Category Archives: Baby

What I Wish I Knew Before I Had a Baby

by
LAURYN

ALI LEVINE! She’s here today to talk about all the things she wished she knew before having a baby.

Ali is a total spitfire. Ali & I met when I was on her podcast Things We’re Too Lazy to Blog About with her friend Amanda Lauren.

We met at Amanda’s house & immediately I liked them both. We had a super fun interview where Michael & I talked about working with your spouse, boundaries, grounding, blogging & Instagram tips.

Ali gave me the most amazing tip to see Dr. Berlin when I was pregnant, so naturally we had him on the podcast recently. It’s a good one so be sure to check it out if you’re pregnant, or just interested in pregnancy & fertility.

Anyway, Ali & I have stayed friends over the years & I watched her star in the Bravo show Stripped. She is also a mother so I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to The Skinny Confidential to share some things she wished she knew before having kids.

Without further adieu, let’s welcome Ali!

♡♡♡

Hi everyone! I’m Ali Levine, TV personality, celebrity stylist, podcaster, & mommy influencer. I’m a mama to my daughter Amelia Rei who’s almost 2 & have a baby girl on the way in May! Adding to my mini fashion tribe!

I’ve been a celeb stylist & fashion expert for many years & was named the IT girl of Hollywood quite a few years back!

I was on the hit show Stripped on Bravo & was quickly forced into resetting my realities & priorities in my career & life.

Shortly after, I got pregnant with my daughter & my whole world changed, for the better, but wow did it change. My brand transitioned & I changed as a person in many ways after a traumatic birth, postpartum depression & finding myself again in my personal life & my career.

So these tips I am sharing with you come from my heart & own experiences. They are things I wish I knew before I became a mama.

Find Your Tribe.

Making new friends & finding your mom friends is important. I had no idea how much I need that, especially as a new mama. It’s almost like dating all over again & finding that right match! It’s like trying on your favorite outfit & finding what seems fabulous!

Mom groups, mom friends, people with similar mom views as you, etc., is so important.

There are many reasons it’s important to find your tribe. First off, I love my girlfriends that don’t have babies. They are amazing, but there’s just something you feel like you can’t talk about or vent fully because they just can’t relate.

Ex: The pains in my vagina, my c-section scar, my boobs leaking, wearing adult diapers… all the things!!

Your friends are amazing but if they didn’t just have a baby, then they have no idea what you’re going through, even if they are the most supportive! You really need some fellow moms to lean on when you need them.

Trust your gut/intuition.

You know that thing we all feel inside of us, it’s usually your gut or intuition trying to tell you something? Well, that multiplies when you get pregnant & especially after you give birth.

You’re going to have millions of opinions thrown your way. More than you could ever imagine ( or want )! Trust yourself, trust your baby. That’s the best way to make decisions because you’re going to have make SO MANY from the minute you become pregnant & especially once you officially become a mama.

The reason I say this is because you will have a million opinions thrown at you, everyone has an idea, a tip, something to share! And that’s cool & nice to a point, but only YOU know what’s right for your baby & there’s no one way to mother. That’s really important to learn early on so you can block out the noise & just do you & focus on your family.

Breastfeed, formula, sleep train, swaddle, vaccinations or delay? Cord clamping or not… this list can go on forever, so don’t make yourself crazy. Do your research, trust your own gut &make your own decisions.

Give yourself grace. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!

If you’re going to write anything down, please let it be this tip.

Motherhood can be tough, & mentally & physically draining at the best of times. It’s easy to beat ourselves up. I do it all the time- get down on myself, think I’m not doing enough, etc.

These thoughts are so normal & all of us need to allow ourselves grace! AND OMG especially in the first year of having a baby.

Ugh, this one really hits me emotionally as I type it! I wish someone would have said to me, “this is going to be Hard AF!! And you’re going to have to give yourself lots of grace!!”

You’re going to feel crazy, you’re going to feel out of control, you’re going to feel a love you’ve never felt, your hormones are going to be insane… all of this is totally okay & you have to allow yourself grace! You have to forgive yourself for all the things you feel, you have to tell yourself good thoughts & not go down the rabbit hole.

Of course for some this isn’t as extreme as what I went through, but it’s one thing I really wish I knew: GRACE!!

Don’t expect your body to ‘bounce back’ because I say, FUCK the bounce back!

Now this doesn’t mean give up on your body, but please explain to yourself that you just created a human for the last 9 months, so don’t compare your body to someone else’s.

Your body takes time to heal & recover, no matter what kind of birth you had. Be grateful your body created life & give yourself time to let your body heal during postpartum.

I truly hate the term ‘bounce back!’

What does that even mean?! Our bodies stretched & carried a baby for 9 months, give or take, & we created life & birthed that life! Our bodies are just supposed to look amazing right after? Excuse me???!!!

All the questions like, “omg, are you back to your pre-pregnancy weight already?!” UM, NO!!!

And if you decided to breastfeed, definitely check that off as a big NO! You’re eating so much to survive & produce for your baby!

