Category Archives: baby

baby / baby products

Co-Sleeping Heaven with Plum & Sparrow

June 30, 2017

I mentioned back in our Newborn Essentials post that figuring out our co-sleeping situation started out a little stressful to me. All we knew was that we definitely wanted our baby in the same room as us for at least the first 6 months, but that moving the entire crib into our room was NOT a feasible option due to space. It seemed like all the co-sleepers on the market that weren’t lime green & HUGE were insanely expensive or not even sold in the US. Thanks to Instagram, I knew that Moses baskets in rockers were a popular solution, & after finding Plum &Sparrow, i knew we’d discovered our perfect set-up.

Plum & Sparrow is a California based company that offers Moses baskets, market baskets and other hand-made accessories, all of which are sustainably made by African weavers. As part of the Fair Trade Federation, 10% of each purchase goes directly back to the village that creates these beautiful baskets, & that’s a mission that is worth supporting. The weavers have creative freedom with each basket that is individually crafted, so when there are beautiful color worked into the weaves, that’s the weavers personal artistic expression. Though our style is a little more neutral, there are really gorgeous, colorful options available.

Our Plum & Sparrow Moses basket has been Crew’s bassinet from Day 1. We paired it with a rocker & it sits right next to my side of the bed. When he was a newborn, it was super easy for me to lean over in the middle of the night & barely strain to pick him up for a feeding since the rocker put the basket at the perfect level with our platform bed. It was also super nice that the basket comes with a mattress that is perfectly sized to the basket… & a mattress sheet that perfectly fits the mattress. That seems obvious, but you would be amazed at how dramatic those three things all fitting together can be! The mattress is a 2” thick, hypo-allergenic waterproof pad, & the sheet is 100% cotton. Along with the fitted sheet, we simply pair this with one of our swaddles to keep him warm, creating a perfectly safe sleeping environment for our little babe. Now that we’ve got him on a more strict bedtime routine, it’s so sweet to see that he knows bedtime & he knows his bed. When I was pregnant, we never dreamed that we would have a big baby, & were definitely planning on him being under 20 lbs till he was AT LEAST 6 months old, but our nearly 3 month old is nearly 15 lbs, so we’ll see if we can make it to 6 months in the basket. I’m certainly crossing my fingers & toes that we can, because I won’t know what our next transition bed would be before we move him into his own room at night. EEK.

Aside from being our ideal sleep situation, Plum & Sparrow’s basket was also an ideal home solution. Even though our apartment is pretty generously sized for being a DC apartment, there are no unused rooms or basement playrooms, & our one big storage closet is pretty full, so every baby item we picked out needed to fit in with our home aesthetic & essentially become part of the decor. This beautiful crafted basket is such a gorgeous weave with both great structure & a polished look. The leather handles are a perfect touch & feel so secure to lift as we move from room to room. I love that our bassinet gives our room a finished look, but also that I can leave it in the family room & it still looks like a piece that belongs in our home. I know that seems silly, but it’s really lovely to feel like our home is still OURS, not being overrun by baby items.

Our Plum & Sparrow Moses basket has been such a wonderful solution to these newborn & infant days. I try not to think about the day that he officially grows out of sleeping in it, but we will always be grateful for this basket being such an ease to work with as we’ve navigated our new baby & all the sleeping lessons that come along with parenthood. I can whole-heartedly recommend using a Moses basket for your bassinet, but even more sincerely, I recommend shopping with Plum & Sparrow to support their fair trade mission & give back to those creating these beautiful pieces!

____

Plum & Sparrow is a company that we’ve had the honor
to 
partner with in exchange for a product review.
Thoughts & opinions on this product are ours.
We 100% stand behind the quality & use of this product,
unless otherwise noted in blog post review.

baby / baby products / out & about

Strolling the City with Mutsy

June 23, 2017

We have slowly but surely been testing the waters of getting out of the house to explore since Crew was about a month old. It took that long to get past just walks around the neighborhood, partially because I was still healing & partially because Jared & I were both terrified of getting too far from home and having to tame a screaming newborn outside of the comfort of our own home. Between Month 1 & Month 2, we definitely found ourselves in enough “make it work” situations that I feel confident leaving the apartment on my own, thanks largely in part to our Mutsy Igo stroller.

