Introducing Mason (His birth story)

You may have noticed the silence around here and the new face on my instagram. It’s true! We welcomed Baby M earthside on November 29th at around 5pm. I got my VBAC! So, allow me to share our birth story and introduce Mason.mason

In my 37th week, I noticed that I had started to lose my mucus plug. I knew this was a sign that my body was prepping for labour. Saturday the 28th, we had done some grocery shopping and I felt some wetness. Had I peed myself?! Embarrassing! That night, same thing happened again when I turned in my sleep, followed by some cramping and back pain. Ugh, unpleasant.

On Sunday the 29th, I woke up and felt kind of off. An hour or so later, I noticed I had bloody show and knew it was going to be baby time sooner rather than later. I casually startedtiming the contractions.  I told Pat and updated my friend Claire (our Doula). I had also noticed that I had what felt like menstrual cramps, which was nothing like what my contractions felt like last time with Liam. Eventually, Claire had me time them more carefully, just to see and we noticed that they were rhythmic. Huh. I still wasn’t convinced it was labour but when they got more steady and frequent, Claire told me she was coming over to check things out.

I made sure our bags were ready to go, and got in contact with my friends who had offered to watch Liam. I let Pat know things were picking up and started verbally prepping Liam for his first night away.

m1

In labour, on the exercise ball

The contractions were more intense, but nothing more than uncomfortable. I found relief in swaying on my exercise ball and doing figure 8s. When Claire arrived, we talked a bit and Pat got me some food from Timmy’s. Eventually, talking through contractions took more work. It was then that Pat and Claire suggested we go to the hospital, but I still didn’t think it was time. I was convinced the contractions were still 5 minutes plus apart, when they were actually closer to 3.5. I wanted Liam to have his nap, as it was noon. It wasn’t until I went to the bathroom and had three contractions one after the other that I agreed to go.

We dropped Liam off at Jenn’s, and my heart broke. I already missed my little guy. We made our way to the Civic Hospital and met up with Claire there.

We made our way to the 4th floor, Labour and Delivery, where they took my history and checked me. I was 5cm. They admitted me and showed us to our room. There we met our great nurse, Phyllis, and I started labouring in earnest. I walked, swayed, leaned, cried and felt myself becoming overwhelmed by the rapid increase of the pain and frequency of the contractions. Eventually, I had had enough and requested an epidural. I was so afraid of letting everyone down, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. They checked me, and I was at 8cm. Having contractions while having to stay perfectly still was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Unfortunately, the Epi didn’t take fully. It merely dulled the pain a bit.

I was on the bed, feeling like I might need to push. I felt the sudden gush of my water breaking. It was full of meconium. They then needed to attach monitors to his head because his heart rate was decelerating and the monitors on my stomach weren’t working eith how low he was. Moments later, I could no longer control the urge to push. Within 15 minutes, Mason was born. Pat cut the cord and the OB showed me my placenta (soooo cool!). I felt so much better than after my c-section. I had a 2nd degree tear and some stitches, and felt like a champ. Mason ended up having some issues, however.

As I waited to deliver my placenta, the medical team was trying to get Mason to be more responsive. He eventually was, but his breathing still wasn’t great and his chest was puffed out. They left him with me for an hour to nurse before deciding to send him to the NICU with Pat. There, they did a chest x-ray and blood work. He had no meconium in his lungs and no air leaks. After keeping an eye on him for about 12 hrs, they brought him back to me. The next evening, we were sent home with a clean bill of health.m2

The After:

A couple days later, at our first post partum check up, our family dr confirmed our suspicions that M had jaundice. She sent us to get bloodwork done and that evening, we got a phone call to get to the children’s hospital ASAP. His bloodwork was very concerning. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a really difficult time for us. We were admitted after they ran a bunch of tests and we ended up staying at CHEO for 5 days. They were concerned he had a blood infection due to a mistake on a blood test, or an antibody issue due to the blood bank mixing up our file with someone else. In the end, he just had jaundice and needed a lot of phototherapy.

m4

Our stay was hard for me. Post partum hormones, and recovery in a hospital room for someone who is prone to anxiety and depression …it was not ideal. We were in a dorm style room with two other babies from out of town, which meant that there was a lot of noise, lots of crying and just one nurse to care for them. I was very stressed and unfortunately, my post partum anxiety got pretty bad. I wasn’t allowed to hold him much, with the exception of nursing. I basically had to sit and watch him on that light table. Thankfully, my family dr and my loved ones were on it. I had visitors daily and my meds were upped. Eventually, we developed a routine where I went home to be with Liam for a couple hours, which helped.

m5

Liam really struggled with all of this. When Mason was born, he was worried he wasn’t ever coming home from my friend Jenn’s place. When we were admitted to CHEO, he was heartbroken and really had a hard time with me being gone. We are dealing now with the fallout and his big feelings, but we’re all doing much better. Mason is growing and doing better every day. My anxiety is manageable and we are finally getting into the swing of things.  Every day is a challenge, but we are loved and supported, so we will be ok.

Weekly Preggo Update: 37 Weeks

As I mentioned in my last pregnancy update, I am going to switch to weekly updates until baby arrives. You know, assuming I can keep up. I’ll try ;)

27weeks

So tired, so sore.

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): It was a more quiet week for us. I basically stayed home as much as possible as my body was definitely quite sore and needed rest. Thankfully, one of my best friends recently moved like 10 minutes from us and has been hosting play dates at her place, so I’ve been able to get hang out time with my girls and their kiddos without killing myself.

On Sunday, we hit the local Santa Claus parade and had a good but chilly time. It involved a lot of discomfort and walking for me, which seems to have kicked started my body prepping for labour.  The next day I lost more of my plug and have continued to do so all week. I’ve also had intense braxton hicks contractions. Eeeee.

