Month One Favorites

Monday, June 30, 2014

After surviving our first month of parenthood (whew!), I thought it might be helpful to all of you future and new parents, or friends and family who are just looking to spoil a new little addition, to share my list of must-haves for baby's first month. Obviously, everyone has their own favorites, but these are a few that we wouldn't be able to get by without. Enjoy!

Month One Favorites

Boppy Nursing Pillow // I'm not sure how nursing mothers used to get by without this awesome pillow. A back saver for sure! An extra shopping tip: There are all kinds of fun nursing pillow covers to peruse on Etsy, so don't think you are limited to the two options carried in stores.

Aden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets and Burp Cloths // Soft, breathable, absorbant, and lightweight for summer. A little spendy, but well worth it. We use these on a daily basis.

Fisher-Price Rock'N'Play // This is one of the few 'baby gear' items that T & I knew we wanted before Baby C's arrival. He loves to sleep or sit in the Rock'N'Play during the day after eating (it has a slight incline that helps to prevent spitting up after eating), or when I need to get some work done around the house, and he doesn't want to lay flat on his back. There are many different designs available depending on where you shop.

Pampers Swaddlers Diapers & Pampers Sensitive Wipes // I did a lot of reading on other 'Mom' blogs before Baby C's arrival, and these diapers and wipes were far and away the favorite of other moms for newborns. While I haven't tried any other brand of diapers yet, I will vouch for the wipes. They are infinitely softer than the other popular baby brand Huggies. In case you are trying to plan ahead and stock up for your own baby's arrival, we have averaged about 60 diapers a week in baby's first month.

AquaphorJohnson & Johnson Baby PowderMedela Nipple Cream // Some of the essentials that I wasn't prepared with, but needed during that first week. Baby C started peeling skin after his first bath at full body getting new skin. I had Aveeno Baby Lotion all ready to go, but it just wasn't getting the job done (works great now that C's a little older). Aquaphor to the rescue! A definite must have for new baby skin. Baby Powder. This would probably be an obvious must have to a second time parent, but for me, not so much. As I mentioned earlier, we burn through about 60 diapers a week. That's a lot of wiping, and wet baby tush. The baby powder helps to dry out the moisture left behind from wiping, and helps prevent baby's bottom from sticking to the diaper. Medela Nipple Cream. Confession - this was NOT in my hospital bag, and definitely needed to be (thank you nurses for bringing me a sample!). The first several days of breastfeeding was hard enough before my milk 'came in' as they say. This cream helped to provide some relief until my body adjusted. NOTE: I did have the Lansinoh brand nipple cream all ready to go at home. After trying both brands, I prefer the Medela brand as it has a more 'lotion-like' consistency that is easy to wipe away, while the Lansinoh brand is more like a paste and leaves a sticky residue behind that is hard to wipe off your hands after applying.

Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat and Sun & Bug Cover // We chose this Britax car seat after reading many reviews and hearing from other parents how much they prefer the Britax car seats over other brands. As a bonus, there is a attachment available so we can use this car seat with our stroller. The Sun/Bug/(Stranger) cover has been a lifesaver. No mayflies or Mosquitos can get through to our baby! It's made from a breathable mesh, and fits perfectly over our car seat when out for walks, or around strangers we don't want touching the baby. 

Halo SleepSacks & Longsleeve Onesies // With all the information out there about the risk of SIDS when sleeping with a blanket, the sleep sack is a great alternative that keeps baby all snugly and warm, but still let's him kick his feet around. We pair the sleep sack with a longsleeve onesie at night to keep Baby C's arms and hands (which he likes to bust out of the swaddle) warm in this air conditioned summer.

Gerber Flatfold Cloth Diapers // No, I'm not so granola that I'm using cloth diapers. Contrarily, I am using these for just about everything else. Nursing pillow spill catcher, changing pad liner, extra burp cloth...there are no limits to my imagination.

BOB Revolution Stroller // This baby is the best of the best when it comes to strolling. A splurge, yes. Made to last, most definitely. The large jogging bike-style wheels make the ride super smooth, not to mention opening up the option to explore all kinds of terrains. A tip: I was able to get this stroller in a bundle package with the car seat and stroller adaptor via Amazon for MUCH more reasonable than some other popular baby stores had it listed. Lesson: Look in person, but price check online before buying those big ticket items in store. Our savings are in the hundreds.

I'd love to hear what your favorites are!

Carter: One Month

Monday, June 16, 2014

Our little Carter is officially one month! It seems like just yesterday when T & I were still just the two of us, waiting ever so patiently to meet out little bundle of love. I can't believe how fast this first month has flown by! We've been so lucky to have so many family members and friends who have dropped by to meet our newest little addition, cook us a meal, or watch Baby C so T & I could escape for a couple hours, that the sleepless nights are almost a blur in my memory...almost.

We just love how vocal Baby C has been this first month. There seems to be no end to how many little grunts come from his lips throughout the day (and night). We have learned that this typically means he is working on a toot (which he hasn't quite figured out), or trying to fill his britches. So far, he still has all of his hair, and we think that it has a slight red tint to it. Maybe he'll take after mom :) His chin features and blue eyes came from dad, but generally speaking, he doesn't look much like T or I when comparing photos of us at around the same age. Maybe that means he's a good 50/50 split of both of us.

