Chicago Baby Show Recap & Giveaway

New mommas! I know it’s hard, girl. The sleepless nights. The endless laundry. The human attached to your boob twenty-four-seven. The bottles that pile up to be cleaned. The adjusting to your new life with baby. The trying to do it all AT ONCE. It’s HARD. Like, REAL HARD.

But, I have good news for you. The dust WILL settle. The sleep will come – and in a short time you won’t be able to even remember your life before your little one. It’s like they were already in your heart forever and you just had to wait for them to get here. I’m not crying – you’re crying! Geez. Boy, do I love my babies and all the blessings they have brought me in life! Okay, so back to the recap as I wipe away my tears.

I have even more good news for you! This weekend I was lucky enough to attend The 2nd Annual Chicago Baby Show at Navy Pier on a media pass. This allowed me to get lots of one-on-one time with all the vendors and hear all about the latest and greatest in baby gear, gadgets, wraps, snacks and more.

I even left with some cool swag that I’ll be giving away to a few lucky readers! Check out all these goodies below!


One of the first booths I visited was a brand staple for my family when my babies were babies (not that long ago). Boppy Support for all Momkind. Boppy’s are a must for new moms. I had both the nursing pillow and newborn lounger, which I used every day for at least a year for both my babies. They have other great products, accessories, cozy carriers, and the cutest slip covers you’ve ever seen. Not going to lie, I had several covers because babies vomit and spit up a lot and I didn’t want to do laundry every day. Lazy, I know, but when you’re a zombie you do what you have to do. Boppy has a new product out, a teething scarf, which was an instant hit and already won a Mom’s Choice Award. It’s an infinity scarf that serves as an accessory, cover up for nursing, and easy grip teether made from food-grade silicon. The nice lady at the booth modeled it for my readers! Very cute, and cozy for baby!


Next up, I chatted with the ladies at the Motherlove® Nurturing Life booth. Motherlove products are recommended by healthcare professionals and trusted by mothers everywhere. The products are self-care for moms and contain herbs that are traditionally and effectively used worldwide to support breast milk supply. Their line carries Sitz Bath Spray, pregnant belly salve to help with stretch marks, and their most popular product: Motherlove Nipple Cream. Breastfeeding moms – can I get an amen! Side note: nipple cream is becoming a popular lip balm on dry lips during winter. I’ve tried it – it works. Just sayin’. You can check out their whole line at Motherlove.

After I divulged that I sometimes use nipple cream (no judging) on my lips, I went over to the Inspired Start booth and was really impressed with what they’ve created. They are the only baby food designed to introduce eight common allergens. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says allergenic foods can be introduced just like other solid foods, around 4-6 months of age. Early allergen introduction, or just early introduction, is a new term — one that has emerged over the last couple of years as a response to new research. Early introduction is the process of feeding a potentially allergenic food to infants early on in their immune system development and on a consistent basis as they continue to grow and develop.

They come in cute easy to carry pouches (BPA free) and are available on Amazon Prime. So smart!


One of my last stops was at the SNOO Sleeper booth. All I can say is, “WOW”! This sleeper is all the rage with celebs and baby sleep gurus alike. It was created by the author of Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp (a.k.a. The Baby Whisperer). If you’re a mom you’ve read or at least heard of his book. It was my baby bible when I had my first son and his advice was solid. SNOO Smart Sleeper is a bassinet that applies Dr. Karp’s popular 5 S’s soothing techniques, giving your baby a perfect 4th Trimester for safe and happy sleep.

SNOO is the only bed that boosts sleep 1-2+ hours by soothing babies with the constant rumbly sound and gentle rocking they loved in the womb. SNOO also “hears” your baby’s cries and automatically responds with 5 levels of gradually stronger white noise and motion to find the best level to soothe fussing. It comes with a special swaddle for safe sleeping, different attachments for incline, and even has an app to control the controls (of course it does!). It does come with a hefty price tag, but you have to ask yourself – is you and your baby’s sleep worth it? I’d say so.


Some other notable (I mean, they all were awesome) vendors were one of my other favorites, Mable’s Labels

If you don’t use these yet, trust me you will. If your baby goes to daycare or when they are older and start schooling – everything must be labeled. What better way to personalize or showcase your little one’s personality then with Mabel’s labels. AND, you can get 20% off site wide using the code:US182DOQ561C from now until December 31, 2018.


My new friends at Líllé Baby, on the Goldbug, Pura, Inspired Start (who I talked about above), and Itzy Ritzy were kind enough to donate some of their favorite products among moms for a giveaway! The Líllé Baby tie the knot wrap includes unique, innovative features that simplifies placing carrier on and improves comfort. The on the Goldbug 4 in 1 privacy scarf is a multi-use scarf, nursing cover, shopping cart cover & car seat canopy. The Pura stainless steel bottle is unbreakable, dishwasher safe, non toxic, no plastics! They have a line for the whole family, but I have a bottle for you! Inspired start gave a cute little snack bag and a pouch of their uniquily formulated organic baby food. Finally the Itzy Ritzy snack bag is perfect for moms on the go!

