Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.

How many weeks am I? If you told me during my first pregnancy that during my second keeping track of my weeks was going to be a challenge I wouldn’t have believed you. But, it has been hard to keep track. Caring for a toddler while being pregnant is definitely a game changer. Now that I am nearing the end and counting down the days it is a little easier. I’m 35 weeks today, I think. ūüôā¬†

It hit me recently that I’m getting close to delivery. That made me panic a bit. Why am I panicing? I’ve done this before. I know what to do. Or do I? What if this one is different? What can I do to make it better? I need to start preparing for labor. Yikes!¬†

If you are reading this, I am sure you are feeling the same way I am. 

How will this labor and delivery be different and what do I need to do to prepare?

What gaps were there in my preparation last time and how do I fill them?

How do I know what I don’t know?

What should I be thinking about?

When you are expecting your second child there are many more considerations when the time comes to give birth. You also have enough experience to have an idea of how it will go (or how you want it to go), but every pregnancy and birth is different. 

Obviously, this will be different for each person, but keep reading below to see how I worked through this stage of pregnancy and what I learned from my first birth¬†and how I am currently handling preparation for my second son’s delivery.

Step One: Make peace with your last birth. 

Think about it. Talk about it. Process it. 

For me, this meant researching what happened to me, and finding out that what I experienced was precipitous labor. Just having a name for it was very helpful to me. When I posted my birth story, I didn’t know there was a special term for it and I didn’t know what it would mean for subsequent births.¬†

I have been doing a ton of research to try to figure out what it could mean for my next birth. Mainly, listening to birth stories from other moms who experienced precipitous labor, particularly moms who had multiple children. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find many stories (only one I think) of precipitous labor where the mother was induced like me. 

Before my research, I experienced a lot of anxiety around giving birth this time. My biggest fear is not making it to the hospital and having my baby at home or in the car on the way. My other fear was dragging my husband to the hospital over and over for false alarms. 

We live 1 hour and 6 minutes from the hospital. Labor with my son lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes (water breaking) or 1 hour and 41 minutes (starting Pitocin) depending on when you start counting. And second labors usually go faster! Not to mention, this time we have a toddler to drop off on the way.

My first step was to share my fears with my midwives and my doctor. After talking through it multiple times with different midwives, I felt a little better about it. I finally made an appointment to talk to the doctor about it. I wanted her to help me make a plan to give my baby the best chance of being born at the hospital. She told me to just wrap my head around driving to the hospital a lot for false alarms. Any time I start having contractions, start driving, and turn around if they stop. 

This gave me a little bit of peace about the situation. I talked to my husband about it and he understands. It is not going to be fun driving to the hospital who knows how many times, but we both accept that we will have to do it. It is good to be on the same page. 

Next, I started listening to birth story podcasts. I listened to every precipitous labor story I could find, including several car births and unplanned home births. This may cause more anxiety for some people, but it gave me a lot of peace. 

Hearing these women tell their stories was empowering for me. They gave me a description of what to expect if it were to happen to me and what I could do to plan for it. While I still hope to make it to the hospital, I think I will be able to handle a car birth if it comes down to it. 

Having an unplanned home birth is another story. We live 35 minutes from any hospital and 45 minutes from a hospital with a labor and delivery department. If we lived closer to a hospital, I would probably just plan for a home birth because of my history. My husband is glad we live too far from a hospital for this to be wise.

Thankfully, my husband feels very confident in his ability to handle a homebirth if it were to happen. Knowing that he will remain calm and do what needs to be done is a comfort to me. One birth story I listened to was a woman who gave birth at home and her husband and sister were so flustered she had to take charge and tell them what to do while she was pushing out her baby, including calling 911. I know my husband will be able to keep his head and take care of me and our baby. 

Pro Tip: When preparing for my first son’s birth, my husband read (probably skimmed) the book The Birth Partner*, which includes a section on what to do if you give birth in a car or at home. I made sure he read this section and will probably read it again myself before too long. This book was also a great resource when I found out I was going to be induced. It had so much information about what to expect and what the different options were surrounding induction and medical interventions. I read it on the way to the doctor the day I was induced.¬†

We also live across the street from our family doctor (who is a cousin) and used to deliver babies 30 years ago. So, in a pinch, we will call him over.

Moral of this long rambling story: Process your last birth and work through anything you need to work through to be at peace going into your second birth. Fear is the worst thing for childbirth.

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Step 2: Apply the Lessons You Learned

What did you learn from your last birth that you want to remember for this one? The biggest thing I learned was that if I don’t like my nurse I can ask for a new one. Who knew? I am planning to request the nurse that saved the day with my last birth and pray she is there and available when the time comes.¬†

Another takeaway is that delayed cord clamping doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. I am going to be more clear in my birth plan that I want to wait longer than the 30-60 seconds the hospital calls delayed cord clamping.¬†

On a lighter note, my husband learned that he needs a few more things in his hospital bag. He barely packed anything last time and while he still doesn’t have much packed this time, he did make a few additions I’ll talk about in the packing the hospital bag section below.

So, think through what it is for you that you learned and want to do differently this time around and make a plan. 

Step 3: Brush up on your Childbirth education.

Were you prepared for your last labor? Were you able to cope through contractions? Were you scared? Was your partner prepared and supported through labor and delivery? If not, take the time to research the areas you need to improve.

Take another birth class, or if you didn’t the first time, take a birth class. Some options are the Evidence Based Birth Childbirth class or the Mama Natural Childbirth Class, both of which are online if you happen to be giving birth during the COVID-19 pandemic like me or if its nearly impossible to get away for an inperson class.¬†

Reread your birth book of choice or find a new one. I read Ina Mae’s Guide to Childbirth* and it was extremely helpful. I wrote about it more thoroughly in my labor tips post.¬†

Step 4: Listen to Birth Stories

I have been binge listening to birth story podcasts lately and it has been so much fun! Immersing myself in the birth world again has been rewarding. Hearing other women’s stories has encouraged me and taught me a lot. It is a lot easier to listen to a podcast than to read a book these days. I have also been listening to the Evidence Based Birth Podcast to brush up on any new research out there.¬†

The birth story podcasts I have been listening to are The Birth Hour, Birthful, Evidence Based Birth, Australian Birth Stories, and Kiwi Birth Tales. I searched the Podcasts App for “precipitous labor” and listened to any episodes related. That is how I found all of these podcasts. I have since listened to many other birth stories on these podcasts, but that is where I started.¬†¬†

Watch Call the Midwife on Netflix. I find it oddly soothing and empowering when preparing for birth. It may not have the same effect on everyone, but it made me much less fearful when I starting freaking out during my first pregnancy. Seeing birth normalized and women supported is beautiful. I started the series over recently in preparation for this baby’s birth. I am not freaking out this time, but it is still empowering.¬†

Step 5: Reevaluate the Birth Plan

Say what? Second-time moms know having a birth plan is a joke. I know where you are coming from and I agree. However, there is value in making a birth plan. Maybe it needs a better name? Birth Considerations? 

The value lies in thinking through different things that could happen during your birth and how you would like them handled, if possible. An extreme example would be if you needed an emergency c-section. Did you know there are options? 

Also, having a birth plan lets your providers know where you stand on certain issues. Like I mentioned before, we asked for delayed cord clamping. Now we know we need to be more specific in our birth plan and define what we mean by “delayed”.¬†

I am all for a minimalist birth plan. Even if you just jot down a couple of things that are most important to you. The rest can just be in your and your husband’s head. Just make sure you’ve educated yourselves on what options you might be presented with and know where you stand. During labor is not the time to try to discuss some of these issues. If the discussions have been had beforehand, your husband will be better equipped to advocate for you and your baby in the moment.

Step 6: Reevaluate the Hospital Bag

I’d be willing to bet there were a few things you wish you had at the hospital or birth center at your first birth and I am positive there were many many things that never came out of your bag at all! I was amazed at how much the hospital provided and how little of my own things I needed. I literally barely opened my bag.¬†

My toiletries bag, some clothes, phone charger, and baby’s coming home outfit were about all I used at the hospital and we were there Monday – Thursday. I am planning to keep track of everything I use this time and write a post for you all! Stay tuned.

I did have a two very useful items in my toiletries bag in addition to the usual items. 

