How to Transition Your Baby to a Crib

When we first set up the nursery, I envisioned my baby sleeping peacefully in his own room, and going in to see his smiling face in the morning. That’s how it’s portrayed in the movies after all, right?

The thing is, when Noah was first born, he would wake up as soon as I laid him down. I’m talking about approximately 3 seconds afterwards. For months, he co-slept with me, until we learned more about healthy sleep habits for babies. More on that in my post How I Got My Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet

Around 5-6 months, we started having him sleep in the pack n play in our room.

But around 10 months is when we realized that we really wanted him to sleep in his own space, so that we could all rest more soundly. Plus, we could get our room back!

Here’ are some tips on transitioning your baby to the crib:

Purchase Blackout Shades – Target has amazing ones that range from $15-$25. Babies love to sleep in the dark, even during the day. It will be one of the best investments you make!

Practice Nap Time in the crib – Babies are smart. They are aware of their surroundings and know when things are familiar. If they feel safe in the pack n play, then are all of a sudden put in this foreign place without mom and dad, they probably won’t take to it too well. So get them used to being in the crib and loving their new safe space.

Lay your baby down awake – This is vital! If they fuss around for 10 mins before falling asleep, thats okay because they are learning how to soothe themselves. These skills will come in handy when they wake up in the night and try to go back to sleep. At 6 months, Noah would take anywhere from 5-15 mins to roll around and find his way to sleep. We always had a routine before nap time (and still do), so that he knows that sleep time is coming. It goes like this:

Close the blackout shades, turn sound machine on, give him a bottle while we change his diaper and lay with him while he finishes it. Then scoop him up to burp him, and lay him down to nap. I always say “It’s time to take a nap now. Mommy loves you. Sleep well” and give him a kiss on the forehead. Now, he is accustomed to this routine.

Get a baby monitor – Preferably one with video as well as audio. Position it towards the crib, so that you can see your baby and feel more at ease. This will allow you to keep an eye on him, without walking into the room and distracting him from the task at hand: Sleeping.

Place 4-6 binkys in the crib – As mentioned earlier, babies will soothe themselves during the night. This “non-nutritive sucking” helps the baby stay calm and relaxed, which ultimately helps them fall back asleep. If there is only one binky in the crib, what are the chances that your baby will find it during the night? Probably very slim. If there are many binkies, then he is more likely to reach out his arm and find one very easily. This trick was very effective during our experience!

Continue to “practice” with nap time, and then give it a go at night whenever you feel ready.

I’d love to hear what your experience has been like with this transition!

What are some strategies that you found effective?

How to Overcome Mom Guilt

I don’t even know where to begin here. Mom guilt is one of the worst things I have ever experienced.

Here’s how it went for me: Had a baby, stayed home for a couple months, went back to work, and now feeling like I’m missing out on huge milestones.

(The first day I went back to work)

So working mamas, I feel you. I’m there with you. Crying in the parking lot on lunch breaks. Unable to compose yourself before walking into work. Tears streaming down your face as you drop your baby off and he waves bye-bye in the window. Taking deep breaths and still crying in the bathroom.

Mom guilt is a real thing. Very real. In my experience of talking to other moms with older kids, mom guilt is almost brushed under the table. “Oh we all have to do it. It was hard, but I got through it. People can send you videos and you’ll still get to see those milestones.”

Is that the same thing though? To me, it is not even close to the same.

When I talk to new moms, however, they open up greatly about how heartbreaking this is for them.

I was blessed to be home with Noah for 3 months, but most moms are going back to work after 6 weeks. At 6 weeks, babies are becoming a little more interactive. They’re discovering their fingers and toes. They’re even smiling!

(Noah at 2 months smiling back at me)

What I’ve found that helps me tremendously on days where I’m struggling with Motherhood, is receiving support from other moms.

This can look different for everyone. I’ve talked with coworkers, hopped on the phone with a friend, talked to family member, and one of my favorite methods has been writing a post on social media. It may seem scary, or you may perceive yourself as “weak” for being vulnerable, but I promise you, that it is empowering and supportive to reach out when you are feeling down.

My biggest takeaway from experiencing Mom Guilt, is that it’s all about perspective.

Recently, I voiced my mom guilt feelings on my personal page, and here are some of the loving responses I received:

“He will grow up seeing what a wonderful hardworking mama he has💕

“All mom’s feel like this-I did too,but don’t let the guilt stop your joy!!!i raised my son alone,it was so hard leaving him,especially in the cold winter mornings,but I did teach him by example how to tow the line and learned good work ethics.Noah is still a baby,but he will see as he grows!!!just make the most of all your time with him!!!love to you all❤️❤️❤️😘😘😘🐾

“I’m right there with you mama! It’s tough but like you said, were doing this for our boys to have the best life 💙

“Goodness, he’s beautiful! And you are doing what you can to give him a beautiful life. Mom guilt is real, but you got this. Love you.”