How to ENTER:

  1. Follow on IG at hollydays_chicago.
  2. Share this post on Facebook.
  3. Tag your new mom friends or soon-to-be moms.

Each action is an entry!

First come first serve on the raffle items, there are 5 to give away! I have a few other samples I can throw in each as a surprise gift too!

Winner will be chosen Tuesday, September 4th.


Best Parenting Practices for the Development of Kids

Raising kids is one of the biggest and toughest tasks for the parents. It is one of the best joyful
activities for both parents as well child. All the parents have valuable resources on their hands
that they can apply to their kids to become more reliable and can able to learn plenty of things
from them.
When you ask the entire parent what they need for their children, then most of the replies you
get that they want their children to be happy always. The well being of your children is totally
dedicated to their parents than anything else. We all know that play is one of the most favorite
tasks for all the children and one of the best time for them to learn various things too.

Let’s see how play can help your children to learn effectively:

● Playing is one of the most valuable ways that leads to enhancing your kid’ cognitive
skills and personalities. It is the universal truth that through the plenty of games activity
your children can develop their personality. It helps them to understand the uncertain
and certainly thinks rationally; develop vocabulary, physical activity, cognitive skills,
social skills, negotiation skills and many more.

● It is healthy for your kids- When your kids indulge in physical activity it helps them to
build strong muscles and get active throughout the entire day.

● Playing is not simple- Many time it happens them playing activity also leads to mishap
incident, so in order to avoid that it is parent’s duty to keep watching your children while
playing is vital to keep them safe all the time.

● Playing release children from stress- it is also considered as one f the most joyful activity
for the children because it releases stress from the kids. While playing any game or with
a parent, all the children have ultimate fun.

All these activities will help them to grow faster and also can easily able to enhance their
cognitive and personality development. We all know that human is a unique species on the
earth as we can easily have the capability to learn by imitation. We are programmed in such a
way to copy other action by seeing them. In the same way, children also watch all the activities
that are performed by their parents carefully.

Parenting also involves a certain amount of discretion also. Actually speaking there are no
certain rules for developing your children as it just matters of care and love. Another fact is that
the different children may need different levels of attention, care, support, and love, being
parents that you must need to pay attention while raising them.

Having a child is an ultimate joy for the parents and family. It is a privilege that you have kids. It
short you are rich you have the bundle of joy, upbringing a child is always a joyful activity for all
of us. Many parents think that their children are not their own property they do not belong to
you. So for the parent, it is just to see how they can nurture them effectively, supports them and
gives loves.

It is very important as parents to allow your kid to be whatever they wanted to be, there are
parents who forced their kid to indulge in certain activities or decision-making process which
they do not like at all. Let them becomes what they want to be and allows them to take decision
for themselves. The parent’s duty is to check and guide them in their own direction to avoid the
unwanted mishap and make them strong on how to tackle the unexpected situation effectively.
Serving you kids with true love includes being with them as a friend and caring taker. Many
people think that loving their kids unconditional makes them rude but the fact is them how you
love them and support them is really matters. Try to differentiate between good and bad things
for them efficiently.

When your child remain as the child will surely help them to grow effectively in every stage of
their life. To understand one thing that there is no hurry to grow your kids, when your child
behaves like the child is a wonderful feeling and give them time to grow as per their stages of
life and according to their certain age.

We are into the 21st century and parenting becomes the very sensitive issue in these days as
children are more reliable to think. In that case being a friend with your children is more
beneficial for the parents instead of guardian. Giving them space and privacy is a big matter, ina simple term to understand that what you know about life to teach your children. Use some survival tricks to help them to listen to your words carefully and act likes a close friend with them it helps you to get connected with your kids. When you compare yourself with them and check who is more joy, you will find that your child. When a child arrives, the parents must understand that it is time to learn not taught. Serving your children with the supportive and loving atmosphere is always beneficial for you and your

There are many reputed and professional consulting center are also offering plenty of services
related to parenting skills. Their ultimate job is to understand the needs and requirements of the
customers or parents and also make them get connected with their children. They are expert in
their respective task and some psychologist also can guide you on how to make your children
understand you and your expectations.

Some of the online tutor sites are offering the best online parenting class for the seekers who
wanted to get some valuable tips for their children upbringings. Many parents think that going
out for counseling on how to develop your children is not a significant matter but actually
speaking it is one of the best ways to enhance your parenting skills well enough to serve your
kids effectively.

So, in short, understand the sweet relations between parents and children and build your bones
on the supportive pillars like love, care, and understandings.


