Why Keeping A Food Journal Makes Losing Weight Easier As A New Mom

Hi Guys!

Are you a new mamma ready to start shedding excess baby weight and get back in shape? Have you fully recovered and gotten clearance from your doctor that exercise is A-OK?

Or…

Even if you CAN’T exercise, do you still want to crush your post-baby weight-loss goals without sacrificing your milk supply or sanity?

We’ve all heard it before: weight loss is “just math“…

Eat fewer calories to lose weight. It’s that simple.”

But if you’re a new mom getting used to the changes in your body and trying to take care of a baby… you know that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Weight Loss is not impossible, but it isn’t ‘simple’ after you’ve just had a baby, either. From emotional eating to the impossible beauty-standards the media has drilled into our souls, getting fit is FULL of complexity.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be easier. It doesn’t mean that losing baby-weight has to be full of stress, confusion, and emotions.

Returning to the ‘math’ analogy… what’s one of the first things that we learn about doing math?

Show your work.

We are much more likely to succeed at something when we implement systems and habits that build on one another.

That being said, losing unhealthy weight does not require deprivation- but awareness. How do we stay aware and accountable to our body’s needs?

The same way we do complex math equations.

We write it all down. Step-by-step.

From establishing your goals to tracking changes in your body, keeping track of your health and fitness journey through a journal or app can be a huge help.

This post will cover why keeping a food journal can be a great tool in your fat loss journey, and help with the emotional toll body-image issues and post-pregnancy hormones take on your mental health.

I’ll also share my free health and fitness tracking template! That way, you can get started right away without having to drive yourself crazy figuring out what is essential to track and what isn’t as important.

Why Keeping A Health + Fitness Journal Helps You Lose Weight

Number 1: Tracking Food Intake

To lose weight, we must burn through more calories than we consume. When you’re a new mom- especially a breastfeeding mom, not only are you ravenous, but you’re also insanely exhausted. We can sometimes lose track of just how much we’re consuming(as well as it’s nutritional value).

Having a place where you can jot down what you’re eating each day is a great way to identify areas where you can replace certain foods with healthier options.

Number 2: Tracking Progress

Being on a weight loss journey is an emotionally tense process. It’s easy to get discouraged, and if the only way you’re tracking your progress is with a scale, you could trigger a bad headspace and feel frustrated.

Journaling gives you a place to track progress in multiple ways. You can log measurements, weight- or make a note of how well your clothes fit.

Having a place to jot it all down will let you look back on how far you’ve come, and make staying on track easier.

Number 3: Tracking Your Feelings

There are… SO many things are going on after you have a baby, lol. Your body and emotions can feel foreign. 

You’re overwhelmed and stressed, especially with a worldwide pandemic going on. So you must take time for yourself to decompress.

A journal is a safe and private place where you can talk about how you’re feeling. As moms, we feel compelled to take on the stress and bear it with big smiles. 

We feel so intrinsically called to the duty of motherhood that we often neglect our mental health.

Keeping a health and fitness journal is not just for tracking your physical wellness; you can use it to better identify stressors and work through them.

Sometimes writing something down can make us feel better. And using a journal when you feel stressed can help you avoid emotional eating.

(Not that you should deny yourself cookies once in awhile… cookies are great. You know what, have a cookie WHILE you’re journaling)

How To Start A Food Journal

Now that you see the benefits of using a health journal, you might be reluctant because you’re not sure how to start. 

Well, I’ve saved you a Pinterest search(sorry), and you can download a template I made special for you.

Here’s the download.

Food Journal Templates (60 downloads)

You can just print these sheets out and get started journaling. I’ve made you a:

  • Goals” Template
  • Daily Tracking” Template
  • Weekly Progress” Template

They’re all pretty self-explanatory, and make it easier to get you started.

Soon, you’ll be inspired to create your OWN templates that fit YOUR exact journey.

You Did Something Incredible. CELEBRATE.

What’s most important is that you remember how INCREDIBLE you are. You have done incredible things. 

Your BODY has done incredible things.

Show yourself so much love. 

You are perfect.

It’s totally okay to want to feel your body get fit and healthy. Just never forget it’s about being healthy.

It’s not easy to love ourselves. As new moms, it’s easy to feel insanely insecure and question ourselves all the time… 

But the most essential workout you’ll do is on the inside. Our goals for our bodies will follow when we get our heads in a healthy space.

Make sure you tell yourself every day how amazing you are. CELEBRATE the beautiful life your body has created.

Teach your little one(s) that loving yourself is important, beautiful, and necessary.

Take care of yourself. Take care of your heart.

You got this.

You GOT THIS, mama.

Life As A Freelancing Mom | My Mompreneur Morning Routine

Guys! I just created two new things for you to check out!

I made an Instagram @littlemomlosesit where you can follow my fitness and wellness journey! 🙂

In the same vein, I created my OWN FB “Group Moms Losing It”, for other bad ass mamas who are living or transitioning into healthier lifestyles after baby. 

I figured it would be a really nice place for all of us to share our goals, experiences, recipes, fav exercises(all that BS) and keep each other motivated. So if you think that’d be fun, I’d love you to join.

Okay, let’s get on to the blog…


Hi Gang,

It’s been a little over a week before I weaned Jake off of breastmilk (I’ll get into those details in another post) and to be honest…

I feel really good.

I’m starting to not even feel guilty for admitting that, too.

Even in just this first week without pumping, my emotional and physical wellness have improved. Even though it was hard, with tears and a lot of meditation involved, it was still the best choice for my family.

That being said, today’s post will talk about my morning routine as a freelance copywriter and first-time mom.

It’s taken me 7 months, but I finally feel like I have a decent grip on how I plan my day to be productive as a business owner and as a loving mommy. I wanted to share my mompreneur morning routine in case someone might find it helpful or interesting.

Make My Bed

You’ve heard this one a trillion times before, and so did I.

But it does work. Every morning, regardless of what’s going on (short of an emergency, of course), I make my bed.

It isn’t always perfect, but at least I make it presentable.

I first heard the phrase: “Done is better than perfect” a few years ago.

And it actually really changed the way I view handling tasks like these. That added dose of productivity adds up and helps start my day off with a little “win”.

A small accomplishment that I can “check off” my to-do list.

Workout

So this is a new one since I stopped breastfeeding. My energy is a bit low, so I’ve been just trying to fit it into my day and not necessarily first thing in the AM.

However, in my defense(*excuse*), I’ve worked lots of late nights this week, so I plan to head to bed earlier in an attempt to be a morning person.

*blegh* Self-care is much harder than people say it is.

Anyway, I’m trying to lose some post-baby pudge, but I’m not gonna go nuts. I’m mainly focusing on changing my diet, and only working out for 30 mins 5-days a week. I actually love working out, but it’s one of those habits that I can easily fall in and out of. I’m excited to have the time to do it again.

Meditate

I’ve been meditating at least once a day (usually before I start my “workday”) for about three weeks.

I really love it. I really recommend it. Especially in these 2020-ass times, it’s been an enormous help in keeping me grounded, cope with any anxiety, and learn how to focus.

I only practice my meditation for 10 minutes at a time, but it’s an essential part of my day.

Get Dressed

*slow clap*

Listen, when you work from home… and have spent the last 5 fucking months in quarantine because POS grown adults are too selfish and stupid to wear a fucking mask

Getting dressed is actually something that requires effort. Especially by me, as I lack style.

I heard one of my idols, Tarzan Kay, talk about how, even though she works from home, she always gets dressed like she’s going somewhere.

She said it built her confidence and made her feel good, and I really thought that was a great idea.

Since I have a messy 8-month-old, I’m not wearing anything “cute” right now, but I always make sure to change out of my PJs and into something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to go out in public in.

It’s another one of those “self-care” things that help these abnormal days feel a little normal-er.

Plan Out My Work Day

I use Trello to help me organize what my workday will be like. I create a board/card for each day of the week, then create a “check-list” inside each card.

Each entry on the list is a project and an estimated time-block I devote to it. It doesn’t always match up, being that I’ve got a precious little bean to love and care for, but it’s helpful for sure.

Just having everything organized and easy to “check-off” alleviates my anxiety and helps me focus.

I use a free online app called “Toggl” to track my time and stay accountable. It lets me get a realistic idea of how long a particular project will take and make sure I set a boundary for when to stop.

My current schedule usually consists of a 6-hour workday, 4- 5 days a week. But I really try to stick to 4-days because I want to devote the other days to Jake and other hobbies.

Taking that break is CRUCIAL for me to do my job effectively.

Don’t get me wrong, running my own business means that I’ll work my fair share of late nights.

However, setting a plan for the day lets me say: “I’m done” without stressing that I forgot something.

Drink 40 Oz Of Water

I have a 32 Oz Contigo (I only mention the brand because it’s my favorite) water bottle that I fill up and finish before lunchtime. I don’t allow myself a cup of coffee until I drink at least 32 oz of water. I don’t worry about those last 8 oz, because I know between lunch and dinner I’ll drink that and then some.

Drinking enough water is a hard habit to form, but it really makes me feel better and will help with my weight-loss goals.

Look In A Mirror & Compliment Myself

Old Kenz would’ve found this lame… new Kenz still kinda does. But that’s all the more reason I make myself do it. 

Once a day, I force myself to stand in front of a mirror (which has always been a struggle in itself) and tell myself one or two things I did well that day.

I’ve always been self-deprecating (as most of us are), but I realized how unhelpful that was in every aspect of my life.

Most importantly, I don’t want Jake to imitate that behavior. So, to teach him to love himself, I am learning to love myself.

It’s a rocky relationship, it’s gonna take time, but I’m not gonna give up.

Follow A Strict-ish Waking And Feeding Schedule

I work hard to keep Jake on a predictable sleeping and eating schedule. Jake wakes up between 7:45 AM and 8:15 AM, and we immediately change his diaper and eat our breakfast.

Then, Jake plays with his toys and watches Disney Jr. while I start my workday until it’s time for his nap around 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM.

He’ll usually sleep until 12-12:30 PM, giving me a substantial chunk of time to focus on my work.

We immediately eat lunch (I also break my fast because I am doing Intermittent Fasting). 

Afterward, Jake plays and enjoys Puppy Dog Pals while I work.

His second nap is up in the air, but he usually goes back down between 2:30 PM -3:00 PM and will sleep anywhere from an hour or more.

My husband is usually home before Jake wakes up, so they’ll enjoy some QT while I finish any work I have left.

I try to be done by 3-3:30 PM, but that doesn’t always work out.

Now, this schedule came with effort and age. The older Jake got, the easier it was. In his early months, I could barely put him down (obviously), so don’t stress yourself out if you have less time than you like. 

What’s important is that you be a mommy and enjoy all of that good stuff.

The rest will work itself out.

That’s Pretty Much It

Yeah, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but I’m a routine girl, and having this schedule works great for Jake and me. 

Sleep-training is the only way I made this work

If you’re considering sleep-training and want some insight into my own experience and little-to-no-cry sleep-training techniques, you can check them out here.

I also have blogs about 5 Survival Tips For Mompreneurs and Work-From-Home Moms and 12 baby products that helped me survive Jake’s first 6 months. So check those out if you want!

I send you a plethora of good vibes in this trying time. 

And remember:

Black Lives Matter

Wear A Mask

Vote

Stay Safe, stay sassy

-Kenz

My (Almost) No-Cry Sleep-Training Experience| Why I Started Sleep-Training At 8 Weeks

It’s true, I started working with Jake on sleep-training at 8 weeks. Before Jake was born, I planned on going all-out on sleep-training as early as possible, but I changed my mind a bit after he was born.