  1. Earth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray*

This stuff was wonderful in the hospital those first few days after birth. I kept it in the mini-fridge in our room and it was so soothing after trips to the bathroom. I talk more about it and postpartum recovery in this post.

2. Coconut oil

I used coconut oil for nipple cream after nursing (it doesn’t stain your clothes like lanolin) and on the flanges for pumping (to help my milk come in since my son was born at 36 weeks).

It was also great to apply to baby’s bum after birth and every diaper change until the first poo. It keeps the meconium from sticking and makes that first dirty diaper change a little easier.

Things we didn’t pack last time, but are packing this time:

  1. “Real Clothes” for going home.¬†

    We live about an hour from our hospital and our peditrician. The last thing we wanted to do was to turn around the next day and go to the pediatrician, so we made an appointment for the day we were released from the hospital and went on our way home. This was great. Except I packed yoga pants for the way home and I’m not a yoga pants in public kind of person. So, I had to wear what I wore to the hospital. We plan to do the same thing this time, so I will definitely pack real clothes to go home.¬†

2. Clothes for visitors

We didn’t have a ton of visitors (other than my mom and sisters), but when we did, I was not prepared with clothes that made me feel comfortable and presentable. This time I am packing my nice robe, even though we won’t be having any visitors (thanks to COVID-19).¬†

3. A Blanket and Pillow for my Husband

My poor husband froze every night in the hospital. and all he had was a sheet. We probably could have asked for a blanket and pillow, but my husband would rather suffer than ask. So, this time, the blanket and pillow are all packed. 

*COVID-19 Addition* 

I also packed snacks and drinks for my husband, since we won’t have visitors. Last time, my mom and sisters brought us meals and snacks every day and it was wonderful. There is this great ice cream place within walking distance of the hospital that has this amazing ginger ice cream. My sisters brought some to me after having my son and it was the best thing ever. I was already planning for that to be a post-birth treat again and I am super bummed that won’t be possible.

 Obviously, your experience will be different. The key is to think it through your last birth and make adjustments as needed.

Earth Mama Organics - A Little Something for Mama-To-Be

Step 7: Talk it Out

Have a conversation with your spouse about what went well during your hospital stay and what, if anything, needs some work. I already told you the adjustments we made to the hospital bag, so now I am going to brag on my husband. 

He was completely amazing after birth. He went into “Captain mode” and took charge of everything. All I had to do was focus on bonding with my baby and recovering. He kept track of feedings and told me when it was time to feed again, he managed the breast pump and cleaned all the parts after each use, and kept me on track. It was wonderful. When we had to briefly supplement with formula for blood sugar he handled the bottle feedings while I pumped. He did skin to skin while I ate or whatever else. He even helped me use the bathroom for the first couple of times. I cannot say enough good things about how well he took care of both of us in the hospital.¬†

This was especially important because I had a really strong reaction to the oxytocin released during breastfeeding for the first few days. The room would spin and make me really dizzy. I was exhausted and in no condition to keep track of feeding and pumping schedules for a preemie. Thankfully, my husband was on top of it all. 

I told my husband I hoped he would do the same this time too. I know not all moms would want or need this from their husbands, but it was exactly what I needed. Whatever it is you need from your husband, make sure to have the conversation ahead of time and set expectations/make requests. 

On the flip side, be sure to ask your husband if there is anything he thinks should go differently or anything he thought worked well. He is in this too and should be considered. I think we moms can get caught up in our roles in the birth process and forget that our men are right there with us playing a critical role as well. They desrve some appreciation and consideration too. They also have a different perspective from you and may think of something that you haven’t.

Step 8: Make a Plan for Your First Child

This is a big consideration that was not a factor first go-round. Who is going to watch your first child while you’re in the hospital having your second? How will you get your child to them or how will they get to your child?

We plan to drop my son at my husband’s aunt and uncle’s on our way to the hospital (it’s on our way) and my mother will pick him up there. It is very rare that someone is not home and this saves us the 25 minutes that it will take my mom to get here, which as you read above could mean the difference in having my son at the hospital or on the side of the road.

Likely, your labors last longer than mine and you will have a reasonable amount of time to get your child settled, but you still need to have a plan in place. 

Pro Tip: A mom friend of mine said that when she brought her 4th child home, her mother offered to bring her other children for a visit and then take them back to her house for a few more days. At the time, she wanted them home and all together. She said looking back she wished she had taken her mom up on it. So, maybe think about this as an option if you feel like you will need a few days at home to get in the swing of things with the newborn before adding in the older children.

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Step 9: Consider How You Will Introduce Your Children

I had a vision of my mom bringing my son to visit in the hospital to meet his little brother. I have a special gift* (the larger version of the one I bought for the baby) for my son from the baby that I was going to give him at the hospital. I wanted a picture of our new family of four on the hospital bed (the boys with their matching rhinos). I can see the picture in my head. 

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this will not become reality. Now, I am trying to create a new mental image of how this meeting will look. Honestly, I am drawing a blank. Anyone have any suggestions for me?? Leave me a comment! 

I know that it will all be fine and however it happens will be fine. My son isn’t even two, so he won’t remember. I am not looking for some perfectly choreographed moment, but a nice mental image to replace the one that’s there would be niee. Missing out on this moment is going to be the hardest thing for me dealing with COVID-19 Restrictions. It would be really nice to replae that mental image with one equally as beautiful before the birth, but I haven’t been able to come up with one so far.¬†¬†

All that to say, give it some thought. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic and serious moment, but it is a big deal and worth at least thinking through.

 

Step 10: Soak Up the Last Weeks with Your First Born

Adding to your family is an exciting time, but it can also be a little sad to think about having to divide your attention between two children. I am taking advantage of every moment to love on my little boy. Lots of hugs and kisses, playing outside, playing in the floor (which is getting harder and harder), reading books, and savoring bed times. It is so hard to keep up our good bedtime habits, because I just want to snuggle him and savor every moment. 

I see a lot of moms that are worried about having enough love to go around when they have subsequesnt children. It is hard to imagine how I will love another child as much as I love my first, but I know I will. I think your heart just doubles in size and grows to encompass the new little life. I remember the immediate flood of pure love the second they placed my son on my chest. At the time, my husband said “well, are you ready for your heart to live outside you’re body from now on?” How true is that?¬†

Snuggle your first child every chance you get and savor every moment! 


Well this has been quit the all emcompassing guide. I hope it helps you as you prepare for your big day!

 I will try to do a follow up on the other side of delivery and let you know how this preparation worked for me. 

¬†You’ve got this, mama!

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How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.

If you have read just about any other post I have written then you know how important quality is to me when it comes to buying decisions. Baby clothing, and now toddler clothing, is no different. There is no comparison between cheap children’s clothes and well-made, quality children’s clothing; the feel, the wear, and the longevity just cannot compare. Unfortunately, my budget does not allow me to buy high-end baby clothes as freely as I would like. However, I have found ways to outfit my child in quality children’s clothing on a budget. Keep reading to find out how.

Why buy quality children’s clothing?

Let me count the ways. 

1. You will have to buy a lot less. 

High-quality children’s clothing lasts a lot longer and holds up a lot better than inferior brands. This means you will have to buy less and can pass along more to younger siblings (or resale).¬†

2. Comfort

You know how soft and sweet baby clothes are when you first get them, right? Swoon! So, soft and cuddly and wonderful. Then you wash it and suddenly that super soft baby outfit is rough and scratchy. That doesn’t happen when you buy high-quality baby clothing. They are still soft wash after wash.¬†

3. Joy

It really is the simple things in life. There is value in feeling good about the clothing you put on your children. Yes, dressing my child in well-made clothing brings me joy. Just me?

4. Style

I am not super into fashion by any means, but I do like the style and cuts of higher-end brands over traditional or budget brands. A more tailored cut makes a big difference, especially for my skinny guy.

Sold on buying quality clothing for your child? Great! Now let me tell you how to afford it. 

I use three main methods to purchase children’s clothing: In-person Consignment Sales, Resale Apps, and Shopping Sales/Clearance.

In-Person Consignment Sales

I am fortunate enough to live right in between two cities that each have very large consignment sales twice a year. There is a good chance you can find these types of sales in your area as well. 