When Planning On The Birth Of Your New Baby – Don’t Forget This Important Detail Like I Did

Before having my first child, I read every book I could on parenting.  I studied how to care for newborns and how to get them on a sleep schedule. I obsessed over all the nursery must-haves for baby safety. I poured over article after article detailing out survival tips for making it through the first years. I even took several parenting classes at the hospital in preparation for the birth.  


Once the time arrived for my bundle of joy to make his presence in the world, the one thing I didn’t prepare for was how to nurse him. I naively thought this little being would show me how it all worked, but unfortunately, that was not the case.

After the birth and during my short hospital stay, I summoned every nurse I could to help me. I’d ask if I was nursing correctly, I’d seek advice on how to help my son latch well – but something just didn’t feel right. I could tell my baby was not getting the amount of milk he needed. He seemed frustrated after each attempt at feeding, but the nurses would reassure me that babies have small stomachs and do not need much the first few days. Once I was released from the hospital, the panic set in. My plan to nurse him was not working out the way I had envisioned.

It was very important to me to be able to nurse my son. I wanted the nutritional benefits for him, I wanted the benefits for my recovering body, and lastly I wanted the financial benefits. When the realization set in that this may not be an option, I became severely depressed. I felt like a failure. I had let my family down. When I asked friends and family for advice, everyone had a different answer. This made matters worse. Instead of getting much needed support, I was being told everything I was doing was wrong – and for a new mom that’s the worst thing you can hear.

At my son’s one-week checkup he had lost more than a pound of his birth weight and the doctor told me it was time to consider the alternative. I broke down. When I got home, I went straight for my pump. After expressing 4 ounces of breast milk, I put it in a bottle and tried giving it to my son. To my surprise he guzzled down every last drop and the fussiness subdued. I felt victorious. From that day on, I pumped every day, 5-6 times, for the next eleven months. Eleven months! I also had enough milk frozen to get him to the one-year mark formula free.

baby s

When my second son was born I prepared mentally to do the same thing with him. But, luckily, he took to nursing quite easily. Him and I’s nursing journey lasted just over two years. When our nursing relationship came to an end, I actually mourned. Mourned that he was my last baby and mourned that I didn’t get to experience the same journey with his older brother.

Looking back, I wish I would have known more with my first son. I could have been more prepared. I wish I would have known about all the resources out there. If I had, I wouldn’t have felt so alone. One great resource, The Honest Company, provides feeding resources for both formula and breastfeeding mommas. I also wish I wouldn’t have given up so easily. That would have saved hours of my life from being a slave to my pump. The day I retired my pump was a great day indeed!

So, my advice to new moms is to never give up. If nursing is your plan – don’t stop until you and your baby figure it out together. Yes, it will be hard and there will be days you’ll think it’s impossible. Your breasts will feel like rocks and like there’s electric currents running through them at times. But, it gets better! I promise. The bond you’ll feel with your baby is unmatched. Find support groups on Facebook, there are plenty to chose from. Find other new moms in your area to encourage and support you. And finally, always listen to your mommy instincts and go with what you know is best for you and your baby. That, in the end, is what matters most.

Guest Post: Nutrition Advice During Pregnancy by Natalie Michele, General Physician

Pregnancy is a nine-month period which brings visible as well as hidden changes to woman’s body. One of the most distinguishable characteristics of gestation surely is the weight variation caused by the increased demands for the caloric intake that is crucial for proper fetus development.

Getting adequate nutrition during pregnancy is just as important as during the postpartum period that lasts 6 weeks after the birth. During this time, new mothers tend to forget about themselves because of the stress, “baby blues” or because newborns simply require constant attention.

The negligence of your needs cannot be manifested into anything positive and beneficial; therefore to help you embrace the nutrition habits that will not only benefit you but your loved one as well, here are some gathered guidelines and quick tips that will help you get back on track and lead to the promising future.



Eating healthy and nutritious food during postpartum helps the mother, as well as the child, achieve short and long-term benefits. Here three main prosperities that a well-balanced menu will help you achieve:

  • Keep the energy levels up, even when you are sleep deprived.
  • Production of nutritious breast milk that will keep you baby healthy.
  • Lose baby weight that is no longer needed.

Calorie intake

Food enriched with fibers, vitamins, and minerals is a fuel that helps “body engines” run smoothly and efficiently throughout the whole day.

The recommended calorie addition to the standard 1800-2000 Kcal/day chart for the postpartum period is 500 Kcal/day, which makes a total of 2300-2500 Kcal/day, depending on your current health state.   

  • Protein

Foods that have high levels of protein contain a hunger-fighting hormone that lowers the appetite making you full for hours at the time. They are also a great source of vitamin B12 and iron that boost the energy levels up, even when conquering a day with tired eyes.

