Friday, July 25, 2014

What’s in a Name?

Dutch Newborn_2014_19
I’ve received a lot of requests on the origin of our Little Peep’s name:
Dutch LeBeau

The Mr. and I picked our sweet boy’s name about 3 years ago.  We prayed and prayed and just knew that if God gave us a baby it would be a boy.  I know you’re not supposed to say if you want a boy or a girl, and you’re supposed to say a “healthy baby” (but seriously that really is a given in my mind, and gender is completely independent of health), but I will be completely honest with you, I prayed for a little boy since we were married.  I always told the Mr. that I wanted a bunch of little versions of him running around our house. 
Our anatomy scan appointment back in January revealed that we were having a boy.  To be honest, when the tech revealed his gender there was no big sigh of relief or anything like that because we both just knew he was going to be a boy.  Our gender reveal was just more like a confirmation, and we could officially start referring to him by his name.

The Mr. picked our son’s first name and I instantly loved it.  I love unique names because of what my unique name has taught me: to be an individual, not a follower.  I’ve never met another Dutch before so I thought this would be a great reminder for our son to not do as the world does and to stand firm in his own individuality and beliefs.  Where did the Mr. find this name? From the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator.  I had not seen the movie so we purchased it from Amazon & watched it the weekend before Dutch was born.  It's a terrible 80’s movie, but I still loved the name.

This name we didn’t finalize until the lady from Social Security was standing over us in the hospital waiting for us to sign the forms.  Oooooopsies!  LeBeau is French for handsome boy and Coach LeBeau is the defensive coordinator for the Steelers.  Both of our pups (Rooney and Tomlin) are named after men of great character from the Steelers organization.  Coach LeBeau is a true a man of exceptional character, patience, integrity, and compassion; all characteristics we pray our boy will carry on. 

There you have it: the origin of our Little Peep’s name :-)
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate

50759-cold-brew-coffeeI’m not usually a cold coffee person, but I have to say that right now I’ve totally got a crush on Trader Joes Cold Coffee Concentrate.  This stuff is ahhhhh-maaaaaaz-inggggggg and you need to go get you some STAT!  The concept of a coffee concentrate  is new to me but I’m a quick fan.  All you have to do is pour 1 part of the concentrate to 2 parts water or milk (I use milk), and add ice.  How fast is that?!
No grinding beans!
No waiting for the coffee to finish dripping!
No sweating over a hot cup of coffee in the middle of the summer!
No traveling anywhere for an iced coffee!
This is not a new-mom-who-has-no-time-to-make-coffee thing (though it certainly does help of course).  This is an EVERYBODY thing! 
How in the world did I live pre iced coffee concentrate?!
Seriously folks you’ve got to try this; it’s the perfect way to start a summer morning :-)
Happy humpday folks!
xoxo Darby

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Smell of Heaven {Dutch’s Birth Story}

Have you ever wondered what heaven smells like? I have, and I now know what heaven smells like.  A new baby, is the freshest and closet smell of heaven on this side of eternity.  I promise!  Everything about a newborn smells heavenly!  It is intoxicating.  The Mr. and I have found that we love to soak in the smell of Dutch, from his laundry, to his breath and his hair…it all smells like heaven…….like a miracle.  Everything about Dutch’s surprise conception, questionable pregnancy, and exciting arrival was from God, and we are beyond grateful.  There are no words in the english language that accurately express our grateful hearts.  I wanted to write down Dutch’s birth story before I forgot the little details.  In truth, I wrote them down on a legal pad weeks ago, and I’m so glad I did because the details are already foggy. 

First of all, nothing in my life has ever gone according to my plan, despite the fact that I’m an intense planner.  The Lord has been teaching me that my time is never as good as His timing for as long as I can remember, and the conception and birth of Dutch was yet another teaching moment.  We had planned and trained for a natural vaginal delivery…….spoiler alert… didn’t go down like that.  Not at all. ***FYI- I will be describing our birth process honestly.  This is not meant to be used as medical advice, this is simply our birth experience based on our specific circumstances.***

My due date was May 28, 2014, but I was convinced that Dutch was coming on May 18th…….this is where the laughing can begin.  At my appointment on 5/22 I was 2 cm dilated and had been in early labor for two weeks already so my membranes were stripped in the hopes of moving labor along.  I tried every single old wives tale to get that baby moving (exercising, dancing, eating pineapple, drinking raspberry leaf tea, acupressure, nipple stimulation, pure cranberry juice……you name it I tried it!).  A week later at my next appointment (Thursday 5/29, a day past my due date) I was 3 cm dilated and my membranes were striped again.  My doctor made an appointment for me to be induced on Monday 6/2 at 8pm.  My doctor was concerned because Dutch was measuring on the larger side for a natural vaginal delivery (over 9lbs).  I was NOT excited about the scheduled induction at all, and spent the weekend trying more old wives tales to get him moving and praying that we could avoid all medical interventions (more laughing here at my attempt to plan).  Over the weekend my contractions continued but still nothing regular.  They were intense and would stop me in my tracks, but they weren’t getting closer together.

