Packing For Travel With a Baby (featuring EZPacking)

 Packing for Travel with a Baby (2)
Last weekend AJ and I took Taylor down to San Diego for a 4 day mini-vacation, her first ever trip away from home. We attended the beautiful, heartfelt wedding of some of our very best friends – AJ was actually the officiant! My parents graciously flew down so that we could attend the wedding and related festivities, and I know Taylor had a blast spending special time with her Grammy and Grandad. It was a fantastic trip and Taylor, per usual, was a rockstar!
I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about the whole traveling with an infant process beforehand: from how to pack all the things she needs day to day, to hauling around all our baby gear, to how she’d sleep in an unfamiliar hotel room, and how on earth to pack all of her things in my suitcase in a way that wouldn’t be a complete mess.
I want to share a product I found that made the process of packing and accessing Taylor’s things SO much more organized and enjoyable – EZ PACKING CUBES. These packing cubes made packing all the many baby things and accessing them upon arriving at our destination so simple (hence the” EZ”!).
 I purchased the Starter Set, which is one cube in each of the four sizes. The company was gracious enough to also send me a laundry bag to go with the set which ended up being crucial for all those dirty onesies and burp cloths throughout the weekend!

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Here are 4 reasons why I’ll never pack without the EZPacking cubes again:

  1. They are transparent. I was able to easily find the things that I packed for Taylor and keep everything organized as I didn’t have to rumple through all her clothing looking for a particular item.

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2. The cubes can be packed to utilize the entire height of the suitcase – so, no wasted space! I was able to pack ALL of my things + Taylor’s easily, as you can see here:

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3. They come in several different colors (black, green, pink, blue and gray), which would be perfect for mamas packing for more than one little and sharing a suitcase. If/when we have another addition to the family, I know this will make packing for/vacationing with two so much easier. Seriously, an organized mama’s dream:
4 colors 4. 
I was able to quickly set up an organized, little makeshift changing station in our room, then pack it and all her other cubes up in about a minute when it was time to leave:

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Mamas, seriously these are well worth the investment. I only wish I’d bought a second set up front.

This is not a sponsored post, but the the company has kindly extended a discount for my readers.  Enter code: “taylor” at checkout for your discount:
https://www.ezpacking.com/

Here are a few other photos from our first family vacation:

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Daddy & T enjoying the view.
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My best girl.

Taylor’s moccasins: Freshly Picked

 

ALL the gear.
ALL the gear.

xo, Ashley (1)

Fit In Fifteen – Workouts for Busy Mamas

Fit In 15 LOGO

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Many of the workouts I’ve shared on my personal or Taylor-made Mama social media accounts  involve weights and/or require a gym because a) I have a garage gym at home or can occasionally make it to 24 Hour Fitness, and b) that is the style of workout that is most effective/enjoyable for me. I will continue to share what I’m doing and that style of fitness occasionally,but I realize that not every mama has access to a gym, the ability to arrange childcare in order to get to a gym, or an affinity for weights. Also, now that I’m back to work I’m finding that it’s more difficult than I thought to find the time for workouts!

The good news is that You don’t need to have hours per week to incorporate fitness into your life and get/stay in shape. If you can fit in 15 minutes a day, and commit to giving 100% effort during that time, then I have some killer workouts for you coming up!

I truly commend you for making the time to take care of your body and health – it’s not easy to do, and I know you’re all as or more busy than I am!

I want to share with you some effective, FIFTEEN MINUTE, workouts that you can do at home – no equipment required. Fifteen minutes leaves little room for excuse as to why we don’t have the time to take care of our health and bodies – think of all the times you could fit in 15 minutes: early in the morning before the baby/kids wake up, during nap time, after the kiddos go to sleep, while the hubby has special time with the kiddos, etc…

My plan is to post one Fit In 15 workout per week on my Instagram account for now, and see how you all like them. So go and follow me there if you aren’t already: @taylormademama

If you give your max effort on these, eat well and stay consistent [ previous post linked hereyou will feel great and start to see results.