Your body is not going to be exactly the same, most likely, & that’s ok. Your body gave you your baby! I had a really hard time with this & I wish someone would have told me that my body is going to change no matter what. Vaginal or c-section ( which btw, no one ever mentioned the possibility of a c-section or what that would do to my body & the relationship I would have with it )!!

Birth plan- DO NOT be married to this plan!

Birth preferences prioritize what’s important. But try not to be hell bent on it like I was.

I believe that when you are married to a plan, it’s really hard when your plan goes out the window. It makes it even harder to let go of it & get past it.

In my opinion after my traumatic birth, creating a plan only sets you up for extreme heartbreak when it doesn’t go that way.

Have your preferences, know what’s important & most importantly, let go & just let your body & the baby do their thing. I wish I was told that in my first birth & I will be definitely taking this with me into the second birth.

Your fashion doesn’t have to go out the window- Create your uniform.

Being a stylist & fashion expert, I realized it was really hard for me to get dressed & out the door before 3pm. It was a constant struggle to get out the door & do anything for that matter.

Having an idea of a uniform in my wardrobe helped me not feel as overwhelmed & flustered. Whether it be a tee & jeans, or leggings & a top, maxi dress, whatever. Just a go-to that makes you feel confident & comfortable.

Being a celeb stylist & fashionista & not being able to wear a lot of what I wanted, especially after a c-section was really hard & really defeating.

I wish I had set myself up with different wardrobe options from the beginning so I didn’t feel defeated & didn’t judge myself so much when getting dressed. Those times in the mirror were quite detrimental for my mental health & there was constant negative talk!

Speaking of confidence, you might feel like you ‘lost yourself.’

Or in my case, feel like you were mourning the death of yourself.

It’s completely normal to feel this way when you become a mom. So much changes, not just with your body, but your life & your hormones are crazy & everything just feels out of control. But I promise you it’s temporary & you will find yourself again ( if you feel this way ).

Remember you just created life! Nothing feels normal! And if you need help navigating, that’s ok too. Postpartum specialist, therapists, all of them, are totally okay & necessary for many. They were for me & there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Again, this is my own experience, but after going through it, I have to share it. I never knew I’d go through postpartum depression. 1 in 7 moms do! Never thought I’d be part of that statistic. So I think it’s really important to share that there are many ways to get help & that if you’re having weird thoughts, & it’s more than the ‘baby blues,’ you can seek help.

Having a postpartum plan & team in place is so important! Even more than things for the baby. Your mental health needs to come first!

Drop the ego, drop the facade.

We are all in this together. Whether you look amazing or like a hot mess ( myself most days ), just know that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to have hard days & lose your mind. It’s ok if you can’t get out of your pajamas all day.

And when I say ‘drop the ego,’ I mean drop it for yourself. You’re not doing yourself any favors if you don’t be real with yourself, lol! Have patience with yourself & love yourself.

Just know this shit is hard & you have to laugh at yourself, not worry so much what you look like & embrace the chaos. As I’ve gotten further into this journey, the easiest time I have as a new mama is when I embrace the chaos, enjoy my baby girl & mostly go with the flow.

Don’t fight it, just flow with it. Some days will be better than others, some days will feel unmanageable, that’s okay!

Breastfeeding: Do it or don’t.

It’s totally your call. You decide what’s right for you. All I’m saying is, it’s not easy for most. It’s not some magical fucking journey & it does hurt, & it does exhaust you.

Obviously, we are all different. For me breastfeeding meant pumping in the beginning ( because my milk was 10 days late ) & feeding Amelia with a Doppler of my pumped milk. It took her almost two months to latch successfully.

Most babies don’t latch on their own so get a lactation consultant/ help if you feel you need one! Now we are still nursing 21 months in & I never thought I would be, now it’s ‘magical!’

To each their own. Feed your baby the best way you & baby can manage. I’m all for breastfeeding if it works for you. Mama’s milk is incredible if it’s the right fit & just know it’s not easy, but you’ll get there if it’s meant to be.

Baby wearing.

If you get tired of constantly holding your baby, or you just need a break, but babe wants to be on you, baby wearing is your best friend. Whether it’s a wrap, a shirt, a carrier, whatever your fancy- it give you breathing room & lets you be hands-free to be able to get work done when you want to/need to.

Multitasking at it’s finest!

Self care- Pour back into your cup, mama!

It’s so easy to get depleted & give & give & feel that ‘mom guilt’ for wanting to do something for yourself, but trust me, you need to & HAVE to.

I’ve had to learn, the more I pour into myself, the more I can pour into others. A walk, a nap, a bath, massage, a hike, meditation, nails done, seeing friends for a glass of wine, whatever it may be, POUR BACK INTO YOU!!!

That’s how you’ll be the best to yourself, your partner, & your family & friends. Really can’t stress this one enough & wish this was taped on my mirror: always pour back into you.

Do things that make you feel good, do things that make you feel like YOU. Find your happy spots & fall into them hard, especially in the beginning. It’s not selfish, it’s extremely important!

Mom shaming – Please don’t shame yourself.

