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Motherhood + Baby

Motherhood + Baby

Top Newborn Must-Haves

Being a new mama is so many things – exciting, amazing, emotional, terrifying and overwhelming just to name a few of these new feelings. All of a sudden your mind becomes consumed by this tiny human that never existed before – and I’ve heard that that never goes away! I’m always wondering if I’m doing what’s best for Henry with every decision and I think I’ll do that for the rest of my days. When I was pregnant, I read so many articles and blog posts on the quest for the best products for new moms and newborns, but I never really felt like one single post had everything I was looking for. So now that I have (a little) experience under my belt and somewhat of a routine in our newly adjusted household, I figured this was the best time to share what products and gadgets are working for our little family!

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1. DockATot Deluxe:

I had seen this product on Instagram and around the internet long before Henry arrived but really couldn’t justify spending almost $200 on a “pillow.” But when Henry arrived and I realized just how precious sleep was, I quickly changed my mind! So when Cyber Monday rolled around, I bit the bullet and ordered our first DockATot. Let me tell you, this thing is a lifesaver and not just a “pillow!” The first night we used it, our little babe slept SEVEN hours straight at just 6 weeks old. I’m a believer!

2. Baby Bjorn Bouncer:

For Henry’s first five weeks of life, this chair sat in the corner collecting dust. Until one day, not even the Mamaroo could make the little dude happy, so we had to try something new. We pulled out the Baby Bjorn chair and it has quickly become our household favorite! While Henry can’t bounce it himself yet and we do have to sit there and bounce it for him, he absolutely loves it and is so peaceful when he’s bouncing away. When he has better head/neck control, he’ll be able to bounce it on his own. In the meantime, it’s a mini workout for mom & dad.

3. White Noise Machine:

Who knew that babies loved sleeping to such weird sounds like white noise and vacuum cleaners?! From the very beginning, after reading books like Moms on Call and the like, we knew we would need some type of sound machine. Not only does it comfort our baby, but it also drowns out any noise we might be making in the other room (ie a clumsy mama in the kitchen!). We use this one and it hasn’t let us (or Henry) down, but there are a ton out there.

4. Halo SleepSack Swaddles:

We all know how important it is to swaddle our babies when they’re born – it keeps them cozy and reminds them of their first home in our bellies where they had tight quarters to say the least. However, during those middle of the night feedings when you’re a total mombie, it can be tough to swaddle a flailing baby well. So whoever invented the Halo SleepSack, I thank you. You put your babe in and pull their arms through the openings, zip it up, and then use the velcro panels to swaddle your little one tight.

5. Audio Only Monitor:

Of course we purchased the fancy video monitor before our baby arrived just like everyone told us to. But what they didn’t mention was that if you use a white noise machine, either you have to listen to said white noise ALL NIGHT LONG while you’re trying to sleep or risk not hearing your little one cry by turning the volume down too much. After some research, my husband found this VTech audio monitor that allows you to change the sound sensitivity so that it will only alert you when your baby is crying and completely drowns out your sound machine! Genius! So now we can see him on the video monitor and hear him on the audio monitor.

6. 4moms Tub:

The 4moms baby tub takes all the guess work out of determining whether your baby’s bath water is too hot or too chilly because it comes with a built in thermometer! It’s a little on the large side, so we use it in the regular bathtub where it fits perfectly. We purchased this insert to go inside so it’s a bit more comfortable for him and it helps prop him up a bit more while he’s still small.

7. Moms on Call:

If you’re like me, you thrive on routine. Getting my baby on a schedule was always a priority to me and I knew this long before I ever experienced my first 4am feeding. While Henry was napping one day, I downloaded this book to my iPad and started researching how to best get him on a schedule. This book, which relies on a beginning and end of the day set feeding time, combined with our new DockATot has really improved our sleep around here! Another helpful book is Baby Wise – whichever one works best for your family.

Some other tips I’ve found very useful:

Sleep ‘gowns’ are amazing. While the zip up pajamas and onesies are great and cute, the bottomless gowns are the best during those late night diaper changes when you don’t have to deal with zippers and snaps in the dark.

Don’t waste your money on a bottle sterilizer. Whether your significant other is helping out with feedings with your expressed milk or you’re formula feeding (or both!), you can simply use a large bowl and fill it with hot soapy water to clean your bottles. These sterilizer bags are also great and each bag can be used to to 20 times in the microwave.

You can’t have too many burp cloths.

Always have the next size diaper on hand. They grow out of that newborn size quickly! Our little guy is already bordering size two.

