BABYLIST x MRS. NIPPLE


Baby Registry & Babylist 


 Start your Babylist registry today and click here get your free Hello Baby Box!

REGISTERING FOR A BABY

Figuring out where to register for your baby can be just as much as a headache as figuring out what items you would like to add to your registry. I really wish I knew about Babylist when I registered for Charlie.

I was very limited to what items I could add to my registry. I could only add the big brand names and all of my favorite items were small brands. Many of these small brand companies are run by actual moms who understand the importance of making life with a new baby easier. They also understand the importance of baby products that don't necessarily look like baby products.  Being able to add these types of items would have made the gifts at my baby shower more personal and unique.

BABYLIST

Babylist makes the journey into parenthood easier and less overwhelming. The Babylist Universal Registry lets you register for everything you need from any store, Yes... ANY STORE. You can even add things to your registry that money can’t buy like home-cooked meals and babysitting help. I could see this being especially helpful if you live far from your extended family. If I had meals set up for the first month after delivery, it would have been a huge weight off of my shoulders. You can even register for cash funds, for something bigger like daycare or nanny expenses. Babylist works like Pinterest. You just use the Add to Babylist browser button to easily add items while you shop. There is also an app for managing your registry on-the-go.

 

USEFUL RESOURCES

Lifestyle Quiz: Let's talk about the overwhelming part of registering.... what to actually register for. It's not as straightforward as you might think. Not sure where to begin? Babylist offers a lifestyle quiz to get a personalized baby registry checklist.

Best of Guides: Babylist also surveys real parents every year to create The Babylist Best Of guides to help you make informed choices. Plus, additional helpful content like Pregnancy Week by Week and Sample Registries give you even more tips on navigating pregnancy and parenthood.

 

Other things I love....

  • You can add or link your existing registries (if you have one)

  • You will receive price change alerts

  • Babylist offers free personal registry consulting

  • Babylist will send you free registry insert cards for shower invites

  • There is free shipping on orders over $25

  • Babylist is very easy to use

  • You can create private categories for things that you don't want others to see

  • 10% registry discount before baby arrives

 

Added Bonus: The Hello Baby Box

If you register at Babylist you can be eligible for a free Hello Baby Box upon setting up your new registry. The Hello Baby Box is filled with product samples and offers from trusted brands. The content of the Hello Baby Box changes each month. What's really nice about this is sometimes you don't know what your baby will prefer until he/she tests the product out or what you might prefer as a new mom. The Hello Baby Box samples give you the perfect opportunity to try multiple products. The Hello Baby Box is valued up to $160 including offers. The Hello Baby Box is available only while supplies last and it’s for US residents only.

 Start your Babylist registry today and click here get your free Hello Baby Box!

PinkBlush Maternity


PinkBlush X Mrs.Nipple 


PinkBlush Maternity Clothing 

PinkBlush has a beautiful selection of maternity clothes. I immediately gravitated towards their off the shoulder tops, maternity robes, and floral prints for spring. PinkBlush has such a wide range of maternity clothing, you will be covered for any occasion. Everything below is between 33-46 dollars. 

Here are three of my top picks:

Light Blue Floral Embroidered Chambray Maternity Top

Navy Striped Tie Front Off Shoulder Maternity Top

Light Pink Striped Lace Trim Delivery/Nursing Maternity Robe

BLOOMLIFE CONTRACTION MONITOR


CONTRACTION TRACKING WITH MODERN CONVENIENCE & THE BLOOMLIFE CONTRACTION MONITOR RENTAL @ $20/week. 


Bloomlife

(click on any bold wording to be redirected to the Bloomlife website) 

First, I would like to just say I'm a huge fan of innovative products and technology that make women's lives easier. I've only been using the Bloomlife contraction tracker for a few weeks and it's been very helpful in understanding what's going on with my pregnancy. When it comes to something like pregnancy and my body, having information at my fingertips is crucial.  

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH BLOOMLIFE

I started using Bloomlife at 36 weeks pregnant. With my first delivery, I didn't have any contractions until a day or two before delivery. That hasn't been the case during this pregnancy. I started experiencing tightness and cramping in my stomach around 37 weeks. The tightness would come and go each day. It wasn't painful but was just very uncomfortable. I really didn't feel like dragging my 18 month old to the doctor's office every time I thought this might be it, so I decided to try out Bloomlife. In a matter of minutes, I was able to confirm if what I was feeling were contractions or not. The Bloomlife was kind of like having a validated second opinion to identify what I was feeling were in fact contractions; it really gave me peace of mind. It's also so interesting being able to see your contractions in real time on the Bloomlife app. You will not feel all of your contractions, but the Bloomlife monitor still picks them up and displays them on your phone screen. 

 

SAFETY 

I try to be very cautious around what monitors or detectors transmit, especially during pregnancy. 

The Bloomlife has been clinically validated for accuracy and safety. The sensor technology is 100% passive and simply listens and decodes the natural electrical chatter of the muscle without sending any energy into the body. It's safer than an ultrasound and doppler. 

 

HOW IT WORKS

The Bloomlife smart pregnancy sensor automatically tracks and times contractions and then displays them live right on your phone through the Bloomlife app. I conveniently received the product the day I started feeling contractions and it has been such a relief in interpreting what is going on with my body. An amazing and added bonus, there is absolutely no need for all of the tracking and timing. This product is also extremely user friendly!

 

USING THE PRODUCT

There are three parts to the Bloomlife tracker: an app, sensor, and reusable patch. The patch can be taken on and off the body for up to one week. In the rental kit that is shipped to you, you will receive a charger, the sensor, and a pack of reusable patches, each patch lasts around 7 days. All you do is insert the sensor onto the patch and peel back the plastic from the patch to make it sticky. Next, apply the patch at a three finger width below the belly button. Then, download the app which will then calibrate each time you start a reading. You will be able to actually see each contraction in real time. After a one hour session, you can save all of your data right onto the app and store it. For the best readings, it is good to stay seated. Most women order the product for the last six weeks of pregnancy. This is not something you necessarily use for those few hours before delivery. It's really a preparative learning and connecting tool you should use in the weeks leading up to delivery. I use it every night for 1-2 hours. In addition, many women use Bloomlife as a second opinion when they are deciding whether contractions may simply be Braxton Hicks or indicative of early labor. Bloomlife does all the work for you, tracking contractions and timing them, even the ones you can't feel. 

COST

What is great about the Bloomlife pregnancy tracker is that it is a $20 per week rental. The rental fee is low and if you use NIPPLE10 you receive 10 percent off per month.

Click HERE to be redirected to the BLOOMLIFE website. 

PREGNANCY WORKOUT FOR SOMEONE 38 WEEKS or in the third trimester


workout & pregnancy 


Staying active in the third trimester is so important. Not only will it help keep your energy up but it will also help with labor and delivery. 

Here is a workout routine you can do in the third trimester. The entire workout will take between 45 min - 1 hour. 

Things I always pay attention to when working out in the third trimester: 

-Make sure you are not too winded to clearly state your entire address

-Never use your mid section to try and avoid diastasis recti at all costs 

ROUTINE

Circuit one: treadmill

(3.0-3.5 mph, 8-10.0 incline) increase or decrease depending on where you are physically 

3 min walk at speed and incline of choice

-Tabata: 20 seconds walk, 10 seconds jump on side rails, 8 rounds

walk as fast as you can on as high of an incline as possible 

Circuit two: cables or resistance band for back

-three sets

15 single arm high row

20 plie squat holding cables with arms straight

20 alternating rows

Circuit three: legs and thighs

-three sets

Lateral squat walk down gym

30/45/50 seconds wall sit (do number of seconds per set)

Lateral squat walk back down gym

 

Repeat circuit one

Circuit one: treadmill

(3.0-3.5 mph, 8-10.0 incline) increase or decrease depending on where you are physically 

3 min walk at speed and incline of choice

-Tabata: 20 seconds walk, 10 seconds jump on side rails, 8 rounds

walk as fast as you can on as high of an incline as possible 

 

Circuit four: bench as high as you feel comfortable

-two sets

15 lateral step ups with knee raise

15 single leg planted front knee raise 

-do all on one leg before switching sides

I did this routine in NYC at Courtnay O. Johnson Personal Wellness and Training. I can direct you to Courtnay with any questions you might have. 

You must also not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional health care provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or any other professional healthcare provider. You should always consult with your doctor before trying anything new. 

