Easy No-Sew DIY Best Nursing Tank Ever–Under $5!

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Mamas!!! I was told of this great idea when my son was born just over a year ago and I have to share it with you! Even if you don’t sew you can make your own nursing tank for less than $5!!

At first I was looking at nursing tank tops and they were really pricey. My goal was to nurse until my son was at least 18 months so I was looking for a good tank to wear for nursing that I could easily wear everday.  I am an active person and wanted to feel comfortable in public while nursing.  I didn’t want to show my stomach and wanted to be in some control of boob exposure. Then my friend showed me how to make the BEST one for the cheapest price!

No matter how long you plan or end up actually nursing–you deserve a great tank! Fed is best! So wether your nursing journey is 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years I hope this will be helpful.

Forever 21 has came tank tops for $1.97 the last time I went.  Because they were so cheap I got many different colors–black, white, cream, grey, green, brown…etc.  These tanks are your only cost so get however many you want with your budget.  And any cami tank will do–these are just super cheap and relatively durable! Here are some Active Basic Tanks you can get from Amazon for only $2.95!

Supplies

  1. Tank top
  2. Scissors
  3. Fabric Mender (optional)

tank2

Directions

  1. First step is to flip it backwards and cut the strap off in the back as close to the tank as possible without cutting any of the back–just get the strap.

tankcutback

2. Cut the top of the strap off at the edge of the tank. You don’t want to cut any of strap where it is still connected to the tank.

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3. Fold the top corner over and cut a small hole in the middle of the triangle pretty close to the edge.

tankcutcorner

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4. Now you can loop that hole over the clip to your nursing bra! Mission accomplished!

And voila! You now have the easiest and cheapest nursing tank!

 

It is really that easy!!! My friend even went a step further and used a fabric mender around the hole so it was durable and didn’t wear open over time.  I didn’t use this and here is one of my tanks a year later–used every few days and washed often:

 

I am about ready to get a new one after 13 months of use–but for only $1.97 I’m pretty impressed.

Also cool–since the straps are gone this also works with a nursing sports bra!

It has made nursing a little easier and I hope it will be helpful to you as well.

 

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Here is me and my sweet little boy still going strong at 13 months!
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Breastfeeding Diet for Babies with Colic

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*All recommendations and opinions are my own.  I was not asked to promote anything.  I have included affiliate links to some products I found helpful but am otherwise receiving nothing for these recommendations.  I am not an expert and am speaking from my personal experience. Please hear my heart for the well being of all babies and know that these are genuine ideas from my journey with my son.

I knew the moment my son was born that he would have my heart forever.  So precious. So beautiful. Woven together in my womb by our Wonderful Maker.  When he started to get colic I wanted to help him so badly!!! Nothing hurt my mama heart more than feeling helpless when my baby cried for hours on end.  Wyatt started crying when he was just a few weeks old for hours at a time.  Usually, the evening was the worst time. After dinner I knew I would be spending the next 4-5 hours taking turns with my husband caring for our screaming babe.

We found several things to be helpful and one overall solution.  What I have learned is that experts still don’t know that much about colic and are finding out new information all the time.  I learned that there could be several factors contributing to it as well.  So my solution may not be your solution.  But if you are reading this, my guess is you are like me, and willing to try almost anything to help you babe.

The solution: my diet.

When I first brought up the question about my diet to my doctor and my concern for how it may be effecting my son, I was honestly dismissed. “All babies cry, ma’am,” my doctor told me. WHAT?! OF COURSE I KONW THAT ALL BABIES CRY!!! I am not talking about crying…I am talking about colic–screaming for hours…

wyatt6-png

Not only did he not talk to me about options or ideas or even try to make me feel heard, he made me feel like I was an idiot for looking for alternative solutions.  I had the fortune of my older sister’s wisdom and experience in finding help from changing her diet with her babes so I was determined to seek out counsel.  I decided to see a naturopath instead.  And I must admit, this was the best decision I ever made in regards to the health of my son.

Our new doctor listened, cared and talked with me.  Our appointments are an hour or more and she takes time to address every concern I have.  As a naturopath, she looks for the simplest solution first.  After talking with her about his colic she told me that I could try to change my diet and see if it helps.

I learned that most babies have trouble digesting protein from dairy.  Think of the size of a baby and then the size of a cow–a cow is way bigger! I learned a good rule of thumb is babies can only digest protein from things their size or smaller–so chicken and turkey are usually okay.  Pig products are easier when they are around 6 months old.  So, the first thing she recommended was that I stop eating dairy and red meat.

For many moms, this is all that is required.  Some other signs that your baby is having issues with dairy and red meat are burping up milk after eating. Painful gas or painful burbs.  You could first try just taking out the cow products and see if that helps!

However, there were many other things that she suggested to take out as well.  My goal was to take them all out for two weeks and then try each one, one at a time and see how my little guy responded.

Here is the list of items I took out of my diet:

  1. Dairy and red meat
  2. Soy (Including Soy Lecithin)
  3. Corn (Including High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  4. Legumes
  5. Broccoli and cauliflower
  6. Eggs
  7. Gluten

And let me tell you…it worked INSTANTLY! No more colic. none. zero. ever. Of course he still cried.  But, in the way a baby cries when they need something.  Not the painful hours of torment. YES IT IS CRAZY!!! I don’t think I could have done this for myself or anyone other than that sweet baby boy.

wyatt5-png

Two weeks in, I went through the list and added something in.  He responded with colic to each of them.  So I kept all of these things out of my diet.

I learned that most babies grow out of needing this around 6 months.  Mine did not.  He started to grow out of it by 9 months.  I found soft cheese to be the first thing I could introduce and eggs to be the last.

I know that this is hard to do.  Believe me, I did it for months! But it was sooooo worth it to be able to continue breastfeeding and to have my easy going, sweet, smiley guy happy and not in pain.