The response that really put things into perspective for me:

“I cried sooo many days through my babies’ early years.

But as my girls got a little older and then my son came along. I realized, a flower still grows & blossoms even if I don’t watch it. As a matter of fact, they grow even taller, Bc they learn independence, confidence & pride. Bc they’re parents were fulfilling their lives everyday. And returning home, yes tired, yes shorter moments together, but returning home fulfilled.

Your son notices this.

You are fueling your soul by chatting with patients, providing a service that helps them be healthy, and even getting time on your commute to clear your mind.

It’s ok to have sad moments of longing.

But don’t regret your daily life.

Make the most of it. Modify wherever necessary, and remember:

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude”

Being a working mom is not easy. It is probably one of the toughest things you’ll do. But remember who you are doing it for. You are empowered to see it differently.

I’m here for you, mama.

You’ve got this.

5 Relationship Truths After Having Kids

1. Parenting Styles Will Differ

I knew how I wanted to parent my children. I knew it for years. But then, I actually had a child, and needed to learn how to parent with another person. Suddenly, my ideal parenting style, became influenced by my partner.

Your partner may want to leave the toys everywhere, while you want to keep it organized at all times (tell me your secrets if you figure that out). Your partner may want to feed your child animal products, while you prefer a plant based lifestyle. Your partner may want to let your child co-sleep, while you think it interferes with your time as a couple. Your partner may want the kids in bed by 8pm, and you prefer to hang out until they’re tired. Your partner may want to have serious discussions in front of the children, while you think its more appropriate to keep conversations between you two.

The list goes on.

This is where self growth happens. Is it really that big of a deal that there are a few toys on the floor while happy memories are created as a family? Is it catastrophic if the kids stay up a little later on the weekends, or does it actually give you more time with them since you work late during the week?

These are just a few examples, but the reality is that these discussions will get to happen during your time as a parent.

The solution? Voice (in a loving way) what parenting style you prefer, and Compromise.

If you are both struggling with the topic of co-sleeping, then think about what compromise is possible. Could an effort be placed on transitioning your child into their own room? It probably wont happen overnight, but is there something that could be done to move in a direction where both partners are happy?

2. Their Flaws Become Amplified

I laughed as I wrote this relationship truth down because Joe and I have found a way to be lighthearted about this topic.

After having a baby, exhaustion will settle in, and you’ll probably find that you start putting yourself as a last priority. The house is likely to be a mess, with the dishes piled up and the laundry not done. These things will cause you to start focusing on what’s wrong, instead of what’s right (which is most likely a lot!).

One of the top reasons I fell in love with Joe is because of his sense of humor. He made me laugh constantly. So after having Noah, his humor really comes in handy.

For a few months, I’ve been hanging my clothes on the back of our bathroom door because Noah is always sleeping in my room whenever I want to put them away. One morning I woke up to a notification that Joe had mentioned me in his Instagram Story . This guy filmed my massive pile of clothes hanging on the back of the bathroom door and showed all the world to see. I could not stop laughing after watching that video with his witty commentary. Made my entire morning…and I even put the clothes away.

Joe might hang his clothes on every available space in our room, or never change the toilet paper roll, and I might hang my clothes on our bathroom door, or forget to wash a dish (or 5), but are those things worth a fight? When you’ve got kids, it sure can seem like a good idea.

The Solution? Use Humor & Acknowledge the Good Things

Look, you’re both tired. You’re both learning how to navigate the world of raising tiny humans together. Focus on what’s working and what your partner does that you absolutely love. Acknowledge them for putting the laundry away, and for washing the dishes. Acknowledge them for getting the kids ready for bed, and for starting your car up in the morning. Fill up their love cup, and your focus is guaranteed to shift.

Joe and I speak more on this topic in our Relationship Course, and share Communication Tools that we use every day. Updates can be found on our Facebook Page

3. Sex Life Will Change

Oooooh baby. Yes it will. As a woman, we’ve got crazy hormones surging through our bodies for at least 9 months AFTER having a baby. We also have a brand new body with a few extra additions (milk coming out of our boobs, excess skin on our bellies). This can cause feelings of isolation, and not wanting our partner to even touch us. I’ve spoken to women who would make up every excuse possible, just so their partner wouldn’t initiate sex. I’ve spoken to women who also would get dressed in another room just so their partner wouldn’t see them.

The Solution? Let your partner in on how you’re feeling.

