On this page, you’ll find a few tips of what kept me sane during and after pregnancy. From clothing to furniture to accessories for my son’s nursery and my house, to finances and investing tips for his future, you can peruse some ideas of how to make this challenging, stressful time a little easier, financially sound, and much more enjoyable. Don’t forget self-care! A happy mom makes a happy baby!
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Pregnancy and Nursing Dress
Ladies, I was seven months pregnant when I started showing, but for some of you, it might happen sooner, especially when you’re not a first-time mom. At first, I was proud that I could still hide my growing belly, but at some point, I started buying those nice, stretchy maxi dresses to show off my bump. They were comfy and didn’t make you sweat in summer. And once my baby was there and I was pumping, I needed easy access to the milk maids. Under these Zattca dresses, you don’t even need to wear a bra. Just put baby to breast, and voilà!
Pumping Bra to the Rescue!
I admit it, without my Medela pumping bra, I would have been lost. Especially as a university professor, I needed both hands available to grade essays and assignments on my laptop, since I did not have maternity leave and was back in the classroom a week after my C-section. The pumping bra allowed me to pump for an hour in my office every three hours, and once I got to the NICU after and before work, I sat in front of my baby’s isolette and pumped for an hour every three hours, too, while reading to him. Once at home, my baby lay next to me while I was grading online while pumping. I was an over-producer and proud of it; one year of power pumping was only possible with this pumping bra that allowed me to do other things while providing the necessary milk for my preemie.
Having Visitors in the NICU
Let me put it this way: During the pandemic, NO ONE would have been allowed to visit my baby in the NICU. However, my son was born the year before the pandemic started, so I wasn’t that paranoid and hyper-vigilant and protective yet. Let me tell you about the three NICU visitors Lyons Cub had while he spent three weeks in the NICU’s at Vanderbilt, Nashville and Tennova, Clarksville, Tennessee.
(Every woman is different. If you’d rather stay private, it’s your choice; you don’t have to allow anybody, not even the grandparents, into your NICU space! Tell your nurse team your wishes, and they will oblige and won’t let anybody show up to bother you.)
Using Care.com to Hire a Nanny
As a widow who works full time, I had but two choices; either, I had to live on my savings and give up being an Assistant Professor of English, a job I loved to do, or I had to hire a nanny. I used care.com to find and interview nannies, and all in all, Lyons Cub had three different nannies: Nancy, Sarah, and Sherri. I also found an occasional baby sitter and pet sitter on that platform. Our nannies were much more than just trusted caretakers for Lyons Cub; they were family friends and accompanied us on the most important journey in life, until I was able to relocate to where I have family, which we did when Corona struck.
Ordering Breast Milk Jewelry
What looks like a pearl is actually breast milk powder hardened in resin. Breast milk jewelry is a new trend and can be made at home from a DIY kit, or you can order it from an artist. After a year of exclusive pumping, this mommy treated herself to a ring and a necklace (which has hair from my baby in it). What a nice way to commemorate having nourished your growing human through all the pain of engorgement, clogged ducts, and mastitis; through the discrimination of nursing in public and the lack of quiet rooms where to nurse or pump, such as in most airports; and through the shame and disgust of having to feed your baby in public toilets. Treat yourself, mommies, when this difficult journey is finally over.
… Create a NICU Memento Bauble?
There are so many meaningless glitter balls that just look great. Have you ever thought about creating a bauble that commemorates your infant’s stay in the NICU? (And if you weren’t a NICU mom, what about just putting your little’s first baby shoes in there?) I got those plastic balls you can open up from Amazon, put Lyons Cub’s red, crocheted NICU cap (a gift from the American Heart Association), his wristband from a hospital visit at 3 months old, and his first baby shoes into it. It’s hanging on our tree every year, to celebrate his 3-week fight in the NICU’s of Vanderbilt, Nashville and Tennova, Clarksville.
Shadow Box for Baby’s Hospital Items
After our NICU journey, I wanted to create a memento to look at years later, to remind me of how tiny and fierce my little Lyons was. Thus, I read forum posts from other mommies about what they put into their babies’ shadow boxes, and then set to work. I went through my box of NICU items to pick a few that would fit into the frame I had bought. I chose a 3 inch-deep glass frame, so I could fit Leander’s clothes, his paci, and a few other things in it. If you still have no idea what to put into a shadow box, check out ours.
Are you a paranoid mom, too? Checking in on your sleeping baby to check breathing? Sounds familiar? Then, it’s time for a baby monitor. I got mine from smilism back in 2018. Pick something modern, with the size of display and the functions you want, and find a good place to install it. The baby cam will give you peace of mind if your baby sleeps in a different room (mine had his own bedroom and a Montessori floor bed that changed into a house bed when he turned one). If you’d rather have one with a sock, check out the Owlet. Especially if you have a preemie with lung problems, it might be a life saver. (Note: In 2021, the Owlet was recalled from the market and is currently awaiting FDA approval, since it’s now considered a medical device.)
Lyons Cub’s nursery was in the “ocean” theme, so everything was in blue hues; we had whale and ship wall hangings, nautical crib sheets, a whale mobile, and turquoise/blue/green/gray foam blocks and a foam mat to play on with Early Intervention. We also displayed portraits from his newborn and cake smash photoshoots.