I could not believe how much corn and soy where in EVERYTHING we eat!!!! Fortunately, since food allergies are becoming more common (or we are finally figuring out what is wrong) most grocery stores have plenty of alternative options. Here is a little about the food I ate and how I survived:

  • I ate a lot of chicken salads!
  • I found an amazing flax granola–“flax for life” brand
  • Vanilla plant protein powder (vegan) –life saver! and milk supply saver! I would blend with a banana, coconut yogurt, gluten free oats and OJ! Yumm!
  • coconut milk ice-cream “So delicious” makes one that is cookie dough flavored 🙂
  • Diya gluten free, dairy free pizza–no, it doesn’t taste the same but its good.
  • Potato chips cooked in avocado oil
  • Alternated between almond milk, coconut milk, and homemade hemp milk
  • Honey glazed almonds
  • lots of fresh fruit and veggies!!!
  • baked sweet potato’s for taco shells
  • Peanut butter and jelly on gluten free/vegan bread–franz makes a “great seed” that’s yummy
  • Coffee was still okay with my guy’s tummy
  • Sauerkraut is a probiotic and yummy with some chicken sausage
  • French fries
  • Rice
  • Homemade guacamole

Helpful warnings:

  • Many “gluten free” options have dairy, soy or eggs–so read the labels!
  • Many “dairy free” options still have soy or eggs
  • Many “vegan” options have gluten
  • Most salad dressings contain dairy or eggs or corn

So read all the ingredients before purchasing!!!

While dealing with the colic, we found the advice from “The Happiest Baby On the Block” to be most helpful.  I think the information and tips kept us sane.

After seeing the change in my little guy, a number of friends experiencing colic have also tried this option and found success!

I sincerely hope that you are able to find a solution to the colic your baby may be experiencing.  I also hope you are able to find support and people who will listen and help you along this journey.  If you find other helpful solutions, please post them below to share with our community of mamas!

As my mama often told me, I’ll encourage you, THIS IS TEMPORARY.

Yay babies!!!!

 

 

Breastfeeding Diet for Babies with Colic

img_63f753aa2499-1

*All recommendations and opinions are my own.  I was not asked to promote anything.  I have included affiliate links to some products I found helpful but am otherwise receiving nothing for these recommendations.  I am not an expert and am speaking from my personal experience. Please hear my heart for the well being of all babies and know that these are genuine ideas from my journey with my son.

I knew the moment my son was born that he would have my heart forever.  So precious. So beautiful. Woven together in my womb by our Wonderful Maker.  When he started to get colic I wanted to help him so badly!!! Nothing hurt my mama heart more than feeling helpless when my baby cried for hours on end.  Wyatt started crying when he was just a few weeks old for hours at a time.  Usually, the evening was the worst time. After dinner I knew I would be spending the next 4-5 hours taking turns with my husband caring for our screaming babe.

We found several things to be helpful and one overall solution.  What I have learned is that experts still don’t know that much about colic and are finding out new information all the time.  I learned that there could be several factors contributing to it as well.  So my solution may not be your solution.  But if you are reading this, my guess is you are like me, and willing to try almost anything to help you babe.

The solution: my diet.

When I first brought up the question about my diet to my doctor and my concern for how it may be effecting my son, I was honestly dismissed. “All babies cry, ma’am,” my doctor told me. WHAT?! OF COURSE I KONW THAT ALL BABIES CRY!!! I am not talking about crying…I am talking about colic–screaming for hours…

wyatt6-png
One of those summer evenings I was carrying and bouncing for hours to help him not scream.  Sweet boy!

Not only did he not talk to me about options or ideas or even try to make me feel heard, he made me feel like I was an idiot for looking for alternative solutions.  I had the fortune of my older sister’s wisdom and experience in finding help from changing her diet with her babes so I was determined to seek out counsel.  I decided to see a naturopath instead.  And I must admit, this was the best decision I ever made in regards to the health of my son.

Our new doctor listened, cared and talked with me.  Our appointments are an hour or more and she takes time to address every concern I have.  As a naturopath, she looks for the simplest solution first.  After talking with her about his colic she told me that I could try to change my diet and see if it helps.

I learned that most babies have trouble digesting protein from dairy.  Think of the size of a baby and then the size of a cow–a cow is way bigger! I learned a good rule of thumb is babies can only digest protein from things their size or smaller–so chicken and turkey are usually okay.  Pig products are easier when they are around 6 months old.  So, the first thing she recommended was that I stop eating dairy and red meat.

For many moms, this is all that is required.  Some other signs that your baby is having issues with dairy and red meat are burping up milk after eating. Painful gas or painful burbs.  You could first try just taking out the cow products and see if that helps!

However, there were many other things that she suggested to take out as well.  My goal was to take them all out for two weeks and then try each one, one at a time and see how my little guy responded.

Here is the list of items I took out of my diet:

  1. Dairy and red meat
  2. Soy (Including Soy Lecithin)
  3. Corn (Including High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  4. Legumes
  5. Broccoli and cauliflower
  6. Eggs
  7. Gluten

And let me tell you…it worked INSTANTLY! No more colic. none. zero. ever. Of course he still cried.  But, in the way a baby cries when they need something.  Not the painful hours of torment. YES IT IS CRAZY!!! I don’t think I could have done this for myself or anyone other than that sweet baby boy.

wyatt5-png
Sleeping easy after I started the diet!

Two weeks in, I went through the list and added something in.  He responded with colic to each of them.  So I kept all of these things out of my diet.

I learned that most babies grow out of needing this around 6 months.  Mine did not.  He started to grow out of it by 9 months.  I found soft cheese to be the first thing I could introduce and eggs to be the last.

I know that this is hard to do.  Believe me, I did it for months! But it was sooooo worth it to be able to continue breastfeeding and to have my easy going, sweet, smiley guy happy and not in pain.