I’ve been peed on a handful of times already. Always cover your babe’s “spout” if you have a boy on your hands! Of course, it has happened twice in public. While many people said Peepee Teepees are a waste, I’ve found them helpful for this particular reason.

Keep late night feedings boring for your baby. Keep the lights dim (or off if you can), don’t change their diaper unless necessary (and use nighttime diapers that last longer!), don’t chat them up, etc. That way, they won’t be too riled and will hopefully fall back to sleep easily. If I have to change the diaper, I swaddle him right after instead of waiting until I put him back in the crib. Sometimes just swaddling him will wake him a bit and doing it ahead of time makes the transition from feeding to bedtime easier.

If you’re pumping, order extra pump parts! It’s so helpful to not have to continuously wash the parts. You can also keep them in the fridge and reuse them a couple times without washing them. I have a set for daytime and a set for nighttime. Anything that saves time is worth the investment.

Go for walks. During those first few months when you can’t tote your baby around Target, walks are a lifesaver. Not only will you get some fresh air and exercise, but your baby will enjoy it (or nap) too.

When friends, family and neighbors offer help, take it! We need it! If grandma offers to babysit for an hour just so you can get out and run an errand or hit your local Starbucks, do it. As much as you don’t want to leave your little one, a happy mom equals a happy baby. And cabin fever does NOT equal a happy mama!

I’ll be doing a post soon on my favorite new mama must-haves! Stay tuned.

Motherhood + Baby

Henry Jax

Henry Jax

Henry Jax Ginzler // October 24th, 2016 // 8 lbs. 11 oz & 22 inches long

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I’ve gone back and forth many times about sharing our Henry Jax’s birth story (obviously – it’s been six weeks!). It’s something that of course is very personal to me and our families. At the same time, however, I remember reading other women’s birth stories while I was pregnant and feeling more at ease afterwards. Birth is truly a miracle. It’s scary, strenuous, exciting and beautiful all at once. The unknown is always terrifying and thrilling and since each birth is an ‘unknown’ per se, you never know what to expect ultimately.

The Friday before my due date, I had my weekly OB appointment. At that point, I was over being pregnant. I was swollen, tired and just downright uncomfortable. Not to mention I had about two shirts left that fit me and was about to move on to my husband’s closet. During my appointment, my doctor informed me I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced – which was great.. but still could’ve meant that I would be pregnant for another week or so. She asked me if I wanted her to strip my membranes and I happily obliged. She said if I didn’t go into labor on my own over the weekend, she could induce me on Sunday night. I really wanted my doctor to deliver Henry (I’ve been seeing her for years), and in a group practice it’s whoever is on call that will deliver your baby. My doctor was on call Sunday night and then not again for another two weeks.  Since I was just about 40 weeks at that point and really didn’t want to go too far past my due date, I decided to go with it.

Right after I left, it hit me. I called my husband in (happy) tears that we would finally be meeting our baby boy so soon and it was officially our last weekend as a party of two. We went out with friends that weekend, had our last date night alone for awhile, and tried EVERYTHING (our parents read this so I won’t expand on what ‘everything’ means ha!) to go into labor naturally. Of course, I didn’t go into labor. I overanalyzed every little feeling wondering if it could be a contraction or whatnot (which I’ve learned since then, you’ll KNOW if it’s a contraction). The only progression I had that weekend was losing my mucous plug – which is gross FYI. So, at 8pm on Sunday night, we drove to the hospital to begin my induction.

After getting checked into our labor room, getting settled, and seeing my doctor, she decided to break my water rather than start me on Pitocin to see if I could labor to 10cm on my own. There was meconium in my water, so we already knew right off the bat that Henry would be see by a perinatologist before I could hold him. VERY soon after breaking my water (which isn’t painful at all) the contractions began. I tried walking down the halls to keep progressing, but after two laps I couldn’t do it any longer. At that point, I asked for an epidural because the pain was unbearable for me (I was 5cm dilated). Contractions are zero fun and the epidural was truly a lifesaver. The procedure was easy and painless and I realized I had been worried about that for nothing. Afterwards, I didn’t feel a single other contraction for the rest of my labor.

What seemed like forever later, around 12-13 hours and on Henry’s actual due date, I finally progressed to 10cm all on my own. However, my contractions weren’t strong enough to push Henry’s head far enough into my pelvis to be able to begin pushing and he wasn’t in an ideal position, so my doctor wanted to give me a smidge of Pitocin and try switching up my position in bed to see it that would help get him moving. More time went by and my team decided it was time to try pushing. Let me tell you, pushing ain’t easy! The position for pushing a baby out is like doing a crunch on steroids and super taxing mentally and physically.

