes of the doctor coming in, our baby was born.

birth story, preemie, nicu

He was a healthy baby. He was little since he was 3 weeks early, but he was healthy. We found out why his heart rate was dipping during each contraction – there was a true knot in the umbilical cord. A true knot is not just a twisted cord, but it’s when the cord is actually knotted and cannot be undone. So every time I had a contraction his supply was being cut off.

So scary! After talking with the doctor that if I would have declined the c-section to keep trying, our little boy may not have made it. I still cry thinking about it.

The first doctor’s appointment.

We were discharged on Sunday and had our first pediatrician appointment on Wednesday. I went to the first doctor’s appointment thinking everything was going to be okay, but it wasn’t.

birth story, preemie, nicu

He had lost 16% of his birth rate, he was yellow and super dehydrated.

The NICU stay.

We were rushed to the NICU over an hour away. He was quickly admitted and hooked up to all of these monitors. I was a mess. I couldn’t stop crying. Here was my precious baby boy hooked to all of these machines.

birth story, preemie, nicu

I learned that breastfeeding was working for us. He wasn’t getting the nutrients he needed and we needed to supplement.

But God is good and he rebounded so fast. His levels normalized within no time. They were able to remove the bilirubin lights on Friday and they warned me that he might go back a few steps without being under the light, but he didn’t. His numbers actually improved! They removed the feeding tube Friday, too since he had 7 meals eating on his own without needing the tube.

nicu baby

The hospital was so great and had a lactation specialist come talk to me. She helped me try to breastfeed, which wasn’t easy. Then helped me pump. I wasn’t getting but an 3 ounces a day from pumping. My milk is jacked up!

I never left his side – I slept in the NICU, I showered there and ate in the cafeteria. I would break down anytime I had to leave his room. I was so worried about our little guy.

We were lucky – he was lucky and had God looking over him. It could have been worse. He only needing a feeding tube for a short time and bilirubin lights – that was it. He was discharged on Saturday afternoon. He has been thriving ever since!

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Now fast forward and he’ll be a month old in 3 days. We still can’t breastfeed and my milk supply has just continued to drop. Now I don’t even get an ounce a day. I’m taking herbs, drinking teas, drinking lots of water, but still nothing. I’m not giving up though. Every little bit of breastmilk helps and is good for him.

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At first I was sad about supplementing with formula, but I realized that as long as our baby is growing and staying healthy that’s all that matters. I can’t punish myself for something I can’t control. I don’t want to be judge by these breastfeeding nazis because I tried. My son is gaining weight, he’s healthy and happy – that is what’s important.