babies · Newborn · Uncategorized

Newborn tips

Years ago, my baby sister asked me to write her a book on how to be an adult. Needless to say, I never got around to it. Nor do I have any clue what I would even put in that book.

Now she’s days away from having her first baby & becoming a mama {!!!!!} and she’s been asking me to write the mama-version of said book for the past 10 months. I obviously haven’t gotten around to that either.

However, I figured it’s not too late {yet} to give her some quick tips based on my experience with newborns. It goes without saying {but I’ll say it anyway} that every baby & every mama & every experience is different and no one thing works for everyone, but these are things that I’ve found to be true and that I wanted to share.

  1. Have no expectations. Be excited. Be happy. Be nervous. Be whatever you want to be, but do not for one second have any expectations about a schedule or what your life will look like or that everything about the next few months will go swimmingly or that everything will be insane. None of that will hold true 100%, so just let it go and get excited for one of the sweetest, hardest, craziest few months of your life.
  2. If you’re breastfeeding, nurse on demand. Don’t worry if he doesn’t eat for 15-10-5. Don’t worry if he wants to eat every 2 hours instead of every 3. If he’s fussing and you don’t know how to fix it, try nursing him. I’m not saying it’s always the answer or to use your boob as a pacifier, but I am saying to let go of the rules and guidelines and schedule at first and just let your boobs figure out how to feed your baby and let your baby figure out how to eat and be comforted by his mama.
  3. Snuggle {and wear} that baby. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but newborn cuddles are the best. Soak them up. If you want to lay on the couch and snuggle, do it. If you want to get something done, put your babe in a wrap and enjoy snuggles AND be productive. Again totally your call, but snuggles are available either way and you cannot spoil your newborn so enjoy him!
  4. Get out of the house! If you want to, that is. If you don’t want to, then by all means stay home! But if you want to get out, now is the time. Do not worry about if he’ll cry in Target or how you’ll feed him or if people will think you’re crazy for going out so early. If you want to explore the world with your newborn, do it. You’re in charge, mama. I loved having down time at home, but I also loved being out in the world with my baby girl snuggled in close. This is where I’ll say again that every mama is different. I have friends who didn’t go out for weeks, and that is totally fine, too. I only say this to encourage you not to be afraid of nursing in the car or in public or of your baby crying in public. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t go out, so I’m just telling you that you CAN {and it’s actually a lot easier than you think}.
  5. Ask for help/advice. There are no dumb new mama questions. If you have a question or want help or advice, ask!!!  I hope & pray that everyone has people who check in on them like my people checked-in on me when my three were born. This is when you start to create your village, and it’s nothing short of amazing during this crazy new season.
  6. Don’t expect sleep. You’ve probably read this a billion times, but everyone will ask you “how’s the baby sleeping” immediately after he’s born. You’ll probably get all cocky because – pro-tip – brand new babies sleep a lot. So you’ll be all “oh he’s sleeping great, we have to wake him to eat, he sleeps anywhere!” which is all true and all normal and all wonderful. It doesn’t mean you’re getting boat-loads of sleep, but it does mean that at least he’s sleeping. And then he “wakes up” – because that’s what babies do. They get more and more awake and they have sleep regressions and sicknesses and teething and about a billion other excuses to make sure you never get too many decent nights of sleep in a row. He’ll sleep and he won’t sleep and you’ll sleep and you won’t sleep and it’s all okay and normal and you actually get used to functioning on less sleep than you ever have in your life. Let’s just say now isn’t the time to give up coffee….
  7. Don’t expect a schedule. Like the sleeping thing. And like #1, but this seems worth the extra mention to me. Newborns do not have a schedule. I know that we all read Babywise and we all have ideas for schedules and we all hear talk of nap times and bedtimes and eating times. But all of that is for slightly older babies. There is this glorious newborn window where there is truly no set schedule. Try {even if you’re type-A like I am} to enjoy this time with no schedule. Of course it makes it hard to plan your days, but it also means you have this flexibility that you don’t have when your kid needs a nap at 1pm sharp and you’re driving down the road windows down & blaring music because she will not for one minute sleep in the car if you can help it. Not that I’ve done that recently or anything…
  8. Accept meals and/or cleaning and/or grocery runs from people. Have someone to set up a meal train. Eat out or get take-out. If someone offers to run an errand for you or bring you food, let them. People genuinely want to help you during this special time and it is AMAZING to not have to cook or think about what you’re eating that night. In that same regard, if someone offers to bring food/coffee/whatever when they come to visit you, say yes and enjoy it.
  9. Don’t worry about bothering your baby while he’s sleeping. As newborns they can & should sleep through people talking, lights on, dogs barking, etc. Grandmas and other well-meaning folk will try to tell you to turn off the lights or the TV or whatever else could possibly be bothering this {clearly totally undisturbed} babe as he sleeps. Smile, nod, and keep the damn lights on. We vacuumed while ours slept. We moved them in and out of the car and into stores and they stayed asleep. This won’t happen forever so again, ENJOY IT. It’s like a newborn jedi trick and it’s amazing and I wish it stayed that way forever, but it doesn’t.
  10. Soak it up. This doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every second, but it does mean you should remember even the messy, chaotic, crazy times. There will be the sweetest moments you’ve ever known that you’ll want to literally hold onto forever. Those moments will get you through the sleep-deprived times when you’re wondering what on earth you’ve done creating this sweet babe who needs you all.the.time. But none of it lasts forever. Heck, it doesn’t really last long at all. So snuggle & feed & comfort your baby. Write stuff down, take a ton of pictures, smell his sweet head and enjoy this time of becoming a mama and getting to know your first sweet baby. This first-baby thing will never happen again and it is truly a magical, wonderful thing.