On Sunday night (or early Monday morning rather), at 12:32am I had my first time-able contraction (I was 40 weeks and 6 days).  I labored through contractions on my birthing ball in our living room.  I tried to rest between contractions, but spent the majority of the early morning hours breathing slowly, on all fours on my yoga mat with my head on the ottoman, and humming.  I went through the rotation of positions we practiced with our doula for weeks before and that position (on all fours) worked the best for me.  The Mr. helped me to take a few warm baths through the night and washed my hair for me to help me stay relaxed.  Being in the warm water was extremely helpful for my pain management.  As I labored,  I graciously watched the Mr. finish off my list of things I wanted done before going to the hospital (wash the dogs, sweep, vacuum, dishes, laundry, etc.)  After about 12 hours my contractions were 3 minutes apart and we decided to head to the hospital to be assessed.  When we walked in, I remember thinking, “If they tell me I am only 3 cm dilated still, I will cry!”  In fact, I’m pretty sure I told the security guard that as we were checking in.  The hospital was great and got me back to a room very quickly (I seriously can’t say more good things about our hospital; every step was amazing and perfect!).  Guess what?! After being assessed I was still only 3 cm dilated; let the water-works commence!  Since I was supposed to be induced that night anyways, my doctor decided to just admit me instead of sending me home (the tears stopped when they said I could stay).  DSC_0001-2DSC_0006-2DSC_0005-2DSC_0024-2
Around 2pm, I was started on pitocin at a low dosage, and it was increased every hour.  As expected, my contractions intensified and quickened.  A little before 7pm, 20 hours into labor, I was 4 cm dilated . Everything seemed to be okay, slow but okay, so I told the Mr. to go to the car to get our bags and grab something to eat.  When he left our room I felt my water break, and as soon as that happened everything changed….and really fast.  When the nurse assessed my bag of water, she noticed that my temperature was pretty high and that Dutch’s heart rate was beginning to increase.  I was quickly diagnosed with chorioamnionitis.  I felt really bad for the Mr. because he was only gone for 15 minutes and when he left me everything was fine, but when he walked back into our room I was on oxygen, there was a swarm of medical professionals, and I was started with an epidural for the probably eminent c-section.DSC_0009-2DSC_0016-2DSC_0043-2DSC_0047-2
Because the doctors started talking about a c-section, we asked for a little more time to see if my body would break the fever on its own with antibiotics.  I fell asleep and Phil prayed over me and Dutch for the next 2 hours.  The entire time he kept watching Dutch’s heart rate on the monitor go higher and higher.  At 10pm the doctors noticed that Dutch’s heart rate was 220 (normal shouldn’t be higher than 165ish), and that Dutch was at risk for a stroke and cardiovascular damage, so we were rushed in for an emergency c-section.  The Mr. was brought into the operating room after they had me and the NICU team set up.  Getting to the OR was very fast, and the medical team started right away trying to get Dutch out.  The doctor had a tough time getting Dutch out because of his wide shoulders, and the NICU team was closely monitoring Dutch and waiting to get their hands on him due to his cardiovascular distress and lack of oxygen.  Dutch was born at 11:05pm on June 2, 2014 weighing 7 lbs 11oz, and was 21 inches long.DSC_0051-2DSC_0053-2
The Mr. noticed that the doctors were getting very quiet and giving each other knowing glances with big eyes over their face masks.  Due to the chorioamnionitis and prolonged labor, I started to lose blood really quickly.  At this point I began vomiting, and received many shots in my shoulders to try to control and prevent the vomit from filling up my lungs.  I lost 4x the amount of blood that is normal for birth via a c-section, so I don’t remember much because I was in and out of consciousness due to the loss of blood.  However, I do remember the doctor quickly holding Dutch over the blue screen for me to see him, I remember the many shots I was receiving in my shoulders to try and stop the vomiting, I remember the silence in the room as they were trying to get Dutch to cry, and I remember asking the Mr. if Dutch had a clef pallet (I can’t believe I remembered to ask that in the chaos of the moment, but that was something that I was worried about since we could never get Dutch to move his hands from his mouth during ultrasounds.)  The Mr. was back and forth between me and Dutch.  As my doctors were trying to get the bleeding under control to avoid a blood transfusion and sew me up, he would report back to me what the NICU team was doing to get Dutch’s oxygen levels up and what medications he was started on through his IV.  Sidebar- I had no idea organs were removed to be sewn up before returning them to my body!  It’s no wonder why a c-section recovery leaves your insides very sore and tender!DSC_0063-2DSC_0066-2
The medical team finished me first so I was sent to recovery around 1:30am.  When the NICU team was at a stopping point with Dutch, they brought him to us in recovery so that he could nurse, before being returned to the NICU.  This was where I first got to hold Dutch for about 10 minutes.  Before going into labor I was asked many times by friends and family, what I was most looking forward to saying to our baby boy when he arrived.  While I knew exactly what I wanted to say, I could never tell them because I would get choked up.  But when the time came, and I got to hold that sweet boy in my arms for the first time, I was able to tell him exactly what I wanted to say, “Jesus loves you little boy”.  Through my tears of joy I knew that those needed to be the first words he heard from my voice.  This precious boy was all in God’s plan; it was His perfect masterpiece and I want Dutch to always know that.DSC_0072-2
For the next 6 hours I was tested to make sure that my white blood cell count was increasing.  I had 8 medications going into the IV in my left arm, a few into my left hand, blood drawn every 30 minutes from my right arm and right hand, and more shots into my shoulders due to blood incompatibility.  My right arm quickly turned black and blue from all of the needles drawing my blood.  I never sweat, even while exercising, but I remember being super hot and sweaty from the fever while I was in recovery.  Sweat was just rolling down the sides of my face.  This continued until my blood platelets stabilized and my fever broke.

