Thursday, May 26, 2016

20 SIGNS YOU'RE A NEW MOM



Hello! If you are reading this I am sure you are a mother, a brand new mama or will be in the future. I am here to welcome you to the bandwagon. Still fresh off the boat myself. Today I wanted to share some funny and not so funny moments or signs you're a new mom. Some of these, I am sure, you will know all to well (or will luckily get to know in the near future). The journey to motherhood is a complicated, messy, fun, exhilarating, and emotional journey. Enjoy every minute of it.

20 SIGNS YOU'RE A NEW MOM

- No matter how careful you think you are being spit up will inevitable find its way to your clothes. Bonus, you won't know it's there until the end of the day.

- A shower lasting longer than 5 minutes sans crying baby is like a mini spa day.

- You have watched everything there is to watch on Netflix, twice.

- Laundry becomes a daily ritual.

- You have succumbed to the "mom bun" being your new hairstyle. *That is if you haven't chopped off all your hair already.

- Talking about strollers, burp cloths and baby carriers become exciting topics.

- You will forget how to speak in your "normal" voice.

- You will continue to rock your body while someone else is holding your baby.

- You will loath and cry every time you have to use the snot sucker.

- Everything you order online will be from Amazon. Welcome "related items" of pampers diapers, witch hazel, nipple cream, teething toys, play mats, bouncy swings. Invest in Amazon Prime.

- Prepare to get pooped or peed on at least once every day.

- Google will scare the sh*t out of you and make you think your baby has everything and anything, leading to some costly doctor bills those first few months. Step away from the computer and call a friend. 99% of the time it's just gas.

- No amount of make-up can cover up those dark circles. Don't even attempt.

- If she's not already, your mom will become #1 on your speed dial.

- There's something about the carseat that makes your baby have a blowout every. single. time.

- An exciting date night will be an episode of Homeland or Game of Thrones on your couch.

- Your phone storage will always be full and it will take everything in you to delete those 500 pictures of your baby sleeping.

- Your most used phrase will become, "Where did you get that?"

- You cry all the time. Darn those hormones.

- You'll become addicted to any baby apps that tell you what and when your baby should be rolling over, crawling, talking, eating solids. DON'T READ ANY OF THEM. *You're looking it up right now, aren't you?* 😜


Monday, May 23, 2016

10 THINGS MY BABY HAS TAUGHT ME


This is a miracle. My arms are empty for the first time in months! Ever since the day Zoe was born she has been my little Koala bear. She loves to have me hold her, swaddle her, smother her with kisses, and nap with me all day every day. As I sit here typing this I am staring at her baby monitor in awe. Every day this baby girl likes to keep me on my toes and surprise me. There have been a handful of times that I can count where Zoe has fallen asleep in her crib during the day (at night she is a pro). 100% of the time is when she is crying non stop and I just have to stick her in there for a small time out and she ends up crying herself to sleep. Today however she lays there on her perfectly round little tummy in complete bliss. I set her down, she talked to herself for a good long while, played with her binky, rolled over and fell asleep. She has now been snoring away for almost 2 hours. Can I get an amen!!?? Eric and I keep going into her room taking turns making funny faces through her monitor because heck, why not? Being a mother has its challenges and plenty of rewards. But if anything becoming a mother has taught me so much about myself and how I see the world. Here are 10 things Zoe has taught me.

1. Zoe helps me tap into the feeling of wonder and curiosity. Nothing brings me greater joy than watching her observe something for the very first time. I love seeing her little brain work through the excitement in her eyes as she makes connections. Seeing the world through your babies eyes is the greatest gift they can give you. Everything is brand new, bright and wonderful. The simplest things become greatest treasures.

2. Acceptance. My whole journey of motherhood and parenting has been a big dose of accepting what comes and learning to love every step of the way. Zoe has definitely not been the easiest baby around. Breastfeeding didn't go as planned. The rule of no TV quickly went out the door. My job is to show up and love Zoe, and that I can do.

3. Enjoy every minute that life has to offer. The saying is true, the days are long but the years are short. The fact that seven months has already come and will soon be gone scares me to my core. Where has the time gone? I hope I appreciate and enjoy every minute with her, the hard and the sweet.

