How Parenthood Has changed Me part 2

Well if I thought October was a crazy month, the last week out-crazed it all! We had horrible mold problems in our apartment that we had to evacuate and find somewhere new all in a span of four days. And to top it off the computer stopped working. But hey, first world problems!

As a young adult, I never thought much about germs. I was young(er) and invincible! I was in the prime of youth, loving life, anything was possible! I would never grow old never really got sick. Sure, I would be “responsible” and wash my hands when I worked in a kitchen or got dirty. But germs weren’t that big of a deal! If I did ever get sick, it was only for a few days and most of the time I would just sleep through it and be fine. But now when I see someone sick or have….

Germs!!!

A Baby’s worst enemy. I will go hide with my kids in my cave thank you! I’ll see you in the summer.

No joke!

I would rather be in solitary confinement for most of not all winter than have sick babies. When it’s one, it’s not so bad or hard to keep well. But with two, the older sibling is harder to keep from getting and sharing germs and it seems an impossible monumental task to keep the germs away from siblings.

There is nothing worse as a parent than seeing your child so sick in a hospital and feeling helpless. Small germs for adults that are more bothersome and annoying than anything can be life threatening for babies. So this winter, PLEASE! Just keep all snotty noses at home. It might be easier and more convenient for you to send you kid out, they may be just well enough, but that convenience for yourself could cost a family house of sleep, and thousands of dollars. (So here’s your friendly reminder not to kiss or touch babies that aren’t yours without the mothers permission! And if your baby or older child is sick, please keep them home!)

It’s not only sick germs that I seem to have a heightened sense for these days, germs and dirt in general, because apparently OCD Postpartum is a real thing and postpartum anxiety can be easily triggered by clutter and a messy house. So don’t feel bad if you’re having some OCD but always seek help if you feel it is beyond a healthy degree.

I’ve also noticed (in the rare and short moments I am out by myself) of how I carry myself as a mother. I seem to feel like it doesn’t matter as much how I look no matter the occasion if I have kids with me. I have to dress a certain way, faint wear earrings or jewelry of any kind. I know I’m going to get something on me or my outfit is going to get dirty in some way or just not sit the same because babys on the hip. I do t feel as attractive of free to relax and be comfortable in my surrounding like I would otherwise. Without children I feel a sense of empowered freedom, capable of anything in that moment!

Is this how it is for all mothers? No! This is my story, this is how I feel. I tell this so that others who may feel this way won’t feel alone or guilty for feeling this way. Being a mother can be great, but it does not have to be the calling on your life. If it is, great! Do it to the best of your ability. I admire that. There does not need to be any judgment for either side of things. If you are the mother who feels stuck or wants to do more, just know, this will not last long. Enjoy every moment. The years go buy quicker than you think. You’re not missing out on as much as you may feel.

Don’t let fear rob you of the joy in the precious moments like these.

How parenthood has changed me

Can I just say this month has been crazy! From two hurricanes, to water pouring through the ceiling, to starting a new job, to mold, being sick, to mice and experiencing postpartum issues for the first time since giving birth to my son just over a year ago. It’s been….. busybody day the least.

The last couple posts have been somber ones and I wanted to something more lighthearted. I have been trying to find a balance between sharing difficult information and light reading, but… maybe your should read another blogger for that! I am not always so serious and intense. I actually really enjoy hearing people laugh and helping them have a good time. But the reality is, pregnancy and the aftermath can be a very serious thing. If you’re caught unprepared and don’t understand what is going on, it can be very scary and leave you feeling out of control, lost and confused. So, I guess I would rather you read a serious post that can be of help than to hide the reality of the situation and to tell you everything will be fine! Because the truth is, it may not be fine on it’s own, and honestly, it’s not usually fine on it’s own, we as mothers need a community, we need that help, support, fellowship, trusted environment to share the crap and the laughter all in one and everyone come out the better for it.

Motherhood may be one of the hardest things you ever do. It may be the most self sacrificing, depleting, loneliest, frustrating thing, but it can also provide you with some beautiful memories of precious moments, hilarious stories, great laughs and personal growth. There have been may signification events that have changed me and grown me but there is something about parenthood that seems to change you in a way that nothing else can. Perhaps because it’s stuck in your face and there’s no escape from it, every day all day. And you can make the choice to either grow and be a good parent or get away with as little as you can and still have your kids alright. I have been reflecting on what I was like in college and just after getting married a lot the last few weeks and I have definitely seen some areas of growth for sure. I reflected back to the depth of change brought on by other circumstances and I would say parent hood has by far brought about some of the biggest changes by far not just in myself but the way I live my life.

Ways parenthood has changed me.

I used to think it was so gross when I would see a parent eat behind their child, like eating the rest of the ice cream from the spoon before dipping it again. It wasn’t the double dipping, it was putting the left overs on the spoon in your own mouth! Now I find myself doing the same thing!

My sweat now has a sweet odor to it from breast milk. It makes me happy.

I now remind other people to “say thank you”….. 🙄

My friends think I’m a minimalist, and I am but, I’m not. I just don’t want my nicer things to get broken, chewed up, peed on, destroyed, or disappear!

I have SO many more reasons to hate carpet!!!

I’ve always been able to eat more than my husband; people never believed me and thought I was a pig for taking so much food. Now I take three plates at a time and use the excuse “I have kids!” But still usually end up eating most of it myself anyway!

I used to sit alone in my car for forty-five minutes or more after coming back from wherever especially when the weather was nice and just sit there thinking with the windows rolled down. It was bliss!! My car was my safe space. All my space that no one would come in without my saying so. (I had a pretty beat up car, no one would feel it worth breaking into. I loved that old beat up thing though! We went through so much together!) Now I think about how I can spend as little time in the car as possible!