Here are some foods high in protein:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken breasts
  • Oats
  • Cottage cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Tuna
  • Lean beef
  • Fish and shrimps
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Quinoa

To make sure the chosen source of protein provides all capable benefits it is advisable to keep a track on the content of saturated fats as well as to chose the leans cuts of meat over the processed products, such as sausages, salami, and hot dogs.

  • High-fiber carbohydrates

Excessive consumption of carbohydrates is one of many reasons why people gain weigh very quickly. Cutting off the “carbs” during the postpartum is not an option because they are needed for the production of breast milk. It seems as the only question remaining is how to balance the carbohydrate intake without interrupting the lactation and your baby weight losing plan.

Foods enriched with high-fiber carbohydrates take longer to break down; which means that the 6-8 hours digestive cycle will ensure your body receives all necessary components without draining the consumed meal to the fullest putting your weight at risk. Because the high-fiber nutrients don’t digest thoroughly they also provide the body with long-lasting energy without increasing the blood sugar.

Here is a list of high-fiber carbohydrates foods:

  • Brown rice, wild rice
  • Whole oats
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat pasta and bread
  • Peas, black beans, lima beans
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts
  • Pears
  • Raspberries, blueberries
  • Monounsaturated fats



To lose weight in postpartum without making any negative impacts on your body and lactation, a person has to pay closer attention to the fats that certain foods consist of. The consumption of nutrients that have high levels of saturated and trans fats should be limited or replaced with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids.

A well-balanced diet that is enriched with monounsaturated fats not only helps keep the cholesterol at acceptable levels but also, according to Reina Sofia University Hospital in Cordoba, Spain, helps a person get rid of the lower belly fat that is one of the most troublesome areas when losing weight, especially after the pregnancy.

Foods high in monounsaturated fats:

  • Olives and olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Nuts and nut oil
  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate
  • Sesame, flaxseed

Foods enriched with omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Flaxseeds
  • Atlantic salmon
  • White tuna
  • Sardines
  • Fresh basil and dried oregano

Omega-3 fatty acids, according to many medical studies, help lower the different types of depression including the postpartum depression. To make sure you receive the benefits from this nutrient The Institute of Medicine advises the breastfeeding women to consume approximately 1.3 grams of omega-3 per day (1 tablespoon of walnut oil contains 1.4 grams of omega-3).

Postpartum is a stressful period that takes a toll on every mother in different ways. Some people lose and some gain weight due to the new and undiscovered parental life that is filled with trials as well as the joy. To make your weigh-loosing quest as easy and healthy as possible here are the last 4 tips you should put into practice:

  1. Eat food enriched with vitamin A, C, D, E and minerals such as potassium, calcium, and iron.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Don’ skip meals or go without eating for long periods of time.
  4. Feel free to enjoy a healthy snack between the meals.

To find more helpful information on all things maternity, visit: Maternity At Home

Guest Post: Yoga During Pregnancy — Is It Safe?

Indeed, pregnancy isn’t an easy stage. A lot of techniques, preparations and tips are involved throughout this long process. One must maintain a healthy body to ensure the health of yourself and for your future child. Eating healthy foods, taking prenatal supplements, and having regular exercises are needed.

young pregnant woman making yoga exercise at a lake

One of the most popular exercise in today’s world is yoga. Yoga relaxes your body and is easy to do. But can you do yoga while pregnant? Perhaps, yes. A lot of care and precautions are needed by someone when pregnant. Prenatal yoga is a form of yoga which is created and suited for pregnant women. Prenatal yoga also prepares a woman for an easy labor and promoting her child’s health. But further consultation in needed to ensure that yoga during pregnancy is safe for you. Because there are some yoga poses to avoid during pregnancy.

In the first trimester, there is some specific pregnancy yoga poses recommended. Because this stage is the crucial point of pregnancy and it needs a lot of caution to prevent miscarriage or complications. Check these few yoga poses that are safe when pregnant:


  • Cat Pose

In this kind of pose, you must kneel in a table position with your knees under your hips and arms are beneath your shoulder. Head faces forward and your back must be straight. Exhale, drop head and your tailbone. Then arch your back and exhale further. Next is tighten your buttocks and the abdominal muscles. Do this every evening and/or morning. This is a great way to release the stress and tension in your lower back.

This pose strengthens and relaxes your lower back, improves blood circulation, stretches your muscles along the neck, arms and back, and increases the suppleness along your spines.


  • Sitting on the floor

Is Yoga Safe During Pregnancy 1

These three poses which are recommended ways to sit. This is to reduce the lower back pain, pressure, and even discomfort.

Seated on the floor. This is to help the spine to be straight in any form of seated position. Sit with your back and resting against the wall for support. You can also sit on a folded blanket or in the firm cushion to keep the spine straight.