4. Increasing my awareness of my body. The amount of time I worry and hover over Zoe with every little cough, sneeze, breath, tracking her feeding schedules, bath times. Everything related to her wellness is so important to me that it hit me, why not me?

5. Having children requires a lot of flexibility. Flexibility in your day to day, in parenting techniques, in meet up with friends. Forget about ever being on time again. Flexibility in knowing not everything goes as plans.

6. Learning to let go of anger and frustration. I have a tendency to hold onto the little things, but I'm trying to be more like Zoe. I am always so happy to see whenever I get upset with her she is always quick to give me a smile or to give me a pouty "I'm sorry" face. She always forgives and leads a happy life because of it.

7. Be prepared for anything. Just like us babies can have their bad days and their good. One second they can be happy, the next your whole world may feel like it's crumbling around you. Mothers aren't considered dragons for nothing. We have to be prepared for anything that comes our way. Blowouts, tantrums, sickness. We are the defensive line.

8. Unconditional love. The amount of love you experience for these tiny little humans is indescribable. Nothing prepares you for the amount of tears that will be shed over every little happy moment. Those tiny bodies take a piece of your heart the second they are born, and you wouldn't have it any other way.

9. None of it matters. It's so easy to look into other people's seemingly perfect lives through Snapchat and Instagram and get swept up into comparing. What I'm slowly learning is none of it matters. It does not matter that my body is not as strong as it used to me. That my wardrobe and house doesn't look like a Pinterest board. That I'm not off traveling to new fun locations every weekend. What is important is that my baby is happy, healthy. That I love my family and feel love in return.

10. By far the most important thing that Zoe has ever taught me is patience. Of course I would be lying to myself if I didn't mention that this a work in progress. And nothing teaches you more patience than a baby in teething.

Friday, April 15, 2016

LET'S TALK ABOUT BREASTFEEDING...


Today is my last day breastfeeding Zoe, and there are so many emotions running through me. Primarily guilt. Back when I was pregnant I read every book under the sun on parenting tips, sleeping schedules, child rearing, what have you. However, when it came to books on breastfeeding I pushed them all away. I never thought much about it. I never feared that my baby would have difficulty latching or my milk supply being too low. I thought everything with breastfeeding would come naturally. And to be quite honest it did. I was very fortunate that Zoe latched on immediately when they placed her on my chest. In fact, homegirl was one hungry hungry hippo. I used to joke that she was my little leech because she wanted to nurse all day long (seriously, she would be on me for two hours at a time sometimes). But after taking her to the doctors for what I thought were colic symptoms, we found out that she wasn't getting the proper amount of hindmilk from me while nursing which was causing her tummy troubles. The doctor recommended supplementing with formula on top of breast feeding to make sure she was getting enough "fatty" milk in her system. It was within one week I noticed an immediate decline in my milk supply. I went from being an exploding cow who wanted to be milked to all dried up in the blink of an eye. I started taking lactation supplements and became a slave to my pump. Unfortunately, nothing I've tried has worked in helping bring back my supply. Right now I'm lucky if I get 5 ounces in a day. Some of you are probably thinking "what's the point in pumping", and trust me I am right there with you. I told myself I would try to make it to her 6 month birthday. So here we are. Zoe is 6 months new, and will no longer receive milk from me. The amount of guilt and sadness running through my veins is enough to bring anyone to their knees. I found myself every night this past month looking through old photos and videos that I took of me and Zoe nursing, knowing our time together was soon coming to an end (is it weird that I have so many pictures?). That special connection and bond that only her and I shared is now severed.

The amount of guilt women start to feel after giving birth you guys is unreal. You feel guilty with just about everything. You feel guilt if you decide to do the crying out method (I didn't have the stomach for it). You feel guilt if your child isn't hitting all the 'milestones' "when they are supposed to". You feel like you are never doing enough for your baby. You feel guilt when you so desperately want to breastfeed your baby but you no longer can. You see it come so naturally to other mommies out there. The ability to feed your baby whenever and wherever is truly a blessing. If you take anything away from this post I hope it is this: you are doing the best for you and your baby. You are doing enough. Whether you breastfed for 6 months, 3 months, 1 week, or even one day... you are a success. Never feel ashamed for nourishing your baby with formula. Take that word "failure" out of your head. Celebrate carrying a human being inside of you for 9 months. Celebrate waking up every morning to that beautiful baby, for loving and caring for that baby. Celebrate every little coo and smile that comes your way. And the next time someone asks you if your baby is bottle or breast fed, answer the question proudly, because no matter what you are nourishing your baby and that is the only thing that matters. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