I have put off a lot of my dreams and hobbies, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten them or left them. In fact, I’ve had time to really think about focusing them so that when I am actually able to put them into motion, I have more of a clear vision and line of direction than before. (When you can’t do Anything you really figure out what is the one thing you really want to do when the rare opportunity allows you to.)

I can shower, get two kids ready, and grocery shop in record time!

Winter is a whole new ball game. I used to love winter and the changing of seasons. Now…Winter is a nightmare; from the coats and extra things to carry, to germs and “don’t touch!” Looking forward to social gatherings with excitement and dread. Yay people!!! Oh no, people!

Sometimes I wonder if the “old me” will ever creep it’s way back out. Will I ever get to live feeling like that individual who was confident, bold, strong and sometimes a little reckless? I can feel it there waiting patiently and quietly at times for the right time to come back. Sometimes it will scream and bang against its cage begging to be freed. But I know deep down, even that side of me will never be the same. There is a maturity that comes from parenting. A solidity that establishes itself deep within the center of your being that can rise higher and deeper when called upon. A stronger determination to do what is right and be the best version of myself, hoping to leave a legacy worth following. There is a better understanding of the richness of a single moment and the importance of soaking it in as much as physically possible; forgetting the bad ones and holding on to the smiles, the silly made up words, the sleepy faces, the firsts, and the lasts. There is a great shift in priorities; somehow the importance of a neat freak gets over turned by the playful moments of a self entertained child. And then on top of it all there is a deeper understanding and greater respect and appreciation for my own mother and grandmother. Memories of frustration towards my mother turn into “I understand now!” I get some things better, understand certain actions or calls made about things I wouldn’t understand until becoming a mother myself.

Overall, I would say motherhood has changed me for the better and is continually forcing me to evaluate parts of myself I don’t like, causing me to consider just how much I am willing to sacrifice and change. And no, it does not make you a bad mother for debating if you Really want to sacrifice or not. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person for wanting to get away with certain things. It means you’re human! You have limits and it’s okay to accept them and admit them. Asking for help from a community of others who understand helps fill the gaps and give you a break, the encouragement you need to know you’re doing a good job and not alone.

To My Subscribers…

This is an unconventional post. I am trying to find a way to email you because I would Love to hear more from you but as of right now I have not figured out a way to do so successfully!

I am learning a lot about blogging still. And hey, this is me doing what I can as a beginner, stay at home mom, working two jobs! (I count blogging at a job.)

If you have thoughts or would like to hear about something specifically, please feel free to email me your suggestions! I would greatly value hearing from you, or if you think you have something that my readers would like to hear I would be more than happy to share them if I feel they fit.

Please contact me here: shurter.co@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you and hope to have a more sophisticated way to contact you!

Blessings!

D-MER, or Dysphoric Milk Eject Reflex

     If you are like me, you have NEVER heard of D-MER. D-MER is a condition that can affect breastfeeding mothers causing them to have what has been defined as uncomfortable and unpleasant mood swings such as sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability, or restlessness. This is controlled by… you guessed it… Hormones… and is uncontrollable by the mother.  What happens when a woman has a letdown of breastmilk is a release of both oxytocin and dopamine. You need both to make breastmilk, but in women who experience D-MER, the dopamine falls to an inappropriate level causing sometimes extreme negative reactions. Milk release itself is not caused by dopamine dropping, it’s caused by oxytocin rising. Dopamine inhibits prolactin, stopping the production of milk. Dopamine levels need to drop for prolactin levels to rise in order to make more milk. Normally, dopamine drops properly and breastfeeding mothers never know it even happened. In D-MER mothers, it doesn’t drop properly and causes an instant wave of negative emotions.

     How do women find this information if they don’t know what it is?? Google. They google it. This irritates me! It makes me angry that women do not have the human resources and knowledge they need and have to use a computer because their health care provider does not even mention the possibility of this condition. Or because the community around us doesn’t offer the Real support new mothers need! If you have been a mother for any length of time, you know it is hard and scary, and you feel like you have NO Clue what you’re doing. Why is it that we leave new mothers in the dark? Why do we not share what we have learned and pass it on or even just say “I don’t know what/why, but I’ve been there!” Why are we too afraid to be vulnerable about our experiences leaving generation after generation in the dark, letting them fall farther into loneliness and lack of education.

In all fairness, there has not been a lot of awareness about this subject until recently; it has started to expand through increased online content. There is now preliminary anecdotal evidence that D-MER is treatable.
I have personally not experienced this, so there is no personal connection story, however, if there are so many women out there suffering from D-MER and would not otherwise hear about it, it deserves to be brought to light as part of my mission to help bring healing and health to all mothers everywhere.
So how did I hear about it if I didnt have it? I had it brought to my attention by listening to the story of my friend’s journey through parenthood. One of my favorite things to do is talk to new mothers about their experiences. I have been a mother for almost three years come January 2019. I always find that I can learn new things almost every time or gain a new perspective. It was during one of these conversations that I first heard about D-MER and after learning more about it and how little it is talked about, I decided to share it with you.

Let’s take a minute and talk about what D-MER ISN’T.

It is not classified as a mood disorder or Postpartum Depression. (See my recent post  Recognizing Postpartum Warnings for more information about that.)

It is not nausea with letdown, or any other isolated physical symptom because it is emotionally based.

It is not a psychological response to breastfeeding but a response to milk release.

It is not a general dislike, or impatience with the baby while breastfeeding.

It is not  “breastfeeding aversion” that can happen to some mothers when nursing while pregnant or nursing older toddlers.

     There are slight variations but it all has one common characteristic, negative or even devastating emotion just prior to a letdown. THIS is the key element of D-MER. The mother will feel a surge of negative emotions about 30-90 seconds before the release of milk and by the time the baby is actually swallowing, the feelings have dissolved but will return just before another letdown.
There is a three-level spectrum:
1. despondency
2. anxiety
3. agitation
If you find yourself describing your experience as hollow feeling in the stomach, anxiety, sadness, dread, introspective, nervous, emotionally upset, angst, irritable, hopeless and a general negative emotion, you may be experiencing D-MER and should bring this up to your healthcare provider.

