Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Real Mom's Guide...Heather's Postpartum Survival Kit!

Hooray for another guest post :) Today I'm featuring Heather Sherman, who wrote a phenomenal post for this series. Enjoy!!

Jasper arrived in the very early morning after a fast and furious labor – just 5 hours!  For all the hubbub of the delivery he was a very relaxed little guy and I was in awe of what we had just done together.  But it wasn’t as simple as all that.  For me, the story of his birth will always be intertwined with the story of his brother’s birth 3 years earlier.  You see my first baby was born by emergency C-section, which made me bound and determined to carry through with my plans to have a VBAC home birth.  I’m very happy to report that Jasper’s birth was a great success! I could go on and on about how to prepare for VBAC, or home birth for that matter, but today I have the happy task of telling you what is most needed after you’re holding that sweet baby in your arms.

Afterbirth Sitz Bath: My vote goes to Wish Garden’s Herbal Sitz Bath.  I didn’t find it practical to get into a tub or actually soak my lady bits in a basin.  I went a little more user friendly.  Just boil some water and steep it like a tea.  I dipped prefold cloth diapers into the infused water after it cooled down a bit and applied as a compress every couple of hours.  
Prefold Cloth Diapers:  I used these for everything from my sitz bath compresses, to wrapping around frozen peas for a cold compress, to a burp cloth, to actually diapering my baby.  Honestly.  They are possibly the single most useful baby item I have ever owned.  You can get all kinds of fancy ones – hemp, organic cotton, etc.  But they are going to get messy if you’re going multi-purpose.  And in that case you can simply go Gerber.
Powdered Goldenseal: I got mine from a local health food store, but you can order it from places like Bulk Apothecary.  Truth be told you don’t need a bulk amount.  Just an ounce or so should do it.  When, or if,baby’s belly button gets a bit wet while it’s healing it may start to smell funky.  Take a Q-tip and apply a tiny amount of powdered goldenseal around the area that is wet where the cord is healing.  Its much gentler than using rubbing alcohol and goldenseal has natural antiseptic properties.  I had never heard of this before getting it for my kit and I was very happy to have it.  We cloth diapered from the beginning with Jasper and it can be more challenging to keep the belly button dry.
OxiClean: I’m guessing I don’t need to elaborate here….  As you know birth can get messy.  While my midwife and doula did a fine job of clearing up all evidence of birth after the delivery they weren’t looking after my dirty laundry.  OxiClean saved the cloth diapers and a few other items from permanent ruin.
Mama Cloth: I did use the super serious disposable maternity sanitary pads for the first day or two after delivery.  But after that I discovered and was happy with the Lunapads Postpartum Kit.  I actually liked it better than using the disposable pads because it was softer on my sore bits (I was so impatient… erexcited… to meet Jasper that I wouldn’t cooperate and hold his head at crowning long enough to avoid a tear… my bad).  And hey, while we’re getting crazy the MAIA Organic Brief Lunapanties are pretty AH-mazing as well.  They were comfy and allowed me to insert a liner right into the panty.  Best part about all of these products is that I still use them today when my period comes around.  So, I’ve actually saved money in the long run.
Easy, Healthy Foods: I was very lucky to have a generous midwife who brought me eggs straight from her own chickens.  They were seriously the best eggs ever and easy for hubby to prepare.  I also had a week of hot dinners brought in by friends in the community, which was such a blessing!  But, I could have used more “convenience” food that was healthy for me.  We’ve had a health overhaul in our house this last year and looking back I wish I would have had green drinks (made with spinach, coconut water, and frozen fruits like pineapple or mango) and Shakeologysmoothies on hand to keep me nourished and hydrated while adjusting to the new demands of “mother of two.”