For a few reasons, I started to push full-blown sleep-training for when he got a little older. However, while I wasn’t after a full 12-hours yet, I chose to establish a bedtime routine anyway. That way, when the time came for ACTUAL sleep-training, we wouldn’t struggle with the “putting him to bed” part because he’d already be used to it.

I wanted bedtime to always be this peaceful time for all of us. A time of bonding, love, comfort, and free of anxiety for Jake or us.

And so I did as all millennial mothers and frequented the internet to educate myself on some bedtime routines that I thought would work for Jake.

How I Established My 2-Month-Old Baby’s Bedtime Routine

FIRST: I started by just paying attention to Jake’s habits. We started noticing that he would pass out for his longest stretch of sleep around 6PM. This was around 6 or 8-weeks old, I think(around Christmas time).

This was a deep sleep, and our post-natal routine until then had been cuddling on the couch and falling asleep on daddy.

Recognizing this relatively consistent “sleepy-window”, we made his official “bedtime” 7PM. We DID end up changing bedtime to 6PM, because 7PM ended up being just a bit too late for him. 

SECOND: I tried to fit all of his age-appropriate feedings during his waking hours to help him sleep and ensure he was getting all of the nutrition he needed.

(I’ve struggled a lot with breastfeeding/pumping, so I was always very stressed about his eating. You can learn more about it in my post [here], if you want.)

Anyway, we kept a pretty strict routine:

  1. 5:45PM Bathtime
  1. 5:50PM(ish) Fresh diaper and swaddle
  1. 5:55PM(ish) Bottle
  1. 6:00PM Lay down in bedside bassinet with a pacifier (he was usually asleep from his bottle feeding)

Sometimes he would fuss, and we’d have to go back in and comfort him or replace a pacifier once or twice. 

But as the days went on, and he got used to a routine, we were able to lay him down quicker and quicker without intervening throughout the evening.

After a week or so, we could plop him in bed with a pacifier, and he’d take care of the rest. From then on, he’d wake up when he was ready for food and then go right back to sleep no problem.

For the next couple of months, he was a pretty great sleeper. He’d fall asleep at 6PM, and wouldn’t wake up again until between 11PM – 4AM for a feed. I was still letting him decide when he wanted to eat at night.

Transitioning From Bed-side to the Nursery

This was really tough for me. I had a lot of anxiety about him not being within arms-reach… I’m sure you also feel/felt it too.

Aside from just the typical new-mom anxiety, I had 2 cats. While I love them dearly, I was always afraid they would jump into Jake’s crib and accidentally smother him.

Obviously, I could close the door to his bedroom… but these were just “mommy” fears.

Not to mention… I loved having Jake right next to me at night. I loved reaching over and putting my hand on his little belly.

I loved listening to his breathing, and the convenience of quickly being able to replace a missing pacifier without having to get up.

But around 3 months old, we recognized that teaching him to sleep independently in his room was essential for long-term success. 

I didn’t want to wait until he was more… sentient… and feel extra stress from the transition.

Some of my anxiety was alleviated, thanks to the Owlet Baby Monitoring System. We love it. It has its kinks, but it TRULY helped with sleep-training because I could always look over and see his little heartbeat and know he was breathing.

If you want to learn more about baby products that helped me survive motherhood, here’s my post on that, too!

We followed our same bedtime routine, but instead of laying him in his bassinet, we would lay him down in his crib.

And to ease my stress, when my husband and I went to bed, I would bring him back to the bassinet.

After a few days, I felt confident leaving him in there all night. His sleep evened out, and we celebrated both his bravery and mine that he was sleeping in a big-boy bed.

His naps were shitty. 30-minute catnaps periodically that were always a struggle full of crying until he’d conk out. I figured it was a trade-off for now for a decent sleep.

But things got a little complicated around 3.5 months old.

When I Decided To Start Sleep-Training | The 4-Month Sleep Regression

So Jake tends to be ‘advanced’ when it comes to meeting milestones. He was always able to lift his head from the time he was born, rolling over at 3 months, etc.

He also started teething at 2 months old AND having the 4-month sleep regression at 3.5 months old! So it was a whammy of a time, lol. My boy went from at least 6-hour stretches to waking every 1.5 to 2 hours.

It was really rough because I was the only one getting up with him at night. As a freelance copywriter, I work from home, and my schedule is flexible. Whereas my husband has to get up very early.

He would always take care of Jake at night “until we went to bed”, so I’m not saying he wasn’t being a wonderfully devoted dad.

But waking up almost every hour, and sometimes having a little bean that was inconsolable for hours at a time takes a toll.

(… as I’m sure you understand…)

There were a few nights when Jake wasn’t the only one crying like a baby, lol.

When I read that the 4-month sleep regression never technically ‘ends’, I decided it was time to sleep train.

(yeah sorry if this is the first time you’re finding THAT out)

I figured if I could sleep-train him DURING a regression, it might future-proof his sleeping for when the next regressions hit.

My “Little-To-No-Cry” Sleep-Training Method Part 1

When I say “my” sleep-training techniques, let me be clear that I’m not an expert. I just took a bunch of tips and ideas from multiple resources and implemented them in a way that I thought would be most effective for Jake.

This is just an amalgamation of researched sleep-training methods combined with what I knew about my own baby.

I knew for sure that I wanted as little crying as possible. I’m a big softy, and I wasn’t going to cope well with CIO(cry-it-out). I could handle a little bit of crying, that’s to be expected, but I wouldn’t be able to leave Jake alone in the room for more than a few minutes at a time.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to do that, it just wasn’t right for me.

Now, you have to understand something. Your kid is most likely going to cry at some point, but you learn the different types of crying.

You’ll start to recognize the “I’m pissed that you aren’t holding me” cry versus a “Mommy I need you” cry.

Trust me… you WILL know the difference. One cry will make your heart hurt, of course… but the other…

The other fires instinct through your limbs like lightning and your baby will be in your arms so fast it was like they were always there.

And pity whoever was in your way.

So, while I prefer no-cry sleep training methods… I accepted that there would be times when my baby was going to cry, and that’s okay.

I started the same way I always start. I went to the internet and researched no-cry sleep training methods.

I was kind of emotional and super exhausted and ended up paying $100 bucks for a “personalized” sleep-training plan.

I did benefit from some of what it had to share, but it was far from REALLY personalized, and you could find any of the techniques I learned from it for free online.

This FB Group is the ONLY Mom Group I am on, and it’s an INCREDIBLE sleep-training resource and community. I strongly recommend it.

After researching, I decided that taking the pacifier away at night might be the key to Jake’s long-term success.

I chose to strictly focus on night-time sleep-training and leave naps for later. I also learned that naps and night sleep are handled by two different areas of the brain, so I could let Jake keep his pacifier for naps.

After some research, I made my only goal on night one be: 

Get Jake to fall asleep without a pacifier.

It didn’t matter what other soothing techniques I used… as long as, by the end, he fell asleep without a pacifier.

He definitely did not like this. At all.

And this is where the “almost” part of my “no-cry” method comes in. Jake cried, he was a mad baby.

But I cuddled, rocked, sang, and provided bountiful butt-pats until he finally settled, and begrudgingly fell asleep.

It took me about an hour.

That night he slept for 5 hours straight for the first time in almost a month.

It definitely made me sad to hear him cry because I could see in his face that he knew that I knew what he wanted.

And he did not understand why mommy wasn’t letting him have his pacifier.

I teared up a little with guilt. It would’ve been so easy to give in, stick a pacifier in Jake’s mouth, and be the good guy again…

But I knew it wasn’t what was best for Jake.

 So I just hugged, and love, and rocked that baby in every other way I could think of to comfort him.

I also teared up with pride. 

I was so proud of him. 

I was so proud of him when he finally fell asleep without the pacifier. Seeing him take that first step in mastering a skill was so beautiful.

And once he DID fall asleep… he didn’t wake up again until around 10PM.

And when he woke up whining, I told myself I’d give him 10 minutes to see if he could settle down (as long as his cries were just whines).

And within 4 minutes… he was back to sleep ON HIS OWN.

He ended up eating around 2AM and then conked back out AGAIN without a pacifier. Only waking again for another feed around 4AM.

It felt like such a HUGE victory.

Night two took about as long as night one, but I was also added in the “pick up and put down” method at the same time. 

When I had him “calm”, I’d lay him down in bed, and if he did more than whine, I picked him up and comforted him until he settled down again.

My husband or I stayed in the room with him until he fell asleep during the first couple of weeks. 

Neither of us could handle leaving him alone to cry any length of time without us being right by his side. So we stayed and supported him throughout the sleep-training journey.

My “Little-To-No-Cry” Sleep-Training Method Part 2

As the days went on, bedtime took anywhere from 10-30 mins. He’d whine, but never really cry to the point he was suffering, and my husband and I took turns reading him stories and loving on him.

One night, by accident, we noticed something. Something very huge.

It was my husband’s turn to put Jake to bed that night, and he came downstairs quite suddenly- much sooner than was conceivably possible.

I had heard Jake was struggling more than usual to go down. Kyle (my husband) looked a bit crestfallen as he descended the stairs. I asked what was wrong and he said, “I forgot my phone. It looks like it’s gonna be a long night, so I at least wanna have my phone for some of it”.

Yet, as he was saying that, we realized that Jake had suddenly gone quiet. We waited, breaths held- confused and ready for a shrill demand from our son that his father return to his post in the rocking chair.

But the quiet continued.

I opened the Owlet app, and lo and behold, our incredible little baby was fast asleep.

Perhaps a fluke, we thought. 

Maybe he was just extra tired that day, we surmised.

So I decided to try something similar the following night.

I followed our usual bedtime routine. Which ended with lullabies, hugs, kisses, and “mommy and daddy love you so much, have the best sleep ever! Goodnight”.

I laid Jakey down, and I left the room.

I stood outside the door, listened to him whine for maybe 30 seconds… and then he rolled over and went to sleep.

My husband and I realized then that our presence in the room had actually been doing more harm than good.

We were distracting him.

Our little hero didn’t need us to fall asleep. He had it in the bag, we just hadn’t realized it.

And from then on out, Mr. Jake’s sleep improved almost 80%.

Part of my sleep training was getting Jake on a more set feeding schedule.

I wasn’t ready to cut his night feedings(as explained above), but part of my research helped me decide that Jake would eat once around 10PM, and then he would not eat again until at least 3AM.

If Jake woke up earlier than 3AM, I would let him use his pacifier to soothe until it was time to eat.

As long as he did not use the pacifier to FALL asleep at bedtime, I was okay with giving it to him instead of a bottle to settle him down in the middle of the night. That way, we conditioned him to less/no night-feedings.

Jake’s Sleeping Habits Now | 8 Months

Having watched and gotten to know my son, I chose to let him guide our night feedings. Learning how to sleep without a pacifier made an incredible impact. It’s absence helped us know that when he woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep, he was genuinely hungry.

Slowly but surely, his two feedings per night naturally decreased to one feeding per night (usually between 11PM and 2AM).

And, a little over three weeks ago, Jake started sleeping entirely through the night. Going to bed at 7PM, and not waking up until 7:45AM-8AM.

And it was all on his own.

Part of my sleep-training also included making an 8AM wake-up time a habit. I don’t take him out of bed and start his day until at least 7:45AM.

If he wakes up, he can have a pacifier, and he usually conks back out until it’s time to get up.

It’s an incredible feeling seeing my baby grow up. Watching him master sleeping like a big boy and loving bedtime.

Quite frankly, almost before our nightly lullabies are over, he’s squirming to get into bed and sleep.