D-MER is defined on something like a color spectrum due to the variable experiences a mother may have; example, red does not look like blue, but they are both colors. Like this, D-MER can present with different “colors” of emotion for different mothers; despondency, anxiety or anger. Each of the three spectrums has three intensities of D-MER that include mild, moderate and severe. These are determined by the mother’s description of intensity, length of time the D-MER takes to correct itself, how many letdowns per feeding she feels the dysphoria and other specifications. Mild cases often can correct themselves in the first 3 months. Moderate can take up to 9 months while severe cases can take up to the first year or longer.

This may feel like a bit of a hopeless situation even for the mild cases, yet, there is hope for helping even the more severe cases. Often once a woman knows that it is not just her but an actual medical condition and not just an emotional problem, she can manage her symptoms more easily. Even educating the moderate cases can often be the helping edge they need to continue breastfeeding. And if this is not enough, mothers with D-MER are encouraged to keep a log so they can become more aware of things that intensify the reactions, things like stress, dehydration, caffeine; and things that might help them feel better, such as plenty of sleep and exercise. Certain lifestyle changes and natural remedies can also help control the symptoms of D-MER in the mild to moderate cases.
Mothers experiencing more severe cases may need a prescription to help them control their symptoms better if they are feeling like they may quit breastfeeding. So far, it seems that simply taking a prescription that increases her levels of dopamine are effective in reducing D-MER symptoms to a more manageable way of living.

And THIS, ladies (and any gentlemen) is why I want to share this with you; because education is often what helps mothers manage their D-MER. It is a simple solution, share your stories, share your experience and help others who are going through the same thing so they don’t have to suffer alone! Share your story with me so we can change the culture in which we live; no one should have to go through parenting alone. Let’s be a community that helps one another because as they say…

IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD. 

six boys standing near trees and houses photo taken
Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

Recognizing​ Postpartum Warnings

This has not been an easy post to write. I have wrestled with how to present this for almost two weeks now. This is such a sensitive topic that so few ever share about, being so raw and honest is hard especially about something so personal and tender. I was not so eager to share my story and struggled to find a way to share about a topic that I find to be SO important for new mothers, and even second or third timers. Most of the focus is on pregnancy and birth (and understandably so, it’s a major transitional event that happens to your body), that we almost never hear people talk about what the transition can actually be like once the excitement and the rush of a new baby is over. All the guests and visitors stop coming and reality sets in; negative feelings, depression, irritability, guilt, hopelessness…You feel like a bad parent like something’s wrong with you. You wonder what is happening, but everyone always tells you “It’s the best thing you’ll ever do!” So, of course, you better not screw it up! Every other new mother has always had smiles and perfect faces, never looking tired or miserable.  It may leave you wondering “What is wrong with me?!” “What am I doing differently?!” (because we all know the mom has complete control over a brand new baby, herself, sleeping perfectly, and everything that could possibly influence her emotions and baby! *Insert eye roll emoji here…)
So here it is! The best I could do to share information about the postpartum traumatic experience without bleeding my guts out… (inhale)

Recognizing the signs of postpartum complications is an important part of preparing for your new baby. We all think that we have to take birthing classes to be prepared and have everything in just the right spot, but the untold truth is that there is So much more to bringing home your new baby than just prepping for birth. Yes, this is a big part of it, and yes, birthing classes can help a great deal, but let’s not forget the importance of recognizing postpartum symptoms.

There are three different categories in the area of Postpartum Depression.
1. Baby Blues
Baby Blues is the most common and recognizable symptom of Post Pardom Depression. People may take this to mean depression is the biggest sign, and yes, that is one of them but, there are many other symptoms.

I think it may be important to state here that the Baby Blues is not a character flaw or a weakness. It can simply be a complication of giving birth. It does not mean you are incapable or failing. It simply means you had a baby and are experiencing side effects and may need some help. 

Other Symptoms of Baby Blues are:
Mood Swings, Anxiety, Sadness, Irritability, Feeling overwhelmed, Crying, Reduced Concentration, Appetite Problems, and Trouble Sleeping.
If you are experiencing these things more than normal, it might be a good idea to mention this to your healthcare provider.

In talking to a postpartum doula, a trained professional who assists new parents with the transition of becoming new parents, she said this about Baby Blues:
“Lots of new mothers experience what is known as the “baby blues” in the first couple of weeks postpartum (key phrase-lots of new mothers experience…).  This is perfectly normal and is caused by the extreme shift in hormones after giving birth, and milk production beginning. Baby blues should subside after a couple of weeks at most. Encapsulating your Placenta and taking it as a multivitamin can greatly assist in this. It may gross you out but if it helps you keep your sanity, it is worth the grossness and the money.” (Amen!)
I did not do this my first time and I actually Really regret this. There are a lot of other benefits to having this saved, it can help with cramps, menopause, and hormonal migraines. I even got my husband to take some. (I’ll talk more about this towards the end.) I lovingly refer to my stash as my “happy pill”, I take it and within 15 minutes I feel great and happy!