It’s scary, I know. Before becoming pregnant, I was fit, confident and felt like I could conquer the world. After having a baby, I felt exhausted, large, and unattractive. But I chose to love myself anyway. I chose to communicate with Joe on what I was feeling. More often than not he didn’t understand, but he was loving and accepting of me, and my new journey of self-discovery.

There’s a quote that Joe & I remember when we’re in breakdown. When we don’t feel like sharing what’s been building up inside. We heard this quote from someone we admire greatly, Nick Broadhurst.

“Nothing good comes from closing” – Nick Broadhurst

When one of us is shut down and closed, nothing good comes from it. Absolutely nothing. When we are both open and receptive, anything is possible.

Use this time of self-growth, as an opportunity to practice sharing your voice, and embracing the powerful woman you truly are!

4. Time Alone Together Becomes a Luxury

Now, a little human gets to accompany you everywhere you go – even the bathroom! You and your partner may be in the same room, but chances are that your attention is focused on your baby instead of each other. This alone contributes to feelings of separation and disconnect.

The Solution? Hang out after the baby goes to bed.

This may not happen during the first few months. It sure didn’t for us. The only way Noah would sleep, is if he fell asleep in my arms. So 7pm would roll around and I’d be up in bed cuddling with our son. It wasn’t even possible to hang out with my fiancé after Noah went to bed. Fast forward a few months, and we’re able to put him to bed, and spend a little bit of time together. This has done wonders for our relationship, especially since Quality Time is one of our top Love Languages.

5. You Get to Date Your Partner Again

Woohoo! I know you’re probably thinking, “Michelle you’re crazy. What are you even talking about?

During the birth of a baby, yes a baby is brought to life, but the woman is also re-born. Our identity dies. We become new. We get to figure out this new life, and so does our partner.

After my son was born, I became confident, powerful, courageous, and gained many new interests. Most of which revolve around Motherhood and empowering women. The topics I used to talk about are completely different than they used to be. I’ve learned to love myself for who I am, and value my own needs. I’ve learned to stand up for myself, because I am worthy, and my family deserves the very best version of me.

Getting dressed up to go out became even more exciting than it used to be. We value time with each other even more. It’s undivided, and cell phones are put to the side. A date with my fiancé is the best thing ever! He gets to learn about me, and I get to learn about him. We’re each going through our own journey with parenthood.

Who would have thought he’d be making motivational YouTube videos ? Who would have thought I’d become a blogger?

The takeaway here is that you and your partner will change the moment you become parents. New opportunities will unfold, many of them for personal growth. Remember the love that brought you together and created your baby.

Together, you will be unstoppable.

Photography by: Josh DeHonney

4 Steps to Being Productive with Your Day

Even before becoming a mom, my to-do lists were massive. I realized that most of the time, I was just “staying busy”, and I wasn’t able to be alone with my thoughts. I felt that if I stayed busy, I was being productive. The reality was, subconsciously, most of it was finding things to do to pass the time.

Through trial and error, I found 4 ways that help me accomplish my goals.

1. Self Care First

If you’re like me and always put your children first, you probably have thoughts of:

“There’s no way I could do that”

“Ha! Self Care? What is that?”

“I barely have time to shower or cook a meal”

“I’ve lost myself and don’t even know what I would choose for self-care”

Plus many more…

Listen, I’ve been there, and honestly, I still get into that space. But if I don’t put myself at the top of the list, my cup will be empty. It will not overflow with unconditional love, patience or compassion. I will not be able to give anything to my family.

Self care will look very different for each person at each stage in their life. We evolve. We grow in different ways. We expand our consciousness. I remind you to embrace that your self care may look different than your partner’s version of self care, or your best friend’s version of it too.

If you’re struggling with ideas of what self care can look like for you, think about what makes you happy. What keeps you present in the moment and brings you joy? What gives your mind a rest from all of the craziness throughout your day? Is it meditation? Taking a shower or bath? Painting with your kids? Reading 1 page of a book? Going to the gym? Cooking a healthy meal? Doing a card reading on yourself? Using essential oils on a diffuser bracelet? A trip to Barnes and Noble or Target? Stretching? Hanging out with a friend? Singing and dancing around the house? Doing Yoga? (Hint: I’ve done all of these for self care at some point in my life)

2. Create an Intention List

Notice I didn’t say “To-Do List”. Our subconscious minds pay attention to the energy behind words. For me, “To-Do” has an obligatory meaning. I feel if I don’t get that list done, then I am a failure. I let myself down once again, and the negative self talk stays on repeat for days.

Instead, create an “Intention List”.

What are 3 things that if you accomplish them, you will feel like you had a productive day?