In less good news, we found out at my weekly OB appointment that I have tested positive for Group B Strep. I freaked out a bit initially. I had these visions of a sick baby, of being stuck on my back in labour because of antibiotics, you name it. Thankfully, I have some great friends, and an amazing husband and doula, all of whom were able to calm me down.

How far along am I right now? 38 Weeks, 9 Months

I am thinking… About how quickly the last 9 months have flown by. What a strange time pregnancy is. There were moments where it felt like it dragged and I’d never get to the third trimester (especially when I was really sick those first few months), and yet, here I am now, about to have baby any time and I can’t believe it.

I am thankful for… My friends, living in suburbia (so many stores, open all the time, with so much chocolate) and my new neighbour! I have been plagued by a family that has lived right next door since we moved here almost 7 years ago. They were awful and this past week they moved out and the new neighbour moved in. She’s a single mom to a 1,5 y.o. I look forward to getting to know her :)

I am wearing… Comfy clothes. PJs, t shirts, leggings.

I am creating… Honestly, not much. I just don’t have the energy

I am going… to try and motivate myself to keep up my cleaning. Despite the preschooler and gigantic hairy dog that love to instantly destroy my efforts, I’ve enjoyed having a slightly less crazy home.

I am hoping… That we can navigate our recent money troubles a bit better. I am really really nervous about how things are going to be over the next few months. Any prayers, good mojo or happy thoughts would be appreciated.

One of my favorite things… Netflix. It is currently raising my child. My body is so incredibly sore these days that I just can’t do much with him.

Weight Gain: In total, we’re at 24lbs.

Baby is how big?: According to my Ovia App, baby is the size of a skunk.
Movement and Pregnancy Weirdness: I should go back and re-read my posts from when I was this far along last time, because I don’t remember having this much hip and pelvic pain last time. I swear, there are moments where I can’t walk, or feel like I’m going to fall apart. The pain is intense. Also, baby must have dropped because I can’t walk at all without a very pronounced waddle. This week marked the beginning of intense braxton hicks and losing my plug. This gives me hope that the end is in sight and that we should be able to have this baby before the holidays. Not that I don’t love kiddos born on the holidays, but it would really make life more difficult for us. I’d much rather have a wee babe in arms by then.
Cravings and Aversions: Chocolate, lots of chocolate. And spice. I have been enjoying hot sauce and chilis quite a bit lately.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: I have reached the stage where I am sensitive to images in the media. Hurt or suffering children? Can’t watch it. Super intense violence? Nope. Give me comedy and romance please. My heart just can’t take anything else right now.
Other Pictures from this Week:
27weeksb

Hanging out with my kiddo at the parade.

27weeksc

Relaxing at my girlfriend’s house for a play date. 

Weekly Preggo Update: 36 Weeks

As I mentioned in my last pregnancy update, I am going to switch to weekly updates until baby arrives. You know, assuming I can keep up. I’ll try ;)

36weeks4

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): It was a busy week! It started off with my close friends throwing me an amazing baby shower at the Upkeep  Shoppe on Preston. It’s a fantastic nail bar, skin care and tea boutique. Yep. Pretty much heaven. I had a blast and was spoiled silly. Afterwards, a few of us make our way over to Stella Luna for gelato and coffee. They have a special gelato that they offer for pregnant ladies that promises to help get labour started, so obviously I had to try it. (Here we are, a week later and no baby, so obviously I wasn’t ready for it, but it was incredibly tasty anyway).

The rest of the week has been good. Found out my sister, Tracy, has booked a flight to visit us after baby arrives! I’m so so happy! Had a good OB appointment, a park date with some amazing ladies, an afternoon chilling with my doula and then a great mom and kiddo hang out.

The only downside is that I’m feeling extremely pregnant. My pelvis hurts like a mofo, I’ve been super crampy and nauseated. Some days I’m fine, others, I just want to sleep all day and be done with pregnancy. Thank god I’m no longer working. I can’t imagine trying to manage standing for hours while feeling this way.

How far along am I right now? 37 Weeks, 9 Months

I am thinking…about the last few things we have left to do before M makes his grand appearance. We still need to repair the glider, make a value village drop off, finalize the hospital bags, wrap christmas gifts, etc…

I am thankful for… Our incredible community of friends. I can’t tell you how supportive they’ve been. Between the gifts, the hand me downs, the meals, the helpful info and emotional support, I am so completely overwhelmed. This week alone, we’ve had like 5 different families offer to help out with Liam when baby comes.

I am wearing… Mat clothes. Most of my shirts no longer fit and the elastic on my pants have given up the illusion of even trying to stay up, but I do what I can.

I am creating…Attempting to work on Christmas gifts, but I have no energy to do much of anything these days.

I am going… to see if the full moon and crazy weather changes of this upcoming week will perhaps encourage M to arrive. I still have a feeling he’s going to make his appearance before his EDD of Dec 14

I am hoping…for a much more relaxed labour this time.

One of my favorite things…Zantac and milk. My heartburn has been AWFUL this time.

Weight Gain: In total, we’re at 24lbs.

Baby is how big?: According to my Ovia App, baby is the size of a chihuahua.
Movement and Pregnancy Weirdness: Movement has slowed down a bit now that kiddo is running out of room. He still has dance parties throughout the day, but the jabs are definitely more concentrated to certain areas. As for weirdness, Baby keeps going from feeling super low to back up. Not sure if he’s actually moving around like that, but I keep getting intense pelvic pressure and then kicks up near my ribs. Maybe this kid is going to be a giant? Also, I no longer fit in the maternity coat that I was given near the end with Liam. I can barely button it up. Oh dear.
Cravings and Aversions: Craving lots of dairy (milk, cheese, chocolate), and salty meat (hurr hurr hurr), like hot dogs or the like.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: I am amused by the daily email and text checks to see how I’m doing. My friends are awesome <3 For the curious: www.haveyouhadthatbabyyet.com
Other Pictures from this Week:

Pregnancy Update: Month 8

8months

A peek at month 8: Hormones are in high gear this month. I’m very moody, restless, emotional and grumpy. Of course, because timing is awesome, the whole family caught a nasty sinus and chest mancold. So unpleasant. Many sleepless nights and exhausted days.