See ya, mom, I got this! You can go- k thx bye

Now I follow our usual bedtime routine. Still ending with a lullaby, a big hug, kiss, and “mommy and daddy love you so much, have the best sleep ever, goodnight”.

And Jake’s rolled over onto his belly and practically asleep before I leave the room.

Now if he wakes up at night, I watch him on his monitor. He’ll whine a bit, roll around like a rolly-polly, and put himself back to sleep no problem.

The only nights that he struggles are if his teething is particularly painful. If I notice he just can’t get to sleep after a half-hour or so, then I’ll give him some Tylenol, cuddle him for a minute or two, and he’s back to sleep.

The Most Important Things You Should Do For Successful Sleep Training

Be Consistent

No matter what method you choose. Stick to it. Don’t give in because it’s easier. You’re sending confusing messages to your baby, and basically starting from scratch each time you give in.

Get Rid Of Sleep Crutches

Most of the stuff I’ve read says that you should get rid of as many “sleep crutches” as possible when sleep training. That includes swaddles, pacifiers, rocking to sleep, feeding to sleep- etc.

Basically, ANYTHING your child must have to actually fall asleep.

I’m a big fan of this. Removing Jake’s pacifier at night was- literally- game-changing for our sleep training endeavor.

Lay Baby Down AWAKE

This is the ultimate goal of sleep-training. You’ll know you’ve conquered baby sleep once you can set the baby down with their eyes open, and they’ll handle the “falling asleep” part without your intervention. 

(or by using a sleep crutch)

Routine. Routine Routine.

I’m someone who thrives on routine. I love predictability. It’s kinda embarrassing to admit that I’m truly at peace when following a schedule.

Jake seems to benefit similarly. So I’ve made a very concerted effort to regulate his sleeping schedule from a very young age.

This is how I help Jake’s brain prepare for sleep by keeping to this same schedule every night:

  1. Bath every few nights(he has eczema, so I’m real sparing with his baths)
  2. Diaper change upstairs in my room with low lighting
  3. Put on his Owlet Sock(heart monitor)
  4. Lotion/Eczema Cream
  5. Put on PJs
  6. Turn on all white noise in his room(currently an AC and two white-noise makers)
  7. Sit in rocking chair and sing 3 lullabies, in the exact same order
  8. Hugs, Kisses, and Goodnights
  9. Lay Jakey Down in Bed and leave

Usually, by the last lullaby, he’s yawning, rubbing his eyes, and drowsy. He takes care of the rest.

Don’t Go It Alone

If you can, have your partner or a support person help you during this time. Sleep training is physically and emotionally exhausting, so if you have someone who can help you, rely on them.

If you don’t have someone you’re comfortable asking, join an online community for support, encouragement, and advice.

This is the Facebook Group I joined. It’s an absolutely fantastic community full of support and advice. They have great moderators because I’ve never seen a SINGLE rude or confrontational post on ANYTHING.

So, no matter what sleep-training method works for you, you’ll find a group of people you can turn to.

Daytime Naps

So, technically, I never officially nap-trained Jake.

Regulating his night sleep seemed to even out his naps. Which was incredible, because Jake’s naps were absolute dogshit. I was sure I would have a harder time nap-training than sleep-training by a LONG SHOT.

But, just by paying attention and following a semi-flexible schedule based on Jake’s sleepy-cues, Jake started going to sleep in his room (with a pacifier) and sleeping for 1.5-2 hours.

That was just… unheard of. Between night sleeping and better naps, I can focus on my building my business… and let my son get the sleep he needs.

I’ll admit that the past week or so has been a bit rocky with naps, but I wholly believe that’s for three reasons:

  1. Sleeping solidly through the night has warped his daytime sleeping schedule
  2. He’s almost 8-months-old, so his nap schedule is changing
  3. He’s reaching new milestones (lots of standing and even using a little ‘walking trolly’ to walk independently)

I’m pretty sure we’re about to drop down to 2 naps, and I just have to figure out his new nap window.

He’s also become much more independent, and can often play and watch Puppy Dog Pals. At the same time, mommy works at her desk, so his longer waking windows doesn’t impact my ability to get work done.

I also, obviously, flex my schedule around his needs. I usually get up around 6AM. That way, I can get a solid couple of hours before he’s ready for breakfast, and then fit the rest of my work around his needs until around 2-3PM.

Final Thoughts

Ugh, that was a long one, but I knew it would be. I hope that my experience with sleep training has given you confidence once you’re ready to start your own journey.

It truly is a priceless gift you can give yourself and- more importantly- your baby. Giving Jake the tools to sleep on his own has improved his mood and is helping him grow big and strong.

I’m so proud of him, and it feels so incredible that my baby can have a peaceful night time that doesn’t bring about anxiety for him or for me.

It helps me be a better mom. It helps me be a better business owner because I’m not a zombie just trying to survive lol.

So, it definitely can be intimidating, but you can do it. Your baby can do it. 

If you’re waiting on a sign to get started on sleep-training, let this post be that sign.

You got this.

Your baby’s got this.

I wish you all the good vibes, great nights, and LOTS of sleep.

I’d love to hear about your own sleep-training experiences, and please share your tips in the comments below for a new mom who might find them helpful!

Also, it’d be super sick if you subscribe. I really love sharing my motherhood experience with you, and it’d be awesome to have you on that journey.

Thanks for checking out the post, and I’ll chat with ya soon!

5 Survival Tips For Mompreneurs and Work-From-Home Moms

If you’re just here for the ice cream, click here for the recipe.

There has been nothing more rewarding (excluding motherhood, obviously) than the life-change I’ve made to start my own business as a Full-Time copywriter.

While scary, it has allowed me to be fully present with my son every day. I can be there for all of his firsts, and I never forget how privileged I am to be able to do that.

On a personal (Kenz-level), I’ve been able to find the value in what I have to offer professionally. Finding my path has had such an incredible impact on my self-esteem and mental health. I’m so grateful for everything that has allowed me to do that.

And yeah, I’m even learning how to include myself in that gratitude. I’m learning how to appreciate my courage and work ethic that helps me pursue my goals each day.

It is true, though, trying to juggle a career and motherhood can be a bit overwhelming. 

I totally feel the anxiety and worry that I’m not “doing enough”. I’m not working enough. I’m not mothering enough.

But, a huge part of my journey is learning to cope with my anxiety-driven tendencies. To live in the moment. To appreciate what I have right now without worrying about ‘the bad thing’ that could be coming up to destroy it.

That isn’t easy. 

At all. 

But it’s possible.

I wanted to share the daily steps I take to grow my emotional strength and practice self-care. And, no, I’m not talking about the “treat yo’ self and bath bombs” kind of self-care.

-Not that I don’t whole-heartedly support and partake in that, as well.

But in this post, I’m talking about the ‘hard, emotional work’ version of self-care. The uncomfortable and adventurous self-care that we need to grow.

The “You’re responsible for your own happiness” self-care.

So, make sure to save that bath bomb for the end, my guy.

Meditation | How I Am Learning To Focus On The Moment

Meditation is actually very difficult. If you’ve never done it, it might seem like you just sit there with your eyes closed and do nothing.

And you know what, that’s precisely what you are supposed to do.

But you’d be surprised how incredibly difficult it is to focus on your meditation.

Before I know it- despite my best effort- my mind starts wandering.

“I have to do X.”

“what if I mess this up?”

“WHY DO I SUCK SO MUCH AT MEDITATING?”

Even so, I try my best to implement meditation at least once a day. I usually get up around 6AM, which gives me 1-2 hours before Jakey wakes up. (He is now sleeping through the night, so YAYAY!)

I watched Sarah Turner’s Youtube Video on how she structured her day for productivity and started following her lead with meditation.

  1. I get up
  1. I make some coffee
  1. I meditate for ten minutes
  1. … and breast pump(still hating it). 

I use a few different meditation sessions based on my needs/intentions for the day:

Practicing meditation has really helped me function better. I may not be very good at it, but learning to meditate helps me be a productive business owner, mother, and person.

Time Limits | How I Set Work/Life Boundaries As A Mompreneur

This really came with time, and Jake’s ability to grow in independence, but sleep-training was a huge help.

(Eventually I’ll be posting a blog on how I sleep-trained, and I’ll try to remember to back-link it in this post)

Before I started setting limits, I would obviously work whenever I had a free moment. That included working until 1AM.

Now, there will be occasions where a late-nighter will be necessary, but I started to realize I was burning myself out. And that actually made me LESS productive.

Now, I set myself up for a 6-hour workday, starting at 6:30 am and ending at 2:00pm. I sprinkle breaks Jake breaks throughout, and try to be done no later than 3:00PM when my husband gets home.

Setting these time limits REALLY help me focus, and it shows me just how much I CAN get done in that time-frame. I also decided to work 4 days a week, and take 3 days to spend with Jake unapologetically.

This was really hard in the beginning. I was struggling with a lot of guilty thoughts: 

Wow, guess you really don’t want to be successful at your business if you can’t handle late nights

Wow, what a privileged little bitch to be able to just ‘decide’ she only wants to work 4 days a week

And ya know what, I realized how fucking stupid those thoughts were. I realized that I was so worried about OTHER PEOPLE judging me that it was driving me crazy. For fuck’s sake… what better reason do we start our own businesses if not for the flexibility- if not because I wanted to make more money and work less?

And when I started embracing this mentality, I remembered my reasons for making the career leap. I wanted to make more money and be with Jake. Fuck… I just wanted to be a happier person than I had been for a long time. Longer than I genuinely care to admit in hindsight.

I have busted my ass harder than I ever had- EVER- to make this work. I’ve spent more time sans comfort-zone in the past 6 months than I have in my ENTIRE LIFE.

If there are people in my life who don’t recognize that, it isn’t my problem. I have no control over their thoughts. I only can control the narrative I tell about myself.

And so, I’m learning not to give a single fuck about silly stuff like that.

So, please don’t let that voice in your head punish you for needing a break.

Or- God-fucking-forbid, enjoying more of your life…

Especially if you’re in a creative field. That mental break is crucial for you to be able to do your job well.

Burning the midnight oil 7-days a week WILL happen sometimes… but just remember to make it a ‘sometimes’.

Mentality | How Shifting My Professional Mentality Made Me A Better Business Owner

The biggest challenge you’ll face in starting a business is your mindset.

Most of us, before starting our businesses, came from another company. We had a boss. We were an employee who was accountable to someone else.

You MUST get out of the “employee” mindset to succeed. You have to stop thinking, “oh man, I have to find people that want to work with me/buy my products”.

You must start thinking: “I must find people I WANT to work with/buy my products

Your mission is to grow your business. That’s it. That’s why you’re doing what you’re doing. You CANNOT maintain a servitude/fearful attitude.

It will kill ya.

If you find a client that gives you red flags, then walk away. There are always more.

If you find a client who tries to haggle your prices, show them the door. There are plenty of people willing to pay what you’re worth.

If a client doesn’t value your time, or treats you like their employee, YOU fire THEM.

You’re nobody’s bitch anymore, my love. You’re a skilled professional here to bring your expertise. Act like it. Show YOURSELF respect.

Don’t let anyone convince you that you need to eat shit to be successful. It took me a long time to learn that. 

And don’t work for free. There are ways to provide services without a $$ amount exchanged that benefit you, but you CAN always find “experience” that will pay $$.

I was a doormat for most of my life. I bowed down in the face of conflict whenever I smelled it on the wind. I’d do WHATEVER I had to do to please someone else. Because ‘pleasing someone‘ = self-validation. I had tied my self-worth tightly to other people’s perception of my value.

It was wholly selfish and wholly toxic. And it never worked how I wanted it to.