LOVING YOUR BODY AFTER BABY


I was never a girl who loved or took care of her body growing up. I was self conscious, uncomfortable in my own skin. When puberty set in I was curvy, I stopped growing while all my friends towered over me, and I became obnoxiously loud to overcompensate. I felt unsure of myself and my worth. To help navigate, I used and abused my body when it came to food. I deprived it of the nourishments that it needed in order to fit an unrealistic expectation of what a woman's body should look like. It took getting pregnant and growing a human being inside of me for me to realize just how incredible and precious our bodies truly are.

When I found out I was having a baby girl I had this overwhelming strength wash over me. I wanted to be everything for my baby girl. I envisioned her future, her fears, doubts, insecurities, self worth. I know I won't be able to protect her from everything in this world, but for the next few precious years I hope to help mold her and give her the confidence she needs to go out into this world and shine the way I see her every day. I want her to know how incredible, special, smart, beautiful, and kind she is. I want her to be confident when I couldn't be. I want her to have a healthy relationship with her body.

So how can I start preparing her now? I tell my baby girl just how beautiful I think she is every day. But more important than that, I also mention how smart I think she is. I tell her how proud of her I am, that I hope she grows up to be caring and thoughtful. I whisper sweet words of encouragements to her whenever she falls asleep in my arms. I want her to grow up knowing when the world may turn their back on her I will always be there to catch her when she may fall.

One of the best ways to teach your daughter confidence and self worth is through example. My body has gone through a lot of changes since giving birth, it has stretched and grown, and I have the battle wounds to prove it. At times I may be frustrated that my body no longer resembles what it once did but then I remember, this body grew a freaking human for 9 months and has now nourished her for 5 whole months. These arms hold my baby while she fights sleep, they carry her up and down and up and down stairs. I love this body and all that it has been able to do in order to bring my little Zoe into this world. I love you baby girl, and I hope you always love you too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

GIRLFRIENDS GUIDE TO FRIENDS WITH BABIES

Having a baby changes your life in so many ways. That's obvious. You know you will have sleepless nights, changing pumps for running shoes, get in arguments over who has the next dirty diaper. But nothing quite prepares you for the change in dynamics when it comes to your friends. Those "BFF" charm bracelets will be put to the test after that cute little bundle of joy makes their way into the world and thrusts you into a new stage of life. Your mind now revolves around diapers, strollers, sleeping schedules. Meanwhile, your friends are meeting up for late night dinners and watching The Bachelor. There really is no turning point in life like motherhood.

I want you all to know, having a baby doesn't mean your life has to end. Babies really do add so much love and learning to our lives. Balancing friends and babies is all about learning a new dance. Yes, it will take more effort on your part, but trust me when I say sneaking in any friend time you can will be the rejuvenation you need to get you through the week. And if you find that your girlfriends are having a little trouble with the adjustment and need that extra bit of encouragement, here is my girlfriends guide to friends with babies.