Although these workouts do not require equipment, here are a few items I definitely recommend purchasing at some point to add intensity [I’ll note where and how on future Fit In 15  workouts or the ones HERE]:

  1. a set of dumbbells
  2. a pair of ankle weights – I use THESE
  3. a set of resistance bands – I use THESE

Give the Fit In 15 workout below a go during your babe’s next nap, when you’re up before work or in the evening when your hubby is home and can play with the littles. I did this the other day during Taylor’s first nap of the day, but subbed 30 glute bridges for the lunges because I can’t do those until I’m all healed up [grrrrr]. I ended up with 5 rounds + 12 bridges, and a lot of sweatiness : )

fit in 15 workout 1

Leave me a comment or email me if you have any questions on the workout: ashley@taylor-mademama.com

Try this workout twice within a week and try to beat your first “score”. Have FUN getting fit, mamas! You can do this : )

xo, Ashley (1)


Packing a Daycare Bag – For an Infant

Daycare bag contents

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I’m back at work now, fortunately only part time this year. 1-2 days per week Taylor attends a wonderful daycare/infant center right down the street. Do I wish I was with her instead? Yes, with all my heart. Do I feel confident that she is getting good care, socializing and developing without me a couple days per week? Absolutely. They do tons of developmental activities, she has an assigned “caregiver” who feeds her and puts her down for naps, and she gets a chance to socialize with the other infants which is nice for Taylor since she doesn’t [yet] have a sibling around. The other days she is with my mom, her Grammy, and my husband who works from home – huge blessings for our family.

Nowadays I feel like a total bag lady – my diaper bag, pumping bag, gym bag and now a daycare bag all have to be organized and prepared for each day before leaving the house. I posted about what I pack in my pumping bag HERE. I always make sure everything is ready to rock before I go to bed at night – if I leave that until the morning it’s highly likely I’ll forget something. If your mornings are anything like mine, there is way too much going on to with too little time to be sure everything makes it in the bag and out the door.

If you’re a new mom with a baby who will be in day care for part or all of the work week, I hope this post gives you some ideas for packing up your own bag before heading back to work.

A lot of the bags I looked at for Taylor’s daycare bag [like this one from Skip Hop which was a good price point] didn’t have quite the dimensions I needed to fit her milk cooler in the bottom. I purchased this bag by Bebamour because it a) had TONS of pockets and storage space, b) could be worn as a backpack [essential for getting out of the house with all those bags AND a baby/carseat!], c) a very reasonable price for the quality, and d) almost exactly the right amount of room to fit the cooler for her milk in the bottom. Plus, I think it’s super cute:

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Now, on to the contents of Taylor’s daycare backpack:

Daycare bag contents

1.The “Just In Case” gallon ziplock bag:

In this Ziplock I have a tube of Vaseline, MAM pacifiers [the only kind she’ll occasionally take], butt paste [this smells INFINITELY better than Desitin, IMO], mini hand sanitizer [I buy these in bulk and stash them everywhere] and disposable diaper bags.

2. SleepSack Swaddle

3. Bottles of milk and cooler

4. Warm weather spare outfit in a Ziplock

5. Cold weather spare outfit in a Ziplock

6. Wet/dry bag for bottles or clothes with spit up on them [darn you acid reflux!]

7. Comotomo Bottles:

We tried several different kinds of bottles, and this is the one Taylor took to consistently. The other brands that were recommended for breastfed babies may work for your babe, so I’ll link them here in case you need reference: Tommee Tippee, Lansinoh mOmma and Breastflow.

8. Wipes

9. Bibs [I adore these by Copper Pearl] & burp cloths [we use cloth diapers because they’re cheap and very absorbent!]

How does it all fit? Well, it was hard to get a good shot but you can hopefully see that I put the empty bottles in the front compartment [when I pick up Taylor + bag, the bottles are in the wet part of the wet/dry bag], the “Just In Case” ziplock is in the other front pocket, the cooler sits at the bottom, and all the other compressed ziplock bags +swaddle + wipes are in a stack turned sideways to the tight side of the bag. The wet/dry bag is wedged between the cooler and the side of the bag for easy access.

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That’s about it! If you’re sending your babe off to daycare for the first time like I am, I hope you both have a smooth transition.

Am I missing anything I could add to make my/Taylor’s life more organized? 

xo, Ashley (1)

If you liked this post, check out other posts in this series:


Working Mama’s Pumping Bag

Working Mama's Pumping Bag (1)

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T minus 5 days until the bliss that is Maternity Leave ends, and I return to work. True to the OCD that is within, all my bags are packed and ready to go: gym, daycare, meals, work/computer, and the subject of today’s post – the Pump Bag! I’m a complete amateur at this working mama thing, so preparing ahead of time makes me feel more confident about the transition back.

