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6 MUST Haves for New Moms [+ One Week Post Partum Update]

I can’t believe my little guy is a week old already!

I didn’t really think about the fact that having a baby over 5 years from my last would mean some different products and options would be out there. I wanted to share some of my FAVORITE things that I didn’t have during my last delivery that made so much difference this time!

Here’s My Top 6 Picks for New Mommies!

 

Here’s The Breakdown!

 

6 Must Have Items for New Mommies

 

 

After Ease Supplement: Helps naturally manage your afterbirth pains. I had a lot of afterbirth pain with my second baby, so I wanted to try something this time for it. This made SO MUCH difference! I had to use very little pain medication thanks to this. read more

Healthy Skin Must Haves!

In case you haven’t seen already, I just entered the

2nd trimester of my pregnancy! read more

7 Ways to Help a New Mom

 

It is a special time for a new mom following the birth of a child.

So many emotions are going through a new mom’s head: I’m not pregnant any more! This is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen! Will I get my waist back? I’m already exhausted! Will I ever sleep through the night again? Are they breathing? Am I doing this right? They are so tiny! Oww I need a Tylenol… And this is just in the first 5 minutes!

Everyone wants to help a new mom out, but sometimes we forget what they need the most. Moms need to relax and recover for at least 2 weeks following birth. Having a baby is no easy task for a mom’s body to go through. If they push themselves too soon, they could hemorrhage or develop mastitis.

This is the perfect time to offer to help them out and let them do what only they can do: Take care of the baby. baby postpartum new mom dad birth help

Here is my list of ways that my family and friends helped me the most following my births: 

1) Keep the older kids entertained. 

Aidalyn was 2.5 years old when Annaleigh was born. Luckily, Aidalyn did well with the extra TV time that she had while we were all recovering from Annaleigh’s birth. My mom was such a huge help to us before Annaleigh was born and right after. She stayed with us for about 5 weeks total, helping me with Aidalyn and the house. Not having to worry about Aidalyn helped me give my full attention to recovering and taking care of Annaleigh.

2) Cook meals for the family

Following both of my births, my church family really helped me out by cooking meals for 2 weeks. Having a hot meal coming each night was so amazing. I didn’t have to worry about what we were going to eat and it helped us all recover by being able to relax at dinner time. We used Sign up Genius to schedule meals and it made the process so easy.

3) Do laundry

Births and babies generate a lot of laundry. Adam’s mom and my mom both helped me with laundry following the births of my girls. It is not glamorous by any means, but it is such a HUGE deal to a new mom to not have to worry about.

4) Clean the kitchen and put dishes away.

Just like the laundry, this is not a fun job to do… but some things just have to get done and we don’t want our new mom to feel like it is her job. Ask her what would make the biggest help to her (maybe it is unloading the dishwasher or wiping down the counter tops). Everyone has that one thing that bugs them, see if you can scratch that off her “to-do” list.

5) Let Mom get a shower

Getting a shower and feeling normal again is so important to a new mom. She will be pouring all of herself into this new little baby and forget she needs to care for herself too. Newborns will want to be held all the time, so showers and baths become a luxury.

6) Text her to see if she needs anything from diaper cream to coffee. 

New moms don’t always know what they need until after the baby arrives (or they run out of something faster than expected!) Don’t call, just in case she is sleeping or dealing with the baby. A text allows her to get to your message at her convenience. She can reply and let you know if she needs anything from the store.

7) Let her know you are there if she needs to talk or ask advice.  read more

10 Top Online Shopping Apps

phoneTechnology is amazing. You can check your mail, take a picture, call a friend and get all your Christmas shopping done in the palm of your hand. 

I am totally an online shopping addict. 

I don’t like lines, I also don’t enjoy crowds… and getting both girls to the store by myself is a real treat (read sarcasm). 

I am a huge fan of shopping on my phone. I buy things for my pantry, clothes, gifts, shoes, diapers… all online! 

Here are a few of my most used shopping apps:

1) Amazon

Hi, my name is Angela and I am addicted to shopping on Amazon. 

I am a prime member so I get free 2 day shipping. Plus, I use subscribe and save any chance I get to save 20% on items I buy on a recurring basis. I buy toilet paper, diapers, wipes, flour, vitamins, coconut oil, batteries, dish soap, shampoo, tooth paste… If I can buy it on amazon… and save 20% – I will do it! Given that, we may have 5 tubes of toothpaste in our bathroom drawer at this moment… but I did save 20% on them!

