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0 In Motherhood/ pregnancy

Tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse

tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse

You’ve got the nursery organized, the carseat installed and your freezer stocked with freezer meals, but are you truly prepared for the birth of your baby? Preparing for the birth of your baby is an exciting time, but is also a time of information overload, and lots of emotions as well. As a labor and delivery nurse, one thing that I have learned is that each birth is different and unique, and there is no way to predict how things are going to go. Yet, there are some things that you can do to be prepared.

Here are some ways to prepare for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the birthing process. Education is key to helping dissolve any fears and build your confidence. The more you can become educated on the birthing process, the more comfortable you can become with what to expect. One topic that I find especially important for new mothers is to be familiar with the birthing process and the stages of labor. tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse
  2. Take some childbirth classes. Classes are a great way for you and your partner to learn different relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms to help you through labor. In addition, they are also a great way for your partner or support person to learn how they can best support you throughout the birthing process. There are many different kinds of classes from Lamaze, to the Bradley Method to Hypnobirthing. You can reach out to your obstetrician or midwife or the hospital in which you plan to give birth to see what classes they offer. Some classes even include a tour of the hospital or birthing center as well.tips for preparing for your birth from a labor and delivery nurse
  3. Create some sort of birth plan. As a labor and delivery nurse, I do remind women that birth may not always go the way they had planned, and at the end of the day, the best plan is a healthy mom and baby. But it’s a good idea to have some sort of idea as to what’s important to you and your partner and have a discussion ahead of time with your obstetrician or midwife. And most moms feel comfortable knowing that they have a plan in place should certain situations arise. When you check into the hospital, let your nurse know your wishes for example if you want delayed cord clamping, or skin to skin. But remember, the best plan is a healthy mom and healthy baby, however that should happen.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had envisioned going into labor naturally and having an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. However, at 37 weeks, I found myself being induced for high blood pressure and ultimately it ended in an emergency c-section. (You can read more about my birth story here). While it was not the way I had planned, at the end of the day, we were both healthy.

Even though I was a labor and delivery nurse and familiar with the different methods of induction, at the time being in that situation, I wasn’t thinking as a nurse.  I was a sleep deprived mom in that hospital bed and all of my clinical thinking and reasoning went out the window. However, had I had somewhat of a plan in place in the event that induction was necessary, I would have discussed with my provider the different cervical ripening methods and played a more active role in the decision making. In the end, the outcome wasn’t what I had envisioned, but both myself and baby were healthy and that was all that mattered.

 

tips for preparing for the birth of your baby from a labor and delivery nurse

While every birth plan may look different and certainly isn’t set in stone, education is the key to being prepared for your birth.

Click here to check out my post on what to pack in your hospital bag and get my free printable checklist

Check out my tips on preparing for your c-section and recovery

 

3 In Baby/ Motherhood/ pregnancy/ printables

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag
This post contains affiliate links meaning I make a small commission

If you’re searching for a hospital bag checklist, you’ve come to the right place! There are tons of similar posts floating around the internet with checklists, but being a labor and delivery nurse and a second time mama, I’m sharing what you really need to pack in your hospital bag!

I remember with my first babe, we got sent in for induction after our appointment at 37 weeks. I was in no way prepared so I literally threw everything in a bag and off we went to the hospital. I remember strolling in looking like we were going on a week’s long vacation. This time, I definitely plan to be more prepared and intentional with packing my hospital bag.

 

Here is the down and dirty of what you really need to pack in your hospital bag

from a Labor and Delivery Nurse:

Flip Flops – I love these Croc flip flops. They are so comfy for walking around, grip to your feet and can also be worn in the shower.

what to pack in your hospital bag - crocs flip flops

 

Comfortable dresses/nursing gowns – I’m all about the comfortable dresses and these are like all I wore last time. They’re easy for nursing, a loose, non-binding option for csection recovery mamas and a simple way to look a little more put together. I love this one from the Nesting Olive. I bought it in a few colors. I also love these 24/7 house dresses from Undercover Mama.

What you really need to pack in your Hospital bag - nursing dress

 

Yoga Pants – I like these ones from Target because they are loose fitting and stretchy (so great for csection mamas).

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - yoga pants

Nursing Tops – I love this three pack of nursing tops on Amazon

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - nursing tops

Nursing bras – I got this three pack on Amazon. They are wirefree.

