Sunday, July 24, 2016

Organizing the Carport with Storage Tote Labels

We've all been there. Christmas has hit and it's time to bust out the lights and tinsel. Halloween is just around the corner and it's time to decorate and hang the spiderwebs. You and your girlfriends want to laugh at your old yearbook photos during Girls Night In. You know you kept everything. You stored it away in those plastic totes to keep it from getting destroyed. Now, you just need to dig through all 27 of them to find the one you want - which will of course be the last one you look in. It never fails. Not anymore!


I was tired of searching for what I wanted in my $5 plastic bins that I bought from Big Lots. I knew something had to be done, especially now that I am ready to store all of my maternity gear and newborn items Alex has quickly outgrown. I took a trip to my local Container Store and bought these handy adhesive label holders, and got straight to work printing out tags on my computer.


Yes, the label holders did come with their own little paper inserts. But I wanted to take it up a tiny notch and print mine out. I used excel and sized my prints to 3.65" x 2.15"


I admittedly need more totes, and will one day have some uniformity in them, but for now I am using the totes I used for moving into the rental. I stuck my label holders on, added my new inserts, and started filling in the contents line. 




After everything was labeled, I trucked the totes out to their new home in the carport. I have quite a bit of carport storage space thankfully... more than I have totes to be exact. So I am using one of the cabinets to hold all of the house paints that were left for touch ups by the management company, as well as a tote filled with all of my painting needs.



I love that I no longer have to play the guessing game when I am looking for something I need. I just quickly scan the labels, find what I'm looking for, and take the tote!


The bottom cabinet holds majority of my Christmas decor that is separately boxed or in tit's own packaging.





I'm so happy with my quick little update this morning. Now I feel better every time I park knowing that I have some semblance of organization behind these hidden doors.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

First Time Mom's Guide to Everything Baby


Hello, everyone! And a Happy Tuesday!

I need to take a moment to apologize for my leave of absence. I carved out some time to get up to speed with the new job, which I am currently loving, and to bond with the now-four-months little princess Alex, who I love even more!


 I’ve thought about writing this post for quite a while, and now that I officially have four months under my belt as a first time mommy, I feel I am more prepared and capable. If you’re like me then you Google everything…. And I mean everything. If I had a nickel for every new baby question I have googled or asked my pediatrician about, I wouldn’t even be working currently and I’d have three homes in the Hamptons and one in Colorado. But since Google has yet to pay out for frequent use….. ahem… if you ever go that way, Google, hit me up!

All of this information helped me ease into the world of motherhood, and I have yet to have an oh-crap-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing moment… so in hopes that this compilation will help other mommies in the new lifestyle and smooth transition, I present to you the things I have learned so far as a first time mama. Prepare for the longest post to date, and continue on if you dare…

 

Pregnancy

  • Your milk can potentially come in at any time during your pregnancy. It’s completely normal. Mine came in at 20 weeks pregnant.
  • You’re going to have cramps… similar to those of menstrual cramping, especially as you get closer to the end of pregnancy. No need to worry! (Call your midwife immediately though if you begin spotting or have extreme cramping! When in doubt, call her up!)
  • For the love of God people, you can have a cup of coffee! Period.
  • Nothing, I repeat… NOTHING will bring on labor until your baby is good and ready. All those old wives tales? Forget ‘em. I tried them all… spicy foods, birthing ball, walking miles a day, castor oil, red raspberry leaf tea… everything! Alex still took her own precious, stubborn time and arrived at exactly 41 weeks; 7 hours before my scheduled induction.

 

Labor, Delivery, and Birth

  • Prepare to be six months pregnant after you give birth. Everyone always says this, but I thought this was an exaggeration. I have always been pretty dang small in the midsection pre-pregnancy. Even throughout my pregnancy, my belly wasn’t super big until the very very end. So I figured I would hop right back to where I was. Wrong. Everything internal will be very swollen, and it’ll take a long time for your uterus to start getting back to normal. No one escapes, so help your self-image and bring a pair of drawstring pants to go home in from the hospital.
  • Post-partum bleeding… never a fun subject. The BEST thing I bought for myself was Depends Silhouettes. Laugh all you want, but these puppies compared to the maxi-pad mattress you get from the hospital will have you thanking me later. Also, you’ll save dozens of chonies when your “yay it’s gone!” bleeding suddenly comes back again at 6 weeks pp. Take Tucks pads and line the bottom of the silhouettes with two or three. You’ll be happy that the panties didn’t “stick” to your bleeding, if you catch my drift.
  • THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I WAS GIVEN DURING PREGNANCY…. Push like you’re pooping. Yes, it sounds gross. But I remembered this advice and I gave myself a mini pep talk right before pushing… and I really think this is how we only had three sets of pushes and she was out within 10 minutes. Do It!!

