Momma Diaries: Baby Must Haves – First Year

Eva has been 1 for almost two months!  I no longer have a baby.  Babygirl is now a toddler!  😦  Yes, I’m super sad that she’s growing up (so fast at that).  I miss her being so tiny and cuddly.  Her personality is definitely shining through.  She’s more chatty, imitating our movements, and repeating some words.  Don’t get me started how she’s all over the place and in everything.  But it’s so great to see her grow.

Anyhow, my plan for after Eva was born was to post our quarterly must haves, but I didn’t get a chance to.  So today I’m going to talk about our first year baby must haves (besides the basics unless they were insanely great), broken down by every 3 months.

Fisher Price Glider – We bought this for our niece when she was a baby 6 years ago.  She used it, our other niece sister used it, and our 2 other nephews who followed used it.  We’d put Eva in the glider, turn it on and it would glide her to sleep.  Sometimes, we wouldn’t turn on the rocking motion and she’d fall asleep here.  This is more of a motorized bassinet than a swing.  As she got bigger (after 4 months) we eventually moved her to the pack and play or couch to nap (with us on the couch next to her).  Even though we only used it for 4 months, we got a lot of use out of this because this was where she’d nap the first four months.

Swaddle Me Blankets – While we’d like to think we were pro swaddlers (I should say my husband more so than me), Eva would find a way to ninja herself out of it every other night.  When changing or feeding her in the middle of the night, we were sometimes too tired lazy to swaddle her back up.  The Swaddle Me blankets were the quick and easy solution to our very moveable baby.  We received Aden and Anais swaddle blankets as gifts and those are supposed to be awesome swaddle blankets, but we ended up using these as quick fixes.  The Aden and Anais blankets are now used for lightweight blankets, scarfs, etc.  They’re so versatile and cute!

Moby Wrap – This was so great when Eva was so tiny and I had to get stuff done around the house or just a quick walk down to the street to Starbucks.  Because she was nice and snug and tucked into my chest, she would fall asleep so quickly.  Love a cuddly baby.  As she got bigger and more squirmy we eventually graduated to the Ergo (5 to 6 months).

Halo Wearable Blankets – Towards the end of Eva’s third month, she had both hands out of the swaddle and was showing signs that she would be rolling over.  At this time we switched to wearable blankets, which she wore up until she was 8 months.  Then it just got too hot to continue using them.  Note:  Halo also has a wearable blanket swaddle, which my bosses raved about for their kids.  We didn’t purchase these because the SwaddleMe worked so well for us.

Wubbanub Pacifier – Eva loved this thing before she discovered her thumb and fuzzy blankets.  She would sometimes need her pacifier to go to sleep and then she found her thumb to soothe her to sleep.  She loved this because she was sucking on the pacifier plus she’d stroke the soft plus animal, which is her go to way to put herself to sleep.  Even until now, thumb in mouth and a soft fuzzy blanket or stuffed animal.  Think Linus on Snoopy.

Ergo – We didn’t start to use the Ergo until she was 5-6 months old.  This became easier to put her into as opposed to the Moby because it gave her enough room to move a bit.  She was so squirmy at this age, that she no longer wanted to stay close to my chest :-(.  The Ergo isn’t front facing but she had enough room to move.  We still use this now when we’re traveling or going to highly populated areas.  I sometimes put her on my back using this but she HATES it because she can’t see me.

Lovie Blankets – Eva is a huge fan of fuzzy blankets.  As soon as she would feel one, she’d hold it up against her face and start sucking her thumb and put herself to sleep.  We didn’t want a regular baby blanket with her in the crib because of SIDS, so I was delighted when my sister got her a lovie square blanket with a stuffed animal at the top for Christmas.  Little did I know, my girlfriend got one for her too.  She uses both:  one in the crib for nighttime and the other in her pack and play for naps.  She knows as soon as we give her one of these blankets its sleep time.

Graco Space Saver High Chair – When she wasn’t sitting up on her own yet, we were using something similar to a Bumbo (our’s is the Mama and Papa Baby Snug).  But as she started sitting up on her own and was starting to eat solid food, we decided we needed a high chair.  We have a small apartment so getting a big high chair to put at our dining table for four was not feasible.  We put this on top of one of our existing chairs and wala space saved.