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Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote

These days, most insurance covers a free breast pump. I chose to purchase my own because I wanted to have it from day one after Taylor’s birth, in case I needed it. Also, I liked the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump {not the one covered by my insurance} because it included a spacious tote that was also conspicuous enough for me to bring anywhere I needed to. It has a nice amount of space to store all the gear I need:

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The contents of my Pumping Bag.

 

1.Wet/Dry Bag: These bags are über convenient. I also have one for my daycare and diaper bags as well.

2. Extra Pump Parts: I bought an extra set of pump parts so that I don’t have to necessarily wash the parts after each pump. I can just put the used set in the Wet/Dry bag to wash when I get home and use my second set for the next pumping session at work. I also keep two extra bottle lids and filters in the dry pouch.

3. Breast Pump & Accessory Wipes: This is another convenient way to keep everything clean and sanitary, without having access to a sink when you’re on the go. If I’m not on the go, and at my office, I’ll wipe off my pump parts before putting them in the wet/dry bag and put the bag in the refrigerator to keep it sanitary until the next pump. At night, I wash everything with soap and warm water at home.

4. Nursing Cover: In case I need to pump in my car or other non-private location.

5. Disposable Nursing Bra Pads: Because, leaks.

6. Snacks! – Power Crunch Protein Energy Bar: These protein bars are seriously delish – they have tons of flavor options and taste just like a wafer cookie, I swear.

7. Mini hand sanitizer – I like this alcohol free version.

8. Cooler and extra bottles

9. Hands-free pumping bra: This is an absolute must have item. I can still work on my laptop or make phone calls, while taking care of my other business : )

UPDATED 8/27/2016:

After being back at work for a month, and temporarily not having a private office to take care of business, I decided to transfer all the contents of my Medela tote {see above} into a larger, more inconspicuous, purse-looking bag. As I move throughout the office to whichever destination I end up in for the particular pumping session, no one is the wiser that I’m not just carrying a purse.  I found the perfect one on Sole Society:

I also came up with another time saver {and reason for needing a larger bag!}. I now store my pump parts in this Skip Hop cooler in between sessions, essentially utilizing it as a mini fridge. This saves me from needing to wipe down and sanitize in between pumpings!

I hope that this post was helpful for any nursing mamas preparing to head back to work, or gave ideas to add convenience for those who already have returned!

What do you pack in your pump bag? I can’t be the only perma-hungry nursing mama out there – what are your favorite healthy, go-to snacks?

xo, Ashley (1)
PS The tote I use for my pumping bag is this one by Sole Society, but here are several others that would be super cute:

If I could go back and do it again, I’d snag this tote for my pumping bag/purse!


A Letter To My Baby Girl

Sweet Taylor,

This time next week I’ll be back at work, and our sweet time of being together all day, every day will have ended for now. It went by way too fast.

These have been the 15 best weeks of my entire life, and I don’t want them to end; If I could freeze time, or put it on a loop so that I could continue experiencing the joy and wonder of getting to know you these last few months, I would. We spent mostly simple days together, learning how to be a mama and baby, but they were absolutely perfect. I will treasure every minute of this precious quarter of a year forever.

Figuring out how to meet your needs has been the most challenging job I’ve ever had, but the one that has given me my greatest sense of purpose. I had the privilege to change hundreds of your diapers, nurse you whenever you felt hungry, and comfort you when you [and sometimes I] cried because we were both getting used to everything being so new/disorienting. I spent countless hours just watching you in awe, and sometimes disbelief, that I really get to be YOUR mama. I haven’t been perfect, but I have tried my very best to take care of and love you well.