I could not believe how much corn and soy where in EVERYTHING we eat!!!! Fortunately, since food allergies are becoming more common (or we are finally figuring out what is wrong) most grocery stores have plenty of alternative options. Here is a little about the food I ate and how I survived:

  • I ate a lot of chicken salads!
  • I found an amazing flax granola–“flax for life” brand
  • Vanilla plant protein powder (vegan) –life saver! and milk supply saver! I would blend with a banana, coconut yogurt, gluten free oats and OJ! Yumm!
  • coconut milk ice-cream “So delicious” makes one that is cookie dough flavored 🙂
  • Diya gluten free, dairy free pizza–no, it doesn’t taste the same but its good.
  • Potato chips cooked in avocado oil
  • Alternated between almond milk, coconut milk, and homemade hemp milk
  • Honey glazed almonds
  • lots of fresh fruit and veggies!!!
  • baked sweet potato’s for taco shells
  • Peanut butter and jelly on gluten free/vegan bread–franz makes a “great seed” that’s yummy
  • Coffee was still okay with my guy’s tummy
  • Sauerkraut is a probiotic and yummy with some chicken sausage
  • French fries
  • Rice
  • Homemade guacamole

Helpful warnings:

  • Many “gluten free” options have dairy, soy or eggs–so read the labels!
  • Many “dairy free” options still have soy or eggs
  • Many “vegan” options have gluten
  • Most salad dressings contain dairy or eggs or corn

So read all the ingredients before purchasing!!!

While dealing with the colic, we found the advice from “The Happiest Baby On the Block” to be most helpful.  I think the information and tips kept us sane.

After seeing the change in my little guy, a number of friends experiencing colic have also tried this option and found success!

I sincerely hope that you are able to find a solution to the colic your baby may be experiencing.  I also hope you are able to find support and people who will listen and help you along this journey.  If you find other helpful solutions, please post them below to share with our community of mamas!

As my mama often told me, I’ll encourage you, THIS IS TEMPORARY.

Yay babies!!!!

 

 

30+ Activities For Baby 0-3 Months

activities

Becoming a stay-at-home mom is what I have wanted since I was a girl.  When our little boy was born and our own business was taking off, we were so blessed to be able to make that happen! While I know it is not the best choice for every family, most families have the first several weeks off too.  The first three months are filled with so much joy! Their little yawns and coos are adorable! But it also has its challenges.  Being completely dependent on you, not being able to lift their own head and yet staying awake for longer and longer during the day.  What can you do with baby all day? The 0-3 month stage can be so much fun when you are able to fill your time with special moments.  After reading many blogs and books and trying out different ideas I decided to write out the ones I actually used! If you’re getting stuck on what to do, here are some ideas for you:

 

1.      Wear your baby! It may sound too simple or too stupid to work but it is life changing for those first 3 months!!! This is the number 1 thing I would recommend to any new mother! Get out and keep doing life… and bring baby with you.  This is a great way for them to learn and see new sights! Plus, it is nice to get things done or grab that coffee date with a friend.  Wear them in the store, while doing chores around the house, seeing friends etc.  It makes for a happier baby which means a happier mama! Until your baby has the ability to hold their head, try a sling carrier.  My  favorite is the Happy Wrap! There are all sorts of carriers and once they can hold their head up they may enjoy facing outward! I tried a bunch of different ones I would find at thrift stores but ended up buying the Britax because I was having trouble finding one that fit him and was comfortable for me. Dr. Sears mentions in his book The Baby Book, how when you wear your baby they are too distracted and busy to think about fussing! And when they are not fussing, they can spend all that energy growing and developing!

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Wearing Wyatt and picking a nice salad for dinner!

 

 

2.      Walk walk walk! Again…so simple. The fresh air can do wonders for both you and baby! Wear them or put them in a stroller to give your back a break.  Take the dog or invite your spouse or a friend! Studies show that babies sleep better when they are exposed to afternoon sun, so be sure to take one after lunch.

 

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Enter a caption

Plus, here is a fun little parenting hack! Use a changing pad cover as a blanket with your baby carrier! You can put their feet in one end and tuck the other end by their chest!

 

 

3.      Hammock Time My baby LOVED being in the hammock—outside + swinging + snuggling!! In addition, I loved it! I would sit in it sideways and have him lay in it how an adult normally would with their legs over mine.  I would often take this time to relax or read to him.  Even your own novel can be read aloud during this fun hammock time.

hammock

4.      Reading Any baby book or baby expert will tell you how important reading is—even at this age.  Reading to your infant can help them develop their language/early literacy skills and auditory skills.  Read them baby books or your own book in a “mom voice.”  Here are some fun ones that are my favorites!

  1. Colors

colors

2. The Wonderful Things You Will Be

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3. I Wish You More

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5.      Sing songs Baby will love interactive singing and songs! Time to pull out those old nursery rhymes! “If you’re happy and you know it” was one of my baby’s favorites! Anything that got his feet moving!

6. Telephone Whispers Use a paper towel roll to whisper into each of your baby’s ears.  They will likely turn their head to see where the sound is coming from.  Move your mouth away from the tube and talk so that they can see the source of the sound.

7. Rattle or Key Shake  When your baby is seated shake a set of keys all around.  Once they identify where the keys are move them to a different area and see if they can find them again. This will help their neck to strengthen too! Love this Organic Rhino Rattle!

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8. Texture Tickle Choose various soft objects to rub on different areas of your baby’s skin.  Try different textured cloths or feathers.  You can even try various temperatures, but make sure whatever you use is not too hot or too cold!  As you rub the items on their skin talk to you baby and name the body parts you are touching.  Just like baby massage, this can stimulate lots of nerves as well as benefit your baby’s emotional well being.

