What to Expect – Two Under Two

My husband and I always knew we wanted kids. Our daughter was such a joy, and in hindsight, the easiest baby ever! By six weeks old, she was sleeping through the night. She only cried when she was hungry, and was not a fussy baby. When Isabella was about nine months old, I discovered that I was pregnant again! We were surprised, but also excited. We often discussed how great it would be to have kids close in age, and luckily things worked out that way.

Our son was born on March 4, 2019 and we officially became a family of four. These past couple of months have flown by! Life with two littles has kept us very busy.

Are you considering having two kids (or more) close in age? Are you expecting your second baby soon? Here are some things to think about and consider if you are planning on having two children under two years old:

  1. Having one baby is so easy. Having two babies is tough. Having two babies under two is insane!
  2. Someone is always crying. Or hungry. Or tired. Or wants to be held… often at the SAME TIME!
  3. No two babies are ever the same. I used to hear this all the time and now I know that no truer words have ever been spoken. Baby # 1 was easy. Baby # 2, not so much. Combining toddler with baby # 2 – SEND HELP ASAP! Prepare for anything and everything!
  4. You will hear “You have your hands full!” every time you leave the house and go out into public.
  5. Consistent sleep is a foreign concept, but I have hope that we will sleep well again at some point in the near future.
  6. You really need to be able to tolerate crying when you have two under two. See # 2. Since someone is always crying, you need to be able to tolerate listening to one baby crying while you tend to the other.
  7. Diapers. So. Many. Diapers!
  8. Leaving the house is so much work that sometimes I wonder if it’s really worth it. Getting ready to leave the house is a journey in itself. Two bags to pack. Two kids to get ready. Just when you are ready to go (see # 2)
  9. Expect to do loads upon loads of laundry. I went from doing laundry once or twice a week to EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Baby boy spits up a lot.
  10. My toddler has been surprisingly awesome considering what a huge change this has been for all of us. She only says a few words, so we were not able to explain that she was gaining a sibling. Luckily for us, she has been so loving since the first day she met her little brother. She loves hugging and kissing her little brother, and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!

So, you’ve read through my list and are thinking, “It doesn’t sound so bad” or “Wow, I don’t know if I can handle taking care of two under two.” You can definitely make it work! See some of my tips below:

Spend a lot of time outside. Get a double stroller and take the kids for walks. It’s an enjoyable experience for everyone. I get some exercise, and both of my children are calm when they are in the stroller. My fussy baby suddenly becomes quiet (and almost always falls asleep) and my toddler enjoys all the sights and sounds – especially when we cross paths with a doggy!

ASK FOR HELP! Taking care of two under two is almost impossible for one person to handle. I know not every mom has family or friends that can help, but for those of us that do – reach out as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you are pulling your hair out to ask for help. Don’t try to be supermommy. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a whole city to raise two of them.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. My mom guilt has been at an all time high since I had my son. No matter how hard I try, one kid is always getting ignored or has to wait for my attention. The baby wants to nurse every two hours, and that means I have to stop playing with my toddler and feed the baby. My baby needs some tummy time, but putting him on the floor near my toddler means I suddenly have to become a human shield. I can never give either child my all and that absolutely kills me. Then I realize that my kids have a pretty awesome life thanks to me and all of my efforts, and I let a little bit of the mom guilt go.

Look at your kiddos. Really look at them and take them in. Yes, those cute little munchkins are yours! They may drive you crazy but they are also the reason your heart is so full. The moments when my daughter cries in delight simply at the sight of her little brother makes all the craziness worth it. She is so eager to play with him, and I can’t wait to see my kiddos grow up together and become best friends!

Nico’s Birth Story

My son was born on March 4, 2019 at 10:26am via repeat c-section. One of the happiest days of my life turned into one of the scariest days of my life in a matter of seconds. I saw Nicholas for about five seconds when my doctor held him up over the drape just after birth. Without warning, he was whisked away to a pediatric team waiting to check his vitals.