1. Remember we miss you too. Yes those cute squishy bodies will forever be at the top of our list in terms of importance but don't mistake that for bumping you off the list entirely. Just as much as you think you miss us, trust me when I say that we miss you more. After having a baby you kind of forget what it means to talk in a normal voice and have a conversation that doesn't entail your babies latest bowel movements. We may be a little slow to get back into the game, I mean yes we ARE going to want to talk about our babies but that's not all we have to say. Just remember to be patient with us. We may not be able to have those late night chats for a while, but text us anytime! Trust me, we'll be up at all hours of the night for a while.
2. Get us out of the house. After a few weeks of that initial "baby heaven cloud" and our little ones feeding on us 24/7, pry us from the house for an hour or two. We may fight you on this one, but be patient. Remember that we just had a human being come out of us. We are sleep deprived and still feeling self conscious with those new found bags under our eyes and little baby pouch that decides to stick around for a little while. But getting out of the house for just a little while is just what the doctor called for. Take us out to get our nails done, for lunch, to see a movie, or a simple walk around the neighborhood without baby. It will be hard on us but those few moments can remind us of who we once were and still are underneath all the baby spit up. Remember, baby isn't happy if mommy isn't. *This rings very true in our household!*
3. Ask us if we need help. Whether that be bringing dinners or coming over to the house to watch the baby for a little while we take a shower and do a load of laundry. Trust me when I say this: WE WILL NOT ASK YOU FOR HELP BUT WE DESPERATELY WANT IT. Just offering to hold the baby while we sit and chat can make our day! As much as we love our little babes, nothing feels better then free arms for a little while. Plus, it's extra fun seeing you bond with them too!
4. The dreaded "mom" friends. Just like anyone who goes through a new experience we seek out others who are going through similar circumstances. Don't be afraid when your BFF suddenly bonds with other "mommy friends". It's only natural. As much as we love you, we need to be around other women who are experiencing the same sleep deprivation, baby milestones, doctors visits. Or talking about how scary it is to poop for the very first time after giving birth. If anything you should count your blessings. We get all our venting and poop convos out of the way so we can make room for all the juicy gossip for you 😉Just remember, there's no competition. At the end of the day you are still our number 1 girl!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

ZOE UPDATE


That smile, oh how I live for that smile. As many of you know, those first few months with a crying baby were some of the most trying times. Babies are so amazing for so many reasons. They open our hearts to a whole new capacity then we ever thought imaginable. They teach us patience. They teach selflessness, understanding, acceptance. They can bring us to our knees in near desperation, and then when you feel all hope is lost, you pick your crying baby up from their crib at 4 o'clock in the morning and through your tired eyes they smile up at you and melt your heart all over again. If I've learned anything in these four months it's this, every moment will pass.

Zoe has come so far since my last update. One of the biggest changes is that she finally takes naps (can I get an amen?)! My no napping babe has finally mastered taking three to four naps a day, each an hour to two hours long. I am very thankful for this, and to all you no napping baby mommies... I know how you feel! Hang in there, this too shall pass. Next step for us? Figuring out how to get her to nap off of me. This baby definitely loves ALL the snuggles (which I secretly love), but it makes it near impossible to get anything done around the house. The laundry is piling, there are dishes in the sink that need to be cleaned, and I've worn the same shirt three days in a row (spit up and all). If I ever try putting her down during her naps she wakes up instantly! Her longest stretch off of me has been 20 minutes 😭If any mommies have suggestions, PLEASE send them this way!

One thing Zoe has always been good at is sleeping at night in her crib. For a girl who wants to be held 24/7, come bed time she is ready to be in her crib for some alone time by the end of the day. She sleeps for 8-9 hours straight. We're slowly working her bedtime to be more "baby appropriate". I'm finding that this girl is a night owl like her mama. She typically goes down around 10 at night. I know, all you mommies are probably gasping, but just think, she used to go down around 11:30 just a month ago, so this is a vast improvement!

As for her colic: Something to note, she was never diagnosed, it was just something I felt she suffered from. Looking back she may have had a little colic but I think, if anything, Zoe is just a very demanding baby. She loves to be constantly entertained and the center of attention in her mama's eyes. *She's definitely a mama's girl and already has stranger danger (is that even possible at this age?)* During her worst outbursts we became so concerned because when she would cry so hard as if she broke her arm or something. Such loud screams, arched back, stiffening of her body. We finally took her to a doctor who, after a series of questions, suggested that perhaps Zoe was getting too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk. This was possibly causing her some tummy trouble which would explain her wanting to arch her back all the time. Since then we have moved to supplementing with formula on top of breastfeeding. This has made a WORLD of difference. I've been so lucky that Zoe was so easy to transition to this option. If you are having similar struggles with your little ones, one thing that helped our doctor come to this realization was how often Zoe was having to eat. At three months she was still wanting / needing to eat every hour to 1.5 hours. This made it nearly impossible to go anywhere during the day or get anything done. I joked that Zoe was my little leach because she was constantly attached to me. Now we have her feeding every 3-4 hours, and she feeds between 4-5 ounces (this will differ depending on your babies size).