It’s so hard to choose. I know. The laundry needs to get done. The dishes are overflowing at the sink. You haven’t washed your hair in a week. But think about what truly would give you a sense of “Hey! I got accomplished some things done day. I’m feeling great!” Is it doing your taxes? Responding to emails? Writing a caption for your instagram post? Creating pieces of artwork? Finding a dress for a wedding? Taking photos of your kids? Ordering those photos and putting them in an album?

3. Create an Intentional Timeline

You’ve set your 3 intentions – Congratulations! Now, when will you accomplish them?

If you’re just starting out with the idea of planning your day, then this will take some practice. I used to underestimate the time I needed to accomplish a task, and then I would be running around trying to get things done as quickly as possible. This was no bueno for my sanity.

Here’s the good news: You have permission to renegotiate the timeline you set for yourself.

If 2pm rolls around and you are completely off track, look at your schedule and adjust it for the remainder of the day. Most importantly, use it as a learning tool for tomorrow’s timeline. Did you underestimate the time needed? Overestimate? Did you procrastinate or find yourself scrolling through Instagram to avoid the task?

4. Check Off Your Goals, and Celebrate!

You did it! Hooray! Put a check mark next to each of your intentions, and acknowledge yourself for following through. Do a happy dance!

Evaluate how you are feeling right now. Is there a sense of accomplishment? Are you excited about setting tomorrow’s intentions? Is there anything you would do differently during this process in the future? What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? Awareness is the first step to growth.

What other methods have you tried? What are you excited to accomplish by using this strategy?

Daily Routine During the First 9 Months of Motherhood

“It will be so easy to have balance and routine in my life once the baby is born. All they do is eat, sleep and poop anyway. How hard can it be?”

Then reality hits.

My life is no longer my own. I am responsible for another human. A real live baby that is mine. I can’t hand him back to his parents after a few hours and go back to my gym routine, hair & makeup, and meal prepping. He’s with me 24/7. I get to figure this out.

Each month brings new challenges. Every time I think I’ve conquered something, or think I’ve gotten into somewhat of a routine, another milestone happens for Noah.

0-3 months

Noah would eat, sleep, and poop. Nothing else. He would only fall asleep in my arms, so my routine looked something like this:

6am Wakeup, feed, cuddle, take pictures and videos of little man and cuddle some more

8am try to make some breakfast while holding Noah because he would scream if I put him down

9am Feed, hang out in the rocker

Do pretty much the same thing all day and pray for the minute that Joe would get home at 4pm to relieve me.

There was no routine. It just wasn’t possible. Breastfeeding was a mystery to me. My body wouldn’t produce enough milk. Noah would cry and I thought he just wanted food all the time (he really wanted to nap). I was starving and lacked energy. Didn’t feel like leaving the house. Post Partum depression settled in.

3-6 months

Things finally started to become a little easier. Noah became more independent. He was able to hang out in the bouncer for 10 mins while I cooked breakfast. I decided to end my breastfeeding journey, and eventually he was able to hold his own bottle. We even got him on somewhat of a “schedule”.

It looked something like this:

6:30am Wakeup, feed, give Noah a bath + play

8:30am Nap + Feed

10:30am Awake + Feed + meet a friend or go out to Target or do grocery shopping

12:30pm Nap + Feed

2:30pm Awake + Feed + Hangout & Play, maybe go out again

4pm Nap + Feed

5pm Awake + (maybe feed) + make dinner

6:40pm Go upstairs, turn sound machine and salt lamp on, change diaper, feed, and in bed by 7pm (Then being up all night at crazy hours)

During that period of time, all I strived for was surviving another day. Another day of getting through this motherhood thing and enjoying every moment with my baby.

6-9 months

Around 6 months we started taking him to our local gym and leaving him at the Kids Club while we worked out. He also was able to stay awake for longer periods of time. So then, our days looked a little more like this:

7am Wakeup, Feed + Play

8:30am Gym time for mama! Noah goes to Kids Club

10am Feed, then Noah falls asleep in the car. I bring him in the house and he sleeps for 2 hours. Mom eats breakfast and works on business things.

12pm Awake, Feed, Play or go out and about

3pm Feed

4pm Nap time. Mom makes (a late) lunch, and resumes business endeavors.

5:30pm Awake + Play

6pm Feed, Mom & Dad make dinner

7-7:30pm Give Noah a bath, Play, Feed, and asleep by 8pm

I’m sure my routine will change even more as he gets older. But basically, I stay present in the moment while he is awake. Then I work and get things done while he naps. Each mom has her own agenda. For me, it’s working on a side business, so that I can be a stay at home mom and never miss a moment. For other moms, it may be cleaning up the house or watching some TV. Whatever you decide to do with precious nap time is in your control. Use it to relax and recharge, or to work on your dreams.

What did your routine look like as a new mom? What did you do during nap time?