I started to find work was really hard on my body and Braxton Hicks started to make that known to me. The weekend of Halloween was fun but difficult for me, A long shift at work and lots of activities meant resulted in some bleeding, pressure, pain and a really unhappy worried mom. We ended up seeing the OB to make sure everything was ok and found out that I am overdoing it. Baby M is doing fine, but my body was not pleased with me. He recommended I leave work as soon as we could afford it, and so, my mat leave started a whole month early with Halloween being the last day I worked.

Timing ended up working in our favour as Pat has hopefully snagged a part time job to get us through me not qualifying for mat leave pay. Unfortunately, this means he will be working like 70 hours a week and I will be on my own with two kiddos during that time. Eep. Also, we booked Baby M’s eviction date. Because of my previous C-Section, my induction options are limited, and with the holidays being a pain for scheduling, we were booked for my Just In Case C-Section on Christmas Eve. So weird having a date where I know M will be here, no matter what.

How far along am I right now? 36 Weeks (9 months)

I am thinking…About how close we are now! How I’m going to handle this whole stay at home mom thing. How I can’t wait for my upcoming baby shower. I miss seeing all my friends together <3

I am thankful for…Our amazing health care system that allows me to get checked out even when we are pretty sure everything is ok but just want to double check.

I am creating…Not much. I don’t have much energy these days and my body is so sore.

I am going…to try and rest, despite my insane nesting urge to constantly clean and organize.

I am hoping…that baby M arrives well before his Christmas eviction date.

Around the house…trying not to overdo it, which has been proving to be difficult. My goals right now are to get on top of laundry and clean out our deep freezer so that we have room for freezer meals.

One of my favorite things…Halloween treats. Yum!

Weight Gain: Somewhere around 25lbs?

Baby in the Produce World:  Baby Centre says baby M is now as big as a head of romaine lettuce. That seems big. Eep. (36 weeks)
 Movement/Signs of the Baby: Holy, this kid has not been gentle on my insides. I swear he’s trying to claw and punch his way out. With Liam, I joked that he was a tiny ninja or dancer. This kiddo is hulk. He wakes me up with his jabs, and I have definitely felt pain at some of his movements. He moves around a lot. He is head down, and goes from low to high, curled up to stretched WAY out.

Cravings and Aversions: Chips and onion dip, cereal with milk and sugar, chocolate bars.
Body Changes/Weirdness: I think I’ve started to lose my mucous plug. Discharge is gross and frequent and man, do I hurt ALL the time. I feel like a rotisserie chicken with the amount of turning I have to do during the night due to sore hips (even with my snoogle). Bending is becoming very difficult (and sometimes impossible), depending on where baby is located. Also, peeing. Kid sometimes makes it impossible for me to pee. Ugh.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: I am going to try to post more frequently as we get closer to the date, but I’m not sure it’s going to work out. We’ll have to wait and see. Basically, with all of my symptoms, baby could come at any time.

Pregnancy Update: Month 7

Sorry for the confusing title changes to these posts. It occurs to me that evening though I post this when I hit the following month, I am talking about the previous month…errr…confusng. Anyway, this post is about my 7th month of Pregnancy. So, yeah.

7months

A peek at month 7: Thank the Gods, month 7 was far less intense than last month. We did have one visit to triage, but everything looks good so I’m not worried. We got the results back on my gestational diabetes test and I PASSED!! WOOHOO! Who’s eating apple pie for breakfast? This guy.The weather has turned a bit cooler, and I’m definitely feeling gigantic, so we haven’t been out and active in a bit. We did have a lovely thanksgiving with my in-laws though.Oh, and a wonderful friend and fellow April Mom (L and her daughter were born in the same month three years ago, we have been friends since pregnancy) has offered to be our doula!! I’m so excited!

How far along am I right now? 32 Weeks (8 months)

I am thinking…About all the final details. DH is meeting our OB this month, and we have added a good friend of mine to our birthing team, as our Doula. I’m repacking our hospital bag and making sure our people are ready to care for Liam and our pets when the time comes.

I am thankful for…The beautiful weather, tea, and pumpkin scones.

I am creating…Lots of Halloween crafts with Liam, some Christmas stuff (hoping to get it all done early so I can just focus on baby)

I am going…keep working until the end of November, if all goes well.

I am hoping…that baby M isn’t going to be as huge as everyone thinks he will be.

Around the house…Trying to stay on top of cleaning and decluttering. We are pretty much ready for baby, with the exception of a few small things. DH has to fix our free glider, that sort of thing.

One of my favorite things…My snoogle and zantac. Night time has been BRUTAL for heartburn and hip pain.

Weight Gain: Somewhere around 25lbs?

Baby in the Produce World:  Baby Centre says baby M is now as big as a stalk of kale. Really? (at 32 weeks)
32_Week_Kale_4x3
 Movement/Signs of the Baby: Definitely way more movement this month! I have been unsuccessful at capturing video of it, and poor Daddy still hasn’t felt much, but I definitely do. He looooooves to kick my ribs and headbutt my pelvis. My poor bladder seems to be a comfy pillow for him as well.