I know… a ground-breaking realization, isn’t it? *eye-roll*

I spent many years working with people who, no matter what I did, were never satisfied. It almost destroyed me. Perhaps it did destroy me, because I really felt myself on the edge of: “this is just how life is. I am not good enough to achieve my goals.”

Now that I run KBK(Kopy By Kenz), I don’t put up with that. I’ve learned that I don’t have to work with anyone I don’t want to… because there are plenty of people who will value and appreciate what I do.

Those people exist for you too.

If you take nothing else from my post, mama, take that.

Don’t just drink coffee out of your “#GirlBoss” cup. Fucking embody it. People won’t respect you if you don’t respect yourself.

You need to work on believing in your own worth if you want clients/customers to believe in you too.

Routines | Why Sleep-Training Had A Massive Impact On My Productivity

It goes without saying that we need to sleep. 

And when ya got a behbeh, sleep is hard to come by in the beginning.

It will genuinely impress you when you realize how well you function with as little rest as you’ll get during those early months.

If you’re a mom running their own business, then you’re juggling far more than people might realize- more than you realize. You’re now a stay-at-home-mom and a full-time-career-woman.

To make it easier on yourself. Sleep-train your kid.

Like, seriously.

There are many options out there, and you’ll find one that works for your family. Sleep training doesn’t only benefit YOU, it also helps the babe. Giving them the tools to sleep on their own helps them grow and be happier babies.

And when you sleep-train, you open the door to routine.

You know.. routine. A (mostly) predictable timeline to keep you from feeling like the world is on fast-forward, and you can’t find the remote to pause it.

Sleep-training my son has made other aspects of my business easier to manage. I can only get up at 6AM and do what I do because I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I only have the confidence that I can get shit done because I’ve trained Jake to sleep in until a specified time.

Sleep-training improves their naps, as well. Which means I have a few hours throughout my morning/afternoon to work on projects.

And because he’s getting enough sleep, he’s in a much better mood while he IS awake.

This all compounds onto itself and will make both of your lives more manageable.

Rewards | How Ice Cream Makes Me A Better Woman

Yup. It’s true. Every night before bed, I make myself an “ice cream shake” in my Ninja blender.

After Jake is asleep.

After my work for the day is done…

After I pumped for the last time that day…

I sit my ass down on the couch and eat ice cream—every night.

Why? 

Well, I’m like a dog, I guess. I’m food-driven, lol. I love food. I love routine. I love sitting with myself and enjoying a delicious treat as a reward for all of my hard work.

(here’s my shitty recipe I made up if you’re curious… though I’ve been told it’s addicting… so be warned)

My nightly ice cream helps me decompress from the day. It’s almost like a trigger. I know ice cream time = relaxation time.

It’s my ritual. 

It’s my personal “treat yo’ self” moment. It helps me wind down and relax. All that sugar and chocolate gets my endorphins goin’, and it just helps me end my day on a high note.

Yes, there are healthier alternatives. But this is my selfish thing. This is what I do purely for satisfaction. And I’m not sorry lol.

So no matter what you find joy in, maybe set aside some time at the end of each day to enjoy it. Whether that be a snack, or a bath, or yoga, or video games.

Whatever lets you be wholly irresponsible and unfettered. It’s for the sake of BALANCE, my guy.

That’s All Folks

Thanks for reading the blog, gang. I hope it gave you some tips to try out. Everyone is different, but I think all of the stuff I’ve mentioned is worth a try. Some of it is uncomfortable. Emotional work that you might be reluctant to do, but it’s worth it.

It’s so worth it.

Let me know what you guys do to help you “slay” your day. I’m always looking out for ways to be the best mompreneur I can be!

If you haven’t heard it yet today: I’m so fucking proud of you. You are doing SUCH a good fucking job juggling all of this.

XOXOXOXO

Kenz’s Ice Cream Shake Recipe

  • 4 Pieces Of An XL Hershey Chocolate Bar
  • 1-1 ½ Cups of Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor(I STRONGLY recommend Hagan Daaz)
  • About 4 TBSP CRUSHED Ice
  • JU-U-UST enough milk to help the ingredients blend (usually about ¼- ½ cup)

___________________________________________________________________________

  1. Layer Ice Cream
  1. Then Chocolate Bar
  1. Then Crushed Ice
  1. Then Your Milk 
  1. (in that order) into your blender.
  1. Blend that sucker.
  1. Leave In Freezer for AT LEAST 20 mins, but no more than 45 mins

DO NOT OVERBLEND. This is VERY IMPORTANT.

You want to make sure the ice has broken down and there are no chunks left. It will look a lot like chunky wet sand.

That’s what you want.

When you don’t over blend, you get to enjoy a really refreshing texture, and at the bottom of your shake you’ll find some larger bits of chocolate bar and it’s HEAVEN.

This will take some time to “get right”, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different measurements of any of the ingredients.

TBH, I don’t measure, I just kind of eye-ball everything.

How I Came Up With The Recipe (for those 2 people that might give a shit)

I made this recipe up almost ten years ago. I was trying to recreate a Starbucks Frappuccino. I know… how “Live, Laugh, Love” of me.

But in my defense, I was 18, and this was before all of the Pinterest and Youtube videos showing you how to recreate recipes.

I love my ice cream shake 10 TRILLION times more than anything at Starbucks.

I hope it is something that will bring you joy too… just be careful… It’s addictive AF. 😉

TTYL

3 Willow Breast Pump Tips | 6-Months Down


Hullo!
It’s me again, you’re friendly neighborhood noob mom, back with a follow-up Willow Pump Review.

Now that I’ve had the Willow Breast Pump for around six months, I’m ready to share personal willow breast pump tips.

My hope is that this will be a quick and helpful resource to any moms thinking about buying the Willow Breast Pump.

Or any moms that might have already bought one, and need some troubleshooting ideas.
Click here to read how I’m feeling about breastfeeding/pumping here.

3 Important Willow Breast Pump Tips

Willow Breast Pump Experience #1 | Can A Willow Breast Pump Go In The Dishwasher

Yes.

The milk collection container can go in the dishwasher. Willow also confirms this here. Just make sure that you put the parts on the top rack.

I STRONGLY suggest that you sit the container piece upright in the dishwasher. Something I’ve noticed with the Willow breast pump.

If ANY moisture gets stuck in the TEENY-TINY little flange (the area where you can set the pump to “1” or “2” to lock it), you’ll end up with the dreaded orange light.

An orange light that has made me growl “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU NOW?!” many-a-time.

Keeping the container upright in the dishwasher prevents the water from collecting there. This will make sure that your Willow parts dry effectively.

Willow Breast Pump Experience #2 | Willow Pump Orange Light

I’ve never been so tempted to chuck something across the room as often as I have using the Willow breast pump. There’s little more frustrating than wrangling a little baby while trying to pump…

Only for that orange light to flicker.

In my previous post about the Willow, I directed your attention to a video on Youtube I had found by accident. I own the reusable Willow containers because the price for the bags is disgusting. I also would rather have a smaller impact on the environment.

Anyway, this lady explained how that teeny-tiny piece is replaceable. And that you could replace it with the same flange piece from the Willow bags.

(Even if you ordered the reusable milk containers, you still get a set of 24 bags that come with the Willow)

This small tip solved all my problems.. for the most part.
Sure, is it still annoying to see that orange light come on- even though I’ve dried and cared for the pump?

Yes.

But at least there’s a solution.

But, that isn’t my only point, because you might find yourself thinking that you need to replace this piece… A LOT.

And THAT means you might think you’ll need to keep buying bags ANYWAY.

Well, after a little experimenting, I found out that you don’t ALWAYS have to replace the small flange. As long as I remove the piece, clean it (and the slot it sits in), it fixes the issue. I haven’t had to “replace” one of these flanges in months.

Though, I do have to take the pieces apart at least once a day to clean out that little slot properly… so there’s still a bit of hassle involved.

Willow Breast Pump Experience #3 | Discomfort With The Willow Pump

I find pumping and feeding a child via breastmilk generally unpleasant and uncomfortable.

But I’m fortunate that I don’t happen to be one of the ladies in actual pain. However, I can share some of the methods I’ve tried to mitigate as much discomfort as possible.

First, you need a very sturdy bra. Especially if you’re very busty(trust me). I recommend getting a maternity bra a cup-size larger.

Secondly, make sure you’re massaging those puppies before and during your session. This helps milk production and can ease some discomfort.

DON’T FORGET TO MASSAGE THE UNDERBOOB

Holy cow, please don’t forget to massage your underboob during sessions. Willow pumps press firmly to your boob, and so it can pinch and squeeze.

The underboob can end up getting clogged(I can attest), and it is painful.
Very painful.

I almost went to the doctor because I was having trouble sleeping due to my one boob was hurting so much. It hurt to touch it, and it hurt whether I was pumping or not.

And when I was pumping, oh gosh, did it hurt.

I was on the interwebs and found out about duct-clogging (I don’t remember where I saw this or I’d link it). It explained how Willow can pinch ducts closed if you’re not being kind to the boob.

After some painful but thorough massaging, I alleviated the clog. Now I am more mindful now about making sure I’m massaging the WHOLE boob.

___________________________________________________________________________

My Current Feelings As An Exclusive Pumping Mom | Spoiler-Alert: I’m Struggling

I fucking hate this. Like… I dread doing it every day. I find it inconvenient, uncomfortable, and I definitely feel like a cow. And that makes me sad, to be honest.

I’m not much of a romantic, but there was that secret little part of me that wanted to experience that maternal ‘magic’. I wished I could have enjoyed that bonding time, and feel like a life-giving goddess.

Well, Jakey and I made a decision pretty early on that he was a much happier baby when he was bottle-fed. It didn’t help that it took almost TWO FUCKING WEEKS for my milk to come in. Being that I was induced and a C-Section, my body was NOT ready to make milk.

And so, Jake was sucking nothing but air and miserable.

It was very traumatic for me. Even though everyone kept saying, “it’s fine, he’s getting what he needs,” or “it’ll come in soon, keep trying”.

Except, my son was so hungry the first two days of his life that he couldn’t sleep for more than 20 minutes. And when he was awake, he spent most of his time screaming.

Not to mention, continuing to try and have him breastfeed, he had realized boob did NOT equal food. So he would struggle and cry and refuse to latch.

(And he had been perfect at latching in the hospital)

So, he and I would both end up crying. Even once I finally got him to latch on and let him nurse for 40 minutes, he still wasn’t satisfied.
Out of desperation, I gave him a bottle of formula, and my poor baby fell asleep for 4 hours.

My guilt was so insane. As was my shame.

First, I couldn’t DELIVER my baby on my own. Now I couldn’t even feed him. I had these massive tits my whole life… and they weren’t even doing what they were supposed to do.

Now, I know these thoughts are toxic and untrue. As with most of us, I tend to be very cruel to myself.

I “know” logically that I didn’t need to feel shame. But I still did… still kinda do, if I’m honest.

And that’s what this blog is about, I’m trying to be honest so that, if you feel these things, you know you’re not alone.

It WILL get better- WAY WAY WAY better.

So, Jakey was formula fed until my milk came in… but to this day it’s a struggle to keep my production up.

Exclusive pumping DEFINITELY holds a lot of benefits, even if I think it’s a hassle.

I’ll list my pros for your consideration.

I like being as honest as possible about some of the heavier motherhood shit, but you may have different experiences than I have. So don’t let my personal feelings dissuade you from pumping. Especially if you think it would benefit your specific situation.

Here’s what I like about the Exclusive Pumping Lifestyle.