During my previous c-section, my husband was very involved- running back and forth between my daughter and me. This time, he stayed by my side, as the pediatric team was not inviting him over to take pictures, “We’re concerned about his breathing. He’s swallowed a great deal of amniotic fluid and is having trouble clearing his lungs.” There I was on the table, drugged, numb, and completely helpless. “What is happening?” I kept asking my husband. “What are they doing to our baby?” He didn’t have the answers. As the doctors were closing up my incision site, the pediatric doctor finally came over and gave us the news I was not ready for, “Sorry, but we need to take your son to the NICU.” I watched my son exit the room with the pediatric team as I was wheeled to the recovery room. “Go with him” I said to my husband as I choked back my tears. I couldn’t believe what was happening. And I didn’t quite understand it.

There I was, laying in recovery. Completely alone. I was still groggy from the epidural and trying to process what was happening. I began searching online to learn about his condition. Nico had “transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN)” which is a respiratory problem of babies that begins after birth and lasts about three days. This is something that frequently happens to c-section babies. When a baby is delivered vaginally, his/her chest is compressed, which forces all of the amniotic fluid out. Immediately mom guilt struck me, “Is this my fault?” I started running a million scenarios through my head.

Finally, my husband joined me in the recovery room and updated me on Nico’s condition. He was stable, but needed to remain in the NICU. He was receiving oxygen and needed to remain in the incubator. I was moved to a room where I waited for more news.

I had to wait about twelve hours before I was finally able to see my son. Since I had a c-section, I had to remain in bed for at least twelve hours. It was the longest day of my life. All I wanted to do was touch my baby and make sure he was okay.

I was finally able to visit my son around 10:00pm.  He was in an incubator. He had a nasal cannula taped to his tiny little nose, and a feeding tube in his mouth which led straight to his stomach. The only way I could touch him was to put one of my hands inside the incubator. He wrapped his tiny little fingers around my finger and all I could do was sob uncontrollably.

This wasn’t the birth I had planned. I had envisioned such a different day. I had dreamed of my daughter visiting us and excitedly meeting her little brother. I pictured snuggling with Nico and bonding as I nursed him. Instead, we spent our first night apart. I went back to the maternity unit, which was the worst possible place to be. I had to pass by all of the rooms and see the mothers with their babies. I couldn’t sleep, and spent the night listening to the babies crying in the rooms next to mine. At least I wasn’t the only one wailing all night.

The next day, I was given a breast pump and told to pump every two to three hours. Every time I tried, I wasn’t producing a single drop of colostrum. I breastfed my daughter for nine months, and I felt like an absolute failure not being able to do the same for my son. I felt like giving up so many times, but I continued to pump throughout the day and night.

On day two in the NICU, I asked the nurses when I would be able to hold my son. They promised me that if I waited a few more hours until his next feeding, I would be able to hold him. I waited patiently until 11:00AM and headed back to the NICU. Finally, twenty-four hours after his birth, I was able to hold my son. Despite all of the tubes taped to his face, he was absolutely beautiful and I was so in love with him.

By day three in the NICU, Nicholas was improving. He was still feeding through a tube, and I had finally started producing some colostrum. I was so eager to have some skin-to-skin time and to try to breastfeed my baby. The nurses and doctors asked me to be patient. They didn’t want to do anything to stress the baby. I headed back to my room to rest.

Nicholas’ doctor stopped by with a daily update, “Has anyone told you about his heart murmur?” Clearly, the look on my face said no. I fought back tears. First, the rapid breathing. Now, something is wrong with his heart? “We’re going to do an echocardiogram and the cardiologist will follow up with you”, the doctor said.

As soon as she walked out of my room I headed back to the NICU. “He has a heart murmur?” I asked his nurse, as I choked back tears. He reassured me that they are usually not very serious and go away on their own. My husband was home taking care of our toddler, so I was all alone with this information. I waited anxiously as they performed the exam, and then again as the cardiologist read the results. “The exam shows no sign of heart disease,” the doctor informed me. I breathed a sigh of relief.

This was the same day my doctor discharged me from the hospital. Nico would need to stay in the NICU. Being discharged and having to leave him behind was absolutely gut-wrenching. I couldn’t believe I was going home without my baby. The only thing that kept me going was knowing I would be home with my daughter. It was so hard being away from her. My heart was broken and each half was with my children – one at home and one at the hospital.

Izzy waving "Hi" to her brother. She was too young to enter the NICU.

As soon as I woke up on Thursday morning (day four in the NICU), I called the hospital for an update. Nico was doing a lot better. By the time I went to see him at 11am, they had removed the oxygen and feeding tubes! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I finally got to see my son’s face without tape and tubes all over it. He was so handsome. The nurses encouraged me to do skin-to-skin and to breastfeed him. He latched on right away! The nurses and I were all so proud of him.