Cravings and Aversions: Pumpkin Scones from Starbucks are the big one, and cheesy delicious pizza from Gabriel’s. Yum. No major aversions at the moment.
Body Changes/Weirdness: Welcome pregnancy insomnia and frequent pee breaks! Also, TMI time folks: For those of you who may not know, pregnancy brings about a lovely change often referred to as swamp crotch. This basically means you have a LOT more discharge and your crotch is pretty much always damp. Well, mine ramped WAY up this month, which brought us to Triage out of concern that I was leaking amniotic fluid. All turned out ok, but I am living in Poise liners now (or as Liam likes to call them “Mommy’s Diapers”). Otherwise, it’s all the typical stuff. My bellybutton is now an outie, my boobs are huge and sore, my belly is decorated in tiger’s stripes. Interestingly enough, I don’t have the crazy foot swelling that I had with Liam and I don’t think I’ve really had braxton hicks at all this time around (last time I had them CONSTANTLY)
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: Can I seriously get bigger? Ugh. My maternity clothes are already giving up the fight. Elastic waists don’t stay up and shirts barely cover my bump.
Other Pictures from the 7th month:

New Baby Checklist, Part 2: The Checklist

Welcome to part two of my New Baby Checklist posts!  As I mentioned in part one, I had a friend ask me for help and suggestions as she started her shopping for her upcoming December baby. I put together a list of things that I found helpful with L and that I find people seek out at the store where I work.

Please note: This post is not sponsored, however some links will be amazon affiliate links, as well as links to stores that I love. 

If you would like me or my family to review a product, or would like to send us something, please shoot me an email at inamongtheheather@gmail.com

header image for the new baby checklist

Here is the pdf copy of the list, to print and bring along with you shopping. Personal recommendations are only found on this post, not the pdf.

Nursery/Bedroom

sleeping

  • Somewhere safe for baby to sleep. Refer back to Part One here. For the sake of argument and simplicity, let’s go with what is most common here in Canada: A crib. I recommend something sturdy that has the option to convert into a toddler bed down the line. If that’s too far our of your budget, IKEA Cribs has some beautiful modern options.
  • Mattress for crib. You want something firm and, ideally, water resistant for quick clean ups.
  • Sheets for Crib (3, so that if one is in the wash or if baby is sick, you’re not screwed). I prefer flannel, as it isn’t as shockingly cold when you put baby down
  • Mattress cover if mattress isn’t liquid resistant or proof.
  • Baby Monitor. We kept it pretty simple. I wanted to be able to hear baby clearly. We really like our Avent monitor, though they don’t seem to be as easy to find these days. You can splurge on a video monitor or try a cheaper alternative of a webcam that has night vision (we picked up a cheapie from walmart that works great).
  • Glider/Chair/somewhere to sit while nursing or settling baby for bed.  We splurged here and got a La-Z-Boy recliner/rocker, similar to this one. It is the best thing ever.
  • Storage for Clothing and baby stuff. Old dressers work great, or closets.
  • Swaddle blankets if you plan on swaddling (said to help baby sleep better. Aden and Anais muslin blankets are great and have many uses beyond just swaddling. We have several of them. You can also go with an actual swaddler like a Miracle Blanket or a Woombie)
  • Humidifier. We have a Crane one.
  • A wet bag for cloth diapers or a garbage/diaper genie for disposables. My favourite wetbags are the Rumperooz Kanga Care or the Planet Wise bags.
  • Black out curtains
  • White noise machine or something like a twilight turtle/sleep sheep/whatever

Clothing

clothing

Make sure not to just get newborn size stuff. Some babies don’t stay in NB for longer than a couple weeks!

Diapering

diapering

  • Diaper Bag. Your diaper bag really depends on you. I know plenty of people who just use a MEC messenger bag or backpack. Some people want something unisex that both you and your partner can carry. Other people want something that looks more like a purse, or maybe something budget friendly, or maybe something that is really durable and has a life time warrenty. I have a collection of diaper bags, and each option has it’s own pros and cons. This is what I use: Timi & Leslie Abby for every day use (click here for my video review), Timi & Leslie Marie Antoinette for every day use, Ju Ju Be Be Prepared for longer outings/day trips, Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxt Back Pack when babywearing.
  • Changing station or change pad (many diaper bags will come with a pad. We use our Ju Ju Be change pad for most of our bum changes)

Either:

  • 24 Cloth Diapers in either one size or size 1
  • 3 big wet bags, one small
  • Wipes (disposable or cloth)
  • Cloth friendly bum cream (Substance, or Earth Mama Angel Baby)

OR

  • Newborn Diapers (1-2 boxes…babies bust out of these pretty quick)
  • Size one Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Genie (we have two, one for each floor) and refills
  • Bum Cream (some people swear by Zinc based creams like Sudocream or Grandma El’s. I prefer cloth friendly creams. L always had bad reactions to Zinc based creams)

I will be posting all about cloth diapers in the near future, so let me know if there are any specific brands you want to know about or questions about cloth you’d like answered.

Here is my first post on Cloth: Why Cloth.

Winter Gear (depending on your climate. I’m having a December baby in Ontario)

winter

  • One thicker snowsuit for being outside in colder weather, where you might have baby in a stroller. Columbia is my favourite bunting suit.
  • Thin fleece suit that is safe for the carseat (here’s a great one from Columbia). Please read this amazing post by The Car Seat Lady for everything you need to know about keeping baby safe and warm in the car.
  • Thumbless mittens, Hat. You can find some adorable and toasty options out there. For hats, I would recommend something with ear flaps or that is long enough to cover baby’s sensitive ears. Babies sometimes hate mittens, but I have had good luck with keeping mimitens or stonz mittens on L when he was bitty.
  • Warm Legs through leggings, legwarmers or wool. L wore a lot of baby legs as a wee babe. Merino Wool is a great option too, as it helps keep baby warm without overheating. Bumby is a great option.
  • Footwear. For tiny babies, I would recommend something warm and soft, rather than a soled boot. You don’t really need solid boots until kiddo is coming in contact with the snow/ice. A popular option here in Ottawa is Padraig slippers with Stonz boots, We used winter robeez with L with warm socks and found it was enough.