Congrats, baby sis. I cannot wait to see you become a mama and I am beyond excited to snuggle my nephew and to become an aunt. I’m here for you anytime you need me & I love you more than words.

Baby Gear · Newborn · twins

Mama Must Haves: Newborn Twins

Confession: I’m obsessed with baby gear.

Starting with my first pregnancy, my husband & I researched and tested all.the.things. Mainly because we thought it was fun, but also because you never know what can really make your life with baby(ies) easier.

Everyone has their own preferences, needs, and favorites, obviously, but I found mama reviews & favorites lists SUPER helpful when registering. I’ve also found that mamas more than anyone know what they’re talking about when it comes to these things, and I’m forever grateful for the mamas that led me to some of these products.

This specific mama-must-have list is for newborn twins.  I’ll do a separate list for my general newborn must-haves, although some of the same things will obviously be on both.

I’ll just say that with newborn twins, making life easier is CRUCIAL, so here are my first 6-week must-haves.

  1. Double My Breast Friend nursing pillow and/or Twin Z pillow.  I nursed our twins from the beginning, and loved the MBF pillow at first because it is much more supportive for the babies & for the mama when the babes are so small and floppy.  I switched to the TwinZ pillow {pictured} a few months in, but even before that I loved using the TwinZ as a double boppy, and would often lay the babies there before/after our nursing session while using the MBF to actually nurse on.  I’ve heard from other mamas that the TwinZ is super helpful when bottle feeding twins, too, although in that case you don’t also need the MBF!img_4245
  2. TWO Rock N Plays.  Napping, sleeping, hanging out, rocking, I could go on and on. The Rock N Play is one of my favorite baby products ever. Every baby could probably use two, but with twins you MUST have two!img_4298
  3. City Select w/ two carseat adapters.  We now have the double Bob and the City Select, and my husband asks me all the time if we should’ve just gotten the Bob to start with. I tell him {every time} that the City Select saved my sanity those first 6 months. This stroller is lightweight, you can snap in the carseats {MUST HAVE – Britax BeSafe links are included because those are the seats we have}, or a seat & carseat {for toddler + baby – or it has a glider board for said toddler}, it maneuvers incredibly well, and is just an amazing stroller that makes it totally possible to get out on your own with twins + a toddler. FREEDOM.img_4227
  4. Sling and/or wrap. The Sollybaby wrap is my favorite, but I also loved and wore both twins at the same time with my Moby when they were tiny.  A ring sling is also nice to have as it is super fast to put on & easy to wear baby regardless of where you are.img_0086
  5. TWO swings of some type. We had one swing & one MamaRoo, which was great for us. Both were more cozy in the swing at first, but I like the smaller footprint & ease of traveling with the MamaRoo, so was glad we had one of each vs two larger swings.img_0232
  6. Zipper jammies – Gap or Hanna Andersson. ONLY zippers. All the time. No time for snaps, my friends, especially at night. Gap & HA seem to hold up best, are super soft & cozy, and are ridiculously cute.img_0083
  7. Swaddle blankets. Obviously. For swaddling, covering, tucking in, and wiping spit up/snot/milk/your coffee/whatever else you spill or need to wipe.  I love Aiden & Anais brand and the bamboo ones are amazingly soft {but don’t hold the swaddle as well, in my opinion}.
  8. Covered Goods nursing cover. Or carseat cover even if you’re not nursing. This is one of my favorite baby products EVER & my go to new mama gift. The cover is lightweight, easy to take with you, super easy to use as a nursing cover, lovely to wear as a scarf & use as a blanket/burp cloth/whatever you need when not nursing, and doubles as a carseat cover {great with newborns & in the winter!} and then as a shopping cart cover!  MUST. HAVE. We have two & I still use them a year later. img_6693
  9. Oxo wipes dispenser.  Frustrated that every time you end up grabbing way too many wipes?! This thing ACTUALLY solves that problem. Love. Seemed ridiculous to buy a $20 wipes dispenser but I guarantee I’ve saved more than that in wipes by always using only one wipe at a time, especially when you change as many diapers as you do those first few months!
  10. Boppy lounger.  We didn’t have this with our first, but I LOVED having it with the twins. We ended up with two, but both fit on one for awhile {sigh}. It was great to have  a safe place to lay them when they were sleeping {away from toddler fingers}, came in super handy when tandem nursing and I needed to lay one/both down during transitions, and was nice to have a portable soft spot for the babes to hang out.img_4101