Magic Bullet/Blender – Do yourself  a favor and don’t buy a Baby Bullet.  It’s a waste of money in my opinion.  It does the same thing a Magic Bullet, blender, or mini food processor would do.  I do caution you though that when blending food for babies, don’t use one that you used to grind nuts or spicy food or any allergic food.  You don’t want cross contamination.  If you do, clean it REALLY REALLY REALLY well and maybe hot water sanitation too.

Ice Cube trays with covers – Don’t buy the fancy baby food storage containers.  Do yourself and save money again and buy these ice cube trays with covers (even better if they have silicone buttoms to get the food out easily).  You can make a big batch of food, put it in these trays and pop them in the freezer.  As soon as they’re frozen, pop them into a  ziploc bag and repeat the process.  When Eva first started eating, I found that these were the perfect portion size for her.  Defrost two to three cubes for any meal and it would just the perfect amount of food for her.  It was a mini portion and food wouldn’t go to waste.

Bumkin Bibs – We used cloth bibs when Eva started eating solid foods, but everything kept staining.  My boss recommended the Tommee Tippee ones, but they were so stiff that Eva would get so mad when wearing them.  Eva’s nanny mentioned Bumkins and how they were also waterproof.  These are so much better.  Softer and just as easy to clean and spill proof.  No need to worry about staining them too!

Neat Solutions Table Toppers – AMAZING!  Saw this on itsjudylife’s vlog and immediately looked on amazon for these.  I’ve seen them at Target and Babies R Us as well, but not as affordable as on Amazon.  Since Eva loves feeding herself now, whenever we go out to eat I have these in her diaper bag.  I take a placemat and stick it onto the table.  She can then feed herself on a clean surface and any mess on the table is contained on her mat which can be easily disposed.  AWESOMEEEE!

Note:  I purchased a majority of these products on Amazon.  I found that shopping on Amazon had better price options (and still is) for purchasing baby products.  Plus having prime and two day free shipping is GREAT!  

Honorable mentions

Diaper bag:  Long Champ Shoulder Bag Medium – We have a diaper bag which we use when we’ll be out of the house for 4 hours or more.  But usually I throw all Eva’s stuff in my Long Champ in little travel bags along with my items (small cosmetic bag, wallet, keys, and phone) and we’re ready to go.  I don’t bring too much stuff with me if we’ll be out of the house for 2-3 hours.  A change of clothes (in chase she spits up), bib, burp cloth (to clean up messes), blanket, 2 diapers, diaper change mat, wipes, water cup and/or bottle, snack, and if I know we’re going to be out during meal time her food and a spoon.  Yes all that fits in this amazing bag!  Plus you can easily clean the inside or outside of it.

Bottles:  I’m not going to add bottles here because every baby prefers different bottles.  I don’t feel like there is a must have bottle.  You just have to test which one works best for your little one.  Eva liked the ventair and drop-in bottles over the Avent ones.  Avent seemed to give her more gas than the Playtex bottles.  I was told that Dr. Brown’s and Tommee Tippee eliminated gas.  BUT since we found something that worked for us, we stuck with it and didn’t try anything else.

Feeding:  We used the Gerber Graduate sippy cups for learning how to drink from a cup.  We used Gerber spoons, but prefered the Munchkin ones as they were easier for us to grasp when feeding her; however, I think the longer handles make it harder for her to feed herself.  We used Gerber Graduates bowls for her food.  All these feeding essentials were BPA free.  I wanted to buy items from Europe as they are more stringent on their tests of baby items, but frankly they were expensive and some didn’t get great reviews.

Transportation:  Graco Snug and Ride is what we use to transports the pricess around.  Along with a Baby Jogger City Mini with adapter.

Diaper Pail:  Diaper Dekor Plus.  While it was amazing when she was first born, we found that solids make everything smellier so it doesn’t matter what type of diaper pale you use.