HOSPITAL BAG ROUND UP


HOSPITAL BAG & PREGNANCY


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Hospital checklist for mom

You really don't need much! I overpacked with Charlie and my hospital bag looks much different this time around. Here are my top picks:

  • Something personal: Everything at the hospital is very sterile, something you obviously want. Though during such a personal time, it's nice to bring something special of your own. A pretty hospital gown that doesn't make you feel like a giant or a patient is always a good idea. I'm currently loving the Ingrid & Isabel x James Foxx Co. hospital gown. It's so pretty and feminine, it even has an adjustable waist! I think the flower printed one is perfect for those first photos with your baby. You can find the Ingrid & Isabel x James Foxx Co. hospital gown, HERE. 
  • Electronics: Phone, camera, ipad & chargers. You could be at the hospital for a while even before you deliver. Having some movies downloaded onto an ipad is always a good way to pass the time.  
  • Toiletries: Make up, blow dryer, body wash, face wash, shampoo/conditioner, lip balm etc. Keep the lip balm handy, your lips can tend to run on the dry side during labor. After deliver, you will want to feel like yourself again. Bringing these items from home will help you feel a little more refreshed after such a physically exhausting experience. 
  • For the Boobs: A bra without underwire & breastfeeding pads: I hardly wore a bra at the hospital but it's nice to have one, especially if you are leaking. I attached some nursing bras below. 
  • For your feet: Slippers, flip flops, and cozy socks with treds. Anything that will make you feel as comfortable and cozy as possible post shower after delivery.
  • Clothing after delivery: Comfort is key. Bring loose fitting clothing that will keep your upper body as accessible as possible. Nursing tops and robes work best. Cozy sweat pants, pajama pants, leggings, robes and tank tops are a must. 
  • Birth plan: If you create a birth plan, make sure to review it with your doctor around 30 weeks pregnant and then again closer to delivery. Print several copies and hang on the door. Make sure your doula/midwife, nurses, doctor and anyone else who communicates and cares for you will be certain to see it. This is especially important if you are not finding out the gender ahead of time. I've heard too many stories of doctors or nurses inadvertently revealing the gender of the baby right before delivery. 
  • Going home outfit: Just remember you will still have a bump and will most likely still be in maternity clothing. Many say your bump will be the size it was when you were around 6 months pregnant. Bring some loose comfy clothes for the ride home.
  • Snacks: Not all hospitals have lobster dinners, but believe it or not Greenwich hospital does! In any event, be prepared for hospital food. Unless you have delivery options close by, bring some snacks you enjoy! 
  • Others: photo ID, Insurance card, credit card, cash. Basically, don't forget your wallet. 

MY HOSPITAL CHECK LIST:

  •  Ingrid & Isabel x James Foxx Co. hospital gown, you can find it, HERE
  • Phone, camera, ipad, chargers, memory card
  • Make up, blow dryer, body wash, face wash, shampoo/conditioner, lip balm
  • Nursing bra & breastfeeding pads 
  • Car seat with base installed a few weeks before your due date
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Warm blanket for the ride home for baby
  • Some hospitals offer photography. Don’t forget a nice blanket and hat for photos
  • cozy socks with treds X2
  • flip flops for the shower
  • slippers to wear post delivery 
  • nursing tank top X2
  • Robe/pajama pants set  
  • nursing top 
  • leggings
  • going home outfit 
  • you can also just bring sweat pants and a zip up sweatshirt (whatever YOU feel most comfortable in)

Hospital checklist for baby

  1. Your baby's car seat. Make sure your base is installed ahead of time. The hospital will not let you leave without a properly installed car seat.
  2. A nice blanket and hat for photos. I personally love the classic hospital hat and receiving blanket. However, some hospitals have professional photographers, in which case you may want to pack some personal baby items. 
  3. A going home outfit. Make sure to bring both a Newborn size and a 0-3 size. Many doctors predictions of the babies weight can be off. 
  4. Packed diaper bag that you can leave in the car for the ride home. 

A few things to point out:

The hospital gave me a HUGE bag of recovery items which lasted weeks. Don't be afraid to ask for extra items. 

The disposable underwear at the hospital are so comfortable, no need to bring your own

I wouldn't bring any of your baby products, nursing pillow, etc. because you will have to wash everything when you get home and you can live without those items for a few days. 

 

 

MRS. NIPPLE OVERALL & JUMPSUIT PICKS 


STYLE & OVERALLS/JUMPSUITS


NON-MATERNITY 

OVERALLS 

 

 

 

JUMPSUITS

 

 

 

MATERNITY 

OVERALLS

 

 

 

 

HATCH JUMPSUIT PICKS

 

 

 

SOME OF MY NON-TOXIC FAVORITES


BEAUTY & NON-TOXIC PICS


Isn't it crazy that I am doing a post on non-toxic maintenance products. Hopefully there will come a time when all products will be non-toxic, but for now I rounded up my top non-toxic maintenance picks below:

DEODORANT: I'm slightly obsessed with Piperwai activated charcol deodorant. I've been using it for two years and it's the only product I have on automatic delivery and still run out of! You can find it, HERE. Just make sure you get the jar NOT the stick. 

NAIL POLISH: My go-to is, Londontown! They are a "9-free" nail polish and nail care line, which claim to be free of formaldehyde, camphor, toluene, DBP (dibutyl pthalate and phthalates), formaldehyde resin, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, and lead. I'll take it! Most nail polish at the salons are "watered down" anyways so why not play it safe and bring your own for a longer lasting manicure. You can find some of my favorite colors, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. Nail hardener & base coat HERE. Protective top coat, HERE. Cuticle oil, HERE

TOOTHPASTE: I've tried a bunch of fluride free toothpastes and have had trouble finding a brand that actually made my teeth feel clean. I love Natures Gate, it's the only toothpaste that did the job. You can find it, HERE. That price is for 6 tubes. I promise you will love it! The toothpaste is all natural and crafted with pure essential oils and botanical extracts, the holistic toothpaste is free of GMOs, gluten, fluoride, parabens and artificial flavors.

SCRUB: My go to body scrub is Coco Rose Body Polish, you can find it HERE. It's not only all natural but each ingredient is included for a therapeutic reason. You can't go wrong with a product made from virgin coconut oil, moroccan rose, shea butter, pink clay and sugar. 

HANDSOAP: Not only am I a huge fan of pretty details, like the way Beekman wraps their bars of soap, but I'm also a huge fan of their brand and products. Their soaps and skin care products are all made using natural ingredients, without chemicals or preservatives. Most use fresh goat milk from Beekman 1802 Farm, and can be used on the most sensitive of skin. You can shop the soap, HERE. 

NOT YOUR GRANDMA'S COMPRESSION SOCKS


compression socks & pregnancy 


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Compression socks are always a good idea, especially if you are pregnant and suffer from any swelling. They are also great for long flights, people who are on their feet all day or sit at a desk all day, athletes, elderly...pretty much anyone. 

For my pregnant mamas the benefits of compression socks can really help you through both pregnancy and the postpartum period. Check out the complete rundown for my pregnant mamas below. 

BENEFITS OF COMPRESSION SOCKS

  • Increase circulation to your legs and feet (helps if you either stand or sit for long periods of time)
  • Relieve fatigued, aching legs
  • Prevent swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs
  • Improves muscle recovery after exercise
  • Prevent blood clots or swelling during air travel
  • Prevent varicose veins

When buying compression socks make sure you purchase ones that are certified graduated compression. I wore very ugly medical looking ones when I was pregnant with Charlie, but discovered Comrad compression socks with this pregnancy and I really love them. They are great for everyday use and have a compression range of 15-20 mmHg (medium compression). I linked them, HERE

If you need something stronger I would recommend a range of 20-30 mmHg. You can find a chart which offers a rundown of the different ranges and which range you might need, HERE but I would start with the 15-20 mmHg socks. 

There are also compression tights (I wore these with Charlie)  and compression thigh highs along with compressions socks. 

HOW YOUR LEGS CHANGE DURING PREGNANCY 

"Here’s the deal your heart has with your legs: your heart will pump blood down and your leg muscles and veins will pump it back up.

However, blood volume, a growing uterus, and hormones relaxing your body so you can unhinge for birth all contribute to not-so-great circulation. Your legs often can’t handle their part of the bargain and they end up like balloons that have been filled with water and everything is pooling at the bottom. What’s worse is that it’s often exacerbated by sitting or standing for long periods of time – your legs have gravity working against them, not with them. They become swollen, tired and achy and even increase your risk for blood clots (especially when you’re flying).

So this is where compression gear comes into play.

If you took that same balloon and held it tightly in your hand, it couldn’t expand as much and it would be easier to pump any fluid back up.

Compression socks ( or compression hose; pressure stockings; support stockings or gradient stockings) keep everything (you guessed it) ‘compressed’ by being very tight at the bottom and gradually get looser as you go up (sort of like inverted Spanx). It’s like a little elevator to help your legs with their new heavy lifting of fluids to help your heart out – it’s the reason why so many athletes and runners use them." - P.C. 



CHARLIE'S BIRTH STORY


BIRTH STORY & BABY


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I'm having a lot of trouble writing this. I'm not sure why, because I can verbalize every moment and every single detail leading up to the birth, the day I delivered, and the hours after, but putting it in to writing is proving much more difficult.  Nonetheless, here I go...

I promise you will laugh at the end, and maybe a few times throughout, which is something you might not expect when reading a birth story, but it happens to be very fitting for us as a couple and for me as an individual. 

A little background: I wanted to have a natural delivery and wanted to deliver standing up. Yes, standing up.  I should add...Ray thought I was nuts...but there are many reasons why, which I will touch on in a later post. I worked with a doula beforehand to get me pumped up for a successful labor without drugs. I made chicken bone broth to keep my energy up and a special drink to keep me hydrated and full of electrolytes, I decided I would labor at the hospital on a yoga ball and breath through my contractions for a natural delivery. I also wanted Ray and not the doctor to tell me the sex of the baby. We waited to find out and I thought it would be so special if my husband announced it. As you can tell, I had a real "plan" for how perfectly the birth would go.  Needless to say, that is not exactly how it played out...