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It has been amazing to watch you literally grow and change every day. I loved “chatting” with your 8 pound little self after reading stories on the big bed in your room. I was so thankful to you for the gift of rest when you slept through the night at only six weeks old! I felt as if my heart would explode when you unexpectedly giggled for the first time on our walk to Starbucks downtown – I’m waiting to hear that again. Even when I knew I had things to get done, I chose to nap with you in my arms in the middle of the day – I would let them go numb because I didn’t want to move and wake you.  I was so proud of you when you discovered your hands and the things they could begin to do – you’re so smart!
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When your cute little side smiles turned into big, whole body grins I absolutely melted.
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I felt so excited when one day I rolled you over and you pushed up from your tummy and happily looked around at your toys after screaming for 12 weeks every time we tried…I can’t wait for you to figure out how to translate your crazy hip thrusts into a roll or something – please save that for a day I’m home, okay? Every day it’s something new and exciting with you, and my heart swells with pride.
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In a week I go back to work, though thankfully part time so that I have more time to be with you. It’s going to be tough on both of us at first, but I also know that you’ll love having special time with Grammy, your Daddy is working at home and can play with you during the day, and that you’ll meet new friends at your daycare. I hope you’re inspired by and proud of me someday for being strong, independent and successful; when you grow up I want you to take advantage of opportunities and pursue your dreams, education, goals and passions just like I have. But the most important thing you should know is that I love you to the moon and back; Thankfully, I do like my job, but I LOVE being your mama more than anything in this world.
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Since your birth I have spent almost every hour of every day by your side, and never once did I wish to be anywhere else. Know that when I’m not with you, each second I’ll wish I were.
Every day of maternity leave my full time job has been to make you feel like you are the most loved baby in the world. I PROMISE you that job will not end because I go back to work – that’s for life!
I love you with all of my heart, and I can’t wait to continue getting to know you every day and being your mom. It is such an honor.
Love Always,
Mama
P.S. I’m so thankful to your daddy for making it possible for me to take this time off to be with you, and learn how to be your mom. He supported me every day in many ways [filling my water bottles, giving me a yummy glass of adult grape juice, playing with you in the middle of the day so I could take a shower, etc.]. He loves you so much, and I know he would do anything for you. When you smile, his faces lights up with happiness. I’m so glad he is your daddy and my husband. We both love you so much.
Mamas, I would love to know how your transitions from maternity leave back to work went. What helped with the adjustment? Leave me a comment – I would really appreciate your advice : )

Working Mama’s Workday Routine – Pumping & Breastfeeding

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I’ll say up front that I’m pretty much OCD when it comes to organization  [e.g. I make crazy timelines and spreadsheets for things that don’t require them]. Organization is a large part of what makes me good at my job, and most of what drives me crazy about myself because my wheels never stop turning…. So, naturally, I’ve outlined a routine for work days in order to  feel more confident about returning in a week [waaaaaa!] and making sure Taylor is set up for success when I’m away from her.

Figuring out how to pump & breastfeed while working is going to be a challenge, but it’s something that I really want to continue to do for my daughter. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to go back to work on a part time basis for this first year as a transition, have a hubby who works from home, and also to have the help of my Mom {Grammy} who will watch Taylor two days of the week. Anyway, I hope my OCD-ness can help my fellow working mamas navigate your returns to work, whether you are pumping/breastfeeding or using formula to feed your babe.

I utilized the sample “Baby Sleep and Feeding Schedules” from Baby Center. There are schedules for 1-12 month olds with stay-at-home or working moms who either exclusively breastfeed, exclusively pump or formula feed. If you’re looking for something like I made below, this is a great resource!

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My pumping bag, believe it or not.

Here is the approximate schedule we’ll keep for workdays:

Workday Routine: Breast-feeding + Pumping Mama of a 3.5 Month Old

4:00 a.m.: Nurse, put the baby back down to sleep, leave the monitor with hubby, pump, then get ready for the gym.

4:30 a.m.: Mama gets in her workout at the gym or out in the garage. Or, work on blog stuff.

6:00 a.m.: Mama starts a load of laundry, showers and gets ready for work.

6:30 a.m.: Baby girl wakes up and watches her mobile until Mama is finished getting dressed and readying bottles for daycare or Grammy.

Daily care log

7:00 a.m.: Nurse.

7:20 a.m.: Out the door to drop baby off at daycare by 7:30 and/or head to work if Grammy is coming.

8:30 to 9:45 a.m.: Baby [hopefully] naps.

9:45 a.m.: Baby eats 4-5 ounces breast milk. Mama pumps at work around this time.

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Comotomo – a great bottle for breastfed babes

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Baby [hopefully] naps.

12:30  p.m.:  Baby nurses or eats 4-5 ounces breast milk. Mama pumps at work during lunch or goes to daycare/home to nurse.