Storage Cubes for Baby Toys
As soon as you turn your head, a new heap of baby toys has been amassed… whether grandma has been generous, or some visitor brought a gift, or it has just been your little’s birthday, name day, or Christmas. Where to put all those things? I didn’t want to spend a whole lot on wood furniture, so I got those lovely fabric cubes in plastic cases, which were super easy to assemble. My son could pull them out to serve himself without getting hurt. Careful, they are not to climb on; they’re too fragile for that!
Shortly before baby becomes a crawler, it’s time to baby proof your home. I bought five nice-looking wooden Munchkin baby gates for the bedrooms, the kitchen, and the stairway to the basement. They could be extended, so they fit every width of door frames. In addition, they were impossible for the tots to open, because only adults have the strength to press down on the release button. The cats jumped over them, and the adults could just step over them. When Lyons Cub was around 2 years old, he was able to climb over them, too. But by then, I had taught him how safely to climb up and down the stairs.
Staying Sane During Your Baby’s Hernia Surgery
Does your little need inguinal hernia surgery, too? In this post, I explain the difference between umbilical and inguinal hernia with pictures and tell how it went for my son. Of course, his hernia had to happen while on the plane to Europe for our summer vacation!! However, this also meant he got to stay for three days at an excellent German clinic, which let me sleep in his room for free. It was a minor surgery and is quite common in preemies; we were lucky his hernia required repair on the right side only (some babies have it on both sides). Lyons Cub recovered quickly and enjoyed the rest of his stay!
Reusable Menstruation Pads with Charcoal Bamboo Fiber
Sorry, gross topic. Whether or not you just had a baby (in the process and aftermath of which you will lose all kinds of fluids), AF is gonna rear her bloody head sooner or later, and when it subsides at a certain age, it might make place for some little leakage 😉 What can an ecologically-conscious momma do to preserve the environment and protect the landfills from plastic pads? Simple — invest in a handful of soft, nice, foldable (cute envelope!), colorful, reusable menstruation (or incontinence) pads. The charcoal bamboo fiber eliminates smells, and they feel super nice on the skin.
Herbatint 8C (light ash blonde) permanent hair dye
With 8 herbal extracts, you can’t go wrong 😉 Come on, mommas over 40, admit it, who’s getting the first grays??? I surely am, but I’m using Herbatint 8C, my little secret for shiny, ash blonde hair that takes a few years of stressful motherhood off me 🙂 During pregnancy and breastfeeding, I did not dye my hair, but afterwards, I wanted to feel pretty again! Come try this healthier, more natural but permanent hair dye to pamper yourself after all you went through…
Friesland “Kleine Brise” (Little Breeze) Collectible Dishes
When I was 20 and moved out of my parents’ house in Düsseldorf, Germany to go to university, my mother gave me a kind of “dowry” on the way: beautiful, white porcelain dishes with a blue rim with the name, “Friesland.” I’ve been collecting them ever since. I have a soup bowl, muesli bowls, a milk pot, a coffee pot, a tea pot, plates, cups, saucers, candle holders, a sugar container, salt and pepper shakers, egg holders, etc. Receiving dinner guests “in style” 😉
Investing in Lithium Shares for Your Kid
I think that lithium is the raw material of the future (not gold, not silver, not oil) because electric cars are on the rise, and they need batteries. And what do batteries need? You name it, lithium. That’s why I created a shares account for Lyons Cub, in which I invest in lithium-harvesting companies for him. (Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and not an ad to get you to invest in lithium stocks. It’s mainly a story about how it worked out for me. Trading is risky; you could lose it all.)
Investing in Health Care Stocks for Your Child’s Future
I personally believe that due to inflation, leaving money for your child in a savings account will not lead to much gain. For me, property investment didn’t quite work out, since my tenant stopped paying due to the pandemic. Thus, I invested in health care shares to boost my son’s financial cushion. (Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and not an ad to get you to invest in health care stocks. It’s mainly a story about how it worked out for me. Trading is risky; you could lose it all.)
Matching PJ’s for Christmas
Ohhh, only two more months until Christmas! It’s time for the early birds among you to start looking for Christmas presents for the family, to avoid the rush and the mailing delays. What about warm, cozy PJ’s for the whole family? In 2018, we jumped onto the bandwagon and got matching mommy and baby pyjamas from Hanna Andersson. I picked a blue set with narwhals on it. Cute? I still wear mine, but Lyons Cub, of course, grew out of his within a few months. He’s finally fitting in his matching woolen narwhal hat now, though!!
Who invented the matching pyjamas madness? Apparently, this trend has been around since the 1950s. Matching mommy and child clothes have been around a few decades longer. Are you going to keep this custom alive?
My son loves pink glitter…
and you better think twice about making fun of his shoes. Why do we associate colors with gender? Was it always the case that we relate pink to girls and blue to boys? Who came up with this notion? If you’re interested, read my post about gendering colors.
… Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the NICU?
Sometimes, you can’t choose where to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For me, it was in the NICU, with my tiny newborn. Nevertheless, our nanny saw to it that we had a beautiful celebration, with a “Mommy’s Little Valentine” onesie, cut-out hearts on the isolette, and photos to remember this special day, Lyons Cub’s first Valentine’s Day. When he marries some day, I’ll show this pic to his future spouse 😉