  • Knee rocking

It is advisable not to warm-up if you feel any discomfort in the pelvic area and in the hips.

In a cross-legged position, sit in with your leg on the top. If possible, you can lean against the wall to support your back. Then cradle your left leg with your both arms and lift it towards the chest and to your abdomen as long as you’re comfortable.

Keep your back straight and hold your leg as high, and as close to you if possible, without straining. By moving from the hip joint, gently rock your leg as if you’re just rocking a baby. After rocking it for several legs, switch leg position and repeat it with your other leg.

This pose helps alleviate the discomfort in your hip joints which probably caused by the pressure of your growing baby on the joints and nerves in the hip part, thighs and buttocks. It also improves the flexibility in the pelvic, groin area, and in the pelvic.

These just only a few safe yoga poses. Despite these poses, you’ll to avoid these poses: camel, headstands, upward bow, backbends, and balancing poses on leg unless it is supported by a wall or chair.

Is Yoga Safe During Pregnancy

To further ensure your safety, here are some recommended guidelines needed to be followed:

  • Avoid poses which stretches your muscles too much, especially in the abdomen. Because of the pregnancy hormone called relaxin, which causes the uterus to expands then eventually softens the connective tissue, you are more prone to pulls, strains, and other injuries right now.
  • If you are already attending a regular yoga class before, make sure to inform your teacher or instructor that you are having a baby and which you’re trimester in.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel any discomfort, then STOP. You will need to modify your poses as your body is changing. That’s why you’re in need of a good instructor, to help you modify your yoga to suit the stage of your pregnancy.
  • Never go into any asanas poses on the back right  after the first trimester. It can reduce the blood flow to your uterus.
  • When you are bending forward, hinge from the hips. Leading it with the breastbone and extending your spine from the crown of your head down to your tailbone. This will allow more space for your ribs to move and which makes easy breathing.
  • To avoid losing your balance and risk of injury to your baby and yourself on the second trimester and the center of gravity starts to change, do some standing poses with your heel to the wall or use any chair for further support.
  • When doing some twisting poses, to avoid putting some pressure on the abdomen, just twist more from your shoulder and back rather than from your waist. Do only comfortable twist. Deep twists are not advisable during pregnancy for it may put you at a higher risk of injury and complications.
  • When bending forward while you’re sitting place a yoga strap or a shower behind your feet then hold its both ends. Bend from your hips then lifts your chest. This will avoid in compressing the abdomen. Placing a rolled-up towel under the buttocks to elevate your body and then open your legs about a hip in width, to give a room for the belly to come in front, is often done if your belly is too big for the particular movement.
  • To help relax your muscles in the buttocks, keep the pelvis in a neutral position during a pose by engaging the abdominals and the tailbone down and in. This can help reduce or hopefully reduce the sciatic pain down to your back of the leg, which is a common effect during pregnancy. It can also prevent injury to your connective tissue that is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis area.

Yoga and pregnancy are indeed a perfect combination. Yoga is really safe. Why not try it? But always have in mind, safety must be on top of your priority.


8 Things I Actually Miss About Being Pregnant

Originally featured on Scary Mommy

I can hear the gasps now! Wait, what? Who misses being pregnant? All you do is pee yourself, waddle like a duck, gain more weight than you’d like to admit, and complain to your partner nonstop! So let me clarify: I don’t miss pregnancy in a let me go and get knocked up kind of way, but more in a I only miss it now because I don’t have to go through the experience again kind of way.

Since my husband and I have officially nixed any further family expansion plans, I thought I would relish the few fond memories I do have of my last two, brutal, pregnancies.

Besides the obvious (you get a cute little baby at the end) here are some benefits to being pregnant:

1. You can let it all hang out. This by far was the best perk of being pregnant. After many dinners that included seconds and dessert, I didn’t have to worry about sucking my belly in. I could just let it flop down between my legs and no one would guess that the bump was actually the consequence of my shameful indulgences. People look at your belly in awe because you are creating a little life in there, versus whispering to their friends that you may need to lay off the burritos for awhile.


2. You have a free pass to sleep all the time. I love naps, but I always feel guilty taking them. I feel like that is time I could be spending with my family or being productive, but when I was pregnant, I slept all the time without the guilt! In fact, if anything or anyone came in between my day sleeping and me – there was hell to pay!

3. You have a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. I used this card often when helping with chores, driving, avoiding social events I was too tired for, and even tying my own shoes. It was glorious!

4. You can eat guilt free. Even though I’m typically a healthy eater, I allowed myself some gelato more times than I’d like to admit. You’re eating for two, right? Even though that second person is the size of a lemon, they need just as much gelato as you do. Plus, every bite was worth it.

5. You feel the baby move first. There is something very special about being the only one to share that experience with your baby. You fall in love with your baby first. They fall in love with you first – and that’s some magical shit.