Around 6am on Tuesday, the Mr. and I were taken to our postpartum room, and Dutch was delivered back to us from the NICU around 7am.  Because of the chorioamnionitis, prolonged labor, and Dutch passing his meconium, he was on several antibiotics through an IV in his right hand covered by a large paddle.  Tuesday was such a whirlwind of tests on our temperatures and blood levels.  By the end of the day my foley catheter (for urination) was removed.  While it was incredibly painful to get up to use the restroom (thank goodness my hubby practically carried me to the bathroom each time), the absence of the catheter made adjusting to Dutch so much easier.  Trying to hold, nurse, or change Dutch around all of my IV’s, his IV’s, my spinal catheter and foley catheter was challenging, so just having one of those removed was incredibly helpful.DSC_0081-2DSC_0088-2DSC_0098-2
On Wednesday (6/4), Dutch’s pediatrician stopped by to assess him in the morning.  He only lost 3% of his birth weight and was now weighing 7lbs and 7 oz.  After he passed his tests for the day (hearing & bilirubin) he was circumcised.  While that was happening, the Mr. got me showered and changed for the first time since I was in labor.  Since I had not been allowed to shower I was really looking forward to this monumental task, however I had no idea how extremely painful it would be and how weak I would be.  Praise the Lord for my strong, compassionate, and patient husband!  When Dutch was finished with his procedure we went to lactation class.  At 11am everyday our hospital offered a lactation class for all new moms and it was awesome.  Dutch was the star pupil at booby class that day lol  By the end of the day my spinal catheter was removed and all of my IV medications were completed and removed.  Dutch completed all of his antibiotics and his IV was also removed from his right hand.  While we had a lot going on Wednesday, the day really was great: everyone was on the mend, we had two visitors, and the hospital gave us our celebration dinner- complete with blue cake and sparkling cider.  Our evening was a little more challenging because my milk had not arrived yet and Dutch was very hungry (read “hangry”), we were all exhausted, and Dutch was uncomfortable from his surgery that morning.  After a few hours of Dutch & I both crying, Dutch went to the nursery for supplementation around 2am.  I was concerned about weight loss from not eating increasing his risks of jaundice, so I had to deal with my extreme mommy-guilt and send Dutch to the nursery (I still cried though).  When 6am rolled around and Dutch wasn’t back, the Mr. walked and I shuffled to the nursery to pick him up.DSC_0106-2DSC_0110-2
On Thursday (6/5), we met with the pediatrician in the morning and Dutch received his vaccinations before he was discharged.  He was discharged weighing 7 lbs and 2 oz.  While I was waiting to be discharged we had two special visitors come by and keep us company, I practiced walking laps around the 12th floor of the hospital, and I had my staples removed.  In the afternoon my physician came by to assess me; he wanted to keep me one more day and send me home on Friday, but we asked him if I was really careful if I could go home and he said that I could……I mean when he looked around the room he saw that everything was packed up and piled by the door ready to go.  How could he say no?  At 3:30pm the discharge papers were signed, and we were pulling in our driveway at 5:30pm.DSC_0115-2DSC_0118-2DSC_0120-2DSC_0127-2
Since arriving home, we have been playing “get to know you” with Dutch.  And to be honest, with each other too since we have completely new roles as a mama and daddy.  We have both been soaking in the sweet smell of heaven.  The scent of heaven are the miracles of God; that’s what babies are….miracle after miracle.  It is the sweetest smell I have ever experienced.  Going through the birth experience and the transition into parenthood with my husband has been a true joy.  Even though our experience was nothing close to what we had planned, it was perfect; better than we could have planned.  I have fallen more in love with my husband; more in love than I ever thought was possible.  His dedication, patience, and compassion are characteristics that stare me in the face everyday.  He is a magnificent man, husband, and father.  I am blessed to have the Mr. at my side walking through this journey with me, and we are in awe of the blessing and miracle God gave us with Dutch.
xoxo Darby