CHARLIE'S STORY 

I knew that I was getting close.  There were some physical signs that I can talk about later, but I also I had an overall feeling that the baby's arrival was close. So what would any normal person do who was about to lose all freedom? Book a day at the spa of course....and that's just what I did.

My contractions were very mild, so I decided to spend the day at the spa with a facial on the menu. That night, Ray came home from a work-dinner to find me lying alone in the dark, candles lit all around me, listening to quiet music.  I told him that I thought that I was going into labor since I was experiencing contractions on and off all day. We decided to try to get some sleep and wait to go to the hospital until my contractions were closer together.  I awoke at 5am to more contractions. However, since they were still not that strong, Ray decided to go to the office and keep his phone close at hand. I spent the morning on a big yoga ball and ended up going to the doctor to get checked. He told me I was 3 cm dilated and he would let me leave only if I PROMISED to come back to the hospital by 4 pm.

I called Ray at work and told him it was go time.  He rushed home immediately and we spent the next 3 hours walking around Greenwich Ave. I was meandering through the streets in a pair of ratty sweatpants and a tee shirt, ready to burst, pausing occasionally during a casual contraction while "lamaze" breathing on the sidewalk.  We actually stopped at CVS so Ray could get his flu shot. I remember walking around the aisles in labor going through contraction waves as he got his shot. Everyone around us was laughing, including me.  However, there was a reason we did this.  I felt strongly about not going to the hospital until absolutely necessary.  I wanted to avoid being strapped to a bed for as long as I could...even though by this point I was fairly resigned to the fact that Greenwich Hospital probably would not let me deliver standing up.

After a few hours of walking around Greenwich while in labor, Ray finally convinced me at around 4:00 to stop by the hospital for a check-up.  Despite the fact that the car was packed and ready to go , I felt much more comfortable when I was walking around, so we decided to hoof it to the hospital, which was only about a mile from our house. We thought Ray could just go back home to get the car since we figured I would be in labor for hours once I was admitted. 

We walked up the Avenue to Greenwich Hospital while we were singing Eye of the Tiger the entire way, mostly because that song pumps me up.  Not mostly, 100% because it pumps me up!!  What a sight we must have been! Here we were, a young couple, walking up the hill on Greenwich Ave, singing Eye of the Tiger at the top of our lungs, letting nothing stand in our way...besides the occasional contraction, of course.  When we arrived at the hospital, the doctor told us that I was 6 cm, so things had certainly progressed. However, we figured we still had plenty of time, after all this was our first. The doctor couldn't believe that we walked to the hospital! He immediately  told Ray to jog back home, and drive back with my things.   

As soon as Ray left,  things escalated QUICKLY. My all natural zen experience was not so zen after all. The nurse wanted to hook me up to an IV because she thought I was dehydrated. She then made me chug apple juice, which resulted in me throwing up. The intense pain came on so suddenly and instead of breathing through my contractions, I was screaming. All I wanted to do was walk around, and all the nurse would let me do is stay in bed. 

Ray was back within 30 minutes and arrived to, as he described it, a war zone.  He came in smiling, carrying my yoga ball, chicken bone broth, special juice, and all the other things I thought I needed for my perfect birthing experience. However, what he came back to was not so perfect after all. I was standing up, screaming at the top of my lungs, and vomiting in to a garbage pail from the pain. Not so zen.  Ray, unsure what to do, meekly offered me my yoga ball.  I screamed at him like a woman possessed "Does it look like I want my yoga ball?" The doctor came in and said he thought I should get an epidural, and by this point Ray was practically begging me to take the drugs.  He couldn't stand to see me in such pain...but we all know guys just can't handle it. The doctor checked me and i was 10 cm!!!!  That escalated QUICKLY.

I felt the urge to push, but my doctor said I could be pushing for hours and didn't know if I would have the energy. I was so shocked that he wanted me to have an epidural, but he explained that this was my last chance. I was so vulnerable in that moment that I agreed to the epidural. 

My contractions completely slowed down. There were 5 medical professionals in the room while I was screaming in labor but as soon as I got the epidural, everyone disappeared. I was so upset and felt like a failure. At this point, I felt no pain at all, which was quite a difference from just a few minutes before. Ray and I sat in silence as we waited. I was so worried that I would not know when to push because I couldn't feel anything now. Then an angel appeared. I did not like the nurse on the afternoon shift, but I had the most amazing night nurse. It is hard for me to put in to words what a difference this made on me and my entire experience.  She said that we were going to do this together. She proceeded to physically turn my body in a certain way to help me feel what was going on and help prevent a tear. She also told me that we were not going to push until the very end to help prevent damage. We waited another 45 minutes and I could feel the baby coming. The nurse quickly paged the doctor.  As soon as he entered the room, he said "Oh, there's the baby!" . One big giant push...and the baby came out. 

Now we decided before hand that the ONE thing Ray was to do was to announce the gender of the baby.  Well, after the doctor caught the baby, the baby was presented to Ray for the big reveal.  "IT'S A GIRL!"  Ray declared with such confidence and pride.  OMG I thought.  A girl?! This entire pregnancy,  I was just so sure that we were having a boy.  "Try again buddy," the doctor said. The other nurses were holding back laughter.  Ray was just a little shell shocked by the whole birthing experience and at this moment was clearly overwhelmed. Consumed with emotion, he basically just guessed the gender!  Our baby BOY was then placed on my chest and my birthing experience didn't matter one bit. Absolutely everything was perfect! I was blessed with a healthy baby boy. 

The night ended with the nurse taking me to the bathroom to pee after I finally got some feeling back in my legs. As she stood there holding on to my arms, I whispered to her, "Did I poop during delivery?" She shook her head, "No, hun you did great :) "

 



PREPARING BABY NUMBER ONE FOR BABY NUMBER TWO


BABY & NEW SIBLING 


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No matter the age of your first or second or third, one thing that I'm sure doesn't change with each child is wondering and worrying about how they will be effected with a new addition. 

My son, Charlie, is only 16 months old and will be a big brother in 6 short weeks. Though it's been hard preparing such a young little person for another baby, there are some things we have been doing as a family that have been helpful. 

WATCH & REPEAT

Anything Daddy does with Mommy,  Charlie wants do it. Whether it's hold my hand, dance with me, kiss me, Charlie wants to get right in there. We found it very difficult to teach Charlie why my belly was growing or even have him acknowledge the sudden growth. As soon as my husband started paying attention (kissing, rubbing, talking to the baby) to my belly in front of Charlie, Charlie has changed his attitude completely. All he wants to do is love on my growing bump. He now not only acknowledges it but he hugs and kisses his baby brother in utero, as well. This gave us the opportunity to start talking about the new baby and pointing to my bump. 

ACTIVITES

We ordered this Manhattan Toys baby soft doll which has been so useful for teaching Charlie about the new baby. She comes with a pacifier and says MAMA. You can find the girl version, HERE and the boy version, HERE.  

We pretty much have been doing everything with the soft toy doll. 

We practice :

-Changing her

-Swaddling her

-Reading to her

-Putting her down for naps in her bassinet

-Carrying her in the baby wrap

I just started doing a little at a time, but will probably start incorporating more activities with his “baby” into our routine now that the new baby is almost here. Charlie is way more into it than I thought he would be. We will probably change his stroller into a double soon and take out the infant seat as well,  just so he gets used to his old equipment coming out and being eventually used by our new addition. 

 

PRODUCTS

Here are some products I recommend to help with the transition: 

 

The Manhattan Toy Soft Dolls: I love this product; it's been such a great tool for getting Charlie ready for the new baby. 

The New Baby work book: This book is a little old for Charlie but a great book for a family with kids of all varying ages. There are so many useful activities to talk about, everything from what’s going on in your tummy to what things you will need with the new baby. I highly recommend this product. 

Books: Charlie, like most toddlers,  loves books and reading time. I would recommend books about a new baby addition to the family. However, don’t force it too much, but if your child seems interested, try and get a book in there once a day or a few times a week. We let Charlie choose what he wants to read, but instead of letting him pick from all of his books,  I will let him choose from five and throw two baby books in there. It then becomes his choice to read about the event that will forever enrich our growing family. 

 

 

 

DOULA Q&A


MOM LIFE & COFFEE WITH A DOULA 


Meet Margot! 

 My name is Margot Lowenstein Simmons and I was born to mother. I work to redefine the scope of doula. I am a trained postpartum doula, a certified breastfeeding counselor and a Sleep Savvy Gentle Sleep Coach. I bring my own personal humor and joy for family to my work. I provide truly nonjudgemental support and specialize in offering practical tips and tricks, coaching to ensure a happy, relaxed family unit,  transitioning to and from work, as well as the special experience of having toddlers!  Because - I think we could all use a little less judgement and little more doula. 

 

Margot answered a few of YOUR questions. 

I have a 16 month old and I'm due with my second next week. Any and all advice with routines for two babies would be great!