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag - nursing bras

Swaddle blankets – seriously you can never have enough. I got a few from Copper Pearl and I love them because they are big, soft and super stretchy. They also have lots of different, fun prints.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - swaddle blankets

Going home outfit for baby – Amazon has lots of cute ones. I like this one for a girl and this one for a boy.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - girl going home outfit

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - boy going home outfit

Boppy – I loved having my Boppy with me at the hospital to help with breastfeeding. The lactation consultant was able to show me different positions that were comfortable post c-section.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - boppy

Pillow – your own pillow. I know sometimes on L&D especially when we’re slammed we run short on pillows so I always tell people bring your own from home. That means dad or your support person too.

Diffuser – Not only is it nice to have going during labor, but also in postpartum for overall rest and relaxation.  I have mine that I use from Young Living but I like this one from Amazon as well. My favorites for sleep and relaxation are lavender and frankincense.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - diffuser

Phone charger – I have this extra long one from Amazon.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - extra long phone charger

Camera

Headbands/hairties – I found these cute ones with a bow on Amazon.

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - headbands

Toiletries – Ok so the hospital does have some stuff but I’m a little particular. I got a cute cosmetic bag and hit the travel sized toiletry bins at Target and stocked up on everything I needed. Don’t forget the dry shampoo and chapstick!

what you really need to pack in your hospital bag - dry shampoo

Pacifiers – some hospitals no longer provide them especially if they are Breastfeeding Friendly. So if you know you are going to want them, bring your own just in case.

 

Things that you don’t need to pack because the hospital will most likely provide to you:

– Underwear – the hospital will give you that sexy mesh kind so why pack your own?

– Pads/topical numbing sprays and creams/icepacks

– Non skid socks

– Gown to labor in (unless you want to wear your own but it’s most likely going to get covered in lots of fluids just saying)

– Diapers/wipes

– Nipple cream

– Onesies

– Breast pump – most hospitals have them for you to use during your stay but ask before you go.

 

Click here to download my printable checklist

 

What you really need to pack in your hospital bag printable checklist

 

 

0 In Motherhood/ postpartum anxiety/ postpartum depression/ self care

My top 4 tips for tackling anxiety

4 tips for managing anxiety
This post is sponsored by Walgreens but all thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

(Zip up hoodie from Mother Bee Maternity)

For years I have struggled with anxiety, long before becoming a mother.  My first experience with it was my senior year of college.  I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like I was being strangled.  My body was paralyzed and I couldn’t move.  I was absolutely terrified and didn’t realize then that it was in fact anxiety.  Once I became a mom, I was a constant bundle of nerves – Is he breathing? Is he eating enough? Am I spending enough quality time with him? What I thought were normal worries and concern snowballed into a giant panic attack when I was 10 months postpartum.

The thing about anxiety is that it’s a constant battle that ebbs and flows – some days are good, others are more challenging.  For the past two years I have been able to keep my anxiety in check with some helpful changes.

Here are my top 4 tips for tackling anxiety:

 

1.) Create a routine – Coming up with a daily routine helps diminish any feelings of anxiety. It’s something that is the same each day and you can come to depend on. Eating wholesome foods, getting some exercise, daily medication and a good night’s sleep are the four major components of my routine.  I make it a point and my self care to ensure that I don’t stray from my routine because if I do, it throws me out of whack.

I first went on anxiety medication when I was in nursing school. I remember at my appointment asking my doctor to prescribe me something, I felt alot of shame.  I wasn’t the best at remembering to take it, some days I would, others I would go 3-4 days without. Shortly after finishing school, and becoming acclimated with my new job, I felt better and took myself off of my medication.  Those feelings of panic and dread slowly started to creep in again. After I had my son, I went back on anxiety medication.  This time, I made it a priority to take my medication daily so that I could be my best self for him and my family.  And now Walgreens is making it easier to stay up to date on your medication adherence. Be sure to download the app to make filling your re-fills a whole lot easier http://bit.ly/redphone-wakeup.

2.) Don’t procrastinate -Whenever we have a lot to do, it’s normal to want to put things off. The thing is, procrastination makes you feel even more overwhelmed.  I like to use lists and write down all of the things I need to do that day. I try to tackle the more challenging things early in the morning when I’m at my best, crossing things off as I go. Not only does this help keep me organized, but I also feel like I’ve accomplished something.