2:00 to 3:00 p.m: Baby [hopefully] naps.

3:00 p.m.: Baby eats 4-5 ounces breast milk. Mama pumps at work, if possible.

If I could go back and do it again, I’d snag this tote for my pumping bag/purse!

5:30 p.m.: Mama picks up baby at daycare or returns home if Daddy got her earlier.

5:45 p.m.: Home, nurse.

6:00 p.m.: Put pumped milk in fridge, freeze any extra milk. Baby takes a catnap or has playtime with Daddy.

6:45 p.m.: Start bedtime routine – bath, change into overnight diaper & pj’s, read a book, swaddle, sing Good Night song.

7:00 p.m.: Nurse. Baby falls asleep nursing or needs bouncing on the yoga ball [unless we decide on some type of sleep training, at which point we would put her down drowsy but awake to fall asleep on her own, I think!]

7:30 p.m.: Baby [hopefully] asleep by this time.

7:30 to  9:30 p.m.: Mama prepares pump bag/daycare bag/bottles and lunch for the next day, lays out workout & work clothes, and folds dry laundry [thanks Hubby!]. Reheat prepped food [Sunday/Tuesday], order in or crockpot for dinner. QT with Hubby.

10:00 p.m.: Bedtime

4:00 a.m.: Wake, nurse, baby goes right back to bed. Start all over again : )

You can see exactly what I pack in my pumping bag and how I pack it in this post.

Working Mamas, I want to know – how do you structure your week days? How do you get in your “me time” and maintain balance?

xo, Ashley (1)

P.S. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE. Subscribers are automatically entered to win my bi-monthly Mama Must-Have Giveaways!


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Helping Your Baby Get Through Vaccinations

Before Taylor’s 2 month check up, I posted the photo below and the question, “Little miss is getting her shots today…what advice do you have for getting through this with as little pain/tears as possible?”.

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Poor little cutie had no idea….

I was absolutely overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of responses I received from my fellow mamas, and wanted to share all of their input on this forum so that other new mamas can benefit. Whether or not you choose to vaccinate is a very personal decision. If you do decide to vaccinate, hopefully the advice below will help you know what to expect and give you ideas for how to navigate the experience, as it did for me.