Essentials to Put on Your Baby Shower Registry

Okay, so you’re having a baby (congrats!!!), but now…. the Baby Shower.

When will it be?

Who will I invite?

WHAT DO I PUT ON MY REGISTRY?!?!

This is my first baby – how can I possibly know what I’ll need?!

That’s why I’m here ladies.

To bring some peace of mind during this time of crazy hormones.

Not only did the party planning seem overwhelming, but the registry was a savage animal that I really needed help with (Shout out to my mom & Joe’s mom for helping me GREATLY with this!!!)

Thank God for Joe helping me with the strollers and car seats. I needed a man’s brain to figure out which one was best for us.

Alright, lets get down to what you really came to this post for – THE LIST.

Here’s what I would put on my registry if I had to do it all over again:

Diapers – I was extremely grateful for the amount of diapers we had stocked up when Noah was born. You could even have a raffle at your shower where the guests can bring a pack of diapers to be entered! *Pampers & Huggies have been our fav so far! Target brand is also great *

Wipes – (same as above)

NEWBORN COURSE by @TakingCaraBabies – TAKE THIS COURSE. Yes, I am yelling (nicely) at you through the computer screen. I recommend this to every single new parent I encounter. I am so grateful that Joe was so willing to trust me and take this course with me. It did wonders for our sleep and for our relationship as a couple. (See my post: How I Got My Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet)

Swaddle – this is NECESSARY for your sanity. We took @TakingCaraBabies ‘s Newborn Course, and it helped us more than I can put into words. One word of advice: take her class. Take it with your partner, and implement what she tells you. IT WORKS! I also would take it before the baby is born (not at 8 weeks like we did).

Bassinet – Honestly, the baby will be sleeping in your room in the bassinet for a few months. Plus Bassinet Sheets

Baby Monitor with Video – our lives changed for the better when we got one of these!

Rocking Chair

Salt Lamps

Crib – plus, Crib Sheets

Crib Mattress

Crib Mattress Cover – for when your little one has accidents during the night

Changing Table Pad – plus, Changing Table Covers (get at least 2)

Stroller – grab one for you and your partner. Joe and I each keep one in the trunk of our cars. Also make sure it is the same brand as your car seat so that the car seat will snap into it easily

Car Seat – I thought we needed 2, but honestly you only need one

Car Seat Base – A base will come WITH the car seat, but get an extra base for your partner’s car. You wind up bringing the car seat into the house, so you only need a base when you’re transporting the baby

Dr Brown’s Bottles – I wouldn’t even try any other brands. We did, and Noah was super gassy and uncomfortable. It was really heartbreaking to see our baby be in so much pain. I’ve talked to plenty of parents that have had extreme success with switching to this brand.

Bottle Cleaning Sponge

Bottle Drying Rack – very necessary!

Receiving and Muslin Blankets – We use plenty of these!!! Especially at 3 months when Noah is a drooling master and getting distracted while having his bottle. We use the Muslin Blankets as a swaddle when we forget to pack an actual swaddle while we’re out of the house.

Sound Machine – THIS is key. When you take @TakingCaraBabies ‘ Newborn Sleep Course, you’ll understand why this is helpful. We bring this when we’re in the car, or out at a restaurant and Noah is ready to sleep. It helps calm him down, and sounds like he’s back in mommy’s womb with the amniotic fluid

Bouncer – We have 2 of these and we kept one upstairs with us, and one downstairs. We had one in the bathroom so he could hang out while we showered and got ready. He started really using them when he was about 2 months old. We used to use them every day!

Jumper -Get one where your baby will be able to put his feet on the ground and jump around. Something similar to this one. Noah started using it around 5-6 months, and he still uses it every day at 9 months.

High Chair + Spacesaver High Chair – we use the spacesaver high chair upstairs in our home and bring it with us when we go out to eat.

Pack N Play – many uses for this! We kept this in our room when Noah got too big for the bassinet (about 5 months old). We also have one downstairs so he can hang out in it during the day.

Newborn Laundry Detergent + Dryer Sheets – we use the Dreft brand. You’ll be needing these!

Bathtub

Baby Shampoo

Baby Towels

Washcloths

Pacifiers – we use Nuk & Avent

That covers the basics!

Now of course, here’s some photos from our Baby Shower 🙂

If you’ve already had your baby, what other items would you add to this list?

Xo,

Michelle

When Mom Life Seems Perfect on Social Media

We’ve all seen the perfect social media mom.

Or so it seems.

Make up done. Hair always looking beautiful. Happy baby 24/7. Wearing the cutest clothes. Cleanest looking house and kitchen.

As a mom of a 6 month old, I can confidently say that is not how life really is.

At all.