Mutsy is a Dutch company that has been manufacturing strollers since the 1930’s. I haven’t seen many Mutsy’s on the streets of DC, which to me, makes them a hidden gem. Having now been using our Igo for two months, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before more people catch on to the gorgeous look & excellent quality of these strollers. We’re pretty constantly stopped by strangers who want to know where we got such a pretty stroller, though usually they stop to look at the pretty baby first 😉I’ve told Jared since before we were married that I wanted a GOOD STROLLER when we had our first baby. As soon as we wrapped our heads around me being pregnant, I got to work researching strollers. We are city dwellers that travel often, so our list of priorities was pretty particular. Thankfully, our Mutsy Igo Nomad checked nearly every item on the list. Safety – Like every new parent, our baby’s safety was the top priority. Mutsy works hard to create high quality strollers that have features such as the 5 point safety harness, colored sections that indicate when pieces such as the carry cot are locked, & frame locks during break down to keep it from sliding open & pinching fingers.Sidewalk savvy – Though I’m not currently doing AS much walking as I did pre-baby, walking is our main mode of transportation around the city. Because of this, we were looking for a stroller with the durability and features to withstand DC’s sometimes dirty & always busy sidewalk bustle. Aside from being easy to push, the Igo has features like extra shock absorbing tires to take on the often rough sidewalk grind, 360 degree swivel wheels to conquer any terrain we might encounter (you know, like when someone leaves a couch in the middle of the sidewalk & you have to off-road onto 14th St. at 5pm to get around it), easy one-step lock brakes for rides on the metro, removable fabric pieces that we can wash to keep that city grime at bay, water resistant fabric for the inevitable surprise rainstorm (been there, done that), & a quick break down if needed in museums, restaurants, etc. Looks – When we stumbled across the Mutsy online for the first time, it completely stood out from every other stroller on the market. It’s HANDSOME. Seriously, it’s the Chris Pine of strollers, in every good way. Without unnecessary bright colors, large logos or weird gadgets, the Igo is simple, smart, sleek & rocking dapper leather accents. The first time I took Crew on a solo trip to my doctor’s office, every nurse, midwife & doctor stopped to comment on how good looking our stroller was, earning it the nickname “Crew’s Porsche” by the time we left the office. It’s definitely a looker – We went with the Igo Nomad in Dark Grey with the silver/cognac finish. Lightweight – I’m easily able to manage the Igo on my own, wrangling it in & out of cars & around the city. It sounds like it would be even more lightweight if we were to use the foam tires, something I’ll keep in mind if the girth of the stroller ever becomes an issue. This is not the lightest of Mutsy’s stroller models, so definitely test drive this guy if that is your #1 priority, but for how safe & sturdy the structure of the Igo’s frame is, it is certainly a lightweight stroller. Mutsy’s two other lightweight models are the Nexo & the Evo (SO compact!), which are also gorgeous!Longevity – One of the best parts of the Mutsy Igo is that I know we’ll be able to use this stroller until Crew is 55 lbs, & we’re equipped with the right pieces to get us there. The carry cot has been so great for these first couple of months, since Crew isn’t sitting up or rolling over yet. He loves getting to wiggle around or sleep without a safety harness on. We’ve been traveling around quite a bit in this past month, so we’ve also been using the car seat as his stroller chair pretty often, & he’s getting used to it. The nice thing about the car seat is that I think it’s a good transition seat from the carry cot to the seat. The seat has rear facing capabilities, which will be a good transition seat for mama’s anxious heart. (One down side to the rear facing seat is that the stroller won’t break down with the seat attached in that position, so we’ll have to be strategic.) From there, we’ll be able to face the seat outwards until he’s 55 lbs… OR until he graduates to the step-up board to make room for a little brother or sister 😉 But I’m getting ahead of myself.Compact – We live in a modestly sized apartment with one giant closet for storage, so it was important that our stroller breaks down to fit in our only storage space. Not only that, but we have one heck of a tiny city car (a Toyota Yaris), so it was of the utmost importance that the stroller fit in our hatchback trunk with a little wiggle room for road trip luggage. With the Igo’s removable wheels, we’ve been able to fit an impressive amount of gear & suitcases into the car WITH the stroller, though we haven’t attempted to pack the stroller up with the seat attached just yet. I do wish that the stroller would stay locked in a standing position, as it seems to be intended to break down into the lay flat position, which isn’t super conducive to our closet storage.Accessories – Since the stroller is the closest thing I get to a vehicle during most weeks, its accessories were really important. Currently, we’re still using the carry cot (pictured) or the car seat for Crew to sit in, so some of the accessories haven’t come into play yet. But! The removable cup holder attachment has been a lifesaver during hot DC days for this breastfeeding mama, & I have big plans for the grocery basket attachment once we’ve moved to the seat, which should be about in conjunction with the time that I start taking on grocery shopping again. (Jared has taken over the grocery management for now.) The seat’s extended canopy feature will be so helpful for sunny days, & I know I’ll be grateful to have the rain cover on hand for the random afternoon storms.

