Review Wednesday – DockATot

Happy Wednesday, Loves! Today I’m sharing details about one of my favorite products to date; DockATot. When I first discovered the DockATot I fell in love. This all natural, 100% cotton multi-functional gem has made parenthood just a little easier. It’s perfect for co-sleeping parents and playtime/tummy time. I’m lucky to call myself a DockATot partner and experience this product first hand and share all the great things about it!

It comes in two sizes – The Deluxe which is for babies 0-8 months and the Grand (which Rylee has) is for babies 9-36 months.

Some of my favorite features of the DockATot include:

  • Interchangeable covers. They offers different covers and they’re all so adorable!
  • Transitions baby from parents bed to their own.
  • It’s easy to transport to & from grandparents houses or vacations.
  • It’s great for cuddling!

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve gotten our DockATot and Rylee loves it! She plays and sleeps so well in it that I have no doubt once we transition her into her big girl bed, it’ll be a smooth transition. I love that DockATot has two different sizes and can really grow with your baby.

The prices may intimidate you, but I promise it’s worth every penny and a really great investment! Head over to DockATot now and save yourself $10 off when you click this link!

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Disclosure: I received this product as part of a partnership with DockATot. All words and opinions are completely my own. 

 

Things People Don’t Tell You – Labor, Delivery, & Recovery

I was reflecting this past weekend as I was spending time with my little family and it dawned on me that my baby girl is going to be eight months in a few weeks! Seriously, where has the time gone? My husband and I always talk about wanting to have more kids or when the best time to start trying is and when I think about how hard these eight months have been, I think it’s safe to say that we won’t be trying for about another year or so lol. We love spoiling Rylee with love and attention and I’m just not ready for another one just yet!

It got me thinking about my pregnancy though and how great of a pregnancy I had until I hit my third trimester. For those of you who don’t know, I had a really difficult third trimester and had kidney issues (what the doctor had thought), which resulted in me having a tube inserted in my lower back and a drainage bag attached at my hip until I had to deliver. Super inconvenient and embarrassing, but then it brought me to my topic today; the sh*t no one tells you about labor, delivery, & recovery.

Labor:

  • Labor is nothing compared to how you see it happening in movies.
  • You feel extremely exposed and violated because of all the nurses that come in and out of your room to check on you every few hours to see how much you’ve dilated.
  • If you’re getting an epidural, you’re also getting a catheter down there. It’s really uncomfortable, but the good thing is, you won’t feel anything down. Downside is you won’t be able to get out of your bed until your baby has finally arrived!
  • You can’t eat when you’re in labor. I literally went 19 hours with no food or water and was miserable. Ice chips are your best friend!
  • There’s a lot of waiting around.
  • Contractions are painful! Take it from someone who had to go through four epidurals because the medicine kept wearing off. I felt every contraction and it was awful. At one point I was begging for a c-section because I couldn’t take the pain anymore.

Delivery:

  • You wanna talk about being exposed?? During delivery you are sprawled open with a light shining on your whoo-ha while not only your doctor, but 4-5 nurses are watching you push.
  • The doctors encourage your significant other to look because that’s your baby being born.
  • There’s a good chance you’ll poop on the table. Thank God it didn’t happen to me, but I’ve heard horror stories of that happening!
  • Once you’ve pushed out your 7 pound babe, you still have to deliver the placenta. All you want to do is have skin to skin with your baby or watch them being washed, but that’s not the case. Thankfully pushing out the placenta is quick.
  • There’s a good chance you’ll get stitches down there if you start to tear during delivery.
  • You will cry the first time you see your beautiful baby girl/boy.

Recovery:

  • The first time you gain feeling back to your legs is really weird. The nurses will be in and out of your delivery room to check on you.
  • You will have to be accompanied by a nurse the first time you get out of bed and go to the bathroom.
  • There is so much blood. SO. MUCH.
  • The first time you pee will feel so weird and a little painful.
  • Your stomach does not go back to normal.. I poked my stomach multiple times during my stay at the hospital and it was so jiggly and flabby, like jello.
  • Sitting, walking, getting in bed or in a car for the first time is going to be difficult. Make sure your significant other can help support you getting around.

Tips I Suggest:

  • Bring your own undies & pads post delivery. The ones they give you at the hospital are cheap and don’t work really well (in my opinion).
  • Wear flowy dresses postpartum. They’re convenient when having to use the restroom.
  • Most hospitals are pro-breastfeeding, but the honest truth is breastfeeding is extremely challenging for most women. If you choose to give your baby formula, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about not breastfeeding.
  • Give yourself credit! You had your baby in you for nine months. You are a rock star and a total badass.