Zoe is really such a happy baby! She's easy to give smiles, she's super cuddly, really wiggly, makes the funniest faces, loves to grab her knee caps (she's making her way down to her feet), loves to pull on mama's hair, is afraid of sneezes, has warmed up to the idea of tummy time and can roll from front to back. She loves to be naked. Diaper changes make her laugh. She has about 2 good blow outs a week which makes laundry time fun. She loves to grab mommy and daddy's face. Her favorite toy is a little stuffed lamb that plays "Old McDonald" which she wants to have play all the time. She loves to make grunting sounds whenever she eats, and loves making farting noises with her mouth whenever we go on car trips. There are so many things I love about my little girl, but if anything I just love watching her grow and observe. She's SO observant and just absorbs everything up around her. I can't wait to see what you do next Zoe girl. We love you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BEST MOMMY ADVICE FROM CELEBRITIES

PHOTOGRAPH VIA VANITY FAIR
"Give yourself a break - literally and figuratively. We all hold ourselves to such a high standard and it's a constant balancing act. If you have one bad day, don't let it define you. There's always tomorrow. I also think it's important to carve out time for yourself. It's easy to forget that, but it's so important."
-Natalie Portman in British Vogue, 2015

"There's something really empowering about going, 'Hell, I can do this! I can do this all!' That's the wonderful thing about mothers, you can because you must, and you just DO."
-Kate Winslet, on her new baby Bear Blaze, in a 2014 interview on Today.

"The absolute [greatest] thing about being a parent is that every day is a fresh start. You always can say, 'Today we're going to try this!' And, if it goes horribly, you can say, 'Today we're throwing that out, and we're trying this!' That's part of what I like about being a mom in general."
-Jennifer Garner tells People, 2014

"The minute-to-minute hardships women go through to carry their babies are never discussed or reported in the media, anywhere. No one ever talks about carrying around that big tummy 24 hours a day. A staggering number of women don't even survive the experience, and die during childbirth. But we never complain. We just remain thankful that our babies came out looking powerful and sweet at the same time. Every baby is a Revolution."
-Yoko Ono, from Our Mother’s Our Beautiful, May 2014

"I felt like God was giving me a chance to assist in a miracle. There is something so relieving about taking over you like that. You're playing a part in a much bigger show. And that's what life is. It's the greatest show on earth."
-Beyoncé, on her daughter Blue Ivy, in HBO’s 2013 documentary Life Is But A Dream

"My favorite thing about being a mom is just what a better person it makes you on a daily basis. Every morning when I wake up, the endgame is, 'Can I get her to smile?' And that puts me in a good mood. It's definitely a different way to live - and a much better one."
-Drew Barrymore, on her first daughter Olive, in a 2013 interview in Good Housekeeping.

"I live for my sons. I would be lost without them. I want my boys to have an understanding of people's emotions, their insecurities, people's distress, and their hopes and dreams. I will fight for my children on any level, so they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties."
-Princess Diana via smoothFM.

"My kids teach me so much. They teach me to be patient. There's not a bad day with these children, I feel so blessed. So, I think that when you become a mom you become even more sensitive and more overwhelmed with emotions - I feel everything so much more and it's such a beautiful thing because I feel like our hearts just expand. Children put everything into perspective and it's huge commitment. You have to clear so many things out of your life to make space for them. If I'm going to do one thing right in my life, I hope to be the best mom I can be, because to me that's the most important thing. Nothing else matters."

"It is very important for a woman to have a family and equally important to have an identity outside of the home. Very early on, I explained it to [my children] - they went to school, I went to work. We each had our own obligations, our responsibilities and when we met at night, we would exchange our experiences."
-Diane Von Furstenberg talks to The Business of Fashion, 2015

"There was something so valuable about what happened when one became a mother. For me it was the most liberating thing that every happened to me. Liberating because the demands that children make are not the demands of a normal 'other.' The children's demands on me were things that nobody ever asked me to do. To be a good manager. To have a sense of humor. To deliver something that somebody could use. And they were not interested in all the things that other people were interested in, like what I was wearing or if I were sensual. Somehow all of the baggage that I had accumulated as a person about what was valuable just fell away. I could not only be me - whatever that was - but somebody actually needed me to be that. If you listen to [your children], somehow you are able to free yourself from baggage and vanity and all sorts of things, and deliver a better self, one that you like. The person that was in me that I liked best was the one my children seemed to want."
© Bed Head Maira Gall.