Sadly there is some heavy mom shaming & judgement in the mom community. I don’t know why but there is!

Know that you were chosen as your baby’s mother & do what’s right for YOU ( &/or your partner )! Don’t shame yourself because of others & don’t question yourself.

This is why your mom tribe & your support system is crucial & key in the beginning of motherhood, in my opinion. Find the ones that support your decisions no matter what!

♡♡♡

Hope you guys loved this post from Ali! Be sure to follow her on Instagram. Her posts provide tons of value.

Until next time,

x, lauryn

+ scope how to have a baby & still live your life.

++ check out this post on modern parenting & an incredible birth story.

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Why I Fuck With a Girdle, Belly Band & Belly Binding

by
LAURYN

Why I use a belly band by The Skinny Confidential

Let’s talk about belly binding. Yes! Binding your stomach post pregnancy ( or in general ) because I feel like it’s something that’s really worked for me. It’s important to say that I’m just sharing my journey- take what you like, leave what you don’t.

It’s truly helping my figure go back to how it was, so obviously I want to share the experience with the TSC community.

When I was pregnant, I was very much into compression wear…& well, as you can see from this post, I still am. Compression wear saved my life day after day. It helps with swelling, bloating, & works the lymphatic system too.

Think about how compression socks can get rid of cankles, but now picture that over your whole body. LOVE. Compression wear is really popular among pregnant women, postpartum women, & people who have just had surgery. It kind of trains your body to tighten inward so the whole thing just makes a lot of sense. Compression wear also supports your muscles, holds things in, & majorly helps reduce swelling.

Compression wear was staple during my whole pregnancy, but now that Zaza is here, I’m still very into it.

In this post we’ll talk about a girdle, belly band & belly binding- I’ve tried it all! Let’s get into all 3.

♡ Girdle:

This black one from Amazon is a girdle that’s good for post-pregnancy or not. You could totally wear this as shapewear, even if you haven’t had a baby. It’s black, has a touch of lace, & is definitely not the most unappealing thing I’ve put on post-Zaza. LOL!

The pros of this girdle is that it’s stretchy & tight, but not super restrictive. You should also know that there are 4 hook & eye closures so you can adjust the size of it. This is perfect to wear under a tighter-fitting dress too. The way your body changes in pregnancy is such a mind-fuck, so to put this on, be held in in all the right places, & put on some pre-preg clothes can feel really good.

♡ Belly Band:

Big fan of this belly band. Actually I’m so into it. It’s like a Velcro belt situation & has the most breathable fabric. It’s really comfortable, let me tell ya. It’s so stretchy, but firm ( in the best way ), & you can adjust the straps to fit your body.

It’s important to note that this one can be used throughout all the postpartum stages. For instance, a week or 2 after birth you can wear it around your stomach, at 2-6 weeks after birth you can wear it around your waist only, & at 7-12 weeks you can wear it around your pelvis to support that area.

Wearing a belly band or postpartum belt can help with:

♡ a faster ‘bounceback’ rate.

♡ tummy support.

♡ reducing the enlargement of fat cells.

♡ posture & straightening your spine.

♡ compressing the uterus to return to its previous size.

♡ swelling & excess fluid removal.

♡ Belly Binding:

You might have seen my chic, Barbie pink belly wrap on Instagram. BelliBind is this company that comes to your house & wraps you up. They also offer online appointments & tell you how to do it yourself so you don’t have to be in the area to use their services.

Anyway, @bellybind said that you produce a hormone called ‘relaxin’ during pregnancy ( it helps your body open for childbearing/birth ). Post birth, you continue to produce it to heal. Basically belly binding supports the natural healing process of the uterus & internal organs to find their pre-pregnancy place.

My posture has gotten WAY better & my stomach looks flatter- but, like, we still have a long way to go, ya know? Oh, & you can also buy these similar wraps on Etsy.

Anyway, those are the 3 things I’ve been using to wrap my belly every day. AND LIKE, even if I never was pregnant, I’m into waist support.

By the way, breastfeeding has not made me lose any weight. WTF is everyone talking about here? That hasn’t been my experience at all.

Just want to say again that I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do. I’m only sharing my experience & what is working for me. I’m totally listening to my body & just doing what feels good FOR ME. You do you, always.

Peace, love & girdles.

x, lauryn.

+ why I’m obsessed with compression wear.

++ my experience with pregnancy weight gain.

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TSC HIM & HER Podcast: All Your Baby Questions Answered!

by
LAURYN

Hello hello.

Today on The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast, it’s just me talking everything baby. You guys have been DMing me wanting to know major details on what I’m feeding Zaza, my compressionwear & belly binding, what our night nurse does, silver nipple covers & weight gain.

Recently I wrote a post about my weight gain, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet. Otherwise, we get into it on the podcast too.

In the episode we’ll also go over the reason behind Zaza’s name, breastfeeding, & a ton of other things you guys are wondering – trust me, we get into it.

Anyway, what better way to answer everything than dedicating a whole podcast to it! But I also wanted to compile & easy list on the blog so everything is in one place.