Last but not least:

I know it sounds super scary and borderline stressful, but the truth is, I would go through all of this again if that meant I got to bring another beautiful soul into this world. Pregnancy and motherhood has changed me for the better. Although the experiences I had still bring back a lot of memories and feelings, I’m living my best life having a daughter that I can share this with one day.

Keeping it Together

People often ask me how I keep my cool and stress levels down.. The secret is I don’t. I have my wonderful husband to vent to on a daily basis about work, plans, and basically everything! That’s the great thing about him though, he just listens. I may have a lot going on in my life, but that definitely doesn’t mean I don’t stress. I think I’ve just found ways to keep it cool.

Being a full-time meeting planner is tough. The hours are long, the clients are hit or miss, and there’s times when weekends have to wait because I’m working an event. On top of that, I find time to hang with my squad (daughter & husband), read a least two books a month and meet for my monthly book club meeting, run our family photo booth business, focus on blogging, run my decodingmotherhood Instagram and personal Instagram, and make time for our friends and family. I love being busy, but it’s not an easy job!

Below are my secrets to keeping it together and staying organized!

  1. Utilize your calendar! I never knew how much I rely on my calendar to keep me in check. Below is a little snippet of how I keep my calendar organized. Green are large groups my team and I manage, the purple are the groups I mange, blue are daily meetings, and yellow are personal events. I literally would not know how to function without my calendar. calendar
  2. Delegate cleaning and organizing tasks! My husband and I like to joke and say we live in a frat house because we constantly have people coming and going. We have a funky little family with crazy schedules and we only have three bedrooms which one is dedicated to being a guest room which complicates things when my sister is in town and wants to stay with us, but we also have our cousin who is a flight attendant who gets room rights during his stay, and my other sister who is also our live in nanny! Talk about a full house right? But with that being said, our house is always a mess. Being the mom of the house, I delegate everyone on the weekend to do their set of chores. It’s actually pretty great because the kitchen, living room, dining room, and bathrooms are all spic and span and all I had to do was tell them. #momwinscontent_df66c5f3546937d7df51ae5a538504a3
  3. Schedule Date Nights and Friend Dates. Living in a chaotic world requires some sanity which typically means going out with your friends or significant other and leaving the little babes at home. We all need to unwind sometimes and for some of us, that means endless laughter with those closest to you and a bottle of wine. pexels-photo-696218
  4. Find time for yourself. This is so important and probably the most underrated of them all because some mothers don’t think they deserve an hour or two to themselves because they’re so busy taking care of everyone else, but they really do. I take advantage of this when I can and it usually results in manicures and pedicures, bubble baths, or a long nap under the covers. pexels-photo-534116

 

Review Wednesday – The Ollie Swaddle

Happy Wednesday, Loves! When Rylee was first-born, she loved being swaddled and she still does. She is such a snuggle bug so any opportunity she has to be swaddled or snuggled, she’ll take it! I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with The Ollie World to promote their Ollie Swaddle also known as the Smarter Swaddle. While most swaddles are made from a general poly blend or cotton, the Ollie Swaddle is made from a custom moisture-wickering material which helps prevent the little ones from overheating which I think is amazing seeing as I find it hard to maintain the temperature of our house especially during the warmer seasons. The Velcro they use is seriously top-notch! My daughter is a wiggle worm to say the least so she’s been able to break out of all her swaddles, but this is one swaddle she just hasn’t broken out of. I’ve also noticed a huge difference in her quality of sleep. She’s definitely a lot more calm in this swaddle than she has been in any other swaddle we’ve used in the past.

One of the smallest, but best part of the Ollie Swaddle is the little loop at the bottom of the swaddle which makes it extremely easy for diaper changes. My daughter is at the age where she is rolling over and over and refuses to stay still during her diaper changes, but while she is calm and in her swaddle, having easy access from that little loop at the bottom makes a big difference for us parents. The price for the Ollie Swaddle is $59 and although it seems a little steep, this is such a great investment because as your child grows, the swaddle helps ease the transitional stages.

Head on over to The Ollie World and get your swaddle on! You can save 10% by clicking here. Make sure to follow their Instagram for giveaways!