Car Seat – Like I mentioned, we have a tiiiiiny car, & thankfully I did some extra research while putting our baby registry together to discover that the Maxi-Cosi carseat that is recommended to go with the Mutsy stroller systems would be too long for our car’s backseat! Thankfully, via Mutsy’s Instagram, another girl had shared a photo of her Mutsy with the Nuna Pipa car seat attached to it, which works with the Maxi-Cosi car seat adapters. The car seat adapters have been life savers when we’ve traveled out of town so we don’t have to bring the seat to the stroller & can just pop the car seat in & out. (We don’t otherwise access the car seat very often since we mostly walk around the city & leave the car in one spot.)We have been so happy with the Mutsy Igo. It’s been a breeze to use during these first two months of baby, which is great news when my mama brain is at its peak. We would certainly recommend this stroller to any of our mama & papa friends. It’s a functional & beautiful stroller… Which is good, because it’s gotta keep up with how beautiful our sweet babe is. I have to also mention what incredible customer service Mutsy offers – They’ve gone above and beyond as we received & started using the stroller & have been a real joy to work with. Can’t beat that!

Thank you, Mutsy!

Keep up with our Instagram to see our stroller grow with Crew – Pictured here with the carry cot & here with the car seat attached.

—-

Mutsy is a company that we’ve had the honor to
partner with in exchange for a product review.
Thoughts & opinions on this product are ours.
We 100% stand behind the quality & use of this product,
unless otherwise noted in blog post review.

baby

On Your 1st Father’s Day

June 18, 2017

I can honestly say that I have known you will be an incredible father from the very first months of calling you mine. Your gentle nature, loving touch, & tender heart that have been my constants for eleven years are now shared with our son. You are his safe place, his comfort, his protection. You have kissed his smile and kissed his tears. You’ve tended to his every need, while quietly and humbly providing for me and anticipating anything I could possibly require. In the months leading up to Crew’s arrival, you hustled and worked so hard to ease my pain and stress, while helping me create a perfect environment to bring our babe home to. In my hours and hours of labor, you held me, encouraged me, & stayed strong when I was so weak. When our son’s arrival didn’t go according to plan, you brought me calm & peace, & helped me focus on bringing him into the world regardless of the circumstance. In my weeks of adjustment & healing, you cared for me, nourished me, & comforted me as I navigated feeding our new little human. Step for step, we have taken on parenthood together, & I could honestly not do a single day without you. You are selfless, & I admire you so.Crew has it made. I know you will teach him gentleness & resourcefulness. You will teach him how to build things, how to care for things & how to anticipate the needs of others. He will see your love, your compassion, & your optimism. He will love your laugh, your face, & your hugs. I can’t wait to watch him watch you. He will be an incredible man, because he can be nothing less with you as his role model, teacher & friend.I want you to know that I see you. I see the renewed energy in your eyes when you get home after your 10 hour work day, ready to spend your last waking hours caring for our child to give me a break. I see the flicker in your eyes as you anticipate the next 24 hours of what I might need, when my mom brain tries its hardest to lock us out of the apartment. I see the love in your eyes when our son wakes up in the morning & blinks his first blinks of the day, stretching the little chubby arms & legs that we made. I see the pride in your eyes when he nearly laughs or imitates our faces or holds your finger extra tight. I see the determination in your eyes as you research diaper wipes or sleep training or baby milestones. I see the bliss in your eyes when you soak in the quiet moments of me holding him in the morning, as you tell me every time that you have never been happier.

I also already see Crew light up when he sees your face or hears your voice. He loves you so much.

You don’t seek thanks or gratitude, and sure, we’re in this together. But you, my love, exceed all expectations. And for that I am grateful. I am grateful you’re in my life, I am grateful that we share such big love, I am grateful my son has you as a father, & I am grateful that this is the first of many Father Days surrounded by two very handsome, sweet men. We are so blessed to be so loved by you. I will say thank you until the day I die for being the best friend that you are & the partner you’ll continue to be, & I will thank God every day for this life He designated for us.We have a perfect, healthy baby boy. He has every good part of each of us in him, & his love for us already makes me whole. Thank you for being our home. It is a dream to share this life and this child with you.

