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

 

 

Etsy Shop Discovery – The C Shoppe

ETSY C SHOPPE

Not much is cuter than a baby girl with a sweet hair accessory – especially when they don’t have very much hair. [or maybe that’s just my bias for my bald babe!]. I absolutely love the beautiful headbands that Heather, owner of The C Shoppe, creates.

The nylon headbands are super soft and have just the right amount of material to stay put, yet not leave an indentation on my baby’s head. I ordered a custom neutral colored “Anemone” [featured on the title image of this post] and received it within 3 days of emailing Heather to make the request. Heather was so kind and open to creating an adorable, custom piece for Taylor. And, I mean, how cute is this packaging?

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Heather will become a mama through adoption, and all of the proceeds from the shop go toward bringing her child/children home. So if you have a little girl or need a gift for one, head over to The C Shoppe to support a fellow mama, and add a truly adorable hair accessory to their collection.

Taylor wore a teal Anemone to her friend’s 1st B-day party, and it was the perfect, festive addition to her “look”:

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What are your favorite Etsy [or other] shops for stylish kid’s clothing and accessories? Leave a comment and let me know – Thanks for the tips, and for reading!

xo, Ashley (1)

Maternity Leave Routine for Mama + Baby

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The first 3-5 weeks with Taylor were an oxytocin-laced, exhausting haze. Normally one who loves routines and schedules, I had none. I was nursing and changing diapers around the clock, often didn’t even know what day or time it was, was recovering physically/emotionally in big ways, and certainly didn’t have time to even think about a routine or what that might include.

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Solo coffee run w/ 2 week old = I’m a bad @$$.

The first few weeks with a newborn are pretty much survival mode – you just do whatever you have to do to make sure your baby is getting enough to eat and sleep, and that you are getting some amount of food/sleep in yourself. If that means spending way too much money on takeout every night, co-sleeping when you intended to use a bassinet, not leaving the house ever, feeding every 45 min because that’s what baby needs, etc., well, so be it! – whatever works for you and your sweet baby, right? Not to mention, many newborns [mine included] pretty much sleep ALL day long, so trying to complete some sort of activity or outing during their über limited wake time seems ridiculous. Thinking back, it was pretty amusing how accomplishing the simplest things made me feel SUPER proud of myself in those first few weeks – like the first time I left the house with Taylor without my hubby for a coffee run and neither of us was in tears the entire 45 minutes.

It took about a month for me to emerge from the haze and get into a groove with Taylor [and AJ], but I love what we have going on now. We have been loosely following an Eat, Play/Activity, Sleep routine that shows up in a lot of popular baby-management books such as Baby Whisperer and BabyWise. I say loosely because, as much as I want to help Taylor develop a predictable routine and give our days some structure, I am actually on HER schedule and sometimes she has needs that don’t line up perfectly with my plan [duh]. For example, when she goes through a growth spurt, or has a short feed upon waking up, I know I may need to break the routine and feed her again before she goes to sleep so that she doesn’t get hungry and wake up from the nap prematurely. Overall though, non-militantly following an Eat, Play Sleep routine has worked well for us and I imagine it will be even more useful as she gets a bit older.

Obviously, the strategy that works for us certainly won’t work with every baby + mama for any number of reasons, but I do think establishing a routine when you feel ready is really helpful. The whole point of this post is to share an outline of one of our days to give you some ideas for the of the sort of routine you could establish early on in your maternity leave, with one baby [you supermoms with more than one simply amaze me – how do you do it?!].

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{Credit: Precious Little Sleep}

Before getting to that, I have to say that I made a lot of mistakes didn’t know a lot of things that were impacting our ability to get into a routine in those first few weeks – particularly related to sleep. I’ve since spent a lot of nursing sessions reading up on helpful baby sleep stuff and pinning articles to my Baby Sleep Pinterest Board. The HANDS-DOWN BEST baby sleep resource I have found is the Precious Little Sleep Blog, Podcast and Facebook group. I would seriously like to bear hug the author. Her 0-3 Months Newborn Baby Sleep Survival Guide has been invaluable for me; when I read through one of the posts in the series which included the chart, “Baby Sleep: How Much, When, How Long,” I realized just how short a newborn’s wake time actually is. I was actually keeping her awake too long, which was leading to a lot of unnecessary fussiness – the poor thing just wanted to sleep. Live and learn! I have used that chart, in addition to getting to know Taylor’s cues, to structure and adjust her Eat, Play, Sleep schedule according to her wake times.

