What I ACTUALLY packed in my Hospital Bag


Let me start with a little back story on what I packed after delivering Oliver, my first son. Needless to say I was extremely naive.. we were the first in our friend group to get married and the first to start having children so I didn’t have anyone to help me out, show me the ropes, prepare me for what was to come. Being my 24yo self, I literally thought I would “bounce” back after I delivered.. that I would magically loose all that fat, stretched skin and excess water weight the second I pushed Oliver out. HA! What a sad sad reality that was when I got up to to take my first shower and glanced in the mirror to find myself still looking 6months pregnant! Say what!

Looking back I have to laugh because what was I honestly thinking.. my body just grew and birthed a healthy baby boy and all I could think about was how fat I felt. It also didn’t help that all I packed in my bag was cute stuff for baby, nothing cute for me. Nothing maternity, nothing nursing friendly, nothing comfy! After all, I was gonna bounce back so I should of been able to fit into my skin tight leggings again.. even with the elephant pad they give you to stick down there! I literally packed form fitting, tight ass clothing that was sooo ungodly uncomfortable I think I just sat in my hospital gown and robe until we left home. And let me tell you, what a discouraging concept that is to grasp. That my pre-pregnancy clothes didn’t fit and I still looked pregnant! lol

So if you’re a first time mom and looking for what you actually need to pack in your hospital bag and what you will actually WANT in your bag, look no further! I’ve rounded up my essentials to pack for you, baby and even daddy so that when the time comes you won’t make the mistake I did and you can feel good about yourself after delivering!

In the Hospital

Everywhere you deliver is different in what they provide for you after you deliver but for me I know I will at least get those sexy nylon granny panties, pads, witch hazel pads, and a peri bottle to use after I pee (usually for vaginal deliveries) so you don’t have to wipe your sore, swollen, stitched up vagina! Am I making this sound awesome yet.. haha don’t worry! It really is!

Essentials for Mom

Toiletries:

  • My duffle bag! I love the color and how large it is, shop HERE.

  • Travel size shampoo, conditioner, body wash. Or bring your big stuff.. whatever you want to carry.

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste.

  • Makeup wipes or for me I like to bring my norwex face cloth to wash my face.

  • Face cleanser (if you use one) and moisturizer! I’ll be bringing my Beauty Counter!

  • Wet wipes, some women say they can be useful for wiping the behind but I’ve actually never used them.

  • Body lotion or body butter, it tends to be very dry in the hospital.

  • Body spray or perfume.

  • Deodorant.. postpartum sweats are the real deal.

  • Dry shampoo.

  • Hair volumizer.. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff.

  • Hair brush and hair ties.. these are the BEST for not creating kinks.

  • Makeup. It’s okay to want to feel pretty and put together.. I find that I feel 100% better when I showered and got ready so I didn’t feel like a complete slob.

  • Curling iron/hair dryer. (some hospitals have the wall ones)

  • Toiletry bag to hold it all in! I have this one! But this one is also really cute

  • Any other go-to toiletries you personally love to have.

Your COMFIEST/FAVORITE Clothes:

  • I bring my maternity leggings that go over my belly because it helps me feel sucked in without wearing a girdle or postpartum belly fit. Plus they aren’t as skin tight and feel somewhat comfortable. Also any joggers or sweat pants are nice to have!

  • Favorite cardigan, I love this one it is sooooo soft or this one, is equally as soft but slightly cheaper!

  • Loose comfy tops, I like these!

  • Loose comfy nursing dress.. not necessary but is nice to have so you don’t have to wear pants. This one is similar to the one I’m wearing in the pics here, but I also like this one.

  • Slippers, the hospital floors can kind of be nasty. I have these but these are slightly cheaper!

  • Comfy robe, this could also double as a cute robe if you have one to take a few pics with. I purchased this one and also brought this lace kimono to throw over a loose dress for pretty pics.

  • Comfy pajamas, I hate pants when I sleep so I love this set HERE

  • Comfiest nursing bras you own, if you plan on nursing. I purchased this one HERE but I also love this one! Not that you will get your milk in while in the hospital, but you may want breast pads. I got my milk in faster with each consecutive child.

  • Socks

Tech Accessories:

  • Phone charger

  • Wall diffuser/essential oils, if you’re into that. I didn’t pack one.

  • Camera and charger if you plan to take a few pics, but I just used my phone and then hired a photographer for our birth and fresh 48.

Food:

First of all can I just take a moment to say that after birth meal is pure HEAVEN. Like the best damn meal you’ll every eat haha but I also do like to have some snacks in our room since you are there for a day or two.

  • I love to have a few things to munch on while I’m there (like granola bars, licorice, chocolate, gold fish, chips, snacks lol ) and beverages are also nice to have such as Gatorade or tea. You could also bring champagne and beer if that’s your thing to celebrate afterwards!

For Dad

He can obviously pack for himself, but to help him out here is a list of a few things I usually pack for Jay. Again, he made the mistake of not really packing great the first time around and just brought literally one outfit. No undies, no jammies, no slippers, barely a toothbrush haha luckily we lived like 4 miles away from the hospital I delivered at and were able to go grab stuff as we needed.

  • Toiletries he needs (toothbrush, hair pomade or gel, face wash, deodorant, cologne, body wash and shampoo)

  • Underwear and socks.

  • Slippers, Jay wears THESE all the time!

  • Comfy pants/sweats.

  • Shirts, something decent if you do take a few pics with new baby and other kids coming to visit.

  • phone charger

For Baby

  • Diaper Bag, I am SOOO excited about this one I just purchased because it has a cooler in it and lots of space! Thanks Britt! You can shop it HERE (doesn’t need to be filled because they usually provide you with diapers and wipes, but it’s nice to pack all their blankets/outfits you bring and use as an extra bag to bring stuff home in)

  • Car seat This carseat is a little spendy, but comparable to others out there. However, I cannot say enough about how convenient and easy it is to use. It connects directly into the stroller and is quick and easy to take in and out of the base.

  • This is the carseat base that we have to go with the UPPA mesa above. The self retracting LATCH connectors make it the easiest carseat base I’ve ever used, plus we’ve used it with all THREE kids now!

  • Car seat cover, especially since it will be cold when I deliver! I have this one, and like that it’s gender neutral, but I also use my heavier duty one found HERE.

  • Milestone plaques or Gender Reveal Plaque I’ll be bringing from our shop! You can purchase HERE.

  • Blankets to swaddle them in, I love these and you can purchase HERE.

  • Going home outfit, not necessary but fun to do!

  • I love gowns and kimono tops for babes to wear, super easy and convenient in the hospital. Carters has some nice ones otherwise KidWild brand sells some really cute ones!

Other things you may like to have

  • Pillow from home.

  • Cozy blanket, just be sure not to forget it there!

Hopefully you find this post helpful for your hospital stay or to reference to other mamas to be! As always leave a comment with questions! Best of luck to you, and enjoy that snuggly baby.

XOXO Mari

Please note that by clicking on any of the links above I may gain a very small commission from you buying any of those items. I appreciate you being here and thank you in advance.

All photos above taken by my friend Samantha Cater with Samantha Cater Photography

Three baby carriers I love best and why

Baby wearing. The truth, it isn’t always as enjoyable as everyone makes it out to be. Honestly, I feel like even just 3 years ago it wasn’t that popular.. I never wore Oliver, partly because he didn’t enjoy it.. or so I thought. You see, if you wear your baby from the start, they feel close to you, can listen to your heart beat, and find it soothing. They may not always seem like they like it, but don’t get frustrated.. they can sense it. It’s new to them too, and you both just have to be patient and work through it.

