Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Pregnancy (Page 2 of 2)

Six Years Later

Six years isn’t very long in the grand scheme of things. My maternal grandmother is close to 90. Now that’s a long and impressive life. Six years? Nah. I always try to put things into perspective, but on the other hand, I also think a lot can happen in just six years. This Friday marks six years of marriage for Anil and I. It’s not very long or impressive (or even a round number!), but it’s still so special to us. So what does life look like six years later? A lot has changed…

We’re now averaging about 2 to 3 real dates per year, which also means we eat dinner with food and toddler utensils flying around the rest of the year. Most of our conversations are centered around our toddler, food, technology, start-ups, or family updates. We also talk a ton about baby and toddler poop and circadian rhythms. I consider my evening a win if I have the time to put on lotion, not in peace, but while discussing our meals and groceries for the next week. Oh and car maintenance and insurance too, of course. I haven’t worn lipstick in about 5 years and to this day, don’t know how to put on eyeliner properly. Yep, I’ve got the make-up-less, au natural look down. I sleep in free technology conference t-shirts and pajama pants or shorts every night. Anil does the same (does he have a choice?) and his pajamas and socks are more likely to have holes in them. My hair never looks great without a lot of straightening. Neither of us is crazy about flowers, so you’ll rarely see fresh flowers on holidays or birthdays. I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to most flowers. But good food? Loads of it. I know at this point you’re thinking about how unglamorous our marriage sounds. Surely, we must be miserable, right?

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Nope. Not for a single day. I actually love all of the craziness that makes up our marriage. I think it’s largely due to the fact that we both pay attention to small details. We enjoy the ones that matter to us, and (try to) let go of the ones that don’t. We’re pretty in sync on that and never take anything too seriously. It’s helped us a ton, even with a difficult baby, a start-up, and so little free time on our hands. So no, we’re not the couple with the flowers and the fancy dinners at The Melting Pot anymore, but I am still crazy about my hubs. He comforted me when I got food poisoning in New Zealand. He checked my teeth for broccoli during a dinner cruise in Hawaii. He flew to Vegas to keep me company when I had to present for work (ok fine, didn’t have to twist his arm for that one :-)). He rubbed my back for 18 hours during labor. He cleaned up that first meconium diaper (and reminds me of it all the time!). He let me nurse Dilan in his start-up office, as awkward as that was. He told me I would do great on my first day back to work, with a 3 month old in my arms and tears in my eyes. These are some of my toughest, fondest, and most meaningful memories. Six years later, I’ve learned that those small details are way more important than anything that’s filed under “romantic”. They are raw and pure life and they taught me how great of a partner I really have.

I’m sure you guys have similar experiences. Don’t forget them. They’re what makes your bond so strong and fun. Happy sixth anniversary, Anil. It’s been a blast. I don’t regret one single moment we’ve shared over these last six year. Hope you’re buckled up, because I don’t see us slowing down…

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The Post-Baby Body

I’m a firm believer in not following any fad diet. I simply try to eat as healthy as I can. I know, I know, that sounds SO annoying  and vague, but I’m a foodie and I just don’t like to deprive myself of anything. I have a simple rule: load up on as many fruits, veggies, and lean proteins as you can and eat as few processed foods as you can get away with. It works pretty well for me, but those two dark chocolate truffles with sea salt in the break room yesterday? Yeah I downed those. No other sweets for the day, but those suckers disappeared faster than your co-workers on the Friday before Christmas.

I also have a few other guidelines that I go by. I don’t buy every single fruit and veggie in organic form. I usually follow the Dirty Dozen and base my organic purchases on that: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php. You usually can’t find every single one of these in a single shopping trip either, so I pick my battles. I love farmers markets and local food and try to incorporate as many of their products into our diets. Never hurts and it helps to reduce your carbon foot print, since those products aren’t shipped from very far. Another great resource I use is the 7 Scary Food Additives to Avoid: http://naturallysavvy.com/eat/7-scary-food-additives-to-avoid. I read every single label when I go to the grocery store and try to avoid these.