Some post-baby essentials:

silver nipple covers

HiPP formula

c-section underwear

belly band

belly bind

girdle

nursing bra

So there you have it. The things I’m using most post birth. Let me know what you guys think of the podcast episode below. Also, what were your post-birth essentials? Anything I’m missing?

x, lauryn

+ take a tour of Zaza’s nursery.

++ be sure to check out our birth story podcast.

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The Must-Have Accessories Every New Mom Needs

by
LAURYN

Hey hey hey. For all you mamas out there, this post is for you.

If you aren’t a mom, I totally get it & I got you covered. Head over to any of these posts for some non-mom content:

How my mentorships work.

How to draft a killer resume.

Face Yoga, aka a Free Facelift.

Why I Love a Korean Spa.

The Only Pan You Need in Your Kitchen.

Jada is back on the blog! Today, the celebrity sleep trainer & nursery designer is here getting UBER specific. You guys love a detail, so I picked her brain to the max for this post.

You can expect to hear all about the smartest bassinet, different bookshelf options, little things to make your life with a newborn easier, & the tiniest little accessories to get your baby to sleep. It is LIFE- let me tell ya.

If you missed Jada’s last posts get familiar with her here & then check out her tips for creating the nursery of your dreams.

Alright, the devil’s in the details, so here ya go!

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Alright Miss Nursery Designer, what are the hottest accessories of 2020? Spill the juice.

Jada Neoni: First & most important are diapers! I’m so obsessed with the @coterie diapers- they are extremely soft, fragrance free, chlorine free, latex free- all the bad things we never knew existed in diapers Coterie has removed!

For moms looking to use bottles or as an addition to breastfeeding – Dr. Brown’s bottles are phenomenal! Dr. Brown’s bottles are scientifically designed to remove air bubbles from the bottle helping to prevent gas & reduce colic in babies!

One of the most used items ( yet sounds the scariest ) is the FridaBaby NosaFrida Snotsucker. Yes it sounds gross right? The NosaFrida does exactly what it says- it allows moms to suck out snot & tiny boogers from the little ones noses to help them get through those nights & days when they have colds!

Books are so important. Bedtime stories should start from day one! While we all love the classics, some of my favorite books are by Josh Funk. Some of my other favorites are: The Day the Crayons Quit, & Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

The Snuggle Me Organic is a new way to do tummy time & also a great lounger for your baby during the day – great addition for you to have when you want to play or read to your baby! Put your lounger on the floor, lay your baby down, & grab some books. it’s a great way to free up your hands during the special bonding moments with your baby!

The Chomp n Chews teethers are a MUST during those rough teething months when your baby just wants to chew on everything including your fingers! What I love most about the Chomp N Chews teethers is they actually fit directly on the parents fingers & allows your baby to chew away! The teethers are super safe, BPA free, & made of food grade silicone! Those teething months come in fast & hot so be prepared for all the drool & chewing, moms!

For moms wanting more neutral color toys – The Manhattan Toy Wooden Natural Skwish toy is small for the nursery & easy to travel with. It will keep your baby entertained & amazed!

For those late nights & early morning feedings, a new accessory I love is the Bokee – it’s designed to serve as an extra hand for mom while she holds a baby in one hand & needs to prepare the bottle in the other hand!

If you had to pick one thing every mom should have in their nursery, what is it?

JN: One thing every mom should have is The Jada Baby Sleep Edit. The Jada Baby Sleep Edit will help you build your nursery step by step. It will help you keep track of all the things you should always have stocked in your nursery, & what the must-have baby products are. My Edit also helps moms know if they are feeding their baby enough, how to put your baby down for naps & helps get you through those overnights!

The second most important thing is a comfortable glider. You will spend so much time in the nursery with your baby, so comfortable seating is important! If you are breastfeeding you will need the glider to position yourself correctly to nurse. Every night during bedtime stories you will be in the glider for a few or many good books before putting your baby down!

When it comes to sleep training, you’re an expert. What are some essential accessories for sleep training?

JN: Safe sleep is important for every new mom. For getting your baby to be a good sleeper the must-have accessories are:

A good monitor –  The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the earliest you should have your baby sleeping alone in their room is 6 months- so having an amazing monitor is key – I only trust the Miku in my nurseries. I love the Miku because it’s a monitor you can install on your phone with their app- you can monitor your baby anytime from anywhere. The monitor gives you a complete report on your babies sleep patterns, breathing rates & any movements in the room.

A white noise machine is a non-negotiable & I love the Hatch Baby sound machine – this is a great mix of technology & design. The white noise can be controlled from your phone & it’s a soothing white noise to help your littles fall asleep & stay asleep!

Swaddling your infant is scientifically proven to help your newborn sleep longer – currently I’m obsessed with the Akooi swaddle!! It’s actually a mix between a pajama & swaddle. It’s made of the softest bamboo & is so easy to swaddle your infant!

Once your baby has grown out of the swaddle age – sleep sacks are so important because you should never use a blanket in a crib until over 18 months- I love the Kyte baby Sleep sack! It’s extra long for your growing baby & sooo sooo soft!