Breastfeeding:  I’ve been using the Medela Pump in Style and have no complaints.  We stored all the milk in Lansinoh Breast Pads and Milk Storage, which are pretty durable.

So those are our must haves during Eva’s first year.  Comment below if you have any questions or want a further review about products I’ve mentioned.

Momma Diaries: This time a year ago…

I became a mother to a beautiful adorable baby girl.  I can’t believe she’s 1 today.  It really does feel like I had her yesterday.  From 6 pounds 8 ounces of pure baby bliss and joy to almost 20 pounds of walking and babbling energy.  I am still shocked that time has gone by so quickly this past year.  I still in shock that I’m a mom and have been for a year.  I’m still amazed and in complete awe of my daughter.  She’s just too freaking adorable (But I’m bias.  I am her mother).

I always knew I wanted to be a mother, but I didn’t think a love of a mother (or a father for that matter) would be this great.  My heart was already full with the love of my family and amazing husband, but it’s even fuller now.  Anytime I’m upset or sad or tired, I can look at her smile or hear her laugh and all those negative emotions go away.  She’s just everything to me; her and my husband.  I love my little family!

So much has changed in a year.  We can’t go to the movies spontaneously or go to dinner easily without thinking about the impact on Eva.  But I’m not complaining.  I love being home with her and the hubs.  This past year has been a year of self discovery and a learning experience.  I’ve learned so much from her about herself, about my husband, and about myself.

She’s definitely immersed in the stage of discovery at the moment.  And while, it can be frustrating sometimes because she’s the adventurous type (we’re talking climbing everything and anything, which my mom says is karma because I used to do that all the time as a child), I remind myself her curiosity is normal.  Her facial reactions to discovering something new is PRICELESS.  You remember how easy it is for you to put something together or understand how something works because it’s second nature.  But for a child, it’s like a complicated math puzzle that they just solved and their excitement is just amazing.  It’s so adorable.

Her personality is definitely shining through, despite having 4 teeth coming in at one time (yes, the week leading up to her birthday.  only two of which have broken through.  agh.  my poor girl).  She’s social, smiley, and happy.  She loves waving to strangers and having them smile at her.  She’s LOVES the attention (sounds like a true first born.  I should know, I am one.  Ha.).  She can have a temper like her mom though (yikes), but I’m trying to be better and lead by example, so she doesn’t pick up my bad habits.  She doesn’t seem to have separation anxiety yet (knock on wood).  As long as we say, it’s okay, she’ll go with whomever.  She’s just so happy!  It’s so great!

I’m really at a lost for words.  Shocker right?  I want to say so much more about this past year and this amazing love I have for her and our family.  I just can’t express how amazing she is and how I want nothing but the best for her.  I want to better our lives for her.  We aren’t struggling and we don’t live in excess.  I’m not saying I want to spoil but I want to enrich her life.  More so in meaningful experiences, whether it be family time or travel or random family outings or sitting with her to read a book or unplugging, etc.  I want to find that work-life balance to be able to give her the time she needs from me.  And I’ve done a decent job thus far I think, but there’s definitely room for improvement.  She and my husband are my motivation.  They are my everything.

So…

To my sweetest and adorable baby girl Eva,

Playing with her birthday presents: her own little chair and Minnie doll

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!  You have been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and your dad.  You will never know how much you have filled our hearts with so much love and joy.  We want nothing but the best for you plus more.  Can’t wait to see you grow more.
 
Love, 
Mommy

Momma Diaries – Get me bodied

Let’s talk about a woman’s body after baby.  Yes, the post-pregnancy body.  Let me preface this with I’m not a professional trainer or nutritionist.  This is what worked for me; however, this may not be the same case for everyone.  I’ve learned and heard what may work for you after your first or second child may not work for you after your third.  Our bodies vary from person to person and from period to period.  I do believe that maintaining a relatively healthy lifestyle (moderate activity and healthy but tasty eating) will always help, during pregnancy, after pregnancy, toddler years, and the future.

I’m proud to say that I lost all my baby weight 6 months after having Eva.  I did so by breastfeeding, moderate activity, and eating relatively healthy.