  • Someone else can feed the baby(which means a break for you and bonding time for dad and baby)
  • It’s much easier to track how much your baby is eating (which means less anxiety)
  • No need to worry about boob-weaning troubles(which means less screaming)
  • Your baby can drink out of a bottle. This means baby can be away from you, and you don’t have to worry about them refusing to eat for anyone but you.

Logistically it definitely makes sense for my personal situation. I just… don’t enjoy it.


Now that Jakey is eating solid food, it’s a little easier. But I still hate that I find myself stressing about it. Half the battle is me. I dislike it so much that I don’t WANT to pump 4-5 times a day to boost my supply.


It’s exhausting for me emotionally and physically. Especially while I am trying to build a business and be a good and attentive mommy to Jakey at the same time.


Okay, tantrum over.
No matter what, I plan on feeding Jake breastmilk until he turns one. He was never only fed breastmilk, but it’s been a 90/10 situation.


Now that he’s 7 months old, his diet has expanded, so I don’t need to produce a TON of milk. But it would still be nice not to stress about it, or dread doing it.


On a positive note: He’s also pretty much sleep-trained. We also took his pacifier away at night, which helped IMMENSELY.


For our kid, that made the most significant difference. So if you’ve been thinking about weaning the pacifier off at night in hopes it will help them sleep better… I can attest on it’s MASSIVE impact with my own child.


After a few weeks of sleep training, we can lay him down between 6:45 AM and 7:00 AM. usually, he only wakes up once between 11:00 PM and 1:00 PM for a feed. From there he’s conked out until anywhere from 6:30 AM-8:00 AM. I make a point of keeping him in his bed until 8 AM because that is when I want him to wake up in the long-term.


As long as I give him a pacifier in the early morning, he usually will sleep until his DWT(designated wake time, as the mommy FB group refers to it).

If you’re looking for a great group full of resources to help you sleep train your baby I recommend Respectful Sleep Training/Learning.
It’s the only Mom FB Group I am a part of.


It’s a supportive community with info on ANY style of sleep-training you’re curious about. As well as inspirational ” success story” posts from moms (like me) to keep you motivated.

I’ll be writing a post about my ST (sleep training) experience. I’ll talk about the things that made the process easier for MY child.

So stay tuned for that, gang.

That’s All Folks

Hopefully, this Willow review was helpful. I’m glad to be able to compile the “I wish I knew that sooner” shit into one place for you guys.


If I can save you even ONE day of frustration dealing with this helpful but stupid piece of hardware, I’ll be happy.
Also, thank you for letting me vent. It feels a lot better getting that out. If you’re also feeling the way I am, I hope my rant helps you feel a little less alone.


We’re in this together.


I also believe that, if you REALLY hate breastfeeding… then just don’t do it. I’m a “fed is best” gal.

If any cool moms have tips or questions about the Willow Pump that I didn’t cover in this post, comment below.

Don’t be stingy!


Alright, I’m gonna go. It’s time to FUCKING PUMP AGAIN…


XOXOXOXOXO


Talk to ya later, folks.

12 More Baby Products That Helped Me Survive My First 6 Months As A Mom

Hi everyone,

I know it’s been a MINUTE since I last checked in, but I’ve been quite the busy bee, and I’ve been total shit at setting aside time to work on my OWN blog.

Jakey has continued to grow into a more incredible little person day-by-day. He’ll be 6 months old on the 10th of May, and he’s currently able to roll all over the place and is just about to start crawling.

Pray for me.

Anyway, since it’s been 4 months since my first post with my favorite baby products for new moms, I am ready to update my list and share with you the products that have been a HUGE help to me in the past six months. Hopefully, they’ll be useful to you!

So let’s get started because even though we’re all stuck in quarantine, we’re still pretty short on free-time.

Real quick: any Amazon links are affiliate links- which means that if you purchase something using one of these links, I’ll get a small commission.

One: Zipadee-zip Sleep Sack

I’ll go into detail about Jakey dealing with the 4-month sleep-regression and sleep-training in an upcoming post. But, for the sake of time, here is a quick run-down of why I bought this sleep sack.

While trying to sleep-train Jake, the biggest hurdle was weaning him off the pacifier and out of a swaddle. Our biggest problem is that Jake’s other soothing mechanism is that he rubs and scratches viciously at his head and face. Like, horrible.

He also has eczema, which doesn’t help at all.

Aside from the obvious, another massive problem with this “soothing technique” was that he would continuously wake himself up because he’s constantly irritating his skin with scratching. So, he would be right on the cusp of sleep without the pacifier, start rubbing his face and start screaming again because he was in pain.

So I needed to find something that could let him move safely in his crib and keep him from scratching his face.

I had heard of the Zipadee-Zip Sleep Sack and decided to give it a shot because… well… they make your baby look like little potato-sack starfish, and they’re adorable.

I’m equally happy to say that, just like how much I love the Love to Dream Swaddle, I am now in love with the Zipadee-Zip.

The material is durable and very soft. It’s perfect for year-round wear, and it comes in sizes up to 3-years-old.

They come in super cute designs, and they’re pretty reasonably-priced. The two swaddles(one in 4-8 month size and one 6-12 month size) have shipped and arrived within a week of ordering. 

They have been awesome in helping Jakey enjoy the security of swaddling, the freedom to safely move around, and keep him from scratching too hard on his face.

10/10

Two: Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream

Like I mentioned earlier, Jake has eczema, and it’s been pretty traumatic on me because he gets some HORRIBLE break-outs. While I suffered from sensitive skin, I never had eczema, so I had little idea what to do.

His Pediatrician prescribed steroid cream, but that didn’t seem to make much difference. I felt so bad watching him struggle with welts and rashes I couldn’t get to go away.

I tried bath treatments and every lotion under the sun I could find.

I happened across the Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Body Cream at my local grocery store, and I was like, “why not”.

I was shocked at the results. After ONE day after using it, Jake’s skin cleared up by about 50%. I almost cried because I was so happy.

(As you can see, he likes it too)

It was so gentle on his skin and super moisturizing. It just works wonderfully. If your little one has eczema and you haven’t tried this baby lotion, I super recommend you give it a try.

Three: Food Ice Cube Trays

So, full-stop, these are kind of stupid, and there are a ton alternatives you could use to accomplish the same thing- but I like them a lot and at least want to mention them.

Once Jakey was able to start eating solids, I’ve much enjoyed making his baby food at home. I wanted some kind of storage tray that was clearly measured to 1 ounce so that I could keep track of how much he was eating.

Obviously, I could’ve found a basic ice cube tray, but I just… I just wanted what I wanted instead of having to test out ice cube trays that may not have been the right measurement.

(Again, I already stated that I recognize this really wasn’t a ‘necessity’ and more just out of convenience)

Well, I found these baby food trays that were not only the accurate measurement but also silicon- so they were super easy to pop the food in and out.

They’re great. I love them, and even though the trays are a little on the pricey side, they store a LOT of food, they’re very well-made, BPA-free, etc.

I am glad that I bought them.

Four: Mommy’s Bliss Little Gums

Another big issue we’ve encountered with sleep-training is poor Jake’s teething discomfort. He’s been teething since he was 2-months old, and they have been driving him crazy ever since. Most nights, I have to give him Tylenol, or he just can’t sleep- especially since we took his pacifier away.

To be honest, I feel a bit lost on this and am unsure what to do.

He also has trouble taking naps because of his teeth. I do everything possible to avoid giving him Tylenol during the day because he’s usually okay(it’s just when he’s falling asleep he doesn’t have anything to distract him from the discomfort) I was looking for something to help relieve his sore gums and teach him how to teeth.

Also, since Jake started teething so early, he didn’t have the motor skills to learn how to use teethers of any kind, even if I held them for him, he really just didn’t quite get it. I also needed something safe for babies to use younger than 3 months. It was a whole thing.

Well, I tried a ton of teething gels, and Mommy’s Bliss Little Gums is by far my favorite. It’s natural and works pretty much immediately.

I pretty much have decided to buy stocks, that’s how often I use it.

Five: Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time

Thankfully, in recent months, Jake’s gas issues have subsided. He’s pretty good at burping and farting on his own, and he isn’t taking in as much air while drinking from a bottle. Even so, I always keep Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time on hand because it saved us so many times.

I had a mommy friend tell me to try and mix it with the milk in his bottle, and that was a huge game-changer.

Another great, all-natural thing to keep in the cabinet.

Six: Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo with Organic Calendula

More skin stuff time. Aside from Eczema, Jake just has general sensitive skin (he gets it from me). Taking baths was lovely, but I was worried about the effect it was having on his skin because he suffered from “dry-ass forehead skin”.

I found this baby body wash after it was recommended by one of my husband’s coworkers, and it’s magical.

It smells lovely, it’s so gentle and moisturizing on his skin, and his skin doesn’t have any adverse reactions to it.

Seven: Baby Teething Tube

This was something I saw all over social media. I was really reluctant to buy this thing because Jakey just didn’t like to use teethers. It was pretty expensive(to me) for being just a silicon tube.

I decided to give the Baby Teething Tube a try when I noticed Jake liked to chew on my finger to relieve his sore gums, and since the teething tube was the same basic shape and pretty easy to hold, I ordered it.

It’s the only teething toy that he uses. And he figured it out immediately. I think that it was worth every penny. 

Even though it’s simple, it’s very well made and soft. Jake’s adorably clumsy hands can hold it easily, and it has some lovely texture along one end that provides comfort when he is in the mood to chew.

Eight: Old Keyboard

This one is more of a “LOL” shitpost type entry, but it’s been a big help in my house. If it isn’t obvious, I spend a LOT of time on the computer working (and playing videogames when I can). My husband is also an avid computer-user, so Jakey naturally wants to play with the fun clicky board.

I had an old wireless keyboard, and he loves it. It’s also adorable to watch him smack and smash the keys because he gets so hype.

Nine: Amazon Echo/Google Home

This is going to go hand-in-hand with another product on the list, but we’ll start with these guys.

I was never really into these digital assistant AIs. I just didn’t need them… until my hands were always filled with an adorable baby.

Being able to ask a very polite assistant to do things like “remind me I have a meeting with X client” or “set a timer for 5 mins(so I can remember Jake’s bottle)” or “turn on/off the lights/tv” has been… so helpful.

Am I lazy?

Yes.

 Could I use my phone for a timer, or use a remote?

Yes, and yes.

But when I’m elbow-deep in a shit-filled diaper or trying to soothe a sleepy baby, being able to just “ask for help” from Alexa or Google has been a pleasant investment for me as a lazy tech-lover.

I don’t mind mentioning these on this list because Echo Dots go on sale often, and I’ve been able to get mine for around $30. While I don’t think it is a parenting necessity… I think anything that makes life a little easier- especially if you’re a work from home mom like me-e-e-e- is worth it.

Ten: GoSund Smart Plug

I mentioned how the Amazon Echo and Google Home went hand in hand with another product, and this is it.

Obviously, Alexa or Google can’t just turn off the lights or the TV, you need some added “smart” hardware to be able to connect them.

These GoSund Smart Plugs not only work GREAT and are easy as hell to set up… but they’re super cheap.

You can 4 of them for $20 on Amazon (I recently just bought a second set)

LOVE LOVE LOVE These.

Eleven: Avent Bottle Warmer

***Quick Note while getting a link for this product, it’s coming up at over $60. I don’t know why, but when I ordered one it was only around the $20 mark***

I almost forgot to include this on my list until I was writing the “Amazon Echo/Google Home”. I’m so glad I remembered.

I originally bought another bottle warmer by Dr. Brown, and I fucking HATED IT. It was $60, and when the store I bought it from told me they couldn’t take it back without a receipt, and I threw it in the trash right then and there.