Now, on to a typical day-in-the-life of Taylor [11 weeks] + Ashley, Maternity Leave style!

7:30AM – EAT, PLAY

When I notice Taylor is awake on the monitor I usually turn on her beloved projection mobile, which I can do from my iPhone [soooo 2016.]. This buys me about 15 minutes to wake up myself somewhat, and it absolutely delights her to watch those little woodland creatures floating around up there. One of my favorite parts of the day is saying good morning to her.

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T lovin’ her “Woodland Animal” friends.

Next, I change her out of her overnight diaper [I just use a diaper one size larger than she wears in the day] then feed her, unless her last feeding was more than two hours prior to waking [at this point she typically eats once during the night between 3:30 and 5:00 AM]. I watch the Today Show/news during her feeding and think about the day ahead. Once she is done with her breakfast, she sits in a bouncy chair [or her Daddy spends time with her if he is available!] while I grab coffee and something quick to eat -narrating my actions to her all the while. Following our breakfasts we lay on the bed in her room and read a book or two and “chat” – which is adorable.

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Baby Bjorn Bouncer on loan from my BFF.

9:00AM [or as soon as she shows her “I’m sleepy” cues] – SLEEP

At 11 weeks old, Taylor is usually awake an hour and a half – give or take 30 minutes so, we get ready and go for a walk through the park to downtown where I [more often than I should] grab a decaf Americano at Starbucks and she takes a snooze. One of her daily naps is in her stroller for the duration of a 2-4 mile walk, usually in the morning. Yes, I have read this is not as restorative as a stationary nap in a bassinet or crib, but Taylor is getting in her sleep and I’m getting in my cardio – win, win!

If she is still sleeping when we get back to the house I start some laundry, tidy up the house and/or myself, scroll through social media or work on blog stuff.

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Must be nice to be so stinkin’ cute!

11:00AM – EAT, PLAY

After Taylor wakes up from what is usually a fairly long nap, she eats her second breakfast. While she eats I think, pray, brainstorm, watch TV, read Pinterest articles, etc. I change her diaper after she eats and put her in an outfit for the day which is inevitably more stylish than my own. And, yes I usually keep her in her Wondersuit most of the morning because they are so darn comfy and cute.

Next, Taylor has playtime under her play mat – this includes a few minutes of “tummy time” which is as much as she will tolerate at this point. But, we’re working on it!

She loves this play mat!

12:15PM – SLEEP

Taylor starts acting sleepy [yawning and looking off into the distance] so I take her to her room, turn on her white noise machine, swaddle her in her Halo sleepsack swaddle and bounce her on the yoga ball until she nods off, then transfer her into her DockATot in the crib. I think I will eventually [4+ months] use some type of sleep training to help her learn to self-soothe, but for now I’m doing whatever works to help her get all the sleep she needs.

3:00PM – EAT, PLAY

Yes, she does take one really long nap most days – hence, how I’ve had time to develop this blog; the girl likes her sleep! When she wakes up, she eats again and then I change her diaper. We’ll usually spend some time on the floor working on motor skills – I like to go through the daily suggestions on the Baby Sparks app. At this time I’ll usually take her out for a Target, Whole Foods or other errand run.

4:00PM – SLEEP

Taylor almost always falls asleep in her carseat during our errand-ing. If we haven’t run an errand I’ll do our quick nap routine of sound machine/swaddle/bounce/put down in crib or swing and she’ll take her nap at home. This is when I’ll usually sneak in a quick workout in the house or outside in our garage gym [watching the monitor, of course!].

5:00PM – EAT, PLAY

Time to eat and have her diaper changed again! She tends to cluster feed/tank up between 5:00 and 7:00, and sometimes even grabs a cat-nap, so I just follow her cues and feed/put her down for sleep on demand between now and her bedtime. AJ is typically done with work by now, so Taylor gets to spend special time with daddy [lucky baby!]. If I didn’t workout earlier, and it’s a day I’ve planned to, I’ll get that in while they have their time together.  Oh, and if it’s a bath day, this would also be the time we give her one. I tried giving her a bath as part of her nighttime routine a couple times, but she gets so pumped up in there it didn’t  seem like a  very good “wind down” activity for her.