Needless to say, Henry wasn’t budging after an hour of pushing. At this point, my OB informed me that his heart rate was dropping with each push, and she couldn’t foresee him coming out anytime soon. We had to make a tough decision. Keep trying with a lot of risks or head into surgery for an emergency c-section. I never planned on or wanted a c-section. I never even read the part of all the baby books that talked about c-sections. It was never ever part of my “birth plan.” But, like everything else in life, you can plan all you want but that doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll get. So, we headed into the OR after 15 hours of labor.

The surgery itself was relatively quick (even though it didn’t feel like it in the moment) and the team working with me was incredible. The anesthesiologist was amazing and always checking to make sure I was feeling ok (since he was up by my head). My husband was able to stay with me the entire time and he watched the entire procedure. Henry was a big baby and literally stuck in my pelvis (I have a small frame!) – that was scary. Hearing what was going on with the doctor, midwife and nurse trying to push him back through my pelvis brought me to tears, again. I was nervous, scared and terrified. I hated not being able to see or control what was happening. After what felt like ages (but was really only minutes), I heard a baby’s cry and knew everything was okay. Henry Jax, our beautiful and healthy baby boy, was finally with us and that’s all that mattered right then. My husband went to be with Henry right away and was able to cut the cord while I was being sewn up. Afterwards, they brought Henry to me to hold and I just couldn’t believe we made him and that he was ours! After a few minutes, I began shaking uncontrollably from the anesthesia (ugh!) and had to give him back until I was in the recovery room.

Once in the recovery room, I was reunited with my little man and able to snuggle him, begin the breastfeeding journey (more on that later), and spend some one-on-one time with my hubby and newest family member. After an hour or so, we introduced Henry to his grandparents and two proud aunts. Parenthood has been quite the journey so far with lots of ups and downs (more on that later too). We’re so thankful and happy to be Henry’s parents and can’t wait to watch him grow!

Stay tuned for more on my motherhood journey..
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Motherhood + Baby

My Favorite Baby Prep Essentials!

With just a few weeks to go until our due date, I thought now would be a great time to share all of my favorite essentials that I’ve loved using & prepping during my countdown to Baby Ginz! I did a lot of research along the way – through mama friends, my Instagram mama community, and by reading reputable websites (like The Bump) and books. There are SO many lists out there for what you “need” during pregnancy and childbirth but I really tried to use common sense when it came to what I products I felt were necessary to have throughout these last almost ten months and in preparation for a newborn.

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1. One of my best mama friends, Emi, bought me the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter when I first told her I was expecting and I’ve been using it ever since! The butter has a really thick lotion-like texture and I use it generously every morning. At night, I follow it up with the same brand’s Tummy Oil. So far, no stretch marks – woohoo! I know, I know – stretch marks are typically genetic but anything I can do to help, right?!

2. You know you’re in nesting mode when you get excited about filling your diaper bag! It took me a LONG time to figure out what diaper bag I wanted and I knew I had to get something that my husband wouldn’t mind toting around too. A few of my friends recommended the bags from Pottery Barn Kids and this lucky lady received the most perfect one at her baby shower. It’s almost packed and ready to go! (Thanks again, Emi!)

3. The Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics tea has helped me throughout every stage of pregnancy. In the beginning, I was gifted a variety box that included four different teas for morning sickness, heartburn, calmness & one specifically for the third trimester. I’ve given up caffeine during my pregnancy, so these have been a lifesaver (that and Starbucks decaf)! Currently I’m drinking the third trimester tea to prepare my body for labor. Any day now!

4. I had seen the Solly Baby Wrap all over Instagram even before I was pregnant – and knew I HAD to have it when the time came. I’m all for ‘baby wearing’ and can’t wait to put Baby Ginz in his wrap all snuggled up. I wanted to practice with the dog.. but my husband nixed that idea! Ugh.

5. I absolutely adore my mama community on Instagram and all the guidance they’ve given me in the short time I’ve known them. I came across the Raspberriez brand through them and it was love at first sight when I saw their baby boat shoes! Every Florida baby needs boat shoes, right?! The brand is made up of a mom & daughter duo and they homemake every single pair themselves. They also have the cutest little booties! Washing & organizing little baby clothes, shoes and socks has definitely been a favorite past time lately. It’s definitely a relaxing way to prepare for baby.