Consignment sales are great places to find great deals on high-end baby items; clothing and gear. Some of my favorite outfits for my son have come from these sales. 

Pros: Great prices, no shipping costs, able to inspect an item before purchase, usually very organized, and no waiting for the mail.

Cons: You have to guess what size your child will be through the next few months and stock up, crowded, have to “play the game”, filter through a lot of junk to find the gems, long check out lines, and makes for a long day.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use Facebook to find consignment sales in your area.
  • Join the Facebook group of any sales you find to stay up to date on when the sale will be.
  • When the sale gets closer, pay attention to the instructions on Facebook Group. See if any early shopping days apply to you (New mom, new grandparent and guest, etc.). Some sales will let you in early on opening day if you bring canned goods to donate.
  • Go to the sale twice: Opening day for the best selection and one of the last days when they usually discount everything 50% or more.
  • Try to go without your child/children if possible. It makes it easier to maneuver and you can stay focused. If you must take your child, opt for a baby carrier over a stroller for easier maneuverability.
  • Only take in a shopping bag and a wallet. This is all most sales allow, so plan for it.
  • Make a list of what you need and prioritize. When you get inside, go to the top priority items first and work your way down your list, even if it isn’t the most logical way to navigate the space.¬†
  • Look for “Boutique Brands” sections to find higher-end baby items, but check through all the clothing too and you usually find some gems.¬†
  • Once you start buying quality children’s clothing, you start to learn to tell what is quality just by feel and can find some great items from unknown-to-you brands. I’ve found a few items I love and went to buy more from those brands and found out that they were very high-end brands that just weren’t on my radar.¬†

A Note on Consignment Stores

I’m not going to lie, I’m not a huge fan of consignment stores. The only ones we have around are Once Upon A Child and the organization or lack thereof makes me a little crazy. I have found some good brands in their 10 for $10 onesie bins, but it took a lot of digging. I usually only go to consignment stores if I am already in the area and/or need something specific and can’t wait. It is probably worth checking out the consignment stores in your area. I know that some are better than others.¬†

Resale Apps

What do I do in between consignment sales? Resale apps! Kidizen*, Mercari*, and Poshmark are my three go-to apps for quality children’s clothing. They each have their little quirks, which I will break down for you, but I have used all three to buy great high-end baby clothing.

Kidizen

Kidizen* is by far my favorite. It is the only one that is dedicated to children (and some for mama). Children’s clothing is the main focus and they do it well. The community is much different too. Mothers selling used baby clothing to other mothers. Most shops are just selling their own children’s outgrown clothing and are not trying to make a living selling online. This makes the atmosphere supportive and understanding.¬†

Pros: Supportive community, available whenever, a great activity for insomnia, great selection, usually free shipping, and good deals.

Cons: Potentially time-consuming and addictive and sometimes shipping times can be longer than you’d like.

Tips and Tricks

  • If you see an item you like, add it to your cart. This sends a notification to the seller and asks them if they would like to make you an offer.
  • If you add an item to your cart, go to that seller’s profile and see what else they are selling that you may be interested in as well. Most shops have a discount if you buy more than one item and sellers will usually give you a better offer on multiple items.
  • Unless it is something you wouldn’t be ok missing out on, leave an item in your cart for at least 24 hours to give the seller a chance to make you an offer.¬†
  • Create filters for each child to make filtering search results quick and easy.¬†
  • Make a filter of your favorite brands. You will have to adjust the filter for each child (or make a favorite brand’s filter for each child). This allows you to see what’s out there from the brands you love without having a specific item in mind. Just go to “Shop”, choose Boy, Girl, or Baby, and then filter using your Favorite Brands filter.¬†
  • Set your filters for your child’s current size and next size or two up.¬†
  • Set up notifications or make sure you check your app daily once you’ve added items to your cart. Offers are only good for 24 hours.¬†

Referral Offer: $5 off your first purchase if you use this link.*

Poshmark

My second favorite, by a long shot. I have scored some great deals though. I always start my search with Kidizen* and if I can’t find what I’m looking for then I go to Poshmark or Mercari.¬†

The way you get good deals on Poshmark is the long game. Instead of adding an item to your cart, like Kidizen, you like/heart an item. This allows the seller to send offers to anyone who has liked an item. This means more competition for an item, but you can get some good deals this way. The downside is it can take a while for those offers to come in. My child has grown out of the size before an offer has come back on an item I had liked. 

The other way to get a deal on Poshmark is by making offers. If there is an item that you want that is outside of your price range, make an offer. The worst that can happen is they ignore your offer. I got an amazing deal on a Filson tote bag that I used as a diaper bag for my first son this way. The seller can counter-offer as well. 

Pros: You’re able to easily search by brand, Poshmark is mostly high-quality items, your recent searches are saved and pop up when you click in the search box, and you can get good deals.¬†

Cons: Sellers can be slow with offers, set (high) shipping costs (although you can get a shipping discount with an offer), I don’t think their filtering works properly, and not as child/mom focused.

Tips/Tricks

  • Like/heart anything and everything that catches your eye.
  • Don’t be afraid to make offers on items you particularly want.
  • Check back frequently or set up notifications so you don’t miss an offer.
  • Accept an offer quickly because it likely didn’t go to just you. I have missed out on some good deals this way.
  • Be mindful of shipping costs. I tend to forget about Poshmark’s¬†set shipping costs when evaluating a price.

Referral Offer: Get $10 when you sign up with my invite code. Invite Code*: SOWEN08

Mercari

Like Poshmark, Mecari* has its uses but isn’t my favorite. The main time I use Mercari is when I am looking for a very specific product. Mercari lets you set up Saved Searches. You can search for an item, set your filters, and then toggle the option to save search. Then whenever you go into your app you can go to your saved searches and see what’s new for that search. You do not have to re-search and re-filter constantly.¬†

Mercari* uses likes/hearts like Poshmark. This allows sellers to send you, and anyone else who liked the item, to send you offers and alerts you to any price changes to the item. 

I get the best results when I make offers on products, again like Poshmark. 

The community on Mercari* leaves a little to be desired. My husband bought an iPhone from a seller claiming it was in great condition. By the time we were able to get it set up and working, we were out of the window to be able to do anything about it. It was (and still is) very glitchy. He can’t answer phone calls sometimes and his keyboard freaks out regularly. Super frustrating.¬†

I bought a pair of shoes for my son and, again, it took me too long to figure out that they were two different sizes and the time for getting a refund had passed. I messaged the seller anyway and she fessed up to having bought them on Mercari and thinking her son’s feet were just weird and reselling them.

Pros: Saved searches, you can find just about anything on Mercari* (not just children’s clothes), easy to navigate the app, and good deals.

Cons: Less than desirable community, lots of “professional” sellers, a limited amount of time to report problems, and they send a lot of emails.

Tips/Tricks

  • Thoroughly inspect your products inside the window of being able to return it and get a refund.
  • Don’t be afraid to make offers.
  • Like anything and everything that catches your eye.
  • Turn on notifications or check your app regularly for offers.
  • Set up saved searches and check back periodically for new matches.

Referral Offer: $10 off your first purchase when you use my link*.

Sales/Clearance

The last and most rare way I buy high-end children’s clothing is direct from the company when they have a good sale. Signing up for a company’s email newsletter and following them on Facebook/Instagram are the best ways of knowing when a good sale is going on. It also a great way to tempt yourself to spend money you don’t want to spend. The best sales are extra percent off clearance. That is when I find the best deals.¬†

Pros: New products, you know what you’re getting, returnable, exactly what you want, fun, satisfying, and you get at least one more generation of wear out of the item.

Cons: Temptation to buy more than you would otherwise, taunting, lots of emails, and Free shipping thresholds encourage extra spending.

Tips/Tricks

  • Use a “junk” email address. I’ve been doing this for about 15 years now. I use one email address for email newsletters/signups/non-personal emails. Anything that is not a personal email goes to one email account. I still check it every day, but personal emails don’t get buried in junk emails and it keeps my personal email account cleaner. I highly recommend this method.
  • ¬†Always do a quick Google search for a coupon code before making a purchase.
  • Do a quick search on Kidizen, Mercari, and Poshmark to make sure you can’t get a better deal on the items from there first.
  • Pay attention to sales cycles. You will learn what time a year each company runs their big sales and what is a good deal and what’s not.

