Last week, I shared my general tips for new moms. Today, I wanted to share some special tips for my fellow NICU moms. As many of you know, Harper was born six weeks premature and spent a week in the NICU before finally coming home with us. I know that we are extremely blessed that her stay was relatively short, but it was still the hardest week of my life. I had no idea that she would come early. I had no pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. My water just randomly broke the night after Christmas. Because of this, I wasn’t prepared at all and I had no idea what to expect after she was born. I hope first and foremost that none of you will ever have to experience preterm labor, but if you do, I hope that sharing the things that helped me the most during that time will help you to get through it if that day ever comes.
1. Take breaks. // You are going to want to spend every single minute in the NICU with your baby. But try to remember that you just gave birth. You need time to rest and recover. Spending every minute in the NICU might also be too much for your postpartum emotions. In the first few days after Harper was born, while I was still in the hospital, Sam spent more time in the NICU with Harper than I did. In fact, he changed her diaper and bottle fed her before I did. I spent the majority of my time in the hospital resting and pumping. When I was discharged, I would come to the hospital for her feedings. I would feed her, hold her and then head back home to get everything ready for when she was discharged. It was just too much for my emotions to stay there all day and I felt much better when I focused on her coming home.
2. Ask the nurses to teach you everything and then do as much as you can yourself. // I was very familiar with babies before Harper was born, but I had never seen or held one as small as she was. The first time I changed her diaper, I got so nervous and flustered (she was crying and my milk came in and I just panicked), that I had to ask the nurse to finish for me. I got help with feeding (both nursing and bottle feeding), burping, bathing, everything! But after I watched them do it once or twice, I did it myself the rest of the time. After a few days, I would come in, close the curtain around us, and pretend that it was just our little family in there. Nurses are so amazing, but you can’t take them home with you. You want to feel as confident as possible when you walk out of those hospital doors and the best way to do that is to get your practice in while you still have professionals around to help you and answer any questions you may have. (more…)
Last year on Valentine’s Day, Harper was still a tiny peanut and couldn’t really leave the house. Still, I couldn’t resist picking up a few Valentine’s Day outfits for her, including the adorable sleeper above (which I found at Old Navy – I love this year’s version). I also picked up a few other outfits (see photo below), but she ended up not fitting into them until the Spring (#PreemieProblems). It worked out though because babies can get away with hearts any time of year!
This year, I started buying Valentine’s Day clothing (and candy – let’s be honest), just a few days after Christmas. Target is notorious for not wasting any time between holidays and I’m notorious for falling for it. I know there’s only a week left before Valentine’s Day, but that’s plenty of time to pick up a cute outfit for your little one and maybe even a treat for yourself.
Click the black icon to shop each item and shop the rest of my valentine’s day picks below!
I know people say that babies don’t need a lot, and maybe that’s true, but I’m a bit of a product junkie so we have a lot of stuff. I love trying new things and I’m a slight shopaholic. Thankfully, this expensive habit allows me to share our favorite baby products with all of you! Now that Harper is a year old, I’ve been able to pare things down a bit to the things that we actually use and love. I cleared out her cabinet of all of the sippy cups she hates, I cleared out all of the skincare products that made her break out and we’re left with a list of things that we use every single day and love. Today I wanted to share our current favorites. I have a slideshow (with a quick description) of the products below and then I’ll go into more detail on each product below that. So if you don’t have time to read my “why we love this” blurb, just flip through the slideshow and click the product to buy it if you’d like to try it yourself!
1. Zoli Bot Sippy Cup // Once your baby turns one, if not earlier, your pediatrician will start strongly encouraging you to wean your baby off of the bottle and teach them how to use a straw. There are tons of spout sippy cups on the market, but from what I’ve read, a straw cup is the best for your baby’s teeth. It’s also convenient because you don’t have to worry about your baby being thirsty if you forget your cup at home. This straw cup has a flexible and weighted straw so Harper can get water no matter what position she’s drinking from. It also rarely leaks. She throws it all over the place and we never have a problem with leaking. A tiny bit of liquid pops out when you flip the top open, but I usually only put water in it so it doesn’t really bother me. The straw is a bit annoying to clean, but I bought the OXO Tot Straw and Sippy Cup Top Cleaning Set and I’ve never had any problems. We have this cup in 4 different colors and Ive pretty much cleaned out all other cups in favor of this one. Honorable Mention: We like this Tommee Tippee insulated straw cup (on sale now at Target!) when we’re giving her milk out of a cup. She doesn’t love it as much as the Zoli Bot though. (more…)
When you’re pregnant, you get a ton of advice. Some of it is good, some of it is terrible (and outdated) and most of it you will forget the minute the baby comes. But keep listening because there is no greater resource for a new mom than other moms. If you talk to enough moms, at least one of them has gone through the same situation as you. Your baby wants to nurse for an hour before bed? Been there. Your baby’s poop is mucus-y and weird? Been there. Your baby went through 10 sippy cups before she finally found one she liked? Been there and I’ve got the empty wallet to prove it.
I’ve only been a mother for 13 months so I’m obviously no expert, but I definitely learned some valuable lessons this year. Some were taught to me by other great moms and some I learned on my own. So take them or leave them, but they’re here when you’re up for a middle of the night feeding.
1. Remember that every baby is different. // You will hear this 1,000 times, but it bears repeating. Do not assume that because you’re best friend’s baby slept through the night at 5 weeks old that yours will too. Don’t assume that your baby will love the most popular baby products or the “best” formula on the market. Your baby is unique and so are you. Advice is great and reading books and mom blogs is super important, but always be flexible. I’m a big reader and researcher so I read a ton of books and blogs in the first few months of Harper’s life (when I was constantly breastfeeding and had time to read). In the end, I took bits and pieces of everything I had read, and everything I had heard from other moms, and came up with my own system. (more…)
I cannot believe that my baby is already a year (13 months actually) old! I also can’t believe I haven’t posted anything on my blog since June! This year was a lot harder than I thought and it honestly took me a loooong time to figure out my new normal. I spent the bulk of the year focusing only on Harper and not enough on my husband or myself. But I finally snapped out of it and I’m happy to report that we’re all thriving now that I’ve figured out the balance. But let’s get back to Harper…
In case you forgot or are new to my blog, Harper was born six weeks early on December 27, 2015. She was a little less than 5 pounds and spent the first week of her life in the NICU. When my labor started, I had no idea about premature birth or what to expect and the only information I got while I was in the hospital was terrifying. Thankfully, Harper forgot that she was a preemie the moment we walked out of the hospital doors and today people are shocked when I tell them her story. I could literally write for days about Harper, but I’ll try to hit all of the main points without making this too long.
Weight: 20lbs 13 oz (35th Percentile) – 4lbs 14.9oz at birth
Length: 30.25 inches (71st Percentile) – 19.25 inches at birth
Teeth: 2 on the top, 2 on the bottom and FOUR more coming in right now