  • Congratulations!!  Having been a mom to 2 under 2, myself, I totally can say that while hard, this is also an amazing dynamic!  
  • The best advice I have on the managing of two babies - and really multiple children of any kind - is just to take stock and realize that sometimes it’s gonna work and sometimes it’s gonna fail. And when it works - it works brilliantly. And when it fails, it fails hard. Having realistic expectations and taking “failures” in stride and with perspective is imperative. 
  • Related to perspective, remember to find the time out for yourself. When you’re managing two babies, it’s easy to get lost in the ups and downs of the crazy. Taking moments away - real moments - from the start - where you can learn to rely on someone else to manage the logistics is invaluable. Not only will it allow you to feel sane - investing in teaching someone else “the way” will allow you to step away with much more ease when it’s getting to be too much. 
  • Finally, remember that there are moments when both kids will be synced up and moments when it’ll feel like they couldn’t be more out of tune with their needs. In the very beginning, it’s easier. Throwing new baby in the carrier and tending to toddler with two hands can be the norm - for bath time, for dinner, for naps on the go. As baby gets older and demands more of a schedule - look for efficiencies. Can baby be bathed at the same time as toddler?  Can you give baby a bottle or a boob while toddler eats dinner? Finding the synergies within your routines is clutch. Then, one day, you’ll look up and realize both kids are napping at the same time - and you’ll say to yourself - “holy $#*! - I have 30 mins to myself! What should I do?!”

Any advice on deciding for a RCS or VBAC? Any advice on how to have a successful VBAC?

  • Do your research and make your own choices within the context of your circumstances. Decide what feels right to you and advocate for it before and during your delivery. Remember…this is YOUR experience. It is unique to you and to this baby. It’s routine for your doctor. So, speak up. Even in an “emergency,” you can always ask for a couple of minutes to process and assess your feelings. Making your own choices is incredibly powerful. 
  • Don’t wait to speak up until you’re in the moment. Talk to your practitioner in the many weeks leading up to your delivery. Ask how many of his or her patients have successful VBAC attempts. Talk about what he or she sees as the likelihood of your being successful. Make him or her hear your wishes but also understand your practitioner’s POV. You need to go in eyes wide open to what your practitioner thinks and feels so there aren’t surprises about decisions that get made. If you don’t like what you’re hearing – consider a change. There are lots of women who late-term transfer and plenty of practitioners who accept them. 
  • Get support. If you really want the VBAC, consider whether you will feel strong enough – whether your partner will feel strong enough – to speak up in the face of nurses and doctors who may be saying scary things. If you even think you might feel intimidated – get the support of a doula or someone who can be your advocate – who has see successful VBACs – who has experience and who is in tune with your emotional and physical well-being. 
  • Most of all – go with your gut. It’s the surest way to no regrets. And regardless of how you deliver your baby – remember that it will be special for you and for that baby forever.  

 

Any tips on getting back to work life balance would be awesome. We had a great balance pre baby but we obviously have way more responsibility now.

  • Work/life balance is a funny thing – sort of a holy grail! First, own that it’s not going to look like it was before. Mourn the loss – it’s okay! Sometimes we beat ourselves up for feeling sad that we yearn for our pre-baby lives – but it’s normal. We just don’t talk about it. So, go ahead and say it out loud. Having a baby isn’t all fun – it’s amazing – but it’s hard!
  • Then, consider what were the most “good-feeling” parts of that balance before baby. Was it that you never had to race out before your work was done to get home to relieve a nanny or pick up a baby from day care? Was it that you didn’t have to choose between the gym and work and seeing your baby? Isolate the biggest points of frustration – then you can go about resolving the biggest pain points. 
  • Make a plan. Don’t look at singular days – look at weeks – and chunk them out on your Google or Outlook calendar. Don’t exist in the tyranny of the urgent; you’ll never feel like you have balance.  Block off your “work” time, your family bonding time, your YOU time (don’t forget this one!!), your friend time, etc. Consider each category important and treat it like you’d treat meetings with your boss. If you have to move a family thing because something at work came up – you don’t LOSE that family thing – you move it somewhere else. 
  • And, partner with your partner. Talk things out and make sure you are clear on what each of you is responsible for. Maybe one night per week is your “stay however late I need to” night and your partner is on baby duty. Maybe he is the baby supply Amazon order captain and you’re the fridge is stocked boss lady. Sharing the “wealth” is important so resentments don’t build up. I’m a HUGE advocate of talking this out before your baby even arrives. Ask me more about that! 

 

SLEEP. My baby is 3 months old. Great naps, falls asleep on his own for naps but not bed time. Sleeps thru the night but getting him down at night is a struggle. Any advice? 

  • First of all – your three month old sleeps through the night!!! Pat on the back, mama! This is the exception – not the rule! So celebrate small victories. Sometimes it seems like everyone else has sleep “easy” but I assure you the dirty little secret is that EVERYONE tackles a sleep challenge. 
  • The struggle you’re experiencing could be caused by a range of things. But, for anyone struggling with some issue with their nighttime sleep routine, my biggest suggestion is to go back to basics. 
    • Examine how much sleep your baby is getting in 24 hours. Are they getting too little or too much? There is a range! 
    • Make sure your babe isn’t getting over-stimulated before bedtime. I’m a HUGE advocate of circadian rhythms. Make sure your baby gets exposed to daylight during the day and darkness at night. In the hours between dusk and bedtime, take your baby outside and let them experience the sun setting and darkness arriving (even for 10 minutes). When you come back in – turn your screens off and your lights low. 
    • Consider a really good “getting ready for bed” routine and keep it consistent every night. Maybe a walk, a bottle or nurse, a bath, a song or book and then into bed. Keep it consistent. 

Bae The Label Maternity Clothing Review


PREGNANCY & MATERNITY CLOTHING


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I received many beautiful pieces from Bae The Label a few weeks ago and I am hooked! Not only is their clothing comfortable and trendy, they are all pieces I will wear after pregnancy. I was also very impressed with the quality of the material.

Bae The Label is an Australian based company. At first, I was worried about the hassle of possibly returning items with future purchases, but I cannot ever see myself making any returns with this brand.

These leggings are adorable! I love the drop crotch and if you are sick of wearing tight leggings and skinny jeans, these are your guys. They are extremely slimming and I'm also slightly obsessed with the print/color.

The sweatshirt is also very high quality. I love that I can wear it during the bump, for breastfeeding, and down the road. It's also the perfect shade of pink. 

Everything is linked below. 

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You can find the sweatshirt, HERE it also comes in gray, HERE and there is a version with a hood HERE

You can find the leggings, HERE   they are also available in navy, HERE

Other pieces they sent that I love,

This dress which comes in three colors, click HERE (love the cross hem in front) with this shirt tied right below breast over dress, click HERE

This jumpsuit which is so comfortable and slimming, click

This denim top, HERE

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SHOPBOP SALE


Shopbop & Sale


non-maternity picks

maternity picks

Non- Toxic Skin Care & Clean Beauty


Skin care & Pregnancy 


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If you saw my makeup post then you know I'm all about all natural skincare. I always check for parabens and phthalates among other things. Though this started during my first pregnancy, it's now something I stick to, pregnant or not. My go-to skincare one stop shop is, Follain. It's the equivalent to Sephora minus all of the chemicals. Follain is somewhere you can shop with 100% confidence that you are getting products that will help, not hurt you. I suffer from slight redness and the occasional breakout but other than those two issues, I have normal skin. Check out my skincare routine below. 

MAKE UP REMOVER

I've tried so many makeup removers but they all seem to strip my skin. I stopped using wipes and now only use cleansing oil. You can find it HERE    

CLEANSERS

I use different cleansers each day depending on how my skin is acting. I have four I alternate among. 

1) To get a squeaky clean feel, I use this awesome charcoal bar; you can find it HERE . If you workout everyday this is a great post workout cleanser and this is for YOU! 

2) When my skin is acting sensitive, this is my cleanser. This cleanser is gentle enough for babies. Its ingredients include natural grain-based witch hazel combined with healing lavender and geranium to deliver squeaky clean skin without stripping or irritation. You can find it HERE. If you have sensitive skin, this cleanser is for YOU!

3) There are days where that "pregnancy glow" is a distant memory, when your skin is so dull that you need an instant pick me up. You need a brightening cleanser. If that's you, then you can find it HERE . If you have dull skin then this is for YOU!

4) This Osea mud cleanser does wonders for oily or acne prone skin. This potion includes organic algae masquerading as mud and delivers immediate relief. The result is clean, tingling skin, ready to work its way back to balance. If oil or acne is your problem you can find it, HERE If you have acne prone or oily skin then this is for YOU!

REDDNESS

If you suffer from redness or skin that gets irritated easily this Organic soothing Gel soothes & calms skin. It works wonders. You can find it, HERE

TONER

Out of all the products, the Hannes Dottir Mineral Mist is a favorite. All I know is when I spray this baby on,  I'm left with smooth and glowing skin. I was never a person that used toners until I found this product. It is a MUST have. You can find it HERE. 