I also don’t believe that you can spoil a baby. Oliver was a very crabby newborn.. constantly cried and was fussy. Always needed to be held and it was extremely exhausting. So after I had Attikus I told myself that I wouldn’t have another baby like that, I wouldn’t spoil him and he needed to learn to self sooth. Now looking back, that is my biggest regret. I wish I would of held him close and coddled him all day long.. it’s not to say that I didn’t love him and snuggle him and give him all the attention I could, it’s just I feel like I gave him a tougher love than I did with Oliver and for that I am regretful. Luckily he’s only one and there is still plenty time to make up for it, but man that mom guilt is the real freaking deal.

With that said, I wanted to share my three top baby carriers and why I like each of them. I wear Sonny every day, he sleeps so peacefully so close to my chest and it’s absolutely wonderful because I can play with the boys, tidy up or do anything else I need to “get done”. Truthfully though, wearing Sonny has taught me to slow down. Enjoy that snuggle time with him while also giving quality time to my other two. It allows me to not feel so guilty if I need to clean or pick up around the house because I’m still getting those snuggles in. Baby wearing has become one of my favorite things and I hope we continue to enjoy it together.

Me with Attikus above in the wildbird

My Top Three Baby Carriers

Solly Baby Wrap: SHOP HERE

  • Pros: The quality of the sling is amazing, super soft and stretchy, breathable and is great for carrying your infant/newborn. You can get their body so snug to yours, it doesn’t feel like their falling down on you, and its most importantly comfortable. You have two arms to do what you want which makes it perfect for around the house.

  • Cons: It’s very long.. I don’t know what other people do when they’re out and about because it hangs on the ground while your trying to put it on and it does take a little bit of practice to put on before it gets easy and quick. I also haven’t used one with an older heavier baby, so I’m not sure what that’s like.

Wildbird Sling: SHOP HERE similar HERE

  • Pros: Unlike the solly wrap and the long fabric, the sling is very convenient to transport and take anywhere with you. It’s also pretty easy to put on especially when you get the hang of it.. there are videos you can watch on their site which make learning to use the sling much easier. I use to carry Attikus in the sling a lot because he always liked to be held and he was a bigger much heavier baby so I held him on my hip, the sling is great for holding your babe on your hip while still having two arms free to use.

  • Cons: I find that the fabric is a bit stiff when you first get it, but as you use it and break it in, it gets softer, and the quality of the fabric gets nicer. I also find that my back starts to hurt when using it for long periods of time because the sling only hangs on one side of your shoulder, instead of two which allows for equal weight distribution. I also can not figure out how to use it with a newborn, I mean I do use it every now and then but it’s not easy to get them comfortable.. but maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing lol

Ergo Baby Carrier: SHOP HERE

  • Pros: The Ergo is my all time favorite for travel, long walks, hikes or any type of adventure where you’ll be wearing your baby for a long time. It’s so easy to put on and has the BEST back support. Like literally it provides the best support and is very comfortable and when worn right doesn’t fall down or feel like your baby is falling out.

  • Cons: I don’t really have many cons for this other than it’s a bigger carrier so it doesn’t just fold up nicely into your diaper bag. It also has velcro on it which can get stuff stuck to it, but thats not too bad in my opinion!

Overall, if you’re looking for a carrier whether it be a wrap, sling, or carrier.. I would highly recommend any of these brands. There are other brands that I’m sure are very similar to these but I can’t speak for them and just know the ones that I’ve used myself. I hope this inspires you to start baby wearing and enjoy those extra snuggles.. because like they say, babies don’t keep.

XOXO Mari

Please note that if you shop through any of the links provided I will gain a small commission and for this I am forever thankful as this small portion of my blog helps provide for my family!

Wearing Attikus in the Ergo

A life update and Products I'm loving right now

Our sweet Sonny boy is 3 weeks old already. It feels as though he’s been with us forever as we adjust to life with all five of us. Boy does he enjoy eating.. I’ve created a mama loving, cluster feeding, baby wearing little piraña and I guess if he’s really my last I can’t get too upset. I think life is getting a tad easier.. a tad! Simply because I feel like I’m almost back to myself as far as healing goes. Man, those first few days/weeks are rough because you are trying to heal, you’re in pain, but you just gotta do what you gotta do and life goes on, you still have to be a mom, you still have to take care of your family and once you can get past that point you finally start to get in the groove.

Although he’s gaining weight and eats like a champ, he’s a skinny little nugget. He definitely has the Wagamon genes as far as skinny chicken legs go.. poor dude lol So he does still fit into newborn diapers (which Attikus NEVER wore!) and newborn onesies, but he’s tall so newborn sleepers don’t fit! His latch is getting better, and I’m just about done writing my blog post about our difficult time breastfeeding.. for now the chiropractor is helping immensely and we actually all started going and we love it! Our family friends own Restore Chiropractic in Maple Grove, MN and I highly suggest going to see them, they are amazing and have so many stories of healing just in the year that they’ve been open! If you go, tell them Mari sent you!

Our middle child, wild child, Tasmanian.. Attikus is just as he sounds! A handful. Gosh I love his sweet soul, but man is he busy. Constantly getting into everything, climbing on everything. I will come out of a room and find him on top of the countertops! In the dishwasher, on the table, in the pantry with everything out of it. Coloring markers on my furniture! He may be busy but he’s so full of life, loves loves loves books and is so sweet with Sonny. Wants to always hold him, kiss him and give him hugs all while saying “HHhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiii” in his sweet 1.5 year old voice!

Oliver is such a good big brother. He’s grown up so much since bringing Sonny home. He helps out much more than I thought he would, and loves on both of his brothers so nicely. It just melts my heart and I love watching him grow into the young little man that he is. Preschool drop off is a little more difficult, carrying one on my hip so he doesn’t run away, carrying the carseat on the other hip, and holding Oliver’s hand while we walk inside. Ughh.. the hardest part of going anywhere is getting them all in the car!! Literally dread it.

Things I can’t live without right now

Mamaroo: My older boys actually didn’t care for this gadget, but Sonny seems to enjoy it and it’s easy to just set him in there if I need to do something quick! SHOP HERE

Solly baby wrap: Sonny is exceptionally gassy and sitting upright and on me seems to help keep him somewhat calm. SHOP HERE

Comotomo Bottles: I love the design of these bottles and how they mimic your breast. There are tons of bottles out there that are suppose to be great for going back and forth between bottle and breastfeeding but we’ve had such success so far with these! SHOP HERE

HonestCo Diaper Bag: I love that this is an actual backpack so it feels really nice while wearing it. It also features a cooler if you pump and store your milk in it, and has plenty of room for itty bitty diapers as well as Attikus’ giant diapers! SHOP HERE

UPPA baby carseat and stroller: Yes, this stroller is expensive BBBUUUTTTT I cannot say enough about how much we love it. We’ve actually used this carseat with all 3 kiddos now which to me makes it super worth it! The stroller is so nice because you can easily click the carseat in and go, plus we have the skateboard attachment that Attikus has been riding on into preschool drop off and its been a life saver. SHOP HERE

Halo Sleep sack: sooo obviously back is best, and babies love to be swaddled, but I can never seem to keep my own babes swaddled in just an ordinary swaddle blanket. I’m great while at work with the NICU babes but my kids seem to maneuver out if them. These sleep sacks are great for keeping them warm snug as a bug. SHOP HERE