The doctor came by and gave us the best news we were waiting to hear all week – Nico could go home! We went home and celebrated with our daughter. I felt a sense of relief after so many days and nights of heartache.

On Friday, March 8th, we picked up our baby from the hospital and brought him home. Isabella was so excited to meet her baby brother. My husband and I were ecstatic to have our family together. We were complete.

Did you have a similar experience? Have you ever had a child in the NICU? Please reach out and let me know in the comments section!

Beachbody Coaching

I have some exciting news to share. I just became a Beachbody Coach! I have been using Beachbody products for years, and I finally decided to join the team so that I can help others reach their health and fitness goals!

To be completely honest, working out has never been something I enjoyed. I especially hated going to the gym. I always felt uncomfortable exercising in front of a bunch of strangers, and I never really knew how to properly use the equipment. A few years ago, my friend told me about Beachbody. She explained that everything is virtual, which means you get to work out in the comfort of your own home. I finally decided to go for it and try out one of their programs, which included daily workouts and an eating plan. Within four months I had lost several inches off my waist and could see definition in my arms, legs, and abs. Most importantly, I had energy and I was feeling amazing (both inside and out!). I was in the best shape of my life!

My second transformation began after having my daughter. It took me about five months to return to my pre-baby weight.

Left - 38 weeks pregnant. Right - Five months postpartum

I’m hoping for similar results this time around, but I am also going to listen to my body and not be so hard on myself. I know that it is going to be more challenging this time since I will have a toddler and a newborn to look after. However, I am also not going to make up excuses! The workouts are 30 minutes long, and I know I can find 30 minutes per day to take care of my health!

I would love to work with you to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. I know these programs work – I’ve done them twice before and had amazing results! Now, my goal is to help others as I go on this journey a third time. If you’d like to connect or have any questions, please reach out – I’m here to help. Let’s do this together!

Routines

Do you have routines in place for your kids? Do you believe they are important? Routines are beneficial to you and your children, as they provide children with a sense of safety and trust. I have routines in place for my daughter for playing, eating, and sleeping. Some of them have happened naturally, and others have been carefully planned. Here are a few reasons why you should consider establishing routines for your children:

1. As stated above, routines provide your baby with a sense of security. Routines help baby feel safe and secure in their environment. “Babies like to know that [certain things will happen] at a certain time each day,” says pediatrician Tanya Remer Altmann, editor-in-chief of The Wonder Years: Helping Your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate the Major Developmental Milestones.

2.Routines will help baby learn self-control. If things are pretty much the same every day, your baby knows what to expect and will behave accordingly. For example, when my daughter wakes up in the morning, the first thing we do is have breakfast. Then, she has play time for about two hours, and then she takes her morning nap. This is the same pattern we follow daily. Knowing what is coming next helps a baby feel like he/she is in control.

3.Routines influence a baby’s development. Social, emotional, and cognitive development all depend on routines. Babies learn how social relationships work based on their everyday routine. They are less likely to have tantrums, and will be able to handle transitions. Before bedtime my daughter takes a bath. We go to her room to put on PJs, and the lights are turned down while soft music plays in the background. She begins to settle down and knows it is time for bed.

4.Routines make YOUR life easier! Knowing when your child needs a nap, is hungry, wants to play, etc are all things you need to have established to get through your day. My daughter wakes up around 8am and takes her first nap at 11am. When planning outings, I always schedule them for the afternoon so that she can take at least one nap before we go out. Routines also make it easier for you to leave your baby with a sitter or caretaker. 

Here are a few examples of schedules for babies and toddlers:

 

Newborn Schedule
Toddler Schedule

Do you have a daily routine for your child? Do you think they make your life easier? Leave your comments below!

 

https://blog.kinedu.com/the-magic-behind-routines/

https://www.kaplanco.com/ii/why-routines-are-important-for-infants-toddlers

https://www.babycenter.com/0_the-basics-of-baby-schedules-why-when-and-how-to-start-a-rou_3658352.bc

My Must Haves for Baby

I am currently 35 weeks pregnant with my second child, and I am in full-on nesting mode! Since this is baby # 2, I already have most of what I need. Looking back, there were so many items we thought we needed, but never ended up using. There are several items on this list that we purchased when our daughter was a newborn, and are still using today at 15 months! Here are my baby (and toddler) must-haves.