Those are the highlights.  There are a few odds and endsthat aren’t as exciting, but shouldn’t be ignored:
A Water Proof Barrier & An Extra Set of Sheets:  In case your water breaks or in the event that you deliver in your bed you’ll want to have a water proof barrier such as a shower curtain or a mattress cover underneath your bottom sheet ahead of time.  Jasper came 12 days early, so, yeah… be ready.  And if you really want to impress your friends you should put a second bottom sheet beneath the water proof barrier so that after the baby is born you can strip the bed down to a clean sheet without the trouble of having to remake it.  That is possibly my all time favorite home birth tip!
A Clean Bowl: If you’re planning a home birth you’ll want to have a clean bowl in which the midwife can place the placenta in order to examine it and be sure it remained intact during the delivery (if part of the placenta remains in the mother, she could end up with an infection).  If you’re going save your placenta for hormone therapy you may want something resealableso you can store it until a professional comes to do placenta encapsulation.  I’m thinking you don’t want to use your spaghetti bowl.  Just sayin’.
Your Pain Killer of Choice:  I did not know about, expect, or prepare in any way for after pains.  These pains are caused by the contraction of your uterus during nursing.  Essential for reducing that baby belly and getting things back to normal, but apparently quite painful for some women.  After 2 days I couldn’t bare it anymore and the arrival of Tylenol helped me relax and enjoy early nursing a bit more.  Rest assured these pains only last a few days!
A Nest: You may not be able to go up and down the stairs in your home for a few days.  So, decide ahead of time where you’ll make your nest, put aside a few warm blankets, make sure you’re on the same floor as a bathroom, and prepare to hunker down blissfully after the birth.  If you have other kids this is a great opportunity to include them in welcoming your new baby.  My family of four cuddled together in our nest at night for the first two nights.  We had a giant sleepover on air mattresses and couches on our first floor and our then 3 year old loved it!  We got this idea from an awesome childrens’ book that our midwife lent us called Welcome With Love.

Heather Sherman is a busy mom of two wildly adorablelittle boys, Navy spouse, health and fitness coach, holistic mama, lactivist, aspiring yogi, lifetime learner, bookworm, and awkward dancer.  She loves going on new adventures with her boys and supporting other women around birth, lactation, and fitness.  

Connect with Heather:
Instagram: @heathershermanfitness

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Real Mom's Guide...Fatima's Postpartum Survival Kit

Day 2...woo hoo! Today's post is broght to you by Fatima of Motherhood Through My Eyes. Enjoy!!

5 Things You Need After A C-Section
Nothing can prepare you for an unexpected pregnancy or an emergency C-section more than yourself. A healthy mental state of mind is important to overcome the pain and stress of bringing a child into this world. 

Prior to going into labor I made sure I purchased several items. Below I share six essential ones for moms who undergo a C-section:

1. A great pair of underwearBefore I prepared my hospital bag, I knew there were several things I needed, and underwear was number one! I purchased two Vanity Fair Hi-Cut panties at Khols. They were very comfortable and easy to wash by hand. 
2. “Mommy diapers”
You are going to need a lot of pads – or what I like to call, “mommy diapers.” Purchasing a box of Always Infinity Overnight Pads. They are thin and very absorbant.

Scar Cream. After each bath, I would apply Mederma Scar Cream + SPF 30. By doing this I was able to make my C-section incision practically invisible and got rid of several stretch marks that appeared in my third trimester. 
4. Lots of pillows.
I love feeling comfortable when I go to bed, and having lots of pillows was a must during my pregnancy, and more importantly, post-partum. Buying several sets of the Charisma pillows I purchsed at Costco were a blessing. They are fluffy and light, and work well for lower back – an area that felt lots of pain after my epidural.

5. Yummy Snacks.You will not always have the strength to cook once the baby is home, so it is important to have other healthy alternatives. I have always been a fruit junkie, so I kept different types of fruits around the house to munch on. I will admit that I also had Tostitos Original Restaurant chips and their salsa around for those salty midnight cravings.

Motherhood Through My Eyes is a lifestyle blog written by Fatima Lora, a full-time mother and contributing writer. Fatima is fascinated with the simple things in life, enjoys a good sale and early mornings with her family. Fatima's blog is her way of expressing herself and sharing her thoughts on favorite products and companies she uses with her family.

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Real Mom's Guide...Shanna's Postpartum Survival Kit!

Whoop whoop! I'm excited to share with you guys the first post for the next chapter of my Real Mom's Guide series! This week it's all about postpartum survival kits and what mommas would put in their ultimate kit for after baby arrives. Today's post is brought to you by Shanna from Ms Naturally Random :) Enjoy!