Me (left) and T (right) when we were about 1 month old.

It's amazing how much Baby C has changed in the first month. We think the biggest changes have been in the last week or so when his little face has started to fill out, and he's started to become more alert. I told T that he may need to beef up his weightlifting routine, or I'm going to end up with better arm muscles after carrying around our little champion eating machine. We do not go a minute over 2.5 hours during the day, or there is a pretty serious showing of just how loud Carter's voice can get! Our nighttime routine has started to smooth out over the last week as well which is a good thing for everyone's sake. If it's bath night, our routine starts about 8pm with bath, then play time with Dad for an hour or so. Carter gets his PJs on (aka a long sleeve onesie most nights) around 10pm, then has his last meal of the night sometime between 10:30-11:30pm. After we struggle a burp from him (a near impossible feat), he gets all snuggled into his sleep sack and is off to sleep in the pack'n'play in T & I's room* until around 5am when he wakes up again to eat. Then, back to sleep until 7:30-8:30am before waking up for breakfast, and usually back to sleep after that until 9:30-10am.

This bath time stuff isn't so bad!

Just getting my hair done. No big deal.

So happy to be all spiffed up!


Eventually, we should probably try to put Carter to bed earlier during the evening, but I am hesitant to cut into that initial long stretch of sleep since T & I rarely go to bed before 11pm. I don't want to end up with only 2-3 hour stretches of sleep between feedings when I could be getting at least one stretch that is longer. I would also feel sad for T, who sometimes (more regularly than we would hope for) doesn't get home until after 7:30pm and wouldn't have much of a chance to cuddle and bond with our little peanut before we put him to bed for the night if we made bedtime too much earlier. Any other mamas or papas with significant others who work late hours out there have any suggestions on a good bedtime routine that allows for time with the other parent who is gone during the day? 

*SIDE NOTE: The whole pack'n'play sleep plan has been a bit of a struggle between T & I. Carter usually does just fine sleeping flat on his back in the pack'n'play next to our bed, but T is continuously begging me to let him sleep in bed with us. We have a queen sized bed that doesn't have much extra room for a baby to begin with, and T tends to toss around at night (remember a few months ago when he picked me up during the middle of a dream??). I will allow an hour or so here and there of Carter in bed with us, but for his safety, and my sanity, I am sticking to my guns, and he will be sleeping in his pack'n'play until we transition him to his crib sometime after we get a baby monitor, and probably not until around the 6 month mark which is what pediatricians currently recommend. We'll take it day by day though, since T has been having trouble sleeping at night with all the grunting that Baby C makes in his sleep.

Stroller rides
Story time
Visits to the Lake House
Being outside
Dancing with Dad
Bath time
Snuggling with Mom
Listening to music - mostly Country or Jack Johnson Pandora station

Tummy Time


Carter went on his first boat ride at 3 weeks with mom, dad, Grandma J and Grandpa T. 
We went nice and slow and waited until evening when the lake wasn't so busy and the temps cooled down. Our infant sized life jacket is still a little too big, but C didn't complain! We'll likely be enjoying many more boat rides this summer!

40 Weeks! Carter's official due date was June 3rd. He was 3 days away from 4 weeks by this point!

Grandma J and Grandpa T came to visit and we all went on the Okoboji Parade of Homes. Carter slept through most of it, but everyone else enjoyed walking through some fancy houses.

Carter helped dad celebrate his first Father's Day by hanging out at the lake house. Later, mom and Baby C surprised dad with a fancy new shaving brush so he could keep his whiskers under control to make sure his cheeks would always be soft for cheek kisses.

Snuggling with Mom.

Such a happy little baby!

Sometimes, we wish that time would stand still for a while and Carter would stay small and snuggly, but since we know this can't happen, we will look forward to the next month and new changes in our lives as the littlest man of the house continues to grow and change.

Carter: 2 Weeks

Monday, June 2, 2014

How Big: Still a little peanut! Carter was 6 lb. 5 oz. when we left the hospital, but by his 4-day checkup, he had already gained 1/2 oz. At his 2-week checkup on Thursday, he was back up to his birth weight. T thought for sure he would be closer to 8 lbs, but Carter is staying right on track. He did grow a whole inch and a half by his 2 week checkup (21 inches long!), so we are all convinced he is going to be a tall little guy. T is looking forward to seeing where Carter falls on the growth charts at his 2 month checkup.

I'm 2 Weeks Old Today!

Clothing Size: Newborn. Grandma J and Great Grandma M stocked us up on a few new outfits for this super miniature stage before Carter outgrows them...likely soon based on his appetite!

Eating/Sleeping: We are currently breastfeeding. After a slow start, and a few feedings supplemented with formula the first couple of days, we are 100% breast fed at this point. Hopefully, this will continue to go well as the formula feedings made Carter fussy and uncomfortable. How often does he eat? Pretty much every chance he gets. During the day, Carter likes to eat about every 2-2.5 hours. During the night, we are striving to go three hours between feedings. This plan usually works for the first round of sleep, but then we are back to feedings every 2hrs for the remainder of the night.