Nursery

Rocking Chair – Make sure you have a comfortable rocking chair. You will be spending A LOT of time on it! I have used our rocking chair every single day (and night) since Izzy was born! I love that our chair reclines – it made nursing her so much more comfortable. I was able to rest and relax with her as she nursed. My hubby loves this chair so much he wants to move it into our living room once we are done with it! Our chair is the Belleze Recliner Chair

Baby Monitor – We initially registered for a $200+ baby monitor. In fact, I bought two sets – one for my home and one for my mom’s. We set the monitor up and tested it out for a few days and absolutely hated it! The picture was grainy and it would not connect every time. We ended up returning both sets and purchasing the Faleemi Camera for $43.99! It is fairly priced, and the picture is 1080P high-definition quality! The camera requires a wifi connection, and you use your smartphone as the monitor. The best part is whoever has the app and the password can view your baby – which means I can watch her at home, work or on the go. My mother-in-law, my mom and my hubby all have the app on their phones so we can all view her at the same time. No need for monitors. It also has amazing night vision and two way audio! I highly recommend this camera!

Crib – When we were shopping for a crib we had to decide between a crib with a changing table attached to it, or a standalone changing table. We decided to go with a crib that had a changing table attached. The weight limit on ours is 50 pounds. My daughter is currently 15 months old and weighs about twenty-five pounds. We still use our changing station daily! I also recommend looking for a crib that is convertible – which means you can use it as a toddler bed and eventually as a full size bed. The Delta Convertible Crib can be converted from a crib to a toddler bed to a full size bed. You just have to buy the guardrail (Daybed Rail included; Toddler guardrail and Full Size Metal Bed Frame sold separately).

Small Co-Sleeper – I didn’t use one of these with Izzy, but plan on using it with my son because I will be keeping him next to me in the living room while I watch and play with my toddler. 

Organic Crib Mattress Cover – A waterproof mattress cover will protect your crib mattress from baby pee & poo – I recommend having at least two in case you need to change one in the middle of the night.

Crib Mattress – We have the Sealy Mattress, which is waterproof and super easy to clean! 

Changing Pad – If you get a crib with the changer attached check the size – often they are smaller than standard size changing pad.

Changing pad waterproof liner – keep your changing pad protected with a waterproof liner.

Changing pad cover

Bookcase – Our bookcase is absolutely adorable, and even has space on the bottom to store stuffed animals. It is the Serta Happy Home Bookcase

Our Happy Home Bookcase

Dresser 

Hatch – This is another item I have used from birth and we are currently still using! It is a night light & sound machine which connects to your smartphone (or can be turned on and off manually). I love the app because I can turn it off once I leave her bedroom and she has fallen asleep. 

Baby Milestone Blanket – Capturing monthly photos was something I had a lot of fun doing with my daughter, and I look forward to repeating this tradition with my son. A baby milestone blanket is an adorable backdrop for baby’s monthly photos.

Bath

Blooming Bath Lotus – I would use this when baby is a newborn/infant, and then eventually work your way up to the tub.

Tub

Towels – Look for hooded towels to keep baby’s head warm after the bath!

Wash cloths

Shampoo Rinse Cup

Baby brush/comb

Toys – Izzy loves her rubber duckies!

Body wash/Body Lotion – I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bee’s Shampoo and Wash. It smells great, and the formula is plant-based and does not contain any parabens, phthalates, or SLS.

Nail clippers

Bulb syringe

Baby thermometer

Baby Tylenol/Motrin

Diapers

Pampers – Izzy has been in Pampers since she was born. We tried other brands (Huggies, Honest, etc) and found that we either didn’t like the fit or that they irritated her skin. Pampers has been our go-to diaper since birth and we are still using them now.

Wipes

Portable changing mat (for diaper bag) – This stays in my diaper bag at all times! I keep a few wipes and diapers inside of the mat and take it with me when I’m changing Izzy in a public bathroom or even when we are visiting someone’s house.

Aquaphor –  I’m not a fan of Desitin. Even after a bath, I would find Desitin stuck to my baby’s butt. I love Aquaphor – it’s consistency is similar to Vaseline. It’s all I ever use for a diaper rash.