Top Ten Postpartum Check list
Hello lovelies! Since my young one is now three weeks old, I am beginning to feel less like a novice level “mom” and more like an intermediate level “mama”! Gives self HUGE pat on back for progress. The initial healing time after delivery can be quite a strenuous adjustment. I thought it would be great to share my ultimate list of postpartum necessities! And necessities they are!

The first section of my list comes directly from the great nurses I had after delivery! All the items listed below were provided to me from the nurses. I’d read about many of them but the assistance and knowledge from the nurses was an awesome help!
Pain Relievers – Although I'd read extensively about after birth care for "down there" I was not prepared for the pain. I delivered vaginally and labor (due to epidural) was a breeze in comparison to the pain after delivery and at home. I don't want to scare anyone but I felt like I'd been hit by a train. I was popping Motrin like candy. No, no, no I jest! I only took the recommended daily amount! I’m not big on taking medicine…but I got over that postpartum!
Dermoplast spray – It is a cooling spray that gets to those hard to reach areas. I used it primarily after restroom room visits. Wearing pads constantly isn’t the greatest experience. My skin would sometimes become irritated and this spray gave me just the right amount of quick relief with easy application.
Peri-Bottle – Such a simple device but yet it’s the greatest invention ever! It is a water bottle that you use to rinse and refresh yourself. I described it to a friend as a poor man's bidet! Fancy, right?!
Witch Hazel or witch hazel wipes – I actually had both but different uses. I used the witch hazel (liquid) to create what I found that the “mommy” community calls “padsicles” It a feminine napkin with witch hazel on it and then you pop those suckers in the freezer! Never would have thought I’d need this but occasionally those “padsicles” were exactly what I needed. I typically used the wipes after of my peri-bottle during restroom trips. There were very effective. Did Iforgot mention having a baby is somewhat messy!
Always Maxi Overnight Extra Heavy Flow with Wings – Pads, pads, pads and more pads!While you’re getting used to changing diapers, you’ll find that you’ll be changing about just as often. You might want to go a big box store and stock up on your favorite brand! Who knew you could use so many! Geez! For the time I needed them, they helped me to feel totally confident while lounging and sleeping. No fear of leaks, I felt totally protected! Just make sure to change them frequently to help prevent odor and infection.

Secondly, a few miscellaneous extras!
Back Bath Brush - After pregnancy and labor, I had a weak pelvic floor and weak abdominal muscles. So I'd began to use a back bath brush to assist in washing back and lower legs/feet. I continued using the brush until I regained my strength.
Johnson and Johnson Nursing Pads – Who knew you had the capability to spring a leak?! Well my nightgowns were always evidence of just that! Once your milk comes in, the nursing pads help keep those “leaks” under wraps! I never had a leak and when it was time to go back to work, I was confident. Don’t forget to throw a few in the diaper bag.
Shea Moisture African Black Soap - My skin became REALLY oily and caused constant breakouts during pregnancy. Although I'm still dealing with acne postpartum, I found this soap to be awesome. Each week postpartum, the acne is weaning and after I wash my face it feels smooth and clean. The bar is SUPER HUGE, so it’s not running out anytime soon. It’s not drying at all and smells great! It exfoliates a little bit too!

Lastly, for overall Mommy Care you will need two major things!
Water - I'm breastfeeding and find that while she feeds I get awfully parched. My nurses also explained that my water intake affects my milk supply. So DRINK UP ladies!
Rest - Whether you had a natural birth or caesarean you'll need to recoup. Your body did something amazing. You've just created and carried a human being!

Wish List
Percoset LOL! Yes, I said Percoset! I am so serious. The pain I experienced from myepisiotomy was….let’s say…a bit much! I’ve never been prescribed the drug before but it did help with pain management during my hospital stay. Alas my dear doctor sent me home without a prescription.
More Loungewear – I didn’t realize how infrequently I’d wear actual clothes! I had to do laundry often because all of my loungewear and sleepwear would be dirty…I should have slipped a few more items into the carts while doing the baby hauls if I’d known this earlier!