2) Retail me not

This app allows you to search for discount codes and coupons. You can use these coupons online usually and save easy money. What I will do is search for a store in their database and see if there is a current coupon code. This works great for popular stores like shutterfly and oldnavy.

3) Jo-Ann and Hobby Lobby

Both of these apps will show you the deals of the week and store your coupons for you. You wouldn’t want to miss Hobby Lobby’s 40% coupon just because you didn’t have a paper coupon printed off. 

4) Cartwheel

Cartwheel is Target’s app for coupons and sales. You can search the app for what’s on sale and easily use the coupons directly from your phone at check out. Adam and I did this a few weeks ago and got 20% off shoes for Aidalyn and myself. 

5) Ebay

Ebay is an online garage sale. I use ebay’s app for searching for hard to find toys and used items like clothes. We all love ebay! I bought Aidalyn some cheap DVD’s and also some princess crowns. 

6) Etsy

Etsy is an artisan’s shopping mall. I use Etsy’s app for handmade items and personalized items. I also like searching on there for ideas that I can copy and make myself.

7) Groupon

We all love a good deal. Groupon is a way to get huge discounts on restaurants and spas. Using the app allows you to have the Groupon handy and keep track of what Groupons you have available when you are trying to figure out what you want for dinner. We currently have a pizza deal in our Groupon account we need to use. 

8) Zulily and Totsy

Both these online stores are discount flash sale type of shopping. They have items up for sale for a limited time and have a limited supply. When you purchase something you only have to pay shipping once then you get free shipping the rest of the day on the rest of your orders. Sometimes shipping seems kind of slow, but I have gotten some great deals on clothes and books from these stores. 

9) ShopStyle 

The ShopStyle App is the mobile version of ShopStyle.com. ShopStyle searches the web for you, compiling basically anything you could ever buy online. You can customize a search for a specific product by color, price, if it’s on sale… It’s Amazing! Looking for a red sweater for a Christmas Party? You can narrow it down to only looking at Red Sweaters from all over the internet in one place! This is a must for a mobile shopper! 

And one extra! 

10) Paypal

With all this online shopping I do, I use Paypal to keep everything organized and safe. Having the app on your phone allows you to manage your transactions easily. 

Online shopping is a great way to save time and money. What are your favorite online shopping apps? read more

How to Build a Home Birth Kit in 20 Items

How to Build a Home Birth Kit in 20 Items

 

I have been blessed to be able to have 2 home births now. You can read my two birth stories by clicking here: Annaleigh’s Birth and Aidalyn’s Birth.

Both experiences were amazing and there is very little I would change about either. I was fortunate to have 2 amazing midwives attend my births and felt very prepared for when the time came.

My first home birth was in 2010 (Aidalyn’s). I was able to have her in my master bathroom’s garden corner tub. It was easy clean up and a really a great experience. For Annaleigh’s birth we were in a rent house, so my midwife brought a large tub for me to use to birth in. It was even better because the water was able to be deeper. I wasn’t in the tub for more than 10 minutes though because she came so fast. read more

Treating Mastitis Naturally

Treating Mastitis Naturally

Mastitis can be scary to a breastfeeding mama. 

The painful and inflamed breast. The chills. The fever.

I have had full blow mastitis 3 times now! I had it both after the first few days after childbirth and now today…

What causes mastitis?

Mastitis is usually caused by a clogged milk duct that isn’t draining properly. Mastitis can come when you are not resting enough or drinking enough water – Hello, Holidays!

This time it developed from a milk bleb – a clog right on the nipple. I noticed a slightly painful white dot on my nipple about 2 weeks ago, but I thought it honestly went away… Until last night.

Last night when I went to bed, I noticed my breast was tender. I tried to compress my breast to get any milk flowing, didn’t make much progress so I just went to sleep. I had trouble getting comfortable because it was tender.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping and finally got up at 3 am. I was feeling light-headed walking to the bathroom and almost passed out when I was trying to put in my contacts. I had to wake my husband so he could help me get some meds and vitamins, plus see what my temperature was.

We have a forehead scanning thermometer and it read 102.0 and 105.0… who knows.

I had a fever!

I couldn’t sit up in bed without getting light-headed. It was already serious.Sick Mom

I immediately took 2 Tylenol gel caps (which I NEVER do!), but I kept thinking… If I can’t take care of myself, who is going to take care of my babies?

I also took garlic tablets, vitamin C, and lecithin (a fat emulsifier to help break up any fat in the clog). The vitamins are immune boosters and should help fight off any infection.

Then I nursed, expressed milk, and nursed some more.