FACE SERUM

I love this serum. Its very versatile and works for any skin type. While it reduces lines and redness, it's even gentle enough for fine lines in the sensitive undereye area. The nutrients in this product leave your skin radiating. You can find it HERE  

UNDER EYE SERUM

If you choose to use an under eye specific repair serum I like La Bella Figura. It's a little $$$ but check it out. You can find it, HERE

MOISTURIZER

 I like a very lightweight moisturizer. When I'm breaking out, I use Osea Blemish Balm Moisturizer. You can find it HERE

For all other days, I use  the Osea Atmosphere Protection cream which is also lightweight. It shields skin from youth-robbing free radicals. You can find it HERE 

OR 

The indie Lee facial cream. You can find it HERE

PREPARING FOR BIRTH, BABY, AND BEYOND


PREGNANCY & PREPERATION 


Mrs. Nipple: So I met a friend on the internet :) That sounds as funny as I thought it would, but she's pretty awesome. Her name is Meg Hall and she has a great blog called, For The Long Hall. When I read her mom's post about preparing for birth & labor, I just knew it was too good not to share. Meg's mom has quite the track record. Family Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, and most recently, a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Certified Nurse Educator. 


 

Meg Hall: Arguably the greatest benefit I've had at my disposal throughout my pregnancy is my mom! While she's a rockstar mama in general, she also happens to be an extremely talented women's health provider (and now professor). My mom has a passion for learning and caring for women and has worked for many years as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife, and most recently, a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Certified Nurse Educator. She's not only a super smart cookie, but also a very level-headed, non-judgmental and rational healthcare provider that immediately puts her patients at ease (you can ask my friends - who have been asking her 'embarrassing' questions my entire life ;)

Disclaimer: any and all advice below should not replace or override the recommendations of your healthcare provider. Please ask your doctor for recommendations specific to you or your pregnancy.

Brenda M Gilmore DNP, CNM, FNP, CNE (Meg's mom) will take over for the remainder of the blog post

Introduction

First, we’ll start with preparation for birth including the choice of the birth attendant and then we will talk about some common practices during labor and birth. We end with some thoughts about going home with the new baby. I am not including my resources for this post. However, I did consult the literature while writing this and I am including links with supportive information as I go along.

Preparing for Labor and Birth

Remember, women have been having babies for centuries. Our bodies are made for this amazing job. Have confidence that your body will know what to do when the time comes to give birth. We are extremely fortunate to have so many ways to support you in the birth process. Embrace this new journey you are about to take. Be thoughtful and informed about the birth process and the multitude of options you have in this country. Do some research and consider your expectations and beliefs surrounding labor and birth. This will facilitate your choice of a provider and your decisions regarding pregnancy, labor and birth. Be an active participant in your pregnancy and birth experience.

Choosing a Provider

When choosing a provider first you have to consider where you would like to have your baby. Are you planning a home birth? If so a licensed midwife may be the choice for you. Licensed midwives or direct-entry midwives who are non-nurses and they are trained to do home birth. Be aware that they are not available in all states. https://mana.org

If you are still looking for a more holistic midwifery approach but not necessarily a home birth then certified nurse midwives (CNMs) may be the answer. Certified nurse midwives are advanced practice nurses who can attend birth at home, in birth centers, or in the hospital setting. Overall, CNMs have a close relationship with the medical community for collaboration. They can also provide women’s health across the lifespan and not only during pregnancy. http://www.midwife.org

If you have medical conditions or other circumstances that may put you at higher risk then you may be more comfortable with a physician overseeing your care. Or some women just prefer care by a physician. There are many options for board certified OB/GYN physicians throughout the country. https://www.acog.org/Patients

Today, many OB/GYN practices have both physicians and CNMs who work together collaboratively so you can have the best of both worlds. Regardless of your choice you should verify your provider’s credentials and reputation.

Labor and Birth Expectations

What do you know about labor and birth? Have you done this before? Is this your first baby? Have you read up on the process? Have you taken any childbirth classes? Do you know what your options are regarding care? Who’s going to be with you? Have you discussed this with your provider? Have you thought about a birth plan? I know I’m asking more questions than providing answers but really knowing about the birth process and considering what you expect and want will lessen the fear of the unknown and help you prepare in a thoughtful way and reduce your anxiety while awaiting the birth of your baby.

Birth Plans

A birth plan is not a contract or a concrete expectation of what should happen during labor and birth. It is a thoughtful list of choices surrounding birth and labor that you would prefer. There should always be room for contingency plans in case emergencies arise and care for you and the has to be changed. By working through a birth plan it assist you in considering aspects of labor and birth that you may not have thought of before you became more educated and inform on this subject. The birth plan can also prompt conversation with your provider as specific questions arise. Here is a very comprehensive birth plan template.

https://www.cmqcc.org/resource/toolkit-appendix-e-preferences-labor-and-birth-plan-guide-decision-making-and-inform-my

Labor Support

Labor and Birth Coaches

So this is a big question for “the big day.” Who do you want to support you during labor?” Please notice did I did not say, “Who do you want in the room with you?” A birth is not a “show or circus” to watch. Labor and birth are hard work and you need people around you who can help you do that. Labor coaches should only include people you trust and don’t mind being naked or doing bodily functions in front of. That probably narrows the list down a little bit. Labor coaches should know your birth plan and/or expectations. They should be able to advocate for you and work with you through the process of labor and birth.

Doulas

There are also professional trained labor coaches available. For a fee, doulas provide individualized, continuous, and comprehensive support before, during and shortly after birth. I have worked with doulas throughout my career as a CNM and I have seen them make a huge difference for laboring women and their families. An effective doula is worth their weight in gold. If you are considering a doula make sure you meet with a few to insure they will meet your needs, include your other labor support in their approach, and be available when you need them. https://www.dona.org/what-is-a-doula/

Preparing for your hospital stay

A big step for preparing for birth is packing the hospital bag. My advice is to be thoughtful and brief. For an uncomplicated vaginal or c-section birth the hospital stay is usually only 2-3 days so leave the big suitcase at home.

Don’t:

  • Buy fancy PJs. You’re only going to get body fluids all over them. Use the provided hospital gowns and underwear for at least the first 24 hours after birth.
  • Bring a full complement of toiletries. Leave the majority of your morning preparations (make-up, curlers, etc) at home. You will be in the recovery phase for a few weeks so allow yourself some down time.
  • Bring your skinny jeans to wear home. You will not fit into them. Bring loose comfortable clothing. Your maternity clothing will still work well.
  • Bring a mini nursery for the baby. The hospital will supply basic supplies for the baby while in the hospital. Use those and leave yours at home. You really only need one weather appropriate outfit to bring the baby home in and one back-up outfit (for unplanned messes). Extra blankets, toys, little shoes, bows, etc. just get soiled or lost.

Do:

  • Bring your own basic toiletries including your toothbrush, travel size shampoo, soap, etc. Bring just enough to make you feel comfortable and normal.
  • Bring your own pillow(s). Hospitals NEVER have enough. Be sure to bring ones that you can part with if they are lost or soiled beyond salvation.
  • Make sure you have a safe and properly installed car seat for the baby. Hospital staff will not let the baby go home in anything else. Have a stocked diaper bag in the car for baby’s trip home

What every woman know should before labor/birth.

Labor and birth is EXTREMELY individual and unpredictable. My biggest pet peeve is every well-meaning friend and family member who must tell every newly pregnant woman their absolutely horrific birth story. DON’T LISTEN!!! This is your labor and birth and yours alone. Be informed and keep an open mind. Collect information and facts but don’t get caught up in others drama stories. Be flexible and know that labor may be tougher than you think so be ready to consider all of your options. Communicate, communicate, communicate with your provider and your labor support team.

Care and Coping during Labor

So now you are in labor. How long will this take? How much worse is it going to get? Unfortunately, there are really no answers to these questions. That’s what makes labor so intriguing. We know so much but labor really continues to mystify us. That’s why “going with the flow” is so important. Since I could write a book about coping with labor (and many have) I’m going to focus on the specific questions that were asked.

Eating in labor

Traditionally, in the hospital setting, woman have not been fed during labor. The biggest concern is complications of anesthesia administration (if needed) with a full stomach. However, there are randomized controlled trials that do not show any increase in adverse effects on maternal or neonatal outcomes with food consumption in labor. In my experience starving a patient does not facilitate labor and can make women pretty uncomfortable. Some birthing units will allow light meals during early labor and then limit intake as the labor progresses. Honestly, women in active labor are much less interested in food and if there are complications they are more apparent as labor progresses. The bottom line is that food intake during labor should be considered on a case by case basis and definitely not automatically ruled out.

Pain management

There is a multitude of pain management options available to cope with labor. Each setting or facility will have their own options for patients. The hospital setting will have the most options available. Intravenous pain medication and the epidural are the two most common options. There are pros and cons for both options. Informed decision-making is paramount in choosing what option is right for you.  I have provided a comparison table to summarize the information.