Wear her in a baby carrier… I did that and it worked great.
Lots of snuggles afterward, and nurse her right after too! The pain and crying is inevitable, but you can soothe her pretty quickly. [My daughter] cried hard for 1-2 minutes, but then it was all over.
Boob or bottle right after.
Our pediatrician always has me hold her when she gets her shots. But the crying only lasts for about 2 minutes. As soon as it’s done and the nurse is gone then she’s over it. But I would definitely recommend having the bottle ready or nurse her if she doesn’t stop crying.
It’ll be over quick! Lots of cuddles and nursing should help.
Massage the shot site. It’s harder for mom than it is for baby.
Shots weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. I have one twin that handles them like a champ & one that cries pretty hard at first but lots of cuddles & kisses later & he’s ok. I do notice a mild fever afterwards for a day or so. I cried too, so the snuggles afterwards is good for both of you.  Luckily the shot site doesn’t hurt for too long afterwards. Also, take the band aids off during bath time so the adhesive isn’t so sticky.
You will definitely hurt more than she will!!
I always held her. And I also gave Tylenol before the appointment so it was in her system when the shots were given. They recommended I do that. It’s hard! I think it hurts mommy more than baby!
Both my kiddos reacted to shots with a slight fever and sleepiness when they were babies. They napped extra long and it freaked me out!! But – it’s totally normal.I think pre-shot Tylenol is a great idea! I never did that. I called the advice nurse with [my son] since I was freaked and she calmed me down. It’s not necessarily common but it can happen! The sleepiness and irritability though is pretty common though. I remember a friend’s baby took a 5 hour nap afterward!
Yes tylenol before or right when you get home (doctor’s office should have a dosage chart based on her weight). She’ll only cry for a minute. [My daughter] was just sore and crabby the next day (no tylenol). At her next appointment, i gave tylenol when i got home, she was completely normal (no soreness or crabbiness!). Keep in mind that a few minutes of crying (or even a day of crabbiness) is WAAAAY better than her getting any of the diseases she’s being vaccinated for!!
Best of luck to you momma, I think it’s just as hard or harder on us. Just FYI. She may sleep a lot after, at least my little one does. None of us know until we do, it’s great to see you have a wonderful support group. Most of all, trust your instincts and know you are an amazing momma.
Epsom salt baths afterwards to pull out the toxins that are in shots. And I’ve read that aspirin or Tylenol can actually increase the bad reaction to vaccines, so I’d google that before doing it. Also, I highly highly recommend a delayed schedule. We were only given 1/4 of the vaccines they give babies now.And hey, keep in mind, you’re her mama. If you feel uneasy about something and the doctor’s are pressuring you, go with your gut. Mamas have intuition and know their babes. I’ve been kicked out of my fair share of doctor’s offices, but I do what I feel is best for my babies, and you should too.
There were a few shots I waited on giving.  We gave them eventually but not in batches like some recommend.  The flu and Chicken pox we waited on since they aren’t viruses that are deadly if the happen to get them.  I just made sure they got the chicken pox vaccine before they started school.  But yes, discuss delayed vaccinations.  4 at a time always seemed a little extreme.
I always have my kids some Tylenol before to help with the pain after.  Then right after shots I’d nurse to help them get their mind off it. See if the nurse can have all shots prepped and ready and do them quickly after each other so there is very little wait time in between.
Tequila for you!
You are going to cry too! Nap when she does today.
Lots of cuddling and feeding her right after helps!
Daddy was contracted for shot day. Couldn’t do it myself, I would snap at the nurse.
I cried when both of my kids got their 2 month shots, I agree  with several previous post: hold her, tylenol  for her and just have an eye on her temp and never hesitate to call the doctor if you feel something is not right.
You can hold her while she’s getting the shot which will comfort her. Did that until [my son was 2. In addition we spread out his shots so he didn’t get four, but only two in one session. Dr Sears has great sample schedules on that.
Tylenol every 4 – 6 hours.
Nurse her as soon as you can, if you’re breastfeeding. Otherwise, it will be over fast.
A little tylenol before the appointment and nurse as soon as the shots are done. My pediatrician just let me sit in the exam room until I was done nursing so I’m sure they make accommodation and allot time for that, so don’t feel stressed about taking up time in the room. She’ll be fine! It’s tough to watch them scream, but she’ll be okay.
If she won’t nurse after, wrap her up! That worked like a charm for us.
Breastfeeding after helped so much! He was calm in a few minutes and then he was good the rest of the day. He never did get a fever either.
It’ll only hurt for a little bit – she’ll be fine. But definitely big hugs and lots of kisses right after.
Make sure to check with your doctor before giving any meds (over the counter or prescription) rather than searching the interwebs or taking advice from friends. Ditto for concerns about vaccine schedules, possible reactions etc. Your baby’s doctor went to school for a LONG TIME, attends continuing education to remain current on medical best practices, and cares deeply about his/her patients. If you don’t trust your doctor to make the best recommendations for your baby (including addressing concerns!), consider finding a new doctor. Just some thoughts from a medical professional.
Sooooo, honestly, the shots were actually harder on her than I even anticipated [i.e. not breathing for several seconds, maroon face + head from crying so hard, unable to nurse, etc.] but I was able to stay strong and comfort her. Luckily my mom was able to accompany us, which also gave me extra strength. The nurse gave her three separate shots, which I thought was almost cruel – next time I think I’ll ask that at least two be given at once if possible. I chose to start nursing her before the shots were even given, but that didn’t seem to help distract her from the pain/surprise.  Even though my super sensitive little babe had a tough time, these words brought me a lot of comfort going in; I felt prepared for what was to come and how to handle it. Had I been as nervous as I was prior to reaching out and receiving the advice of these women, I’m sure she would have felt that and she would have been even more upset. And, everyone was right – she took an epic 5 hour nap in her DockATot. I felt like she was a little “off” when she woke up from the nap, and was definitely fussy, so I gave her some Infant Tylenol. But, after sleeping through the night, she woke up with a smile on her face and without fever. It truly takes a village, and I’m so thankful for mine and the advisement they gave in this situation.
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5 hour post-vacc nap!
I hope you’ll continue to be a part of my “village” here where we can share with and encourage one another as we journey through motherhood.