2. Post-Partum Depression
Some may think this is the same thing as the Baby Blues, but there are differences. The symptoms that are the same or similar usually are somewhat more severe.
Depression or severe Mood Swings, Excessive Crying, Difficulty Bonding with baby, Withdrawing from family and friends, Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual, Inability to sleep or sleeping too much, Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy, Reduced interest and pleasure in activities once enjoyed, Intense irrealities and anger, Fear that you’re not a good mother, Feelings of worthlessness, Shame, Guilt, or inadequacy, Diminished ability to think clearly or concentrate or make decisions, Severe anxiety and panic attacks, Thoughts of harming self or baby, Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

adult art conceptual dark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here is a more extensive list of the Signs of Postpartum Depression:
1. Negative feelings
depression,
irritability
guilt
misery
self-consciousness
hopelessness
long-lasting
worsens over time with new moms
unable to focus on joys and positivity associated with motherhood

2. Anxiousness
linger aspect of PPD
worry about things you have no control over
more noticeable in women who were not that way before
hostility towards your baby
Shunning new baby
feeling trapped by responsibilities

3. Extreme guilt for hostility or sadness
Often leaves new mothers feeling unworthiness of being a mom and unable to care for this new life or the other responsibilities they had beforehand

4. Exhaustion
no surprise moms feel exhausted and irritable. Most are motivated by the joy of being a new mom and bonding with their new babies.
lack motivation and can’t see the Joy in motherhood.

5. Panic attacks
rapid heartbeat
Sweating
nausea
or fainting

6. Appetite changes
constant worry, anxiety, guilt is enough to leave most moms feeling nauseated fatigued, migraine headaches, suffer from loss of appetites or stress eating and severer stomach pains and digestive problems.

7. Lack of Sex drive
due to weight gain, bloating, body image issues. Let’s face it; the extreme fatigue and physical attention required to carry, breastfeed, rock, soothe, and diaper your new baby won’t put you in the mood.  However, if this lasts past a few months of getting used to new motherhood, you may be suffering from PPD.

8. Worsening depression
each case is characterized by feelings and actions that are out of character for that particular woman.
loss of motivation
hostility
Guilt
the extreme hopelessness that remains constant and gets worse over time.

Increase in Omega-3 levels may help lower risk of PPD

Please note that experiencing any of these does not define you or your parenting skills. No one should think you are less than you are by admitting you have had thoughts of harming yourself, baby, or thoughts of suicide. If they do, they are not the right person to talk to and I encourage you to keep searching for the right one until you find someone who will help you. And if someone has thought ill of you, I apologize.

3. Postpartum Psychosis
I had personally never heard or knew some of these were possible. If you or someone you know is suffering from Postpartum Psychosis, please get help as soon as possible.
Confusion and disorientation, Obsessive thoughts about your baby, Hallucinations and Delusions, Sleep disturbances, Paranoia, Attempts to harm self or baby.

When to see a Dr.
It’s important to call your doctor as soon as possible if the signs and symptoms of depression have any of these features:
Don’t fade after two weeks
Are getting worse
Make it hard for you to care for your baby
Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

If feelings of depression occur after the birth of your baby, don’t’ feel reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. It does not mean you have failed or are a bad mother. It simply means you had a baby and have a lot of hormonal changes going on in your body right now. Many people suffer from this and never get help. These first few months of your baby’s life should be joyful and enjoyable, experiencing these symptoms make it hard to do so. Please don’t miss out on making beautiful memories.

There is one other type of Postpartum I would like to mention, Postpartum Trauma. I may have made up this category. But I still think it is something worth mentioning. Honestly, there may be a better name for it and it may be a real thing, I just can’t think of it right now! Experiencing Trauma during labor can have a large impact on your postpartum recovery (in my opinion). It can inhibit bonding with your baby and make the thought of ever having a baby again terrifying, or even the thought of having sex seem impossible. When you have a birth plan and it goes awry in any way, the effects can be long lasting even after all symptoms seem to be gone. Processing those emotions with a safe person can help provide healing.

One final thought I would like to leave you with is this; even less talked about is the fact that men can also suffer from postpartum complications the can experience a number of these same complications as the mothers do. They may be traumatized by seeing someone they love in pain, they can feel helpless and like they can’t Do anything, which is a big deal for a man. A man can also experience trauma by seeing a baby come out of a place he associates with pleasure and enjoyment. He may find it difficult to be intimate. It can be hard for a man to body with a baby as it is but they can even have a harder time bonding if they experience trauma in some other form of the process.

And on a happier note! Restoration and healing can be possible for anyone who may have experienced a traumatic birth, or postpartum complications. My first birth and postpartum experience with my daughter was not all sunshine and roses, and now that she is almost three years old, we have been able to slowly build a healthier, happier relationship by building different ways to bond with each other. The process has been slow and there is still healing to take place, but I am continuing to see our relationship grow and become a blessing every day! After the birth of my son, I now have a more positive outlook on birthing and post birth and even hope to become a birthing doula someday because I want to experience the magic of births and help give others positive experiences. If you have experienced any of these, just know there is hope for healing and you are not alone. I speak as one who has been down both roads, I know the pain and the joy of giving life. I have seen my experiences help others avoid pitfalls and provide a person who understands.

(exhale..)fullsizeoutput_1a1

Baby’s First Year on a Budget

Everyone has heard the phrase “babies are expensive”, so having one before you’re “financially stable” is not a good idea. The average newly married couple will not be “financially stable” for a while, so what happens if an unexpected pregnancy happens? Or you planned a baby but still need to stay on a careful budget? Well, as a first-time parent, you may feel the pressure of needing to buy all these things. I know I did! There are So Many baby items out there that are marketed as necessary items for baby’s health, safety, and ease of parenting, all of which are desirable things for such a stage of life. So what do you really need the first year?

Here are the basics I find are what you really can’t get away with for the first year of baby’s life.

Here’s an obvious one for you. A good car seat.
This is rather important for good reasons; one of the reasons is, you can not leave the hospital with your baby if you do not have one. This can be a very pricey item, but you can buy them second hand as long as they are still up to date on all their required codes (these you will find in expiration dates written on the stickers on the lower sides of the car seat). Always remember the importance of not attaching anything extra to a car seat that did not come with it as it can cause injury to baby in the course of an accident.