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I’m finally getting back into somewhat of an exercise routine and it feels awesome. Exhausting, but awesome. Not because I’m losing much weight, but because I love the way it makes me feel. I don’t pay attention to numbers, but look at how my clothes fit and how healthy I feel. At the same time, I know my body will never be the same. That’s just what happens after you give birth and don’t have a personal trainer following you around, or grandparents available to help take care of your child  while you exercise. Even if you do, your body may still not bounce back to exactly the way it was before. Do I care? Hardly. I’m eating healthy and making sure my family does as well. Sure, my thighs could use some more toning and I wouldn’t mind less skin in the belly area, but I will never agree with the saying that babies ruin bodies. That’s bull crap. You grew an entire human being and some things have changed. You’re a tiger that earned your stripes. Be proud. Oh and eat healthy :-)

Gisele, Breastfeeding, and Natural Birth

I’m not a gossip or celebrity-enthused person. I usually don’t care about celeb lives, unless they do inspiring things like Jessica Alba did with launching The Honest Company. Celebrities have first world problems that the rest of us firstworlders can’t even tweet or complain about. Boring. This picture, though, caught my eye:

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LOTS of controversy on this everywhere. You can read more about it here: http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/gisele-bundchen-39-glam-breastfeeding-photo-stirs-debate-153431821–abc-news-celebrities.html

Gisele, two things:
1. The rest of us usually wear spit-up stained yoga pants or business clothes that we wish fit better when we’re nursing our newborn. No one is doing our hair and painting our nails. In fact, we don’t even do that ourselves for the first six months or so of baby life. I do know it’s your job to get this done, even if it’s considered a treat to others. With that being said, you are obviously a huge breastfeeding advocate and for that, I applaud you. I wish more new moms would give breastfeeding a chance because to me, it’s  been the single most important thing I’ve done for my son so far. I don’t think that you can make breastfeeding into a law because to be fair, moms juggling multiple jobs just to be able to feed themselves or pay healthcare bills may not be able to breastfeed. Some people physically can’t do it. Overall, though, I think you’re great for giving it some attention.

2. Natural birth for me consisted of either being in too much pain to talk, or talking gibberish when I did attempt to do so. It was excruciating and I don’t think anyone should get the idea that it’s going to be a walk in the park. I was also not making pancakes on day 2, but will always be grateful for and proud of my natural birth experience, even if I sucked at it. You stuck to what you believe in (allowing your body to do what’s natural) and for that, I again applaud you.

So there you have it. I may not care about celebs much, but sometimes the take-away is not what they look like and have, but what they stand for. Or in this case, what they sit for…

The Body Part that Hurt the Most

So I took a Pilates class today. I desperately need the core toning. My stomach / core just isn’t the same after pregnancy. It probably never will be, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to at least make it FEEL good, right?  I’ve taken Pilates before, but MAN I forgot how intense it can be. For you pregnant ladies out there: if you’re in good shape and have your doc’s approval to take a class, DO IT. Not for the core toning, but for the breathing. I used the Pilates breath during the first part of my labor and think it helped a ton. I wish my head was clear enough to use it during the second part, but by that point, I was in too much pain to care about anything. I digress.

Guess what body part hurt the most during the foundation Pilates exercises? My neck! And guess why? I talked to my instructor afterwards and she asked if I was still breastfeeding. I’m not, but you know all those nights when you’re kind of hunched over while nursing? That stuff adds up and apparently, I have an imbalance in the neck area because of it. It’s actually pretty common among new moms. You can fix it by doing regular neck stretches. So I just thought I’d pass that on, in case that ever comes your way. #themoreyouknow

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Top 20 Baby Must Haves

You guys! I have at least six friends who are pregnant right now. You guys suck are lucky because it’s been such a mild summer. I waddled around in 100+ F last summer when it was one of the hottest seasons on record. But, no complaints. I recently had a few of you ask what you should put on your registries and baby wish lists. If you had asked me this a year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue. But by almost making it through the first year, I have a much better idea now, also thanks to so many other new parents who shared their experiences with us before we had our little one. Everyone’s opinion is different, but below is a list of my must-have items for the first 6 months or so. I figured, why not throw this into a blog post instead of emailing each of you separately? Anil and I are all about value, practicality, and stylish-ness. We don’t pick the most expense baby gear, and don’t run to the very cheapest either. We do tons of research and then pick the products that we think will work best. So far, I can honestly say that we haven’t made a single purchase that was not worth the money. So here you go!

Top 20 Baby Must Haves

Swaddle blankets – We love how soft these aiden + anais ones are. You can definitely get a few of those, but if you’re looking for something that stays on a bit better, try these velcro Summer ones.

Soft hooded baby towels – No particular preference here, but get at least four of these.

Bibs & Burp cloths – Again, we love the aiden + anais ones. Get a few of these and then at least 10-20 other ones. You’ll constantly be covered in spit-up for the first few months, so don’t get just one or two. You’ll be washing these constantly!