 

 

Breech Birth

After many decades of breech birth the evidence is pretty undeniable that overall neonatal outcomes are better with c-section delivery. Vaginal breech deliveries are still performed but there are very few providers adept at vaginal breech birth. If a woman has a primary (first delivery) c-section for breech position there are still many providers that would consider a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) in this circumstance.

https://www.acog.org/Clinical-Guidance-and-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Mode-of-Term-Singleton-Breech-Delivery

http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/vbac/

After Birth

So now the baby’s out. What’s next? Believe it or not things that occur right after birth are EXTREMELY important.

Skin to Skin

I cannot say enough about skin to skin contact right after birth. There is so much new research that supports early skin to skin contact for mother and baby. The skin to skin not only facilitates closeness and bonding but it actually initiates the process of the breast milk composition to be tailored specifically to the baby’s immunologic needs. It’s called the “microbiome.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4686345/

Really interesting stuff!

Delayed cord clamping

This when the umbilical cord is not cut or clamped for several minutes (or when pulsation stops) after birth. I have actually given a mother oxygen and watched a newborn pink up with the umbilical cord still attached directly after birth. In general, delayed cord clamping is recommended if feasible. http://americanpregnancy.org/labor-and-birth/delayed-cord-clamping-risks-benefits/

Breastfeeding

Initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding can be a challenge, especially in the first few weeks. Make sure you have the support you need during your hospital stay and beyond. Most facilities provide lactation services to their new mothers. Know what your options are in your community. https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/about-us/10-steps-and-international-code

http://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc

Breast pump recommendations

It’s funny that this is one of the questions. Meg and I just went through this process. I work in an academic setting and I am surrounded by maternal child experts. Two of which are experience lactation consultants. Four experienced nurses (including the 2 lactation consultants) recommended the Medela portable double pump for general use. However, they also recommended a hospital grade (you can rent them) double breast pump for the first month after birth to establish a solid milk supply. Please note that I have no relationship with any company that sells breast pumps. Medela is widely available and parts/supplies are easy to obtain. It is also recommended to maintain individual use (meaning only you use your pump) and follow the pump instructions to maintain sanitization and cleanliness of the pump and supplies.

(Meg note: I was deciding between the Medela vs. the Spectra S1. All of my mom's LC friends/academic colleagues recommended the Medela and all of the working moms I spoke to recommended the Spectra (mostly because it is apparently much more quiet, it is hospital grade (stronger), kept its suction longer and is a 'closed' vs. open system). I am still undecided but found this review to be very helpful!

If you cannot or decide not to breastfeed

Your breasts do not know you are not going to use them for feeding. The natural process of preparing to feed a newborn will still occur to some extent. To decrease discomfort related to milk production and engorgement avoid breast stimulation. Wear a snug fitting sports bra most of the time and use icepacks and take Tylenol/ Motrin for comfort measures. Do not express milk or pump as this will continue to stimulate milk production. Over time your breasts will get the message that their services will not be needed. It may a few days to a week to get them on board with your plan.

Going Home

Everyone feels overwhelmed when they go home with this tiny being they are now responsible for. You are new parents and it is normal to feel unprepared. Give it time for you and your baby to get to know each other. Again, know your resources and accept any help that’s available… on your terms.

Rest and Recovery

As a new mother your primary responsibilities should be to care for and get to know your baby and to recover from birth. The majority of other tasks like sibling care, house work, errands, and cooking should be delegated to others as much as possible for the first few weeks. This will sound cliché but SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS if you can. It does help when you are up several times a night with feedings.

Visitors

Well-meaning friends and family may just pop over to “help you take care of the baby” or just stand around not quite knowing what to do. This is what I tell all mothers going home from the hospital. Schedule your visitors! Figure out when you and the baby are at your best and have visitors come at that time. AND if they want to know what to do to help tell them to bring food (especially if that is their expertise). This really helps minimize this job for you and your visitors truly feel like they are helping you. It’s a win-win!

In summary...

I believe I have incorporated all of your questions in this extensive blog post. I will be glad to do a follow up post to address any additional questions that this information may bring to light!

Brenda M Gilmore DNP, CNM, FNP, CNE 

 

CHOOSING A SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER WHILE PREGNANT


PREGNANCY & HAIR CARE


 

 

MRS.NIPPLE MAMA TIPS

When purchasing a shampoo and conditioner make sure the product is free of:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a popular surfactant found in shampoos, has been linked to birth defects in animal studies.  

  2. Parabens

  3. Synthetic fragrances which may contain phthalates (Phthalates may alter hormone levels)

  4. The preservative, methylisothiazolinone (MIT) In scientific studies, MIT inhibited the growth of rats’ nerve cells

Pregnant or not, choosing a safe shampoo and conditioned is important because your hair follicles provide entry points into your skin, so these chemicals could easily enter your body. Keep in mind it's even more important you are confident in your hair care products because these are products you will be using on a weekly basis throughout your pregnancy. That being said, navigating the lists of ingredients on beauty products seems to be more of an art, something many of us do not want to spend time doing. Follain is the Sephora of chemical and toxin free beauty products. It takes the guess work out of questions like, "Is this product safe for my unborn baby" I buy most of my beauty products here because I have 100% confidence in their products. If you are local Organachs Farm to Skin in Westport CT is another great place to purchase chemical and toxic free beauty products. 

 

MY ROUTINE

1. Less is more when it comes to daily hair care 

2. I keep it as natural as possible with chemical free products

3. I also try and go as long as possible between washes. If I don't do an intense workout, with my thick coarse hair I can get by for about five days after a good blowout.

4. I try to let my hair air dry as much as possible. I blow out my hair around once or once every other week. 

5. If I let my hair air dry but I have a meeting or event I just run a Drybar curling iron through it, SHOP HERE.  

SHOP

Shop more of my recommendations for shampoo, conditioner, hair dye, and dry shampoo  HERE

 

 

NAME REGRET


NAME REGRET & MATERNITY


I want to point out that I love the name Charlie, and Charles Everett is a strong beautiful name, but i still have anxiety when looking back on our baby naming experience. 

I hate the title of this post. It sounds terrible, but it is something some women really struggle with and it should be addressed. I was one of those women. Name regret is something that can be avoided. This is a two part series. The first part tells my story & the second part is an interview with name advice from Abby Sandel of Nameberry and Appellation Mountain. 

MY STORY

My husband prefers traditional and I prefer modern names with roots. That's where the baby naming stress started. I finally found a family name I loved but my husband was not on board. At 6 months pregnant we had two long lists (girl/boy names) of many many options, however none stood out more than the others and there were many we just could not agree on. I finally got my husband on board to use the family name if we had a boy, but we still kept the long list of options open.

A week before I went into labor,  I started second guessing my favorite name, the one that I had fought for. Would it suit him? Would he get made fun of?  Is it the right name?  I also felt like I couldn't ask other people their opinions because I didn't want them to say they hated it. At that moment I made my biggest mistake, I turned to someone I always turn to when in doubt, my mother. Usually, she is the perfect person for advice but she has a very traditional style. I wanted her to tell me she loved the name, I just needed some reassurence.

I told her the name, and.......

"WHAT?! That is a terrible name!?."

I started to panic. There was so much about to change in my life and I needed support in that moment. It's not her fault, she is allowed to have an opinion. I started seriously looking into other names and we ended up bringing a list to the hospital, four names for girls, four names for boys, even though my favorite was still a front runner. We figured we would see the baby and know what the name should be. If only it were that easy...

Fast forward and we are presented with a beautiful baby boy, and the first question was, what is his name? In that moment, all of that anxiety that had been tucked away for the last week came back. I just had the craziest experience in my life (delivering a baby) and now I have to pick a lifelong name? Oh, and by the way, you are on the clock and only have 48 hours. I always pictured my baby to have dark hair and he came out a redhead. Would my very Irish name be too Irish for a red head? Does he actually look like the name I loved for him? What if everyone hates it? As a first time mom, I didn't realize how much my baby would change. I was trying to fit a name to this little infant and I was feeling very overwhelmed. My husband decided we should sleep on, it so we did. I woke up and didn't feel any closer to a final decision, so we started asking nurses and doctors, even the guy who delivered my breakfast. We had a white board in our room with a tally. No! I'm not joking. We narrowed it down to two names, our original and one name we didn't even go to the hospital with. Much of my uncertainty came from that conversation the previous week. We ended up going with the new name and everything seemed great. Fast forward 2 days later and I woke up with anxiety that we had picked the wrong name.

Then I started thinking, is this a form of PPD? Is this normal? I want to love his name! Why don't I? Has this happened to anyone else?  I didn't know where to turn so I reached out to the founders of Nameberry and....they responded to my email. (I just looked back at my email and I truly sounded like a crazy person) Yet, I knew I couldn't fix this, but I needed to know how to make it right for baby #2. They told me this very same thing, that happened to me, happens to many people. 

I love the name Charlie. I can't imagine our baby as any other name, I just wish it was a less stressful experience.

Here are some tips I learned from my experience to help others that are having trouble picking a name. 

MRS. NIPPLE BABY NAMING TIPS

- Go with your gut 

- If you know someone has a completely different style than you, it might be better not to share the name with them

-I personally think you should wait to share the name until after your baby is born

-Start having the baby name conversation early so you can test it out with your partner 

- Pick a first name then pick a middle name. Don't compare first and middle names when choosing. You really don't use middle names.

 

INTERVIEW WITH ABBY SANDEL

Now that I'm pregnant with baby #2, I reached out to Abby Sandel, the name guru. That also happens to be the senior editor and resident name sage of Nameberry and founder of the name blog, Appellation Mountain. I wanted to get the right tips and advice from a name specialist. She also offers professional advice to couples who are struggling with naming their baby. FUN FACTS: Her kids names are, Alex and Clio. Alexander Arthur (He has resisted all attempts by Abby to use a more creative nickname.) He just turned 13. (HOW?!) and Clio - Claire Caroline Wren. (She's cool with all the crazy nicknames, and then some.) She's 9. And name-obsessed! Abby's top pick for a 2018 baby for herself would be Leif Christopher Clark for a boy (my children think this name is bananas) and Rosemary "Romy" or Theodora "Thora" - or maybe Marguerite, for a girl.

My Interview with Abby:

1) Where should you start when trying to find the perfect name? 

  Many couples have an idea about favorite names and jump right in to the process. That can work out beautifully ... or it can result in deadlock, when it turns out that their preferences are miles apart.

For any couple who is stuck or just not sure where to begin, I'd recommend starting with your own names. Have you always liked having a family name? Does it bother you if your name is too unusual/too common? Tough to spell or pronounce? You might be new to naming a child, but you're not new to having a name. Draw on that life experience to reflect on the kind of name you'd like your child to have.

Then consider qualities that you want in a child's name. These aren't rules - and families I work with often don't follow the guidelines they identify. But it's a good place to start. Talking about qualities is neutral; arguing about whether or not to honor your beloved grandmother is not. 

So discuss up front: do you want to use family names? Do you want to follow specific naming traditions, like choosing saints' names if you're Catholic? Honor a specific background, whether it's Irish or Pakistani? How do you feel about nicknames? Does the name need to work in more than one language? Are there names that you love - even if you can't use them - that can help define the kind of name you'd like your child to have? 

If you're naming a second child, you might want to avoid repeating first initials. Or if you honored one side of the family with your firstborn's middle name, it might feel really important to choose a middle from the other side this time around.

 

 

2) What things should someone think about when naming a baby?

We name strangers. It's impossible to know who our children will grow up to be, so building in some flexibility in a name is a good thing. If you're choosing a really unusual first name, consider a more traditional or mainstream middle. (Azalea Eleanor is likely a better choice than Azalea Finch.)

We focus on how our peers perceive names - but our children will grow up with their generation. Names like Ellis and Thea will be ordinary for kids born today. That means that you can safely ignore much of what your friends (and random strangers on message boards) say about names. This is doubly true for our parents and grandparents. Much as we love them, we probably don't share the same taste in names. The names of the mid-1960s were Julie, Tammy, and Michelle; Scott, Jeffrey, and Brian. So a normal name to our parents is not likely to be a favorite for us today, and that's fine.

Know that you can't control nicknames indefinitely. Sure, you can insist that Henry is Henry. But if he comes home freshman year answering to Hank, that's his choice. If you love a name, but dislike the default nickname, it might be a problem. Telling everyone that your son is William, not Will? That's a recipe for frustration.

Meaning matters - but not necessarily in the etymological sense. The best insulation against name regret is having a story about why the name appealed to you. It doesn't have to be a made-for-TV tale of going into labor right after hiking in some scenic park and deciding to name the baby for the trail. But knowing why you chose the name is powerful.

 

3) What if a couples style in baby names is drastically different?

 

This happens ALL the time. 

First, know that compromise isn't a bad thing. There's a good chance that you'll come to love your child's name as your child grows. Many parents say things like, "Oh I wasn't sure about naming our son after Grandpa Marvin, but now the name suits him perfectly."

Accept that you may have to give up your favorite names. Yes, even if you've been keeping a list since you were twelve.

Look for places where you do overlap. Maybe you like your names long and vintage, while your partner prefers short and modern. Maybe you can find a short, but vintage name, like Vera or Ada? Or a name that sounds modern, like Arlo, but has lots of history, too.

I've heard it called "narrowing up" - instead of looking for reasons to reject the names on your list, look for positive reasons to embrace them. It elevates the conversation, and helps you identify why a name appeals so strongly.

 

4) When choosing names for siblings, should they all flow? 

I think the most important part when naming siblings isn't flow, but balance.

Unless you're the Von Trapps or the Jacksons, most of your life is led independently, and many friends and colleagues won't know your sibling's names - or if you have siblings.

But children - at least some of the time - may notice if their names are very different. If your firstborn will be named for a family member, what makes your second child's name special? If one child has a really unusual name, and the other a very popular one, is there a story that you can tell both kids when they ask?

Flow is a helpful concept in this sense: when you say your children's names together, does it sound right to you? Because you will say your kids' names together, dozens of hundreds of times. And if you trip over the names, that's a signal that you need to rethink. Maybe the names share too many sounds, or maybe one is much longer than the others. Those are the kind of differences you may be able to live with - but you should make a deliberate decision rather than discover it after you've brought home your newborn!

 

5) If you could give one piece of advice around naming a baby what would it be?

Use the name you love.

Yes, even if it's very popular, or rather obscure. Even if it breaks the rules you read online, or even if others tell you it's just awful. When you and your partner find The Name, you'll know. Don't let yourself be talked out of it.

 

6) What is your advice around choosing between two names you love? 

That's so hard! If time allows, I'd try testing them both: writing them out by hand, plugging them into those design-your-own sites online to see how they look embroidered on a backpack, and calling your baby by that name for a few days. The coffee shop test can work, too - in any situation when someone asks for your name, give your favorites - and see if one feels better.

The issue here is that often one parent prefers Logan, while the other has her heart set on Landon. There's no substantial difference, just a slight preference. When that happens, sometimes reading about the names can reveal a fact that sways you in one direction or the other. A meaning might resonate with you both, or a famous figure by the name.

Lastly, there's something to be said for giving in to the person who cares more. We didn't do this when naming our son - I clamped down on my instinct to over-analyze it, and we went with the first name we agreed on. (I spent the first few weeks suggesting that we change his middle name.) With our daughter, I thought and re-thought the decision. My husband knew it was super important to me, and realized that we were talking about adding a second middle name - trivial to him, critical to me, and so there was no reason not to do it my way.

 

7) Should the opinions of others matter? 

 

In one sense, yes. If you're choosing an unusual name, it's worth checking whether others can pronounce it. Or whether they'll pronounce it in a way that sounds all wrong to your ears. So a little bit of road-testing is good - but that doesn't need to be with your friends and family. You can give your favorite name to a barista at a coffee shop and see how that works.

But generally, no. Everybody has opinions about baby names. But those who are changing the diapers and waking up at 3 am, they're the ones who get to choose.

If you are interested in a name consultation session with Abby you can reach her through email, appmtn@gmail.com. Please email for rates. 

Staying healthy while pregnant

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I've been on both sides of the spectrum when it comes to healthy eating, pregnant or not. I can't stress enough how much easier your pregnancy will be with a nutrition packed healthy lifestyle. I was so motivated during my first pregnancy and had none of those normal pesky side effects of carrying a baby. Yes, I'm sure genes play a role but I give most of the credit to frequent movement and nutrition. The second time around has been harder due to obvious reasons....a little person with an attitude that stands about 2 feet tall. This is about your unborn baby and about taking care of yourself. An added bonus to all of this is labor and delivery will be easier and it should take less time to bounce back. 

 first trimester disclaimer:

If you are suffering from nausea and can't even think about eating leafy greens and protein just know, it's very normal. The meal options below will be great for the 2nd and 3rd trimester, when you are feeling like yourself again. During the first trimester I would pack in my leafy greens and protein on days I was feeling up for it and stick to foods that would help keep nausea at bay during the others. To help with pregnancy induced nausea I would pack 5-10 small bags of snacks and eat them continuously throughout the day. The bags would include salty crackers, fiber crackers, grapes, apples, string cheese, nuts, pretzels. If you're feeling like you can stomach larger portions you might want to consider, whole wheat toast with peanut butter and banana, whole wheat toast with scrambled egg, oatmeal or chicken noodle soup.  

 

 Healthy eating:

First off, you are not eating for two...I know it was all a lie, I was pretty disappointed when I found this out. You are actually only eating for 1.2 which only means an extra 300 calories in the 2nd and 3rd trimester and 450 calories after delivery, if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Just remember these foods should be filled with nutritional value. 

 

Start off the day with a good amount of protein and good fat to keep you feeling full longer. I would recommend eating your largest meal in the morning. Making good choices for your first meal is so important for setting you up for a successful day.

FIRST H20 

This is one of the most important things when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. It's what you drink. I can't stress the importance of hydration in general, but especially when you are pregnant. Overall you will feel better and you will have less swelling. Hydration is so important it's part of my TOP 5 PREGNANCY TIPS blog post. My BKR water bottle holds 4 cups of water and I fill it up at least 3 times per day. Having it by my side has helped set good habits when it comes to drinking water.  

BLD, MY GO-TOS

BREAKFAST 

3-4 scrambled eggs and half an avocado with steamed spinach. If there is left over meat from the night before I will throw that into the scrambled eggs. 

OR

A bowl of oatmeal with a touch of honey with banana or berries 

LUNCH

ON-THE-GO: This is a tough one because I'm always on the go. I end up buying a lentil avocado salad most days which comes with 2 pieces of whole wheat bread. I really trust the quality and preparation of the food at this restaurant. When pregnant, I try and be a little more careful where I eat. If you end up eating salads while you are on the go, just try to stay away from salad bars where the food might not be kept at the right temperature. 

In an office or at home: This gives you much more flexibility with meal planning. I always try to get my greens in for lunch so would naturally just recommend making your own salad. The great thing about eating lunch in an office is you can bring a protein from home and heat it up in the office microwave. Another option would be fiber crisps topped with grilled chicken to help battle any pregnancy constipation.

SNACKS: NUTS, STRING CHESSE, FRUIT, FIBER CRISPS, GREEK YOGURT 

DINNER

I'm usually exhausted by the end of the day so we keep dinner pretty simple. I like to pair a lean protein with a vegetable or I'll cook something from my rolodex of anti-inflammatory recipes...more on that later.  

 Proteins:

-Grass fed flank or skirt steak, salt and peper

-Free range whole chicken, you can ask the butcher to spatchcock it for faster cooking time. I throw a rub on it and put it in the oven. 

-Wild salmon 1-2X per week topped with fresh ginger and low sodium soy sauce

Veggies: 

I try and stick to local vegetables and whatever is in season. This is harder in the winter months but great for fall, summer, and spring. 

I'll make this very easy for you, click HERE to see what is in season in your region. Click on your region & the season and the site will give you a list of veggies from which to choose. 

I try and just stick to cooking what I love so I'll eat more of it. 

-squash

-mushrooms

-sweet potatoes

-spinach with garlic

I prepare all vegetables by roasting or steaming with just a little olive oil, nothing fancy.

  LEFTOVERS REHEATED ARE ALWAYS YOUR FRIEND. 

 

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Pregnancy & A healthy Lifestyle 


Non-Toxic Make Up Picks


Pregnancy & Makeup 


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YOU ABSORB 60% OF EVERYTHING YOU PUT ON YOUR SKIN, BE THOUGHTFUL

The long list of makeup ingredients to avoid while pregnant is overwhelming to say the least. Sometimes I feel like you need a text book just to protect yourself from harmful products. Aluminum chloride hexahydrate, Beta hydroxy acids, Chemical sunscreens, Diethanolamine (DEA), Dihydroxyacetone (DHA), Formaldehyde, Hydroquinone, Parabens, Phthalates, Retinol, Thioglycolic acid, Toluene. Overwhelmed yet? I spent over an hour at Sephora looking for makeup that was pregnancy safe.

I'm going to make it easy for you, Follain is a very easy place to shop for beauty products. Follain makes it easy because of their promise to offer toxic free makeup. Bare Minerals is a great natural looking brand that was my eighth grade go-to that has come full circle. RMS Beauty is another one of my favorites. I decided to go chemical free during my first pregnancy and I'm so happy I made the change. I haven't looked back! Check out my makeup routine below.

Here is what I use and love

this mineral FOUNDATION with this BRUSH or this CREAM FOUNDATION

this CONCEALER 

this BLUSH in The Aphrodisiac with this BRUSH or this CREAM BLUSH

this BRONZER in Skinny Dip with this BRUSH or this CREAM BRONZER

this BROW PENCIL in Dark

this MASCARA 

this HIGHLIGHTER

this LIP BALM and this LIP TO CHEEK balm 

this MAKE UP REMOVER which is a glideaway cleansing oil




 

 

 

 JUICING & SMOOTHIES DURING PREGNANCY


PREGNANCY , JUICING AND SMOOTHIES


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purify 

my favorite at home juice 

With so much less time to focus on baby #2 , juicing is a wonderful way to get your greens in quickly. I always recommend trying to stick to organic or local fruits and vegetables, especially when making juices and smoothies. 

WHAT IS JUICING

Juicing removes the pulp and insoluble fiber from the fruits and veggies. It's not a meal replacement like a smoothie is, but more of a supplement. To get the most benefit from your juice consume either first thing in the morning or 2-3 hours after a meal. You can eat as soon as 20 min after drinking the juice.

SUGAR CRASH

 Try and stick to "green drinks" to prevent a sugar crash. The ratio of vegetables to fruit is key. I always try to pick green drinks packed with leafy greens.

JUICING WHILE PREGNANT

It gets a little bit confusing and is also a little controversial because juices are not pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process that kills harmful bacteria by heating it to a certain temperature for a specific amount of time,which then kills harmful organisms responsible for listeriosis. If the juices were pasteurized, they would lose most of their nutritional value.

 I'll try and keep it simple

If juicing at home (best option):

-Make sure to always clean your fruits and vegtables

-Clean the juicing equipment after each use 

If buying juices, there are two options:

 Pressed juices and freshly made juices: Pressed juices are pre-made and can be found in the refrigerator section of many juice bars. Since these juices are unpasteurized, they have a short shelf life. While pregnant, it's best to stick to the freshly juiced options because they will not sit unpasteurized. As long as you trust that the store cleans their machinery well and washes their fruit, then freshly made juices are a great option.

SOME GO TO JUICE COMBINATIONS:

Purify: 1/2 cup kale, 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 a cucumber, 1/2 of one piece of celery, 1 whole apple, 1/6 of a whole lemon, size of two quarters of ginger- break right off the root (MY FAVORITE) Put the kale & spinach in first then ginger & lemon together celery cucumeber and apple in last 

Refresh: 1/2 cup spinach, 1/2 cup kale,1 pear, then juice 2 oranges with a citrus juicer and add into juice 

Renew: 2 small beets or 1 medium size beet cut in quarters (wash well), 1 large carrot, 1 whole apple, 2 quarter sizes of ginger. Put in the beet first, then the carrot, ginger and apple. WARNING beets are very messy!!!

 

WHAT ARE SMOOTHIES 

Smoothies use the whole fruit and vegetable, pretty much everything but the pit. A NutriBullet is a great way to make smoothies at home. Throw in fruits and veggies and chug away! This is very quick and easy, especially if you have trouble eating your greens. This is such a great option for any pregnant mama and can be consumed as a snack. Again, just try and find the right balance between the greens and fruit ratio. I usually try to keep it around a 50/50 ration for taste, but the more greens the better. 

Some smoothies that are made at your local juice bar are very high in calories. These should be consumed as meal replacements, since these smoothies can have over 500 calories and many are packed with protein. For example, a Pumpkin Flax Smoothie may have: almond milk, bananas, apples, flax seed oil, almond butter, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice. These types of smoothies are fine once in a while, but I would stick to green smoothies for more frequent consumption. 

 

Tip for the perfect smoothie:

  1. You can use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes to get a chilled smoothie
  2. Blend the liquid and leafy greens first before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will help get a smoother texture. 
  3. Stick to a ratio your taste buds are comfortable with. You might want to start out with the 50% greens/50% fruit ratio. 
  4. If your smoothie is too THIN add some frozen fruit or ice and if it's too THICK add some liquid. 

 

SMOOTHIES:

THE STARTER PACK

2 cups spinach

2 cups water

1/2 cup mango

1/2 cup pineapple

1 frozen banana

IMPORTANT: blend water and spinach until leafy pieces are gone and then add the rest of the ingredients. 

TROPICAL GREEN SMOOTHIE
2-3 cups Kale, chopped
1 cup Cilantro (optional)
1 cup Pineapple, diced
1 cup Frozen mango
1/2 cup Fresh mango (optional)
1/2 cucumber, diced or 1/2 cup coconut water (or both…)
juice of one lime
1 tsp Spirulina powder (check with your doctor if pregnant) 

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender, with the heavier, more liquid contents at the bottom. This includes the pineapple, cucumber and mango. Blend until smooth and silky. Add more coconut water, cucumber or pineapple to thin the mixture, if necessary.

GREEN HEAVEN

1 CupSpinach

1 StalkCelery

1 CupCucumber

½ CupPineapple

½  Lime

2 TablespoonsFlax Seeds

3  Ice Cubes 

1 ½ Cups water 

AVOCADO SMOOTHIE

2 Cups Kale

½   Avocado

1   Apple

⅓ Cup Blueberries

1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds

¼ Cup Oats

1 ½ Cups water

 

**SOME GREEN FREE OPTIONS**

THE SMART START

 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds

1 tablespoon whey protein concentrate (leave out while pregnant) 

pour 2 tablespoons of water into the blender. Add the yogurt and blueberries. Blend until the blueberries have turned the yogurt a deep rich blue. Add the ground flaxseeds and whey protein. Blend until smooth. 

332 cal - 35 g protein- 45 g carbs -5 g fat

BANANA STRAWBERRY DELIGHT

1 Cup non-fat plain yogurt

1 banana, sliced

1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds

1 tablespoon whey protein concentrate (leave out while pregnant) 

pour 2 tablespoons of water into the blender. Add the yogurt, banana, and strawberries and blend. Put in the ground flaxseeds and whey protein and blend until smooth.