6. You can pamper yourself more often. I had prenatal massages once or twice a month just so I could move, but those two hours were heaven on earth. I also had several pedicures a month. I loved convincing my husband to rub my feet, and he fell for it every time! I just might have to fake an injury or something so I can justify putting this pampering back into my monthly rotation.

7. You have thick gorgeous hair. Your hair looks like you walked out of a salon every day! The shine, the texture, the fullness – where did it go? This last time I lost a lot of hair post-partum. I’m regretting complaining about that lustrous hair now.

8. You have a leg up on any situation. Anytime someone complained about petty shit, you could always say, “I’m creating a life! What are you doing today?” Take that, people who always think they have it so rough!

For all the women who float through pregnancy with ease and love every minute of it, I envy you and almost don’t believe you. Pregnancy was one of the most emotional, and physically draining, things I’ve ever been through, but was absolutely worth it – even if it was just for the guilt-free gelato (and the cute little baby)!


Things I Desperately Miss About My Pre-Baby Body

Remember your pre-baby body? The one that could pull all-nighters and sneeze without having to change out your under garments? I remember it too, and I miss it immensely.

While pregnant I took every precaution known to man to try and preserve my pre-baby body. I did pelvic exercises to save my lady parts. I lathered myself up with oil every night to try and prevent stretch marks. I ate extremely healthy (well, minus the ice cream) and exercised religiously to help prevent excessive weight gain. I even wore special bras that claimed to help maintain “perkiness”.

Fortunately my efforts did prevent a few catastrophes, but sadly there were other parts of my body I had to bid farewell. Since both of my boys are apparently decedents of Bigfoot, my petite body took quite a beating. My once beautiful, bragging-rights, rack is now nothing but a couple of enlarged milk bags destined for surgery. Trust me when I say, they won’t even show their face in a pitch-black room until further notice.

Since every mom misses something about her pre-baby body, let’s compare to what once was. Shall we?

Boobs. Every mom I talk to misses her boobs. After babies, they end up too big or shriveled up little raisins. Why can’t we have an in-between? Why must our boobs now resemble deflated tube socks or look like they were set out in the sun for three days straight without sunscreen? Not fair.

Nipples. Now referred to as giant flying saucers. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you’ve lost all feeling too. Awesome.

Bladder. I once was the queen of holding my bladder all day at work. Not because I wanted to, but because I was always so busy. Now my bladder controls me. Go time – means go time. Who knew once you became a mom you would no longer be able to sneeze, laugh, or cough without saying a silent prayer to the bladder control Gods. (This was the second highest complaint I’ve heard from all my mom friends.)

Hair. Women with thick hair – beware. I use to have this lovely, thick flowing mane. My hair was my thing. People always complimented me on it. Now, after months of pulling handfuls out in the shower, I have feathered wings on both sides of my face. I would fit perfectly back in the 80’s.

Butt. For some reason my butt decided to melt into my legs with my last pregnancy. Nothing a few thousand squats at the gym won’t fix, because as a busy mom I have time for that, right?

Feet. With the rest of our bodies changing so much you’d think we could catch a break on our feet. Not so much. My feet grew a half size and never returned to their original state. Goodbye to all my old cute heels I spent a fortune on!

Brain: Riddle me this. How can I remember my telephone number from when I was five years old, but can’t remember where I put my phone or keys everyday? I also can’t remember what I did yesterday half the time. Having kids makes you lose your mind. Literally.

Tummy: Not that I had washboard abs prior to pregnancy, but I definitely didn’t look like I won a burrito eating contest everyday – like I do now.

Was going through all this worth it? Yes. Would we do it all over again for our babies? Yes. These obviously go without saying, but while we’re being honest here – wouldn’t it be nice if we could wear a dress without squeezing into Spanx, and play jump rope with our kids without peeing ourselves? I know the answer, and so do you.


My Breastfeeding Truths

Note: Breastfeeding is a personal choice and I support any of my readers / friends who chose to either nurse or formula feed. This post is not about which is better because that is for moms to determine what works best for them and their babies.

Well I made it. We made it. My son officially passed his one-year mark in late November and we are still going strong with nursing. For mom’s who breastfeed, you know this is a huge accomplishment. The road was not always easy and even though he is my second child, he was my first exclusively breastfed. My older son never quite figured out the whole “latching” thing, and I was a clueless new mom who felt like a fish out of water.

Once I realized neither he nor I knew what the hell we were doing, I immediately began pumping and continued to pump every day for ten months straight. While I can say I’ve learned to truly love breastfeeding with my second son, I still definitely hate the pumping. Between both my kids I’ve spent, collectively, over 3 months time pumping. That’s a lot of nipple tugging people! I’m so over it, but because I’m a human cow – Mr. Medela and I have postponed our divorce, at least for now.