The SNOO is a dream for any mom! Yes the SNOO costs around $1200, but lucky for moms who can’t afford such a large purchase, they have a much lower monthly rental rate. The SNOO, designed by famed pediatrician Dr Harvey Karp, is a safe bassinet which can detect your baby crying & can turn on sounds & a rocking motion to calm your baby. The SNOO can also help you track your baby’s sleep & awake time!

♡ What’s a ‘mistake accessory’ everyone gets but doesn’t really need?

JN: The biggest mistake everyone gets for their nursery & doesn’t need are those damn diaper pales! I don’t care how pretty they are or how much they promise to keep the smell in the pale, they all STINK! I’m not sure who said they were needed in nurseries, but I personally don’t design with them in mind. Most moms end up just putting the diapers in their normal trash bins! So moms, save the spot on your registry- don’t get a diaper pale!

♡ What’s a baby shusher?

JN: Everyone says it’s the best thing ever. One of my best kept secrets in designing celebrity nurseries is The Baby Shusher. I know the name alone is hilarious but trust me, it delivers just as it’s name suggests. The Baby Shusher is a mix of white noise with the tried & true shhhhhh sound all in one tiny portable machine! What makes the Baby Shusher so genius is it allows the calming of the shhhh sound to help your baby sleep,

What are some bath time accessories that every new mom needs?

JN: My current favorite bath tub is the Schnuggle Tub – it’s a little costly but so worth it! It has a grid at the bottom to prevent your baby from slipping & has just enough water to keep your baby from feeling cold.

Once your baby grows out of the infant tub & you are now bathing them in your bathtub, EVERY parent should have the MagicFun bath kneeler – your knees, back & elbows will thank you! Bath time can be such a magical, special bonding time with your littles, but bending over the tub on your knees isn’t the most glamorous, comfortable job. The padded kneeler is a lifesaver.

Also, the softest, most dreamiest washcloths are from Numpher. They literally feel as if you are bathing your baby with a cloud!

For soaps/lotions – Everything Mustela ! The products are the most gentle & safest for sensitive newborn skin! I read every label & what I love is that Mustela is free of parabens, phthalates, & phenoxyethanol.

For those mamas dealing with eczema or flaky newborn skin, I love Aquaphor for babies.  An easy fix for those delicate newborn skin!

For diaper rash we love Pinxav because it’s extremely gentle yet helps comfort & heal those unavoidable diaper rashes. It’s so on brand for The Skinny Confidential.

Talk to us about clothes. I’m a fan of L’ovedbaby & I know you are too. Why do we love them so much?

JN: My absolute favorite clothing for newborns is L’ovedbaby hands down! L’ovedbaby just does everything right with their collection. First off, it’s 100% organic cotton so it’s safe for your baby’s skin! What I also love is L’ovedbaby’s fit. Normally baby clothing, especially onesies, are cut to be so boxy, but L’ovedbaby’s fit is very structured to snuggle your babies body- it’s a very custom-like fit.

L’ovedbaby has been around for years & been a favorite of celebrity moms like Halle Berry, Kelly Rowland, & Gwyneth Paltrow! What I think most modern moms love most is the chic selection of colors- the black onesies , the greys, & all the neutrals!

Another clothing line I think is so genius is the Bondsie Baby – it’s designed for moms with the importance of skin to skin in mind. It’s two piece clothing where the top completely opens allowing the infant to be placed against the mother’s skin. Skin to skin is very important for Parents from the very beginning for bonding with your newborn. I love that this can encourage skin to skin & still keep your baby warm!

If you’re going to shop online what sites do you recommend for accessories? 

JN: Let’s just be honest, most moms & moms-to-be do their shopping from home, late at night after the baby is sleeping. My favorite online shop is The Tot– it’s a very well-curated online shop that only sells safe, toxic-free clothing, skincare, toys & furniture.

When shopping for fashion & a little bit more of a curated look, Maisonette is a dream website! Maisonette has traveled the world to create a place where you can shop the latest tiny designer trends & specialty toys!

You can also never go wrong with Amazon! Almost anything & everything you need to get for your nursery can be found on Amazon. & if you have Amazon Prime, it’s your best friend!

What pieces of furniture do you recommend to hold accessories?

JN: I love to use the unexpected when shopping for nursery accessories. When thinking about storing toys or stuffed animals I use gorgeous wicker baskets in neutral earth tone colors. This immediately gives a nursery a high-end feel.

For the smaller accessories & mementos I love the idea of clear acrylic bins. Something so you can still see what’s in the bins yet cute enough to be on display. For rooms that require larger storage, a well-designed shelving unit is always the right way to go. We used the most beautiful acrylic & gold shelves in Zaza’s nursery.

What are some bigger accessories you recommend?

JN: When designing a nursery, after you’ve selected the major items, it’s time to focus on the big accessories you will need for your baby. Like the perfect bouncy seat. For Zaza’s nursery we went with Charlie Crane Paris. Their rockers are just so chic & safe for newborns & has a gentle rocking movement.