Feeding

feedingbottle

If Breastfeeding:

If Formula Feeding:

  • Bottles and Nipples
  • Sanitizing Tray
  • Formula
  • Bottle Brush
  • You can get fancy with bottle warmer, neat formula mixing bottles (Like the Mixie) or the formula Keurig like machines out now (Baby Brezza is the name I see most).

Travel

travel

  • Car Seat. The great debate, of course, is bucket versus convertible. I went with bucket, so that I could bring in a sleeping baby and use the bucket seat in our stroller. We love our Graco Snugride, as we tend to make big babies and wanted it to last. Diono Radian is also highly regarded, as is the Clek Foonf or Fllo.
  • Stroller. Another one that is really dictated by your lifestyle and needs. We wanted something that would do well in the winter, on the trails at the dog park and would retain it’s value. We chose the BOB Revolution SE.
  • Mirror for the car so you can see baby in the back.
  • a couple car seat/stroller toys
  • A carrier (Stretchy wrap like a Moby or Boba for the early days, and then a structured buckle carrier for when baby is a bit bigger. We loved the Beco Gemini). A full babywearing post to come!

First Aid and Safety

safety

  • Nasal Aspirator (Nosefrida is gross but awesome)
  • Hydrasense Spray
  • Infant Tylenol/Tempra/Advil/Motrin/whatever (I recommend dye free)
  • Infant Ovol/Gripe Water
  • Baby Nail Clippers
  • Baby thermometer. We love this one by Braun.
  • Baby Gates and Baby Proofing Stuff (mainly outlet covers, cupboard locks)
  • Small first aid kit

Toys

playmat

Bathing

bathtime

  • An infant tub or the kitchen sink
  • Gentle baby wash (I love Original Sprout or LiveClean)
  • Soft Face cloths
  • Hooded Towels
  • A few bath toys

Other Gear

highchair

  • Pack and Play
  • High Chair
  • Bouncy/Vibrating Chair or a Swing
  • Soothers (Avent were the only ones that worked for L and we tried SO MANY. Wubbanubs and Gumdrop are super popular too)
  • Receiving blankets (act as burp cloths, swaddles, blankets, nursing cover, you name it!)

Great Books and Apps:

  • Wonder Weeks app and Book
  • Baby Led Weaning book
  • Baby Connect App
  • Happiest Baby on the Block book

Please note that these are just my personal recommendations. In no way do I guarantee or represent these products.  Please do your own research and use your own judgement when purchasing and using any products for your family.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

New Baby Checklist, Part 1: The Basics

Babies are expensive. For such tiny little creatures, many retailers would have us believe that you need a whole lot of stuff to survive those first few years. I work at a baby and maternity store, and with Baby M on the way, I have really been thinking about what we need versus what we want. Of course, having done this all once before has been a huge help, and we definitely have a better idea of what worked for us and what was a waste of time and money.

A girl from my due date group is having her first and is overwhelmed by options. I sent her a list I put together and thought that maybe it would be helpful to others. When I think about where we are now, compared to where we were when I was pregnant with L, I realized that a lot has changed. With L, we were both working and had decent savings. I had paid maternity leave coming up. This time, I work part time, with no paid mat leave and practically no savings. I know how important it is to know what your options are for different budgets, as well as an idea of what you actually NEED versus what you might just want. So, before getting to the checklist, here is a break down of what a you need for a new baby.

newbabybasics

Note: This post is NOT sponsored. I have used these products and love them, that’s it. I am not being compensated in anyway for talking about them. 

So, what do I actually NEED to keep this baby alive?

Let’s break this down to the very very basic stuff. What are the things that a human infant need to live?

  • A safe place to sleep
  • Clothing to protect them from the elements
  • A food source
  • A plan for their waste products
  • Something to safely get them from A to B.

That’s it, really. One of the best lessons I’ve ever learned about having a baby is that you can make anything as simple or as complicated as you please. This applies to everything, for the most part, and is especially true when it comes to baby gear. Baby Stuff is a huge industry and if we believe what advertisers and retailers tell us, we need ALL THE THINGS to be successful loving parents. I couldn’t disagree more. I think every family is different, has a different home,a different set of priorities, a different style and a different budget. I also think that there is nothing wrong with anyone one that scale, so long as the child is having their needs met.

To start, I’m going to talk about these basic needs and then I’ll get into options. Eventually, I’ll get into the actual checklist, I promise. Stay turned for Part 2.

A Safe Place to Sleep

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So, this really depends on you and your comfort level. Bedsharing, Co-Sleeping, a laundry basket, a large box, a bassinet, a floor bed, a pack and play, or a crib. You have options. And yes, those are all real options. You can use a combo of these, change things up as your family’s needs change.

I don’t claim to be a sleep expert or a baby safety expert, so please take all of this with a grain of salt and follow your own gut and comfort level. From my own experience and reading, a safe sleep space basically means a place where baby can sleep comfortably, without anything that become an obstruction to breathing or that may pin baby in a position where they cannot breathe. A firm mattress or surface is recommended, with no blankets, pillows, or stuffies. The concept behind the laundry basket, the box, bassinet, pack and play and crib are a seperate baby-only space. With bedsharing, I stress that is not recommended for those who are very heavy sleepers, who take medication to help them sleep, those who drink or do drugs before bed or those who move around a lot in bed at night. Floor beds are essentially a mattress on the floor for baby to sleep on, which requires a safe room (furniture anchored to the wall, cords out of reach, etc…) in case baby ends up out of bed.

As you can imagine, these options range from free (sharing your own bed), to cheap (repurposed laundry basket with a soft surface) to more expensive (cribs really can range from hand-me-down to custom and extremely expensive).