Here’s what life looks like for me 99% of the time:

Our bedroom is a mess

Diapers are left on the floor when Noah is screaming

Formula, Infant Water, and Bottles, are our interior decor

Laundry piles up in a day

We usually get to wash clothes, but only get to fold them days later

It’s a miracle if we’re able to put away the kid’s clothes AND ours in the same day

We have come to accept that bottles will always be dirty at the sink

I strategically place my shoes and coat at the kitchen table where I can put the baby in the car seat and run out of the house (every second matters)

We are ALWAYS on Noah’s schedule…. he doesn’t even have one, which means our plans are always changing

Whenever we’re running late (which is basically always), Noah loves to have poopy diapers

Self-care for myself exists in the form of 2 minute meditations, or a rushed gym session

Making the bed?? Lol

Showers are heaven on earth but are usually accompanied by a screaming baby and deciding whether or not I have time to shave my legs or wash my hair

Average shower time is 3 minutes long when Noah is around

We are home by 7pm every night because that’s when Noah goes to sleep, and once again….we are on his schedule

We haven’t watched a movie together since Noah was born

We often eat dinner while trying to soothe a cranky baby, or we eat while standing up and entertaining Noah

Noah wakes up about 3-7 times each night. I never know what to expect

Sleeping in the same bed as my fiancé for the night is a luxury

I can probably count how many times I’ve been able to do my hair and makeup since my son was born. Most days, it’s gym clothes, hair in a bun, and (maybe) mascara, with spit as an accessory on my shoulder. (Perks of a teething baby)

As for Noah, he usually has a certain time window right after he wakes up where he is the happiest baby ever. Reality is that babies are not happy all day long. Babies can be happy for 30 seconds, and then they realize they’re tired, want to be held, or want to play with different toys. Then it’s up to mom and dad to figure out what baby wants.

Really makes having a baby seem like the best thing ever, right?

But let me share with you the things that DO make having a baby the best thing ever.

I have a 24/7 best friend that makes me smile and laugh all day long

I get to wake up to his smile and unconditional love every day

As soon as I walk into the room, his eyes light up and he puts his arms out

I get to make friends with other moms now and have no filter with our relationships

I get to channel my abundant loving energy into the sweetest boy

I get to be silly and bring my inner child to life again!

I get to take tons and tons of pictures and videos

I get to be the mom I’ve always dreamt of being

The communication with my fiancé has excelled tremendously

Noah is the best motivation for literally anything in life

I get to see family members more often

I learned how to set boundaries, and to be okay with saying “no”

I’ve also learned how to ask for help – something I’ve been working on my whole life

I get to appreciate everything my parents did for me as a baby…staying up all night, getting no sleep, and loving the heck out of me regardless

I get to witness the miracle of life and watch Noah roll over for the first time, hear him say his first words, watch him take his first steps

I get to actually buy those cute baby clothes, lol

I get to have endless hugs, cuddles and kisses

I get to look into his eyes and know that he is the BEST thing that ever happened to me

Every aspect of life has it’s ups and downs. Some people choose to share only the good, and that’s OKAY. That’s their choice. Maybe that even could be your perception of me and my journey with motherhood? But my intention with this is to share that you are not alone. Moms all over the world are going through similar challenges.

I vow to support every single mom that comes my way.

I vow to see the blessings in you, when you cannot see them for yourself.

I vow to love you each unconditionally.

Xo,

Michelle

Ending My Breastfeeding Journey

When I first thought about breastfeeding, I couldn’t comprehend why women described it as being so challenging – physically and emotionally.

After the first night of breastfeeding Noah, I suddenly understood everything.

To read more about my experience during the beginning of this journey, check out my post Breastfeeding During the First Week

There were many days where I thought “I just can’t do this anymore. I’m exhausted. I wish I could give him a bottle like everyone else, and relax my arms for a bit. I wish I didn’t have to pump anymore. I wish I didn’t have to isolate myself multiple times per day to go breastfeed or pump in the nursery. I wish I didn’t have to plan my day around Noah’s feeding schedule. It would be so much easier to pack a bottle and be on the go. If I stopped breastfeeding, I would be so much happier.”

I lasted 3.5 months breastfeeding and supplementing with formula.

My sanity was being affected.

I was not happy.

I was exhausted – physically and emotionally – just like other moms had described this process.

More importantly, my baby was not happy with my breast milk.

His belly would hurt from the gas pains, and he’d scream and cry.

As much as I complained, I wasn’t ready to let go of the breastfeeding journey. I had it set in my mind that this was best for my baby, and that I would breastfeed for at least one year. So what did I do?

I cut out most dairy, which helped. But any time I would eat vegetables, or the littlest bit of dairy, he would still have those horrible gas pains.