For the very important ‘Tummy Time’ – which EVERY baby should do – I accessorize every nursery with the Lovevery Play Gym. It’s perfect to help keep them entertained by looking at themselves in the little mirror while stimulating their vision with the special black & white patterns.

Every nursery should be accessorized with cute plush stuffed animals. The must-have brand for any nursery is Jelly Cat. It’s important the accessories keep the same theme or color scheme going that you’ve already set up. In Zaza’s nursery we needed glamour even in the plushies, so we got the oh so glamorous Pom Pom.

For book storage accessories, sometimes I install the bookshelves on the wall. It’s such an easy & fun way to showcase your books & super affordable with the shelves from Amazon.

For a more designed, curated look I love the Babyletto acrylic bookcase.

Where can everyone find you? 

JN: I’m on Instagram @thejadababy & my new website is jadababy.co.

♡♡♡

Be sure to check out the podcast episode where Jada talks about sleep training, nursery design & baby CPR. Plus, she’ll be back for one more post to talk about sleep training, so stay tuned.

x, lauryn

+ check out this post on how to have a baby & still live your life.

++ scope all our baby shower details.

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Oh Shit! You’re Actually Having a Baby! How to Prepare For Your Little One

by
LAURYN

Today we’re talking with my favorite baby food brand. The brand I plan on giving my daughter: Serenity Kids.

Serenity Carr is the co-founder of this amazing company that makes nutrient-dense baby food that’s also convenient for parents. Their food is super high-quality & I can’t wait to introduce some of their products to Zaza.

Serenity is here to give us the inside scoop on what to do to prepare for your baby’s arrival. In this post you’ll find tips on pre-mama self care, how to set up your house for baby success, & how to prep if you know you’re having a c-section.

Let’s welcome Serenity Carr to The Skinny Confidential.

♡♡♡

Becoming a parent is a huge decision, because it’s one that you can’t back out of. You can’t quit, ghost, or divorce a baby. Once a parent, you will be one forever. 

By now, you’ve been through the Oh-Shit-I’m-Pregnant stage & now are rapidly moving towards the day that will radically change your life. You’re probably thinking a lot about how to spend these last weeks, how your delivery will go, & what life will be like afterwards. I had my daughter 16 months ago via unplanned c-section. I did some stuff right & some stuff wrong. I’ll tell you what worked well & what I would change next time ( shhh… don’t tell my husband I said anything about having baby #2 ).

But let me tell you a bit about myself first.

I’m Serenity Carr & the co-founder & CEO of Serenity Kids Baby Food. I’m on a mission to promote wellness with infant nutrition. Formerly employed in tech & logistics, I left my corporate career to pursue my passion of health coaching, where I helped clients achieve their health goals.

Having healed a lifetime of digestive issues through switching to a diet of only clean meats, vegetables, & healthy fats, I have transformed the baby food industry by developing innovative, nutrient-dense products. The recipes are modeled after the macronutrients in mother’s milk & stress the importance of minimizing sugar to reduce inflammation. I lives in Austin with my husband & co-founder, Joe, & our 16-month old daughter Della. 

Let’s get into what worked for us… & what didn’t.

♡ Pampering Your Pre-Mama Self 

Give yourself a HUGE break. Hormones can make anyone feel crazy, so I blamed much of my grumpiness on hormones. Thankfully, my husband blamed them too, which helped him deal with my pregnant & postpartum ( and let’s be honest — everyday ) moods.

Let yourself be as comfortable as possible. I have always had trouble sleeping, & it got worse with pregnancy. At the beginning of my third trimester, it was summer in south Texas, & my body was on fire. Nearly every day around 3pm at the peak of the heat, I made a tasty, hydrating, sugar-free slushy using raspberry LMNT electrolyte powder, a little water, a lot of ice, & a powerful blender. I splurged on a Chilipad, which is a mattress pad that keeps my bed cool ( & now that I’m back to normal keeps my bed warm ). From my second trimester on, I only wore marshmallow-soft Oofos sandals, because the relaxin hormone made my feet sore & flat. The shoes received some questionable looks, but I totally rocked normcore!

Hang with your friends as much as possible, especially if they’re childless. And prepare for the possible loss of those friends. Yes, it’s sad. REALLY SAD! But the sucky truth is that most childless people don’t like hanging out with babies. Babies take a ton of attention, & unless your friend is hardcore baby-crazy, they won’t want to hear about your clogged duct or baby’s poop. If your bestie is one of those rare, baby-loving people, consider yourself truly, truly blessed. If not, maybe your little bundle of joy will inspire your friend to get busy making a playmate! And don’t worry, you’ll make lots of new parent friends who will give you life-saving advice & support. 

This is the last time in probably a while that you will have time to yourself, so fill yourself up with adventures, pampering, & creative hobbies. Take lots of baths, get as many massages as you can afford, cook your favorite meals, read lots of books, or write as much as possible. And go on a babymoon! We went to Hawaii & spent some time brainstorming about what sorts of family culture & traditions we wanted to start. It’s thrilling to build an actual family- one million cells at a time!