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dutch’s Newborn Photos

The talented and sweet Grace Hill Photography helped us to announce that we were expecting and took our maternity pictures, & we were so blessed to have her take the most gorgeous newborn pictures of Dutch.  I’ve shared some of Dutch’s newborn photos, but here are all of our pictures with our sweet miracle baby.
Thank you Grace Hill Photography!
Grace Hill Photo-7Grace Hill Photo-5Grace Hill Photo-8Grace Hill Photo-1Grace Hill Photo-2Grace Hill Photo-4Grace Hill Photo-3Grace Hill Photo-9Grace Hill Photo-10Grace Hill Photo-6Grace Hill Photo-11As always, thank you so much Grace for capturing these special moments in our lives!  We will always treasure these photos!
If you’re in the Houston area and looking for a fabulous photographer, this is the one for you!
Check out Grace Hill Photography and her Facebook page for more fabulous samples of her work.
Obligatory blogger disclaimer: I was not paid for this post; we just love Grace’s work!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scripture for Labor & Delivery {FREE!}

Scripture for Labor and DeliveryScripture Cards for Labor & DeliveryTo help during labor and delivery I made a small notebook of scripture verses that would help encourage me and focus my contractions and breathing on meeting our little boy.  I labored for 24 hours and these verses really helped me to shift my focus from pain to the purpose of the pain, and envisioning our sweet Little Peep. I made this notebook and packed it in my hospital bag, though I ended up using it at home more because I did the majority of my laboring at home.  When I was preparing for labor and delivery, it was really hard for me to find something like this (especially a list of verses that was free).  Today I’m sharing my list with you!  Click here for a FREE copy of the scripture verses I used to help me focus during labor and delivery. Congratulations to you future mamas-to-be, and praying for a safe and speedy labor and delivery for you!
xoxo Darby