How did your babe’s vaccinations go? How did you get them and yourself through it?

xo, Ashley (1)


A Lesson On Letting Go Of Control

letting go of control quote Truth time guys…Although I’m working around it, I’ve honestly been SUPER pretty frustrated that my postpartum recovery hasn’t been what I planned for it to be. This whole Pubic Symphysis Disfunction business completely derailed my schedule and method for getting back into shape and being able to do things I love in and out of the gym – things I worked hard throughout pregnancy to be able to jump back into quickly and easily postpartum. I felt assured that my plan would work and I would “bounce” right back. My labor and delivery were also NOTHING like what I planned, but that’s a whole other post…

It has always been challenging for me to be out of control of an element of my life, and to LET GO/ not over analyze when things don’t work out as I expected/hoped they would.  I’ve realized for some time that this is not a productive use of heart + brain space, but I have the strong sense that NOW is the time to learn how to really let go of the desire for control and be at peace, humbly grateful, no matter the circumstance. Because -WOW – I have so much to be grateful for, and there is ALWAYS a way to adapt and still achieve my goals.

I’m so thankful to my sweet daughter – from her very birth, she is already helping me grow and evolve closer to the example I hope to be for her in this life. 
I know I’m not alone in the ongoing quest to refine and become the best version of myself.  Today, let’s let go of what we can’t control and do what we CAN to take the best care of ourselves and our little ones.
Below are three different workouts for you, targeting the same muscle group and taking about 50 minutes:

A] what I did at the gym
B] what I would have done at the gym if I was cleared to : )
C] an at home option.
Workout A
Workout B
Workout C
If you try any or all of these workouts out, let me know how they go! Go Mama!
xo, Ashley (1)

Keeping the Glow Going: Post Pregnancy Skin Care

Obviously, I’m just a little obsessed.

Taking good care of yourself, and feeling confident in your skin are so important for busy mamas. One quick and easy way to add self-care/pampering into your day is a consistent morning and evening skin care regimen.

I’ve always struggled with some type of acne, until I started using these products by esthetician, Emme Diane, two years ago. Emme’s Skin Care Bible she sends with her product, and her regular tips on Instagram (@emmediane) have helped me understand how to take care of my specific skin type. Not only does she know what she is talking about when it comes to corrective skin care, anti-aging, pigmentation issues, sensitive skin, etc., in my opinion, her prices are very reasonable for the quality of product.

I owed my pregnancy glow to hormones and this skincare line. Right now I’m loving the Lighten Up product line for the pregnancy melasma on my face, as well as the linea nigra on my stomach, both of which are now almost completely faded; I put a little of this Lighten Up Serum on as part of my evening regimen, after cleansing and toning, and it does the trick:

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I never thought I would get to the point where the only foundation I need to feel “covered” is tinted moisturizer – Thank you Emme!  If you don’t have a skin care line that works for you, and especially if you have troubled skin like I do, I can’t say enough about these products:  http://www.emmediane.com/

What are some other ways you include self-care/pampering into your busy days?

Disclaimer: This  is not a paid for review. The products listed are for my own personal use and I have not been compensated for my review or opinions.

xo, Ashley (1)


Losing The Baby Weight: The Secret To Bouncing Back Postpartum

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Not sure how to achieve your postpartum fitness and body goals?

What will not work is yo-yo-ing between being 100% dedicated to whichever diet plan for X amount of weeks or months, then going back to relatively crappy eating because you feel deprived.  What will not work is telling yourself you’ll work out 5 days per week, feeling discouraged because you only worked out twice, and then doing nothing for weeks/months following. What will not work is beating yourself up for not getting where you want to be fast enough, breaking an unsustainable diet or missing a workout. What will not work is feeling guilty or self-indulgent for wanting to take care of yourself and feel good about your body as a mama, thereby not pursuing your health & fitness goals. What will not work is putting unreasonable pressure on yourself to look a certain way or reach an arbitrary weight.

Your best weight is whatever weight you reach when you are living the healthiest life you actually enjoy living.
Amen?!

 

My secret to “bouncing back” after pregnancy?

CONSISTENCY – working out regularly [including weights], and eating healthily [80% of the time] before, during and after pregnancy.

What has always worked for me, and what I think can work for you too, is devising a reasonable, sustainable workout and nutrition game plan that I feel good about, and being CONSISTENT with that plan.