We love you, papa.

Photos by Nikki Santerre Photography

baby / baby products

Sleeping Soundly with Dockatot

June 9, 2017

An undeniable perk to having a 1) overdue & 2) BIG baby is his love for sleep. It’s sort of like we brought a teenage boy home from the hospital. We’ve so far only had three nights that were somewhat restless (thanks a lot, newborn gas), with Crew typically sleeping a solid 6 hour stretch since we brought him home. I’m sort of scared to be putting this in writing because I think Jared & I are both waiting for the other shoe to drop & for true sleepless nights to begin, but maybe he’s just saving that for his four month sleep regression 😉

This child loooooves to sleep & we’ve been so grateful to have our DockATot lounger as a co-sleeping arrangement since Day 1. We are currently using the Deluxe size, which is perfect for his tiny body right now & keeps him nice & snug all night. During the day, he likes to be free to flail in his crib or moses basket, but after a good midnight feeding, he usually passes out in mama’s arms, & the transition from mama to the cushion of the DockATot is *usually* seamless. This was such a perfect co-sleeping solution for us, as we are able to keep him close, but with a safety barrier of the cushion between us. The 100% cotton, handmade material of the dock is also super breathable, which puts our new-parent hearts at ease since even though he’s not waking up all night, one of us is constantly checking to make sure he’s okay, still breathing, etc. 😉

I’ve started integrating the DockATot into his daytime naps, using it as more of a lounger option so that he stays adjusted to hanging out in the dock as a resting place.We took a trip to the beach with my family earlier this month & we were so grateful to have the DockATot make the trip with us – He was none the wiser that we were in a new place for his bedtime routine, since he had the same feel & smell of his own bed. We even took the dock down to the beach a couple days & were able to stay on the shore for 6+ hours one day!

We’re so grateful to our sweet boy for being a great sleeper, & I’m so glad he loves his DockATot. Keeping mama & papa sane one night at a time.

Use our link for $10 off your DockATot – Happy sleeping!

—-

Dockatot is a company that we’ve had the honor to partner with
in exchange for a product review.
Thoughts & opinions on this product are ours.
We 100% stand behind the quality & use of this product,
unless otherwise noted in blog post review.

baby / baby products

Newborn Essentials

May 25, 2017

We’re somehow a month into this baby life! Most days, it feels like I blink & Jared is walking in the door from work, so it shouldn’t surprise me that his first month of life has already flown by. While he is a great sleeper & figured out eating very quickly, this first month has not been without its challenges (lookin’ at you, breastfeeding), 23982374 google searches & daily texts to my mom & mama friends. Even though it’s a huge adjustment, it’s incredible how easily it feels like we’ve both assumed our parent roles. It helps that we have a very cute baby that is a joy to be around.

I wanted to pop in & share a few things that we have already realized we couldn’t be without, which will also give you a little peek into our daily life with baby Crew!

Plum & Sparrow Moses Basket*
I really stressed out over what our newborn sleeping situation would be, because I really wanted the baby to stay in our room but not necessarily in our bed for the first 6 months to a year. With the addition of this Jolly Jumper rocking base, Plum & Sparrow’s moses basket has been a perfect solution for our overnight co-sleeping. I’ll be sharing more about our Plum & Sparrow basket in a future post, but click on over to learn more about this incredible company with a Fair Trade mission.

DockATot Cosleeper*
We have been loving having the DockATot as part of our every day routine with baby. It’s snug design creates a familiar environment for Crew to cozy into, & it’s perfectly portable for me to move around the apartment with me as I go about daily tasks. As of right now, we only co-sleep with the DockATot in our bed between us if Crew is having a fussier night OR with the DockATot tucked into our moses basket since it’s a perfect fit (note: we stopped doing this around one month in – Got a little too snug inside the basket with our big baby boy!). When he’s in bed with us, the Dock’s thick cushion keeps a nice barrier between us, which helps both Jared & I sleep more soundly, knowing he’s safe. I love that he’s in the DockATot either way for bedtime routine’s sake!

Bloom Coco Go Lounger*
I don’t think I would get anything done during the day if it weren’t for this lounger! Aside from being a beautiful piece that fits into our home decor, Crew loves hanging out in the lounger to either watch mom work, take a nap or watch his best friend, the ceiling fan. It’s vibrate settings keep him happy & it’s compact ability to pack up & be taken on the go keeps ME happy. Bloom is totally rocking the baby market with aesthetically pleasing items that accent your home, instead of being an eye sore. I’d love to add a little activity bar to it for him to look at, but haven’t quite gotten there yet.