Does all of this sound like way too much work for you and you would rather just pay the money?

Then I have an option for you!

¬†I haven’t been able to try it myself though, but I am counting down the days until my son is wearing 2T clothing so I can give it a try.¬†

Stitch Fix Kids

While I am not a regular subscriber to Stitch Fix*, I will do an occasional Fix for myself. If you want to find unique high-end clothing pieces for your child without spending the time seeking it out, Stitch Fix Kids* will do the work for you and send you a box of clothing items. Try them on your child, purchase what you like, and send back what you don’t. There is a styling fee that is applied to any purchase you make. If you do try it, let me know what you think in the comments below?

Referral Offer: Use my link and get $25 off your first box*.

Well, there you have it. How to buy high-end children’s clothing on a budget. It seems like a lot of work, but it is actually just a few minutes here and there.¬†

Happy shopping!

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.How many weeks am I? If you told me during my first pregnancy that during my second keeping track of my weeks was going to be a challenge I wouldn't have believed you....

read more
Gift Ideas for Husbands

Gift Ideas for Husbands

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.Every time a gift-giving occasion rolls around, I try to search for gift ideas for my husband. I never seem to find a list that fits him at all. This year, I thought I...

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How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.If you have read just about any other post I have written then you know how important quality is to me when it comes to buying decisions. Baby clothing, and now toddler...

read more
Easter Basket Guide: Babies and Toddlers

Easter Basket Guide: Babies and Toddlers

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.

Easter is only a few weeks away! I cannot believe it! Easter is one of my favorite times of the year. I love spring! Everything is blooming and it’s warming up and we take time to reflect on the new life Christ has given us through His death on the cross and Resurrection.¬†It is also Easter basket time.

While we keep the main focus on Christ’s Resurrection in our home, we did choose to do an Easter basket for our son last year and plan to do one again this year.¬†

Easter baskets usually conjure up images of piles of candy with a chocolate bunny on top. This is obviously not a good choice for babies and toddlers (or any age really), so what should we put in our little one’s Easter Basket? I have come up with a few options by price point and age.

But first, let’s talk Easter Basket’s themselves.¬†

No Spend: My son is currently using my old Easter Basket, which is just a plain basket. Any basket you already have at home should work just fine.

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I found these basic baskets* on Amazon that I personally prefer over plastic ones or bags with ears, etc. 

Spend

Pottery Barn Kids has really beautiful Easter Baskets that are usually on sale around Easter. 

Splurge

If you want the basket to be part of the gift, Olliella is your choice. They have adorable baskets intended for play. 

“Grass” for the Baskets

It is nice to have something in the baskets for the gifts to rest on, but plastic grass is not my idea of a good option. So, I came up with a couple of my own. 

Swaddle Blanket – What better basket filler than a swaddle blanket for a newborn? Plus, an excuse to buy that cute bunny swaddle* you’ve had your eye on. Ok, that I’ve had my eye on. It is so adorable.¬†

Play Silks – One play silk or a set of play silks would make great basket fillers for toddlers. They are great for imaginative play. Here is a seller that sells individual real silk play silks*, as well as playsilk sets. Here is a set of three polyester “play scarves”* in Easter colors for a more reasonable price.¬†

 

Basket Ideas

I am a quality over quantity kind of person and that attitude will be reflected in my recommendations. Personally, I would rather spend the same amount of money on one high-quality item them load a basket full of junk. 

 

Babies

Let’s be honest, your baby is not going to care if they get an Easter Basket, much less what’s in it. My husband reminds me of this regularly. I, in turn, remind him that I don’t care. I still want to make it special. You probably feel the same way. This reminder is included only to guide what you choose to put in the basket. Think of it as a chance to buy something useful that you may not have bought otherwise, a nice-to-have version of a need, or just a need is perfect too.

Soothers

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Bibs Pacifier* РThese are the only pacifiers I used for my son (expect the Avent ones very briefly). I love that they are natural rubber, have soft nipples, and are beautiful. Buy them two at a time here* and get Amazon Prime shipping* (Free Trial).

Spend

Bunny Pacifier Holder* –¬† My nephew had one of these and it was super cute. He even passed it on to his sister.

Splurge

Little Giraffe Baby Blankies* РMy son received two of these when he was born. They are still on his toddler bed today. Super soft and cuddly. 

 

Teethers

 

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Soft Silicone Fruit Teether Set* РSeveral brands sell these. I purchased a set for Baby #2 during sales before Christmas, but I am not sure which brand. This brand has the best price/best reviews (at the moment), is a set of five, and each comes with its own carrying case. 

Spend

ZoLi Chubby Gummy Teether* РMy son got these for his first Christmas at two months old  and still uses them now at 17 months old. I see that they have another style out now too that is more Easter-y.

Splurge

The Teething Egg ¬†– This was in my son’s first Easter Basket (from Grandma). Super cute and Easter themed. It takes a little more dexterity than some of the others, but once he got the hang of it he liked it. He used it for a while, but not as long as the ZoLi teethers that he is still using now.¬†

 

Toys

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Wrist Rattles and Feet Finders* – My mom gave these to my son for Easter and he thoroughly enjoyed them. He will still occasionally sneak them out of the put-away toys and ask me to put the wrist rattles on him.

Spend

Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy* – My son has had this toy since he was born and it was the very first toy with which he was able to play. He would probably still be playing with it if I hadn’t put up his baby toys after his first birthday party.¬†

Splurge

Manhattan Toy Classic Baby Beads Wood Rattle* – Another favorite of my son at this age that lasted through his first birthday (and beyond). Also available in natural wood*.

 

Books

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Bunny Roo, I Love You* РThis is one of my favorite illustrators. Absolutely beautiful. I found one of her books at a book store in Alaska while visiting my sister. I bought it before I was even pregnant. I now own three of her books. 

Spend

The Secret Garden* –¬†BabyLit Primers are so fun! We have The Jungle Book and will probably keep adding to the collection. What I like about these books is that they are not a dumbed-down version of the real story. They use real quotes from the book to teach numbers, colors, animals, and in The Secret Garden, flowers. It gives children a taste of the real book to hopefully get them excited for the real thing. The Secret Garden is a nice spring pick.

Splurge

See, Touch, Feel* – This book was in my son’s first Easter Basket. It is a fun book sensory book for babies that he really enjoyed. I picked this book up at Sam’s Club around Easter for less than it is listed on Amazon right now.¬†

 

Soft Toys

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Jellycat Bunny Rattle* – Jellycat is a favorite around here. Grammy keeps my son well-stocked in Jellycats and he loves them all. They are so soft and sweet. They also have other colors and animals in this rattle and you can’t go wrong with any Jellycat plush toy.

Spend

Maileg Rattles – Maileg has a collection of rattles too. My son has the Rhino and it (still) lives in my church purse. The rattle is very soft and quiet. He enjoyed chewing on the horn and shaking it around. So adorable. So well made. I love Maileg! I do not get any commission when you make a purchase from my Maileg links, I just love them so much and want you to experience the joy too!

Splurge

Maileg My First Bunny – More Maileg of course. Just check it out. So cute!

 

Toddlers 12-24 Months

My son will be 18 months at Easter and I am not going to pretend to be an expert on anything beyond my experience. I am buying and suggesting items I believe would be usable at 12 months and will last him to age 2.

Crayons and Chalk

My son is starting to want to color and I am planning to put crayons and sidewalk chalk in his Easter Basket this year.

Save

Crayola Palm Grip Crayons Р3 ct.*  

Jumbo Sidewalk Chalk*

Spend

Crayola Palm Grip Crayons – 6ct.*

Egg Shaped Sidewalk Chalk (not much more expensive than the jumbo chalk)

Splurge

 Jumbo Toddler Chalk (not eligible for commission)

HoneySticks Beeswax Crayons РThey smell like honey! I have debated getting these, but I am not sure this is an area I am ready to splurge on just yet. We will probably start with the Crayola 3 count and teach him to treat them well first.

Don’t forget the drawing paper. Maybe not for the basket, but to have on hand to try out the new art supplies. I am planning to buy a pack of white construction paper* to start.¬†

Toys

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My First Stacker* – We have other toys by Green Toys, so I know it is a good brand even if we don’t have this specific toy.