Hand mits: Why are babies born with claws lol I’ve been keeping Sonny’s hands covered with little mits to not only stop him from scratching himself but to help fight those pesky germs that are flying around this time of year. For whatever reason everyone seems to go straight for the hands when they meet or see anew baby, which usually end up going straight to their mouth and all those nasty germs become a nasty cold! SHOP HERE

Blanqi Maternity Leggings: These leggings are seriously the BEST! I have been living in them because they suck me in, make me feel a littler skinnier and they are HIGH RISE up to my breast so when I go to nurse I am still covered up in my midsection. I highly recommend getting these leggings for after baby, you will not be disappointed. SHOP HERE or HERE

Nose Sucker: This is our saving grace this winter season. It is one of the best products I’ve ever bought because it sucks all those nasty boogers out of your kids nose in a gently way. It’s electric, plugs into the wall and works sooo sooo good. Especially for those little babes who don’t know how to “blow” their nose. A little on the spendier side but I think it’s totally worth the money! SHOP HERE

Spectra Breast pump: This pump is sooo nice, I love it way more than I thought it would. I mean its a pump how different could it be from the Medella, but I love love love it. It’s sooo gentle, it has cycles you can program, its much more gentle on your nipples, and it’s portable, doesn’t have to be plugged in and I can literally charge it and then take it wherever I need it to be in my house!


Thanks for stopping by! XOXO Mari



Screen Time for Tots

KidloLand- Educational App for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Today I’m talking all about screen time. Do you have a limit of how much screen time your child gets each day? Do you ban certain apps they can watch or play on? Do you only allow interactive learning games and videos? Are they allowed to watch at meal times, out to eat, to keep them quite. In this day and age I think it’s really easy to just give in.. in my opinion, I would say that it’s very uncommon to not see a small child with an ipad, their parents phone or some sort of tablet.

For us, we try to limit “tablet time” especially YouTube kids (Oliver is obsessed with Ryan’s toy review) but it can be very challenging and if I’m being honest we’re not really that strict with it. A lot of times I suggest using it when Attikus takes a nap and I need to get work done, or if we’re out to eat and he won’t settle down, it’s just easier for US to just give in and let him watch it.. that way he’s at least quite! So when KidloLand reached out to me to trial their online interactive learning apps, I was all for it and extremely excited to have Oliver actually learning while using his ipad!

Oliver doesn’t just want to watch YouTube kids anymore, he actually clicks on the learning app himself and enjoys playing all the games and listening to all the music. His favorite games are the tracing of shapes, or letters or numbers, putting the puzzle pieces together and washing the trucks! There are so many games within the app that he loves and I’m so proud of him for learning and pushing through his frustrations when he has a hard time with one of the activities.

The Reason I love KidloLand

This app is award winning for kids under the year of 5! It features 400+ Nursery rhymes and learning songs that are ideal for that toddler stage because they are interactive and keep them engaged with surprises that come alive when tapping on the screen. It offers a complete phonics section with songs and learning activities to help them towards their first steps to reading.

Benefits of KidloLand learning

  • Kid safe and Kid friendly content

  • Read and sing alongs

  • Colorful illustrations

  • Over 500+ stories, songs and games

  • Can access offline

  • Interactive with animated graphics

I would highly recommend this app for any parent with a child who enjoys a little too much “Ryan’s toy review” time as it again offers preschool math games, english learning for kids pre-k through kindergarten, over 700+ interactive games for babies and toddlers to help boost their cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration, and imagination, plus 1000+ nursery rhymes, songs and games! Especially with the arrival of our 3rd baby here soon, I know I will not be able to give Oliver my full attention in those first couple weeks so I’m looking forward to having the option for him to use the KidloLand app. You can download the app by clicking the links below.

iOS: https://apple.co/2QO5sFX

Android: http://bit.ly/2idlUkW

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fGWIBB

Thanks for stopping by, be sure to go check out the KidloLand app as I know you will love it as much as we do!

XOXO Mari





Surviving Week ONE

Where do I begin, this past week has been a whirlwind. Three, three and under is no joke people! If you didn’t know, I went to my 40 week appointment last Friday which lead to me being induced just a few short hours after I left the clinic! I left my appointment feeling so anxious, excited, and giddy we were about to have a baby.. called all our loved ones, went home to get our bags and left with Jay to the hospital! (I’m currently working on his birth story, so I went get into too much detail now!) Anyways, I had him Saturday morning at 1204, we spent the night in the hospital Saturday night and went home Sunday afternoon.

Thankfully I delivered on the weekend so that Jay was able to be there for me the entire time. Sunday night dinner consisted of the glamorous Lee Ann Chin, and we all ate out of the same bowl of food on the floor in the sunroom. It was super romantic. Monday, Jay took work off.. thank god and I had the ingredients to make stuffed shells for dinner while Jay watched all 3 kids so I could cook lol The boys screamed and cried for no reason most of the time, and I had to hold Attikus while stuffing the shells (which is super easy to do… not!) but dinner was made, we all ate, and we survived another day.

Tuesday was my first day BY MYSELF with all three littles. I woke up at 5am to yet another wake up call to nurse and I just bawled. I think Sonny ate every hour that night so I maybe got 30 minute stretches in between feed times.. I felt like my life was ending, like how in the world was I gonna take care of three kids on a total of 3 hours of sleep! Jay took Sonny out of the room for a couple hours while I got uninterrupted sleep for 2 hours and I literally woke up feeling like a new woman. Isn’t it funny how that works?

If I’m being honest the rest of the week has been a blur. My mom came down Thursday to help out which was a huge life saver and we’ve had so many great visitors come and bring meals or stop and say hi which has been such a blessing and I feel so grateful for everyones well wishes and encouragement.

How I really FEEL

I decided to encapsulate my placenta this time around and I can honestly say I believe it has been working. I have a blog written up already on everything you could want to know about placental encapsulation, but I’m waiting to share my experience before I go ahead and post it! Other than my bleeding vagina and nipples, things have been great. lol I think the hardest part of having multiples is caring for your older children. Everyone will tell you get some rest, let yourself heal, yadayadayada.. but I mean c’mon. When do you actually have time to heal! In between nursing the newborn 24 hours a day because he’s a little piraña, getting meals ready for your older ones, trying to be a “good” mom and playing with them while the newborn sleeps, getting them to take a nap so you can at least just sit on the couch for a few minutes to “heal”, changing Attikus’s diapers, wiping Oliver’s butt… the list could go on and on! A mom’s job just doesn’t end.

There are times I feel soooo grateful for everything that we have, for our three healthy boys and this family we’ve created. Other times I feel like we may never have a life again lol And other times I question if I’m doing an okay job? Am I holding our newborn baby enough, am I really soaking in all the newborn goodness? Do my older boys know that I love them, know that I am really trying my best. All of these questions are normal.. and I believe the placenta pills have helped me to see the good in it all and not succumb to the postpartum blues.

I like to keep things real and as honest as I can.. I’m extremely exhausted, but that’s a given. Postpartum is not glamorous in any way shape or form. My tits are the size of watermelons and my nipples are sloughing off skin from a poor latch.. but we’re working on it and it’s getting better. I’ve got a nice fupa, rocking large undies up past my belly button. I eat when I can, whatever I can which mostly ends up being bread, granola bars, or cereal.. super healthy. I’ve been trying to drink a lot of water which helps with weight loss and hydration. Most days I wear my greasy hair in a bun, with jay’s oversized shirt and sweatpants on. Milk stains are a given.. I probably smell like a mix of sour milk, a dirty pad, and B.O. Yumm… don’t get too close. lol I will say that when I get the chance to it’s nice to shower and at least dry my hair. Getting ready and clean makes you feel like much more of a human and that’s okay to want to feel pretty and somewhat normal in a state where you are so vulnerable.