Hardest Moment(s) of the first 2 weeks: The hardest thing so far (besides our new sleep schedule) is trying to get Carter to burp after feeding. When we first brought him home, he did a pretty good job of burping all on his own, but after about the first week, this has changed. He's had a few meals that were lost completely - we're not talking spit up here - this was more along the lines of an entire meal coming out the mouth and nose. Very scary for both Carter (whose eyes open wide with a look of sheer terror while choking and making gagging noises as he loses everything in his little tummy) and for T and I, who are completely helpless to make it stop and try to console him. T thinks this may be happening when Carter eats too fast, or too much. Luckily, this has only happened a handful of times, and not with every feeding. Anyone with any great burping techniques besides the pat or back rub, your suggestions are welcome!

Another thing I'm finding difficult is being stuck inside so much. The weather has been phenomenal lately (hovering around 80 degrees, sunny, and very little wind), however, Carter gets too warm for comfort at 80 degrees, so we've been chillin inside with the A/C. At some point I will have to break down and get a monitor so I can at least sit outside on the deck and get some fresh air while he naps. If only I could make up my mind about which one I want for sure... On the other hand, this means we get in some walks with Papa T when he gets home after work and the temps have cooled off a bit.

Dad & Carter.

Mom & Carter.

T just loves this stretched out neck look, and has dubbed it 'The Elliot' after one of his childhood favorite movies 'ET'. Carter's little face has started to fill out now, and I think the days of 'The Elliot' might be in the past...


 We've had many milestones since baby Carter arrived!

First bath. Carter didn't mind the part when we weren't taking pictures, but wasn't too crazy about how fast the water cooled off on the mesh sling he sits in!

First story time with Dad. We read 'All About Football'.

Bonding with Great Grandpa K.

So many wonderful Grandpa's to snuggle with!

First road trip (to the lake house). Carter LOVES all the commotion of lots of visitors to talk with, and T & I love the chance to sit down for a minute and let him be entertained by the family.

First stroller ride. Carter loves stroller rides, but we haven't been able to venture too far since it has been over 80 degrees and he gets too warm. We've been sticking to late evening walks when T gets home after it cools down a little outside and is a more comfortable temperature for baby.

First deck time with Dad. Like father like son.

First time on the dock on Memorial Day.

First time meeting T's youngest brother, Uncle T.

First time meeting mom's brother Uncle N and his girlfriend C. Here, Uncle N is giving Carter his best 'Simba' treatment.

Soon to be some of Carter's favorites. He was fascinated by C, and T & I think he may have a thing for pretty blondes. We may be in trouble!

Chilling with Uncle T by the lake.

First time practicing my throwing arm! I might be a ballplayer! 

Some firsts we didn't document with photos: Professional pictures (will hopefully get these back soon to share!), first and second doctor's visits (also got to sneak in a quick visit to Dad which is always a treat), first neighborhood party, first time out to eat (we went to Gary's on the River with Grandma and Grandpa N), first time alone with Grandma S without mom or dad around, first time meeting Grandma and Grandpa W's dog Lucy (T & I were pretty concerned about this, but made it out without any licking, barking or biting, so far so good, but we are going to continue to be very careful about baby C being around dogs until he gets bigger). We are still waiting for that first boat ride until we get a life jacket in an infant size. Had a chance to get one ordered over the weekend, so by the next time we have visitors, we might be able to get in the first boat ride!


We finally got to meet some of the neighborhood when our lovely neighbors a couple houses down threw a crawfish boil over Memorial Day weekend. This was a new experience for T & I, and we decided that crawfish look a whole lot scarier than they taste! They were overnighted from Louisiana and boiled live with some cajun seasoning just before we arrived. While they are quite a bit of trouble to actually get into, the taste is surprisingly yummy, and a lot like shrimp or lobster. I'm not sure we will be making them anytime soon, but I wouldn't hesitate to eat them again sometime at a future neighborhood party or trip down south! Also - this was C's first party!

Happy Anniversary! T & I ventured out without baby for a couple hours to celebrate our two-year anniversary on Memorial Day. 

We had a wonderful dinner then snuck in a little sunset walk before heading home to rescue Grandma and Grandpa W.

After a loooong wait, we finally got to share a glass of wine together. We had been saving this bottle of Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon to open when we moved into our new house last fall, but found out we were expecting Baby W before we had a chance to open it. While I am being cautious about enjoying too much wine while breastfeeding, if I time it right, there is no reason I can't enjoy the occasional glass of vino with T. Especially on an occasion as celebratory as our two-year anniversary! 


My anniversary gift to T. A canvas of a picture I captured on our last vacation to Florida to always remember when it was just the two of us.

I can't believe how fast the time has gone by, and how much fun we've had over the past couple of years. While there have been some significant life changes (i.e. moving to a new state, building a home, starting a new job, starting a family...and on and on and on), we feel like our relationship is stronger than ever, and wouldn't change a minute of it. Can't wait to see what new memories the next year will bring us as a family of three!
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