Tuck & Bundle & Solly Baby Wraps*
Speaking of getting things done, thank GOODNESS for baby wraps. We have been loving our Tuck & Bundle & Solly Baby wraps, featuring insanely soft fabric & a great patterns/colors for my nearly entirely black post-partem wardrobe. Crew thinks they’re great because he gets to sleep on mama’s chest & I think they’re great because I get to be hands-free for an hour or two, depending on the day, all the while still getting some chest-to-chest bonding time. These newborn days involve some pretty gassy fits of fuss, & the wraps situate his legs juuuust right than he can get comfortable & be soothed. Perfect for wearing around the house or on a walk around the neighborhood, I’ve also started packing one of our wraps in the diaper bag when we have the stroller out, juuuuuust in case Crew goes on stroller strike. I have the Ezra Stripe from Tuck & Bundle and the Fern & the AJJ Collab from Solly.

Mezaya Sling*
It’s been quite the learning curve to figure out the time & place for wraps vs. slings vs. carriers. Around three weeks in, I started feeling much more functional & realized that a sling would be super helpful to just pop baby into. The sling is a little quicker for me to get on, so I love having this to wear around the apartment & as a fussy-baby option when we’re out. Crew likes the sling because he doesn’t feel AS swaddled & tends to stay more alert & look around than he does in the wraps. This Mezaya Sling (mine is in the Fog color!) hails from England & is such a beautiful linen fabric. They also offer Thai silk slings, which are DIVINE. I’ll be hosting a giveaway for one of these beauties on my Instagram soon, so be sure you’re following along!

Lorena Canals Rug*
Okay, this might seem silly, but having that nursery put together was an absolutely fixation for me in the final month before Crew arrived. Adding the finishing touches, whether it was the gallery wall or putting diapers in the dresser drawer or laying out this amazing (machine-washable!) rug, was crucial for my little nesting spirit to feel like we were ready for baby. This rug is so, so soft & has already been through the washer once thanks to a spill during a 3am pumping session. It is a perfect color accent to our nursery, & nice & soft for baby once he’s mobile! I’ll be sharing more about these rugs in our big nursery reveal!

Urban Oreganics Baby Butter*
Nothing but the best for our little babe’s bum. 100% natural and vegan, we love using this butter for every day moisturizing & the occasional booty rub down. It smells SO good & has uses for mama, too!