Like I always say, this is just a phase.. this time will pass and there will be new challenges to overcome and new joys to embrace so for now I am trying to just focus on the present. Focus on our family, our well-being and being the best parents that we can be. This may look differently for everyone.. and that’s okay. I know that we will get in a new groove one of these days lol and things will eventually get easier, but for now this is where we are. We are surviving, my kids are healthy, happy for the most part lol and I’m slowly healing and feeling more normal each day.

Moments from this past Week

  • Oliver started saying “shit” yea I probably say that a little too much, but #momlife

  • Attikus thinks he’s big enough to pick Sonny up and often times I catch him trying to lift him out of his mama-roo

  • Most nights consisted of a frozen meal, or left overs that we all just shared from one bowl..

  • Oliver is the sweetest big brother and tells Sonny he loves him all the time

  • Attikus shush’s the baby when he’s crying

  • My first real outing was when he was one week old… getting the kids in and out of the car is a freaking nightmare

  • Postpartum sweats are real and I’m sweating like a wild hog.. and my Native deodorant ain’t doing me shit

  • The day I can stop wearing pads I’ll be forever thankful.. I feel like I’ve been wearing a diaper for a week

  • I’m not getting too concerned (or at least trying not to) about my weight and what I’m eating. Right now, food is food and I’ll whatever I can get my hands on.

Three little boys are crazy right now but I can already tell that this will be so fun once they start to grow and build their relationships together. Anyone going through this exact stage in motherhood, or about to have your first baby, or fifth baby.. know that you are not alone. We will get through this tough time and you are SUPER WOMAN. You are doing your best, you will have moments of weakness, and moments of strength, and this time will pass so soak it all in, live in the present and love those babies with all your heart.

Coming soon to the blog……

  • Dealing with a difficult latch

  • Placental encapsulation

  • Sonny’s Birth story

  • Screen time for tots

  • What I packed in my hospital bag

Hope you enjoyed today’s post, found some laughter in our crazy and were encouraged to help get you through the day!

XOXO Mari




Breastfeeding 101

Breastfeeding 101

Let me start by saying that I am no lactation consultant, although I would like to become one, it’s 1000 hours of hands on experience that doesn’t count as my own so it’s put on the back burner for now. I have however, been breastfeeding my babies for 3+ years now and intend to breastfeed the next one so I like to think of myself as an experienced milk producer. About a month ago, I attended a conference called 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. It was 15 hours long and yes we did just talk about breastfeeding the ENTIRE time.

I’m very passionate about breastfeeding, it wasn’t always easy for me, but over time I grew to love it more and more and couldn’t imagine our life without that time with each child. I love helping mothers start their breastfeeding journey and enjoy giving what advice/info I have learned along the way. One of my most asked questions as a mom is when to start pumping, and all the details in between. So, between my personal experience, experience helping mothers as a NICU nurse, and knowledge I have gained along the way, I thought I would share my most helpful tips for starting to breastfeed once coming home from the hospital.

THE NUMBER ONE thing you can do to get a successful milk production is STIMULATE YOUR BREAST WITHIN the FIRST HOUR after birth! This is key and truly the most important thing you can do to not only get your milk supply in, but set your supply up for the future. If you have a normal/healthy pregnancy in which you can do the golden hour after you deliver, immediately get your baby sucking on your breast. Stimulation is key to signaling your breast that it’s time to start producing.

At the conference I attended, the instructor shared a story of a mother who was put under in a high risk delivery and the nurse that was caring for her knew that her plan was to breastfeed, so even though the mother was “out of it” for several hours after she delivered, that nurse went above and beyond her duties and put that baby to breast within the first hour so that the mother would get the best start to her breastfeeding journey. Isn't that amazing? I did learn that up to 6 hours is ideal to get the first feeding in/stimulation of your breast but it is most beneficial to start within that first hour which is probably why they call it the golden hour, huh?

Hand expression can be useful. If you don’t know what this is, it is where you basically massage your breast to get milk out. You cup your hand in a C shape, and gently squeeze your breast down towards the nipple to release milk. This can be very beneficial in those first few days when your nipples are so sore and the sight of your baby or your pump makes you cringe. You can hand express to get milk out, it works wonders. It is also super helpful while you are pumping because it helps get all those milk ducts released so that you express all the milk in your breast. The pump can only do so much and this is a great way to get more out of it.

If you have a healthy newborn baby and breastfeeding is initiated within the first hour and you are exclusively breastfeeding with each feed, then there is no reason to start pumping in the hospital. There really isn't any reason to start pumping at all unless you want to start building a freezer supply. For me, I like to start pumping when I get home from the hospital which is two times a day. Once right away in the morning (when your milk supply is at it's best) and before bed. Obviously I nurse exclusively throughout the day and night, but these pump sessions are just a way to start building that freezer stash for when I want to leave my baby for a couple hours or for when I return to work.

Side Story: What NOT to do!

After Oliver I starting pumping right away in the hospital to try and get my supply in which meant I was pumping every 2-3 hours, on top of him nursing on demand so I signaled to my breast that I basically had quadruplets and needed like 5 gallons of milk in each breast at all times! I do not recommend this approach as it is painful to be that engorged, you don’t need that much milk for only one baby, and it’s a vicious cycle to try and get your breast to stop producing that much because you want to relieve your breast because they are painfully large and full of milk, but you don’t want to keep stimulating them otherwise it keeps telling them to make more!! See… a vicious cycle!

A good Latch

A good latch is also key to successful breastfeeding. You may think it’s pretty easy.. put the baby to the breast, but you’d be surprised at how many women struggle with a successful latch. The main points are making sure your baby latches onto your entire areola.. not just your nipple! The best way to do this is stroking the sides of babes cheeks to get them to open up all the way and then they will take “mouthful” of your breast. You want your nipple to be in the back of their throat while sucking. If not, they are only sucking on your nipple and it will become very sore very quickly!

Below is an example of a good latch that I took from pinterest.

The use of a nipple shield

People have different opinions on the use of nipple shields, but for the most part you only need a nipple shield if you have a premature baby or if your anatomy of your breast is not ideal for baby to latch onto. What I mean by this is that if you have inverted nipples or flat nipples, you may want to try a nipple shield to help your baby get a better latch. Using a nipple shield for premature babies is great for them because it allows them a longer, more stable teat, reduces milk fatigue, and the baby can pull milk at a rate that is more comfortable for them so if they need a break it will pool in the nipple shield rather than drowning them. Always consult a lactation consultant when determining if you need this or not.


How often to feed

I have never used a strict schedule for feeding times, but there are many people that do. Know that in the beginning your baby should be eating every 2-3 hours and will usually go through cluster feedings where they can eat every 15-30 minutes for up to a couple hours. If your baby does go a longer stretch of time, you can always pump or hand express in between that time to help alleviate your breast.

Let your baby fully nurse on one breast before switching them over to the other side. This is something I wasn't very good at in the beginning, and I would switch Oliver over half way through the feed because I thought he needed the other breast. This didn't allow my breast to ever fully drain and I was constantly feeling full, let alone he wasn't getting the "hindmilk" as they call it, which is the fatty part of your milk supply and usually happens towards the end of your feeding.