9. Mirror Mirror Hold your baby up to a mirror or have a baby safe mirror on the ground during tummy time. You can to their face in the mirror and name their features.  Get behind baby so they can see you in the mirror too- they will definitely recognize that face!

mirror

10. Kick it Have baby lay on their back and place soft items at their feet (such as a soft ball, tissue paper, cloth toy etc).  When they feel the items touching their feet they will kick back! The tissue paper is great because they will also love the sound it makes.  This helps them develop their next milestone of learning cause and effect!

11. Balloons Buy a shiny balloon and tie the ends to baby’s ankles.  They will get a kick out of making it move! The shiny balloons add fun colors and reflection to the mix—a great way to keep baby entertained!

12. Splash Time Fill up a pan or cookie sheet with warm water.  Place their feet in it while lying on their backs and let them kick their feet around! If it is hot out this is also a great way to help cool baby down.

13. Target Practice When baby is laying on their back place toys so that they are hanging over them. Most of us have some type of baby play gym that has hanging toys- but be sure to switch it up! Most of your child’s toys have a loop or hook to hang on their stroller or car seat- use this to add news toys to their play gym.

floor-mat

14. Tummy Time Have baby lie on a play matt for time on their tummy. Many babies don’t like tummy time so pick them up once they don’t enjoy it anymore.  Even if its only for a minute, tummy time is important for a growing baby! To make some of their tummy time more enjoyable grab a pillow, or rolled up towel to place under your babies chest.  I always used my boppy pillow for this.  When babies heads are propped up like this they can see more (like you!) and will be more inclined to play with toys that you place in front of them.

15. Superman! Another way to let your baby have some tummy time is to place them on their tummy against your shins.  Lie down on your back and pull your knees to your chest. Your shins make a great support for them while you can hang on to them and move your legs around!

16. Eye Contact – It may sound too simple but it is so important! Take time to make meaningful eye contact with your baby. Eye contact helps foster attachment and teaches the nuances of nonverbal communication.

17. Stretch Out – After being in fetal position for so many months, newborns are quite curled up. Gently stretch your baby’s arms and legs one at a time. This helps develop body awareness and stretches their muscles. Of course, if your baby doesn’t enjoy the stretches, stop immediately.

stretch

18. Music – Research suggests that newborns are able to recognize music they heard regularly in the womb. If your baby had any regular sounds he was exposed to in the womb, play those sounds. If your baby didn’t hear any music consistently enough to recognize it in the womb, choose a few songs to start playing or singing for your baby now. Familiar music will stimulate your baby’s mind and can help soothe them.

19. Imitation – Flatter your baby by imitating her sounds and expressions. It communicates to your baby that she matters, that you are paying attention to her, and models the communication process.

20. Airplane Ride – Give your baby a new perspective on life (and some vestibular input) by holding your baby face down using your arm across his tummy to support him. This position can be helpful for gassy babies, but un-gassy babies will enjoy it too! Gently sway your baby side to side. You can even make airplane noises if you want.

superman

21. Pleasant Conversation – Talking is teaching. Talking is one of the most essential aspects of language development and it starts from Day 1 (some would even argue it starts in the womb). Talk to your baby often throughout the day.

22. Massage – You can help your baby’s circulatory and digestive system develop by massaging your baby with gentle pressure and motion. Choose a time when both you and your baby are relaxed to do this activity. You can use baby lotion or unscented, natural, edible oil (like grape seed, almond, or olive oil) to massage your baby.

23. Black and White – A newborn’s vision is not fully developed when they are born. They can most easily see high-contrast images, such as bold black and white patterns. Print off or make your own high-contrast pictures and hang them where your baby can easily see them. Some good places are where your baby does tummy time and on the changing table. Look at and talk about these pictures with your baby.

24. Dance! – Dancing is a delightful way to bond with your child and offer the physical contact and swaying motion your baby loves. Put on some groovy beats and dance! My little guy loved to do this while looking in the mirror!!

25. Light Play – Young babies are interested in moving objects and light and dark patterns. Capture your baby’s interests by playing with a flashlight in a darkened room. Shine the light on different objects and cast shadows too. You’re baby will be fascinated. You can also see them fascinated by taking them to the light fixture isle of Homedepot or Lowes!

26. Baby Sit-Ups – Strengthen your baby’s neck muscles by doing an infant version of this adult exercise. Lay your baby on a blanket and sit at her feet facing her. Securely grasp the top corners of the blanket near her head and gently bring her towards you. Gently lay her back down. Repeat this several times until your baby shows you she’s tired by squirming or looking away.

27. Cycle Time – Strengthen your baby’s abdominal muscles and increase his body awareness by gently moving his legs in a cycling motion. This activity also introduces the idea of alternating motion (one leg, then the other), which he’ll need to understand in order to crawl and walk. I would often sing “The Ants Go Marching” while doing this to make it more interactive!

28. Mobiles – Encourage visual tracking development by offering mobiles to your baby for gazing. Some great spots for mobiles are over a changing table and in a common hang out space where your family spends time. We hung a mobile in our living room for our baby to enjoy. Change out the mobile every few weeks to keep your baby interested. This doesn’t have to be a solo activity. Lay down beside your baby and share in the activity!

mobile

29. Balancing Act – Develop your baby’s balance and strengthen her neck muscles by securely holding her on top of a large beach ball or yoga ball. Gently roll your baby back and forth and talk to your baby about what she’s experiencing.

30. Swing- Investing in a good baby swing was one of the best things I did! This one has a reflective mirror and mobile on it as well as plays music!!! Baby loved this swing and, as you can see, would often takes naps there. You can try to find a good one for cheap at a thrift store.  But in case you can’t find one, here is the one we got from Amazon: Fisherprice Baby Swing.

swing

31. Photo shoot If your baby is okay with getting clothes on and off—it can be fun to dress them up and find creative ways to take adorable pictures. Plus, you’ll love having the memories to look back at later.  Bring different props or outfits and find a fun new spot to take these pictures for an additional twist!

photo shoot.png

32. Play date One fun thing to do with baby is to have them around other babies! They learn from each other and it can be great for you too.  If you don’t know anyone else around you with a baby, try joining a mom’s group through a local church!

friends

33. Bath Time Everyone loves a nice bath! Bond with your little one during a nice bath time.  You can even combine some different activities—turn on some music, bring some essential oils, play games, massage, or just splash around!