Footie pajamas with zippers – I like the Gerber Sleep & Play ones. You can get them pretty much anywhere they sell baby clothes. We have them in every size they come in. Get at least 5 – 10 per size, unless you want to do laundry 15x a day. I wouldn’t get too many of the snap-up ones, because who wants to deal with snaps in the middle of the night? Zippers are the way to go.

Onesies – Can’t beat these. Any kind will work, but I’m a Gerber fan again here. Great fit and quality. We got most of Dilan’s onesies at Target and also received a few hand-me-downs.

Nose Frida – Love this thing! I know it looks gross, but I can’t tell you how much better we all sleep if we use Nose Frida when Dilan has a cold or allergies. Don’t forget the filters.

Humidifier – Lots of choices here, but it will help your little one breathe much easier, especially during winter time.

White noise machine – We wouldn’t have survived the first few months (and even now!) if it wasn’t for this thing. Perhaps the most important gadget ever. Read all about it in my post about white noise.

Thermometers – We have a digital one that scans the forehead, but you’ll need a manual one for an accurate measurement in the first few months.

Baby bath – You can easily just wipe down your baby for the first couple of weeks, but after that, we love the Puj Tub (up until about 4 months). Very easy to put together and fits in just about any sink. Super simple to store as well and unlike other baby baths, it’s so soft!

My bundle of joy

Pacifiers – Lots of controversy about these and not every baby will take one, but these work great for Dilan. I would wait at least a month or two to avoid nipple confusion.

Breast pump, pump parts, and bottles – These usually are made to connect with each other and are a must-have if you’re planning to go back to work and breastfeed or want some flexibility at home. I have the Medela Pump & Style Advanced and absolutely love it. A double electric breast pump is the way to go. Many insurance companies even cover the cost of breast pumps now in the US, so check with your insurance provider before you buy one!

Bottle drying rack – You’ll have tons of bottles and bottle / pump parts. A well designed bottle rack will help keep things organized.

Boppy Pillow – These really do help you get off to a good start when it comes to nursing. Pick a cute design and be sure to wash the cover periodically. An extra cover doesn’t hurt either, for when the other one is in the washing machine.

Diapers,  diaper cream, wipes, lotion, and soap / shampoo– Tons of choices here. For the first few months, we used Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive with the wetness indicator. Great for new parents, since you’re probably not sure what a wet diaper feels like. Dilan had tons of eczema so the sensitive kind of diaper worked great. We still use Pampers Baby Dry at night, but I recently switched to The Honest Company for Dilan’s diapers, creams, soap, shampoo, etc. A bit more expensive than Amazon Priming this stuff, but well worth the money. Their diapers are amazing and totally fit in with my eco-geek lifestyle.

Chux or waterproof changing pad liners – Chux are those disposable underpads you see at the hospital. Totally not eco-friendly, but for the first week or two, they were great for not having to deal with cleaning up leaky diaper messes. Chux are also great for travel, especially if you’re a germ-o-phobe like me and don’t like public changing tables. After the first few weeks at home, we switched over to washable changing pad liners. We have 3 of them and just rotate.

Books – It’s never too early to start reading! I like soft or board books with big objects and contrasts for the first 3 months or so.

Swing & bouncer – Dilan slept in the swing almost every other night and for most naps during the first few months. He’s a motion junkie, but even if your baby is not, the swing does wonders with soothing cranky babies. The bouncer is great for naps during the day and feeding first solids before you get a high chair in the later months.

Mirror for the back of the car – One of those that you can see via your rear view mirror. Helps to know what the little one is up to when you’re driving.

Super soft blanket – Pick a cute and cozy one!

BONUS ONE: Baby Connect – Ok, so technically this is not really an item, but an app. If you have an iPhone, this app is SO worth your $4.99. After you give birth, the nurses and docs will ask you when your baby last ate, how many wet diapers he / she has had, etc. You’ll want to log this for at least the first few weeks to ensure that your infant is growing well and is healthy. We logged every single diaper, bottle, nursing session, nap, nighttime sleep, and solid food for at least the first 6 months. We still log Dilan’s sleep. Ok, so we’re a bit extreme, but trust me on buying this app!

Of course there’s furniture and linens as well, but I think this pretty much sums up my top 20 baby must-haves. I’m sure I’m missing a few things. What else can you think of? Hope this helps, guys! Happy pregnancy!

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