Monday, July 14, 2014

Newborn Must-Haves

I have received so many questions from other mamas and mamas-to-be about what newborn items are must-haves.  Since I told you about what mama needs to have ready for when she returns home from the hospital on Friday, today I have compiled a list of things that we are using on a daily basis right now with our newborn.  Retail stores and even baby blogs list a million ways you can go broke shopping for baby, but here are the top items that we are using that haven't broke the bank and are used on a daily basis.Newborn Must Haves
  1. WubbaNub- These infant pacifiers are super cute and come in many different animals.  We like these because Dutch can wrap his arms around the animal and hold the pacifier in place.  I recommend having at least 2 of these.  I keep one on the changing table for diaper changes and dressing Dutch since he isn’t a fan of getting naked.
  2. Gas Drops- Nothing is sadder than a newborn crying from gas. These drops have been great in relieving gas pressure in my little boy’s tummy.
  3. Tub- Your baby wont be lounging for hours in the tub so you really don’t need anything fancy for bath time.  This is a great tub that fits perfectly in the kitchen sink and has a hole with a plug that can be drained at the bottom.  The swing supports a newborn perfectly so they wont be submerged in water before their umbilical cord stump falls off.  This will last you a while because the swing is removable for when baby grows.
  4. Babyganics Foam Hand Sanitizer- I keep this hand sanitizer at the changing station.  I love this hand sanitizer because it’s alcohol-free and gentle on the skin.
  5. Swaddle Blankets- Not all babies like to be swaddled but Dutch loves it!  He prefers to be all snuggled up in a swaddle all day long.  It’s his favorite past time ;-) Our favorite swaddles are the aden +anais swaddles.  When I was preparing for Dutch everyone said these muslin swaddles were the best, & honestly they were all right!  I didn’t want to get these because they were a little on the pricier side for me, but honestly they are worth every penny.  They are large (great for our long baby) and light.  We have 8 of these and I wish we had more!  These are worth the investment!
  6. Sound Machine- There are a ton of expensive sound machines specifically for babies.  I found this one on Amazon and we love it so much that I bought another one for our room.  This sound machine has 6 great options, many volume settings, and the option of automatic shut-off.
  7. Mommy Hook- This hook was recommended to me and it’s a staple I keep in my diaper bag.  This LARGE & strong carabineer is great for holding my diaper bag on my stroller or the grocery cart.
  8. Nosefrida & Accessories- This is another product that everyone (even my pediatrician) recommended.  We have used this several times already.  Even when newborns aren’t sick they tend to have extra mucus from the womb & the Nosefrida is a super efficient nasal aspirator.  I was petrified to use it the first time, but it was so effective that I’m officially a believer now.  There are some accessories that I would recommend you get with the snot sucker though: filters (Since the filters are what prevent you from consuming your kid's snot, you want to replace those) & saline drops (Administering a few drops before you use the Nosefrida helps to loosen things up so that you can aspirate more effectively).
  9. Wipes Warmer- I know there is a divide between moms & merchants on this one.  Is this a “must-have” or a marketing scheme targeted at vulnerable new moms?!  Here is my opinion: Everyone told me not to register for a wipe warmer, so I didn’t, but I was gifted one.  When we were at the hospital Mr. Dutch hated having his diaper changed and would scream through each changing.  When we returned home & started using the wipe warmer everything changed.  His poor little bum bum was soothed by the warmer wipes.  So is this a must-have? In the middle of the night after I’ve nursed my newborn back to sleep and realize he has a new dirty diaper I gladly use the warmer wipes to keep from upsetting him.  We don’t have issues with screaming fits out in public when I use room temperature wipes, and we have the soothing warmer wipes at home.  For us, this is a lovely must-have  luxury that helps us all sleep at night.
  10. Boppy & Covers- I feel like there are a ton of options & opinions for nursing pillows.  For various reasons I chose the Boppy and we love it.  Pick whatever nursing pillow you want, but make sure that you get at least 2 covers.  Remember that milk leaks and sprays, and babies spit-up so one cover will inevitably always be in the wash.
  11. Burp Cloths- Uh…… babies spit-up a lot lol We go through a couple burp cloths a day.  I really like the aden + anais burpy bib because the organic material from bamboo is SO soft.  The burp cloth also has snaps and will double as a bib when Dutch gets older.
  12. Breast Pump- I exclusively breast-feed my newborn (No, this is not a statement/attack on anyone else’s choices for how to feed their infant, this is simply where we are right now).  When we first returned from the hospital I used my pump to help encourage my milk to come in.  I also use my pump to help my supply remain high and to help produce a stock of breast milk for when I return to work.  This is a must-have item that helps us ensure I have enough milk for Dutch.   I use a double electric pump, but there are many breast pump options; here is a breast pump review so that you can select the best one for you. If you’re worried about the cost of a breast pump, remember that because of the Affordable Care Act most insurances will give you a pump for free, so call them before you purchase anything.
  13. Pacifier & Clip- The Philips Soothie pacifier is awesome.  We were going to wait a month before introducing a pacifier to Dutch.  Well we caved…….and we caved really fast!  Dutch loves this pacifier for soothing and I love it because it’s a great shape for his mouth that is very similar to the nipple (preventing nipple confusion).  I recommend having at least 2 clips so that you can use one while the other is in the wash.  There are two brands of clips that I really like: Bella Tunno & Booginhead.