♡ Your New Job: Feeding the Baby

That said, you probably want to do some nesting & preparing to be a mom. My biggest, #1, MOST IMPORTANT tip is to start learning about breastfeeding before you have the baby. Mother’s milk is the healthiest possible food for your little one, who will hopefully be drinking it exclusively for at least the first 6 months. I took the advice of a friend & attended a couple of free La Leche League meetings before I had Della. Then I went to monthly meetings during the 9 months she nursed. Due to her lip tie & poor latch, my breastfeeding journey was painful, exhausting, mentally challenging, & filled with shame. The meetings I went to kept me going when I wanted to give up, which was embarrassingly often.

I realize this sounds like the most boring way to spend your time, but figure out your breast pump now, while you still have a few brain cells left. Like actually try it on your breasts for a minute. After baby comes, you may not remember exactly how it works, but it will make things a little easier. Set up a nursing / pumping station on a table next to your rocker or glider ( more on that later ). Make sure there’s room for your pump ( I loved my Spectra ), water bottle, lip balm, snacks, Kindle, etc. And get an extension cord for your pump so you don’t have to sit so close to the wall. Get a pumping bra so you can pump hands-free. I loved the Simple Wishes pumping bra because it was comfortable, washable, securely held the pump, & had super adjustable sizing.

Start following Legendairy Milk’s Instagram, which is hilarious & helpful. You may not get all the jokes now, but you will remember them when the time is just right & you need to laugh about your child screaming all night while cutting canine teeth, which is what happened to me last week. They also regularly have tips on optimal pump settings, supplements that increase milk supply ( which they sell & I loved ), & help with nursing & pumping.

I also recommend bottles with a gradual widening between the nipple length & base such as Dr Brown’s, Lansinoh Momma, & Evenflo Balance +. These nipple shapes promote a wider latch, which is less painful for moms & helps baby switch between breast & bottle more smoothly.

Oddly, one of my biggest stressors postpartum was getting dressed. All of a sudden, I had only one robe that fit. And nothing else except my socks! Here’s the thing you don’t find out until you have the baby: every item of clothing must allow for full boob accessibility. Your girls can either flop over the top of a low-cut / stretchy neckline or peek out from underneath a t-shirt. If you want to wear dresses ( believe me you won’t want much waistband around your sensitive bellyv), you’ll probably want to pull your breasts out over the top to avoid blanketing your child with billowy skirt fabric. I LIVED in my Latched Mama Drawstring Midi Dress & Kindred Bravely’s Angelina Nursing and Maternity Nightgown because they had soft stretchy fabric & easy boob access. 

Babies don’t start eating solid foods until around 6 months, so don’t worry about getting a highchair, plates, sippy cups, or food just yet. Once you do, plan to start baby on a nutrient-dense diet of clean meats, healthy fats, bone broth, & organic veggies. When the time comes, check out my baby food company, Serenity Kids. Our pouched purees are the most nutritious baby foods on the market because we mimic the nutrients of mother’s milk with pasture-raised & wild meats, organic vegetables, & healthy fats. You will soon learn the value of squeezing as much nutrition into each bite that your baby manages to actually swallow.

♡ Building Your Nest

My biggest house tip is to get a super-supportive rocking chair or glider. By super-supportive, I mean one with a firm seat & back, AND has armrests close to your elbows. That way you don’t have to lean or scrunch to reach them. That 8-pound baby will feel like a kettlebell after 45 minutes, so having armrests right underneath your elbows is helpful. Also, make sure you can get out of the chair smoothly, without jostling your little one. Once they’re asleep, you don’t want ANYTHING waking them up. I used a wooden glider for the first few months, but my back was killing me. We splurged on this Joya rocker & it’s now the most comfortable chair in the house. 

Set up a way for baby to sleep in your room for the first few months. Della slept in the Snuggle Me on our dresser for the first 4 months, or whenever she started rolling over. The Snuggle Me company doesn’t officially recommend your baby sleeping there all night, but we did it & it worked great. Also, set up diaper changing stations at least upstairs & downstairs. You will want a surface at waist-level so you don’t have to bend way over. Initially, I was 100% opposed to setting up ugly diaper changing tables & then ended up buying two used ones after a month or two. They’re the right size & hold all of your diapers, creams, wipes, & extra changing pad covers. We love these lockable diaper pails to keep the stink away. They work for cloth diapers or paper.

♡ Have The Talk With Your Partner

This one is near & dear to my heart, because I had such a great relationship with my husband pre-pregnancy, & I still do today. Granted, we got pregnant on our honeymoon, so we were in the lovey-dovey phase, but I wanted to prioritize my relationship with him during this crazy journey towards parenthood. Once the baby arrives, you will be consumed by all the things on your to do list, your new identity as a mother, & grieving the loss of your former self. Less attention will go towards your partner than ever before, so make sure he or she is prepared. I highly recommend reading The First Forty Days by Heng Ou, which gives you a sort of script to follow & also outlines a plan for supporting you in what is known as “the fourth trimester.” You can also send them my husband’s blog Tips for Pregnant Fathers, where he lays out how a man can fully participate in pregnancy (  and boy did he! ). 