Think of your milk supply as a supply and demand. The more frequent you stimulate your breast (hand expression, pump, or nursing) the more it signals your body to produce more milk. Your baby will guide that and eventually your breast will produce what he needs based on how often he eats and how much he takes at each feeding. So if your baby only wants to nurse on one breast for 30 minutes and then is done, that's okay. Let them be done. It's up to you if you want to pump or hand express the other side or just wait until the next feed to nurse him on the breast he didn’t eat from.

Pumping/Bottling

If pumping and bottling is your plan, which I know of many women and friends that choose to do this here are some helpful tips that I’ve learned along the way!

  • Pump as often as you would nurse your baby which is usually every 2-3 hours so that you gain a good milk supply and stash for your baby to eat.

  • When freezing your milk, I buy the breastmilk storage bags from target or walmart or you can buy them HERE, lay them flat in your freezer to freeze so that it’s easier for you to store afterwards. This will make it more compact and less bulky.

  • Sterilization: You can buy sterilizing bags that I do right when I open new bottles or pump parts and then I usually try and sterilize all my parts once a day or even once a week. If I am able to wash them in warm soapy water, that’s enough for me. This task is a bit daunting and takes up more time than you think!

  • What Bottles to use: I’ve asked our occupational specialist that works in our NICU this question in the past and what she said was to just buy one type of bottle and stick with that. Any bottle/foreign nipple is going to be new to the baby and will take time for them to get use to. So in most cases you are better off just sticking to one brand (obviously starting with a 0 or 1 nipple in the very beginning) instead of going out and buying all these different kinds of bottles hoping one works. If your babe isn’t taking any of the bottles, chances are they are probably confused because you’ve introduced so many. So stick with one first and see how that goes!

    • Ones that work great for ANY baby are Dr. Browns and Avent (Both are also great for colic or gassy babies)

    • Ones that work great for breastfeeding mothers who will do a combination of both breastfeeding and bottles are Tommy Tippee and Como Tomo

How much do I feed my baby?

The information below is taken from the Excellence in care with the ten steps conference I attended.

  • First 24 hours —> 2-10mls per feed

  • 24-48 hours —> 5-15mls per feed

  • 48-72 hours —> 15-30mls per feed

  • 72-96 hours —> 30-60mls per feed

Keep in mind that at the time of delivery a baby’s stomach is the size of a marble, which means they do not need very much! As they grow, each baby will determine how much and how often they need, so listen to your baby and pay attention to how much milk your giving them so that for future feeds you can warm that amount up.

Below is a helpful chart to help you determine how much you feed your baby that I just found on pinterest, but I would say that it’s pretty accurate and is relatively similar to the information provided above. Also note the section at the bottom on feeding cures, crying is a late sign of hunger and will usually be harder to get your baby to eat because they are so worked up! It’s best to begin feeding them when they are quiet alert and rooting or sucking on their hands!

Breast milk storage

  • Fresh pumped breast milk can stay out at room temperature for 4 hours and stay in the fridge for 4 days.

  • Thawed breast milk should only stay out at room temperature for 1 hour and can stay in the fridge for 1 day (24 hours).

  • Breast milk can stay in a regular freezer for up to 6 months, and a deep freezer for up to 12 months.

Products I love

  • Medella pump (I've never used any other pump so I can't speak for any other brand but reasons I love this pump is 1. its free from my insurance, 2. It works really well at getting milk out, 3. the parts are easy to buy if I need more AKA I can run to the store rather than having to buy them online.)

  • I have heard great things about the spectra brand and willow pump but you will have to confirm with your insurance if they are covered.

  • Hands free pump bra, you can be hands free. You can purchase HERE

  • Heating pack, this is nice when your boobs are engorged because it will help get the milk flowing before you nurse or pump.

  • High wasted leggings which are great for covering up your belly when out in public and you need to lift your shirt up! My favorite you can buy HERE

  • HAAKAA: This I’ve not tried before but I’ve heard lots of women rave about it and how much milk don’t waste when using one! How it works is by putting it on the breast that your not nursing your baby on and all that milk that would usually leak into a breast pad during your let down, will be collected into this HAKKAA cup and you will start gaining a supply in no time! A must have for me, I will for sure be using one this time around!

Self Care

  • Nursing pads are a must! You will leak, have let downs when you hear your baby cry or even look at them, and they’re just really nice to have! I recently bought these reusable ones off amazon that I’m excited to try with this next babe! You can buy them HERE or these are the Disposable ones I buy!

  • Creams and ointments are out there but there isn’t any proof that they actually work and I would agree with this. You basically just have to tough through those first couple weeks of painful nipples until they callous over and no longer bother you anymore! If you are experiencing very cracked and bleeding nipples, I would go see your doctor. You may be experiencing a wrong latch in which case your nipples are going to be very sore!

  • You will also want to keep your breast DRY. Do not leave a wet pad in your bra for hours for many reasons! One, it’s a warm wet place perfect for infection and bacteria to grow. Two, Your nipples will always be wet and soft causing them to be sore. You want those bad boys to stay DRY… just do it!

  • Engorgement: Reasons for engorgement are restricted feeds or scheduled feeds (meaning you are not releasing milk on demand or when your baby wants to eat) a poor latch (meaning baby is not sucking milk from your breast accurately in which case will also make your nipples extremely painful) and breast augmentation.

    • The best treatment for engorgement is to MOVE MILK! Massage your breast, hand express, use hot packs to get your boobs leaking, shower, take a warm bath and soften your areola. When you are engorged your nipple and areola are so hard that it is often hard for baby to get a good latch.. this is when hand expression is your best friend!

Things I learned from my Breast feeding course I took

  • Babies are NOT lactose intolerance, which means mothers do not need to cut out dairy or anything else in their diet. This is just what the instructor from this course said and other professionals may have different opinions on it.

    • I wish I knew more information on this topic but it wasn’t discussed in detail in this course but what I do know is that what you eat really has no effect on your baby. Your body is producing milk that is rich in vitamins and nutrients specific to your baby including antibodies to help prevent them from getting sick. This is why breastfeeding is soooo good for babies!

    • What is most likely happening is simply a coincidence that when you eat something you then notice your baby is more fussy or upset. Your baby being uncomfortable after a feed could be many things! They could be reflux in which case you won’t want to lay them down immediately, keep them upright for 30 minutes or so just like an adult would and if the problem occurs take them to see their pediatrician.

    • Your baby could be over eating, especially if getting a bottle. Breastfeeding is a lot of work for babies, they have to work hard to get the milk out until you have a let down. So, for babies that are bottle fed it is much easier for them to get as much milk as they want without working at all causing them to possibly overeat. Just like adults, when you overeat you feel full, sick and like you want to throw up! That’s probably how your babe is feeling too.

    • Spit ups: Babies spit up, it’s in their nature. Some more than others but it’s nothing to be concerned about unless they are projectile vomiting or throwing up very large amounts. At this point I would take them to see their pediatrician to see if something else is going on.

  • It doesn't matter how much water or nutrition you consume, your body will produce the milk that it needs to feed your baby. Don't over stress about not drinking enough water throughout the day. Yes, it is important, but it doesn't determine your milk supply.

  • Colostrum is "gold" colored because it is dense. All the nutrients are packed into much smaller volumes because babies stomachs at the time of birth are only about a marble size. As they grow the volumes of your milk get larger to accommodate their growing needs so they can take bigger volumes, that doesn't mean your milk is less nutrient. It actually has the same amount of nutrients in it, just dispersed into a larger volume.

  • Every women has a milk supply at the time of birth, but some women may not get a great supply ever no matter how hard you try.