Other essentials:
Avent soothie pacifier – I wasn’t sure that we’d use pacifiers, but babe looooves to suck to soothe & I don’t want to have to break him of a thumbsucking habit later in life, so here we are! This is the pacifier that comes on the Wubby Nub pacifiers, but we found the animal to be completely unnecessary. We also have the Natursutten pacifier, but the rumors are true: Newborns can’t keep the shape of their newborn pacifier in their mouths. SO! We’re starting with these & saving the Natursuttens for when he’s a little older.
Slow flow bottles – We have the Life Factory bottles because we like the glass factor, but we also like the Comotomo bottles because of their breast-like design. Crew’s doing really well with going back & forth between bottle & breast, so I’m not too stressed out about nipple confusion, klbut something to keep in mind!
Drying Grass Rack – The drying rack has been perfect for pump parts & bottle pieces… Plus pacifiers & the occasional wine glass.
Disposable nursing pads – I own an entire drawer full of reusable nursing pads because #environment, but in these early weeks before everything has settled down, they’ve been super impractical. They retain way more moisture (increasing chances of a yeast infection) & have a pretty intense cleaning regiment to avoid bacteria, so I’m sticking with these bamboo disposable pads until I’m not experiencing as much leaking. This brand soaks up moisture SUPER well & are really comfortable. (They’ve been selling out recently, so you might have to pre-order – They also sell these in store at Babies R Us!)
Kimono onesies – There’s nothing worse than pulling a onesie over your tiny newborns head (although, helpful hint), so we LOVED the kimono onesies we had stockpiled from H&M. Buy as many as you can find! We love these organic onesies from Colored Organic.
Overnight swaddles – Crew does NOT love being swaddled in the wonderfully soft muslin swaddles that I was so hoping he’d live in all summer, & kicks/punches out of them in minutes. After the first couple of weeks, we did find that he slept more soundly overnight when we swaddles him in something he couldn’t get out of with his karate moves. Currently, he sleeps in the SwaddleMe Organic wrap, & we have the Halo cotton swaddle for when it gets a little warmer out this summer in our non-central air apartment, in case he needs to keep his arms out to stay cool. I love that these eliminate the need for blankets in his moses basket overnight.
Goumikids booties – People weren’t lying when they told me these are the only things that will stay on your baby’s feet. We’re getting better at socks, but these booties were great starting at the hospital.
Parasol diapers – We’ve been loving this diaper subscription service since the start of Week 2. The smallest size was still a bit large for even our 9 lb. baby, but have been great ever since. Blowouts are at a minimum, & they feel SO soft, which is all you want for your baby’s bum. The cute designs & scheduled delivery once a month help.
Burp cloths – We’ve been blessed with a non-urpy baby *knock on wood*, but you’d be amazed at the uses you find for these. I have them stashed in every room of the house & every bag.
Waterproof changing pads – Look, we have the cute changing pad cover & the adorable leather Gathre mat in the diaper bag, but these waterproof pads have been so great to have on TOP of the cute changing pad cover so that we can just toss that into the dirty clothes during a 2am mess. A new mama friend recommended these to me & I’m SO glad we listened. I had one with me while traveling last week so that I’m not laying the same pad down on my parents’ guest bed as I did in the bathroom at Target. We have 6 of these & that seems like a great amount for our laundry rotation.
Layettes – The same mama friend recommended having a few of these & we really do love them – Easy access for middle of the night diaper changes when papa is half asleep!
Boppy – It definitely took us a couple weeks before this was useful, I think just because he was so small & gooey. We started off by commandeering a pillow for him to lay across, & once he got the hang of breastfeeding, he seemed to know how to hold his body/head with the Boppy a little better. Bonus: Found this linen cover at PB Baby to use up a giftcard, & Etsy has a TON of cute covers.
Blankets – Have at least one muslin swaddle (especially for these summer babes), one receiving blanket, & one knit blanket that you love. One of the three will fit whatever circumstance you find yourself in, weight-wise. I just got back from Crew’s first trip out of town, & brought these three, & had a need for all three at some point!
Gas drops – Just… Have them ready. I did not realize how much newborns struggle with gas until living with one 24-7.
Nail clipper – The feeling of those tiny nails on your skin when you’re trying to feed is less of a scratch & more of a needle prick. Fortunately, eating causes the perfect amount of milk coma to get those puppies clipped. It’s a special mama skill.
Gift cards for meals – Most of our friends either live in other cities or would be lugging a lasagna around on the metro to get a meal to us, so our meal train consisted mostly of UberEats/Postmates/etc. & restaurants with delivery services. The best way to go with this was to have friends send us a gift card so that we could be in communication with the delivery person… You know, thanks to apartments & city living. You can send a gift card via the delivery services, too, which is awesome to ensure new mom & dad aren’t having to go get food. (Though, frankly, sometimes the pickup was a nice excuse to get out of the house.)
Easy snacks – Jared only had one week off for paternity leave (which was totally not long enough but what can you do), & I quickly learned once I was home alone during the day the importance of being able to walk into the kitchen & grab sustenance with one hand, open it with one hand, & eat it with one hand. Whether that means husby precutting veggies & fruits for you the night before or buying chocolate Teddy Grahams for the first time in 10 years, be prepared!
Nursing tanks & soft nursing bras – I lived in these those first two weeks! Easy access, ultimate comfort. Doing it again, I’d buy the next size up in both, just to have both size options depending on the day. Full disclosure: I ordered the Kindred Bravely Sleep Bra & found it to be pretty useless. I’m not sure if it was sizing or the bra itself, but it was a super awkward fit.

I hope this is helpful! I’m sure the list of essentials will both grow & shrink as we navigate day-to-day, but these are for sure the things that got us through month one. I can’t believe my tiny baby is over a month old already. UGH. Story of the rest of my life, I’m sure. *sigh*

xx

*Indicates companies we’ve had the honor to partner with in exchange for product reviews. Thoughts & opinions on these products are ours – We 100% stand behind the quality
& use of these products, unless otherwise noted in blog post review.

baby

Crew Stedman Bethune

April 20, 2017

He’s here, he’s here!

Last Friday, April 14th, we welcomed our SON, Crew Stedman Bethune with wide open arms at 1:43pm. Arriving on the 42 week mark (WHEW), he was a much bigger baby than anyone could have guessed (over 9 lbs!), when my midwives had been predicting a 7, MAAAYBE 8 lb. baby. We are so, so overjoyed to see this sweet face & meet the little one that we feel like we already know so well. He is such a little sweetheart, & mama & papa are already completely wrapped around his tiny fingers.