7:00PM – SLEEP

Taylor’s bedtime routine and how we spend our evenings once she is down is a whole other post, so stay tuned!

I know that our current routines and rhythms will change once my maternity leave ends at the end of July, so I’m soaking up our sweet days together – the ones when we do a whole lot, and especially the ones where we do a whole lot of nothing but be together.

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Precious time with T.

What kind of routines and schedules do you use with your littles?  I’m curious to hear about your experiences with Babywise, Baby Whisperer, or other methodologies. What has and hasn’t worked for you? 

xo, Ashley (1)

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

Making Fitness Fit – Postpartum

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It’s important for us ladies to find ways to get in  “me time” – incorporating whatever elements keep us happy and balanced. For me, one of those elements has always been exercise. Over the years I’ve been a swimmer, a runner, a Crossfitter and a gym regular/wannabe bodybuilder – no matter the forum, I thrive from the mental and physical strengthening a hard workout brings. However, I’ve found that my expectations of myself and what my workouts would look like postpartum needed a little re-adjusting. I’m sure even more adjustment will be necessary once I head back to work!

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Shameless gym selfie – 2 months postpartum.

I truly thought I would be [superwoman/mom] able to jump quickly back into everything I loved to do before being pregnant/giving birth when it came to workouts. I dreamt of sprints, high intensity interval workouts in many iterations, heavy squats, etc. while the baby would have “daddy time” with AJ…I worked out 4 times a week throughout my entire pregnancy, even when I really didn’t feel like it, with the assumption that I could pick up where I left off after delivery.

I’ve since discovered that plan o’ mine is just not going to pan out due to unexpected, lingering pain resulting from a delivery complication – pelvic disruption. Frustrating? You bet. But rather than feeling discouraged and giving up altogether, I’m doing what I personally can to continue to stay consistent with working out [as well as making regular trips to my chiropractor!]. I can still rebuild strength & fitness around this issue.

The way I see it is that this pain [and my new, softer belly] is a reminder that I was Taylor’s home for 9+ months, and that she is now safely here with me – blessings worth ANY amount of discomfort.

How and when we get back into a shape we feel good about after pregnancy is a challenging, individual journey with no time limit. We mamas have to remember to be gracious with ourselves in this and all things – after all, our priority is loving our babes and keeping them healthy and happy every day. I’ll continue to share with you as I figure out ways to make fitness fit [oh, that’s catchy!] into my new, baby-centered reality, especially as I head back to work. 

In addition to getting in workouts in our garage gym [thanks, Hubby!], and the occasional jaunt over to 24 Hour Fitness, I’ve been coming up with a lot of quick, bodyweight workouts that you can complete in about 15-20 minutes in your home.

I came up with the workout shown below the other day and it took about 13 minutes with :45 second planks each round. Next time I may even tack on a few extra rounds!

Try it out, let me know your time and how it goes in the comments:

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P.S. If you’re interested in more of my postpartum workouts, subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss future posts on that topic : )

Baby Registry Essentials

Off The Beaten Baby Registry Essentials

This page contains affiliate links for your convenience. Views are 100% mine. If you purchase through a link, thank you!

I had the luxury of inheriting a killer registry list from my BFF which has been passed down and refined, pregnancy by pregnancy, by she and her teaching colleagues. It took out so much of the research and guess work I would have had to do otherwise! However, since Taylor’s birth, there are some non-traditional items that I’ve discovered by recommendation or figuring out by trial and error that I would definitely recommend adding to a registry [I used Amazon for mine] or purchasing ahead of time to have on hand. I hope you find some of these recommendations useful : )

SLEEP STUFF

  1. DockATot Deluxe

At first it may seem a little pricey, but a DockATot is well worth the investment when your baby is sleeping in it like a champ! I hadn’t heard about the brand before a girlfriend of mine recommended it to help Taylor and I with her sleep. Coupled with her bedtime routine [more on that here] and swaddling, I truly believe the DockATot was integral in getting her to sleep through the night in her own crib at only 6 weeks old! Docks can also be used in lieu of a more cumbersome Pack & Play when traveling – which is nice because your peanut will have something familiar in an unfamiliar sleep environment. DockATots also work great for “tummy time”sessions, and fit inside of most bassinets allowing you to use it to help transition baby from bassinet to crib. There are so many cute patterns like this one, this one and this one:

 

2. Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper bassinest

Speaking of bassinets….this one is the best! AJ’s barber recommended the Halo to him and I’m so thankful she did. Even though we transitioned her pretty quickly into her crib, I am still glad we used the Bassinest for the first weeks we had her home.  It pulls up right onto the edge of your bed [hello space saver!], and swivels out of the way when you need to get out of bed. When your baby wakes up at night you just push down the front panel to pull them out to feed, and if you hear any funny little noises [in case you didn’t know – newborns make the weirdest noises at night] you can look through the mesh and see what’s going on. I loved having Taylor so close to me while we slept, but also safe in her own little space.