A bed.
Cribs can be found in yard sales, second-hand stores, and other places. They do not have to be bought brand new. If you are wanting to avoid multiple purchases, I would recommend either a Pack-N-Play or an actual Crib. The reason I recommend that is because if you happen to go on vacation or spend the night somewhere, you will need a mobile bed; a Pack-N-Play can serve very well as that and can last up to a year or longer depending on the size of your baby. My first one was able to stay in it for 15 months, and the second 11 months. I also find Pack-N-Plays to remove the need and may make parents feel more comfortable about the safety of their child because of the mesh siding; there are no hard rails the baby could get stuck in or roll into and no need for crib bumpers, which can actually be a smothering hazard. There is the risk that your baby could grow out of the Pack-N-Play rather soon, so keep that in mind when weighing your options. A side note for the crib; I would say you really only need two sheets, three at the absolute most.

Diapers/ Diaper bag
Here you have some options to play with depending on how much you Really want to save and some other things. Starting with the Diaper Bag; buy or use a cute backpack from somewhere like Wal-Mart or a large purse. I find that actual diaper bags are overpriced, and something you are charged for when you don’t really have to buy that exact thing, but can find something else that works just as well. All you need is something that will hold some diapers, wipes, burp cloths, change of clothes and bottles. I personally do not like carrying around a bunch of extra things, so being stuck with a diaper bag was really annoying. Having a backpack was awesome for my taste and style and worked so much better for me. It stayed out of the way more easily and when I didn’t want to use it anymore I just put what I did need in my big purse around 6-7 months of age.
Diapers….. The dreaded expense for all parents. Diapers can be a drain on finances, no doubt. When I was originally doing research as a first-time parent, I ran across this number; on average, you will spend almost $3,000 on just diapers alone by the time your baby is two and a half and they are not usually potty trained by then either. So your other option? Cloth diapers. I personally did not feel like spending That much money on my child’s butt! I managed to diaper two babies at once in cloth diapers for only $200. This does require some dedication, time, knowledge and patience. Now before I lose you completely, let me say, it is not a gross as you may think. Yes, you have to wash them. No, it does not go into your machine! The poop goes in the toilet, there’s this really cool thing called a poop sprayer that you attach to your toilet and it acts like a hose that you spray all the nastys off with. However, if you are going to put your baby in a daycare, this may not be the best option as some will not change cloth diapers, so please do some research.

Stroller. Yet another big purchase.
This one I almost argue to be a debatable purchase partially because it is such a big purchase. Are they super necessary? No. Yes. Your lifestyle would be more to dictate that. I found I preferred to carry my first baby in a sling or some other carrier especially when baby was very new. It kept a lot of people from getting in her face or asking to hold her because she was strapped to me and because her face was in my chest, making it a little awkward if they did try. Had I not been taking walks every day, sometimes twice a day, I would not have worried so much about the stroller as much. I would still recommend one if possible but, it would not be one of the first things on my list. If, however, you are wanting to have kids close together, I more highly recommend putting some money into your stroller and perhaps find one that can be converted from a single to a double. I do want to just throw this in here, I have been saying they should make a car seat convertible into a stroller because carrying a car seat, diaper bag, and your stuff when you’ve had 3 hours of sleep is brutal when you have a walk to and from your car. And guess what, they did! And here it is! Car Seat Stroller Duo. Cheap, not really, but So Cool!

Side note: there are two things you need to have a good relationship with as a new parent; your stroller and your diaper bag. You will be spending a lot of time with both. If there’s no ease of use, they can be extra headaches. So do your research and do what works for you, your lifestyle, and your baby.

woman holding two white and beige shopping paper bags in building
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Clothes.
They’re pretty needed but you really don’t need as many as you may think or perhaps as many as you want to buy. Baby clothes are cute and hard to resist, but in reality, they grow out of them so very quickly that my kids didn’t wear a good bit of their clothes but once, and some not even at all. You will be doing a lot of laundry so clothes will get washed very quickly.

Bottles and Pumps…
This one may be more of an investment depending on your choice to breastfeed or formula feed. My main point with bottles, Do Not buy the small four oz. bottles. Babies do not eat much when they are first born but eat more often to make up for it. This does not last long, and then you will be stuck with all these small bottles that you don’t need anymore. I would say go ahead and buy the larger bottles. If you are choosing to do breast milk but use a bottle to feed, then perhaps you would want to put money into a good pump that is not manual. But if you are going all natural in feeding, you might want to invest in a small hand-held pump that’s easy to clean and store like this Haakaa Silicone Breastfeeding Manual Breast Pump Milk Pump 100% Food Grade Silicone BPA PVC and Phthalate Free. This will make it easier to leave baby a bit longer and go out and have a bit of fun. The best thing about this pump is its small, fits into smaller bags, and has no little hard to wash or dry parts that germs can build up in! Definitely my first choice for only needing to pump every now and again.

Now there are some things I think you can get away without buying; things like

A changing table and bathtub. The reason for those not being as necessary in my opinion is this, just buy a changing mat and pull it out when needed or leave it on a dresser, I often changed my babies on the floor after a certain age just because I found it to be a lot easier. Bathtubs can make bathtime easier and perhaps more fun, but I gave my babies sponge baths on the bed with a towel underneath them until they could sit up and then would just empty out a clothing storage bin and use that in the tub when they could sit up. I will still sometimes give my one-year-old a quick sponge bath if I don’t want to go through the hassle of bathing both kids and the clean up after.

Monitors.
Our first baby slept in the same room as us for the first nineteen months of her life only because we lived in a one-room apartment So we didn’t need one for the first baby, and if we did ever sit outside we would simply call each other’s phones putting both on speaker but leaving the one with us muted. It worked very well and I never had to worry about going out of range. In my opinion, your baby will be just as safe with a simple sound monitor, nothing super fancy or pricy needed for your little one if they are sleeping in another room. As long as you are able to hear your baby crying, that’s really all you need.