Shanna Fife is the creator and author of Ms. Naturally Random, a lifestyle blog based in Raleigh, NC. Ms. Naturally Random covers motherhood, marriage, beauty, faith and fashion. She loves living the “Random” life. She is a foodie & a frugal fashionista with an eye for all things glam! 
Connect with Ms. Naturally Random!
Instagram: @MsNaturallyRandom

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Babymooning Food: Chicken and Orzo Salad!

This past weekend, we paid a visit to friends who are currently babymooning. They've added the sweetest baby boy to their family! I always like to bring a meal to friends when we visit new babies, and this was no exception. I like doing meals that will yield leftovers too, so I came up with fruit salad and a Greek inspired orzo salad with chicken. Both easy to prepare, and the orzo salad is great because it can be eaten hot or cold. Perfect for the summer and for noshing :)

My fruit salad was super basic: chunks of cantaloupe and watermelon, blueberries, strawberry slices and green grapes. Beautiful and light for summer snacking.

For the orzo salad, you will need:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 cucumber, washed and dried
1 small package of grape tomatoes, washed and dried
1 8oz bottle of Wish Bone Greek Vinegrette
1 box orzo pasta
1 small container of crumbled Feta cheese
Salt and Pepper
McCormick Salad Supreme seasoning

In a skillet, drizzle EVOO and sprinkle Salad Supreme, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Add cubed chicken to the skillet and cook thoroughly.

Cook about 1/2 of the box of orzo, per the directions on the box. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside.

Slice up the cucumber and cut the tomatoes in half. Mix together and set aside.

In a large bowl or pan (I used disposable pans for this dish since it was being taken to friends), pour orzo, and add in chicken. Shake the Greek dressing well and dress the pasta and chicken with about half of the bottle. Mix well. Add in tomatoes and cucumbers and as much feta as you prefer, pour on the rest of the dressing and mix salad together. 

Set in the fridge to chill, or serve warm! Enjoy!

Until next time,

Friday, July 4, 2014

Give Me All The Milkshakes!!!!!!

Well lovebugs, I am well into the second trimester. Almost 24 weeks as I write this post!

Things are going well. I'm feeling relatively great minus starting that point in pregnancy where you feel like you can't breathe. I'm having a lot more Braxton Hicks lately and, dear God...the bending and chasing that comes with having a two and a half year old is really just not conducive to pregnancy.

But all of that aside, this trimester rocks!

My midwife appointments are all going really well. I seriously don't know why I didn't see them during my pregnancy with Conner. I don't have enough good things to say about them and I feel fully supported and ready to rock a VBAC...woo!!

Also, fun little fact: the milkshakes. Give them to me. All of them. Now.

But really. Milkshakes.

Conner is slowly warming to the idea of a baby brother or sister. He LOVES coming with me to appointments so he can hear the baby. And we recently bought him a baby doll so he can practice big brother duties. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

Also: I love milkshakes.

A few days ago I had my second ultrasound. My first, at what we thought was 20 weeks, went well but the baby was measuring a bit small and was SO active that they couldn't get all of the images they needed (how active, you wonder? Baby started the ultrasound in breech position. Flipped head down. Flipped transverse. Then rolled to the other side). At that appointment, they decided to push my due date back ten days to October 25th and scheduled me for another ultrasound which I had yesterday. At the follow up, baby was measuring right on track with the new due date and was cooperative for the tech, so they got the images they needed. Observe the cuteness!

But really, that little hand!! And I have to say...I'm actually kind of glad they pushed my due date back. It gives me an extra ten days before I'm on a clock where induction or repeat c-section can be brought up (though my midwives are really pulling for my VBAC which is AWESOME).

Oh, by the way? Milkshakes.

So overall things are still going great and I am enjoying this pregnancy. I've got a hiccupy little thing in my belly and I just love it.

In the next few weeks, you'll be seeing some fun posts here at This Whole Mommy Thing including some additions to my Real Mom's Guide series and a new post for flying with a little guy, toddler style :) I hope you're all having a great summer thus far, and I wish you all a safe and happy Fourth of July!!

Until next time! I'm off to make a freaking milkshake. Hell yeah!