Bottles/Feeding

Dr Brown’s Bottle – The Options Bottles come with the vent system. This helps reduce colic, burping and gas. You can also use the bottle without the vent system.  

Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer

Sponge/brush

Bottle Rack – keep this next to your sink and use for drying your bottles

Burp cloths

Bibs – I love the OXO Tot Waterproof Bibs. They are so easy to clean and reuse. Great for when your baby starts solids.

High Chair – We have the Peg Perego – Siesta High Chair. Very well made and high quality high chair! 

Isabella taking a power nap after a meal

Breast Pump – Check out my blog post on breastfeeding and pumping products!

Pacifiers – My daughter liked Dr. Brown’s pacifiers and they glow in the dark.

Boppy Pillow – This is the only pillow I used when I was breastfeeding. It makes it easier to hold baby when they are a newborn. I would keep it handy whenever you have visitors who want to hold the baby. As baby grows, you can use it to prop baby up, and as support during tummy time. When baby is almost ready to sit up, it is also useful for support and protection.

Boppy Pillow Covers – have a few extra pillow covers on hand in case of baby spit up and other accidents!

Baby Brezza Baby Food Maker Set – The Baby Brezza is the only blender you need! This is a must have when you start solids. This steams and blends, so you will have less clean up! It also comes with three pouches if you want to prep food for on the go! 

OXO Tot Food Storage Containers

At Home

Graco Pack N’ Play – This is a safe place to keep baby during the day for play time. It includes a bassinet which can be used in or out of the play yard. 

Baby Gym – The Play Gym by Lovevery is the only gym you need for your baby! We spent months playing inside this gym. We started out doing a few minutes of tummy time per day and grew into all the developmental activities that are included. It also converts into a play fort which my toddler loves. 

Baby Einstein Neptune’s Ocean – This is a fun bouncer! It has about fifteen different activities and baby can bounce up and down.

Clothing

I would recommend buying the least amount of size newborn possible. Babies will only fit in newborn sized clothing for a few weeks. A baby born at nine pounds will be too big for newborn clothes! Keep the tags on and see how big your baby is…you may end up returning a lot of your newborn clothes.

Here are my number of recommended items per size:

2-4 infant gowns

4-8 bodysuits or onesies

4-8 pants

4-8 one-piece pajamas – I recommend ones with zippers only. You DO NOT want to deal with a million buttons in the middle of the night!

2 blanket sleepers

1-3 sweaters or jackets

1-3 rompers or other dress-up outfits

4-7 pairs of socks or booties

2-3 hats / beanies (especially if they are due during the winter!)

Swaddles – I would recommend at least 5-10. You will use these daily and they will get dirty! Lots of spit up when they are newborns.

Baby sized hangers

Nursery Closet Dividers – These dividers will help you organize clothes by size/months.

Dreft or other baby detergent. Dreft also has a great spray for high chairs, toys etc

Dapple Dishwashing Soap

Swings/Rockers

Rock N Play 

Deluxe Bouncer 

My daughter practically lived in her Rock N Play and Bouncer until she was able to sit up (around six months). I was able to have her next to me when I did the dishes, cleaned up, etc. She would sleep in her Rock N Play during the day, but I would never leave her there overnight.

Izzy in her Rock N Play
Izzy lounging around in her bouncer

On the Go

Shopping Cart/High Chair Cover

Car Mirror – We went through a few mirrors that had poor visibility. This one is my favorite! I just purchased a second one to put above my son’s car seat. 

HaloVa Diaper Backpack – We had a traditional diaper bag that had one long strap. I found it difficult to balance carrying my baby and the bag that would constantly slip off of my shoulder. This backpack is awesome! It has so much room for all of our stuff, and insulated pockets for bottles and/or food jars! My hubby doesn’t mind wearing it either since I got it in grey. 

Baby Bjorn – This is the only baby carrier you need! My hubby and I both wore this carrier with Izzy and will be using it again with our son. 

Travel/Strollers

Baby Jogger Parent Console – This is a great place to store your car keys, cell phone, etc.

Graco 4-Ever-All in One Car Seat – This car seat lives up to its name – it will last forever! Your baby can ride in it from as small as 4 pounds, and then as they grow the max weight is 120 pounds!! This is the only car seat you will ever need.