I chose to breastfeed primarily because it’s free! My first son was born during the recession and my second son was born right after I left my corporate job, so finances were tight. Also, I had heard it’s easier to get your pre-baby body back when you breastfeed. Lastly, it’s beneficial for baby.

I realize each person and each experience is different, but I thought I would share some of my “truths” of breastfeeding with new moms or soon-to-be moms who choose to nurse. Hopefully this will minimize the surprises because as a new mom – don’t we have enough of those already?

My breastfeeding truths:

  1. It HURTS. Like HELL. Then after a few weeks…. it gets better, much better. Eventually the numbness sets in and the pain subsides, so power through momma. You can do it!
  2. Know that every day you’ll eat like it’s Thanksgiving. You lose a ton of calories a day just from nursing, so you’ll feel FAMISHED all the time. I tend to take advantage of the vast amount of calories I lose and sneak in some cake.
  3. There will never be enough water to clinch your thirst. Keep a bottle of water by your bed because you’ll wake up feeling as if you spent all night crawling through the Sahara dessert.
  4. Be sure to line your bra with nursing pads. It’s all fun and games until you look down and see two large wet spots.
  5. One boob will always be bigger than the other and it’s very noticeable, especially after you nurse.
  6. When you experience the “let down” your nipple becomes a shower head and anything in its path will get sprayed, so watch out.
  7. Your boobs will never be the same again. Let the dream go. Looks like I’ll be investing in some nice bras in the future.
  8. When your breasts are full, they can knock out Evander Holyfield with one hit. He is no match for my mommy boobs.
  9. Prepare yourself for Mastitis or clogged ducts. I would consider myself to have a high tolerance for pain and Mastitis knocked me on my a**. If feels like the flu – times a thousand. If you feel like your breasts are on fire and they start to turn red DON’T wait, get on antibiotics stat! Keep nursing, massaging and use a heating pad.
  10. When teeth come into play don’t scream when they bite you, it makes them bite harder. Learned that one from experience.
  11. When they become mobile, nursing sessions turn into baby acrobatics complete with thrashing arms and legs.
  12. All of the above are worth it because of the indescribable bonding experience. Those precious moments will stay in my heart forever.

I know my nursing days are coming to a close and I will admit the thought makes my heart heavy. I’ll miss when he holds my hand or rubs my face during sessions, and I’ll miss the feeling of being truly needed. I know my schedule and body will eventually thank me once the floodgates are closed, but until then I’ll just continue to savor the bonding – and eat lots of cake.

Photo credit: Sylvia Stutz Photography
Photo credit: Sylvia Stutz Photography



Losing The Dreaded Pregnancy Weight

There are very few things in life more difficult than losing weight, especially as you get older. It takes dedication and a commitment to make life changes.  As humans we are creatures of habit and unfortunately we pick up bad habits rather quickly.

I recently had my second baby and as a normally petite 5’2” woman, pregnancy has never my strong suit. I also have a giant husband who measures in at a whopping 6’5”.  Together we produced two very large, tall, boys.

Going into this pregnancy I knew it would be my last so I didn’t restrain myself from any cravings. If I wanted a cookie, I was going to eat a cookie… okay, maybe two cookies – who’s counting anyways? I also headed up the Catering department at a luxury hotel so indulging in amazing food was not something I was ever going to turn down.  Pregnant women like to joke they are now eating for two, but let’s be honest here; the second person is practically the size of a melon. I’m sure they don’t require a whole cookie just for themselves.

I admit my love for food is unparalleled, pregnant or not.  This obsession coupled with hypothyroidism, hormone treatments, and an intense sweet tooth caused me to gain nearly 20lbs before I even became pregnant.  During my pregnancy I gained another 40lbs, so I knew once this baby arrived – I would have my work cut out for me.  In my last trimester I put together a weight loss game plan.  I knew if I waited I would get caught up in the daily struggles of taking care of a newborn and my goals may have been sidelined.


Let me first state that I am not a weight loss expert, a doctor, a nutritionist or even a personal trainer – I am just a busy mom who is passionate about my health and the example I set for my boys.

The first step was writing my goals down and sharing them with friends and family. I am a firm believer in sharing your goals so you are held accountable for them.  Plus, you can use the encouragement and support you receive as inspiration to continue on your path.  Next, I created a realistic timeline.  It takes nine months to put on the weight and it very well may take nine months (or longer) to take it off. Being a mom is stressful enough so be sure to make attainable goals, as you want your weight loss to be a healthy one.  Finally, I downloaded some helpful Apps to track my progress and started following a few fitness blogs. Over the last several months, I continued to stay true to myself and my goals.  If I cheated one day, I made a conscious effort not to do it the next day or any future days.