I could go on and on {yes, I know it’s a problem}, but I’ll stop and save some products for another list. Any products you’d add for the first few weeks with twins?!

Newborn · twins

Birth Story: Ellie Louise & Max Everette

I’ve had a personal blog with my best friend for years now, but I feel like this post from that blog is crucial to this blog as well. Plus, these 2 turn 10 months old tomorrow {I have no idea how that is possible}, so I figured now was as good a time as any to re-share their birth story. Also, these pictures have turned me into a hot mess over here.

***

We welcomed Ellie Louise & Max Everette to the world on Tuesday, November 3rd.  Their birthday was somewhat unexpected, faster than anticipated, and one of the best days of my entire life.  We are completely smitten with these two sweet faces, and are loving life as a family of five.

I wanted to document their birth story before I forget any of the important details, and I’m so glad that our friend Jenny was there to capture their birthday and our first moments as a family of five!  Enjoy some of my favorite pictures of the day…

The c-section was scheduled for Friday, November 6th – I’d be 38w1d pregnant.  The doctors said they wouldn’t let me go past 38weeks, but I wanted Dr. Placide to deliver them, so we scheduled for Friday when he was on call.

I kept hoping & praying & expecting to go into labor before then.  I kept hearing a mix of “it’ll definitely be Friday” {booooooo} and “I think you’ll go into labor before then!” {I love you!} from other folks.  I’m pretty sure Monday night was when I finally started to believe that I would go all the way to Friday…

Tuesday morning {November 3rd – 37w5d pregnant} I got up and started getting myself & Harper ready for the day.  Cameron was already on paternity leave so we had planned to have a date morning while Harper was at preschool.  We were going to Duck Donuts & then Starbucks to eat, drink & enjoy some time together before we were outnumbered by our children.

This may be too much information, but this is a birth story after all, so I guess birth details are somewhat expected.  While I was getting ready, I noticed that I was leaking at times and I thought maybe my water had broken – but I wasn’t 100% sure because it was so different than when it broke with Harper.  I finally told Cameron what was going on {it’s pretty embarrassing if it’s NOT your water and you’re just peeing yourself, plus I didn’t want to worry him if I didn’t need to…} and he said we should finish packing our bags and take them with us when we went to drop Harper off.

I was clearly in denial that I was actually in labor because I still believed that we’d pick Harper up from school & that I’d be back at the house at some point before actually being admitted to the hospital.  Maybe being sent home while in labor with Harper {but not far enough along} was stuck in my head?!

We packed our bags, took Harper to school, & I talked to her teacher {who has twins} and Ms. Betts and told them what was going on.  They both said we should call the doctor, but I told Cam I definitely wanted donuts first.  I clearly was also flashing back to my no-food-allowed 28 hour labor + recovery time from the c-section with Harper.  That was a brutal 40ish hours without actual food {cherry popsicles don’t count} and I was not looking to do that again.

After we got our donuts I called the doctor & told them what was going on and they said I should definitely come in to be checked.  We went straight there and as I checked in I felt my water DEFINITELY break.  Sure enough, we were told that Ellie’s water had broken, I was in labor {though not really feeling the contractions} and that we needed to go straight to labor & delivery.  There’s a dramatic doctor story there that some of you have heard, but I don’t feel the need to put it on the interwebs.

At this point, my hormones totally took control and I legit lost it.  We had told Harper we’d pick her up from school, but I finally realized that I was in real labor – which meant I was going to have twins TODAY & I was not, in fact, going to see Harper again before they were born.  My mom was on her way to Cary from Wake Forest, but didn’t have a carseat & didn’t have time to get one and get to preschool before school was over.  So I {not so calmly} insisted that Cameron drop me off at Rex and go pick Harper up.