That will look different for every mama; our metabolisms, backgrounds, goals and levels of fitness are all so different, so I can’t say how long it will take for you to achieve your personal postpartum body/fitness goals. However, I can guarantee you’ll make progress you will feel good about if you find ways to get and stay consistent with workouts and nutrition for the long haul.

For me, in regards to nutrition, I know I’m not able to consistently stick with any particular type of diet [I’ve tried Atkins, super low calorie, Paleo, Zone, etc. over the last 15 years or so] without A) beating myself up for “cheating” and then giving up for the rest of that day or week, or B) getting way too OCD and un-balanced about it. I’m also just not going to cut out wine or my regular cheeseburger or pizza indulgences at this point in my life. For these reasons I choose to eat healthy about 80% of the time, ALL the time. Even on vacation. Even while pregnant. There’s that consistency piece again : )

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Nap-time lifting sesh in the backyard.

My formula for exercise has been the same for years: set a minimum amount of workouts I can reasonably get in for the week, then make it happen. If I do more than that, great! If not, I know I’ve taken care of myself and my body at a level I feel good about. I do that week in, and week out, no matter what’s going on in my life: injury, grad school, vacation, pregnancy, etc. I find I’m never so busy that I can’t find time for 3 workouts of some kind weekly – and I believe that will continue to be true even when I go back to work in a few weeks.

I plan to continue sharing how I am finding ways to adapt to my new mama reality and stay consistent with working out and keeping my nutrition on point – especially as I head back to work. If you are on your postpartum fitness journey as well, I hope my sharing will inspire you to find ways to incorporate fitness in a way that feels healthy, balanced AND helps you achieve your personal goals.

After I started this blog post, I went to a Physical Therapist to learn more about this Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction I have going on resulting from delivery. I wanted to understand more about it, and make sure I wasn’t doing anything to impede healing or cause further damage. Although not surprised, I was pretty bummed at what I learned. In a nutshell, if I want my body to heal correctly and resolve as quickly as possible, apparently the only cardio I can do until a minimum of 6 months postpartum is swimming with a pull buoy between my knees or walking with a “short stride”…Suuuuuuuper fun…. Additionally, no split leg movements [lunging, step ups, etc.], side or front planks, squats below parallel, and on and on. Basically, most of what I would like or recommend others to do for exercise is off limits until at least November. However, can I still find ways to train consistently and get back into shape as planned? Absolutely. I can and I will! That said, until I’m in the clear, the workouts I’ll share with you on the blog/social media will be a combination of what I am actually doing, and what I would be doing if I could.

HERE is my log for the first week I started doing more than slow walks, kegels, heel taps, planks and pelvic tilts [6 weeks postpartum]. As you can see, the largest part of my fitness routine was walking. Walking continues to be my only cardio for now – uphill walking when I get into the gym – and it’s really helped me to shed off the preggo pounds. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of walking! Let me know if you’re interested in seeing the rest of my log – I’m happy to share.

Below is a workout I did at the park with Taylor this week. Obviously, I’ve since learned that I can’t continue with these movements, but YOU can!  Try this one out and let me know how it goes – I thought it was pretty fun : )

Steps & Squats:

1. Walk or drive to a local park with your little one + stroller.

2. Locate several locations you could ‘step up’ on [spread throughout the park] as you walk around for a 5-10 min warm up.

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Here are some places I found to ‘step up’ at the park down the street.

3. Park your stroller and complete the following 3 exercises [A-C = one set], briskly walk for 3-5 minutes, do another set,  and so on until you’ve walked 1 mile or 30 minutes have elapsed [whichever takes longer!].  I use the Map My Run app to track how far I’ve walked:

A]15 walking lunges w/stroller, each leg

B] 25 air squats

C] 15 step ups, each leg

Now go get after it, mama! Come up with a reasonable plan and stay consistent with it. If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey: make 2 workouts and 1 walk your weekly goal. When you feel like you can and want to, throw in another workout, or an extra mile to  your walk. Go slow, listen to your body, and stay balanced- getting back into shape after having a baby is a marathon, not a sprint. You can do this!

P.S. If you’re interested in more workout ideas, follow me on Instagram, @taylormademama. I plan to post workouts there more frequently.

xo, Ashley (1)

Stroller: Baby Jogger City Select w/ car seat adaptor

Car Seat: Peg Pérego Primo Viaggio