 

I hope these are helpful to you! Have fun with your little one!

-Allie

 

 

 

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

induceMy water broke at noon and I tried for 8 hours to get my contractions started.  I really didn’t want any interventions in my labor and wanted to have a natural childbirth.  I learned a lot about natural ways to induce labor because of this. And it turns out my contractions were happening all along and I just didn’t know it! I hope these can be helpful to you and your labor:

  1. Accupressure
  • In the webbing of your thumb and index finger. Pinch and rub in a circular motion for 30-60 seconds at a time with 1-2 minute breaks in between
  • Four finger-widths above the inside of your ankle bone: press firmly and rub in a circular motion
  1. Accupuncture
  • See a professional provider: there are specific treatments for inducing labor
  1. Attitude
  • Tension, stress, doubt or fear can stop labor-Ina May talks about this in her books Spiritual Midwifery and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.  If you haven’t already read these I highly recommend them! It is amazing how our minds effect our bodies!
  • Explore emotional blocks-Again, Ina May talks about how she has seen people actually slow down or stop their laboring because of emotional blocks.
  • Let yourself have a good cry and release tension
  • Take a warm bath and relax
  1. Herbs: Please discuss this with your caregiver before using
  1. Bowel Stimulation: discuss this with your caregiver before using!!
  • Enemas
  • Castor oil (2 to 4 oz in chocolate ice cream or as directed by care provider)

o   Increase your hydration due to risk of dehydration

  1. Changing Positions
  • To speed up labor-every 20-30 minutes–sitting on the toilet is often a great one for getting things going. I found being on all fours to be most helpful. A yoga ball can also be helpful to keep you moving without wearing you out.
  1. Eating or drinking
  • To speed up labor due to lack of energy–something high in electrolytes like Gatorade can help.  Many times women don’t have an appetite while laboring so getting something compact, like a protein bar, can be helpful.
  1. Massage
  • Vigorous but not deep tissue to increase circulation–I found my lower back/base of my spine to be most helpful.
  1. Nipple Stimulation
  • Hot towels while massaging
  • Breast pumps
  • Have your partner help
  • Rolling nipples between thumb and forefinger
  1. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Uterine toner
  • Make sure it’s not raspberry flavored t ea
  1. Sex
  • The energy that gets the baby in is the energy that gets the baby out
  • Stimulates oxytocin release
  • Prostaglandins are present in semen and can help soften cervix
  • Oral ingestion of prostaglandins increase benefit 10x
  • Warning! No intercourse if Bag of Waters (BOW) is broken!
  1. Thumb Sucking
  • There is an acupressure point on the roof of your mouth that may cause or intensify contractions!
  • Dumdub lollipops are the perfect size to stimulate this point
  1. Visualizations
  • Visualizing opening up (like a blooming flower, etc) can start or intensify labor-this was incredibly helpful to me.  I just visualized my body/cervix opening with each contraction as I breathed and visualized it opening up further with each one.
  1. Walking
  • To speed or start labor
  • Curb walking: one foot on the curb, other on the street…then switch sides
  • Walking up stairs two at a time—UP ONLY! Take them one at a time on the way down and be careful!

REMEMBER: ANY INDUCTION (MEDICAL OR ORTHERWISE) WILL ONLY WORK IF BABY IS READY!

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My little cone head baby minutes after he was born!

What to expect postpartum and how to cope

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It is unfortunately uncommon for people to talk about what women go through postpartum.  It can be scary to be experiencing things and not be sure if it is normal or if you are falling a part.  While I would recommend calling your doctor if you are concerned, I hope you find learning about common/realistic experiences of postpartum and how your supporters can use simple solutions to help you cope with them can be helpful to you. While there are some extreme stories of horror as well as magical recovery, most of us will fall somewhere in the middle: taking about 6 weeks to heal fully, experiencing many of the following symptoms, but ultimately dealing with them and moving on to being an amazing and loving mama.

The basic thing to keep in mind is recovering from giving birth takes TIME! Time and rest are key.  There are no shortcuts to healing.   I don’t know about you, but it drove me nuts not being able to do my usual things as I like to feel productive.  However, God whispered to my heart and reminded me that caring for my little one is the most important and productive thing I can do as a mother.

The following may sound grim right now, but all mothers have a different experience. You may only have a few or you may have them all and each to varying degrees.  Regardless of your postpartum experience, keep in mind it will all be worth it when your holding your precious little one.

  1. Shaky legs:
  • after the birth, mother’s legs and body may shake or tremble
  • caused by major hormonal shifts
    • take deep breaths
    • cover with warm blankets
    • remember to be patient

 

  1. Perineal tenderness:
  • Perineum and pelvic muscles have been stretched to the limit
  • tear or episiotomy will increase tenderness
    • Use a peri-bottle when urinating
    • apply frozen sanitary pads
    • sitz bath will improve blood flow and promote healing with natural herbs
    • Use Dermoplast pain relieving spray-spray right over your tender areas. This was a life-saver!!