I then called our friend Laura, who had planned to come pray with us before the scheduled c-section, and told her that not only was it go-time, but that if it was convenient, I needed her there stat because Cameron was going to get Harper and I was a hot mess.  I’ll never forget hearing her heels click-clacking out of a {very important, Cameron later told me} meeting to answer my call & her saying “I’ll be right there” without hesitation.  Sure enough, as I’m laying in triage giving the nurses my info & being hooked up to measure 3 heartbeats, etc etc – in walks my sweet friend.  Needless to say, I have never been so happy to see her.  And I started crying.  again.

My goal had been to try for a VBAC if I actually went into labor on my own & at least baby A {Ellie} was head down.  Both things happened – and both babies were actually head down – but since Ellie’s water had broken and I wasn’t in active labor, the doctors were hesitant about how a VBAC would go.  They said it would definitely be a long labor and may end up in a c-section for one or both of the babies anyway.  Plus they were concerned about too long of a labor for her since she had no fluid at this point.  Having had a long labor & then a c-section with Harper, once I really thought about all of this, I knew going with the c-section was the right decision for me, my body & my babies.

Then came the talk of c-section timing because of the dang donut I had eaten at 9:30am {still totally worth it, FYI}.  At first they said I had to wait 8 hours, but then my amazing doctor came in, saw contractions on the monitor, asked if I was feeling them {“a little??”} and came back to tell me we were rolling to the OR at 3pm {it was 2:20pm at the time}.  We quickly texted our families, the nurses got me prepped, Laura prayed over us {such a huge, calming blessing to me in that moment}, and we rolled out of triage.

It was so bizarre to not only be awake {which I was for Harper’s birth} but so aware of what was going on because I hadn’t been through so many hours of labor / had so much mediation pumped into me.  They pushed me past the room I had labored in with Harper, Cameron kissed me goodbye & went to put on his scrubs, they got me in the OR, spinal in place, and ready to go!

Cameron came back in & I had rarely been happier to see him. He sat down by my head and it was go time.  Our anesthesiologist, Keith, was AWESOME and kept updating us as to what was happening behind the curtain.  At 3:33pm Keith said “here comes your baby girl” and Ellie Lou came screaming into the world.  Naturally, I started bawling.  They brought her around the curtain for us to see and I could not believe the amount of dark hair on her head!!

2 minutes later, Max Everette joined her – also screaming his way into the world.  We got to see him briefly before they whisked them off to the adjoining room to be cleaned off and checked.

Soon after, the nurses called Cameron back to see our babies!  One of my favorite memories with Harper’s birth / in my life is of Cameron walking out of that room bringing our baby girl to me for the first time.  Yet again this moment is forever in my memory, but this time he came out holding TWO babies – which is probably when it really hit me that we were actually going to be taking two newborns home with us.

{side note: This picture still completely stops me in my tracks even 10 months later..}

Seeing two babies being born {separately} is one thing, but seeing him holding two at the same time completely rocked my world.

He brought them over to me & a nurse helped him take turns laying each baby on me so that I could kiss them & talk to them & snuggle with them.  Such sweet, sweet moments.

Cameron then followed them to the nursery while I got put back together {thanks, Dr Anya!} and went to recovery.  As soon as I got to recovery they called the nursery to bring the babies in and I got to do skin-to-skin time while eating ice chips {wahoo!!} for the next wonderful hour.

We were then wheeled to our room, Jenny came in {to take these awesome pictures – thank you, thank you, thank you, friend!!!}, I got to breastfeed the babies for the first time, and then it was time for them to meet their big sister!

Our families {Harper, all the grandparents & Aunt Kayla – we missed Aunt Hallie who was traveling for work.} were all at the hospital at this point and we had such a sweet time with all of them getting to meet Ellie & Max.

I spent most of the time snuggling Harper in my bed.  And by snuggling I mean doing stickers, coloring, eating my slushies, and occasionally holding babies.  At first she only wanted to hold Ellie, but Max grew on her once his hat was off.

I am so thankful that we got so much time to hang out with Harper and let her meet the babies, time with just our families, and that Jenny was there to capture it all so that I got to just relax and enjoy the moment.  And still get to remember it with pictures later.

We asked the grandparents & Aunt Kayla to hold both babies at the same time for photo ops like this:

And we actually got group shots this time, too.  Wahoo!

Once our families left, we enjoyed a calm first evening with our newborn twins.  Aka I didn’t sleep because I couldn’t stop snuggling them.  But hey, your babies’ first day of life only happens once, right?  Totally worth the lack of sleep {says the mama of 2 newborns…}.

We love you so much, Ellie Lou & Max Everette!  We are so blessed to be your parents.