Colorful Shapes Puzzle* – My sister gave my son this puzzle for Christmas and he is just starting to figure it out. Very basic and simple, but exactly what you need from a first puzzle.

Blank Wooden Blocks* РGreat for open-ended play. 

Spend

Stacking Cups* – These stacking cups are beautiful muted colors and are on my list of possibilities for my son’s Easter Basket.

Chunky Stand Up Puzzle* – My son received this puzzle for Christmas from his Grammy and Grandad. The pieces stand up and my son likes to play with them apart from the puzzle board as well. Very cute. Even has a bunny for Easter. May need a larger Easter Basket for this one (or just put it beside it).

Tegu Magnetic Blocks* – My son has a set of these from Christmas that he enjoys playing with whenever I let him. We have strict rules about playing with them (sitting at his table in the kitchen and they don’t leave the room). The best thing about these (other than being aesthetically pleasing) is that they will grow with him. The sets can all be combined and the builds can get more complex as he grows. This set is small enough for an Easter Basket.¬†

Splurge

Wooden Stacking Tower* – *Note* This is a very small stacking tower (Easter Basket Sized). I don’t want you to be surprised when it arrives. We considered this stacking tower for my son’s first birthday but ended up ordering one on Etsy. We are happy with it, but sometimes I wish I had opted for this one.

Chunky Shapes Puzzle – I have admired Bannor Toys for a while, but have yet to splurge on this brand yet, but hope to soon. Let me live vicariously through you!

Alphabet Blocks – Another Bannor Toys find. They have awesome toys. Check them out!

Books

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Little Blue Truck* – This has been a favorite of my son for a while now, but he is starting to point out and learn the animals and that is fun in a whole new way!

Spend

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site* – One of my son’s absolute favorites these days. I like that it encourages hard work and paints work as a fulfilling, meaningful, and enjoyable part of life. It also teaches the main pieces of construction equipment and their functions.¬†

Splurge

The Jesus Storybook Bible* – This book takes your child through the entire Bible with a focus on God’s love and the Gospel. Every story points to Jesus. What better time than Easter to make this book a part of your collection and routine?

Soft Toys

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Jellycat Bunny* – As stated above, Jellycat is a favorite. They have a huge variety of plush toys that are all wonderfully soft and cuddly. We have many of them and will probably end up with many more over the years. My son really likes stuffed animals. Bunny not for you? Check out the rest of their collection.

Spend

Mouse in a Box РMaileg, of course. Check out all of their bunnies. For older children, check out their rabbits and mice for imaginative play! 

Splurge

Safari Friends – Maileg has a wonderful collection of stuffed animals. Amazing quality. My first son has the hippo and we are thinking about the rhino for Baby Boy #2 coming in July!

 

Whew! This is a really long post. Maybe my longest yet. And the most fun. I could do this post all over again and not repeat any specific item!

I hope you found this post useful and were able to complete your shopping for your little bunny. Let me know in the comments!

If you liked my suggestions in this post, you might like my post about Baby Gear. 

*Pro Tip #1* Coincidentally, many of these items can be found at The Baby Cubby*.

If you are planning to buy several of these toys (over $25), your order will qualify for free shipping. The Baby Cubby* carries Maileg, Bibs Pacifiers, Tegu, Jellycat, Manhattan Toys, and have comparable items to most of my recommendations. You may have more reliable shipping than from Amazon right now.

¬†*Pro Tip #2* I’ve noticed that Amazon is delaying shipping right now, so go ahead and get your orders in as soon as possible.

If you are having trouble finding what you want on Amazon, try Etsy.com. Make sure when you search, you filter on shops in the US (because of limited shipping time) and check to see how long before the item ships to make sure your item arrives in time. I am looking at some crayons and chalk myself.

Let me know what you end up putting in your child Easter basket!

 

 

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.How many weeks am I? If you told me during my first pregnancy that during my second keeping track of my weeks was going to be a challenge I wouldn't have believed you....

read more
Gift Ideas for Husbands

Gift Ideas for Husbands

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.Every time a gift-giving occasion rolls around, I try to search for gift ideas for my husband. I never seem to find a list that fits him at all. This year, I thought I...

read more
How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.If you have read just about any other post I have written then you know how important quality is to me when it comes to buying decisions. Baby clothing, and now toddler...

read more

A Subjective List of Pregnancy Must-Haves

A Subjective List of Pregnancy Must-Haves

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.

I’m sure you are tired of hearing how every pregnancy is different for every woman and even each pregnancy for each woman, but it is true! The reality is that what is a “must-have” for one woman isn’t even a nice-to-have for another woman, but entirely useless. Keep that in mind as you continue to read “Pregnancy Must-Have” posts, including this one. That’s right. I don’t claim to have the definitive answer on what EVERY WOMAN EVER TO BE PREGNANT needs for her pregnancy. All I am here to do is provide you with some solutions to some issues that I experienced during my pregnancies. Hopefully, they will be useful to you.¬†

How to use this post: Read it, save it to Pinterest, and refer back to it as these issues crop up during your pregnancy as well or use the advice if you are currently experiencing these issues as well. 

How not to use this post: Read it, panic buy everything I recommend (and every other post like this you read), and then hate me when you don’t end up needing half of it.¬†

Got it? This is a subjective list. I hope it is helpful to you, but I don’t claim to be an expert on your pregnancy. That’s you, mama. You’ve got this. Trust your instincts.¬†

All that being said.

Here are the things that I found incredibly useful during my two pregnancies:

Pregnancy Pillow

Before I got pregnant, I wouldn’t have believed that a pregnancy pillow was necessary, much less a must-have. I wouldn’t even have bought one at all if I hadn’t had a coupon and found it on sale. I am not above admitting I was wrong. I was wrong. A pregnancy pillow is a must-have, for me. Sleep is a big struggle for me in general, but particularly during pregnancy.

When I was about 7 months pregnant with my son we had to do some traveling. Since we were flying, I thought I could manage without my pillow. Our hotel room happened to have two queen beds and even with every single pillow off of both beds (except the one my husband was using), I was still unable to get comfortable and sleep well. By the end of the trip, my husband vowed we would never travel pregnant again without it. 

My husband calls my pregnancy pillow “The Great Wall of China”. He wasn’t thrilled at first when I brought it home. Then one night, I came to bed after brushing my teeth to find him using it. He has seen how much better I sleep with it and has accepted it as beneficial for all.¬†

*Pro Tip* Instead of having the long side go along your back, flip it around so the long side goes down your front to the outside of the bed. This will allow your husband to snuggle with you like normal. 

Benefits of the Pregnancy Pillow

1. It allows you to sleep any way you want while providing the support you need to stay off your belly and keep from decreasing circulation. 

It is well known that the optimal position for sleeping during pregnancy is on your left side. While that is always my goal, it doesn’t always happen. With my pregnancy pillow, I can sleep on my back, stomach (sort of), propped up for heartburn (with a regular pillow added under my head/shoulders, and either side.¬†

2. Reduced visits to the chiropractor. 

My chiropractor spent over a year telling me that my neck was going to keep needing adjusting as long as I kept sleeping on my stomach. Getting pregnant, making an effort to sleep on my left side, and using my pregnancy pillow to get the proper support allowed me to go much longer in-between visits to the chiropractor. I pretty much quit going due to back/hip/neck pain and only resumed during the third trimester when I started going in preparation for labor (highly recommended). 

3. Most importantly: Better Sleep

Sleep during pregnancy is not easy. Even when you do sleep, you have crazy dreams! I get a lot more sleep using my pregnancy pillow than when I don’t.¬†

There are many options out there, this is the one I have* and it’s great. The only downside is that it is quite a challenge to get the cover back on. Usually gets a good laugh out of me whenever I fight that battle.

Water Cup/Bottle

It is important to drink enough water during pregnancy and I find that I am much thirstier when pregnant. I pretty much have water with me 24/7. Any cup or bottle will do. Whatever makes you happy. You probably already having something at home you can use. 

I find that I drink more water when it is really cold. So, I love my Yeti Rambler*. The poor thing is about 5 years old and served me well in the years before pregnancy and is still going strong through my second pregnancy (over halfway now!). I was quite the reluctant Yeti convert. Mine was given to me and it definitely won me over. We now have several different varieties of Yeti Drinkware*.