3. Fisher-Price Moonlight Meadow Cradle ‘n Swing
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One of my besties recommended this swing for Taylor after hearing my complaints about her crap naps [20-30 minutes at a time], and I’m so glad we ended up getting it. The first time I tried swaddling her and placing her in it for a nap, she slept 1.5+ hours! Infants love being in motion.  This swing is literally the only place she has ever fallen asleep on her own thus far. She can nap peacefully in it up to 25 lbs, so we’ll continue to make good use of this item for months to come.

4. Halo Swaddle Sleep Sackshalo sleep sack

I am lazy and terrible at swaddling with blankets, so these sleep sacks have been lifesavers. I bought two of the newborn size and now two of the size smalls, so that if one gets dirty it’s not an emergency laundry situation before nap or bedtime. I also recently purchased one for her daycare bag as well. Update: now that Taylor is out of a swaddle, she still uses a Halo Sleep Sack – this winter weight sack keeps her warm and cozy:

5. Sound Machinesleep machine

If your baby is anything like my baby – white noise will quickly become your best friend. Taylor is pretty conditioned to fall asleep with the sound of “rain”. Originally not a believer, I started using white noise with her out of No Sleepville desperation via an app on my iPhone, and it eventually worked like a charm. Nowadays, if we’re on a walk and she starts to struggle-fuss because she is sleepy, I whip out my phone, place it next to her and she instantly settles down. Who cares if I sound like a walking thunderstorm?! For nighttime sleep I didn’t have anything with continuous play and I didn’t want to leave my phone running all night in her room, so I purchased a sound machine with that option.

NURSERY

6. Disposable Changing Padschange pads

For some reason, babies like to pee as soon as you take their diapers off – at least mine does. You don’t want to have to wash your cute changing pad cover every day [like I did for the first couple weeks before Amazon Priming these bad boys], so having a disposable pad on top saves you that step. Plus, they are great to stash in your diaper bag/car kit/portable changing clutch for diaper changes out and about.

water7. Water Wipes

Newborns are not supposed to have wipes with any chemicals on them, and at the hospital they may recommend just wetting dry wipes. I found these Water Wipes that are 99% water, and 1% monk fruit – totally all natural and you won’t have to take the step of wetting dry wipes which seemed totally annoying to have to do. I order them through Amazon.com, but they do also sell them at Target.

8. Drawer OrganizersIMG_1918

The IKEA Skubb collection is super great for organizing all the little clothing and accessories that babies require. I have these in all of her nursery drawers, and they really help to keep everything organized and neat – my OCD thanks IKEA. I bought 4 of the sets of six, and 2 of the ones with lots of little compartments. 

9. “My Brest Friend” – nursing pillowScreen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.46.01 PM

The “My Brest Friend” pillow has a solid sturdy surface, wraps around your waist providing a backrest, and is adjustable to your size. The attached pocket is super useful to store things you’ll need every time you feed your babe [I always keep protein bars, spit-up cloths, baby nail clippers, nipple cream and hand lotion for me stocked.]. Seriously, this pillow has been a MUST for us! I also have a Boppy nursing pillow, but personally it didn’t work for me – way too swishy!