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What we do: We did a combination of things. For a while, L slept in bed with me. Eventually, we added a pack and play and a hand me down cradle for naps. He then moved to a crib in our room (considered co-sleeping, and is recommended by Health Canada) for all sleeping when we found he slept better on his own. For his first birthday, he was gifted a custom montessori style bedframe (basically a floor bed with a low frame to encourage him not to roll out) by his Nanny and Grammy, and so we moved him to his own room. We plan on doing basically the same thing with Baby M. The crib is all set to go beside our bed, the pack and play is ready for main floor naps and I expect to have him in our bed for the first couple of months.

Clothing to protect them from the elements

clotheswarm

This one is pretty obvious. Naked babies are adorable, but tend to get chilly and cranky. Depending on your climate, you need different things for baby. I don’t want to get too far into the specifics here, but I think the key is that every baby is different. I run cold, pretty much all the time. My kid, on the other hand, is a freaking furnace. As a baby, he was miserable when he was too hot. The best way to prepare? Layers. Diaper Shirts/Onesies, long sleeved and short. Leggings, sleepers, socks. That will pretty much get you through. Don’t spend a tonne on newborn sized stuff, as you have no idea how long your kiddo will actually be in them. For L, it was about a month. He stayed in 3-6 month stuff a bit longer, and lived in 6-12month stuff a bit longer.

For the great outdoors, your climate will dictate your needs. Car seat safe snowsuits, hat, mitts, boots for us winter folks, Sun hats, breathable layers for those of you who live in the heat.

Budgets get a lot of room here. You can buy new, at top end stores for those who want to and can. For those with tighter budgets, become familiar with your local consignment stores, join freecycle or buy nothing groups, ask friends and families for hand-me-downs. Those of you in the middle can shop sales (there is always a sale around the corner! Talk to your parent friends or  online groups. Often parents already have an ear to the ground),

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What We Do: I work in a consignment store, so I stalk the super cute clothes and shop the sales (last night I snagged some clothing for L off our dollar rack). When money was a bit better, I shopped the sales at Children’s Place, Old Navy and Carters. Buy Nothing groups have been a life saver for finding baby clothes (we sold off a bunch of L’s stuff, and most of it was the wrong season for our upcoming winter baby).

A food source

foodbreastfeeding

Humans need to eat. This is as basic as basic needs get. Thankfully, we live in a time where we have safe options to choose from to suit our lifestyles, budgets, health restrictions and unique families. For those who choose to, there are many formula options out there. Catered to specific dietary needs and sensitivities, there are many ways for you to feed baby. Many formula companies will send you free samples and coupons, and I know that bulk stores like Costco or price matching at Walmart can help you get the best price.

Breastfeeding is a great option for those that can. It’s free, made by your body and is the perfect food for your baby. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes requires lots of support and guidance, but it is an option that is worth considering.

Like with all parenting choices, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can breastfeed and supplement with formula. You can breastfeed for a few months and then switch. Do what is right for you and your baby.

What else do you need? Well, for the first 6 months you will need your food (formula or breastmilk). Breastfeeders may also choose to supplement or pump. In that case, you will need a pump (manual pumps are cheapest, electric pumps are easiest), bottles, and milk storage (bags or trays). Anyone who feeds with a bottle with need, of course, bottles, a bottle cleaner brush, something to sterilize the bottles (a large pot of boiling water, or a sterilizing bag or tray), nipples for the bottles. Bottles range from relatively cheap to pretty expensive, with different features and options.

Formula feeding parents can also get some gadgets to make life a bit easier. Bottle warmers, automatic formula mixing machines (similar to a keurig), special bottles for formula mixing and storage, etc…

Breastfeeding parents may seek items to make things easier and more comfortable. Nipple creams, breast feeding pillows, breastfeeding covers, breast pads, nursing bras, nursing clothing, breast pillows or gel pads, lactation foods or teas. At the end of the day, the only thing you really “need” is your breasts, patience, support and knowledge. Breastmilk works as a soothing nipple treatment, any pillow will work in a pinch, clothing can be made to work.

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What we do: I approached breastfeeding somewhat selfishly. I had read, several years ago, that breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer for both the parents and the child. Seeing as how my mother died of breast cancer, this was a major concern for me. Also, I’ve heard that it can help prevent digestive issues. Both Pat and I have suffered with a variety of digestive problems over the years (he is undiagnosed, I have IBS). So, my plan was to give it a shot and hope for the best. My goal was 6 months. Well, here I am and I still nurse my 3.5 year old. It has been a life saver for us. Thankfully, it came easily to me. I have always had an oversupply and my little dude was dedicated to the cause, despite a bad lip tie. We worked through it and had some great support to pull us through. I plan to continue with Baby M. I love how easy it is (I can’t imagine mixing bottles in the middle of the night), how it got me a bit more sleep and rest in the middle of the night, and how soothing it was for L when he was hurt or sick.

I do have a nursing pillow that I love (hand me down), I used breast milk as a nipple cream, I used a pump (electric) and breastfeeding friendly bottles. I had a cover, but I hate it. I got it for free on a cheapie web deal. I shop sales for nursing bras and nursing tops, as well as used clothing sites and consignment stores.