(I over-reacted)

It just… it just wasn’t pleasant to use at all- and I was desperate for an alternative. I happened across the Avent Bottle Warmer on Amazon, saw the reviews, and since it was only $20, I ordered.

It’s a great bottle warmer. It’s simple, it works, it’s never given me an error message or a problem.

It lacks a timer setting- BUT that’s where Alexa comes in! Whenever I start the warmer, I just ask Alexa to set a timer for me, and I have no problems.

If you’re looking for a reliable, sturdy, cost-effective bottle warmer, this is it. It works so well that it only makes me angrier that I spent so much money on the other bottle warmer.

Twelve: Dragon Fit High-Waist Yoga Leggings

Just like in my last post, I wanted to include something specifically for mom. Mom-bod has been tough to deal with. I’m struggling with it, but I’m also accepting where I am now and that once I fully heal from my C-section, I can get back to working out the way I like.

In the meantime, I just wanted a pair of comfortable leggings with pockets. 

I’m happy to report that these leggings not only have MULTIPLE deep pockets but are also comfy and flattering. These leggings are available in tons of different colors, and I would say the sizing is pretty accurate.

They’re also very opaque, so I don’t have to worry about anyone seeing my underwear.

Hope You Found Something New To Try…

Thanks for popping by this post, I hope some of the products I have shared will be helpful to you. If you’ve used any of these items, or have a recommendation of your own for other moms, please definitely share it.

If you aren’t already, make sure to subscribe because I’ll be talking about sleep-training.

I’ll also be posting a follow-up with my thoughts about the Willow Breast Pump. Since I’ve had it for a few months and think I have a pretty good grip on how to use it.

Until then, stay safe and sane, fellow mommas!

The Truth and Tips For Supporting A New Dad I Wish I Knew About

So, there’s, like… another person in this equation aside from you and your baby. And, like… that person is kind of important.

This guy is called “dad”.

Yeah, don’t get me wrong, compared to what mommy goes through during pregnancy and labor, it’s easy and understandable that dads are told to shut up and go get her the ice cream with pickles like she asked (and they damn well better).

But, in all honesty… daddies are going through some emotional stresses and pressures of their own, and they try, and are expected to be, pillars of absolute strength regardless of their own fears.

Watching my husband’s adventure as a support system through my pregnancy and labor, and then as a new and incredible daddy, I wanted to write a little something in honor of all of the great daddies out there. Because even though they may not be going through what we go through physically and hormonally as moms… they still deserve some compassion and support.

I am so grateful for the strength, love, and support that my husband showed me. I mean, he sat there holding my vomit bags, encouraging me, and feeding me water and ice chips and still made me feel like a superstar.

That may not seem like a lot, but when you’ve been in labor for hours… that was as good as gold.

The strength, love, and support he showed in the face of my C-Section (even though that was the thing he was most afraid of happening), all while always wearing his goofy, way-too-cocky smile, helped keep me calm.

During these, now, almost five months as parents, my guy has been an amazing daddy and an amazing husband. In honor of him, I wanted to write this post in order to give some insight into how I have been working to show him the same support that he has shown me!

As new moms, we’re super tired, and super stressed, and super emotional, and all of the above. It’s easy to forget sometimes that our dopey dudes are feeling the same way, and might be in as much need of our validation as we are of theirs.

Tips For New Moms On How To Support Their Partner

tips for new moms

Patience

Daddy isn’t always going to understand the physical and emotional whirlwind your hormones are putting you through. Especially in those early week, when you’re both dog-tired and all of the learning curves you’re trying to navigate are in full swing. It might be easy to get a bit frustrated with your guy if you catch him snoring when you’re waking up every single time the new baby moves- believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s okay to feel frustrated– just try not to kill them if you can.

Perhaps the most important gift you can give to a new dad is patience. Don’t feel guilty for getting frustrated, lol… I mean, no one can push our buttons like our significant others, but just bear in mind that they have no idea what they’re doing either. They’re as scared as we are, and they ARE trying.

Communication

As with any relationship, clear communication is key to its health and prosperity. Don’t be afraid to be very clear about what you need your spouse to do. They couldn’t read your mind before- and now it’s even more impossible (we know that WE hardly know what the hell is going on thanks to sleep-deprivation, ourselves).

Tell your new dad/support person EXACTLY what they can do to help make things easier on you. Sit down after you put the baby to bed and work up a plan.


For example, my husband and I decided that, since I would be working from home, and he would continue to work outside of the home(for the time being) that I would handle the “overnight” shift (as well as the time he was at work), and once he got home we would swap. I would go to my office and work, and he would put Jakey to bed and respond to his needs until it was time for OUR bedtime.

And on his day’s off, we switch roles so that I can get some MUCH- MUCH- MUCH needed sleep.

Compassion

Like I said, your new dad/support person suddenly has all of this pressure to be a good daddy/parent just like you are. They might feel powerless if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, and they can feel as overwhelmed trying to figure out how to be a rock for their new mommy and baby.

Honestly, they’ll NEVER be as tired as you are. With everything that your body went through during and after pregnancy and due to the amount of energy and stress that goes into producing breast milk… it is definitely hard to compare…

But it’s STILL important to ask them once in a while how they’re feeling and reinforce how proud you are of them. They very well might be struggling with something (stuff from their past, issues with their own parental stuff- believe me, shit comes up when that perfect little human is put in your arms), but they’re too afraid to burden you with their emotions.

Be sure to tell them that they’re doing a good job. You’ll be amazed at how much that will mean to them. 

Confidence

As a new mommy, it’s easy to just say “let me do it” or “I’ve got it” when it comes to caring for our babies. Our protective instincts are in overdrive, and it’s absolutely INCREDIBLE how someone can literally shit and throw up on you all day long, and you still love every minute of it.

Even so, give dad/support person the chance to build their confidence and bond with the baby. Pump some breast milk so that they can have that special time of feeding.

As mentioned above, designate responsibilities between the two of you. New dad/parent needs to have that confidence as much as you do, and whether you want to admit it or not… you need a break, girl. You’re still just a human. You’ll need rest, you’ll need food- you’ll need a shower.

Give your partner the opportunity to say “I can do it”.

Honesty

Honesty goes hand in hand with communication but in a slightly different way. There ARE going to be times when your support person is just… getting under your skin- or you might be feeling like you need more help than you want to admit.

You need to be frank about it. If your partner is doing something that is making you frustrated (unintentionally or not) tell them quickly so that it doesn’t build into resentment. You two are a team, and sometimes we do things that we don’t realize annoy the other person.

Give your partner the respect of expressing your issues in a clear and mature way. It’s easiest to do this BEFORE you start to get angry. Sit them down, explain what you’re feeling, and they will hear you.

Remember, you’re BOTH sleep-deprived and stressed. It doesn’t mean that you need to shut up and deal… it just means that you both need to take a deep breath and exhibit the maturity to address any frustrations before they bubble over into resentment.

All in all, the journey that is parenthood will be the most awesome thing you will ever experience.

… and watching your partner blossom as a parent will make you fall in love with them in ways you didn’t think were possible.

Your love created the life you both now take responsibility for, and your love will be the foundation for your baby’s health and happiness.

You both are doing amazing. YOU are being an amazing mommy even if you DO snap at your partner once in a while… cuz you’re gonna.

But, hopefully, you’ll keep this post in the back of your mind, and it can help you when things might get a bit frustrating… cuz they’re gonna.

After all, due to good old Corona, you two might be spending WA-A-AY more time together in the house than usual, so it’s good to try and keep things in perspective. If nothing else, this “social distancing” and “self-quarantining” is a great way to spend some quality time together and grow.

Please, please- please stay safe.

Don’t be a dick and hoard all the toilet paper and other necessities.

And wash yo damn hands.

Love ya all!

Honest Willow Breast Pump Review From An Exclusively Pumping Mom

Hi All,

It’s me again, hanging out here, halfway through February, and stunned at just how fast baby Jakey is growing up.

Like… holy shit, my baby boy is a little chatterbox, teething (which I’ll write an entirely separate blog post about in the future), laughing, and intrigued with the world around him.

He’s practically a person!

HE’S PRACTICALLY IN COLLEGE!

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

Alright, existential mom moment aside, we’re here to talk business. Big business for some of us, as the Willow Breast Pump is a pretty hot topic of discussion amongst new moms. Especially those of us who are breast pumping exclusively.

If you’ve never heard of the Willow Breast Pump, then this post might be especially intriguing to you.

The Willow Breast Pump is a completely portable, chargeable, wearable breast pump that fits inside your bra.

The whole schtick is a discreet pumping experience that doesn’t lock you down in one place. For those of us who pump exclusively, this is an ESPECIALLY important feature, as I know I spend about 2-3 hours during my day just pumping breast milk.

I hadn’t originally intended to pump exclusively. So, to be honest, I didn’t re-e-eally give a damn about the fine details of my original pump. I asked some of my other mommy friends for their suggestions, and just ordered the Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump.

The Medela was a fine pump. I don’t have any complaints, though there were a few growing pains at the beginning.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, like [this one] and [this one], I mention that I happen to have smaller than average nipples.

Anyway, once I got the correct flanges, things went fine with the Medela Pump. it was comfortable; it worked, no complaints… other than the fact that I felt like a cow latched to a stall for upwards of an hour.

(I had to make my boobs work overtime) those first few weeks due to my milk supply being low from an inducement and c-section- as well as the fact that I quickly realized my kid just preferred to be bottle-fed.

After a while, I got frustrated with my lack of mobility and privacy. I hated having to skulk off into another room when we had friends over just to sit by myself and pump.

I solved some of the privacy issues by purchasing “Freemie” breast pump attachments for the Medela, which also worked just fine… but I just HATED feeling stuck in one place.

And with my husband going back to work the day after New Year’s, I knew that I was going to have a HELL of a time trying to take care of Jake AND devote so much time to pumping.

I was extra motivated for an alternative solution once I realized my son wasn’t the best napper. We’re lucky that he sleeps pretty exceptionally at night; otherwise, he usually only snoozes for 15-30 minutes at a time during the day.

via GIPHY

Ironically, as I type this, he has been sleeping for over an hour. That’s the longest nap he’s take in… well… gosh, a month, maybe?

Anyway, I had heard of- and was researching, the Willow Breast Pump most of December. I thought it was cool, but hated the steep price tag of FIVE-HUNDRED-DOLLARS, as well as the cost of having to invest in the NON-REUSABLE BAGS that are, roughly, fifty cents per bag! 

The Willow 2.0 Breast Pump seemed like an excellent solution to my problem.

But… and this is a BIG “but“-

because the Willow Pump was an item that you could not return, and I had heard some very notable flaws, I was super reluctant to consider making such a huge investment.

Eventually, I decided I would rather take the risk to attain freedom than continue to feel like a farm animal with no mobility.

Buying my pump off of eBay seemed like the best option. So I was able to find a brand new Willow 2.0 Breast Pump on eBay for about one-hundred-dollars less than the initial cost.

As well, Willow introduced a REUSABLE Milk Collector that had flanges in my size, and so I bit the bullet.

I will give you a quick synopsis of my thoughts before going into detail: I think it’s one of the best inventions ever created for moms.

… and I also understand why people do not like it.

The Willow Breast Pump has been a real sordid affair for me. I can’t imagine my life as a new mom without it, while simultaneously finding myself resisting the urge to chuck it into a wall.

With that said, I will now go into my experience with the Willow Breast Pump as an exclusively pumping mom.

My Initial Impressions… and the First Problem

I was super happy with my eBay experience, so I’ll start with that. 