6. I jokingly call my Snoogle pregnancy pillow the “third person” in the bed because when it’s tucked under the covers when the bed is made, it totally looks like there’s someone hiding in the bed. Sleeping has been ‘complicated’ and the Snoogle has been my saving grace. The pillow is fashioned in a very long “C” shape so it wraps around your body and can be used in several different positions and configurations. Hubs doesn’t know it yet, but I might keep using it after the baby is born!

7. After reading up on all the harmful implications of BPA (Bisphenol A) in plastic and how it can harm our babies, I switched to reusable water bottles early on in pregnancy. I love the Swell bottles not only because they’re beautiful, but they keep my water or tea hot or cold for the entire day! It was a seriously hot summer here in South Florida, and having ice cold water always on hand (even after accidentally leaving the bottle in the car) was everything.

8. Acai bowls have been a constant staple item for me throughout my entire pregnancy. Luckily, they’re made with all natural and organic ingredients! My favorite comes from a local smoothie spot and I love how they layer acai, peanut butter, granola and fresh fruit for the perfect refreshing snack or breakfast. It was a LONG & HOT summer here in South Florida and I’d like to credit acai bowls for keeping me sane!

Some honorable mentions are my Athleta maternity yoga pants, my Pure Barre workouts that I was able to do before I moved and was told not to workout anymore – BOO! (HEY West Boca ladies, miss you!), and coconut water to keep me super hydrated.

Are there any items that you found as must-haves during your prep for baby? Feel free to share them in a comment below! XOXO.

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Motherhood + Baby

Third Trimester Bumpdate

I can’t tell if this pregnancy has flown by too quickly or dragged along too slowly, that’s a pretty weird feeling! What I do know, however, is that it has been a long hot summer here in South Florida and I’m ready for the (very) subtle shift of fall. As I type this, I’m exactly 34 weeks (WHAT?!) and starting to feel more ‘ready’ every single day. I haven’t talked about my pregnancy much, but figured now was a better time than ever to give a third trimester update for those interested!

How I’m Feeling:
Swollen! My ankles are not my best feature lately. After a brief and minor scare that left me dehydrated, I was made aware that I was having pretty strong & frequent Braxton Hicks contractions. That revelation lead my doctor to nix my Pure Barre workouts – boo! So other than feeling a little down about that, I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’m getting to the point where finding a comfortable position to lounge on the couch or sleep in is difficult, but I’m trucking along and nearing the finish line.

What I’m Missing:
Smoked fish dip has been on my mind constantly lately. You always want what you can’t have, right? All I dream about is a crunchy saltine cracker with a mound of fish dip and a slice of jalapeño on top. Who wants to volunteer to bring me some after I deliver?! I’ll also take a spicy tuna roll and a corned beef sandwich, please & thanks! I know the wine will have to wait a big longer, but it’ll be well worth the wait.

What I’m Excited For:
Besides the birth of Baby Ginz, the completion of the nursery! We just have a few more things to take care of and then it will be all set – can’t wait to share pictures. I never wanted a ‘typical’ blue boy’s nursery so we went with a gender neutral color palette of grays, taupe, ivory and mint green. I found these animal planters at Anthropologie and KNEW I needed them for the baby’s room and they fit in perfectly and gave us a ‘theme’ to work with. I’m in total nesting mode and will find myself just sitting in his room every now and then when I’m not busy washing his tiny onesies and socks!

What’s New With Baby G:
Baby Ginz (his name is top secret until he makes his debut!) is an active little guy and is measuring ahead in weight, although that’s just an estimate. He’s already head down and in position to make his way into the world, but of course we’re hoping he marinates for a few more weeks at least so that his lungs and nervous system are developed. Today, at 34 weeks, he’s about the size of a butternut squash. It’s so amazing and crazy that there’s a little human growing in my belly!

What I’m Craving:
This changes daily, but for the most part I can definitely say sugar! Dessert is always on my mind. Now that I can’t workout (besides walking), I’m trying to keep the indulgences to a minimum or make healthy swaps that feel more indulgent than they really are. I’ve been using some of Leah’s Plate’s recipes, like her Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and those help satisfy my sweet tooth without all the extra guilt! Plus, hubby likes them too.

After an amazing baby moon spent in NYC & The Hamptons and a beautiful baby shower thrown by my friends & family (post coming soon!), I’m looking forward to taking it easy until Baby Ginz arrives. Lots of date nights, dinners with friends, and nesting before the little guy gets here and changes our world forever. Any tips from the mamas out there?

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