We’re also overjoyed to be out of the hospital & slowly figuring life out at home with Crew. He is an absolute dream come true, & we honestly can’t believe we get to keep him. His face is just the best thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on, & getting the “mama” look from him honestly fills my heart till it bursts, over and over again. He loves staring at Jared’s face, & we’re figuring out breastfeeding at a seemingly great pace. Jared has a couple more days left at home with us, & even though his paternity leave has flown by WAY too fast, I’m SO grateful he had time off at all as we navigate this new way of life.

nursing dress: Loyal Hana

I can’t believe he’s finally here. I have so, so many posts to share with you but we’re taking our time & soaking up these newborn days as much as we can. Thank you for the well wishes! I’ll be back with 48237987234 photos from now till forever. He’s just really cute.

baby / pregnancy

Hospital Bag Essentials

April 6, 2017

weekender: Madewell | robe: Plum Pretty Sugar | nursing dress: Loyal Hana

Still waiting on a baby around here, so I figured I would go ahead & share what’s in our hospital bag since I’ve got the time! Post-baby edits in italics! 

FOR MAMA:
Things
Water bottle – Bringing my trusty BKR bottle, at least in the car for the drive over… It’s rather large but I shattered my smaller glass bottle at my last midwife appointment (RIP), so this guy might stay in the car. — This did indeed stay in the car.
Coconut water – This always made me feel better when I had terrible cramps, so I figure that might apply here, too!
Pillow & blanket – A lot of my friends have recommended bringing an extra blanket because of room temperature, but I am also a freak that would rather bring my own bedding to hotels. Sleeping on mystery pillows also really skeeves me out, so these are two things I WISH I could leave at home, but must have. I’ve read to make sure you bring a colored or patterned pillow case so you don’t forget this when you pack up! — Next time around, I’d bring TWO blankets from home – One for labor & one for the post-labor hospital stay.
Extra bag – Saw this on a couple different hospital bag guides, mostly for the extra things the hospital gives you to take home, & any gifts that friends/family bring by. — We brought a reusable grocery sized bag & could have used another, believe it or not!
Toiletries –  Glasses, contact stuff, deodorant, brush, travel shampoo/conditioner, straightener, face wipes, chapstick, hair band, basic makeup, dry shampoo, lotion, toothbrush/toothpaste
Mama care – I’m bringing this cream & this spray.
Perfume – This sounds so silly but I have a super strong pension for scent memory, & I want to attach a smell to the first couple days of newborn wonder.
Phone & phone charger – I have every intention of Jared being in charge of contraction tracking on his phone, so once labor starts, the plan is to pack up my phone & charger in my bag.

Clothes
Big, cozy socks – This is the one thing I’ve heard over & over from friends with babies!
Open front pajamas – I found some button down sleep tops at TJ Maxx for ~$12
Robe – I’ve been so excited to wear my Plum Pretty Sugar robe for baby time since I got it 5 years ago, & I think it’s going to be really lovely to wear something pretty after giving birth.
Black undies – This has been a big recommendation, too. I picked up a cheap pack of black granny panties from H&M that I can toss as needed. — I didn’t end up using these until I got home
Flip flops – I hate being barefoot, period, so when people recommend things like flip flops, I listen.
Slippers – Aside from ^^, this is also just a comfort measure for me.
Belly support band – For after labor. I went with this one based on reviews, but Zulily has had a bunch of deals for these so check that site frequently! I’m excited because the one I got is three separate pieces, & I’ve heard that the hips wrap feels SO good after birth. — Also didn’t use until we were home
Nursing bra & nursing pads – I’ve heard & read mixed reviews on whether I’ll actually need these IN the hospital (assuming we only have a 2 day stay), but I have this bra & these pads in my bag, just in case. — Bra, yes. Pads weren’t necessary until I got home & my milk came in.
Maternity leggings – They say you leave the hospital with about a 6 month pregnant tum, so I’m bringing my favorite Blanqi leggings to wear when we head home.
Loyal Hana nursing dress – I am SO excited about this dress. It’s comfortable (I wore it at 8.5 months pregnant for a Tart wedding & it was GREAT) AND nursing accessible AND so chic.
Oversized sweater – This was a doula recommendation, so you bet this got packed. — Bring two!
Some extra clothes – I packed just a few extra oversized shirts, leggings & my white slip on Vans as comfortable options. Who KNOWS what will feel comfortable?? I want options 😉 — Options were a good call! 