10. Babyganics Foaming Hand SoapScreen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.25.28 AM

You can’t always get to the bathroom to wash your hands immediately, so it’s nice to have one of these easily accessible on your changing table. I also have one next to the chair where I usually nurse Taylor. The Babyganics brand is Pediatrician and Dermatologist tested- safe to use around your baby. I also have the mini version stashed in my diaper bag, stroller organizer, etc.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

11. Stroller Organizer ethan

Essential for holding your water bottle, coffee, keys, phone, baby socks/beanies/etc. for all those walks you’ll be taking on maternity leave and beyond! I linked the Ethan and Emma organizer I have and love.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.10.21 PM12. Baby Wondersuits by Bonds

I have 3-4 of these for Taylor in every size from 0-3 months up through 12-18 months, and they are pretty much all she sleeps in. Honestly, I have kept her in these most days for her morning play time as well. They have both short and long sleeve versions so your babes can sleep in them year round.
Stock up on fun prints and patterns with 2 for $39 Zip Wondersuits online. Shop now!
I can’t say enough about how much I love these things – super quality/comfy material, adorable patterns, zip from the top and bottom [who wants to bother with a bunch of buttons and snaps at 3AM?!] and fold over flaps for both feet and hands so that they stay warm and don’t scratch their little faces with flailing arms while they sleep. Bonds give free shipping to the US for orders over $100  AU dollars. Fortunately the conversion rate is such that you only end up spending about 75 US dollars – deal!!

13. Infant Tub by 4 MomsTUB

I originally had the PRIMO Eurobath tub that Taylor could grow into, and still plan to use later, but it was just too big and slippery for her infant self [and for me to feel comfortable bathing her as a new mama!]. This tub is made specifically for infants: it has a temperature gauge to ensure the water temperature is not too hot or too cold, there is a slip-proof pad on the bottom, and the water stays fresh and clean throughout the entire bath. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.24.38 AM14. Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier Grey –

We’ve used out Ergobaby carrier to bring Taylor with us everywhere – wine tasting, hikes, the grocery store, walks downtown, etc. It makes maneuvering around a lot easier than using her stroller, and she typically falls right to sleep in it. Another thing I didn’t realize – make sure to purchase the Infant Insert if you have a newborn [I believe they need the insert until about 15 lbs]. Amazon carries a combination carrier + insert HERE.

15. Inglesina High Chair – this is an absolute must-have for us to go out to eat with Taylor. I wish I had come across this idea sooner!

POSTPARTUM CARE

16. Sitz Bathseatz

This is not a glamorous recommendation by any means, but I have to keep it real with you…I had no idea how sore and uncomfortable I would be after giving birth. It got so bad that I ended up calling Kaiser, and the wonderful Advice Nurse recommended I get one a sitz bath, and use it a couple times per day for 10 to 15 minutes to promote healing, in addition to walks. I can’t tell you how much doing that helped, and I only wish I had had this from postpartum day ONE! It’s a new mama’s best friend ; )

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Make them. Trust me!

17. Padsicles

Last, but DEFINITELY not least…A friend recommended I make about two dozen “Padsicles” before delivering, and I’m infinitely glad I did. Trust me, if you are expecting you’ll want to go ahead and have these ready to rock for your first week postpartum. Your hubby might be a little weirded out by all the pads in the freezer at first, but it’s SO worth it. There are lots of “recipes” online, but I linked the one I used.

The ingredients you’ll need are: alcohol free witch hazel, extra thick maxi pads, lavender oil and 100% aloe vera.

What other “off the beaten registry” items have you discovered that I’m still missing out on? I’d love to follow up with a Part 2 using what you’ve found to be essentials!

xo, Ashley (1)


The Return Of Date Night

date-night-when-you-have-a-newborn

When Taylor was 2 months old, AJ and I headed out for our first date since her birth. We left her for in the care of my awesome parents and went out for a quick, early bird dinner at a great little farm to table restaurant, 31st Union.

I realized that I was giving pretty much all of my attention to Taylor [newborns tend to require approximately 110% of you], and not nearly as much to my hubby. Date night was a much needed refueling of our love tanks.

A stiff marg for him, a perfect glass of rosé for me, and the rest was blissful one on one history.

AJ and I have always loved dining at restaurants together, and have had some of our best conversations over good food and drink. It was hard to leave Taylor, but having that time as AJ + Ashley again was so sweet.  Nurturing my marriage and having a strong relationship with my husband – the relationship that created our gorgeous baby to begin with – is one of the best gifts I can give to my daughter. Not to mention that putting on actual “going out” clothes, makeup and even perfume made me feel like I was coming out of the sleep deprived, messy bun, yoga panted, newborn fog state I’d been in.

I believe that prioritizing each other/our marriage, will not only keep the romance alive, but help us to be better parents and show Taylor what a loving, healthy relationship looks like.

Cheers to that!

How do you make date nights happen? How often? Leave a comment and let me know!

xo, Ashley (1)