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Disclosure: I received this product as part of a partnership with The Ollie World. All words and opinions are completely my own. 

Why Parenting is Harder these Days

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I was having this conversation with my colleague about how hard parenting is these days versus when my parents were my age 20 + years ago. My mom and dad have always been hard-working people and provided everything for my sisters and I growing up.. But with long hours and hardly any time off comes the sacrifice of watching your kids grow up.

Growing up my parents let me walk to school, play outside, left us in the car with the windows down while they ran into the grocery store, eat dessert for breakfast, and maybe parents were a lot more laid back but they also didn’t have all the resources we have today and people constantly shoving information in your face about how to parent. The way we parent now is by fear; fear that we are going to screw up or someone will be judging our every move. Fear that if we leave our kids alone outside, they’ll get snatched. Our primary goal as parents is to give our kids the best life possible, right?

Being a millennial mother, in my opinion, has been so hard and I think I know why. Back in the day, parents didn’t have FaceTime, Snapchat, Phone Video capabilities, blogs, Facebook support groups, baby monitors that you can access from your phones, etc.. Living in a modern technology world gives us the ability to see our kids through that little device you carry everywhere. But I think that’s what makes it so hard.

We as parents have to see our kids through our phones growing up and for me personally, I hate that. You wake up one day with a tiny human nuzzled by your bedside and the next thing you know, months have gone by and your little one is crawling or walking. Where did the time go?? Do you know how guilty it makes me feel that I have to depend on someone else to watch and raise my daughter because I can’t do it full-time? I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like that. We have to work twice as hard to support our little humans and we live in a world where people are constantly evolving and things are getting more expensive.

Thankfully we have a full-time sitter who lives with us throughout the week and it just so happens it’s my little sister, but that’s beside the point;  it makes it hard being away from our daughter all day, all week and the only way we’re able to see her do new things is through videos my sister sends us or on weekends when we’re able to spend all day with her. I know some daycare’s send parents videos and pictures too which is obviously great, but I hate seeing my little girl grow up through my phone.

But here’s the thing. We as millennial parents are extremely lucky to have the support and resources we have because it helps us get through those long days where we have to work. We have the capabilities that our parents didn’t have years ago, and even though it seems like we are constantly being compared to one another or judged on how we raise our kids, we are doing the best we can given our circumstances and that’s more than enough.

 

 

 

Limiting Screen Time in a Digital World

While my daughter is still fairly young I want to implement something that I’m a huge advocate for and that’s limiting screen time. We live in a digital world now and while iPads, game consoles, computers, etc.. may keep the kids busy and quiet, I think it’s important to limit those times and teach them shapes, colors, and sounds the old fashion way. Babies learn best from people! The more you interact with them, the more familiar they’ll become with your voice vs. the characters on the TV.

I’ve noticed that Rylee loves sitting in front of the TV or iPad while her movies are on, granted there’s sound and colors that get her attention, but I don’t want her getting too attached and dependent on those things. I read an article from CNN that I found so interesting. They state, “For parents with infants, cutting off technology completely can be challenging. But banning screen time for babies is hugely important for brain development and healthy parent-child connections. If parents’ attention is fixed on a TV or phone screen, babies are deprived of that attention; and if they are repeatedly neglected in favor of digital media, children may develop behavioral issues in the future.

With that being said, I found some really fun sensory activities for babies that I can’t wait to try with my daughter!

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Sensory Play Ideas for Babies

Review Wednesday – Nomi+Sibs

Happy Wednesday, Loves! You know when you have play dates and it seems like all the little babes have the same bottles or sippy cups as your little babe does? The answer for that is Nomi+Sibs personalized labels. I discovered a new product out there that is so simple but makes a big difference for both parents and the little ones. I’ve partnered with Nomi+Sibs to promote their personalized, silicone engraved name labels. These things are so adorable and when I first received them I knew we’d be using them often!

These labels are sustainable, toxin-free, and adaptable labels great for bottles, sippy cups, thermos’ and small snack containers. The purpose of these labels is not only to help your child identify colors and items, but also to never confuse another bottle or sippy cup during play dates! They come in different colors and they’re dishwasher safe. They come in a pack of four and the packaging is minimal, which is great!

You can get your pack now at Nomi+Sibs using the promo code “decodingmotherhood” to get a discount off your order!

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*Thank you to Nomi+Sibs for sponsoring this post. All opinions are of my own. I am delighted to share their products with you. *