Make a plan for how the two of you are going to connect & spend time together once you’re parents. I didn’t feel like having sex for a couple of months after giving birth, but we made sure to cuddle a lot & get out for fun ‘couple only’ time. Our first date was at 2 weeks postpartum while my sister was babysitting. We went to the dairy-free ice cream shop & the grocery store. It may sound lame, but it felt nourishing to be away from Della for a couple of hours & just focus on each other. 

Someone told us to go on tons of dates before the baby comes, so we did & we quickly learned why. We had a great time trying out new restaurants & were even at the theater the night before I went into labor. But leaving the house with a newborn is difficult — putting clean clothes on you & the baby, changing diapers, packing the bag, & calculating the window between nap & feeding times, etc. Spoiler alert: babies go to bed around 7:00, so you will soon have a curfew. Crank up the Netflix & wine delivery!

Write your birth plan together — or at least talk through it. It’s very VERY important your birth partner understands the plan since you won’t be able to talk or think much during labor. I wrote two birth plans: one for a home birth & one just in case I had a c-section at a hospital. See mine here

♡ Birthing Process

Yes, yes, I left the birth stuff for the end. I know it’s at the top of your mind, but it’s honestly the smallest part of this journey. It’s just so short! Definitely a magical few days, but I think more of the prep should be on the stuff that lasts many months. That said, I did learn a lot about birth by listening to real women’s birth stories on podcasts like Birthfit, Birth Kweens & The Birth Hour. I also got the Labor Signs contraction timer app & practiced using it.  

Now that my birth experience was over a year ago, I really wish I had more pictures & videos. While it was happening, I was irritated that my husband was taking videos rather than helping me, but now I’m super glad I do have a few. Sadly, ( or perhaps happily for the future of the human race ), my memory of that day is fading.

If you’re considering a doula but your partner isn’t on board yet, find a way to convince them. My doula was the only person focused only on me during labor, & I’m beyond grateful she was there. My husband really wanted to be our doula, but I doubted his capabilities — mostly because he had never even been at a birth. Turns out, he was busy parking the car, grabbing stuff from our hospital bag ( like the birth plan, portable speaker, & my favorite pillow ), answering questions from doctors, & handling our maternity & paternity leave from our business. He was also deep in his own process of getting ready to become a dad & wasn’t able to focus 100% on me, which is exactly as it should be. 

♡ Cesarean Section Prep

Most women don’t plan for a c-section. I certainly didn’t. The truth is that a lot of us end up having surgical births. My baby was breech, & they no longer teach doctors how to deliver breech babies in the US, & most midwives won’t either. I’m going to share two lessons I learned by doing it wrong: 

First, make sure the nurses put the breast pump on you at the hospital to encourage supply. Soon & often! WARNING: You will NOT feel like pumping because you will be very tired. Just remember that the long-term benefit will be healthy milk supply for your baby. The painkilling drugs they give you during & after surgery are known to cause your milk to come in late. I lied to the nurses & told them the baby was nursing a lot, because I hated being in the hospital & just wanted them to leave me alone. I don’t recommend lying to the nurses about that. My baby was super sleepy & uninterested in nursing, so she didn’t nurse much, which further shrank my milk supply.

My other tip is specifically for TSC readers: postpartum fashion. After my c-section, I was super stressed out about all the clothes I couldn’t wear. I couldn’t wear any pants or my own underwear because the waistbands hit right at my surgery site. And yes, even if you have a c-section, you will have lochia draining from your vagina for weeks, so underwear is a must. None of my maternity dresses would allow a boob to get free for nursing, so I could really only wear a robe. Believe me, I flashed a lot of unsuspecting people those first few weeks. I finally ditched the hideous & uncomfortable mesh hospital panties after getting some lacy high-waisted c-section recovery panties from Kindred Bravely. Pay close attention to your size. Yes, it sucks to formally acknowledge that your booty is twice the size it used to be, but that booty will be way more comfortable. I naively thought that because my pre-baby size was small, I maybe now wore a medium…? Thank God for my sister who gently shook her head & helped me buy XL panties that fit nicely. 

You can find a full listing of the products I recommended here & many more on our Natural Amazon Baby Registry

Whew! That was a lot. And probably TMI, but I wanted to tell you the truth, even if it was down & dirty. My hope for you is that you can be gentle with yourself as you navigate the sometimes chaotic journey of motherhood. One of my favorite mantras that kept me going during the darkest times was “women WAY dumber than me have done this.” You’ve totally got this mama! 

♡♡♡

If you’re a mom you just have to stalk Serenity Kids. Also be sure to check out the nutrition section on their website because you’ll find so much good info on nutrients for kids, what they’re needed for, & they even have a nutrition ebook! You can follow them on Instagram too. 

x, lauryn

+ check out my main pregnancy craving that everyone needs to try.

++ scope what’s in my hospital bag here.

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