Breastfeeding:  If you’re able to, do it!  I believed my sister-in-law when she said it helped but didn’t think it would help that much.  Honestly, I was shocked by how much weight I lost when I went to my family practitioner for my annual physical, which was 6 months after birth (and by no means am I bragging).  I thought I was still carrying a couple more pounds (that baby pooch is deceiving).  But breastfeeding also left me RAVENOUS.  I was always hungry.

Eating:  I ate what I wanted but made sure I was eating healthy and was practicing portion control.  I was always hungry when I first started breastfeeding, so I always had (still do) fruits, veggies, crackers, cheese, nuts, etc. on hand to snack on.  I found myself eating 2 hours after dinner, which was probably an hour or two before bedtime, which in the dieting books is a no-no.  But I ate.  I was responsible for nursing another person and needed the nutrients to do so.  But when I did eat, I tried to make sure I was making the healthier choice and when I did indulge, it was in moderation.  And indulge I did.  Especially the sweet tooth I developed during pregnancy, but I was very mindful of my intake.  (3 -5 small bites for me usually satisfies my cravings.  Mini rant:  I absolutely cannot STAND how companies don’t have more snack packs/make smaller portions.   I really don’t need THAT much food.  I just want a small taste to satisfy my craving.  I suppose it’s the American culture.  Get more for your money.  Then end up paying for it via the waist line.)  Moderation.  Moderation.  Moderation.  Make healthier choices over bad ones.   

Moderate activity:  I thought I’d be that mom who’d bounce right back and workout after pregnancy.  I seriously laugh at the things I said I would do pre-Eva/during pregnancy.  Clearly, I was delusional.  I went to a baby boot camp class 5 weeks after having Eva and didn’t work out again 3 months after that class.  At that time, I did some cardio for about 2 weeks and then stopped.  I tried, but chose to spend time with Eva instead, especially after work.  During the first couple of months after Eva was born, we tried going on daily walks, which helped.  During this workout hiatus from birth to 8 months, I tried to make the right choice in terms of activity.  As lazy as I can be from time to time, I tried to make an effort and would choose to walk to my destination as opposed to driving (when possible and not completely lazy).

3 months after having Eva and about 5-10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.

My purposes for working out again are both selfish and unselfish.  While I may not need to lose weight at this point, I’d like to tone my body.  I didn’t believe my cousin when she said she had lost all her pregnancy weight but everything was in different places.  Wait, WHAT?!?  Well, it’s true!  I’ve lost all this pregnancy weight but my rear has since deflated.  I’d like to say I had a decent badonkadonk (Not firm but not flabby.  And yes, I’m using that term) pre-pregnancy, but since getting pregnant and having Eva, gravity has not been my friend.  We went from fab to flab.   Arms, belly, booty, and thighs.  All the trouble zones you would expect after pregnancy.  I’m trying to work on all that right now.  Especially since I’d like to look lean for my big 3-0 this summer (told you it was selfish).  But I still haven’t figured out my regimen.  3 days of cardio, 2 days of strength?  Vice Versa?  Or cardio for 15-20 everyday and targeted strength moves everyday?  Currently, I’m doing the couch to 5k (3x a week) plus Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones DVD (1-2x a week).  There’s also P90x, Jillian Michaels’ 30 day shred, Nike Training Club App, Fitness Blender, etc.  I haven’t decided exactly what I’ll be doing for sure.  It’s kind of exercise roulette right now.

But seriously, my unselfish reason for working out?  Eva.  She’s crawling everywhere (pretty fast too), pulling herself up all over the place, and getting into EVERYTHING (it’s pretty exhausting).  Soon enough, she’ll be walking and running.  I need the stamina to keep up with her and the strength to tow her around (she’s not heavy but I can definitely feel my back ache when carrying her for a period of time).  I want to be right there with her rolling around on the floor and running in the grass.  I LOVE experiencing life again through her eyes.

Parent or not, what are you fitness tips to staying in shape?  Do you follow a certain regimen?  If so, what?  For moms, what are you doing to get your pre-pregnancy body back?