Travel System – Check out my stroller review here!

Baby Bjorn Travel Light Crib – The first couple of times we traveled with Izzy, I forced my hubby to lug our Pack N’ Play around. It was pretty heavy and took up a decent amount of space in my trunk. I was delighted when I discovered the Baby Bjorn crib. It weighs only 13 pounds! It is smaller than the Pack N’ Play, but it definitely works for trips! 

Mommy Hooks – You will need a place to hang your purse on your stroller!

Bundle Me Infant – This is something I thought I would never use, but it ended up being very useful! I thought we could just cover our daughter with a blanket when it got cold, but it would never stay on her. She would kick it off, or simply moving around with the stroller would be enough to send the blankie to the floor. The Bundle Me wraps around the entire seat and is so cozy! It will keep the baby very warm and toasty when you are out and about in cold weather. Once you upgrade to a toddler seat you can switch out to the Bundle Me Toddler. 

Umbrella Stroller – I keep my larger stroller in the car at all times, and the umbrella stroller at home for walks around my neighborhood. 

What are you must-have items for baby? Did I forget an essential item? Let me know because I still have some time to do more shopping before the baby gets here!!



Trying to Conceive – My Tips & Tricks

So, you’re ready to start trying for a baby. Congratulations 🙂 Hollywood sure makes it look easy, but it actually does take some work! One thing to keep in mind is that if you don’t get pregnant right away, don’t worry. It takes most healthy couples about one year to conceive.

Here are my do’s and don’ts when trying to conceive:

DO Use an ovulation kit. My periods have been irregular my whole life. Ovulation kits really helped me figure out when I was ovulating! (which can be a mystery when your cycle varies from 30-45 days!) The ovulation kit I used is the Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test, and it tells you when your high fertility days are. Once you see that happy face, BABY DANCE TIME !

I also used the Glow app to monitor my periods & track my most fertile days. You can use this app to track physical symptoms, sexual activity (wink wink), and much more. There are also forums to help you seek support from other women.

DO take prenatal vitamins daily – take one that contains folic acid (800 mcg daily) and DHA. My go to vitamin brand is Nature Made.

I’ve been taking Nature Made Prenatal vitamins for the last four years. I started taking them when we were TTC, continued while I was pregnant and then after I had my daughter. I’m glad I continued taking them because little did I know I would be pregnant again eight months after her birth!

DON’T eat processed & packaged foods (including fast food!)

I started eating really healthy and working out right before I got pregnant – I believe it really helped in my case! I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started eating healthy and working out and immediately got pregnant. I definitely recommend that you DO eat a whole food, plant-based diet (fruits, veggies, nuts, unprocessed grains etc).

DO drink filtered or spring water.

DO get at least eight hours of sleep per night. According to the OC Fertility, much less than this can cause a drop in the hormones that are essential to conception.

DON’T stress. I know this is easier said than done. The truth is that we all experience some form of stress! However, research does show that women who experience higher levels of stress generally have a harder time getting pregnant. Stress affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that tells your ovaries to release eggs.

DO use the right kind of lubricant!

If you are going to use lubricants, make sure they are baby-making friendly!! If your lubricant contains spermicide, it will kill sperm! Most standard lubricants contain ingredients that kill sperm, so make sure to use a non-spermicidal formula.

Listed below are some  baby-making friendly lubricants. I have used Pre-Seed, but I have not tried the others. Let me know if you have had any success with baby making lubricants.

Pre-Seed 

Conceive Plus 

Baby Dance 

Are you thinking I don’t need lubricants… isn’t saliva all we need? I hate to break the news, but saliva may work against fertility. You may have to think of some alternatives to oral foreplay (at least during your fertile window!).

According to Healthline, “Some studies show that large quantities of saliva can impair sperm motility in an infertile couple. This might be true for a man who already has a decreased sperm count. But in most cases, if the man has a normal sperm count and motility, it’s not true. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for several months without success, try avoiding oral sex to see if it helps you conceive.”

If you have been having trouble trying to conceive, it may be worth skipping oral sex on the days you are ovulating. Try one of the baby making lubricants instead!

DO try to have sex during your fertile window and DON’T abstain from sex. Abstaining from sex will decrease the quality of your man’s sperm. Also, don’t overdo it. Having too much sex can decrease your man’s sperm count. Aim for having sex once a day, or once every other day, during your fertile window.

