Friday, 11 July 2014

First 3 Month Must Haves for Mama and Baby

 
I can't believe Mini Coops is 5 months old already. I can honestly say that I have made a conscious effort to enjoy each stage and not 'wish' any time away. Even when all you can dream of is sleeping through the night again, everyone says how fast it goes by and to cherish those special moments. I enjoyed the newborn stage, loving all the sweet cuddles and quiet times with my little one amidst overcoming all of the beginning growing pains and just figuring life out again. With each month has come more confidence and ease as well as new challenges. Life is easier now, getting around, doing things is not so daunting. I can actually be on time for events....most of the time ;) Now as he gets older and more interactive it is more of a challenge to keep him entertained, stimulated, learning etc, and then trying to fit in any of my own 'to dos' while he is napping. But all of that is fun, if only a bit exhausting at times-haha.
 
This is definitely a baby phase of life where I think most everyone I know has either just had or just about to have a baby! Thought I would share some of the things I thought most helpful or necessary in those first 3!
 
It is amazing how little you need in the beginning. After all the preparations of the nursery and getting all the gear, you find out pretty quick what works for you and what doesn't.

TOP PICKS:
  • co-sleeper or bassinet
  • bouncer
  • carrier
  • onesies
  • bibs
  • a damn good pump ;)
  • swaddles
  • nipple cream - you're gonna need it!
  • nursing pads
  • hand sanitizer
  • a great water bottle and quick snacks
  • diapers
  • nursing pillow
  • lotions and wash
Arms Reach Co Sleeper - I was able to borrow this from a friend and it was perfect!! Our bed was too high for it to attach properly, but it can attach, and I loved having my little man right there beside me those first months and so accessible for those all night feeds.

Little Snugabunny Bouncer - This was AMAZING! Henry loved to take his daytimes sleeps in this forever! Put the little vibrator on and the music and he was out and slept great. Plus was really easy for me to move from room to room to keep an eye on him. I also have the Little Lamb swing that he uses now a ton, but was not into when he was really small.

Beco Gemini Carrier - I researched carriers so much!! And I LOVE my Beco. Unlike the ergo, you don't need an infant insert and they can face outwards eventually once they are able to hold their head steady, as well as on the back and hip. I had gotten the solly wrap as well because it's so cute and I thought it would be perfect for when he was newborn, but since I had a big baby I found it just was not enough support and in that first month when you are weak and its hard to walk, I found I got dizzy and Henry would sag lower and lower haha - the Beco just worked so much better for us!

Onesies - basically used the white carter short and long sleeve onesies and the millions of others I had gotten at showers :) Also liked the H&M ones that you don't have to pull over their heads, just snaps on the side!

Tommee Tippee Bibs - This is the way to go with a newborn. When your milk is coming in and you are both learning still and breastmilk is going everywhere these were amazing. I had bought all these cute ones from target with little sayings, but they would just get soaked and disgusting. The Tommee Tippees absorbed and dried fast and kept milk off the little man.

Medela Back Pack Pump - I am so so sooooo thankful for this! I was going to just get a handheld because I didn't want to spend the money on an automatic pump which would have been CRAZY. It is well worth the investment. In those first weeks when you want to keep your milk supply up, and bottles available so other people can feed and you can sleep this is a lifesaver. This pump worked so well, and is so easy now I don't know what I would do without it!! Even has a little cooler in if you need to bring some milk on the go. (The medela freezer bags are a must as well to have reserves of some of that liquid gold).

Woombie, Swaddle Designs, Swadddleme - I have used them all! In the beginning I was obsessed with doing my own swaddle for some reason. I used the swaddle design and they were perfect, for warmer nights and a more snug fit I used the mesh woombie. Once Henry was around 3 months he was busting out of them and giving me a heart attack when I would see it cover his face so I switched to the Velcro swaddle me, which honestly are so easy and cheap, probably should have used them right from the beginning :)

Motherlove Nipple Cream - Nothing prepares you for how much your nipples hurt, it sucks, and you will need this. I love all the Motherlove products and it is all natural so you know that it is all good for the babe.

EPiBi Soy Nursing Pads Starter Pack - I started off using Lansinoh Disposable pads before I knew about the reusable ones and I they were fine, but I went through so many, so much waste and they weren't that comfortable. I friend recommended the EPiBi nursing pads and I love them highly recommend. They are dye free soy nursing pads so they are lighter than cotton, kinda pricey and just saw Medela has cotton ones for half the price as well!


Babyganics Hand Sanitizer - We were always sanitizing and making everyone around sanitize and this is a great alcohol free way of doing it.

Contigo Shake and Go Tumbler and Cliff Bars - Oh My Goodness you will be so thirsty when you breastfeed!! You are giving so much to your little one you need to stay hydrated and this was the best! I loved this tumbler with the straw, I would down and destroy water, you need this and a husband to constantly refill it :) I also ate a TON of cliff bars in the middle of the night when breastfeeding. I know you are eager to lose the extra pounds after giving birth, but between my mom feeding me constantly and snacking on cliff bars in the middle of the night feeds, which are high in protein and calories, I had awesome milk supply and I think eating properly and often in the beginning is key!

Honest Company and Huggies for Newborns - I was in love with Honest products all during my pregnancy and had pre ordered my newborn bundle and could not wait to see Henry in the cute little patterns. We use them now and LOVE them. But the hospital sent us home with huggies for newborns which is what we used that first month. The huggies has the coloured strip down the centre, so when you are tracking your newborns diapers and making sure they are peeing and getting enough milk this was a lifesaver.

Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow - Don't know what I would do without this pillow!! Makes nursing so much easier especially with a bigger baby! I also think the 'My Breast Friend' nursing pillow, dumb name, but it wraps around you and has back support which would so good in the beginning because your back kills from giving birth and hunching over to nurse!

California Baby - I use their body wash, lotion and sunscreen and I love it all. Leaves your baby smelling oh so good.

What to Expect the First Year, Happiest Baby on the Block - Some informative books are key, and I loved the what to expect ones, so helpful in so many ways, gives you a bit of an idea what to expect with each month.

Wubanub - This has been a lifesaver for us. Basically a little stuffed animal with a soother attached to it, this makes it easier for little babes to hold on to. Henry hated being strapped into things, he is better now, but not great. I had a brilliant friend tell me to tuck the legs of the stuffy into the straps of the car seat so he wouldn't lose it. I do this for the car seat and stroller and works like a charm.
 
That about sums it up! Would love to hear what other people found helpful in the first 3 and the next 3!! Such a fun and ridiculous stage of life :) Happy Friday!!




Monday, 7 July 2014

Ojai Trip

Last week we did a little exploration trip up to Ojai, California. It is only about an hour and a half North of us so nothing too extreme. We had been hearing a lot about Ojai, a quaint little getaway in wine country. After seeing an LA blogger I follow post about going there, it looked so great I thought we would give it a try - it was also a doable amount of time in the car with the little man. He is not overly keen of the car seat. It turned out to be perfect timing as we had made a family decision not to fly back to go to Christina Lake, a trip I have been doing with my family since I was 6. It was pretty heartbreaking for me since it was the first time in 22 years I wouldn't be going, and I would have loved for everyone to have met and spent time with Henry. As hard as it was, I felt like it was the right thing to do since I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel home for visits a lot since our move. It gave the chance to have our own family trips down here!!.....and I may have made Sam promise this is the only year we would miss going ;)
 
Travelling with a baby changes everything. The amount of stuff in our car was silly, and that was before we realized 30 minutes into our drive we forgot Henry's travel crib...woops! Round two of our trip there went really smoothly. Little Man decided to sleep most of the way after being entertained by my repertoire of songs learned from teaching swimming lessons for many years; Sam was impressed that I knew a song for pretty much every animal under the sun :)
 
Just a little glimpse of Ojai!

 



 

Ojai is very very small and seems worlds away from LA. It is a very beautiful place, surrounded by mountains and rolling hills of orange groves and winery's. We were only away for four days but it was such a nice getaway for our little family. We explored the town, did a little hiking, some swimming in the pool with the little squirt and some drinking of wine on the patio - just what we needed.
 









 


 
 
We stayed at a hotel called the Capri which was interesting. I had heard good things about it and it was pretty reasonable. An older hotel but the rooms had been updated to be quite nice. It had a bit of lets say 'rocker' d├ęcor, and after we put Henry down to bed we thought we would sit on our nice patio and read, until we realized the patio light was a strobe light - so we talked in the dark instead. I also mentioned to Sam that none of the clocks worked, when we were going to bed we plugged in the digital clock to have some light, which also was a flashing strobe light-haha. SO WEIRD! It makes for funny memories I guess. Other then a really creepy picture of a cat named Kato that glowed in the dark on the wall, it was quite nice.
 

 



 


Me in my 'cougar' swimsuit as Sam likes to call it. I like animal print and I am not ashamed to say it, if that makes me a cougar so be it!!



 
 
 
We never did get to do any wine tasting, as it was hard to time with Mini Coops...but we drank lots of wine... which was nice and necessary ;) I was also able to delve into my Bridget Jones novel 'Mad about the Boy', which I will just say does not disappoint, hilarious, and exactly the type of nonsense reading that my mind is only capable of handling right now.


All in all Ojai was great and we were glad we saw it and could tick it off the list - onto the next exploration!!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

LA Mamas

Had such a fun date out on Friday with some wonderful mamas and our little ones. Since having Henry I have been so blessed to have met some awesome ladies who I honestly don't know what I would do without in this new, exciting and at times challenging stage of life. 

We went out for lunch to celebrate the lovely Ayana's birthday at Superba Food and Bread on Lincoln in Santa Monica. We were joking that Lincoln is the ugliest road ever, that you pretty much only use to get to Costco and LAX. When people come to visit and we are driving into Santa Monica I feel like I need to warn them "don't worry it gets better", because it is pretty sketchy in parts and kind of grotty looking. Lincoln is definitely starting to transform though, with some trendy and tasty restaurants popping up along it that we will hopefully see more and more of. 

The food was delicious at Superba. We ended up all getting the same thing, as girls so often do, the salmon sandwich on seeded bread garnished with avocado, bacon and a super yummy jam. All of us Mamas even got a sneaky glass of wine…ahhh nothing like a cold glass of white on a summers day. For a little sweet treat and birthday celebration we had the smores tart which I promise was as good as it sounds - chocolatey goodness with a gooey marshmallow dollop on top, delicious! That mixed with some good iced coffees it was a fantastic meal and great company. 

I love exploring and finding new eats in the area, as Sam and I so often get into a rut of going to what we know is good and that we can walk to. Santa Monica has amazing restaurants and random foody spots everywhere, we are so lucky. I am looking forward to exploring more and more of these great little finds! 


Henry and his girlfriends :)







Mamas who mean business!! :)