A plan for their waste products

diaperssposie

What goes in, must come out. If your my kid, this is true from the very moment he was born. He peed on the nurse and had pooped in the womb. Yep. So, where do you want that waste to go? You have a couple of options, There are disposable diapers, reusable/cloth diapers, and no diapers (elimination communication). Obviously EC would be a free option, and is considered the norm in many different cultures. For those that this doesn’t suit, there are diapers. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of diapering just now, as that would take a whole other post to get through. So, to sum up: Cloth is the cheapest option in most cases, though there are some expensive fluffy butts out there. Disposables are more expensive, though there are budget brands. In each case, there are accessories that you can add for ease and comfort. Special bins, air fresheners, wipes, creams, organization, you name it. You can honestly get by with just a diaper, and something to clean the baby’s bum (disposable wipe or reusable cloth with water) and somewhere to put the mess (either garbage or the wash).

diapercloth

What we do: L was in Pampers until he was around 1. We used Pampers sensitive wipes, occasional bum cream, and diaper genies. At that time, I got a job at the store and started using Cloth part time. I used a mix of different brands and types, for about 6 months. We then switched back to pampers full time. We are in the middle of potty learning now. The plan for Baby M is to use cloth during the day (part time, when Daddy is away), and disposables at night or when we are out for extended periods of time. Pat is not pro-cloth, but is down with me saving us some money by using my stash when he isn’t around. Hopefully this will save us some cash as we shouldn’t need very many sposies. I will get into the specifics of my stash another time, but for the most part it is a mix of brands, hand-me-downs and types (prefolds, hybrids, all in ones, pockets, fitteds)

Something to safely get them from A to B

stroller

This one is pretty straight forward. Do you have a car? You need a car seat. Do you take the public transportation or walk? You might want a carrier or a stroller. Your car seat needs to be up to current safety standards and should be installed properly and used safely. There are a millions resources out there, from free to paid, to help  you keep your baby safe in the car.(Check out The Car Seat Lady and S.E.A.T.S) I will say, very strongly, that is is IMPERATIVE that you use your car seat correctly. It is the difference between life and death. Really.

Strollers are like freaking cars these days. You can buy a cheap beater or an expensive Ferrari. You can buy used, you can find them free online, or you can buy one pretty much anywhere. Your budget and needs really dictate what stroller will work best for you.

Carriers. Man, I could go on forever for carriers. They are a life saver in this house, so I will keep it brief: They help you get stuff done, they are great for being out and about, and they help with bonding and breastfeeding. There are a tonne of different kinds and brands. I will post about this later. You can get them cheap or insanely expensive.

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What we do: All of the above. When L was bitty, we had a bucket seat that we will be reusing for baby M. We paid full price at Toys R Us for it (We got the Graco Snugride 35). We also bought our Stroller at Toys R Us but then later won the exact same stroller in a contest, which I then sold, so it kind of paid for itself. We wanted something that could do well in the snow, and at the dog park, that worked with our bucket seat, had a good long life and a decent resale value. We ended up with a BOB Revolution SE and we love it. It was definitely a splurge. As for Carriers…well..I have many. I will say that for baby M I plan on using a stretchy wrap (Boba and Moby, one gifted and one bought new). Ring Slings (new custom conversions) and a woven wrap (a beater Girasol bought used online and a Didymos that was gifted to me) for the early days.

So, there you have it. The basics as well as some insight into what we’ve done for L and plan to do with Baby M. The next post will be about specific products and will include an actual checklist of things I recommend. If you have any questions, please ask away! As you can tell, I am a baby geek. I love this stuff. I especially love helping people figure out their own personal needs.

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

Hospital Bag

It has been a crazy week here, all of which kind of hit me like a tonne of bricks on Friday (annoying money issues, over scheduled, health stuff, all at once). That all came to a head when I was told to go to Labour and Delivery triage to get checked out. There were concerns my water had broken or was leaking. Weeeeee.

So, as Pat rushed home from work, I grabbed a bag and threw some stuff in for me and another bag for Liam, just in case. At 29/30 weeks, it was entirely possible things were getting really real, much sooner than expected.

We spent several hours at the hospital, Liam was awesome, Pat was a saint and I was sore and tired. Baby and I are both fine, though they want my OB to keep a close eye on things.

This whole thing really made me realize how close we are to Baby arriving, whether or not we are ready for it. So, I took a close look at my lists and decided it was time to start getting things together. I mentioned this to my girlfriends in my due date group (Hello to my December Buzzle Mamas!) and was asked to share my Hospital Bag check list. I figured some of you may be interested as well! In this case, I am packing with the possibility of a few nights stay in mind. I was woefully unprepared when Liam was born and really wished I had packed more of certain items and waaaay less of others.

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Click here for the pdf copy of my list.

I was really impressed by the Triage staff. I have been nervous about this hospital, as it’s where my mother worked for years and years, and I’ve heard they tend to be busy (which sometimes translates to them sending labouring moms to walk around the hospital/hang out somewhere else because they don’t have a spot for them to labour privately). Our nurse, Judy, was awesome. She immediately put me at ease, was great with Liam and with Pat.

We are meeting a good friend of mine this week to see if she might join us as our doula. I’m really really hopeful that she and Pat will hit it off and that we’ll have this extra set of hands as support during this birth. Wish us luck! I can’t believe we are so close to the end already!

The rest of the Baby Basics Series:

Pregnancy Update: End of Month 6, Beginning of 7 – Bye Bye 2nd Trimester!

What a freaking month. The 2nd Trimester definitely went out with a bang.

27 Weeks

27 Weeks

A peek at month 6: So, my 6th month started with some bleeding. This, my friends, was not a good start. Baby and I are fine, but it ended up causing a whole bunch of stress. I am RH-. What this means, is if my blood mixes with baby’s, my body will create antibodies to fight the foreign blood, and the baby could be harmed as a result. As with Liam’s pregnancy, I was told to go call in right away if I had spotting, and any more than that, I should go to the ER.

As I am in shared care with my GP and an OB, I first called my OB and found out he was on vacation. His receptionist was awesome and immediately calmed me down. I then gave Triage at the hospital a call, and they told me to rest up. The most they would do at this point is just monitor the heart beat and potentially give an ultrasound. They recommended seeing my own doctor first if I was worried. So, I called the GP and immediately she launched into THIS IS NOT A DRILL! PANIC PANIC PANIC GET THEE TO A HOSPITAL mode. So, I called triage again and they were confused by the freak out. They assured me bleeding is common and because of the small amount, the best thing I could do is rest and monitor baby’s movements from home. They said I could come in any time if I was nervous, but that it wasn’t necessary. So, I stayed home and took some time off work. I had no more bleeding and felt pretty ok, so I figured the situation was resolved.