Trying for a Girl or a Boy

Speaking of your fertile window, knowing when you ovulate can help you try to conceive a baby boy or a baby girl. According to The Bump, the best time to try to conceive a boy is to have sex as close to ovulation as possible. Male sperm are faster swimmers than female sperm. So, if you are trying for a boy, plan to have sex 24 hours before you ovulate and in the 12 hours after you ovulate. Basically, try to plan your baby dance as close to ovulation as possible!

If you are trying for a girl, remember that female sperm tend to swim slower than male sperm. You should try to have sex three to four days before you ovulate. This will give female sperm more time to get to your egg.

Above all else, remember to have fun! Plan date nights, weekend getaways, and enjoy yourselves. My hubby and I went on a trip to Belize the month before I got pregnant. 

If you can plan a big (or small) trip – I definitely recommend it! It is so important to destress in order to better focus on your relationship. Enjoy the time you have together as a couple. When the baby arrives, you will have to make a big adjustment in your life. Have fun and enjoy all the love-making.

https://www.thebump.com/ovulation-calculator

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/conception-myths#1

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/how-long-does-it-take-to-get-pregnant

https://www.babycenter.com/404_can-stress-get-in-the-way-of-getting-pregnant_1336350.bc

https://www.thebump.com/ovulation-calculator

Oven “Fried” Chicken Recipe

My husband loves fried chicken! This is my healthy alternative to greasy fried chicken. Bonus: my daughter loves it, too!

Ingredients

1 Pack Chicken Tenders (or your choice of chicken – drumsticks work well, too!)

1 Egg

1 Tablespoon Milk (can sub your choice of milk)

1 Cup Corn Flakes Cereal

1 teaspoon of each (add more to your liking):

-Paprika

-Cayenne Pepper

-Garlic Powder

-Oregano

-Thyme

-Black Pepper

-Salt

 

Optional: French’s Crispy Onion

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread a tablespoon of vegetable oil on a baking pan.

Crush 1 cup Corn Flakes. I suggest putting the Corn Flakes in a ziploc bag and crushing them. Much cleaner! If you’d like, you can add a tablespoon or two of French’s Crispy Onions. It’s delicious either way! Add spices to the crushed corn flakes, and give it a couple of good shakes.

Grab two bowls. Empty your bag of Corn Flakes mix into one bowl. In the second bowl, beat one egg and mix in a tablespoon of milk. Dip chicken into egg mix & make sure it is fully coated. Then, dip chicken into Corn Flakes Mix. Place prepared chicken onto baking dish.

Cook chicken at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Chicken tenders will be done in about 25 minutes. Dark meat will require about 45 minutes.

Let me know what you think of this recipe once you try it out! Comment down below!

Toddler Approved!

Reading to your children

I was a giant bookworm when I was a kid. I loved reading, and I would read everywhere – at home, in the car, and even during recess and lunch while I was at school! Sometimes, my classmates would make fun of me, but I wouldn’t even hear them taunting me because I was so absorbed by my books! My love for reading motivated me to pursue a career in education. I’ve been an English teacher for the last nine years, and my goal has been to instill a love of reading in all of my students! As a mother, I plan on doing the same with my children.

My daughter’s nursery has a little library which has been growing over the past fourteen months. We have been reading together since she was a newborn. As she grew older, she started to grab onto the books and “taste” them. Babies love to explore their surroundings by placing objects in their mouth, and for my daughter books are no exception! Nowadays, she is more of an active participant while we are reading. She helps me turn the pages, points at pictures, and loves to help me lift up the flaps on the page. She rarely sits still now that she is a toddler, but when I grab a book she immediately sits in my lap and will stay there until we finish the book.

Reading is beneficial to your child in so many ways! Here are some fun facts about reading to your child(ren):

  1. Babies can hear their mother’s voice and absorb language while they are still in the womb! During the last trimester, your baby can already begin to learn language.
  2. When your baby is a few months old, they can look at the pictures in a book, listen to you as you read the words on the page, and begin to point at things they see. Some babies may even help you turn the page as you are reading!
  3. At the beginning, babies will learn by chewing on their books. My daughter is 14 months old and she still loves chewing on the corners of her books. Eventually, they will learn how to hold the book and realize it’s not a snack.
  4. Reading to your child helps them develop social skills. They learn to pick up different tones and expressions from the characters in the book.
  5. As your baby grows into a toddler, reading will help them learn how to speak. Reading to your toddler will increase their vocabulary and develop their language and listening skills. They will also learn more about the world around them!