Whether you choose to breastfeed, pump, or formula feed it really doesn’t matter as long as your baby is being fed! If you are doing this then you are doing a GREAT job. Caring for a baby is not always easy and there are millions of questions you can ask yourself, so I hope that this post provides you some information to help you at ease in your beginning stages of your pumping/breastfeeding journey. I also want to note much of what I wrote is my opinion, personal experience, or past education I have learned and may not be what works for you and your baby. If you ever have questions or concerns, follow your gut and your instincts.. mothers know best and seek additional care.

REMEMBER: FEED EARLY FEED OFTEN!

XOXO Mari

Postpartum Depression: Part Two

PART TWO

To read part one, click HERE

How I Coped

Support and lots of it. In the beginning, it was extremely hard for me to ask for help. When people came over to “help” or stay with us I felt like I needed to entertain them, dine them, visit with them, after all they were our guests. BUT that’s not how it should be. People come over to help so that you can rest, seriously go take a nap! They should be doing your dishes, cooking you food, holding your baby so you can shower. Being a new mom is hard, it’s exhausting so if you’re reading this know that it’s okay to ask for help and that you should take it when you can. I’m also sharing this because before I was a new mom none of this came to mind, so I’m writing this to help all you friends out there without kids yet.. go help your new mom friends out, they need you and they will return the favor once needed!

When we brought Oliver home, we had a lot of support but it was still hard for me to take advantage of that so I still felt isolated, alone, and distant from the world. I was exhausted, for weeks.. and that's probably what led me to have post partum blues because even though we were offered the help, I wanted to do it all myself. I don’t know if I was trying to prove to everyone that I had this mom thing down, or if I was proving to myself that I could actually do it, but that catches up with you fast and it drains you, let me tell you. Round 2, taking Attikus home I was much more lenient to accept the help. Allow others to rock him to sleep, hold him, be with him while I took a shower or did house chores. It was also nice to have that support system to take Oliver off my hands for a while, play with him and keep him company in those beginning days/weeks so that I could bond with my newborn baby. The bottom line is ask for help, it’s okay to need/want help and it doesn’t make you any less of a mother. In fact, it makes you a better mother because you are taking care of yourself, which ultimately allows you to care for your children in a more meaningful and purposeful way because you too feel good, which leads me to my next coping strategy.

Self Care. This is a huge one and one I think that is most important to feeling like yourself, like an actual human being, like a person that doesn’t only bleed from their vagina all day and get their tits sucked on. I am still not good at this one and am working on getting better with each baby, but it’s hard to do. My postpartum blues didn’t allow me to feel as though I deserved time to myself. That I was failing my child if I took even a 5 minute shower away from them. Your kid is gonna be fine, take the damn shower, shit take a 30 minute shower! Not so funny story, I tore up and down if you can imagine how good that felt, and it was recommended to take SITZ baths daily like it is for many vaginal births (it helps with the swelling, eases the pain, and keeps your stiches soft so that they don’t crust over and start to jab you, which is what happened to me after Oliver and it only makes your healing that much more difficult and uncomfortable!) So, if you are able, allow your significant other, family member, or friend to watch the babe for a couple hours. Go get a pedicure, take a walk, grab a coffee or just take a nap! Whatever fancies your fiddle, get out and do it. You will be grateful for that time alone to feel like an adult again, a normal human being that can do more than change shit diapers and stare at your beautiful baby all day long!

My last coping strategy that has really helped my sanity is my go-to life motto “Do You”, I’m serious. Do what works best for you and your family. If you sit and google shit all day on the “right” way to do things you will loose your damn mind and start to go crazy. When friends ask for advice I of course always tell them what worked for us or what we do, but ultimately it needs to be what works for you. So find whatever that may be and go for it. If you’re a planner and need to be on a schedule THEN DO THAT! That will make you happy and your life less stressful because you are doing what works for you. If you are carefree and go with the flow kind of gal, THEN DO THAT! I like to think I’m somewhere in between the schedule mom and the happy go lucky mom. Some days I really need my kids to take their naps at the time I like them to so that I can get stuff done, but other days we wake up, pack our shit for the day and spend hours at the beach or play place and eat McDonalds for lunch and look like grungballs but it’s been the best day because I didn’t care! I just went with the flow and that’s how it works best for us! Same goes with baby products. There are millions of different baby products that are out there, it’s hard to choose which to buy especially when they aren’t cheap, but I’m here to tell you it all depends on the baby! You will learn as you go, you will find what works best for you and your baby, and you will be great. You will be a great mother and you can get through this.

Where to Seek Help

Postpartum depression affects many women and causes them to feel sad, anxious, depressed, and exhausted. After having Oliver, I couldn't help but feel all of this. I was exhausted for months, which made me feel depressed and sad and I was constantly anxious about how people would do simple tasks either to help me around the house or to care for Oliver. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn't get out of, and I honestly don't remember how I did, but looking back I wish I would have gotten help sooner because I would of enjoyed that newborn stage with him so much more.

This disorder is the real deal. You can't control it. It just happens, and it happens to the best of us. If you are feeling down or to the point where you think you may need professional help, please don’t be afraid to get it. You want to look back and remember those blissful days of being a new mom, not those hard and depressing times and resent ever having kids. The sooner you get help the faster you can get back to yourself and enjoying your new bundle of joy.

It's okay to ask for help. Take advantage of those people in your life that are willing to come over and be there to support you. Talk to your significant other, let them know how you are feeling so that they can get a better understanding of whats going on. Call up that friend and let them know that you need someone to vent to, to help bring you back down to earth, to lean on when you are feeling low. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression please don't ignore it. Be there for them in any way that you can, but also know when to take that next step to getting help. Postpartumdepression.org is a great resource to use to find help, read real stories of other women's experience, and just a vast amount of information to help you better understand the disorder.

Not that I hope you enjoyed today's post, but I hope that you found it helpful in your journey to becoming a mother. We need to be there for one another, support one another and lean on each other, and that's my hope is to empower more women to share their stories because much of the hard stuff is not talked about nearly enough. By sharing our experiences we can relate to one another, and not feel as alone in this world. After all, it takes a village.. right!

XOXO Mari

A couple of flash backs below!

Picture on the right was when we brought Oliver home, picture on the left was when we brought Attikus home!

Real Life moments after each babe. Robe on, hair a mess, no make up, and just trying to enjoy those newborn snuggles!

Picture on the left is 1 week after having Oliver, Picture on the right is a couple days after Attikus. My postpartum journey to "getting my body back" has always been a slow process and I always look 6months pregnant after I deliver, but I know that it takes time and patience and I just need to love my body during each stage. 

Postpartum Depression: Part One

Real Life

Mothering is hard.  Whether you're doing it all alone or with your significant other, it’s freaking hard people. Emotionally physically mentally. It’s. Damn. Hard.

Social media can either do us good or completely break us down when it comes to being a new mom. It’s easy to comply with the “norm” and post only what appears to be happy and joyful posts of your fresh newborn. To show only the “good moments” of those incredibly tough first few days/weeks/months home from the hospital. To post only adorable pictures of your squishy newborn and how you “bounced back” just a couple weeks after. Look, we all love to see that but it’s not the truth.. well the whole truth that is. It’s bits and pieces of your whole beautiful journey into this motherhood thing, and that's okay, but I think as a "first time mom" veteran we need to know the ugly side to it all as well.

What we should know is that deep behind that beautifully captured picture is the 100th shit pants you’ve changed today, the barf down your boobs, or the fact that you haven't bathed or brushed your teeth or changed out of your robe and its now 5pm. It’s not the dark circles under your eyes from waking up every half hour throughout the night to nurse your cluster feeding baby, or the truth about how you lost all that baby weight by withering away in your sorrows, with no time to shit, drink a glass of water, or shove some teddy grahams down your throat. This motherhood gig is EXHAUSTING. 