  1. General soreness + weakness:
  • aching and fatigued muscles due tot he athletic nature of birth
  • may feel dizzy and wobbly when moving around
    • be patient
    • get lots of rest
    • take long, warm baths
    • have someone around to help
  1. Sweating:
  • Mother must eliminate her excess fluids retained during pregnancy
  • May wake up soaking wet
    • Wear cotton and lay on a towel
    • Be patient; after the first week it lessens and disappears

 

  1. Urinating:
  • May be hard after birth due to fear and long-term pressure on bladder
  • Method of eliminating excess fluids
    • Drink a lot before trying to urinate
    • Turn on the water
    • Run warm water over the perineum before going
    • Use the peri-bottle afterwards
    • Pat, don’t wipe clean

  1. Sluggish Bowels:
  • Digestive system takes a break for birth
  • Iron supplements, pain medication, and hemorrhoids may contribute
  • Re-starting the system may cause constipation, gas, and bloating
    • Eat small, frequent meals
    • Avoid gassy or constipating foods
    • Eat a healthy diet with fiber-rich foods
    • Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine
    • Walk to help things get moving
    • Many doctors will also prescribe a stool softener

 

  1. Hemorrhoids:
  • Varicose veins of the rectum
  • Usually temporary and will subside
    • Warm baths
    • Apply witch hazel to the area
    • Do not strain during BM’s.
  1. Afterbirth Pains:
  • Uterus is shrinking back to normal size
  • Release of oxytocin during breast-feeding increases pains
    • Deep breathing and relaxation
    • Apply heat to the belly1day1
  1. Lochia:
  • 4-6 week period of vaginal bleeding
  • Starts heavy and gradually abates
    • Do not use tampons
    • If the flow gets heavier and brighter red after tapering, mother needs to rest
    • Lots of rest and water
    • Use cotton reusable underwear as things can get messy! I would recommend getting oversized ones as you may want to load them with the ice packs, pads, and witch hazel.

 

  1. Rest:
  • MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL!!!
  • Mother needs time to recover physically, mentally, + emotionally
  • A well-rested mother is healthier
  • Babies sleep schedules are erratic and it can be hard to sleep at night
    • Sleep when the baby sleeps
    • Let others help you
    • Cuddle and bond with baby in bed
    • A calm environment without lights will help baby adjust to nighttime sleeping

 

  1. Hair Loss:
  • Return of normal hormone levels causes this hair to fall out starting a few weeks to months after the birth
    • Not a cause for alarm
    • This is just hair retained during the pregnancy due to hormonal changes

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  1. Intimacy:
  • Interest in sex is often low after the birth
  • Avoid anything in the vagina for at least six weeks after the birth
    • Include cuddling and loving moments
    • When you decide to resume intimacy, go slow and retain your sense of humor

 

  1. Productivity:
  • Doing “nothing” can be difficult
  • It may not feel like “real work” to sleep, change diapers and breastfeed
    • “People before things.” –LLL
    • Helping a new human being grow, bond and connect is not “doing nothing”

 

  1. Weight Loss:
  • Pre-pregnancy clothes will not fit
  • Mother feels “fat”
    • 9 months on=9 months to come off
    • Breastfeeding requires up to 500 extra calories a day- no starvation diets!

 

 

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Preggers Food Chart!

preggersEating well is import for your whole lifespan but there is nothing like carrying a little one that makes you really aware of what you are putting into your body.  As moms, we want to make sure our baby is getting everything they need.  Here is a food chart that can help you keep track of what you should be having each day.

I have divided it into squares so you can check them off as you eat them and know what you have left to eat if you are hungry. Below is also a guide for what foods fall under each category.

I put mine on my refrigerator and put magnets over the squares I used.  I know others have printed this out and laminated it so they could cross off the squares with a white board marker and then reuse it the next day. It’s up to you how you use it!

You can download the word document here: Food Chart

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The Ultimate Baby Registry

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The choices and options can be overwhelming out there while you are getting ready for your baby.  Here is what I have learned and what I found to be the best choices for our family.  I hope you find these helpful to you as you prepare for your little one!

First of all, the only way to go is with BABYLIST REGISTRY.  They allow you to register from any store, including etsy and things you find on pinterest! They also compare prices for multiple stores that offer the same product so your friends and family can get the best prices! It also has the option for out of town family to ship your gifts directly to you! Here is the link to BabyList: They will give you instructions on how to set up your account. But basically you will download a button to your favorite’s bar and when you have a product on your web browser you click the button and it’s added to your registry! Once you have your button added, you can click on each of my links below and then click the button to add them to your registry. *Note: I had to use the application on our iPad and couldn’t get it to work on our laptop.

Most of the items I have here are listed with Amazon.  I did this for a couple of reasons: 1. I often find they have the best prices. 2. They deliver.  If you don’t have amazon prime yet, you may want to consider taking the plunge.  The first few weeks we found we needed items but didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting ready and leaving the house.  Their free two day shipping was a life saver! If you haven’t already signed up for prime, you can do so here:
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Here are the items I registered for and why:

Baby Gear:

  1. Rock’n Play Sleeper: This was the best gift we received because our little boy slept in it right next to our bed for the entire first month.  The slight incline helps reduce the risk of SIDS and is comfy for baby.  Plus, the shape helped keep him on his back.  It is light and easy to move around the house or take to friends’ and family’s’ houses.

2. HoMedics SS-2000G/F-AMZ Sound Spa Relaxation Machine: This little guy is great for creating white noise and also comes with 6 different nature sounds.  Our son loved being outside and so this was nice to have in his room and helped him sleep.

3. BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller: This ride is so smooth and easy to open and close.  It snaps right up and can be done by little me! I like the look of the black one the best but we ended up with the orange one for better visibility as we live in the rainy PNW.  This stroller is the best! I take it on runs, walks, to the store, zoo, events, and basically everywhere!

 

4. Graco Pack ‘n Play with Reversible Napper and Changer Playard: Don’t let the size intimidate you! It has wheels and can be moved all around the house or move outside.  It also folds up easily and can be packed into the car.  It has two levels, and it can be deep or shallow, depending on how old your baby is and what you want to use it for.  This has been great as our baby started staying awake longer.  It was easy to interact with him and let him play in here.

We also registered for some extra playard sheets and have used them when our son blew out of his diaper and got poo EVERYWHERE!!

5. Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat: This has been a super reliable purchase.  It has easily removable fabric for cleaning up those blowouts.  It has self-wicking fabric so you baby stays somewhat comfortable even if they blow out or spill something. It has built in infant supports so you don’t have to buy other ones (car seat manufacturers won’t insure the safety of your baby if you use other purchased inserts and get in a car accident!–this is one of the main reasons we went with this car seat).  And it is fairly easy to put in the car seat base and remove-which was important to me because I didn’t want to be taking 10 minutes trying to get the baby out of the car! However, this car seat is not compatible with the Bob stroller.  If you want to be able to have your car seat move from your car to the stroller I would suggest the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Car Seat.

If you go with the Britax and want it to fit with the stroller, you will also need to get the stroller adapter.  It is a bar that connects to your stroller that the car seat clicks into.

 

We also got this BRICA Baby In-Sight Auto Mirror.  I sat in the back seat with our baby for the first several weeks but this was nice as I got more comfortable or had to drive him by myself.  I just like being able to see him. I guess it’s a mama-bear thing.

6. Boppy Pillow: This is so helpful in support for breastfeeding and cuddle time.  If you have a preemie or smaller baby, I would recommend getting two. I would also recommend getting extra covers.  Our baby was 6lbs 6oz, and we needed to put other pillows underneath but they would work their way out and we eventually got another one.

7. OXO Tot Seedling High Chair: What I love about this highchair is that it is adjustable and can change as your baby grows.  Plus it’s tray cover is removable and dishwasher safe! I’m all about the easy clean up!

 

Transportation:

  1. Skip Hop Chelsea Downtown Chic Diaper Satchel: I love my diaper bag!! It has 12 pockets so I can stay organized with all the various things I bring with me.  Included is a pull out changing pad. It has super durable fabric that is also lightweight.  Plus, it has clips for you to put it on the back of your stroller! Not to mention, my husband isn’t too embarrassed to walk around wearing it. 😉


2. BRICA 2 Piece White Hot Sun Safety Shades: Helps protects your little ones sensitive skin from the sun while driving. These are great because they roll up when you don’t need them, and stay down when you want to use them.

 

3. Baby wraps: I love carrying around my baby and liked having a couple of different wraps. My favorite is the Solly wrap but I also liked the Happy Wrap. My husband prefers the ergo. For the first few months you’ll also need an infant insert.

Feeding:

  1. Reusable Food Pouch: These are super easy to fill as they have a ziplock top! they are handy for snack time while out of the house.  And they are reusable!2. Green sprouts Spout Adapter for Water Bottle: Fits on regular bottled water and makes it so your little one doesn’t make a huge mess when trying to drink from your water.  I like this because it is smaller and lighter than brining one for me and one for him.

3. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: provides great support for breastfeeding.  The full wrap around helps prevent neck and shoulder soreness and provides support for under your elbows.  Plus, I would put a burp rag in the pocket and water or snacks for myself!

 

4. Bamboobies: These were a must have for me for breastfeeding.  I was mostly over engorged and would often leak.  To help prevent thrush and mastitis it was recommended to me to change these at every feeding.  So far, it has worked and I haven’t had any infections.  Breastfeeding requires a lot of maintenance as it is, an infection is last thing you need! Plus, these will help keep your bras clean and keep from leaking through to your shirt.

5. Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer: This cleans your bottles, pacifiers, and other things quickly and efficiently without having to run a full load of dishes.  Even though I didn’t use formula, it was nice to have bottles for the hubby to feed him and it allowed us to go out on a date night and let grandma watch him.  I also pumped extra milk throughout breastfeeding so he would continue on the breastmilk.  However, this sterilizer works great if you are doing formula too!

6. Philips AVENT Bottle Warmer: This is a perfect way to warm up those bottles to the perfect temperature. And it is fast! It works with Avent bottles, cups and most food jars.  It also has defrost settings for frozen stored breastmilk.

 

7. Philips AVENT Natural Polypropylene Bottle: I am not particular to these bottles except that they fit in the bottle warmer and sterilizer.  I also like that they are dishwasher safe. They are easy to use and I have been happy with them.

 

 

8. Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack: I love the look of this drying rack! It is also dryingrackpractical as is easily holds everything upside down and lets the water drip to the bottom of the tray.






9. Baby Bandana Drool Bibs for Drooling and Teething: These super cute bibs are amazingly absorbent.  I love their style and ability to pick up the mess from my little one. They are also adjustable so they will fit from baby to toddler.

 

10. Carter’s Burp Cloth: Can’t have too many of these! It is recommended to wash after every use so I would load up! Four was not enough for me, but I would have one in every area of the house I would breastfeed and have one in the diaper bag.

 

Bath Time:
1. towelOrganic Hypoallergenic Bamboo Hooded Towel & 2 Washcloth Family Set: Bamboo fiber is naturally round and smooth, hence there is no sharp spurs to irritate the skin. It is gentler than cotton or synthetic fiber. The best choice for delicate skin to alleviate Eczema, rash, acne, allergies, and cradle cap. Keeping your baby’s skin clean & clear while hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-static, and odor resistance.

 

2. Munchkin White Hot Safety Bath Ducky: This little ducky will tell you on it’s underduck.jpgbelly if the water is too hot for your little one. It is fun and cute so our little one loves having it in the bath and we can know the water isn’t too hot for him.

3. The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn To Toddler Tub: Infant insert works great for your little one to be safe and out of the water.  It also connects onto your sink so you can wash him at the kitchen sink with the hose, if you have one.  It is light weight and was voted BEST bathtub in BabyCenter’s Moms’ Picks 2014 awards.

4. Aveeno baby soap and lotion: This is gentle cleansing soap that uses a natural oat formula. The lotion is fragrance free and moisturizes for 24 hours.

Diapering:

  1. Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes: Resalable closure keeps your stand-by supply fresh and moist. Provides a gentle touch of Aloe and vitamin E and is alcohol-free, hypoallergenic and fragrance free.

2. Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad & Changing Pad Cover: Many changing tables don’t come with a changing pad.  We also ended up needing extra changing pad covers as our little one’s favorite time to go was once the diaper was off! ha!

3. Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Size 1 Economy Pack Plus: I couldn’t believe how many diapers we went through!!!

4.Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail: Powder coated steel and rubber seals to lock odors in for those poopy diapers.  It is actually pretty small and compact as well. 

 

 

General: swaddle.jpg
1. aden + anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket: A life saver for getting our little one to sleep.  Classic swaddling blankets! These are breathable which helps prevent your little one from overheating.

2. Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier: Great for soothing baby when they are not hungry.  Some studies show that having a pacifier also helps prevent SIDS. We got the newborn size and the next size up as well.

 

3. Snuggin – The Comforting Sleep Miracle for Babies: This attaches to the pacifier and makes it harder (though not impossible) to loose. Great to use once they are old enough to sleep with things in their crib and grab their pacifier for themselves.

grayscale-storage-collection4. Greyscale Storage Collection: Classic storage set for helping keep all your baby things organized.  We liked also having an open set for clothes he was growing out of that could be put away once we had a small collection. We also had one with a few items in the next size up.

 

5. Organic Onesies: You can never have enough of these! Machine washable and 100% cotton.


5183p4ek8WL6. The Art of Cure Baltic Amber Teething Necklace: This is a must have for newborns and toddlers! It has anti-Flammatory & Succinic Acid immune system boosting properties.  It is made with 100% of real baltic amber.

 

 

 

 

For the nursery:

  1. Stork Craft Sheffield Fixed Side Convertible Crib: This is convertible and moves all cribthe way into a full size bed! It is made of solid wood so it is pretty stable.  I love the classic white but think it would also be cute in grey–depends on your nursery. My favorite thing about this crib is how the base can be adjusted lower as your baby gets older so they can’t climb out.

 

mountain2. Mountain Shelf: It is a little pricey and we didn’t end up getting this but it is just so cute!! Maybe grandma will get it for him for his birthday or something!

 

 

3. Delta Children Avery Upholstered Glider : love this glider! It is comfortable and providesrocker great elbow support.  It is also somewhat narrow.  We have a smaller nursery room so it was easy to fit.  We had it shipped to us and it was easy to put together.

 

 

 

4. Tree Pillow: love the design and how it ties in the outdoor theme. We put it with the glider and I use it for back support while nursing as well. tree-pillow

 

 

 

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5. Grey and white stripped rug: love the way this ties in the neutrals.

 

6. Grey Pouf: Can be used as a foot rest while breastfeeding or as a seat for your little one or hubby. pull-up-a-pouf-grey-variegated

 

 

 

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7. Be brave wooden signs: So sweet! They are much smaller than I expected but look so good in his room.

 

il_570xN.881172560_97cg8. Woodland Animals Reclaimed Wood Signs: Comes in a set of four so you have to pick which animals you like but they go so well with the other signs!

 

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9. Half Tone Floor Basket: We use this as his dirty cloths hamper for now but plan on using it as a cute way to store toys as he gets bigger.

Health and Safety:

  1. Summer Infant Complete Nursery Care Kit: Comes with all the necessities including Medicine Syringe and Pacifier Medicine Dispenser help parents measure and easily administer the proper dosage to baby, Nasal Aspirator relieves baby’s nasal congestion, Forehead Thermometer and Digital Thermometer for an easy, accurate temperature reading, Emergency Information Card for quick reference to doctor’s number, and Nail Clippers and Emery Boards (5), just the right size for tiny, newborn fingers.

  1. Nuby Pur Ice Bite Soother Ring Teethers: Provides a cool textured surface for baby to bite and teethe on safely during their teething periods and they were engineered with raised offset surfaces that assist in the eruption of teeth by gently massaging infants gums.
  2. Orajel Baby Naturals Teething Gel: Natural pain relief for your teething baby.  This brand uses chamomile.

 

3. Pedialyte Powder Pack: For when your little one is sick.  This helps keep replenish electrolytes if they are vomiting or in danger of dehydration.

4. Motrin Concentrated Infants’ Drops Dye-Free Oral Suspension: Pain and fever reducer.



5. A&D Ointment: helps prevent and treat diaper rash.


6. NoseFrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator: NoseFrida creates a seal with the outside of the baby’s nostril for seamless, comfortable snotsucking. I know it sounds gross right now but when your little one has trouble breathing you’ll be willing to do anything! Plus, you don’t actually get the snot in your mouth.

7. Innovo Forehead and Ear Thermometer: The only thermometer that your child will ever need. Measure temperature via forehead (suitable for all ages) or ear (recommended for children over 1 year old).

8. Simba Soft Bristle Silicone Baby Toothbrush with Milk Residue/Fur Scrubber : Designed with multiple purposes, the bristles side for teeth brushing and back for fur clearing. It also has a safety guard to prevent baby swallowing.

Toys and Books:

  1. The Jesus Storybook Bible: A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their Story too.
  2. Moo Baa La La La Board book: This adorable story is about the sounds animals make—including three pigs who say “la la la!”—it is great for reading aloud.


3. Colors: This book is made with iconic shapes and patterns. Each spread features a color or number illustrated by a famous Kiely pattern.

4. Home: Influential artist Carson Ellis makes her solo picture-book debut with a whimsical tribute to the many possibilities of home.



5. Jellycat Bashful Beige Bunny: Super soft and cuddly!

6. Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym: I love the nature inspired textures and themes.  This is great for tummy time and for helping engage your little one as they have more awake time.

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7. Vulli Sophie la Girafe: This sweet teething toy is safe to play with and is phthalates and BPA free.  It is made of %100 natural rubber and food paint which can fade. Plus, each one is individually hand painted and unique.





I hope you will find these things helpful to you as you prepare and love your little one! Happy registering!!