Isabella’s Favorite Books (from birth to 14 months). Click on the titles for a link to purchase book!

Little Cat: Finger Puppet Book

Izzy absolutely loves books with the finger puppets. It is very engaging and keeps her interested as we turn the pages.

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals

These touch and feel books are also a hit with babies! Isabella loves feeling the different textures on each page. She’s also a big animal lover, which makes this book and the images are very exciting!

First 100 Words

I love this book because I think it’s a great vocabulary builder! It has 100 images and words! Great way for my daughter to develop her language skills.

Sesame Street: Count with Elmo

At 14 months, this is Isabella’s favorite book! She loves lifting the flaps and seeing the pictures that are hiding underneath them!

Did you read to your baby in the womb? Do you prefer to read a book before bedtime? What are your baby’s favorite books? Comment down below!

Sources:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/reading-your-child

https://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/education/blog/benefits-of-reading-to-children/

Breastfeeding – Helpful Hints

Breastfeeding is natural. Women have been doing it since the beginning of time. So it should be super easy, right? Well, not for every woman. For me, breastfeeding would become one of the greatest challenges of being a new mom. I thought I would never get it right. A big shout out to Kaiser Permanente… I am so thankful that I had help from their lactation consultants. Info from the internet served to be very beneficial as well 🙂 If you are struggling with breastfeeding, please know that you are not alone! It is a challenge, but it is one you can overcome if you seek help!

One of the first things I recommend you do if you are considering breastfeeding or are currently breastfeeding is visiting and bookmarking the following website:

This website is a very valuable resource for breastfeeding moms, and I would refer to it frequently when I was nursing my daughter. I hope you find it helpful, too! Let me know about your own challenges and accomplishments with breastfeeding in the comment section!

I also recommend that you do your research and learn about how to establish a proper latch. If you are in pain every time you breastfeed, something is wrong! When I first started breastfeeding my daughter, it was extremely painful for me. Little did I know that the reason I was experiencing so much pain during every breastfeeding session was because my baby was not latching properly. Make sure to establish a proper latch, or breastfeeding is going to feel like your nipples are on fire! I recommend watching videos on how to latch your baby to your breast (it’s BREASTfeeding, not NIPPLE feeding… which was my issue!). You may also refer to the image and video below!

Your diet is also an important aspect of breastfeeding. It will affect how much milk you actually produce. Follow these tips below, but make sure to consult with your doctor about your diet as well:

  • Take a daily vitamin
  • Make sure you are drinking enough water (drink to thirst)
  • Try to limit caffeine intake to one cup per day
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Oats/Oatmeal & Barley are recommended foods to help increase supply
  • Rest! I know that seems impossible with a newborn but try to rest as often as possible

One issue that many breastfeeding moms experience is blocked milk ducts. I experienced this, and it was quite painful! I knew something was wrong when my breasts felt very firm and I had several prominent bumps. This often occurs when you haven’t established a proper latch (see above) and baby is not emptying your breasts at feedings. The milk “backs up” and creates a clogged duct. Leaving a clogged duct untreated can lead to other issues, such as a common condition called mastitis – that’s when your milk supply comes to a complete halt and can make mommy very sick! As soon as you feel a blocked duct, here is what I recommend:

  1. Take a Motrin Ibuprofen (always consult with your doctor about taking prescription or over-the-counter medications during breastfeeding)
  2. Jump into a hot shower
  3. Massage breasts while showering
  4. Let hot water run over affected breast(s)
  5. Pump, express milk, or nurse as soon as you get out of shower
If you are still in pain, or your symptoms get worse, it is definitely time to call your doctor! As you can see, breastfeeding is not always a walk in the park. It definitely comes with its share of challenges. However, it is also incredibly rewarding, as the bond you create with your child is irreplaceable. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing that your body is providing your child the nutrients it needs to live, survive and thrive! 

I hope this information was helpful to you! Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information about breastfeeding. Don’t forget to share your own challenges and accomplishments with breastfeeding in the comment section!