  14. Stroller Net- After birth there are 6 weeks where exercise isn’t permitted.  Since I still wanted to take walks with Dutch but was worried about my sweet boy getting attacked by mosquitos, a friend recommended this net to me.  This net is perfect in preventing bugs from getting to my baby, fits any stroller, and comes with 2 nets (one for an infant carrier & a longer one for a full stroller).  This helps me to get out of the house for some fresh air and exercise.  FYI- We have the Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System Stroller in Antiquity and we LOVE it!
  15. Portable Infant Swing- Like most new mams I registered for the jumbo stationary swing.  I’m so glad no one bought it for us!  Those things are HUGE!  Since I don’t live in a mansion, where would I put that?! When Dutch was 3 weeks old, & all of the visitors (read “baby holders”) left, I realized that I needed help holding him during the day.  Since he loved motion we decided to go ahead & purchase a swing.  Not only is a portable swing much cheaper and smaller, but I can move it anywhere in the house by myself.  This helps me tremendously throughout the day so Dutch has a place in the bathroom when I’m showering, a place in the kitchen when I’m cooking meals or folding laundry, and in the office when I’m working, and I always have an eye on him.
  16. Huggies- Again, I am going against the grain here.  I know that popular opinion says to get Pampers Newborn Diapers…..and even I did that.  However when we were in the hospital they gave us 4 packs of Huggies Newborn Diapers, so of course I used them (who throws away those expensive poo catchers?!).  Being a new mama I loved the Huggies more because they have an exaggerated dip on the front of the diaper where the umbilical cord was.  I was so nervous about accidentally bumping into the umbilical cord stump or having the diaper rub up against it, & the Huggies diapers were the perfect solution to calming my new mama anxieties.
  17. Multi-Use Pads- If you’re like me you probably got some cute changing pad covers.  Well let me tell you, you go through those really fast!  They get dirty very quickly.  I have purchased 6 of these pads and I have one on top of the changing pad, in the swing, rocker, and bouncer.  When accidents happen this has limited the amount of laundry I have.  These absorbent pads are easy to fold up and replace while keeping your baby gear clean from spit-up and another accidents.  This is so convenient because you don’t have to take everything apart and wait to use your baby equipment while it is laundered.
  18. Baby Carrier- I feel like there are a bazillion opinions for baby carriers.  I’m not going to tell you that you HAVE to have a specific carrier though, but I will recommend that you get some kind of baby carrier.  Find a carrier that works for you.  You will love snuggling with your newborn but eventually you will have to do something where you need at least 2 hands (everything from going to the bathroom to grocery shopping lol), and a baby carrier is extremely helpful.   I use the Moby because it’s light weight, has various positions to carry Dutch in, affordable and feels very natural.  I love having Dutch close to me and it’s extremely helpful around the house when I’m trying to work (I’m actually wearing him right now), clean, cook, eat, or grocery shop.  A lot of people say that it’s difficult to put on, but I haven't found that to be the case.  There are a million tutorial videos on you tube that you can learn from.  I feel safe with Dutch in the wrap, and he loves being in it.  Bottom line, get some kind of carrier.
  19. Comotomo Baby Bottle- I did a lot of research on bottles before Dutch was born.  I found that these had great reviews and were great in preventing gas.  Also, because of the shape and the material, they do not promote nipple confusion.  I love the feel of these bottles because they feel very breast-like and we have not had any issues with nipple confusion.
  20. Infant Mittens- My son has talons on the ends of his fingers ;-)  We file his nails, but they grow back SO fast (thank you breastmilk!).  I have received many critical & condescending comments from others who have seen pictures of Dutch and said “well he wont learn to self-sooth with those mittens”.  Dutch wears infant mittens because I’m more concerned about him scratching his cornea than learning to self-sooth right now.  We haven't had any issues with him being soothed and this prevents him from clawing at his face and eyes.  I really like the Gerber brand and the American Red Cross brand because the elastic around the wrist is tight enough where the mittens stay on but not so tight that they leave a mark on him.  Also the elastic doesn’t loose its elasticity in the wash.
  21. Vitamin D Supplement- I thought I had researched everything I needed for Dutch before he was born, but I never came across anything about a vitamin D supplement.  I was completely blown away when his pediatrician mentioned it at his 1 week appointment because I had never heard of this!  Apparently our society is extremely sedentary & doesn’t spend enough time in the sun (shocking? no!) .  What vitamin D that I do have isn’t sufficient to pass through my breast milk to Dutch.  This is the supplement that our pediatrician recommended to us and we use for days when Dutch gets less than 15 minutes of time outside
There are tons of newborn baby “must-have” lists at baby stores, on mom blogs, and all over Pinterest.  These are the products that are working for us that we wanted to share with you.  These products aren’t breaking the bank or turning our home into a Babies R Us show room (yet), and we use all of these products on a regular basis.
If you have any suggestions on products that weren’t mentioned here that you would recommend, please share with me!
xoxo Darby