 

3.) Breathe – mindful breathing or meditation is one of my favorite tips I learned in cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s easy to do and you can do it anywhere. Mindful breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, shutting off our “fight or flight response” when we’re stressed and telling our mind to “rest”. To practice mindful breathing:

  • Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
  • Hold that breath for 7 seconds.
  • Then slowly exhale for 8 seconds.

After a few cycles, I feel more relaxed and centered.

 

4.) Talk to someone – Whether you talk to a trusted family member or friend, or enlist the help of a counselor or therapist, talking to someone is very helpful. Not only do you feel like someone is listening, but it can also help you identify your triggers so that you know what things make you feel more anxious or stressed.

 

4 tips for managing anxiety

 

 

 

2 In health/ intentional living/ Motherhood

10 ways I practice self care daily since becoming a mom

There is no job more exhausting than being a mom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely rewarding but it’s also downright exhausting. All of our energy goes into caring for our families and making sure everyone is healthy and happy. As mom’s it’s natural we’re always doing for everyone else that so often our own self care takes the back burner.  But it’s like they say when you board the plane “put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others”. What good are you to everyone else if you’re not at 100% yourself?

If you go on the internet, you’ll see the term “self-care” all over. But self-care is more than just massages and bubble baths. (I love those things as much as the next woman trust me.) Self care is anything that re-fuels or re-charges you, mentally, physically or spiritually so that you can continue to give your best self. I’m sharing some simple ways you can add self care to your day to day routine.

Here are 10 ways I practice self care daily since becoming a mom:

 

1.) Enjoy a cup of hot coffee or tea by yourself – That first morning cup of coffee, alone and in silence, it’s sacred. That’s my me-time. My husband knows that if he or my son happen to wake up early, to stay in bed and give me my time alone.

 

2.) Get dressed in the morning – I don’t get all fancy, but putting on jeans and a top, doing my hair and throwing on some concealer and mascara makes me feel like a decent human. Think of when you were on maternity leave, hadn’t showered in a week and wore that same pair of leggings for the 5th day in a row how you felt. The power of a hot shower, real clothes and a little makeup does wonders for your mental health.

 

3.) Clean or organize something – For me, having a clean home is like my xanax. Now, don’t get confused, my house is in no way spotless. I’m not on my hands and knees scrubbing or vacuuming every day (that’s why I have a Roomba). But daily I go through our common living spaces and put things away to get rid of the clutter and keep it organized. Looking at things scattered around my house makes my brain feel scattered and anxious vs when things are orderly bringing a sense of calm.

 

4.) Cook or bake something – For some people this may seem like more work so if that’s you, then don’t do it. I love being in my kitchen. On my days off I love to either bake a yummy treat to have in the house (try my version of Joanna Gaines’ lemon poppyseed bread) or try a new recipe for dinner. It’s fun for me and makes me feel like I accomplished something.

 

5.) Practice gratitude – Each morning, usually during my morning coffee, I think about the things that I am grateful for and everything I have. When things start to go a little sideways, I bring myself back to that mental list and remind myself of all I have to be thankful for.

 

6.) Read a book or listen to a podcast – Reading is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I love to lay down with a good book and flip through the pages, getting lost in the story. It doesn’t have to be a book. You can read a magazine or a few articles from a favorite blog. I love The EveryMom and Nesting With Grace. You can also listen to a favorite podcast.

 

7.) Do some goal setting or daydream – I do this during my morning coffee (see why that time is so sacred?).  Sometimes it’s just daydreaming about a nice vacation or thinking about projects I want to do around the house to make our home my dream home. Other mornings it’s literally writing down things that I want to accomplish that day.

 

8.) Laugh – whether it’s laughing at myself or something my son said or did, I try to find the humor in daily situations.

 

9.) Say No – This was something I was lucky to learn a few years ago at a time when I felt like I was being stretched too thin. I’m a natural people pleaser and I like to make people happy. But if it doesn’t make you happy or stresses you out, it’s ok to say no to things.

 

10.) Go to bed early – Nothing recharges you like a good night’s sleep which since entering motherhood is few and far between. A couple night’s a week, I go to bed early before anyone else, leaving my hubby to do bedtime duty. I’ve been doing this since I was in college. When I was home from school it was a little joke with my parents that “I was retreating for the night”.  But that’s just what it is, my retreat. Some nights I read or meditate or doing nothing at all and just let my mind veg out. It’s a nice way to end the day and quiet the mind from all the constant thinking and worrying.

 

What are some of your favorite ways to practice self care?

 

 

10 self care ideas for moms