 

Baby Care

  • Bite your baby’s nails. Yes, bite them. Baby’s nails grow faster than the plants in Jumanji, and even baby size nail clippers are unsettling. Save yourself from accidently clipping your baby and just bite those suckers off
  • Baby’s skin is sensitive. Your LO doesn’t need to be bathed more than once or twice a week. However baby fat, especially under the chin area, likes to hoard milk drool. It’s one of the grossest smells. It's hard to look at your baby with loving eyes when she smells like a dirt old foot. Give it a quick baby wipe during your diaper changes.
  • Use Lavender and organic bath products right before bedtime to get your LO to simmer down to sleep. My favorite is Tubby Todd! I love the bath wash and I follow it up with the lavender lotion before swaddling Alex.
  • More than half of babies will get a clogged tear duct/conjunctivitis. Alex spent the first couple months with her eye sealed shut after nap times and I swear that thing was always oozing… you can put a little breast milk in it and apply pressure to the inner eye corners with a clean qtip to help open them up, but it should open on it’s own eventually. It could take up to a year!
  • Sleep facilitates sleep. One day Alex slept through the entire day and didn’t want to wake for anything other than a boob. I was worried it was going to be a long night, but she slept wonderfully! Equally so, if baby doesn’t nap during the day, your LO probably won’t sleep very well that night either. Overtired babies – never fun.
  • When stocking up on diapers, save your receipts and be prepared to take them back and exchange them. I took a few packs of hundreds of Huggies diapers back and exchanged them for Pampers. Huggies didn’t work for Alex in size newborn and size 1 because she had very slender thighs. They didn’t seal well around the legs and I had blowout after blowout after blowout. Countless onesies ruined… countless cursing diapers. Added bonus, Walmart will exchange any packs of diapers for you without a receipt as long as you’re exchanging them for equal or greater value. (Side note: cheaper alternatives for basically the same diaper are - Kirkland for Huggies, and Up&Up for Pampers)
  • Set a bedtime! You don’t want your baby thinking she gets to pick when bedtime is. It’ll save you from a long night of trying to get the baby down if she’s used to going to sleep at the same time each night.
  • Equally so, try and wake your baby at the same time each morning. Unfortunately it may mean waking up early on the weekends if you’re a working mama, but you’ll thank yourself for having a set schedule later!
  • Swaddle that baby. Babies twitch and have little jolts while they sleep, similar to the “I felt like I was falling” feeling. While they may make you giggle at first, you’ll quickly learn that 90% of the time it’ll end up waking baby up. Swaddled arms mean no jostling baby, and a much better sleep. And since I can't even fold a burrito, let alone swaddle a baby, I prefer to use SwaddleMe Swaddlers.
  • If your baby is not prone to diaper rash, DO NOT WAKE HER UP TO CHANGE HER DIAPER. She will be fine waiting, I promise. Let sleeping baby sleep. Save yourself and change her when she wakes.
  • Equally so, if your baby’s booty seems a little pink, or even if she’s having a spout of potties all at once, tackle diaper rash before it begins. I use Babyganics Protective Ointment on Alex.
  • If your baby is sleeping, don’t try and keep everything silent! It’s loud inside your womb, and your LO has been used to echoing noises over the past 9 months. Noise will keep your baby asleep longer. Alex slept through a war movie at a week old. Even now, if she wakes in the evening, it’s usually the moment I turn the TV off or stop talking. Silence is golden, except for when it comes to sleeping babies.
  • Babies need it to be cool while they sleep. So if you think it’s slightly too chilly, it’s probably just right. Keeping it cool in the room with the help of a fan has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.

 