Then I started back on birth control, and my milk supply dropped drastically. Any time I fed him, I knew I’d have to have a bottle ready, because he just wasn’t getting enough milk from me.

I tried lactation cookies.

I tried drinking more water.

I tried adding different supplements.

I tried power pumping.

Nothing worked. Nothing.

My heart was shattered.

I loved bonding with my baby during those moments.

I had taken all of it for granted.

Every aspect of it.

Each time I thought about stopping breastfeeding, the tears started to flow.

Even as I’m writing this, my eyes are filled with tears and sadness.

I miss it. So much.

It’s something I didn’t think I would miss.

But that desire to breastfeed is still there.

At one point, I was still trying to pump, when only 1/4 of an ounce would come out of each breast. I was not ready to let go. If I pumped more, my body would produce more, right? It HAD to.

It was one day when I put Noah on my breast to feed, and he completely rejected it. He turned his head, would not latch, and became super unhappy with me trying to force it. Babies are smart. He knew there wasn’t much milk in me. As soon as I gave him the bottle, he started drinking right away.

That moment was the moment I knew I had to let go.

I cried.

I wasn’t ready.

But it was time.

The tears are no longer welled up in my eyes – they are streaming down my face as I write this. The guilt of not being able to keep up with my baby’s feeding demands are with me heavily.

Am I not good enough? Is something wrong with my body? I wanted to breastfeed for at LEAST one year. Why did this happen? What could I have done differently?

I knew I needed to do something special with my last breastfeeding days.

As a photographer, pictures are extremely meaningful to me. I knew I wanted photos of me breastfeeding. I knew I would cherish them forever. I wanted to remember these moments that I will never get back with my baby.

So I asked my fiancé, Joe, to capture the ending of this chapter.

He did not understand my request, but he lovingly did so anyway.

It means more to me than he will ever be able to comprehend.

The stream of tears has now turned into a river of gratitude as I write this.

I am so thankful for those moments.

I am so thankful for Joe’s willingness to capture this transition.

And now, I’d like to share my very last breastfeeding moments with you.

These are so special to me, and bring me such joy.

Just remembering that bonding time with my baby.

Now that I’ve ended my breastfeeding chapter, I can more fully appreciate those 3.5 months. I can share with new moms what I would have done differently. I can also stay present with my baby while I hold him and feed him a bottle. I did what was best for both of us. He no longer has gas pains, or cries from the belly aches. He is the happiest baby!

Here are my Mindfulness Momma TIPS:

If you are still breastfeeding, look into your baby’s eyes while they feed. Gaze at the beautiful miracle you created. Put the phone aside and be fully present more often than not. Take pictures and videos. I know it might sound a little silly, but I have a few videos of Noah breastfeeding, and it is so soothing to witness what that experience was like. I would also have someone else take photos of you feeding your baby as well. These photos don’t need to be shared with anyone, but I promise that one day, you will love looking back on them. Don’t wait until the very last moments like I did.

If you have ended your breastfeeding journey, stay present with your baby. You can still connect with them, and cuddle with them while they feed. Your perspective is everything now. There is still so much beauty to be witnessed in time spent with your little one.

No matter what stage you’re in, the bond with your baby can never be broken.

Focus on what you can experience with them NOW.

What were some of your thoughts as you ended your breastfeeding journey?

Xo,

Michelle

How I Got My Newborn to Sleep in a Bassinet

I honestly don’t even know where to begin.

As a new mom of an 8 week old, sleep will motivate me to do pretty much anything. I’m used to living off of naps, and sleeping for 2-3 hour stretches (none of which occur during the day).

Any time I would put Noah down, and I mean ANY time, he would automatically cry. My only soulution?

Hold him all day long.

Hold him while I cook, while I eat, while I work from home, while I try to put on mascara (doing a full face of makeup was definitely out of the question.. the list goes on.

I’ve been following Bonnie Engle’s pregnancy/mom journey pretty thoroughly, and she’s the one who spoke about this newborn sleep class she had taken.

Her newborn baby started sleeping 10-12hours every night.

Excuse me??????

She said the class was taught by Cara, of @TakingCaraBabies , and a total game changer.

Idk about you, but if there’s a class that gets newborns to possibly sleep in a bassinet, it has to cost at LEAST $500 and require a piece of your soul, right????

Wrong. So wrong.

$74 my friends.

Seventy Four dollars to get SLEEP.

No soul required.

We bought the course, started watching some of the videos around 10pm, and I decided to implement some of the tactics the next morning.

LET ME TELL YOU HOW HAPPY I WAS

THIS SH*T WORKS!!!!!

I even documented it:

This couldn’t be real life???? Could it???

No fancy set ups. Just a swaddle, Cara’s course, and our bassinet (that we never used prior to this).