FOR BABY:
Carseat – Can’t leave with a baby without it! We have this carseat & were able to schedule an appointment to get it installed at our local police station, which was lovely in this city hustle & bustle!
Swaddle blankets – I’m bringing two.
Onesies – I’m probably overpacking here, but I have 4 onesies packed, heh. It’s April in DC, & the weather is bonkers, so I have long sleeve AND short sleeve kimono onesies in the bag.
Hats – I am bound & determined to keep that awful pink & blue hospital cap away from my baby’s head. I’m bringing two hats, but one is a bonnet for our going home outfit.
Mittens – Based on recommendations from friends! — Didn’t NEED these, used them maybe twice?
Socks – Of the tiniest H&M variety. Too cute.
Going home outfit – I am so positive that our going home outfit is going to be waaaay way too big for baby, but… We’re going to try to make it work.
Footprint paper – Some people bring a baby book but I am not even pretending that I would keep up with a baby book, so I don’t have one. Instead, I got handmade paper off Etsy & am bringing that to have them stamp little footprints on. I’m not even sure I’ll do anything with this, but I’d rather have it than not, & having this framed is a way more realistic option for me. — They didn’t footprint him in the hospital so we did this when we got home.

OTHER THINGS:
Birth Plan – We’re super excited to be at a very “baby friendly” hospital, where a lot of the natural birth practices that would typically go on our birth plan are already standard procedure. But! We still put a plan together, & I found this site & this site to be very helpful guides as we talked through what we wanted to include.
Maternity registration paperwork – Read this stuff then read it again. I revisited the website our hospital has set up & realized I’d missed a step, then in reading the paperwork found a document that required witness signatures from people other than relatives or hospital employees! We would have been up a creek, so definitely knock this task out of the way while you have time.
Insurance & ID 
Playlists – Our doula recommended putting together three different hospital playlists: 1) A fierce playlist (lots of Beyonce) 2) A chillout playlist (lots of Feist) & 3) an instrumental playlist (lots of the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack) — Didn’t use these until AFTER baby was born!
Bluetooth speaker – We have this one packed in Jared’s bag. — Super glad we had this for the post baby stay.
Camera 
Go-time last minute packing list – Let’s be honest, I’m not packing my makeup or toiletries because I’m still using them. I wrote out everything that needs to be gathered once we’re getting close to leaving for the hospital so Jared can either help me pack up or do it completely on his own while I get through… Whatever I’m going through 😉 This includes things like water for the car, my favorite chapstick from my purse, and some treats that are staying in the car until we’ve got a baby.

The most helpful guides I found on Pinterest all included post-hospital notes about what was actually useful, what was missing, & what could have stayed at home, so I’ll plan to revisit once this baby has made its big debut. (Soon. Hopefully.) — The only thing I can think to add was that Jared ended up bringing his laptop for work & it was SO great to have that around to watch Netflix before & after! 

Come oooooon, baby!

baby / pregnancy

maternity photos with annamarie akins photography

February 2, 2017


Photos by Annamarie Akins Photography
Blue dress: H&M | Taupe Dress c/o Pink Blush: Mocha Draped 3/4 Sleeve Maternity Maxi Dress

I wasn’t sure I wanted maternity photos, to be completely honest. I wasn’t sure if they could be done without being cheesy. The maternity photo shoots I have seen & loved seemed to capture a glow & beauty that I wasn’t sure I’d exude. Jared helped me realize that I would regret it so much if we didn’t do what we could to capture this short chapter in our parenting adventure… & he was so right. All it took was finding the perfect person to do the job, & we were so blessed to for schedules & weather & everything to align with having the amazing Annamarie Akins Photography take these precious photos for us.

I’ve had the privilege of working with Annamarie in various capacities via Tart over the last couple years, & she has become such a dear friend. There is no one else that could have photographed this bump with such grace & delicateness. We are overwhelmed with so much love for this baby, & Annamarie knew exactly how to capture our current state of love, anticipation, & joy. Although, let’s be honest, it’s not hard to get Jared smiling these days. Already such a good (& dapper) papa.

With maternity photos checked off the pre-baby to do list, we are just one step closer to holding this little one in our arms. Even though I’m already more excited for photos with baby in them instead of a bump, w e will absolutely treasure these photos for the rest of our lives. Thank-you, Annamarie! Go check out this lovely lady’s work & for heaven’s sake, locals, have her take your photos!

xx