However, the best bottle/cup out there is whatever is easy for you to haul around everywhere and whatever facilitates you drinking the most water. Some people prefer room temperature water and some people find they drink more through a straw. There is no one right answer here. Just drink water! 

Prenatal

Of course, you already know you need to be taking a prenatal vitamin. This is about which ones to take. Different prenatal vitamins will have different effects on you, so don’t be afraid to try different ones, especially during the first trimester if the one you are taking is causing morning sickness or making digestive issues worse.

I used Mama Natural’s and Wellness Mama’s blog posts on choosing a prenatal to choose which prenatal vitamins to take during my first pregnancy. I ended up taking New Chapter Perfect Prenatal* and Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA*. I took them at night and they were great.

The only downside was that it required me to take 5 pills every night. After almost two years (yes, you are supposed to take prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant and throughout your time breastfeeding), taking 5 pills a night was getting old. I started researching other options.

I ended up switching to Ritual Vitamins*. They suspend the dry ingredients in the oily ingredients in a nested capsule format that means I only need to take two pills every night, instead of 5. I also like the lemon-scented tab in the bottle (removable if you don’t like it). It makes the pills more palatable than most vitamins. The only downside is they don’t contain a probiotic like New Chapter Perfect Prenatal. I picked up some gummy probiotics* and take those during the day when I remember.

Overall, swallowing 2 pills each day and having my order auto shipped each month won out. Ritual* also provides a printable handout to take to your doctor with the ingredients and amounts, so you can feel confident you and your baby are getting the right amount of nutrients. 

Pro Tip: If you struggle to remember to take your prenatal vitamins, try putting them on your nightstand with a bottle of water and taking them before bed each night. This is especially helpful during morning sickness. This is the only way I remember to take mine each day.

Pregnancy App

Must have may be a stretch… how about lots of fun! For my first pregnancy, I used the BabyCenter free app and BabyList (registry) sent me weekly emails about the progress of my pregnancy. They were fun. BabyCenter gives you a fruit or veggie size comparison and BabyList chose mostly none food items for comparison. Both included information relevant to that week/stage of pregnancy. They were both fine.

However, when I got pregnant this time, I decided to see what else was out there in the world of pregnancy tracking and found Ovia Pregnancy (free app). Ovia has many customizations and shows you not only a size comparison (in four different categories), but shows you the size of the hands and feet each week as compared to baby’s hands and feet at 40 weeks gestation. It’s pretty adorable.

Ovia also provides a lot of useful information and allows you to track a ton of useful data. Right now, I take my blood pressure every night and enter the reading into a graph in Ovia. This will allow me to easily catch if my blood pressure starts creeping up again (you can read my preeclampsia birth story here).

Another usual feature is a built-in calendar. You can add doctor’s appointments and track milestones, but to me, the handiest part is being able to check and see easily at a glance how pregnant you are going to be on a certain date. For instance, I hit 37 weeks on July 4th. Your weeks are written in on the calendar.

Like I said, not a pregnancy must-have, but a lot of fun and potentially useful if you’re like me and need to track data in between doctor’s appointments.

Pregnancy Book

Honestly, I haven’t picked up my pregnancy book this pregnancy. My son is only 17 months old and it’s still pretty fresh. However, I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy book during my first pregnancy. It was very helpful as I navigated all the options new mothers have presented to them. It is also full of helpful tips and tricks for getting through pregnancy. There are so many pregnancy books out there and I am sure just about any of them would be just fine. I tend to lean on the crunchy side just a bit, so I went with Mama Natural’s Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. She presents all options fairly with the pros and cons. She also maintains a healthy respect for the healthcare system and knows that there is a point when medical intervention is the right answer.¬†

Maternity Clothes

Obviously, at some point, that is different for each woman and each pregnancy, you are going to outgrow your current wardrobe. I am fortunate enough to live in a community where there is a shared store of maternity clothes that we all pass around as needed. This means I have purchased very few maternity clothes myself. The downside to this awesome situation is that not everything is my style or size, so I want to purchase a few pieces of my own.

I have found some decent pieces at the resale store Clothes Mentor. But, this pregnancy I also tried something different. My friend sent me a referral link (that included a credit) to Stitch Fix* ($25 Credit). I decided to give it a try for maternity clothes. I was VERY surprised at how happy I was with the choices my stylist made for me. I ended up with a great dress, a super comfy pair of nice skinny jeans, and a pair of capris (and I’ve never worn capris in my life).

I also have two support tank tops from Blanqi* ($20 credit). They are great, but I wish they had them available in petite. I have a very short torso and they are so long. I usually fold them up about 4-6 inches to hid them under whatever shirt I am wearing. Their leggings look pretty great too, but I haven’t tried them yet.¬†

Cotton nursing bras* are huge must-haves (for me) at night/at home for when your breasts get sore in pregnancy and then for when you are breastfeeding. I may or may not be wearing one of these exact ones right at this moment.

Maybe I should just write a full post on maternity clothes… Interested?

Well, there you have it. My completely subjective Pregnancy Must-Haves. I hope my list helps you in some way as you navigate your pregnancy. 

Have you found a great pregnancy product? Leave me a comment below!  

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.How many weeks am I? If you told me during my first pregnancy that during my second keeping track of my weeks was going to be a challenge I wouldn't have believed you....

read more
How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

How to Buy Quality Children’s Clothing on a Budget

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.If you have read just about any other post I have written then you know how important quality is to me when it comes to buying decisions. Baby clothing, and now toddler...

read more
Easter Basket Guide: Babies and Toddlers

Easter Basket Guide: Babies and Toddlers

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.Easter is only a few weeks away! I cannot believe it! Easter is one of my favorite times of the year. I love spring! Everything is blooming and it's warming up and we...

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Postpartum Recovery: Encouragement, Must-Haves, and Unexpected Joy

Postpartum Recovery: Encouragement, Must-Haves, and Unexpected Joy

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.

Postpartum recovery used to be the best-kept pregnancy secret. So many of my friends have told me that they had no idea what to expect and were extremely surprised. Now, I rarely scroll through Pinterest without seeing a post about what to expect from postpartum recovery. While it is a good thing that the secret is no more, it has also had the unintended effect of terrifying new moms. I read a lot of these posts and watched a lot of YouTube videos about postpartum recovery during my first pregnancy. I was prepared and expected it to be absolutely horrible. It wasn’t.¬†

One of my main goals for Like All Moms Before is to take the fear out of motherhood. Not to paint some idealistic picture that motherhood is all rainbows and unicorns, but to empower mothers to face the challenges of motherhood by keeping the hard parts in perspective. Also, it is important for you soon to be mothers to know that the worst-case scenario isn’t necessarily going to happen to you. When a person has a bad experience they tend to talk about it. I am not saying this is a bad thing. It is just important to remember that for every worst-case scenario you read there are many more cases where everything was just fine, but who wants to read a blog post about something that went just fine? I hope you do because that is what this is going to be.¬†

That’s right. It wasn’t completely horrible. Some parts were beyond unpleasant, but for the most part, recovery went pretty smoothly. It was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be based on my research.

Ready for some TMI? That’s what you’re here for, right? If not, skip on down to the must-haves section.

Labor

If you’ve read my Birth Story, you know that I had some things working in my favor and some things working against me.

My baby was only 5.5lbs. That means I didn’t have to push out a big baby. However, I did go from “I can’t even feel your cervix” to holding my son in less than 2 hours. That didn’t give my body much time to stretch. Things happened so fast that as I was pushing, the preemie team was scrambling to get in place in time to be ready to support my son if needed. The whole room was chaos while I was pushing. Thankfully, he was just fine. I ended up having two minor tears that each required a couple of stitches.¬†

I know what you’re thinking. Of course, postpartum recovery was easy for her with that tiny baby! You may be right. However, I have two very close friends who had very similar postpartum recoveries to me who each had a baby over 9.5 lbs. You read that right. Vaginal deliveries of babies over 9.5 lbs. These women are rock stars! They each had minor tearing, a few stitches, and a mild postpartum recovery.¬†

Immediately Following Birth

After giving birth, the sweet wonderful nurse that made sure my son made it safely into this world, kindly helped me clean up before I was moved from labor and delivery to the maternity suite. After that, I was on my own. I am sure I could have asked for help, but my husband was the MVP.