Highchair.
I would say that this is a needed item but not for the first six months. Once you start introducing solids to baby and baby starts eating by themselves is probably about the time you would need to get a highchair. I would recommend an actual highchair and not a Bumbo because the baby will quickly outgrow the bumbo and will tip it over too easily once they start moving around more around nine months or so. If you can find one that is easy to fold and take with you, that is your best bet. This is not a long-term needed item though so unless you want a lot of kids, I’d say make sure it is easy to transport, and easy to clean the entire thing (so having one what you can wipe the whole thing down is a good option).

Nursery Decor.
Let’s face it, about 90% of this field is marketed towards the parents, more specifically, the mothers. It’s cute! It makes the room look nice, well put together, cozy and inviting. But I’m afraid it’s mostly for us. The babies will not notice or care if they don’t have the most fashionable room or cutest rugs, blankets or toys. They won’t remember the wall color, the bookshelf, the mobiles, or the cute baby art on the wall. It’s all for the parents. If you are really needing to stick to a budget but want to decorate the room, find ways of sticking to the budget. I completely understand the desire to prepare a room for your new baby and wanting it to look perfect, but if it just can’t fit into the budget, please don’t worry or fret yourself over it, it does not make you a bad parent.

All in all, do your research, consider the lifestyle you and your family hope to lead and make your purchases based on this. It is very possible to have babies on a budget and not spend thousands of dollars and go broke. Make a budget, stick to it, sacrifices may have to be made, but if you can stick to a budget and save, you’ll have more later and be better off. If you need help with budgeting, check out Dave Ramsey. Good stuff there.

11 ​Natural Labor Tips

“You’re pregnant! Yay, and you want to have it naturally? Home birth or hospital?”
The questions are never more invasive, nonstop, and annoying than when you’re pregnant (perhaps getting married is second).

I wanted to hide from the WORLD towards the end of my last trimester, even more so when I would tell people I was having my baby naturally… at home.

And for some reason, everyone feels the need to tell you their horror stories about their births! WHY would you DO That? Having a baby is scary enough. Having a baby naturally can be terrifying! All the thoughts run through your head; What if that happens to me?  How do I cope with transition? What do I do if its too much? How do I lower the pain level? What if I change my mind? In the Middle of LABOR??

So why would anyone choose to do this? Well, here are my reasons:
I decided to have a natural labor because I wanted to not be in a hospital and the only other option in my area was at home, there were no birthing centers near me at the time.  My biggest concern was for privacy, I didn’t want to hear anyone else, I didn’t want people walking in I didn’t know and trying to talk to me, checking on me, messing with me. I wanted to be alone with my husband and my midwife. My other reason was the paranoia that if they took my baby out of my room, for whatever reason, what if I got the wrong one back?! (realistic, maybe not. But you can’t count those fears out in such a situation, they play a role and can make the experience more stressful.) I also thought I could handle the pain. So my husband and I agreed and went for it (it was also a lot cheaper and would be completely paid for before baby was even born which was a big plus you don’t get with hospitals). I did have my hospital birth plan written out in case of transfer, everything was ready and prepped in case the need should arise. But, my first birth went well and there were no complications and no minor issues for baby or myself. We left the house with our baby later that same night (my midwife had a friend who would let people have babies at her house if they didnt want to have it at their own, so home birth, just not at my own home!). Was it easy? No! It’s pushing another human out of your body! BUT It Is DOABLE! Women have been doing it for Centuries without pain meds or hospitals. For me, these reasons were more important than being in pain for a few hours. And even though I left scarred, I did it again for the second one because those desires outweighed the pain, and I’m so glad I did it again because not only did I have a better experience, I even recommend it!

Now there needs to be something said about having a baby naturally in a hospital as well. This can very much so be done with the right communication and team, some people just feel safer having babies in a hospital and there is nothing wrong with that.
There is nothing wrong with whatever way you actually have your baby. The important thing is that you and your baby are ok.
What you should do is discuss with your partner what you are both comfortable with and make your plans from there.

So what are my tips for having a baby naturally?
When having a baby naturally at home:

  1. Take a birthing class so you and your partner are familiar with what may happen. If you can’t take one, you can find some useful things on youtube. You might even want to do both.
  2. Don’t assume everything will go a certain way based off of your mom’s births.
  3. Learn how to breathe and take it slow. Labor is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t try and make the baby come faster and wear yourself out.
  4. Talk through the birth and what role you want your partner to play before it starts.
  5. Learn to BREATHE! and RELAX in between contractions.
  6. Realize that it may not go according to plan and be prepared mentally and physically for things changing.
  7. Do not get dehydrated. Assign someone to water you. Seriously, you can forget.
  8. Eat Comfort Food! You’ve gotta eat something so you might as well enjoy it!
  9. Have something to look forward to right after! I wanted gluten! (I can’t eat gluten while pregnant so my first thing was bread! In the form of a hamburger! It was So Good! Also note, some hospitals do not allow you to eat during labor so be sure to ask what their policy is.)
  10. Understand how you think and respond to pain.
  11. It Will End. At one point the pain will stop.

These are just some tips and things to think about. Be sure to visit this blog by Liesel, a labor and delivery nurse to find out more useful tips and information. There are a lot of good lists of things to pack and what to expect.

baby birth born care
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

 

Baby Shower Gift Guide

BABIES!!! The excitement, the anticipation. All the tiny things, tiny shoes, tiny socks, tiny hats and tiny nose! Is there anything quite like the excitement of a tiny baby soon to be coming, especially when it’s not yours?

And now, the ultimate question: “What gift should I bring to the shower?!”

For those of you to yet have a baby or this is a first-time mom, it can be a daunting list of gifts and items to go through and weed out what would be the right gift, a useful gift, something that’s actually helpful and needed. With all the new cool gadgets out there that one simply must have in order to be a “good parent”, how does one not go broke? How do you not spend a fortune on a baby shower gift that ends up not being used or really liked by the baby?