That first nap lasted 30 minutes. He only woke up because the door made noise when I opened it (we didn’t have a sound machine yet). The second nap lasted about 5 minutes, but still was a total WIN for us!

I almost cried. In fact, I actually did tear up a bit. I didn’t care that it wasn’t a two hour nap. All that mattered to me was that there was HOPE.

Hope for breaks during the day.

Hope for longer stretches of sleep at night.

Hope that I could feel like myself again.

Hope that Joe & I could have more time for us as a couple.

This knowledge was priceless.

My baby wound up sleeping for many 3-4 hour stretches at night, and you know what? That was another huge WIN for us!!!

Best part? There’s no “crying it out” involved either.

There’s no affiliation with Cara and I, but I will recommend this course to every parent I meet. It’s helping us understand our baby SO much better than we ever did. They say there’s no handbook for being a parent, but this pretty much feels like it.

Cara’s IG is run completely by her, and she’s extremely responsive as well! She even responded to my IG message right after I put Noah down for a nap. She’s a real mom. She cares. She wants to help.

If there’s one piece of advice I have for you, it’s to learn about your baby through books, videos, or any other modality that feels right to you.

To connect with Cara:

Www.TakingCaraBabies.com

IG: @TakingCaraBabies

To connect with Bonnie Engle:

IG: @Bonnie_Engle

Taking this course ignited my passion for motherhood even more.

Share your success stories with me.

Let me know how I can help.

Xo,

Michelle

What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag

Things to Pack in your hospital bag

Oh, the hospital bag.

This thing is built up to be a crazy important item. I mean, sure, it is. But after having gone through that hospital stay, I would not have stressed about it NEARLY as much as I did.

I did not have peace of mind about the hospital bag until it was completely packed. Honestly though, it wont be “complete” until you’re ready to leave for the hospital.

Here’s why:

You’re going to want some larger items like a Boppy, and a comfortable pillow (or two) to sleep with. Your partner is also going to want to pack a pillow, blanket, and his night time essentials.

Most likely, you sleep with those comfortable pillows, and you’re not going to keep them all in your car until you’re ready to head out.

I was a nervous wreck about this hospital bag. I felt like I was going to forget something, or not have something extremely important (Reminder: you’ll have visitors, and they can ALWAYS stop at home to grab something).

I remember leaving the hospital and knowing that I needed to share my experience with new moms. We’re already overwhelmed with carrying a child – we don’t need to be any more anxious over a silly bag.

Realistically, here’s what I packed (and used):

Toothbrush (you + your partner)

Toothpaste

Pillow (you + your partner)

Change of clothes (you + your partner)

Phone Charger

Bar of soap (you get to take a couple showers, horray!!)

Shampoo & Conditioner

Shaving Razor

Nursing Nightgown (these things are about $30-$40, but SO worth it!! I bought two, and have used them every night so far at home. I also used them in the hospital every day) ** make sure to buy Nursing Bras (Here) and Nursing Tanktops (Here) for after you get home! (I bought 2 bras – in tan and black and still use them every single day! Absolutely a must have! Bought them from Motherhood Maternity at Macy’s) I have 3 different nursing tank tops (Jessica Simpson brand) and also use them basically every day.**

A light robe (I bought Nursing Nightgowns – Jessica Simpson brand – from Motherhood Maternity)

Sweatpants (you’ll want loose fitting, comfortable clothes)

Going home outfit for you (again, comfortable)

Going home outfit for baby (onesies, pants, socks, mittens, hat)

SNACKS (someone else can bring these for you, but I ate quite a few protein bars. You’ll be up at crazy hours after delivering, and you may be hungry at 3am, or other times during the day)

Makeup (after I took a shower, I wanted to feel nice so I did my eyebrows, and applied mascara)

Chapstick

OPTIONAL:

Boppy (you could also rig up a bunch of pillows)

Socks (hospital also gives you socks)

Warm blanket for baby (it gets cold in the hospital)

Hospital will supply:

Lanolin cream for breasts

Underwear (disposable – very attractive underwear might I add, but SUPER comfy)

Pads (you’ll need those things)

Formula Samples

Sits Bath

Hemorrhoid Pads (this deserves an entire blog post in itself)

Nightgowns

Pacifier

Diapers

Wipes

Blankets for baby

That’s it! It’s really a simple list. I was overthinking everything because I had no clue if the hospital would give us diapers, nightgowns, pacifiers, what my underwear situation would be like…etc so I had packed all of those things.

This was my personal experience at our local hospital. If you have a specific question, I would check with the hospital you’ll be delivering at.

Is there anything else you’d add to my list?

Let’s help some new mommy’s out there!

Xo,

Michelle