The first time I tried to go to the bathroom alone I knew theoretically what I needed to do from reading a bunch of blog posts about it, but knowing what to do and being able to juggle it all was another matter. I should have just asked the nurse to help me the first time, but I didn’t. I carried all of my supplies into the bathroom, tried to figure out where to put everything, made a royal mess, and eventually asked my husband to help me because it was too much to figure out on my own. He lovingly helped me the first couple of times, but it didn’t take long to have the process down. The hardest part was remembering to fill the peri bottle before going to the bathroom. I didn’t end up needing the peri bottle by the time I got home 3 days later.¬†

I am sure you have already read plenty on the topic, but essentially you fill the peri bottle (plastic bottle with a spout cap) with warm water and you squeeze the bottle to slowly run the warm water over your lady parts as you urinate. Urine will burn otherwise. 

Other than that, you will need to change your hospital provided pad that is huge and bulky. I feel like I had more to juggle than that first time, but I can’t remember.¬†

The critical piece is that there is a learning curve. Expect it. You will figure out what works for you. Ask for help if you need it.

*Pro Tip* While in the hospital, remember the nurses deal with this every day and they can help you. If you are in pain, tell your nurse. She will most likely have a solution for you. The first day or so they brought me ice packs and made sure I took Advil regularly. If you, like me, walk into the bathroom and are fumbling around and leaving a trail of blood behind you (yes, really), ask your nurse for help. I promise you your nurse will be more than happy to help you get the hang of it. 

Going Home

The worst part of the postpartum period for me was getting my digestive system back on track. I was already having problems before I was induced and it took a while for things to start moving again and when they finally did I would have gladly given birth again instead. That is why one of my Top 5 Labor Tips is to keep your digestion moving leading up to your due date. Literally. There are only 5 and this made the list. That’s how bad it was for me. The good news is you know better now and don’t have to go through it too. You’re welcome.¬†

Other than that, the recovery period was pretty mild. 

However, even I have a few recommendations for getting through it. 

4 Postpartum Recovery Must-Haves

1. EarthMama Herbal Perineal Spray*

I liked that the ingredients in this spray better than Dermaplast. It worked well and I plan to use it again with Baby #2. It was great to spray on after visits to the bathroom or any time I was feeling discomfort. It felt like it was actually doing something as opposed to just providing temporary relief.

Out of everything, I used this spray the longest during my postpartum recovery. It was easy to keep by the toilet and spray on each time I used it. I didn’t have to remember to get anything on the way and it didn’t take any time at all to apply when I was in a hurry. Also, I still have over half the bottle left and that should be plenty for Baby #2.

*Pro Tip* During my stay in the hospital, I kept this spray in the mini-fridge in my room. This added an extra soothing quality those first couple days. 

2. Freezer Pads

I did make padcicles, but I didn’t use them all. After the first couple of days, it wasn’t worth the trouble of remembering to grab on on the way to the bathroom. There are so many recipes on Pinterest that you should have no trouble finding one. I mixed a few different ones and landed on overnight pads*, aloe*, witch hazel*, coconut oil*, and lavender essential oil* (because I had it on hand).

I folded the pads back up after applying the ingredients and put them back in their wrappers, then I put them all in a tissue box with the top cut out in the freezer. I think I made them when I was around 34 weeks. It is an easy project to get out of the way ahead of time. They did come in handy those first couple days when the discomfort was at its peak, but 6-10 were plenty for me.

3. A Pillow

We have really hard chairs at our breakfast table. I can’t sit in them for very long on a good day. So, I just kept a regular bed pillow in my chair for a while. This did the trick. A simple, but effective solution.¬†

4. Help

The number one must-have for postpartum recovery is help. I know everyone says this, but it really is true. My preference is close family. Those people that you don’t mind asking and that you know are happy to help. My sister was here for the birth and stayed to help me for the first week after my son was born. My mom was in and out too. My sister left and we had two days on our own before my mother-in-law arrived and stayed for another week.

My son is her 9th grandchild and I have 3 sisters-in-law. My mother-in-law has this postpartum period down to a fine science. She took wonderful care of us all and allowed me to focus on my son and figuring out how to be a mom. She cooked and cleaned, refilled my water cup and brought me snacks, and she didn’t get upset when I monopolized the baby. All I had to do was bond with my baby and recover. It was a wonderful time having all my favorite women surrounding me during such a sweet time.¬†¬†

I would be remiss if I didn’t also brag on my husband. He was wonderful through it all, except for a couple of middle of the night, not his best self moments that were so funny I couldn’t even get upset with him. It didn’t take long for the slightest whisper of his name to have him awake and jumping to help when I was so tired I wasn’t functioning. This was an improvement from the first few nights of having to elbow him repeatedly to get him to wake up. He was the better swaddler. He also encouraged me to trust myself, which was probably the best thing he could have done.¬†

Unexpected Joy in the Postpartum Period

All that brings me to my next point. Show yourself grace and show your husband grace. This is a new experience for both of you and it is going to take some adjustment. I think labor and the postpartum period have the opportunity to bond husbands and wives like nothing else. Don’t miss that opportunity. Be patient with yourself and your husband. Enjoy watching him grow into his role as a father. It really is a beautiful transformation. As is your transition into motherhood on this side of the womb. Together you can figure it out.¬†

Lean on each other and trust you’re each doing your best.

Look for things your husband is doing well and praise him for them. He needs to hear he is doing a good job as much as you do. 

This leads us to more TMI…

This sweet time of bonding makes the wait to “reconnect” extra difficult. We may not have waited the 6 weeks you see recommended most often. I don’t remember that being part of my discharge instructions though. We did wait until the bleeding completely stopped. It was just shy of 4 weeks. It may be worth asking when they go over discharge instructions. We went with the ignorance is bliss method.

There was a little bit of discomfort where my stitches had been, but for the most part, everything was just fine. I was really worried about this part of recovery, but it didn’t take long before things were, I was going to say back to normal, but it was (is) actually better than before pregnancy. I didn’t expect that to be the case and it was a pleasant surprise.¬†

Sex after having a baby is another thing that tends to spark fear. Unnecessary fear. While some women may have issues after birth, the majority are just fine. Like I said, for me, it made it better. If you do end up having a problem, talk to your doctor. There are solutions. 

¬†A couple more nice-to-have items…

Amazon Basics Underwear in Black*¬†so you don’t ruin your favorite undies. I am still wearing these over a year later. They have seen better days, but have served me well. I will likely buy another set for postpartum recovery with Baby #2.

– Overnight pads, regular pads, and panty liners to be ready for whatever flow the day holds.

Notice I don’t have a special peri bottle on my list. The one they gave me at the hospital was just fine.¬†

In summary, the postpartum period is without a doubt a unique time. There are some challenges, but along with those challenges come opportunities. Don’t miss the opportunity to bond with your husband during this time. Remember, it isn’t necessarily going to be absolutely miserable. It could just be uncomfortable and a little annoying. Fear is your biggest enemy. Your body was uniquely made to stretch to accommodate a baby. Read my Labor Tips for more encouragement.¬†

You’ve got this mama. I promise every time you look at your new bundle of joy you will see that it is worth every bit of it. Hard things usually end up being the best things.¬†

Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

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Functional and Beautiful Must-Have Baby Items

Functional and Beautiful Must-Have Baby Items

*Disclaimer* This post contains affiliate links. They are marked with an *. See my full Disclosure.

I that am not a fan of baby junk; ugly plastic, obnoxious colors, cheesy characters, and so cheaply made that it rarely lasts through one child. When I had my son, I was determined to avoid “junk” as much as possible and try to only acquire quality items that were well-made, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. While I wasn’t 100% successful, I found some great products along the way. My son is 16 months old now and these items have stood the test of time and are still in great condition for Baby #2 coming in July! I hope to save you some time by putting all of these items in one post, so you don’t have to spend hours and hours scouring the internet as I did.