Friday, July 11, 2014

Before Bringing Baby Home {Mommy Edition}

I have said it many times: I am a planner.  I have a list for everything and I look forward to crossing things off.  My life runs on lists folks.  While I was busy making lists of things to get ready for when Dutch arrived, I forgot that there were many things that I needed to do to get myself ready to bring a newborn home.  Seems obvious right?! Well it completely slipped my mind….let’s call it mommy brain. Okay?  Additionally, there were many things that I didn’t know that I needed to add to my list simply because I’ve never been a mommy before and I had no idea what it was like to bring a baby home from the hospital.  Today I’m sharing the things that I either had and was SO GLAD that I had, or things that I WISHED I had ready when we first brought Dutch home from the hospital.Before Bringing Baby Home
1. Mother’s Milk- This organic tea is great!  It helped my milk to come in within 45 minutes, and it also helps promote healthy lactation.  Put this in your hospital bag and start drinking it as soon as your baby is born (not before your baby is born though).  I am still drinking 2 cups a day, with 2 tea bags in each cup.  
2. AfterEase- After birth, your uterus contracts when you nurse and it feels like labor pains.  I used these natural drops in my water to help with those pains and I never had the painful post-birth uterine contractions.  Also add this to your hospital bag. 
3. Motherlove Nipple Cream- I was nervous about Dutch consuming chemicals so I used this natural lanolin for the first couple days that I was nursing, and I never experienced nipple pain and I felt comfortable with Dutch consuming it.  Another plus is that it didn’t stain my clothes like many other lanolin nipple creams do.
4. Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Spray- This perineum spray was also a great natural spray to help with healing and cooling The V-Downtown post-birth.  Add this to your hospital bag…’ll thank yourself after birth (I PROMISE!)
5. Stamps- I know you might think this is a little weird, but it is a nice convenience.  As soon as you bring your baby home you will start getting flowers, gifts, and meals that you will need to write thank you notes for.  You will not want to take a trip to the Post Office just for stamps with a newborn.  Just purchase a book of stamps to use once the baby arrives.
6. Digital Clock- The Mr. & I share an alarm clock and it sits on his nightstand.  When we brought Dutch home I had to keep asking him what time it was with every feeding in the middle of the night.  He never said that he was bothered by it, but I was annoying myself by constantly having to ask for the time.  I ordered this really small, well-lit, digital clock to put on my nightstand.  I purchased another one to put in the nursery so that I didn’t have to lug my cell phone around.  Occasionally I would forget my cell phone and would hate to interrupt a feeding just to asses the length of feedings.  This clock made life easier. 
7. Nightlights- This was also something that just made life easier.  I put more nightlights in the bedroom, the nursery, and the hallway in between those rooms.  After Dutch falls asleep and I’m moving him in the middle of the night, I do not like taking the chance of waking him by turning on lights.  The nightlights have helped out tremendously.
8. LARGE Feminine Napkins- When I say “large” I really mean HUGE!  I don’t think I need to provide an explanation here.  Lochia is a real thing.
9. Batteries- Before you head to the hospital have all baby products assembled and batteries installed.  Read the instructions and know how everything works.  You don’t want to have a crying baby in the middle of your first night home and pull out the swing to use only to discover that you need 4 C batteries.  Have everything ready to go.
10. Breast Pump Instructions & Accessories- Even if you plan to breast feed you’re going to want to have your pump accessories ready to go when you get home to help encourage your milk to come in.  This means that you need to read through the pump manual so you know how it works so when you’re sleep deprived you can be as educated as possible.  Have your pump parts sanitized for that first usage when you return home from the hospital.  Be sure that all bottles and bottle nipples are BPA- free and latex-free.  If you’re worried about the cost of a breast pump, remember that because of the Affordable Care Act most insurances will give you a pump for free, so call them before you purchase anything.
11. Bottles- Sterilize one set of bottles for when you get home with your bambino.  You do not want to spend time cleaning bottles when you don’t have to.  I say to only sterilize one set of bottles because every baby is different and prefers different bottles. Until you know which brand your baby prefers just sterilize one set, that way you can return the others, or start going through your stash.  We use the Comotomo Natural Feel bottles because they feel so close to the breast.  We have not had any nipple confusion with these so far.
12. Diaper Bag- I know that you don’t need to take your diaper bag with you to the hospital, but you will need it for your first outing, which might be to the see the pediatrician a few days after you get home.  I promise you don’t want to take the time to figure out what goes in a diaper bag before that first appointment because you will be late for the appointment.  Here is what I have in my diaper bag.
13. Hospital Bag- Duh!  Obviously you should pack this before you head to the hospital.  Here is what I had in my hospital bags for me, the Mr., & Dutch.
14. Nursing Tops & Yoga Pants-  You need A LOT of these!  Like waaaaaaaaay more than you think you need.  I only had 3 of each and I go through that in like 2 days.  Milk leaks and sprays even with nursing pads and babies spit up, so you will need several of these.  I just ordered 6 more online.  Here is a list of my favorite nursing tops.
15. Car Seat-  This is another “duh”!  Have your baby’s car seat installed by 35 weeks and have it assessed to make sure that it is installed properly.  More than 70% of car seats are installed incorrectly, so make sure your car seat is safe for bambino!  Here is a link where you can type in your zip code to find the closest places to have your car seat assessed. Fire stations are no longer certified to do the inspections, so make sure you take your vehicle to be inspected by a certified location.
16. Laundry-  Wash all clothes, sheets, towels, nursing cover, etc. that you are certain you’re going to use for your baby when they get home.  Again this will help you to be prepared for when you welcome baby at home.  Leave tags on things that you’re not totally sure that you’re keeping that way you can return or exchange it later.  Doing baby laundry was my absolutely favorite baby preparation "project" and even though I do about 3 loads of his laundry a week now, I still love it.  I am in love with how those little clothes smell.
17. Freezer Meals- Once the baby comes home you wont have time to be fixing a gourmet meal, let alone a meal at all.  Cook ahead of time and freeze meals in smaller containers so that you can pull food out when you need it.  This has saved me so much over the past 4 weeks.  Ideas include: soups/stews, lasagna, spaghetti sauce, chicken spaghetti, spinach rolls, casseroles, marinated chicken, chicken pot pie, and waffles (don’t forget about breakfast!).
18. Finish off the Registry-  When all of your showers are finished and you’re getting close to your due date, take all of those gift cards you have received and purchase the remaining items off your registry that you know you’re going to want when the baby arrives.  Use your registry as a checklist.
19. Baby Announcements- Even though the baby hasn’t arrived and you don’t have your newborn pictures yet, go ahead and pick out your baby announcements.  This way you don’t have to spend a lot of time going through various websites finding your favorite and you can just plug in your images once the baby arrives.  It’s much faster this way, and it will give you something easy to research while you are waiting for your baby to arrive.
20. Stool Softener- I know this is TMI, but I PROMISE you want this.  The first few times post-birth are scary without it!  If you have a c-section you wont have a bowel movement for about a week (not because you’re constipated but because your organs have been shuffled around), so your doctor will probably write you a prescription.  Don’t take this lightly…..take the medication!
21. Wipe Warmer-  I was gifted a wipe warmer and set it on the changing table for when we got home… EXCEPT it was empty when we arrived home.  If you have a wipe warmer put wipes in it.  I know this seems obvious but I forgot & Dutch has a fancy boo-tay and prefers his wipes to be warm.
22. Amazon Prime & Amazon Mom- If you don’t have a membership already then you NEED to do this today.  Once the baby arrives it will be a challenge to get out of the house sometimes, and you can’t beat free 2-day delivery, not to mention all of the money you can save on products and movies you can watch.  If you purchase a Prime membership then you’re Mom account will be free.  Just do this!  In fact, even if you’re not expecting you should do this!
23. Pet Care- Not only should you prepare your pet as best as you can for the baby (my tips are here), but also make sure that someone is taking care of your pets while you’re at the hospital.  This way your hubby doesn’t have to worry about coming home to care for the pets while you’re getting to know your new baby.
24. Individually Wrapped Snacks-  Have a nice stock of snacks (e.g. granola bars, trail mix, goldfish, etc.) and sandwich fixins’.  You will be starving if you’re nursing and you wont have time to make a snack so you will want something that you can grab fast.
25. Tissues- Lots of tissues! I’m not a crier……or at least I wasn’t before Dutch, and now with my hormones trying to rebalance themselves I cry a lot; happy-cries of course but still a lot of crying going on.  Get some new and soft tissues for when the water works start flowing.