Below are some tips that helped me reach my goal weight:

  • I wrote down my goals and shared them.
  • I chose to nurse my son.  Nursing, if you can and choose to, will help you lose up to 500 calories a day! This helped tremendously with my initial weight loss.
  • I toned down my portions. Eating off of a salad plate rather than a dinner plate helped me gain perspective on my portion sizes.
  • I eat very little dairy, refined sugars and gluten.  Diary and gluten can give your baby gas when nursing so giving them up was a win for both my baby and me.  I know gluten-free products can be expensive so try substituting one item at a time that your budget allows.
  • Sweets are now just an occasional treat, not part of my daily meal plan. I do miss my cookies though!
  • I signed up for a Mommy Fit class. These classes are a great way to incorporate your baby into your fitness routine, and are  perfect networking opportunities for you to meet other new moms.
  • I enjoy running as a cardio workout so I signed up for future races to keep my goals ongoing.
  • I follow fitness / healthy lifestyle blogs religiously.  Three of my favorites: New mom, Kelsey Byers Fitness, Becci Prather Fitness, and Angela Carpenter, The Yoga Life Blog.  All give recipes, food recommendations, fitness routine suggestions and post videos to show the ‘How To’.
  • I have two Apps that I also use religiously: The Nike + Running App to track my miles and running goals and My Fitness Pal to track my calories, food intake and exercise goals.
  • When the baby naps I try to use that time to work out, whether it’s simple floor exercises, push-ups or using hand weights.
  • This one may sting a little… I consume very little alcohol. Alcohol is a complete waste of calories and it also prevents me from nursing my son.  I now consider it only as a treat on special occasions. The nightly glass of wine for relaxation is now a thing of the past.

baby weight

Today my son is almost five months old and my progress has exceeded my expectations. When I checked into the hospital I weighed 185lbs, I currently weigh 120lbs. I feel amazing but most importantly – I feel healthy.



Birth Story: Part 2

My husband had to interrupt his viewing pleasures and leave the room for twenty minutes.  I hated that he had to leave during this procedure.  Epidurals scare me and I wanted his support.  This was also the last thing I feared so I just wanted to get through it.  Once the Anesthesiologists came in with her team, my very nice supportive nurse was going on break and substituted a not-so-friendly nurse to assist.  Crap!  I wanted her to hold my hand and give me words of encouragement but she was cold as ice.  Epidurals make me feel very faint at first.  At one point I was afraid I was going to hit the floor and become paralyzed since there was a catheter in my spine!  I know… dramatic, but this was my first thought when Mrs. Frost-y Cold Heart would not hold my hand.

The Epidural hurt much worse this time around.  I had breaks between my contractions so I could feel more of the pain in my back.  Luckily it was quick and once the nausea subsided they laid me down on my side to relax.

My husband brought back food and I watched him eat as I salivated. What’s the worse that can happen if I had a little bit of food, right?  Once the nurses left I made him sneak me some pretzels.  Let’s keep that between us.

Around 5 pm, the nurse came in to check on me.  After reviewing the monitor she asked if I could feel any pressure.  I felt some but really wasn’t sure if I was ready to push. I figured I had another few hours of labor.

“Well looks like it will be soon, so let me know when you start to feel like you have to make a bowl movement.”

Whoa! Already? About five minutes after she left the room I started to feel some pressure.  I called her back in to check me.

 “Yes, he’s ready.  Let’s start pushing!”

I started crying tears of joy.  I had only been in labor a few hours and I was about to meet my little man? My doctor then came in and proceeded to put on her gear, which looked more like she was the lead character in the Hurt Locker.

“Wow Doc, that’s some intense gear.  You would think I was about to explode on you.”

She chuckled, “You’d be surprised.”

“I don’t like surprises, so let’s keep those to a minimum.”

“Alright, let’s have a baby!”

My only complaint now was I could see a reflection in her oversized safety glasses. Yikes, is that me? Don’t look! The last thing I wanted was to see was my lady-parts pushing out a baby.  I tried to close my eyes and just focus on pushing.

I pushed for about twenty minutes.  Right toward the end the doctor told me she may have to cut me if he didn’t come out on the next push.  This must have scared the baby and more importantly me because on the next push he appeared.


Then came my favorite moment.  The one where you make eye contact with this little life you have been dreaming about for the last nine months.  It’s so powerful it brings the strongest to their knees. It is a moment I wish I could stop in time and savor more than time allows.  It is one that will make me happy for the rest of my life. My son was finally here. They put him on my chest, which is something I didn’t get to experience with my first son. It was amazing.  My husband and I both cried.  It was the perfect moment.

I was released on Wednesday just in time for Thanksgiving, which seemed fitting as I have so much to be thankful for.  Is it too early to say I already want another one?  I wonder if my husband would agree?  Wishful thinking.

Meet my little man, Alexander:


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