My purchase was quick, the delivery came right on time, and my pump was in MINT condition. It was clear that the product was brand new and never touched. 

So, a huge relief…

I also found the packaging to be very appealing, everything was neat and orderly, and the initial set up was okay.

… but also where I ran into my first problem lol.

I followed the direction to start my first pumping session, only for the Willow App to suddenly advise me in the middle of the session that it needed to update to function correctly.

No big deal, I thought…

But the issue was: each time I would follow the instructions to update, the update would crash before it could finish the installation.

I tried several times to restart the process, as I knew the wifi could be spotty at my house, so there was a chance I was having an issue with the BlueTooth, but nothing seemed to work.

Que quite a bit of time and frustration later as I tried to troubleshoot this issue and search for problems online. I was freaking out because I thought I had already broken, and I was like 

“there goes $400 right down the fucking drain!”

After some intense googling, I was able to reset the pumps and solve the issue. Though, my stress level was already through the roof at that point, as I had been so excited to use them, only to be forced to use my old pump set-up until I figured out how to fix it.

On top of freaking out that I had broken the pumps!

So, if you plan on purchasing a Willow Breast Pump, make sure you install any updated BEFORE you try to pump.

This might sound obvious, but I had no warning about this in the directions until I was in the middle of pumping, and the app started its shit, so just make sure you run the app first.

Is The Willow Breast Pump Comfortable?

Short answer, it seems to depend on the woman. I don’t find it super painful- BUT at the end of the day, my nips are sore and need a break.

I would not say that pumping with the Willow Breast Pump is as comfortable as using a traditional breast pump, but that is due to logistical factors that I can’t hold against the product, itself.

One of the reasons I have found Willow uncomfortable is that it is a relatively large device. The pump has many mechanicians it must preform, so even though it’s portable, it’s still a lot of weight pulling on your nipple.

They do advise using a full coverage bra to use the Willow properly. However, I still find it a bit uncomfortable. Not enough that it prevents a letdown, but I wouldn’t say I enjoy the experience.

It also has pretty strong suction, much stronger than a typical breast pump to start. This is a blessing and a curse, as it means more discomfort to your boobs, but you don’t sacrifice power for portability.

Adversely, I’ve heard of some women who can’t even use it because they found it so painful. 

The remedies that I’ve heard to help the pain include: using coconut oil as a lubricant for the flange; make sure your flange is aligned correctly; and use nipple cream after pumping. 

If you’re looking for good nipple cream, this is the one I have.

All in all, I would say that while it’s no spa day, I find it more than tolerable most of the time.

I’ve also learned, due to the Willow’s powerful suction, I don’t have to pump as long during sessions as I used to. So, as long as I don’t overdo it, I don’t have any prolonged discomfort.

Also, another tip: make sure your bra is loose enough. If your bra is too tight, it might feel more secure, but you’re going to feel a lot of discomfort. I’ll talk about how I discovered this a bit later.

Is The Willow Really As Discreet As It Claims

I mean, it is definitely more discreet than a traditional breast pump. However, as mentioned earlier, I have a large bust WITHOUT them producing milk, so I DO think I look a little silly when I’m wearing them.

Do I care?

No, not really. Sometimes I’ve had people come to the door, and it’s the first thing they notice, so I feel a little bad for THEM, but I’m not that concerned.

As far as the noise factor? I would not say that they are virtually silent, but they’re not distracting. If there are ambient noises and conversation, it’s unlikely the people around you might notice the noise.

My husband and I have a little joke that I’m a 3D printer, as the pump sounds a LOT like a standard office printer when in use.

As long as I don’t wear a plunging shirt or a form-fitting shirt with no elasticity, I’ve never had a problem concealing them under my clothes.

I know some other moms say that they have used them at work or while shopping, but I have yet to do so

To give you a general idea of the bra to boob to willow ratio you’re dealing with: each breast pump is about four inches deep, and about six inches long (this is a rough estimate, as I’m just kind of eye-balling them because I’m too lazy to find a ruler).

Does The Willow Breast Pump Leak?

I can say, after using it exclusively for a month and a half, the Willow Breast Pump does NOT leak at all.

The ONLY time I’ve ever had the Willow leak is due to my error when transferring milk from the reusable cup to a storage bottle.

And THAT only happens because I either forget to “lock” the flex tube-which is just a little switch, or I didn’t notice the tiny bit of milk left in the flange.

Otherwise, I have never had Willow leak. It’s fantastic not to have to worry about ruining a shirt, or losing precious titty tonic. 

(I swear to god, I would have never imagined I would view boob milk as more precious than gold… but nothing pisses me off worse than if I spill some breastmilk, or it gets wasted)

I’m telling you, one of my biggest gripes with traditional pumps was leakage due to incorrect alignment or just the universe being in a shitty mood that day. All it takes is just looking down and seeing your underboob soaked to make you want to throw a tantrum.

This feature, by far, is what I am most impressed with, as even despite my unusual flange size, the Willow has never leaked on me. 

This is mainly because it won’t begin pumping unless you are correctly aligned. This takes a bit of practice, but you get used to it.

How Long Is Willow Breast Pump Battery Life?

I usually find that I can get about 3 hours of life per charge, though I often just make sure I charge them when not in use.

Would you like to know one of my biggest pet peeves with the Willow Breast Pump?

Well, you’re gonna!

Willow provides you with only ONE charging cable, and that means only one pump can charge at a time.

If you want a second charger, then you have to purchase one for another THIRTY DOLLARS. 

I’m sorry, if I’m going to spend FIVE-HUNDRED-DOLLARS on a piece of rechargeable equipment, it should come with the accessories needed to charge the product efficiently. I should not need to switch back and forth, trying to remember which one was lower on battery… or be forced to spend MORE MONEY.

I’ve only had the battery die once on me when I needed it, due to me forgetting which pump was lower on battery. You can only tell by the app or if it turns from green to yellow.

It also maintains its power until it dies, I don’t notice any issues with suction as the battery gets closer to running out.

As strong as the suction power is, I just can’t get over the shitty “gotcha” of only sending one power supply when you charge so much money for a product that relies entirely on battery life.

I’ve also read in several places that the Willow Breast Pump has an expected life span of 12 months (basically, just long enough to survive the standard breastfeeding schedule).

I find this almost equally aggregious because it is kind of urging you to buy ANOTHER ONE if you decide to have a second baby. 

I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post when I’m done breastfeeding and let you know if I think the Willow Breast Pump 2.0 has fallen off or has a longer life than expected.

Is The Willow Pump Easy To Use?

In theory, yes, but I’ll share some of my few my biggest frustrations when using the pump regularly.

Firstly, Willow works in tandem with the app. The app lets you know (or is supposed to) how much you’re pumping, when the pump is full, when the battery is low, etc…

I would say that Willow accurately records this information maybe forty percent of the time. 

Maybe.

I’m being generous…

More times than not, the Willow GROSSLY overestimates how much your pumping, and MOST frustratingly, the pump stops once it thinks it is full, and you can’t continue pumping until you empty it.

More times than not, my pump will tell me it’s full, and it’s usually only half full.

This is… SO ANNOYING when you’re in the middle of something and have to stop. Last night, I had barely pumped half an ounce before the pump shut itself off.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing wrong as far as cleaning, because I clean them thoroughly after every use.

That is another one of my biggest problems with the Willow Pump. I feel this issue eliminates the convenience quite a bit. It is very frustrating having to stop taking care of a fussy baby to empty my pump after 3 minutes, and there’s only 1.5 oz in the collector cup.

The other issue is that the tiny little flange which helps control the airflow dies very quickly and needs replacing. There was a solid day and a half where one of my pumps was unusable, and I could not figure out what was wrong. I even reached out to customer service.

Finally, after a lot of messing around, a youtube video happened to start in the background, and it showed me a really helpful tip about how you can use the flange from the willow bags (which you get a set of bags that comes with the pumps) to replace them for the reusable cup.

Here’s a link to the video

This super hero walks you step-by-step on how to do it. Not only does this help you prolong the life of your pump without spending any cash, but if you choose to purchase the reusable cup, it also gives you a reason to use the bags that come with your pump.

Personal Willow Breast Pump Insights & Experiences

So, as you can see, my thoughts and feelings on the Willow can be pretty polarized. The convenience is worth any of the hassle, in my opinion, but there are hassles.

My most recent issue was a pain in my right nip even when I wasn’t pumping. 

Like, it really hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why. Obviously, and unfortunately, when you exclusively pump, you can’t take a “day off,” or your supply will drop.

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And I had worked TOO DAMN HARD to build my supply to risk losing it over pain.

But it still sucked, and I couldn’t figure out what had happened, because it was enough discomfort that I was gritting my teeth while pumping.

Do you remember what I said earlier about making sure your bra wasn’t too tight?

Well, I only figured it out because of this situation. After some googling, I read a few comments saying that if the Willow was pressed too firmly to your boob, it could clog ducts, and that could cause pain.

So, after making sure my bra was looser than I preferred and quite a bit of massaging, I worked out the clogs and feel fine now. But, just be aware of this. I find that pumping is both more and less uncomfortable. I am getting used to the extra gravity, but the lack of pressure on my boob is nice, too.

Final Thoughts On The Willow Breast Pump

Overall, Willow Breast Pump has improved my life immensely, and it was worth every penny… and it costs a LOT of pennies.

While there are definitely drawbacks, I feel as though these will be improved upon as each new iteration of this pump is released.

Now, Willow has a competitor in the form of the Evie Breast Pump, I have not used the Evie, nor do I plan on shelling out another several hundred dollars to test it out.

I do know from my research that a ton of people love it, and it has a ton of great features that people like over the Willow.

After using portable breast pumps, I believe they need to be covered by insurance for future moms. I think it makes a HUGE impact on the pumping experience, both logistically and emotionally. 

via GIPHY

I strongly recommend researching on your own, as well. While I’m not sure if/when the Willow breast pump will be covered by insurance, but on the WIllow FAQ they claim that: 

… some Moms have told us that they have been able to obtain full or partial reimbursement for their Willow Wearable Breast pump through insurance…” –Frequently Asked Questions | Willow: Wearable Breast Pump. https://www.willowpump.com/faq/

– so, definitely check with your insurance provider if the only thing stopping you from trying Willow is the price tag.

(or Evie- I’d love to hear from any moms in the comments if they’ve used the Evie and their opinions on it)

I hope that this Willow Breast Pump review has been helpful to you in your breast pump research. I can say, as an exclusively pumping mom, I can’t imagine having to spend the next year strapped to one spot with a baby and such to take care of.

The Willow has its flaws and can be a frustrating piece of equipment to use. Still, I find the pros have outweighed the cons, and I genuinely look forward to seeing how this technology advances for future moms, because in a few years… I have a feeling portable breast pumping will become a great deal more common reality.

I hope you had a fabulous Valentine’s and Galentine’s Day, my friends!

Until next week!

Take it e-e-easy!

What A New Mom REALLY Wants For Valentines Day

Alright, this post is actually for the life partners of new mommies. That’s right, so fellow noob moms, go ahead forward this post to your partner and skedaddle out of the room.

I dunno… go watch Netflix or something…

Alright… is she gone?

Are you sure?

Alright, good.

Now that your new mom is out of the way- let’s get down to business, my dear support person.

Firstly: how are you? Are you doing alright? 

I know that sometimes you get lost in the fray when the baby comes, so I just wanted to take a second and let YOU know that you’re ALSO doing a great job, and your new mom appreciates everything you do. 

With Valentines Day approaching, I know it might be hard to find a spare moment to yourselves to celebrate, so I wanted to create this helpful little post as a means of sharing with you precisely what your new mom really wants for Valentine’s Day.