I stayed in bed until 9:30, then felt like I was at least well enough to come downstairs.

I fixed myself a large glass of echinacea tea, also full of antioxidants and immune boosting properties. I also took probiotics and cod liver oil.

I continued taking the vitamins and nursed more often to help keep the milk moving and clear any infection.

The Keys to Treating Mastitis:

1) Catch it early! 

Mastitis is an infection that can get out of control quickly. As soon as you notice a clog, be proactive about trying to get it cleared before it escalates into Mastitis.

2) Take your vitamins! 

Focus on vitamins to strengthen your immune system. I took garlic, echinacea, and vitamin C. These will help you fight off the infection – or prevent one from happening if you catch it early.

3) Use hot compresses. 

Hot compresses open up the ducts and pores on your breast and help you clear the clog and drain the breast more effectively. You can even take a hot shower and use the warm water to help while massaging the clog.

4) Nurse, Nurse, Nurse

Keep that milk flowing! Babies are the most effective at draining the breast. You can also use a pump to help get any extra milk out between feedings. Also, when you nurse, remember to change the baby’s position each time (or even during the feeding). I always found that nursing while hovering over the baby laying on a bed was the fastest way to clear a clog (looks funny though!).

5) Rest

Mastitis usually happens because you aren’t resting enough. You need to take a break and stay at home while you heal. Also drink plenty of water and recuperate.

I hope you never have to deal with mastitis. It is not fun to have to deal with. Thankfully with these tips, you should be able to clear it up quickly and be back to normal. 

If you don’t find relief in a few hours, you may need to call your doctor.  read more

Top Toys for 6 Month Olds

top toys for 6 months olds

Top Toys for 6 Month Olds

Everyone always is asking what to buy for their baby’s birthday or special occasions. Sometimes it is hard to know what are the best toys out there for different developmental ages. Right now Annaleigh is 8 months old and so much fun. At 6 months, she just starting to really have fun and play. It was a whole new world for her to explore! We have tested out these toys. I wanted to share her favorite ones.

Here are my top picks toys for 6 month olds:

1) Exersaucer

Annaleigh loves that she can sit up and play in her exersaucer. She enjoys being about to look around the room and watch Aidalyn run around. The exersaucer also gives her a chance to use her newly developed head control and work towards sitting up by strengthening her core muscles.

 2) Easy to Grab Toys

Annaleigh is all about being about to hold toys in her hands. The perfect toys for this age are the ones with fun colors and lots of small things to catch her attention. The easier for them to hold onto, the less picking up you will have to do. Annaleigh loves toys that make gentle noises like rattles and crinkle sounds.

Here are some examples of grab-able toys: 


3) Toys that Grow with your Child

It is no new idea that kids grow fast. Toys that can adapt to their growing body and abilities are the best because they will last as an engaging toy. Soon these babies will be sitting up then crawling and eventually running circles around you!

Here are some toys that grow that I personally love: 

4) Toys to Chew

Teething is a common woe to 6 month olds. They want to chew on anything and everything they can get their teeth on! Even if it isn’t designed to be chewed on, babies will find a way to soothe their gums.

Sophie the Giraffe Teether (affiliate link) was a gift from a friend. I had seen Sophie before, but didn’t have one with Aidalyn. Annaleigh doesn’t take a paci, but she just seems to enjoy chewing on Sophie. I think she will be a great toy to have as we continue to teethe.

Here are some toys that are designed to be chewed on: 

 

6 months is such a fun age. They start growing out of the itty bitty stage and are really to really develop in speech and motor.

I love watching Annaleigh learn and discover. She is so close to sitting up on her own. Even at 8 months, she will balance for a few seconds and then fall over. She wants to crawl so badly too. She is sort of scooting and rolling everywhere she wants to go.

I hope you love her picks for your 6 month old.

 

What are your favorite 6 month old toys?

 
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Why I love Mountain Meadow Herbs (and you should too!)

Why I love Mountain Meadow Herbs Grassfed Mama

Why I love Mountain Meadow Herbs

and you should too!

I learned about Mountain Meadow Herbs when I was pregnant. I was looking for some natural ways to supplement and I knew that liquid herbs were some of the best ways to increase vitamins and minerals in terms of absorption and safety.

I used Mountain Meadow Herbs’ Gentle birth formula during the last weeks of pregnancy to prepare my body for labor. I had an amazing natural labor. It was fast – only about 2.5 hours. I was only in pain for about 10 minutes during the pushing phase. I highly recommend trying their formula if you are considering a natural labor.