Well, here is my list of the most useful, most bang for your buck, most versatile gifts that are good for first-time moms or even second-time moms that are great ideas for a baby shower gift.
Let me know what you would want or think should be added to the list in the comments below! I love hearing your thoughts!

popcorn containers in shallow focus photography
Photo by Elsa Salinas Gómez on Pexels.com

These are in no particular order:

Humidifiersare great gifts. When your baby has a stuffed nose and can’t sleep, nobody’s sleeping well that night! Humidifiers help keep the baby’s nose moist and keep everything from drying out and making it harder to breathe. These can be so helpful but often seem to be forgotten at a shower. Today you can find ones that have multiple functions such as a nightlight, noise maker. I personally love one item that has several functions; not only do they save space and money ( in some cases) but when you need to childproof and you don’t have a lot of high counter space, only needing to move one thing is so helpful!

URPOWER 2nd Version Essential Oil Diffuser Aroma Essential Oil Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist Mode,Waterless Auto Shut-off and 7 Color LED Lights Changing for Home Office Baby

Carriers are catching on more and more, but still need some reminder of the significance and importance they can play in those first few months. Both of my little ones wanted to be held most of the time (some may say you’re spoiling your baby, but I say you’re spoiling yourself!) The kind of carrier depends on the desire of the mama and baby, so my personal recommendation is a ring sling because you can carry in Any position in those. You can do front, back, hip, in or out. Any position you or baby may want.

4 in 1 Baby Wrap Carrier and Ring Sling by Kids N’ Such | Charcoal Gray Cotton | Use as a Postpartum Belt and Nursing Cover with Free Carrying Pouch | Best Baby Shower Gift for Boys or Girls

Swaddles are an excellent choice not only for babies that love to be a burrito but also because they can have many functions. they can be a swaddle, a nursing cover, a thin blanket when there’s still a light chill, car seat cover, bedtime blanket when baby gets bigger, they can even be worn by mama in some cases.

aden + anais Silky Soft Swaddle Baby Blanket, Viscose Bamboo Muslin, Large 47 X 47 inch, 3 Pack, Indigo, Blue

Monitors are not really a forgotten gift in today’s society, safety, and constant supervision can be the number 1 item of concern for a new parent. I never had one because my babies slept in the same room as myself for… a long time due to circumstances. If I did need one though, my husband and I would use our phone by calling each other, muting the one we kept with us and having both set on speaker. it worked great!

Owlet Smart Sock 2 Baby Monitor – Track Your Infant’s Heart Rate & Oxygen Levels. Or a WiFi Camera, LeFun Wireless Surveillance Camera IP Camera Nanny Cam with Pan Tilt Zoom Motion Detect Two Way Audio Night Vision Remote Control 2.4G WiFi for Baby Monitor

Diaper Pale with a lid. Need I say more?!

Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Assembled Diaper Pail with Odor Lock Technology & 1 Full Size Refill, White (1 Pail and 1 Refill per Unit)

Pack & Play are great for lots of different reasons. You don’t have to worry about bumper pads on the crib! They go where you go and it’s one less unfamiliar thing for a baby in a new environment.

Baby Trend Nursery Center, Tanzania

Backseat mirrors are a wonderful invention. Before having one, I never knew how long my baby slept in the car which would always throw me off. I felt So much better when I could see my little ones face!

Baby Car Mirror for Back Seat | View Rear Facing Infant in Backseat | Securely Fasten With Double Strap | Pivot Joint to Easily Adjust to Desired Viewing Angle …

First Aid Kits are a great gift. Having a smaller one that is already packed and can be kept in the diaper bag was my favorite. One less thing to think about and make sure we had as we were walking out the door.

Small Travel First Aid Kit - Mom’s Compact Emergency Essentials for Home, Car, Backpack, Hiking, Purse, Diaper Bag, Sports & Baby Shower Gift, Latex-Free Supplies (Kid Joy)

Gift Cards are on my list of recommended gifts because ther ewill always be something on the registry that wans’t purchased that the parents really want or something after the bhaby is born they realize would wokr great for their new family, so gift cars can be a great gift, espicially if they have a big wish list item. if several people gave gift cards, then they could put it towards that bigger wish!

Something for Mom. All this preparation and focus on mom can leave mom feeling like the star of the show, but not very thought of.scinted candles to make her feel like shes been pampered at the spa when she has a moment to herself, her favorite coffee, favorite resterant for a night out with the girls.


 

SaveSave

How to Help a New Mom

As a new mother, all I wanted was privacy. I wanted no one or nothing to come anywhere near me. Sure they could bring food, help around the house, but I didn’t want them to come into my bedroom, invade my personal space and feel like I had to let them hold my baby! If I could have had it my way, I wouldn’t have told anyone that I was in labor but my husband and midwife. I wouldn’t want anyone to see me or the baby for the first week (like literally no one! my husband, midwife and any other children are the only exceptions because…. ya, know… they live there, and well, it’s just smart to have your health care provider visits!)

That’s me, that’s how I work and what I would want. I know plenty of other people who want a lot of people around them right after their baby is born, even while their in labor (my brain can’t even explain this rationally to me! But hey, if it works for you, that’s great!)

Here’s another bloggers post on tips to help an new mother. It’s a Great list! So Much Truth in it! mamacamping.com

If I had anything to add to this list it would be:
1. Always be respectful of the mothers wishes and don’t take them personally.
2. If she asks for something, Anything, even if it seems weird or maybe even rude, be respectful of what she just did!
3. Ask if there’s any dietary restrictions or preferences she may need in any meal preparations.
4. Give her grace! She’s extremely hormonal! She may be in shock if her experience wasn’t as planned. She’s learning new skills, if she asks for privacy or space, give it!
5. If you’re not sure what she may need, ask! You can always just ask anyway and see if there’s anything else she might need.