Sure, by all means, grab her some flowers, chocolates, anything she might like- but if you really want to put a huge smile on her face, then stay tuned, because this post is going to tell you precisely how to do it. 

So let’s talk about…

What A New Mom REALLY Wants For Valentine’s Day.

Sleep

I’m going to make this easy. I’m putting THE top gift as our first entry- emphatic order be damned. If you want to give your precious new mom the best Valentine’s Day ever, then give her a full night’s sleep– hell, if you’re feeling spicy, give her a few!

There’s nothing she wants- or needs– more right now than a solid night’s sleep. So, if you can help her out as much as possible, then do so. 

It might be tough if your new mom is choosing to breastfeed exclusively, but even if you sit with her during the feedings, or see if she’s willing to do a bit of extra pumping throughout the day if she can that could cover the night feedings!

But even if you just sit up with her during those lonely hours of the wee morning, rub her back, tell her how great of a job she’s doing- those are the types of gestures that will be the greatest gift.

An Empty Sink

Nothing gets neglected like housework when a new baby comes. Even though a baby takes up a ton of her attention, it doesn’t mean that the sink full of dishes, or the unmade bed, aren’t driving your new mom absolutely crazy.

If you want a sure-fire way to make her Valentine’s Day rock, see if you can find the time to tidy up! Maybe even convince her to take a nap once the baby goes down(again, sleep is king), and you can have a lovely clean house ready for her when she wakes up.

Clean Hands

You both probably have never handled so much shit in your lives… literally

It’s no joke how often such a tiny body can produce so many dirty diapers. Do your special new mom a solid, take on diaper duty for the day. Taking on diapers for the day is ESPECIALLY helpful if your new mom is exclusively breastfeeding, as all of the baby’s feedings are most likely on her to perform.

To her, just knowing she has those few extra minutes of free time afforded to her can make a HUGE difference. 

Not to mention, diaper changes can be a pretty fun way to get that extra bonding time in with your little one!

To FINALLY Finish That One Episode of That ONE Show On Netflix

Sometimes the best gift can just be getting through one episode of her favorite show without having to pause it to tend to a crying baby, so give mamma a break, leave her with a gift basket of her favorite snacks to binge-watch her favorite show, and hang with the little one for a few hours.

At-Home Spa Day

Even though mommy might normally enjoy visiting the spa, early motherhood means she might lack the energy, and maybe even a bit of the desire to be away from the baby so long.

So, why not bring a spa day to her?

Buy her a little basket of bath soaps, bath bombs, lotions- you get the idea…  Light some candles and throw a few rose petals around that freshly cleaned bathroom, and let the love of your life enjoy a little homemade R&R while you and baby are right down the hall where she can get her fill of baby cuddles whenever she wants.

Hell, if you want to go all-out, have a massage therapist make a house call, and you can either give her a private massage in the living room; or have a friend or family member pay a visit so they can care for the baby while you both enjoy a couple’s massage.

Hell… there comes the point when, if mommy could just sneak in a hot shower, it could feel like a spa day in itself.

Hopefully, it’s easy to see that the undercurrent of all of these gift ideas is quite simple… 

Your new mom needs a bit of relaxation. Sometimes she won’t even realize she needs the break, but that’s where you come in, ever-so-important support partner. You can be that safety net that catches her when she’s running on E. 

Your role is so important, and support and love is truly the greatest gift you can give a new mom. Even something as seemingly simple as: “you’re doing a great job” can mean the world to her.

But that doesn’t mean your new mom might not enjoy a trip to the spa.

It couldn’t hurt.

You know what…? Go ahead and get her the gift card to the spa to be safe…

Alright, friends, no matter how you choose to celebrate, may you have a pretty stellar Valentine’s Day!

Yeah, I know it’s a corporate construct developed to sell needless merchandise and overly expensive cards… but hey, think of it as an excellent excuse for some tasty takeout, if nothing else.

Take it easy!

8 Organizing Tips For New Moms

Hello There!

You’re friendly neighborhood noob mom here! I hope that your start of 2020 has been fantastic, and with a budding new year, we’re all rearing to improve some aspect of our lives for the better.

Some of us want to drop that last ten pounds, or clear out the clutter we’ve been compiling in our basement!

Well, if you’re a new mom in a new decade (like myself), doing any kind of spring cleaning feels overwhelming. When you bring home a new baby, you’re often desperate just to make sure you have all of the necessities in arms reach.

If you’re anything like me, my first week or two was baby supplies everywhere, dirty baby clothes in a pile, and far too many dishes in the sink.

Frankly, I’ve mentioned previously that clutter and a lack of organization can actually cause me more anxiety than not. I tend to be someone who finds peace and relaxation in cleaning- and especially in knowing there’s a place for everything. Clutter, almost literally, makes it impossible for me to relax.

This post is for those of you who, like me, need a bit of organization in your life, but could use a few quick tips to get you started.

Welp, I’m here to try and lend a hand, fellow noob mom, and so I would like to share with you my…

8 Organizing Tips For New Moms

We’ll talk about products and tactics that have helped me keep my house(and my mind) neat and tidy(almost- I am still a new mom with very little time lol).

Anyway, let’s get it started!

Set Up Multiple Stations

So, one of the most significant contributors to an organized lifestyle is convenience. It’s much easier to stay neat when you make it easy on yourself. When it comes to baby stuff, for example, you’re much less likely to put baby clothes in a hamper if it’s close by, instead of only upstairs in the baby’s room.

With that in mind, my first suggestion is to set up at least two “baby stations” in your home. Like, one upstairs, and one downstairs, for example.

Personally, I have all baby-related necessities in:

  1. Jake’s room
  2. My Room Under His Bassinet
  3. Family Room

In the Family Room, I simply purchased one set of 3-tier plastic drawers from Target, and I stored diapers and wipes in one drawer, extra outfits, and accessories in the second; and finally supplies like pacifiers, gas relief drops, diaper rash cream, etc… in the last.

Just the stuff I know I am most likely to be using often enough that running up to Jake’s room would be inconvenient to do 20 times a day.

By having these drawers, I’m able to use my supplies and put them right back in the drawer without having to put in too much extra effort.

I also have a hamper for dirty clothes, and a diaper genie in my family room and my bedroom, too.

Define A Specific Area In Your Kitchen For All Baby-Related Feeding Products

I mentioned the wire countertop storage drawers I ordered in my “C-Section” blog, and they were PERFECT for storing all of Jake’s eating accessories.

However, I also made sure that the area I set these drawers up had enough room to make sure I had a bit of extra room for any additional products that wouldn’t fit in the drawers like distilled water and formula.

I also emptied out a specific drawer close by that I store my extra breastfeeding accessories.

Having all of my baby’s feeding accessories in one place makes the, incredibly convenient and easy to reach, while also stored in a spot that doesn’t make my eye twitch from an over-cluttered countertop.

Make A Breastfeeding Basket

I actually need to take my own advice on this one a bit better than I have been. Regardless of whether you’re pumping, breastfeeding, or both, it’s an excellent idea to set yourself up with a little breastfeeding basket that you can keep all of the things you need to have in easy reach.

For example:

  • Water Bottle
  • Easy-To-Eat Snacks
  • Tissues
  • Burp Rags
  • Daily Vitamins(to help you remember to take them)
  • Phone Charger
  • More snacks(I get super hungry from pumping)

Basically, yet again, just anything that you would like to have on-hand when you’re hands are full with a baby, or you’re tied down to a breast pump.

You can get yourself a nice bag or basket that you can store closeby without having to have all of your supplies lying around.

You can also make sure that you “restock and replenish” your basket right before bed each night; that way, you don’t have to worry about trying to get all of your supplies together with a hungry, angry little baby wiggling around in your arms.

Take That Extra Step

I know pretty much all of my previous organizing tips were entirely about helping you avoid any extra effort, but this one is a bit different.

Think of this tip as a “why do tomorrow what you can do today”. If you finish a bowl of cereal, do your best to get up and bring it to the sink- because, eventually, your coffee table could be a smorgasbord of all of your snacks and meals.

If you’re getting dressed, take the extra minute just to tidy up your bed. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, I once heard the phrase: “done is better than perfect,” and it really resonated with me. I find myself repeating it in those moments when I’m tempted to neglect a small task that is inconvenient but not impossible.

Hence: even if you don’t have the time or energy to wash the cereal bowl right then and there… at least it’s in the sink and not on the coffee table.

Keep 2 Diaper Bags

Excessive, maybe… but there’s nothing more ass-clenching than being a new mom and realizing you’ve forgotten the diaper bag as your baby has shit all over themselves in the middle of the mall.

A really great way to always be prepared is to create two diaper bags, and keeping one in your car, and one in your support person’s car.

I even have a diaper bag for long trips and one for quick trips!

Keep A Journal

Now, I’ve never personally been a big journaler; and that’s mostly because I choose to paint or draw instead. Even so, I think journaling is an incredible way to relieve stress and help you work through any sticky shit in your soul!

But, if journaling isn’t your thing, then my advice on this tip is just to find something to help you declutter your brain.

It may seem impossible to find a moment to yourself, and when you DO finally get the baby down for a nap, you’re compelled to either scramble around trying to tidy up or get that well-deserved nap.

By all means, take that nap… HOWEVER, I truly recommend you make more of an effort to set aside some of the baby’s naptime for your emotional organization over home organization. 

Even if it’s just fifteen minutes of journaling, or painting, or meditation – HELL, even if you just feel like sitting down and watching youtube… just make an effort to do something that helps you decompress.

HELL, find a NEW hobby like journaling or painting! Being a new mom means a lifetime of new things- why not take a chance to take on something just for mom?

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of Journaling, and how to get started, then I emphatically recommend you visit my friend over at Paper Thoughts

They are an incredible resource for anyone who would love to express themselves in a creative and therapeutic capacity.

But their work is especially beneficial and geared toward educating children about healthy coping skills!

paperthoughtsprogram.com is full of resources and prompts to get you inspired to write!

Create A Cleaning Routine With Your Partner

Considering the fact that you’re reading this blog, it is very likely that you like things in order. There are very few ways of maintaining an orderly day that is more reliable than creating a routine.

When you create an easy-to-follow cleaning routine, your household can be ahead of any messes each day. After all, it’s better to tidy as you go, than to be faced with a day’s worth of dishes(back to the cereal bowl idea).

If you want an easy sheet to introduce to your family organizing routine, check out my… 

FREE

Easy Organization Schedule Sheet

With this easy to use printable, you and your partner can set up a concise and successful cleaning routine that won’t make anyone feel frustrated or unappreciated.

Just plug your email below, and you’ll receive the FREE print out in your inbox!

    Donate

    With the new decade in full swing, a cleanse can sometimes be the best medicine. Not to mention, you itty bitty baby is going to grow far too quickly! 

    A great way to keep organized is to get rid of as much unnecessary clutter as possible. Take a few hours throughout the day(as you have them) to go through your closet during nap time, or when the baby is relaxing, and sort through your old clothes to figure what you really need to keep.

    via GIPHY

    This not only lets your air out your environment but do some good by donating your quality items that others might need.

    It’s a win-win, guys!

    Goodness knows we need a lot of goodwill to be spread around in these turbulent times.

    I hope that this list of organizing tips have been helpful. If you have any cool organizing advice for your fellow moms, mention it in a comment below!

    L 2 Mom is all about supporting each other, so don’t be afraid to chime in if you think of a super cool tip to share!

    Anyway, have an awesome rest of your day, and if you have been enjoying the L 2 Mom blog, then please be sure to share it with your friends!

    Talk To Ya Soon!