NOPE! Cue further panic and now anger from GP about the way triage and my OB handled things. I was sent for an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok.

And the ultrasound says….

babyMusat26weeks

Though it was a nerve-wracking hour long ultrasound, complete with OB visit due to potential issues, everything looks great. Baby is a big healthy boy. This whole situation made me annoyed at the lack of communication and the varying responses, so I switched to full care with my OB. All of this pretty much spanned the entire month. I just switched to my OB last week.

So, aside from that drama, we finally picked a name (I will refer to Baby as Baby M from now on. The name won’t be announced for a little while. Sorry!) and we started arranging things around the house for baby stuff. The crib is set up in our room.

Small nightstand with diapers and sleepers. Crib set up beside the bed.

Small nightstand with diapers and sleepers. Crib set up beside the bed.

I was generously gifted a beautiful glider. I have started washing and sorting all the baby clothes. The hospital bag is in the works and I am now working on getting my diapers set up.

glider

Liam and I are currently fighting bad colds, which means no sleep here. I am living in support belts or my ring slings, as my hip, belly, back and pelvic pain is constant now. I am in the process of getting my shots to deal with my RH- status and I am waiting on my glucose test results.

How far along am I right now? 28 weeks. Third trimester just started!!

I am thinking…About everything else we have to arrange. Who will care for Maddie and Cole? When should I start prepping my freezer meal stash?

I am thankful for…The steadfast people in our lives.

I am creating…Nothing. All the stress of month 6 put all of my knitting and crafting aside. Thinking about maybe making a mobile for baby, but that’s about it.

I am going…to lose my mind trying to make it to all of these appointments while also managing a very emotional 3 year old.

I am hoping…that health drama calms down and we finish things out calmly and nicely.

Around the house…The new playroom has been a huge hit! I have sorted out all of the baby clothes into sizes and washed them. I have also organized all of the baby toys we still have from Liam. I am in the process of prepping diapers (My friend S still has a bunch of my stash, but I have been organizing the stuff I do have into sizing, prepping the new stuff, bleaching and washing stuff I have bought second hand or leant out to other friends. Next I will stuff/organize and set up by size).

One of my favorite things…This crazy expensive soda I found at the grocery store. It’s an extra dry vanilla pop. It’s super bubbly, not too sweet and super tasty.

Weight Gain: With all the health stuff, I have lost a bit. I am currently sitting between 15-20lbs

Baby in the Produce World:  Baby Centre says baby M is now as big as a large eggplant (at 28 weeks)
Week28Eggplant_424x302
 Movement/Signs of the Baby: Kiddo really really amped up his movements in month 6. He is an active little dude. Differing than his brother in one way though, instead of hiding when people try to feel him move, he just calms right down and stops moving all together. This means poor Daddy has really only felt the smallest nudge, but that’s it.

Cravings and Aversions: Craving chocolate and sweet things, but that’s about it. Fell in love with Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. Soooooo good. Still hating Jane’s chicken nuggets.
Body Changes/Weirdness: More aches and pains, weird nerve pain in my legs, my calves keep cramping up and baby feels super low a lot.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: How on earth am I going to manage the sleep deprivation with such an active preschooler?
Other Pictures from the 6th month:

September

Where did the summer go? I mean, it’s still 40C out there with the humidex, but I can’t believe it’s already September. I don’t feel like we’ve been busy this summer, and yet it has flown by.

The past few weeks have been a bit tough here. I had some bleeding a couple weeks ago, and so my health team is keeping an eye on things and telling me to “take it easy” (which, you know, with a 3 year old is kind of interesting). There have been some miscommunication and a case of too many cooks I think, so I’m switching from shared care (GP and OB) to just my OB. I won’t lie. I’m a bit stressed about everything right now. I had an appointment this past Thursday, another this Friday and then another two weeks after that. Somewhere in there they want me to get an ultrasound done too.  As far as we can tell, baby is fine, but they want to keep a close eye on things.

This, of course, has ramped up project “OMG, time to get ready for baby!”, so I’ve been making lists, researching and started packing our hospital bag. I am mostly freaking out about how Liam will fair during Go Baby! time, but I am telling myself that we have a wonderful group of friends and family who will jump to the rescue whenever we need them. Also, it has helped me think about our birth plan/guidelines this time. Want to see what I’ve come up with? Click to enbiggen.

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So, with all of that going on, Liam and I took a week to hang with out friends and do what makes us smile. I booked the week off work and we did what ever felt right. We had a great time visiting parks, friends’ houses, having people over to our place and basically having a staycation. I managed to sneak out with my girlfriends one night and had a great time.

At the park, Liam plays on his scooter with his friend riding his bike in the background

Today we are going to be rearranging our master bedroom to prepare for Baby (I know, I know, 3 months away. Mama needs to nest!). I have been slowly working away on our mountains of laundry and prepping all the baby clothes for his arrival. We maaaaaaaay have agreed on a name, but I’m hesitant to say it’s chosen for sure. It was on our list for Liam, and I had somehow disregarded it this time until Pat brought it up again. It’s not as… unique or historic as I would have liked (RIP Finnigan, River, Rowan, and Ronan; the names that I loved and were vetoed) but I think it works and fits well within the family. If I feel more certain about it, I will share it (with the disclaimer of it being possible that we change our minds when Kiddo arrives and we see if it actually works for him). In the mean time, I am working hard to convince Pat to at least go with some alternative spelling, but I doubt that will come to fruition ;)

Oh, I wanted to add that I’m sorry for the lack of ipsy review this month. With everything going on, I just wasn’t into it. Doesn’t help that my bad this month was incredibly uninspiring and disappointing. Here’s hoping this month is better.

And with that, I am off to make myself a tea. Mama needs all the “get up and go” that she can get.