If you know someone who is about to be a new or first time mother, this should be a great recourse for you if you are not sure how to be of help!
Enjoy!

What would you add to this list? Would you do anything differently?

Top 10 Baby Items for Small Budgets

Now that my little ones are past the 6 months stages and closing in on a year old, I have finally put together my top 10 baby items wish list I wish I had from the start. I felt like I had to have Everything to bring my first baby home. There were so many things out there that I was told were necessary that I felt overwhelmed (to say the least) and wondered how would we do this as a newly married, broke, couple?! And everything was So Expensive! I didn’t get everything I wanted or thought I Had to have and yet, my baby was fine and we somehow got through those first few months.

This is my wish list for parents-to-be on a budget, what you have to have to bring a baby home according to what I and my husband chose to do as parents:

  1. A car seat. You may think that’s a no brainer, but they won’t let you take that baby home if you don’t have it with you, so go ahead and just put it in the car as soon as you get it. And that will also help you get used to it being there. The reality didn’t really sink in for me until I saw that car seat back there that we were really about to have a baby.
  2. Bassenets that fold up when not in use are great for small spaces. I co-splet with my babies (gasp, shock, how could I, I know. I trusted myself as I am a light sleeper and was very aware of my child who actually slept on top of me. I became very accustomed to not moving while sleeping during pregnancy and with winter, I knew my baby would stay warm so I felt safe enough to do this. I do not recommend this with everyone. You know how you sleep and what you need.
  3. Diaper Bag. Now get this, those cute little back packs from Wal-Mart, those make great diaper bags. I like the idea of a back pack because it has more than one use once you don’t need one any more, which for me, I stop using a diaper bag around 7-8 months because I don’t like carrying around a lot of stuff (I’m kinda a minimalist. Well not kinda, I am a minimalist, or at least as much as you can be with kids!).
  4. Diapers/ Wipes and a trash can with a lid! ‘Cause them things stink! Even breastfed babies poop will smell bad in a few days. Is the trash can lid necessary, yes and no. It is very helpful though!
    This might be another no brainer, but if you’re budgeting, add it on there! ‘Cause those things add up. I chose to do cloth diapers which saved us a lot of money. In part of my research, I found that you can spend almost $3,000 on just diapers alone by the time your baby is two and half. I cloth diapered two kids at once for $200, that includes cloth wipes too (I will be uploading a video on how I do my diapers.)
  5. Clothes. Again, you have to budget for these if you’re not having a shower or you aren’t getting much. But you really don’t need that many clothes. They grow out of them so fast and you will do laundry often enough that if you had only 12-14 items in each months sizes then you should have enough. you won’t change their clothes twice a day every day so that is why I say that number, pajamas maybe 4. Just think how often you will be doing laundry and plan for that many days with at least 3-4 extra changes. I felt like I had to have a lot of clothes. I found that I tend to go back to my favorite ones and not touch others, so I can get away with less clothes.

    close up of pink indoors
    Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  6. Sling. I would definitely chose a sling over any other baby wearing device out there.  My reason, you can carry in almost any position. My first baby wanted to be held by only me for the first 5-6 months. I wore her a lot, like a lot, a lot! My second baby is a hip baby! A sling can be worn on the front, back side. Baby facing in, out or lying down. Definitely recommend a sling.
  7. Nursing cover! I breast fed my babies, and there were times people wondered what I was doing and would lift up the cover… to the embarrassment of us both. It happened at my friends wedding. In line for food. In front of almost EVERYONE. I switched to a different cover after that! (Links will be included below)
  8. Sports bras and nursing pads were my best friend! I never found nursing bras to be comfortable for me, I found the ease of sports bras to be more functional for me. Moment of reality: your boobs will constantly be fluctuating in shape and size. The sports bra allows for no gapping, hooks to come undone, or spillage. You simply lift up the bottom of the bra, and tuck everything back in once you’re done.
  9. A Stroller. This is at the bottom of the list because you can get away without having one, but they are very helpful if you do have one and want to go for walks and get out of the house.
  10. Bottles and pump. If you’re breast feeding, you can get away with as little as 4-5 bottles for date nights or baby sitters. I used a new tooth brush to clean mine and it worked pretty well. As for a pump, there are some very small inexpensive manual pumps which work and can be small enough to fit in your diaper bag.

This is my list of top 10 items you really should try to have for your first baby for the first 6 months. Once that mile marker is reached, there are definitely other items you will need but those are for another list.

shoes child clothing pregnancy
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Links for all my favorite items are included below:
Let’s remember that we can all act like adults and even though we may not agree with everything above, there is no need for negative comments. I would like to know if there are any other items you would think are necessary for new parents on a budget, so please leave all positive comments below!

A great place to hava regisry is Babylist.com. I was very satified with it!
2. Bed/Bassinet Pack N Plays work well instead of buy a crib and then if you go on vacation you can take baby bed with you!Smart and Simple Playard – Ridgedale
3. Diaper Bag BackpackLeaper Casual Style Lightweight Canvas Laptop Bag Cute School Backpack Shoulder Bag Pencil Case 3PCS Set (Water Blue)
4. Diapers and WipesPampers Baby Wipes Sensitive 6X Pop-Top Packs, 336 CountPampers Swaddlers Disposable Diapers Newborn Size N (<10 lb), 128 Count, GIANT
5. Clothes
6. Slings Moby Sling
7. Nursing covers like these work great for multipurpose Hicoco baby car seat cover, nursing covers breastfeeding cover carseat canopy (feather)
8. If you don’t have some, find a cheap pair or two.
1. and 9. Stroller and CarseatEvenflo Vive Travel System with Embrace, Spearmint Spree
10. BottlesDr. Brown's Original Bottle, 8 ounce, 4-Pack
SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave