PPD AND THE LOSS OF A BEAUTIFUL SOUL


This is kara’s story through her sisters eyes


This is such an important topic and a checklist in the doctors office is not enough for diagnosis. Postpartum depression is a real mental illness. There is a need for educating families, loved ones and mothers around what to look out for and for being able to differentiate what are normal emotional fluctuations from what should be addressed by a professional. There is a real lack of education from our medical system. Please read this and help Lauren and her family spread the light.

Here is kara’s story told by one of her sisters, Lauren.

Lauren will take it from here.

You can’t change the past, you can’t change the future and you can only change the present one moment at a time.

Never have I wanted more than to change the past, to go back and undue what was done. To wake up every morning and just for a second before I open my eyes try to imagine that things were different. To go back and do things differently, to see things differently, but we can’t, we can only move forward. 

My sister, Kara (Morrow) Kovlakas was a vibrant, outgoing and loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, teacher and friend. No one loved life more than Kara, she was always the brightest light in any room. She was born 22 months after I was and as children we fought like most sisters do, but as adults she was my best friend, my closest confidant. We were each others maid of honor, we drove cross country twice, traveled too many times to count, we share a lifetime of memories. 

Already a mom to her daughter, Aydan who was born in September 2012, she had her son, Ari on January 14th, 2016 and it was one of the happiest moments of her life. For the first few months after Ari was born, Kara seemed so full of life and energetic. As any mom/parent knows, juggling two kids under the age of 4 is a difficult task on all days.  She had doubts and moments of struggling but seemed to be able to pull it all together.

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Then in early August 2016 that all changed. Kara’s thoughts became jumbled and confused. She would talk herself in circles and have endless doubts about what kind of parent she was. There was a cloud of sadness/darkness that was following her everywhere. She couldn’t see past her current mood at most times, she was only seeing the negatives in life. She was taking out her pain on her husband and children. Kara struggled with anxiety her entire life, she was seeing  therapists/doctors to seek treatment/medication but to what extent that played into the end result I am not sure we will ever know.

By September, Kara had returned back to teaching her 3rd grade elementary class after having been on leave since having Ari. We thought this would help, she thought it would help. She was talking about the future and how things would be better when the kids were older, when they had more money, etc. She continued to express positive thoughts about a future time but couldn’t find happiness in the present day.  We thought she was getting better, trying to find a happy place again.

On October 13, 2016, Kara left the house in the morning, kissing her husband and sending Aydan off to preschool with her Mimi (Kara’s Mom) and then dropped Ari off at daycare like it was any normal day. She waited for her husband to leave the house before going back home and ending her life. She would have turned 33 years old the following day. I don’t want to refer to it that she ‘committed suicide’ - she resorted to suicide, which she perceived, in her unwell mind, to be the only possible solution to her tremendous suffering.

We found out later she had called out sick from work the night before. She had planned this. The day before she had a great day with her children and seemed happy. I live 3 miles down the road from her house and I was home all day. Kara and I have 4 other sisters who are her best friends. We had been supporting her as a family. My mother was helping her get out the door every morning by taking Aydan to school. Anything we could do to ease the burden she was feeling. We offered to check her in somewhere, but she refused. We had wanted her to seek more treatment but she convinced us she could handle this. She convinced us she was getting better. Her husband was supporting her every step of the way in whatever choices she was making. She was seeking outpatient treatment. She had a lot of support, more support than most people ever receive.

Kara’s story needs to be shared so that people understand postpartum depression is a real mental illness. I am not sure what Kara was feeling or going through but she was depressed and had anxiety. From what I have since learned about postpartum depression, in extreme cases it can lead people to have psychotic thoughts - the term is postpartum psychosis.  I don’t know if this is what she had, she was also taking medications so that could have added to her compounding issues.

If I were being honest with myself I know that the depression and anxiety was present long before Kara was a mother.  I have spent everyday since she left us struggling to understand why she chose this and trying to move forward in this world without my sister and best friend. I am a new Mom also and have needed to call her a million times to ask her advice. She was an amazing mother; she always seemed to know what the right thing was when it came to her children. I will never understand how she could leave them.

But here we are. This is the new world we all live in. As a family, it is our job now to help her husband take care of her children. To make sure they grow up surrounded by love and security. To make sure they know how much their Mom loved them. To share our memories of her and keep her alive in the only way we have. We need to figure out how to live the rest of our lives without her. We are all forever changed by her decision, we will never be the same. We will never take a picture of the 6 sisters again.

 It is our job to talk about Kara and share her story in the hopes that we can try to help other families from not going through a tragedy like this. This can happen to anyone. You never know what someone is struggling with on the inside but new mothers in particular are vulnerable and we all need to be more aware. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. How are we really feeling? How are you really doing? What are the signs that you should be on the lookout for? This is a great place to read up on postpartum depression if you aren’t sure. Click, HERE.



“Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up.” – Unknown



Shortly after in August 2017, my family and I launched ‘Light for Kara’, an advocacy and informational website, with the hope that by spreading awareness and sharing Kara’s story we can prevent another family from suffering the tragedy of losing a loved one to this treatable mental illness. If you would like to read more about Kara’s story, and my family’s journey to spread awareness about perinatal mood disorders, please visit our website: LIGHT FOR KARA.

 

In continuing with our mission, we are hosting the first annual Light for Kara 5k for Maternal Mental Health, a 5k/1 mile walk/kids fun run, on Saturday, October 13 (full details below). We have partnered with Postpartum Support International - CT Chapter (PSI-CT) to raise money in support of the wonderful work they do throughout CT helping both mothers and their families. We also plan to donate a portion of the proceeds to Malta House, a Norwalk based women’s shelter that supports pregnant and parenting mothers. Both groups are registered non-profits and donations are tax-deductible.

 We would love for you to join us as a runner, walker, or even as a volunteer. In the event you are unable to attend but would consider making a donation, you can do so through our 5k website. If you know of anyone who may be interested in participating in any way, or even learning more about Light for Kara, please feel free to forward this email.

 

  Light for Kara 5k for Maternal Mental Health

Saturday, October 13, 2018

7:30am Registration | 9am Race

Calf Pasture Beach, Norwalk, CT

Register | Volunteer | Donate

 

 Thank you for your unwavering support,

Lauren Morrow Shrage

on behalf of Kara’s Family - August 2017

BREASTFEEDING WITH INVERTED NIPPLES


THE MRS.NIPPLE SERIES X VOL. 1 RUBY


Kicking off the Mrs. Nipple new series with our first article coming from Ruby @Rubixcube17 with her experience around breastfeeding with inverted nipples. I really love this piece and hope it spreads awareness. 

Enjoy!

Xx 

Mrs. Nipple 

Ruby will take it from here:

It's not something that's spoken about often, to be honest I didn't even know it was an existing issue until I realized I in fact owned a pair of breasts with flat/Inverted nipples. Let me start at the beginning. When I found out I was expecting I was over the moon, and immediately started reading all the "what to expect" books. I wanted to be prepared, and succeed in things important to me, the main one being Breastfeeding. I knew it was going to be hard, I was prepared for the sleepless nights and long feedings, but I had also read countless times it was natural act between mother and baby and of course, breast is best. I was determined, I was ready - I was not prepared to be let down by my own body. My breast feeding journey only lasted 4 weeks, and was full of challenges. Cracked nipples, multiple bouts of Mastitis, undiagnosed lip and tongue ties, small baby who struggled to latch and put on weight and finally, one flat nipple and one inverted nipple. Believe it or not, I didn't even know until I had already given up Breastfeeding. How did this happen you ask? It's because NO-BODY speaks about  this affliction! A flat nipple is where you have no protruding nipple from the areole and an inverted nipple is where it is pulled in towards itself- basically the baby has nothing to grasp on to.

 

I had noticed during my life my nipples never seemed to "stand out" as I had noticed other women's do so through their tops, but to me this was a good thing, convenient even as I could go bra-less in outfits no worries- never did I think I would see the day I was jealous of how much a women's nipple would protrude. 

Our first feed after my daughter was born she wouldn't latch, and when she did it was hurting like hell. The midwives weren't worried and told me she would get it. Next 3 feedings I had to be hand expressed for colostrum as my daughter still wasn't latching, and even then the midwives did not mention that anything was amiss with my breasts. I persevered an eventually got her latching, despite how much it hurt I was determined. 12 hours later I already had 2 cracked nipples, by 3 days old I was already at the GP for mastitis, then a lactation consultant. It was here I was introduced to nipple shields. These are basically very thin pieces of silicone that suction your nipple in and created more of a shape for your baby to latch onto.

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I later learnt (too late) nipple shields are a great tool for people with flat/inverted nipples however they were given to me to give relief from the cracks. Again, nothing mentioned about my breasts, I was oblivious. They put the mastitis down to my daughters shallow latch (again, due to undiagnosed lip ties, these two problems made breastfeeding next to impossible) and told me she would learn to latch with the shields, and then I would need to wean as they were only a short term solution.

And so we entered 4 weeks of where I would use the shield, my breasts would drain, my daughter would feed and the mastitis would go. I would try and wean the Shields as advised, and 3 days later mastitis would return. The reason for this was because my daughter had nothing to grip on to she would either be clamping down with a very shallow latch, causing the ducts to block, or she would consistently fall off and get tired, not draining the breast.  It was hell, I was depressed, stressed, frustrated, my baby wasn't gaining weight, my nipples were bleeding and damaged, and worst of all I was not enjoying the newborn stage and slowly resenting my daughter every time she wanted to feed. Enough was enough, at her 4 week check she was a mere 26 grams (0.9oz) above her birthweight, I had had mastitis 5 times, and I finally made the decision to formula feed. I had attempted pumping to see if I could pump exclusively and my body just doesn't respond to pumps, I felt I had no choice and something had to give.  

My daughter thrived on formula, she gained weight, I started to enjoy her. I went to my 6 week post partum check and was asked about BF. I explained what had happened and the Gp examined me and said "I'm not surprised you had challenges with your flat and inverted nipple". I was gobsmacked. I asked what that meant. He explained and showed me pictures and it all started to make sense. I was so upset and felt so let down by the professionally trained lactation consultants, He was also shocked it hadn't been mentioned to me.  It was also here my daughters lip ties were found. Two separate issues that, had they been diagnosed, we might've had a successful breastfeeding journey. 

My daughter is now 18 weeks old and I still have many regrets about the whole experience. After doing research I have found videos with techniques on how to BF with flat and inverted nipples, information that says continued use of nipple shields are sometimes needed in cases of flat/inverted nipples, and have looked into private lactation consultants who can specialise in this area.  I would hate for anyone to go through what I went through, ASK for help, push for answers, check your nipples and ask the questions!  I hope to try again with a second baby when the time comes, and I will be armed with the knowledge this time to hopefully succeed. It is POSSIBLE to breastfeed with flat and inverted nipples, however it is more challenging and you will need help and support. Good luck ladies, breastfeeding is the hardest thing I have ever done and we deserve all the support and help we can get!

 

Thanks,

Ruby (Rubixcube17) 

The Lollipop Baby Monitor


Mrs. Nipple's Review of the Lollipop baby monitor


I was so excited to try out the Lollipop monitor. I've had my eye on it for months. I am always drawn to innovative products and at first sight you know this camera is going to be different. 

I registered for the Nest when was pregnant with Charlie. Though I still think it's a great product I was not willing to pay the steep subscription fee allowing you to see the recorded footage of your child. I loved using the nest as a nanny cam and would always check on Charlie and our nanny when I went back to work. For that purpose, the Nest is wonderful. Now that I have the Lollipop camera as a baby cam I would choose the lollipop over the Nest every single time and I’ll tell you why.

 

When we had Ford I started thinking of which camera would work the best with our lifestyle and needs. Somethings that were important to me were getting a good view of him on any of his many contraptions. Now that we live in a home, a much bigger space, being able to see him in different areas of our home was important to me. Being able to place the camera pretty much anywhere is a really great feature.

 

Another great feature is how clear the picture is. I can get such a clear view of Ford that I can actually see him breathing and making little movements which is very important to me.

 

I also wanted a camera that could offer us smart data. I didn't want to scroll through a whole nights worth of footage to see if Ford woke up. I wanted to be able to glance at a summary of how the night went. I love how the lollipop monitor has crying detection and then captures the clip of the footage when he was up and saves it for you. 

 

SOME OTHER THINGS I LOVE

Option to keep the Wifi connection private- This is a big topic. It's scary knowing others can get access to your baby’s live video. This is an important feature as It significantly reduces the risk of hacking. Outgoing video streaming will be blocked in that configuration.

 

MOBILE APP FEATURES:

Easy to use

Intuitive navigation when using multiple cameras

Audio and video quality is excellent

 

 

CAMERA FEATURES:

Infared night vision - Such a clear picture even at night

VOX - The Voice Activated Alert (VOX) feature allows you to conserve power on the video monitor. For example, you may want your video monitor to shut off when your babyis sleeping, and turn on when your baby cries. Adjusting the VOX sensitivity levels determines how sensitive the camera is to your baby's cry.

Multiple cameras- especially important with multiple kids

Two-way talk

Noisemaker & lullibies- LOVE this feature. Especially for traveling. There are so many different options from blow dryers to Mozart. If Ford wakes up from a nap early I put one of the options on and he drifts back to sleep. 

video recording & snapshot

zoom

You can view camera from outside of the home

You can send access to other people

128 degree view

720p HD-  I don't even know what this means but it is SO clear

Audio only mode - If you don't want to keep your phone on the whole night you can do the audio only version. Your phone screen will be turned off, but you’ll still receive the audio feed from your baby’s bedroom and you can easily turn on the video stream if needed. It basically acts as a baby crying detector in that mode.

Very well priced- $134 

 

 

The only two things I will point out.

 

1- I had to lower the sensitivity level of the background noise because I was getting way too many alerts. Once I did this it fixed the problem

 

2-I'm kind of over using my phone as a monitor when I'm home but I love the flexibility it offers when we are out and when we are traveling. I also can’t see myself walking around the house with a baby monitor. I've come up with the perfect system for our lifestyle. 

 

I use the lollipop monitor paired with an "old school" V-tech audio only baby monitor. The audio only monitor was very cheap and came with two bases. I leave one in the kitchen and one next to my bed. When I go to bed I put on the V-tech audio monitor and use that throughout the night. If Ford wakes up, I can hear him through the V-tech monitor and can look right on the lollipop monitor app to see what’s going on. When I wake up in the morning the first thing I do is check my lollipop monitor app. My favorite feature is that it shows me how many times Ford woke up and I can review the clips. Before I had this monitor I could never remember how many times I got up in the middle of the night to feed Ford because of the exhaustion I was experiencing. I wish I had this monitor because I know I was overfeeding him. This is by far my favorite feature. I am even considering purchasing another one for Charlie’s room. 

You can purchase the Lollipop baby monitor, HERE. 

You can purchase the V-tech audio only monitory I use paired with the Lollipop, HERE

 

 

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DAYTIME VIEW

DAYTIME VIEW

NIGHT VISION

NIGHT VISION

AUDIO ONLY MODE

AUDIO ONLY MODE

MY FAVORITE V IEW 

MY FAVORITE V IEW 



Pacifier Weaning


mrs.nipple & weaning

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Pacifiers are such great tools for the beginning of a child's life. They offer so much comfort and help free up some time for us mamas! They also reduce the risk of SIDS, satisfy the sucking reflux, and help them self soothe. When your baby hits age 2, it's time to start thinking about weaning. This is because all of the negatives start outweighing the positives between age 2-4. Though it is a wide range I have decided to stay on the safe side and wean early. 

“Before age 2, any problems with growing teeth usually self-correct within 6 months of stopping pacifier use,” says Evelina Weidman Sterling, PhD, MPH, co-author of Your Child's Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents.

After the 2-year mark, problems can start. Your baby's top or bottom front teeth may slant or tilt, Sterling says. And the problem can worsen as time goes on.

“Pacifier use after age 4, which is when permanent teeth start to come in, can have major long-lasting effects on adult teeth,” she says.

Charlie is 22 months old. He uses his pacifier during naps, at night, and for car rides. He also uses it here and there throughout the day for comfort. I did not want to do anything "cold turkey" since he has such an attachment to his pacifier and I wanted him to be very much involved in the weaning  process. He also has been caught removing his 4 month old baby brother’s pacifier and putting it in his mouth. This is another reason he really needs to be part of the process. Charlie and Ford use the same type of pacifier. I really love the Natursutten pacifiers and I'm just not willing to give his brother any other brand for long term use. 

We just started the weaning process and my goal is to remove it from his routine completely by mid October. I am doing it in stages. 

Stage 1: Focus on Charlie taking his pacifier out of his mouth and leaving it in his crib without removing it myself. I think I’ll give him up to 20 minutes before I would eventually intervene. My goal would be for Charlie never to use his pacifier when we are in the house or out & about unless we are in the car. 

Stage 2: Once he starts taking the pacifier out of his mouth on his own when he wakes up before we go downstairs and leaves it in his crib without me asking for at least 7 days in a row, I will then stop the pacifier use in the car. For the first week I plan on giving him a new little toy or something to distract him in the car and hopefully he will not miss it. During this time I will also stop using it for naps. I am going to introduce a new stuffed animal and book during this time.

Stage 3: After napping successfully without his pacifier for seven days I am then going to remove his pacifier during nighttime sleep. I again will introduce a new stuffed animal and book. 

Stealing pacifiers: If and when Charlie takes his brother’s pacifier out of his mouth and puts it in his own, I am going to use those as teaching moments stressing the fact that he is now a big boy and big boys don't use pacifiers. I will also remind him pacifiers are for babies and Ford is a baby. If this doesn't work (I have a feeling it's not going to be a perfect transition) I will use the 123 Magic/timeout theory where he may spend a few minutes in timeout if he doesn’t obey after 3 tries. 

This is my own plan and I have not tried this in full yet. I will share our progress on instagram so please follow along if you are interested. Stay tuned! Wish us luck. 

If you want a three day plan read below:

Your child can be binky-free in just three days, says Mark L. Brenner, author of Pacifiers, Blankets, Bottles & Thumbs: What Every Parent Should Know About Stopping and Starting (Fireside). Here's how to do it.

Day 1: In the morning and at bedtime, tell your child that you can see she wants to do lots of things that make her older. Tell her that's a good idea, and that in three days it will be time for her to say goodbye to her pacifiers. Tell her you know she can do it and that you'll work together on it. Keep the talk to 30 seconds and don't sound as if you're asking permission. If your child responds, reflect back her feelings—"I know you don't want to"—then move on. Don't worry that your child will become anxious if given advance warning. "That's a myth," says Brenner. "Like adults, children like to prepare themselves physically, psychologically, and emotionally for change."

Day 2: Repeat the same 30-second talk twice daily, only replace "in three days" with "tomorrow." Don't try to sell her on the idea. Keep your tone and manner matter-of-fact.

Day 3: Remind your child that it's day three and time to gather up his pacifiers. Act as if you're going on a scavenger hunt and ask your child if he'd like to help. Even if he refuses and protests, proceed to collect his pacifiers, place them in a plastic bag, and put them on the front step for "pick-up by the recycling truck." Explain that the pacifiers will be made into new tires or toys. "Children recognize that recycling is purposeful and intelligent, and will be far less upset than if you throw their treasured pacifiers in the trash," says Brenner. Which is not to say your toddler won't have a meltdown. Be empathetic, but firm, Brenner says, adding that most children get over losing their pacifiers within 48 hours.

 

 

 

Willow Pump Review....Too good to be true?


Mrs. Nipple's honest review of the Willow Pump


Too good to be true?

I'm writing this blog post while pumping in a coffee shop. Yup, you heard me correctly. I'm writing this blog post while pumping in a coffee shop. From the moment I announced I was trying out the Willow Pump, the DMs came streaming in. So many mamas out there were just as intrigued with this new pump, which seems to be first in class in the hands free "discrete" category. I received so many questions about the Willow Pump. Is it really actually quiet? Will I be able to attend a business meeting while wearing it? Can I get things done around the house while pumping? The number one question being, is it worth the money? It's like that unicorn...you've heard of it but you've never actually seen it...so does it actually exist? 

First I'll start with the set up...

This pump is simple to put together. It's just a few pieces, a quick charge, downloading the Willow app and you are ready! I also recommend watching the educational videos so you know exactly what you are doing. Then like anything else it takes a little practice. 

Learning curve

Willow advises that you pump at least 7 times within the first 7 days. That's because with Willow, it does take a little time to master it. It is not your average pump. Willow offers the option of a coaching call to help you during those first few days. I highly recommend jumping on this call. I think those that like the Willow don't mind putting in the extra effort upfront to then get the benefits of using the Willow vs. your traditional pump. A few things to focus on during this time is mastering placement of the pump on your breast, emptying the remainder of the milk from the pump into the bag, and changing bags mid-pump. I picked these because these were the three areas that took a little time mastering for me personally. You really have to get your nipple lined up correctly. With this pump, you can not see where your nipple sits while pumping like you can with the traditional pumps. The bags are also different than your traditional bags. You have to get a good seal (with proper alignment!) to prevent air from filling the bags and you also need to turn the pump a particular way to prevent leakage of your liquid gold after you pump. The customer service was great and having a coach to walk you through these areas was super helpful. It still takes practice to get these new skills down, but the benefits of the pump can be worth it to some.

Parts and way less of them

One of the things I hate most about another pump I’ve used and most traditional pumps is the amount of parts: the bottle, the flange, the plastic piece that goes on the outside of the back of the flange and the rubber piece that goes on the inside.....times two. Pumping on the go is not easy for a number of reasons and one reason is this...so many parts! Willow clearly has the traditional pumps beat here. There are 3 pieces plus the bag, but when you're done pumping you just take the bag right out, it's presealed. There is no question that it is easier to travel with the Willow vs a traditional pump. You only have to wash 2 parts and they are dishwasher safe. 

Time

I did find I was pumping for longer periods of time with the Willow pump vs. the traditional pump. I think this was due to the fact that the Willow bags only hold 4 oz of milk each. For some this is fine but I like to pump as much as my body will allow when I'm pumping which is over 4 oz. The Willow app alerts you that you reached 4 oz of milk and you have to take the bag out and insert a new bag. I get into a grove while pumping so this kind of messed with that grove a bit. I eventually ended up deciding to stop at 4 oz unless my breasts were engorged. 

 

Is it really silent?

The Willow Pump is definitely quiet but it does make sounds. It makes the most noise in the beginning while it is in the stimulation phase, before switching to expression, but even during that time it is so much quieter than your average pump. Would you be able to hear it in the quiet section of the library? YES!  But not in a coffee shop. 

How discrete is it?

Can you pump while holding your baby, cleaning the house, folding laundry, sitting in the corner of a coffee shop or driving? YES!! Are you going to pump with the Willow while you are walking around town? I doubt it. I wear a 34 B and it look like I have DDD or even bigger....I can't remember what comes after DDD like maybe X or something like that?! Well, then my boobs are XX while wearing the Willow. There's no way you will catch me walking around town looking like this, but it sure does help while driving or cooking dinner. I actually wore them while eating dinner with my parents and it was so nice not having to spend an extra 30 minutes I didn't have to pump with the door closed. It also feels nicer. I often feel like I'm pumping myself as if I am a cow when I use a traditional pump. These slip right into my bra and that's it! 

Cost

There's no question that the Willow is expensive. On top of the price of the pump, the bags will also cost you a pretty penny. That being said I know many mamas will spend the money on a pump that could really fit into their lifestyle. Willow now offers financing, with payments starting at $43/month. You can also use your FSA/HSA funds as well.

Would I recommend the Willow?

I think it really comes down to what your needs are and how motivated you are to learn to really use the Willow correctly. If you occasionally pump and you can usually find time to sit down in a discreet place while  pumping, then this may not be for you. If you are always on the go, have multiple children, can't find a second during the day or constantly traveling and can't always find a discreet area to pump, then the Willow is a wonderful option. It's not perfect. I'm going to say it again, it's not perfect which you will usually find with something so innovative, but because I spend 60 percent of my time in my car because of my job, it's an easy choice that the Willow works with my lifestyle. That being said, if I'm home on a Thursday night and the kids are asleep, I will reach for my traditional pump because it pumps the milk in less time and can hold greater than 4 oz of milk. 

To learn more you can find a link to the Willow Pump website, HERE. 

If you have any specific question please ask them on instagram under comments or send me a DM. 



MAMALOGUES


#MAMALOGUES  & A FEW OF MY FAVORITE REGISTRY ITEMS 


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I have a feeling if you are reading this then you are either a new or expecting mama so CONGRATULATIONS! I'm going to be sharing a few of my favorite registry items along with some mamlogues of how these products help me bond with my boys.

Two issues that stand in the way of bonding with my babies is when they are over stimulated or colicky so these products help with those two issues. If I were to recreate my registry these would be top on the list.

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First, the Phillips Avent anti-colic bottle. Not all babies will be colicky. My first wasn't but my second had all the signs of colic and was very fussy. He ended up actually being diagnosed with a lip & tongue tie at 2.5 months. When Ford (my second) would feed he would get air in his little tummy which is very painful. This bottle helps limit the amount of air that gets into a babies stomach during feedings and therefore helps with colic. It's not a bad idea to have a few of these bottles on hand just incase you too end up having a colicky baby. In my experience my favorite memories of bonding with my boys are when they are happy! This will help get you that happy baby if he/she is sensitive to extra air in their tummies. You can find these bottles, HERE. 

Second, a sleep cover! This was a lifesaver. I'm not a mama that likes being inside all day prisoner to my boys nap schedule. That being said my boys do have strict nap schedules because they are happiest when they get their sleep. This cover has a universal fit. It actually fits on every stroller (umbrella & full size) even on bassinets! It creates the perfect sleep environment. It blocks out 97% of light, it's completely breathable and has UV protection. Whether I have errands to run or we are at the beach this beach cover is my go-to. Since young babies can not wear sunscreen I like using this all summer long. You can find it, HERE.  This sleep cover paired with this travel noise maker make the perfect pair. You can find the travel size noise maker, HERE. These two products help create balance in our relationship. Finding ways to to create a peaceful sleep environment for your kids on the go is very helpful. 

Last but not least, my favorite on the go play mat. This play mat is perfect to use until your babies start walking. It folds up into a bag for easy transport! This is one of my favorite travel items. You unfold it and all of your toys are right on the mat! You can find it, HERE. Some babies get bored when you are at lunch or events...even at the airport. This is so fun for babies. When we travel I put new toys in the bag so it's a surprise when I open the bag and the new toys are sitting there....it also helps keep the boys occupied. 

You can watch the video below to see all the items! I run through each one. Head over to instagram to comment on what products helped you bond with your babies and share your #mamalogues 

Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookies & Mrs. Nipple


Low Milk Supply & Lactation Cookies 


Having a low milk supply can be both stressful and frustrating. When I was pregnant with Charlie,  my supply dropped significantly in the first month. I think it was due to the fact that Charlie did not have a good latch as well as during those first few weeks, I was going too long between night feedings. No matter what I tried, Charlie was impossible to wake up for his night feedings. Some nights I was up for an entire hour just trying to get him to feed. Wet wash cloths, undressing him, changing his diaper...nothing seemed to work.  Waiting these long stretches without feeding effected my milk supply. I finally learned about lactation products. I started eating prepackaged lactation bars. However, they were not practical because of how expensive they were and their short shelf life.

This time around I wanted to be prepared. Before Ford was even born, I discovered Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookies.

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MOMMY KNOWS BEST LACTATION COOKIES

  • They are SO DELICIOUS
  • You buy the mix and can make them at home (so easy) 
  • An entire bag of mix is only $20.00 which is significantly less than other lactation products 
  • The ingredients include many herbal galactagogues (a substance that increases milk supply)
  • They are #mrsnippleapproved 

THE GOOD STUFF, GALACTAGOGUES

Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookie Mix contains a powerful blend of ingredients designed to optimize breast milk production. The combination of Oats, Flax Seed, Brewer's Yeast, and Blessed Thistle Herb, packs a powerful punch when it comes to increasing milk supply. Additionally this cookie mix is a great source of Calcium, and Folic Acid, along with vitamins B6, C, D & A.

OATS are a nutritional powerhouse, providing whole grains, fiber, iron, and an abundance of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

BLESSED THISTLE is a powerful galactagogue, well known as a common ingredient responsible for milk production.

FLAX SEED provides an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids necessary for baby’s brain development.

BREWERS YEAST is a traditional remedy, rich in B-vitamins and amino acids essential for nursing moms.

  •  MADE WITH BLESSED THISTLE HERB: The only lactation boosting cookie available with blessed thistle herb baked into each cookie to help boost breast milk quickly.
  •  PERFECT COMBINATION OF BREWER'S YEAST, FLAXSEED & OATS: Already measured and mixed for you, these ingredients have been used for generations to aid with breastmilk production and replenish key nutrients mothers need.
  •  EXCELLENT SOURCE OF KEY VITAMINS & MINERALS: Each cookie is jam-packed with healthy amounts of calcium, folic acid, iron, plus vitamins B6, B12, C, D, & A. Enjoy a lactation supplement that you can eat.
  •  TASTY & EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR LACTATION SUPPORT: These delicious and convenient lactation cookies are a healthy alternative to lactation tea & bars that can help provide the extra nourishment lactating moms need.
  •  SAFE, CONVENIENT – WON’T UPSET BABY’S SENSITIVE TUMMY: While many lactation tea, lactation bars and breast feeding pill alternatives contain fillers that upset little tummies, this TASTY & EFFECTIVE SOLUTION FOR LACTATION SUPPORT provide all the nourishment, without the common allergens found in many breast milk pill supplement products.

 

MY PLAN

In addition to eating the cookies, here are a few other tips to increase that priceless milk supply for your baby:

  • Never hesitate to contact a certified Lactation Consultant for advice from a professional. 
  • Increase frequency of breastfeeding and/or pumping sessions. 
  • Try pumping for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes. This can be done a few times a day and will help stimulate milk production. 

You can find the Mommy Knows Best Lactation cookie mix, HERE. 

 

 

Ford's Newborn Shoot with Classic Kids Greenwich

NEWBORN SHOOT 


I highly recommend getting newborn photos done with your infant. Having a professional capture those first few weeks is a MUST, they will never be that tiny ever again. Most newborn photographers like to shoot the baby within the first two weeks of life. 

Classic Kids Studio on Greenwich Ave knows how to work with these precious newborns and very calmly captures the miracle of the little ones. I’m happy to report that Ford slept the entire time! A great tip they gave me was to feed Ford right when I got to the studio so he would be as comfortable as possible for the shoot. Michelle from Classic Kids was a baby whisperer. She got Ford into the perfect positions and the few times he almost woke up she gently lulled him back to sleep. She really had the magic touch!

For Ford, this was a piece of cake, but not so much for Charlie.  They had a basket of toys to keep Charlie occupied between shoots.  They also helped distract him and get him into position during picture time. Charlie had never held Ford before the shoot and only interacted with him when Ford was in his rock n' play. I am still shocked they were able to get a few great pictures of the two of them without someone holding Charlie's hands down :) 

I really LOVE how the prints came out. They really softened the photos which is much needed, especially for a newborn that just came through the birth canal. It's also nice for the mamas going through sleep deprivation. I went to the shoot post workout with zero make up on. My plan was to have my mom in a few photos with the babies for Mother's Day. On the other hand, at two weeks postpartum, I wanted to stay as far away form the lens as possible. However, Katie, the head photographer, talked me into getting into a few photos.  I was wearing a bright orange tank top so she found a piece of fabric to wrap around my bodice. With the magic of her photography skills and the softening of the pictures, you’d be hard pressed to guess I had been to a morning workout. I can not ever thank her enough for reminding me to forget about what you look like and just enjoy the moment with your newborn. I'm so happy I did :) 

Here are a few of my favorite photos: 

CHARLIE AND HIS LITTLE BROTHER 

CHARLIE AND HIS LITTLE BROTHER 

BABY FORD JUST SNOOZING THROUGH THE ENTIRE SHOOT 

BABY FORD JUST SNOOZING THROUGH THE ENTIRE SHOOT 

SHOWED UP AT THE STUDIO POST WORKOUT. I WAS NOT PLANNING ON JUMPING IN A PHOTO, BUT I'M HAPPY I DID. 

SHOWED UP AT THE STUDIO POST WORKOUT. I WAS NOT PLANNING ON JUMPING IN A PHOTO, BUT I'M HAPPY I DID. 

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THe BIG FAT lie about breastfeeding


Breastfeeding & Weight loss


While reading this post, please keep in mind ALL women are different. Breastfeeding will help many women drop the postpartum weight quickly. However, that was not my experience. That being said, I also want to point out that it might have taken longer to get my post pregnancy body back if I was not breastfeeding. What I do know is that it wasn't until I was done breastfeeding that I dropped the last ten pounds that my body was holding onto.

HERE IS MY STORY... 

After I gave birth to my first son, Charlie, I expected to bounce back to my pre-pregnancy weight in no time at all.  I figured since I had worked out my entire pregnancy and was in great shape, and even more importantly, I was now breastfeeding, those calories should have been burning away!   I've heard it a million times, "Oh, you’re breastfeeding? The weight will melt off."  However,  that was not the case. Though I have friends that were both breastfeeding and eating whatever they wanted with weight melting off their bodies, I am not one of those mamas.

I was shocked that with all my efforts of eating right and excersizing, I was not even dropping the 1 pound a week that I was told I would. I was finding when I would compare my healthy weeks vs. my unhealthy weeks, there was no difference on the scale. 

OVERVIEW OF MY POSTPARTUM BODY WITH BABY #1

Two week check up: My uterus was totally healed and back to its original size which is one of the many benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding releases hormones that trigger your uterus to heal quickly and return to its pre-baby size which is the size of a pear. I got the all clear and was able to start working out. My body heals very fast since the average time for this is around 6 weeks. My first question to the doctor was, "Well, if my uterus is back to its original size, then what's this?", pointing  to my stomach. He answered,  “You can only get rid of that with exercise."

Five weeks: I started working out and eating healthy but nothing was excelerating my weight loss. I was dropping a few pounds here and there but still felt like I was wearing a coat of extra fat. 

Five months: At the 5 month mark, I felt like myself again. I still had not dropped all of my weight since I was holding onto the last 6-10 pounds, but I felt like that coat of extra fat feeling had faded. 

14 months: Interesting enough, I didn't drop that last few pounds until I stopped breastfeeding which was at 14 months. During this time, I was pregnant with my second baby and  still breastfeeding Charlie. Even though I was in my first trimester, I still dropped those pesky pounds. 

I was so confused. I was told all these years that breastfeeding would help me drop weight but in fact it was the exact thing that was preventing me from getting my pre pregnancy body back. So I did some research and it completely makes sense.

First, I want to point out I'm a huge supporter of breastfeeding. Having children is one of the most selfless things you will ever do and breastfeeding/pumping is as well. It's time consuming and breastfeeding really limits how much independence you will have for that first year. However, the benefits for both you and your baby  are endless and well worth it. Some extra weight for some mamas during that first year really sucks, but your baby will benefit from your milk supply for the rest of their life. 

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? 

"Breastfeeding Does Burn Calories, but….

If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’ve probably heard that nursing will burn 500 calories a day. This is surely the reason the experts tell us that breastfeeding will help us lose the baby weight, that’s like a killer workout!

However, so many other factors that come into play when discussing ANYONE’S metabolism, but especially a woman during her postpartum period. Including:

  • Lack of Sleep: A decrease in sleep, typical of just about every new mom, can cause metabolism to slow by causing a hormonal change that can interfere with your hunger signals, causing you to eat more than you actually need.
  • Less Activity, More Eating: In the first few months postpartum, most moms are sitting with baby more and may have less time for regular activity while they adjust to a new routine (even if they’re working out). In addition, the increase in energy needs for milk production can make you feel ravenous, causing you to eat more than normal, and possibly more than needed.
  • Not Enough Eating: Some moms are so busy and overwhelmed in the first months of their baby’s life or mistakenly think they need to cut calories severely to lose weight and don’t eat nearly enough, which can cause the body to believe there is famine and actually store fat as an energy reserve.
  • Stress: Stress releases cortisol, which slows metabolism, and if you’re also not sleeping much, the cortisol is not being removed from the body at night during restorative sleep. I think we can all agree that even if we are blissfully joyful, most new moms are also highly stressed.

Even with all of these factors at play, studies found that breastfeeding moms tend to start to lose MORE weight around the 4 month mark, and even more when they finally wean. Why is this?

One word: HORMONES

Hormones During Breastfeeding

 

During breastfeeding, hormones are very different than any other time in life. Breastfeeding mothers experience a drop in testosterone and estrogen, which are both fat burning, and an increase in prolactin.

Prolactin is the hormone that causes your body to produce breastmilk (prolactin = pro-lactation). It is elevated during pregnancy, but is kept in check by progesterone and estrogen levels, which both drop right after the baby is born. This allows the effects of prolactin to begin and the milk to come in for the baby. Prolactin levels rise every single time the baby nurses, signaled by nipple stimulation. So what does this have to do with fat loss?

Prolactin hormone is also linked to fat storage. It makes sense that our bodies would put some sort of safeguard into place to protect baby’s milk supply, and it seems that prolactin may be that safety net. Prolactin seems to keep the nursing mother from mobilizing fat stores, so that there is always an energy reserve in case of famine.

Sometime between the 4-6 month postpartum mark, breastfeeding mothers experience a drop in prolactin. Suddenly, metabolism may begin to increase, and studies show that these mothers will generally start to see more fat loss at this point. Again, once the baby weans, within 24 hours prolactin levels drop again, and this might explain why those stubborn final 5-10 pounds suddenly disappear as fat metabolism returns to pre-lactation/pre-pregnancy levels.

Interestingly enough, prolactin also affects sex drive and fertility, usually causing a low libido, and cessation of periods and ovulation. After the sixth month mark, your periods may return and you might be feeling like your old sexual self – this is a sign that your fertility has returned and prolactin has dropped." - fit to be pregnant 

My Thoughts...

There are so many articles written on this topic and many that contradict one another. I was specifically trying to find answers related to my personal experience. This all makes complete sense to me and aligns with my specific situation. I wrote this post for the women out there who are also struggling to lose weight while breastfeeding.  

I am writing this article five weeks postpartum with baby #2 and have a fun 20 pounds to drop to get down to my pre-pregnancy size. It will be very interesting to see if I still run into the same issues with this postpartum experience. 

I want to point out how important it is to relax for that first month or two after birth and just focus on enjoying your baby. Looking back, I put so much pressure on myself and had a tight timeline in mind to get the weight off. Remember, it takes 10 months for your baby to fully grow in your womb and in many cases that extra weight can take just as long to lose. As long as you are healthy and get outside and move a few times a week your body will hopefully shed the weight when ready. 

15 fun facts about breastfeeding HERE

Sources:

 

 

Fighting Allergies


Spring & Allergies 


This week has been miserable for me. I'm fighting a terrible reaction to all of the pollen in the air. I've recently been tracking the conditions and have been trying to stay in during "high" pollen days. I use this tracker HERE.  I spent most of my day on the couch with cold compresses on my eyes. I reached out for advice around fighting allergies through instagram stories and received such great feedback around successful solutions others have actually tried. After doing some of my own research it seems the instagram universe is in tune with what works! I wanted to share, please find the results below. 

Natural remedies 

Essential oils: You can use peppermint oil if you are not nursing but if you are nursing it will affect your milk supply.

A blend of lemon, lavender, and peppermint or cedar wood oil (if you are breastfeeding) is supposed to work wonders! You can apply the oil right onto your pressure points as needed. You can use everyday as a prevention method. 

OR

A blend of lemon, lavender, & peppermint mixed with a carrier oil (grapeseed, avocado, olive oil) To apply just swipe it across your sinuses and down your nose. 

Sabadil: A homeopathic medicine that temporarily relieves one or more of the symptoms of hay fever or other upper respiratory allergies: itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and itchy throat and nose. You can find it, HERE. 

Neti Pot: Neti pots are a great, natural way to relieve nasal congestion and allergies, as long as you use sterile water and don’t use it too frequently. They have been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years.  

Local honey: Ingest 1 tsp of LOCAL honey in the AM and PM. When a person eats local honey, they are thought to be ingesting local pollen. Over time, a person may become less sensitive to this pollen. As a result, they may experience fewer seasonal allergy symptoms.

MEDICATIONS 

If you are breastfeeding like I am you can also use Claritin which falls under category L1. There are 4 Lactation Risk Categories L1-L4, L1 being the safest. 

Claritin and Breastfeeding

Claritin – L1: Claritin is considered safe for breastfeeding. Only 0.3-1.2% of the medication will be transferred through the breast milk to the baby. It is important to note that this is for plain Claritin only. Claritin D is not recommended for breastfeeding because of the decongestant that has been added to the allergy medication. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Loratidine.

Other Allergy Medications and Breastfeeding

Zyrtec – L2: This has a higher risk level than Claritin because there hasn’t been enough research. However, studies done on dogs suggest that 3% is transferred through breast milk. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Cetirizine.

Allegra – L2: It is believed that 0.5-0.7% is transferred through breast milk. If buying the generic brand, look for the active ingredient Fexofenadine.

Benadryl, Aller Clore, & Dimatapp – These allergy medications are not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. They can make you sleepy, which means they are sedating. That sedation can be passed on to the infant and may cause breathing problems.


 

 

My love for DockAtot


My full  Dockatot review 


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 DockATot®

 DockATot® is a multi-functional lounging, playing, chilling, resting and snuggling dock you can take anywhere. If I had to pick ONE yes ONE must have baby item for the first 0-8 months,  it would be the Dockatot.  No question. At first glance, it’s just a docking station for your baby, it docks your tot. It’s so much more. Your baby has been living and growing in such a cozy tight space for the last 10 months, and they are thrust into our world, gravity and all. The 4th trimester can be tough on everyone, but the Dockatot makes this time period that much easier. The Dockatot creates a womb like space for your baby to lounge, sleep, get his/her diaper changed and even do tummy time! It’s one of the most versatile products on the market. Let’s talk about SLEEP. The Dockatot is breathable, it doesn’t harbor heat, it reinvents the womb, and it’s portable. Maternity leave can be tough and we would frequently escape to my parents’ home for some TLC. I never had to worry about Charlie sleeping in new environments because the Dockatot went wherever we would go. We also didn’t have to haul the pack n play for overnighters because the Dockatot is approved for co-sleeping.  I’m not sure if this is proven,  but I also praise the Dockatot for Charlie’s perfectly round dome! Did I mention the very fun prints & accessories? Dockatot offers accessories for their loungers. The toy arches and Toy sets clip right onto the Dockatot and will keep your babies occupied. 

 For $10 off your purchase, click HERE 

To visit Dockatot.com click, HERE 

For a co-sleeping safety review click, HERE 

Overview of the Dockatot:

-DockATot is a multi-functional lounger, co-sleeper and playtime lounger
- Two sizes (Deluxe for 0-8 Months, Grand 9-36 months) 
- Made in Europe, designed in Sweden
- Tested for breathability
- OEKO-TEX certified
- All natural, 100% cotton
- Handmade in Europe
- Ideal micro-climate for babies and tots
- Grand is perfect for toddler bed transitions

Anti-inflammatory eating plan


Anti-inflammatory Eating 


I tried these recipes for the first time over ten years ago. The great thing about this anti-inflammatory diet is that you never feel like you are on a diet. The meals are so delicious, even when I don't stick to this plan I will still cook recipes from this book because they are that good. You will see significant results after 14 days but you will start feeling the mental and physical effects after just three days. Give this eating plan three days and you won't be able to stop! Charlie also loves all of the food so there's no need to make separate dinners for your kids.  I'll add each day onto this post after I complete the day for a total of 7 days. I also will add a line item on the end of each day that goes over what else I ate because I'm breastfeeding and need the extra calories. As always DRINK TONS OF WATER. If you would like to purchase the book you can find it, HERE. 

Slim chai tea:

You are  supposed to drink a slim chai tea upon waking and after lunch every day.

  • 2 green tea bags
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnmaon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom 

Bring three cups of water to boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and cloves, and let steep for 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and cloves. Add the cinnamon & cardamom and mix well. (serves 3) 

 

EXAMPLE PLAN

Day 1:

Breakfast: Smoked salmon frittata over greens with an orange

Lunch: Cottage cheese bowl with apple, walnuts, cinnamon & lemon

Dinner: Pomegranate chicken over greens with asparagus with red bell peppers & garlic. Dressing for the salad: Extra virgin olive oil & lemon juice

Snacks: Small case of blackberries, grapefruit  & 12 raw almonds

Breastfeeding calories: smoothie & I doubled the breakfast and dinner servings. Serving of dark chocolate after dinner. 

Day 2:

Breakfast: Fresh herb frittata & grapefruit

Lunch: Turkey thai lettuce wraps

Dinner: Ginger infused salmon with garden salad

Snacks: Small case of blueberries, 8 walnuts, orange, & carrot and celery sticks with 1 tablespoon of almond butter

Breastfeeding calories: Smoothie & doubled breakfast. Frozen mango and dark chocolate for dessert. 

Day 3:

Breakfast: Fresh herb frittata: See recipe above

Lunch: Thai Turkey Wraps: See recipe above

Dinner: Grilled sirloin with garlic & herbs and string beans

Snacks: grapefruit, blueberry yogurt cup (1/2 cup blueberries & 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt), 12 almonds

Breastfeeding calories: Protein smoothie & doubled breakfast. 

RECIPES 

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FOOD Photos 

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POSTPARTUM LEGGINGS


Leggings for the NEW mamas 


It is not only important to wear some support around your midsection after delivery,  but it also can do wonders for your confidence. Having clothing that holds you in during those first few weeks and months can make all the difference in the world. I use a variety of items including high-rise underwear with built in support, a belly wrap, and high waisted compression leggings. I linked the underwear below, however I received the belly wrap at the hospital. My leggings are not postpartum specific but just leggings I purchased pre-pregnancy that happen to have a good amount of support in the abdominal region. 

Research is now showing that pretty much every woman will have some degree of diastasis recti (that pooch that doesn't disappear when your baby weight does). It also leads to strangers asking you when you are due... while you are holding your 3 year old!!  Studies show that the first 8 weeks after your baby is born is when any spontaneous healing of the abdominal wall occurs. Beyond the 8 weeks, change can be made with exercise. I believe the abdomen needs some help as it heal and extra support around the stomach offers this. 

Learn more about the dreaded diastasis recti, HERE. 

My Postpartum Go-to Items 

For all of the leggings below, I was wearing my pre-baby size. These are the most comfortable leggings ever. I purchased them before I became pregnant and have worn them through both of my pregnancies and postpartum. I love that they are high waisted. They are supportive but still soft and comfortable. They come in cropped and full length. These are a go to of mine. Shop them, HERE. 

For something with even more support, THESE offer a high waist + zoned compression. They really provide support focusing on all the right areas. I have very similar ones and they really help make me feel more confident during those first few weeks post baby.

Here's a pair of super high rise leggings to give you even more support in the abdominal region. Shop them, HERE. 

Check out other options below that offer high rise support that you will also be able to wear once you get your pre-baby body back. I also added a pair of high rise underwear, a belly wrap, nursing bras, and some beauty products that come in handy during those first few weeks. 

 

 

 

The Uppababy vista


UPPAbaby & Mrs.Nipple's double stroller pick


I wasn't always an UPPAbaby mama. I tried the Nuna stroller for the first few months of Charlie's life but I didn't love it. I honestly didn't love the color choices for the UPPAbaby line of strollers. They were bright and bold, but I was looking for an all white or gray look vs. red and yellow. 

Then UPPAbaby upgraded their fabrics and colors and even added leather detailing to their strollers. I bought the Loic UPPAbaby Vista the next day and I've been a huge fan ever since.

THREE THINGS I LOVE:

-The over all look of the stroller. I just love the colors, fabrics, and leather detailing.

-The HUGE storage area beneath the stroller. I didn't realize how important this feature was until shopping with a baby.

-The option to make it a double stroller and you can even carry three kids with the skateboard attachment. 

 

MY COLOR PICKS 

Loic White

Gregory Blue Melange

Emmett Green

 

HOW TO MAKE THE UPPABABY VISTA A DOUBLE STROLLER

You do need additional parts to turn your single stroller into a double. You need two sets of attachments that will raise both the bassinet & the seat. When your second baby grows out of the bassinet you will need to purchase an additional toddler seat, the RumbleSeat. If you don't have the UPPAbaby car seat, you will also need carseat attachments. When I raised the UPPAbaby seat that Charlie had been sitting in for months so I could fit Ford in the bassinet, I realized I loved the new height of his seat. I actually wish I had raised the seat when I originally bought the stroller, it gives you even more room for storage. 

UPPAbaby VISTA Lower Adapter HERE

UPPAbaby VISTA upper Adapter HERE

UPPAbaby Rumble seat for 2nd toddler HERE 

UPPAbaby car seat adapter for the Nuna Pipa & Maxi Cosi HERE

Ford William


WELCOME TO THE WORLD 


The newest addition of the Ariola clan arrived on Thursday, April 12th at 7:41 pm. He came in very fast, we barely made it to the hospital (more on that later). We decided to take the week as a family, unplug, and soak up these first few early days with our little guy. I wanted to share the exciting news plus some of the first photos we snapped at the hospital. 

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Ford William Ariola was born at 8 pounds 5 oz. I still can't believe he was so big at birth. Charlie was born at 6 pounds 14 oz. 

This is the only shot we have where Charlie and Ford look identical. I'm not sure if it's his size but other than the side profile they don't look alike....yet. 

It was a crazy drug free delivery. Ford started breastfeeding like a champ and I was so distracted I had not realized that I broke almost every blood vessel in my face. 

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We got a knock on the door and opened it to Charlie just standing there with a baby boy balloon wearing his biggie shirt. My heart melted. 

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My mom was over when I started getting contractions. She took Charlie home with her for a few days. She happened to be watching my nieces all weekend so it could not have worked out better. He hung out with his cousins, it was a great distraction and made me feel less guilty about having him meet his new brother and then leaving without us.  

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I always thought giving birth would be the most emotional experience in my life. Then my babies met and I can't even put into words the feelings I felt. So much love and so much guilt all at the same time. From the moment I held Ford I'll now never look at Charlie the same. He feels like such a big kid now, I still have mixed emotions about that part. Everyone told me this would happen but I didn't realize how much it would effect me. 

Birth story is coming soon, but for now I'm soaking up all of the newborn snuggles and Charlie time I can get. 

xxx  Mrs. Nipple 

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


IMG_8917.JPG

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.