I fell in love with Mountain Meadow Herbs and their products so much, I decided to become an affiliate. Read more about what Mountain Meadow Herbs has to offer you.

moutain meadow herbs banner effective

Here is a message from Mountain Meadow Herbs: 

As we become more and more aware of what we put into our body these days, people have begun to question the sense of processed and refined products. Are we losing valuable benefits? Are things being added that actually harm, rather than help us?

 

Getting to know the products you and your family use on a daily basis is not restricted to granola bars and laundry detergent. Herbal supplements are becoming increasingly popular as a way to improve well being naturally.  One might easily think that because a supplement is made of herbs, it couldn’t get much more natural.  However, just like many other products claiming to be ‘natural’, there are often hidden ingredients or fillers that can do more bad than good.

 

The following are a few basic tips to keep in mind when choosing an herbal supplement:

 

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Just like the food you buy, be sure to take a peek at the list of ingredients. Stay away from supplements that contain any unpronounceable additives, fillers or preservatives.  Another common sense key to how beneficial the product is: how long is the ingredient list? As with most of the things you put in your body, choose the one with the shortest, most recognizable list of ingredients.

 

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In other words, what was it before it was made into a supplement? How much of it is natural plant matter? Kathy Garber, herbalist and founder of Mountain Meadow Herbs often asks the question, “Is it a food I would place on the dinner table? A good example is Coral Calcium. We don’t cook and eat coral reef, so taking coral calcium as a supplement doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

 

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What was the process of making the supplement? Was excessive heat used?

Was it tested for contaminates such as heavy metals? Was there a large amount of processing that went into the production of the pill, tonic, or patch? In short, the brand name should be a trusted one, willing to share this information with the consumer.

 

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How different is the supplement from the plants that it originally came from? Most herbs contain beneficial compounds that complement each other, and can aid in their effectiveness. “For example, whole Milk Thistle seed would be a better choice over one that contains a certain percentage of slymarin,” explains Garber, “as there may be components within the whole Milk Thistle that make it more beneficial”.

 

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Like any other product we put into our body, it is important to pay attention to the packaging it comes in. Many plastics contain chemicals such as BPA, which is known to disrupt estrogen levels, possibly cause cancer, and lead to brain and behavioral problems.  A glass container is generally a safe bet when choosing a supplement.

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The ultimate test is simply a personal trial and error. Everyone’s body responds differently, so what works for someone else, may not have the same or as intense of an effect on you. Try a product and ask yourself, did the product make a difference in 1-3 months? Did it live up to the results the brand promised? If not, than perhaps it is not the right product for your needs.

weight control formula moutain meadow herbs

Some of their products that I want to highlight:

Early Care Combo 

The perfect gift for the newly expectant mom!

Stomach Aid (4oz) This formula may have a calming effect on the stomach during pregnancy and reduce discomfort caused by motion. Digestive health support for all ages.

Vari-Plex (4oz)We designed this all natural formula to help support vein health. It may normalize circulation and aid in maintaining strong healthy capillaries. Considered safe to use during pregnancy.

Herbal Calcium (2oz) Calcium has a normalizing effect on stomach acids. This formula may promote restful sleep and ease leg cramps. May be helpful for teething babies! read more

Story of a Stay at Home Mom

Image from http://www.kitchenmonki.com

Story of a Stay at Home Mom

If a mom pours a cup of coffee,
Then the toddler will ask for eggs.
You make her eggs and cheese, but then she decides she would rather have oatmeal and pineapple.

You decide to not fight about it because eggs sound good to you… With your coffee – that is cold now. So you put it in the microwave.

Just as you sit down with your eggs and coffee, the baby wakes up and needs to be changed and fed.

You run upstairs, change baby, come back downstairs and sit to nurse. Feeling hungry and thirsty now because nursing does that…

You put the baby in Exersaucer, put on PBS for toddler.

Sigh. Your coffee is cold. Put it back in microwave along with eggs.

Sit down with hot coffee and eggs. Eat one bite.

Toddler wants her snack… You fix an almond butter sandwich… Licking your fingers for a taste of food.

Toddler wants to play a game. ‘Let’s play tea party.’ Where she will pour you a cup of imaginary… Coffee.

Does Your Doctor Respect You? Part One

Does Your Doctor Respect You?

Adapted from http://www.flickr.com/photos/maunzy/5531925035/

Does Your Doctor Respect You

Doctor’s are great sources of information. They are good at decision-making when they are presented with your common health issues. They are great at

emergency situations read more