Happy Baby Carrier

Hands down the best looking baby carrier on the market. I have not used any other carriers, but I have been using this one since my son was one week old (around 6lbs) and still carry him regularly now at 22lbs (while 18 weeks pregnant) in comfort and style. Seriously, these carriers are so cozy, comfortable, and beautiful. The Happy Baby Carrier is a soft-sided carrier where the waist strap is worn higher on the body and provides support for a very comfortable carry. I have the Original in Olive, which is made of linen and allows for front inward-facing and back carry. They also have the Revolution which allows for front outward-facing as well and an Onbuhimo style carrier that I am considering for Baby #2 (not because I need a new one, but because I want one of their other beautiful colors). These carriers are great for so many reasons. The Happy Baby carrier is much lighter and the fabrics make it much cooler than other carriers. They fit in your diaper bag and just get more cozy and beautiful with wear. Mine rides around in the car (usually ends up on the floor) and has spent many a day on the farm and still looks beautiful. My husband even uses it. He particularly likes the “olive drab” color. Have I mentioned you can nurse in them? Number one baby must have right here.¬†They also have a wrap that was great for church or other nicer places during the newborn stage. It was more comfortable while sitting and it is much lighter weight than the Boba or Moby wraps.

Pro Tip: There is a very active Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook (that Happy Baby runs) where you can find used carriers and used carriers in discontinued colors. Members post pictures of the colors in different lighting, do fit checks, answer questions, and share the Happy Baby love. Brad and Beth (owners) also share sneak peeks of new lines, provide customer support, and get input for future projects.

Snuggle Me Organic

My son decided swaddling wasn’t for him around a month old (I know, right?). He would fight his way out no matter how tightly we swaddled him or would fuss until we let his arms free. The SnuggleMe Lounger fit perfectly into our bassinet and its hammock effect acted as a swaddle in that it kept his arms from flailing and waking him up. He slept in the SnuggleMe until he started showing a desire to roll over and while he was in the bassinet beside our bed. Disclaimer: The SnuggleMe is not marketed to be used for unsupervised sleep. Please do your own research and make your own decisions. Their safety statement can be found here. This lounger can also be used for tummy time and for a safe place to lay baby down. My son continued to enjoy it on the floor in his nursery long after he stopped sleeping in it. He enjoyed using it as an obstacle to crawl over and a place to lounge and look at a book. Have I mentioned that it is also beautiful in addition to being practical and well made? Mine still looks brand new.¬†

Gathre Mats

My name is Shannon and I am addicted to Gathre mats. They are leather and vegan leather mats that are beautiful, super easy to clean, fold up nicely, and wear amazingly well. I have the Mirco as a baby diaper changing mat, the Micro+ for a toddler changing mat, and the Midi as a multiuse larger mat (under the highchair in the formal dining room, on the beach, in the yard). The diaper changing mats have gotten the most use of all. They fold up very thinly for the diaper bag and if I got anything on them during a diaper change, I would just wipe it off with a baby wipe. I also have two of their toddler bibs that I purchased before they came out with the pocket bibs. They look nice, fold up small, and are easy to wipe down on the go, but pocket bibs really are the only way to go. I would buy just about every product they make if I could afford/justify it. I love their floor pillows and they just came out with padded mats that look awesome.

 

Olliella Changing Basket

I’m not going to make a case that my changing basket is a necessary baby product, but it is absolutely stunning and perfectly functional. A lot of people expressed doubt that I would be able to use it for very long because they didn’t think it would contain a squirmy baby, but I still change my son’s diaper in this basket on top of a dresser every day even now at 16 months (always with a hand on him). It still looks brand new. Even the white pads I have still look brand new and it is not because I am such a good diaper changer that baby ick hasn’t gotten on them many times. I wash them normally, but I always hang them to dry. It does slide on the dresser some in the middle of a toddler tantrum mid change, so you have to be conscious of that when you’re changing diapers as your child gets older. I have not found it to be an issue, but I don’t want you to be surprised. If it does become an issue, a non-skid rug pad underneath would probably do the trick. It has not been enough of an issue for me to take any action, other than teaching my son to behave during diaper changes. The pros outweigh the cons in my book. This changing basket brings me joy.

 

Maileg Stuffed Animals

Real talk. Most stuffed animals start looking pretty gross pretty fast with regular use and most aren’t that attractive new anyway. While we love our JellyCats, Maileg takes the cake as the absolute best stuffed animals out there. They are vintage looking and made of high-quality materials. When you hold one they just feel amazing. Even better, they wear incredibly well. The more they are played with the more beautiful they get. It’s amazing. My son has the hippo and the rhino rattle and I am so excited to pick out one for Baby #2. My sister in law has several and even with heavy wear from her three children they still look so beautiful. I don’t know how they do it. They also have a lot of toys for children older than mine and I look forward to adding more to our collection over the years.

 

Bibs Pacifiers

Talk about ugly baby products. Pacifiers are not usually something about which to get excited. Until now. Bibs pacifiers are the perfect blend of vintage charm and function. I like the natural rubber nipples, simple design, and the colors are stunning. We used the Avent pacifiers at first, but quickly changed to these exclusively and found that my son liked them better. He used them until 6 months when we sleep trained and inadvertently weaned him from the pacifier at the same time. I look forward to picking out more colors soon!


Baby Clothes

Kate Quinn Organics baby clothes are so cute and soft and charming. They also run great sales often. There is such a difference in quality in baby clothes. I have found that buying good quality baby clothes is absolutely worth it. They don’t wear out as easily and pass well to the next baby. I also love Janie and Jack*, particularly for nice clothes and socks (they have great socks), and Hanna Andersson, particularly for pajamas. We have one Hanna Andersson shirt that started looking faded really quickly, but other than that everything we have from there has been good.¬†

*Pro Tip* Footie pajamas are cute (and need to be purchased up a size), but footless pajamas allow your child to wear them much longer. This is important to think about when buying nicer baby clothes. You want to stretch your money as much as possible, at least I do.

Humidifier

This will be short. I couldn’t abide the animal-shaped humidifiers or the huge industrial looking ones. I found a sleek one that has served us very well and is very unassuming in the nursery. I went to find the link and unfortunately, it is not available anymore. However, here is¬†one* that looks very similar and has great reviews.


Nursing Covers

CoverMe Ponchos are lovely nursing covers that come in a variety of stylish colors and patterns. They provide 360-degree coverage, allow for flexibility in clothing, are lightweight, and pretty. Great for nursing in the carrier.


Earth and Eden Diapers and Wipes

We have done some cloth diapering, never exclusively, but since I got pregnant with Baby #2 we have only been using disposables. Since my son was out of preemie sized diapers, we have been using Earth and Eden brand disposable diapers. They are free from lotions, parabens, fragrance, latex, and chlorine bleach. I cannot say enough good things about these diapers. My son has not had one diaper rash that wasn’t just redness that resolved overnight with coconut oil. The design is minimal and neutral, but they still have an indicator stripe. Blowouts and leaks are rare because the leg cuff/leak guard is way better than any other diapers we used during the preemie and newborn phases (Pampers, Huggies, and Bambo Nature). The best part is that they cost about the same as Pampers and Huggies. Recently, they came out with wipes. We used WaterWipes until I saw these. They are very similar to WaterWipes (99% water), except they aren’t as wet. I found that the WaterWipes were a little too wet, so I have switched to the Earth and Eden wipes. I am on my third box and I’m officially a convert. Another advantage over WaterWipes is they actually have a lid, instead of just a sticky flap. If you’re like me and forget to close the lid occasionally, the wipe sticking out will partially dry out, but the rest are fine. I purchase Earth and Eden diapers* and wipes using Subscribe and Save* through Amazon Prime* (link includes free 30 day trial). When combined with my other Subscribe and Save items, I get 20% off each time.¬†

*Note* The wipes are currently unavailable on Amazon (the only place they are sold). I sent a message to the company and they said they are currently out of stock in the Amazon warehouses, but they are working to get them restocked as soon as possible. I have included the link to the Earth and Eden website (not an affiliate link), so you can view their full selection. Here it is again.


Well, there you have it. Baby gear that brings joy. Who knew it existed? I searched high and low and this list is the best of the best in my opinion. 

 Have you found a great baby product that brings you joy? Tell me about it in the comments below!

  

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Labor and Delivery: Preparing for Your Second Birth

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