I think what’s most difficult is saying that it’s not easy. Expressing that you feel alone, that you resent your significant other for being able to go on with their day like nothing has changed #dadlife (I'm just kidding, Jay is amazing, but post partum blues are the real deal people and there were many times I resented him for going to work! GOING TO WORK! Who am I?) In a time when you are given such a blessing, but you feel less than blessed in the moment is when its the hardest to admit you need help. In todays world, the second you become vulnerable and open up sooo many people are quick to attack, make judgments or mean remarks like “you should be thankful for your blessings” “you wanted this” and so forth.

Well I'm here to tell you that you're not alone. You may think you are the only person hating this motherhood thing, that you're the only one who dreads bedtime because you know in fact you will not sleep, that waking up sounds even worse because you have to care and nurture this gentle baby all damn day with the little to no energy you have left, but know that you are not alone. You can get through this and this phase of life will soon pass.

Now I'm not saying this is the case for everyone. I'm sure somewhere in a long lost world there is a mother who never has any of these feelings and is truly thinking that motherhood is the most wonderful time of her life and it's everything she ever dreamed of but I can't help but think that there are more women than not that feel the way I do, or have felt this way at some point in there motherhood journey. Believe me, when I brought Oliver home, I wanted nothing more than to enjoy every waking moment with him, but I couldn't, I didn't and I just didn't feel myself. 

 I wanted to write about my post-partum struggles to hopefully help other mothers who are feeling this way. I think that as a brand new mom you have it the hardest. Your entire pregnancy everyone showers you with gifts, tells you how excited they are for you, and you are continually fed positive vibes which is how it should be, I mean no one is going to tell you it will be hard, you will be tired, but you can get through it. You put together the nursery, you go to your appointments and listen to the heartbeat, you buy little trinkets and adorable newborn clothing and all this awesome baby shit you've never even heard of before and you just get sooooo excited and anxious to hold your sweet bundle of joy and you want him/her to be in your arms so badly that once that babe is here you are blind-sided by the difficult not so glamorous moments that motherhood brings. Believe me when I say that childbirth is the most amazing thing that I have ever went through, but if I'm being honest, after birthing Oliver I never wanted to go through that again.

My Experience

A quick recap of Oliver's birth. I worked eves (3-11pm) the weekend I went into labor. Saturday night I stayed an hour late to help with the unit. When I got home I made an egg bake and cheesy potatoes because it was Easter the next day. By this time it was around 130-2am when I was finally able to get some sleep. Two hours later I woke up to my water breaking in bed. We got ready and off to the hospital we went! I didn't have a difficult birth, I got an epidural that wore off towards the end so I was able to feel my contractions and push him out in 45 minutes. Those first moments were like nothing I've experienced before. It was a mix of adrenalin, euphoria, and utter amazement that I just did it and I was holding that beautiful baby boy I had been dreaming of for the past 9 months. That first night was a breeze haha he was in the newborn sleepy stage so he didn't want to wake up and Jay and I were both like "Did we just hit the jack pot? Our kid is already sleeping through the night?!" Well we were very wrong!

The next night all he did was cry.. I obviously didn't have much for a milk supply yet so he was probably hungry but boy was I distraught. My nipples hurt with even the slightest breeze hitting them. I cringed every time I new I had to nurse him and I'm pretty sure he could sense my frustration with every feed because things were not going well. I was over paranoid if that's even a thing that I wouldn't get my supply in so I was pumping every 3 hours as well as after he ate. This caused me to have an oversupply, along with extremely engorged veiny pornstar boobs that were uncomfortable if I didn't release the milk and even more uncomfortable if I did. It was a vicious cycle of trying to regulate my supply to his needs, but you can read about my breastfeeding journey in another post soon to come!

That first month, all I did was sit in my rocker and literally nurse Oliver. I felt like he was a piraña and I was just a tasty piece of meat. I went days without showering, sometimes I would brush my teeth right before Jay got home from work at nearly 5pm. I tore up and down during delivery, and didn't take enough baths to help heal/dissolve my stitches so my lady parts were beyond sore for wayyyy toooo long.

I felt like a slob who never got out of her robe and was so ashamed of my "postpartum body". All day I would watch the clock, counting down the hours, minutes until Jay walked through that door to relieve me of my new parenting duties. Oliver wasn't a terrible baby, but he did cry a lot and it was so emotionally draining I felt like my life was ruined forever. How could this sweet innocent little baby, who deserved every piece of my love and affection, be so monstrous and cause me to be so unhappy? I remember scrolling through instagram/facebook and seeing all these post on how happy and joyful these new moms were with their brand new babies, and how motherhood was such a blessing and being envious of all the beautifully captured photos of their new bundles but found myself feeling like such a failure. I would then feel worthless because I wasn't reading to him every minute of the day, or making cute crafts with him, or taking him out and about.. I could barely walk and I just remember feeling so defeated, as if I wasn't good enough.

I don't post a lot of these moments or "tough moments" in our life because I honestly don't really want to remember them.  I don’t do this to portray a perfect life, or make you think I never have any struggles or problems arise because that is NOT the case, I just don't always broadcast it. I like to post happy pictures because for me, its a way to look back and remember those good moments, in the midst of the crazy and chaotic. The good always outweighs the bad. I encourage you to keep posting whatever makes you feel happy. You’re not a fake person or a perfect person because of it, you’re you and those Are the moments you want to remember. So whether you choose to post “real life” moments or the instaworthy moments that’s your choice and we should support you along the way. Just know that we are all fighting a different battle, living a different life and may have our own struggles that we’re going though no matter what you see on the gram.

During those first few weeks, probably even months after having Oliver, I didn't feel connected to him one bit, I felt like he was a foreign person in my house that I was forced to care for. I didn't want to feel like that. I felt even more awful for having those feelings. But that's what post partum blues did to me. It made me think irrationally, my self worth was zero, my body perception was so negative, and looking back now I really think I was depressed. I didn't want to admit that in the time because I wanted to seem like I had it all under control, that I could do this and that I loved every minute of it. I should of spoke up, I should of expressed my feelings more because I think that would of helped me cope with those feelings so much quicker. 

After a while, as time passed I started enjoying each moment more and more. I was in a different mind set that this would just be a phase, and it was. As he grew older, things got easier, but new challenges arose and together we overcame them. Our bond grew and our nursing journey was stronger than ever, and I'm so proud to say we made it 2 years with him being in control of his wean. I obviously love him more than words can say and I'm so thankful for gods blessings, but I want you to know that it wasn't easy at first. 

If this is you and you're having some of these same symptoms, I promise you that you can do it, you can get through this "phase of life" as I call it, and soon those tough and never ending days will become nothing more than a memory. You may look back and laugh at these dreaded days, and remember how sweet your newborn babe was and then think to yourself how much you miss that newborn phase, miss no sleep, no eating, no bathing, but you do.


So give yourself a break. We’re freaking human and we’re women for that matter. Women who have wayyyy toooo many feelings and hormones and thoughts that consume us. Post partum blues are very real, and they can happen to any body. You shouldn't feel ashamed, you shouldn't feel alone, you shouldn't feel defeated because you CAN overcome it, and you will. The most important thing to do is know when to get help, something I wish I would of done. Next week I will share part 2 of my post partum journey, how to cope with it and ways that I was able to overcome it, and not let it overrule my life after having Attikus. I was so much happier, truly a completely different person/mother my second time around and I want to share that with you to hopefully help you overcome those feelings and empower you to also share your feelings! Stay tuned, I hope you'll join me next week!

XOXO Mari 

Potty Training

#pottytrainingishard is an understatement! It takes a lot of effort, and hard work, persistence, and patience which can be VERY hard when you're dealing with an unwilling toddler. With Oliver now being potty trained for quiet some time, I thought it would be a good time to share some tips/tricks with you in case your next on the potty training band wagon!

Let me start by saying that potty training is 80/20. I completely agree that in order for potty training to be successful, the child needs to be 80% willing and ready. That makes only 20% effort for the adult to put in the work. If you're child is not 80% ready, then don't even try.. you most likely will fail and that's okay, you're just not ready. Wait a couple months and then try again. If your child is ready than continue to read some of my helpful tips/tricks that either worked for us or were recommended to me by other successful mamas!

KNOW WHEN YOUR CHILD IS READY: Look for Signs of Readiness

  • Your child asks you to change his diaper after they've went 
  • They can verbally/physically tell you that they went potty or have to potty
  • They may or may not want to wear a diaper
  • Interested in sitting on the potty, watching you use the potty, or being near the potty
  • May or may not wake from naps or nighttime dry
  • Goes and hides to poop or pee/wants privacy

IF your child is showing signs that they are ready to start potty training there are a few different "techniques" you can use to help the process go a little smoother!

  1. Treasure Box Method: Learned this technique from a dear mama who trained her son before he was 3! She put together a little treasure box filled with dollar store toys and little trinkets for each time he went potty, he could get a new treasure! If your child responds well to rewards, than this could be a great option for you! This can also be done with a jar of m&ms, skittles, or whatever kind of treat they love!
  2. Sticker Chart Method: Many, many, many mamas have used the sticker method and this is actually the method we used as well. If your child really enjoys stickers and putting them on a paper themselves which is rewarding for them then this is a great method. Just have a chart in the bathroom with a bunch of stickers for them to choose from and each time they poop or pee they get to pick one or two stickers out and put them on their chart!
  3. "Oh Crap Potty Training Book": I personally never bought this book, but have heard great success stories through our ECFE class and other mamas. The author is a potty training expert who shares her proven 6-step plan to successfully train your toddler. Plus it's only $5.99!
  4. The THREE day method: I think this is the most popular method I've heard of parents using and it's just as it sounds. Dedicate 3 full days to staying home with your toddler and be committed to training them. Let them walk around naked if that's their thing, set a timer to tell them your taking them potty (never ask, they will say no), and no matter if they go or not, make them sit on the toilet to get use to it! This method can be daunting, but is usually successful after just 3 LONG days so it can be worth it to many!

TIPS

  • These methods may not work for every child, but just know what your child responds best to and stick with that. Give each method a solid week before trying to introduce a new one to avoid confusion with your little one. 
  • ALWAYS carry extra undies and pants with you where ever you go! I always keep a pair in my truck and then in my diaper bag!
  • If you're worried about them having to go while your driving, I've heard of one mama who would bring their "potty chair" in the back of her truck in case of emergency situations!
  • Look up potty training videos on you tube kids for your child to watch while they go potty or sit on the potty. 
  • Bribery is great. Bribe them with their favorite treat, piece of candy or whatever they get excited about to help them want to go potty. 

The MAIN thing for you to do is to remain POSITIVE. Applaud them, reward them, tell them how proud you are of them for using the potty even if they don't go! Keeping a positive attitude and encouraging them along the way will make this process so much better for you both. You want them to associate using the bathroom with positive thoughts and good vibes, so remember that when you start to get frustrated. This is new to them and can be scary, so be their sense of security through it all.

Keep in mind that you may think your child is ready, but he or she may actually not be. If you try to potty train and it isn't going well, take a couple weeks/months off and then try again. Only 40% off children are actually potty trained at age 3, so don't get discouraged if your child is nearing their 3rd birthday and still not potty trained. It will happen, give it time!

With Oliver, I tried twice before I actually knew he was ready. Key signs I watched for were him going to hide to poop, immediately wanting to be changed once he went in his diaper, he would tell me before he went in his diaper, and he started showing signs of interest in the toilet or wanting to watch anyone who went. He was very afraid of the potty at first, which is why we did end up buying a small one to sit next to the toilet, and eventually only used the big boy potty! The sticker chart and treat reward only lasted about a week or two, and then he was kinda over it and just used the bathroom without having to get a reward. We still wear pull-ups at nap times and bedtime as he does still go pee when he sleeps. We are still working on him pulling up his own underwear once he's done, and we do still wipe his butt.. but no more man shit diapers for him! #WHOOHOOO 

Remember to stay positive, and patient with your little one. Each child is unique and may take longer than other children, or may catch on rather quickly, either way listen to your child! 

I hope you found this post helpful, I know I wanted all the tips/tricks when we were starting to potty train Oliver. If you have further questions or other helpful tips, leave a comment below. Please LIKE this post or come comment on my instagram post to let me know that you enjoyed todays read! 

XOXO Mari

Affordable Sunglasses For Everyone featuring i-gogs

If I could, I would own several pairs of sunglass, but unfortunately they are usually expensive and that just isn't in my budget! So when i-gogs reached out about debuting their new line of sunglasses I was so excited to partner with them. i-gogs is a Minnesota based eyewear company that prides itself on quality, timeless designs without a steep price tag. Each pair of sunglasses ranges from 35-60 dollars, which in my opinion is soo reasonable especially when they are actually CUTE sunglasses. 

Being that Jay and I live in MN, we are always happy to support our local businesses and companies! After all, we are small MN shop owners ourselves. When I browsed i-gogs website, I was so impressed by the styles they offered and would honestly compare them to some of my other favorite "name brand" sunglass companies! PLUS I'll say it again, the price is just unbeatable!

When we got our new sunnies in the mail, I was so excited! Any time I get anything in the mail, I am always in an extra good mood. The boys each got a pair of blue and green shades that are only $5.99, perfect for small kiddos who tend to be rougher on their items. I usually gravitate to all black, but the bright colored mirrored glasses were super cute, and even cuter on! Jay got the TONKA-G style, he was so excited to get a "mail day" and couldn't wait to try them on. I chose the QUINN-B and JULIA-B styles and I can't say enough good things about them. I love the look of them on, durable and stay on my head without falling off, and they are sleek and sophisticated. 

I-gogs is passionate about the lenses they create. Each pair is made using P-tech polarization and polycarbonate technology. P-tech polarized lenses are coated to resist scratching and block out 100% off all harmful UV rays, up to 400 nanometers. Polycarbonate lenses are up to 10 times more impact resistant than plastic or glass, making them last that much longer! Not only are i-gogs sunglasses cute to wear, but are also good for your eyes and highly impact resistant which is key to me having two little kiddos that like to pull and tug on my shades! What I like most about i-gogs is you can customize your design from the lens tints to the frames! This is an awesome feature that most sunglass companies don't offer.  

If you are in the market for some new shades, I would highly recommend checking out i-gogs website! You can subscribe to their mailing list and get 15% off your first order with them! 

Shop the TONKA-B style, QUINN-B style, or JULIA-B style which are what Jay and I have and absolutely LOVE! 

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading today's post! I hope you enjoyed the read and are now looking for some new affordable and cute new sunnies from i-gogs! Thank you i-gogs for sponsoring this post in exchange for our new sunnies! 

XOXO Mari