I know there are sooooo many other things that you need when you’re first bringing a newborn home, but these are the key items that I either didn’t have or that I was SUPER glad that I had on hand.  I hope these help all you mamas preparing to bring your babies home!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Nursing Tops

I don’t know about you, but for me, it seems like eternity since I’ve been wandering around LWTH.  How are you?! I have certainly missed y’all and have so much to share with you.  Fill me in on what’s going on with you? How has the beginning of your summer been?!  Right now I’m listening to my beloved Frank Sinatra, everyone in my house snoring, and the ringing of the alarm on the dryer with fresh sheets & towels.  These sounds are magical. Clearly it’s the simple things folks. We just got Dutch a swing and so far (fingers crossed, please don’t jinx yourself Darby) he loves it.

Anyways, lately my attire has been strictly yoga pants and nursing tops.  That’s right, for the past month I have worn pretty much the same thing (with the exception of 3 days when I braved wearing my maternity skinny jeans again). I would hardly consider myself a fashionista, but I will say that I have come across some really practical and comfortable nursing tops. So in case you’re a mama already or a mama-to-be, here are my favorite nursing tops.
Nursing Top- 1This tank is awesome!  I’ve got it in every single color it comes in, and 2 in black (and I’m actually wearing it right now!).  These tanks go great as a shirt, but also fit nicely under a regular shirt for ease & comfort while nursing in public or with a cardigan.  These are super comfortable and affordable! Go get you one….or four!

Nursing Top- 3This is also a really great tank, that I have in multiple colors.  You could wear it underneath your regular shirts, but I don’t.  I like the button detail and just wear it as is.

Nursing Top- 2I have this shirt in gray.  This works well as a shirt that you can just pull to the side when you need to nurse.

Nursing Top- 4I purchased this shirt when I was pregnant and loved it because it was so comfortable.  It was a financially savvy purchase because it doubles as a nursing top.  It is nice and light, which is perfect for the summer heat.

Nursing Bra-1Of course with nursing tops, come the nursing bras.  I normally wear an underwire (TMI, I know), but while nursing I don’t so that my ducts aren’t restricted.  When I’m wearing the tanks I don’t wear a bra, but when I’m wearing regular shirts these two bras (above and below) are super comfortable and user friendly.Nursing Bra-2
If you’re nursing or have nursed, and you’ve got some clothing suggestions, please pass them my way!
Happy Hump Day Folks!
xoxo Darby
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