Mama Care

  • My own opinion… but Lanolin is garbage. Instead, I prefer Earth Mama Angel Baby. It’s the only thing that saved my nipples. Please, please, pleaseeee… start using it right away after feedings and don’t be like me and wait until they start needing help. I ended up getting a cracked nipple and it made me cry every time I tried to breastfeed. I almost gave up. But after 3 weeks of life, and quite a bit of nipple butter, we survived and are now so happy we continued pressing forward. Lanolin didn't do squat to help the cracking... but EMAB is the bees-knees!
  • It’s inevitable. You can sit with your baby while she naps and she won’t wake up for 2 hours. You can take a shower while your baby naps and she will wake within 3 minutes screaming her head off. You’ll run downstairs with shampoo in your hair to console your little one. Take my advice, she’s fine… finish your shower and get her after.  A few tearful minutes won’t ruin her life persona, and your family will thank you for showering off your stench. Baby crying hurts mama’s heart more than it hurts baby.
  • Have Tylenol on hand! You can’t take anything else while breastfeeding, and at 3 or 4 days pp, you’ll get punched in the face with a headache from hell. It’s your body trying to regulate your hormones, but head pain+nipple pain=crying mama on the couch.
  • Get out of the house! We started going out at three days old, and I am so happy that I did. Save yourself from cabin fever and insanity and take your baby out! We went out almost every day of my maternity leave. I would feed her right before leaving the house, and carry her around in her ring sling. We still go out together. Whenever a new movie comes out that I want to see, we go to the drive in! That way I can hold her, and if she wakes up at all, I nurse her and she’s back to being a happy baby, and I also got a night out. It’s a win-win!

 

Traveling with Baby

I took Alex to Hawaii to visit my sister when she was just 2 months old. It was a week after her first round of vaccinations, and as soon as I bought my ticket I realized I knew absolutely nothing about traveling with a baby. Here’s what I learned:


  • Most airlines will check and stow your car seat/stroller at the gate for free.
  • This may seem silly that I had to search this, so don’t laugh… but when they say “lap baby”… the baby will literally be sitting on your lap. And they may make you take baby out of her carrier prior to take off and landing and just hold her… be prepared.
  • Your baby doesn’t get any extra bag space. The one carry on and one personal item rule will apply. Unless of course you’re one of the insanely rich mamas who buy their baby a seat in which case baby will also get the one bag and one personal item. Yay baby purses!
  • Register your child ahead of time when checking in for your flight! I didn’t know about this, and when they called our group to board, I had to go back to the counter to add Alex even though she was a lap baby (Note: not all airlines do this)
  • If you’re going through security wearing your baby, make sure your carrier does not have metal. If it does, they may ask you to take your baby out (as they did for my LO in her ring sling). As an added note, no they cannot help you take her out/in… you’ll be asking a stranger if you’re alone.
  • Request to be patted down instead of the metal detector… it’ll be luck of the draw if they let you, but I was able to get that on the trip home, and they let me keep Alex in the sling while she slept.
  • Declare your milk. You can take any amount through security with you, and they will test it in a machine and you’re good to go.
  • Wear your baby! I kept Alex in her sling and she was happy and slept for the entire 6 hour flight. She only woke once, and I immediately gave her a bottle I had pumped for the flight. Back to sleep she went!
  • Ask your attendant which bathroom has the changing table. Some flights only have one, and it will keep you from playing the guessing game later on.

 

Sick Babies

  • If you’re also a working mama and have your LO going to daycare, prepare for baby to get sick within a week. Alex did, and I panicked and took her to Urgent Care. The first question asked was “did she just start daycare?” and they told me it happens in almost every baby. It’s building their immune system. (Note: if you’re EVER worried though, always consult your pediatrician! That’s what they’re there for!)
  • If your baby does get that initial cold and mucus… plan on it sticking around for a LONG time. Alex has now had this disgusting cough for going on six weeks. She had her four month appointment yesterday and her pediatrician said it’s completely normal, and she’s probably going to have it for a long time. Babies cannot clear the mucus out of their throat like we can. So if it’s making her cough, it’s going to continue to do so until she is capable of clearing it. It sucks… but we wait.
  • In the meantime, you can try Zarbees. Make sure you’re getting the Babies formula, as it also comes in a Childrens.
  • Invest in a cool mist humidifier such as this one. It's easy to use, it will last throughout the night, and will hopefully keep your baby breathing clearer and get rid of those pesky colds quicker.
  • Don't even bother bringing home those good ol' fashioned nasal aspirators. You'll never use it. They're not even close to being small enough for an infant's nose. Instead, invest in NoseFrida Snot Sucker.
  • Last iteration of this... but if you ever have a doubt on your baby's health, call your pediatrician! it's better to be safe than sorry.
Final Note: Babies R' Us will price match ANYTHING from Amazon. I have price matched all of our diapers, bath products, baby toys, and my most recent favorite, my new breastpump! I saved $75, and I got the points with my rewards card which gave me a $5 gift card! Seriously... stack up on all those benefits!

 Whew! That was quite a bit of info.. did you make it through?! I am sure there are tons of things I forgot to add that would be beneficial to first time mamas. Have any questions or insight? Comment below for anything I might have forgot!