Packing For Walt Disney World

The Disney vacation with 2 little humans is always a fun adventure. Early mornings for park openings, late night firework shows and all the memories made in between. Now, you know what works best for your family, but my frugal family is there at gate opening and stays until the park closes. We don’t return to the hotel for naps and relied on our strollers for that! (It was successful as both girls surrendered to a stroller nap.)

Packing is always exciting for me, so I put together a list of everything we brought! Keep in mind if you fly, your packing might be a bit lighter and you can always visit the grocery store or order through grocery delivery services like Walmart and Instacart when you arrive.

A few of my favorite travel items are:

The link below is a FREE downloadable checklist!

Have fun and I hope this is helpful!

Check out my Top 10 Disney World Tips & Tricks

Click photo below for the tips!

Explore Wilmington

Community Pools in Wilmington, NC

Earl Jackson Pool


750 Bess St.
Wilmington, NC
(910) 833-5455

Pool Schedule:
Monday-Friday, 10:30 am-4:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday, 12:00-5:00pm

Daily Rate:

Season Pass:
Month to Month
$40/Family Up to 10

Echo Farms Pool


4112 Echo Farms Blvd
Wilmington, NC  28412
Phone:  (910) 798-7730

Daily Rate:

Season Pass:
$100/Individual;  $175/Family
*More information to come

Pool Schedule:
Tentative Public Swim Schedule (beginning May 28, 2022):
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 1-7pm
Tuesday & Thursday 1-5:30pm
Saturday & Sunday 12-6pm

Legion Stadium Pool


2131 Carolina Beach Rd.  
Wilmington, NC 28412  
Phone: (910) 899-7348 

Pool Schedule:
Monday – Friday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Daily Rate:

Robert Strange Pool


410 S. 10th St.  
Wilmington, NC 28401  
Phone: (910) 899-7332 

Pool Schedule:
Monday – Friday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Daily Rate:


Breastfeeding 101

Hey soon-to-be momma! You are getting ready to have a baby (yay!) and you have probably thought more about what that baby is going to wear home from the hospital than about feeding her/him, but like a true friend, I think you should start thinking about those boobs of yours and how your baby will have a closer relationship with them than with you. Haha! Seriously, sometimes I think, does she realized I’m attached to these things? So, I thought it would be helpful to just review some things I’ve learned about breastfeeding. I truly hope this helps and gives you a snapshot into your future. I’ve also included some “pro tips” I’ve learned from other moms. Don’t worry, you will do great!

1. It is hard work!

When I was pregnant, I’d heard about books I should read, pillows I should buy, how it’s “all about the latch” and I’d studied all the positions of how I needed to hold my baby in order for her to eat. Football (that sounded fun), cross cradle (sounded like a game) and so on. Man, I was a bit overwhelmed, but I thought “Amanda, women have been breastfeeding for hundreds of years, how hard could it be?”

Well, girl, the first few days sucked (for me at least). I remember I wasn’t exactly sure if my baby was latching correctly (she was a late pre-term baby), she was losing weight so I questioned if she was even getting anything at all and to top it off my husband questioned me constantly about if she was eating anything. He didn’t mean to and honestly was just as concerned as I was. It’s tough because you can’t physically see the milk go down their little tiny throat and when they swallow, they don’t gulp loudly. She was so sleepy that I had to wake her up every 2-3 hours and “try” to feed her. Welcome to motherhood, right? To top it off my nipples dang. bad.

The lovely lactation consultant had made her round at the hospital, reassured me that I was doing good and gave me a sheet of paper to track feedings, the latch quality, and to record if pain was present. On about every line, I wrote it was painful (because it was). Imagine with me your nipple getting sucked in a high-suction vacuum over and over again every 2 hours. Ouch!

On my 2nd day at the hospital, I started to pump, which was reassuring that my body was producing something. My husband and I could now breath a little easier.

Once we got home, my babe started to gain weight (that was reassuring too) and either my nips got used to the constant suction or she got better at it. Either way, it gets better. If you are serious about it, just stick it out and seek help.

Pro Tip: Instead of applying nipple cream to your sore or cracked nipples, put breastmilk on them, let it dry and it will help them out.

2. Trust your Body and your Baby.

As mentioned above, it’s easy to question your body. A good way to measure is the number of dirty and wet diapers your little one is going through daily and weight gain. For diapers, they say…

  • Day one: 1 wet, 1 stool (or more!)
  • Day two: 2 wet, 2 stools (or more!)
  • Day three: 3 wet, 3 stools (or more!)
  • Day four, when a copious milk supply begins: 6+ wet and 4+ more stools.
  • Day five +, 6+ wet and stools usually at least 1x

For measuring weight, I recommend either getting a home scale (like the Hatch Baby Grow) or attend a weekly meet-up group where they weigh your baby. It helps your uncertainty.

I learned that your body makes what is used. So, when you nurse, it’s saying “hey body, keep making that milk”! Your baby’s belly grows quickly the first few days, so if she/he is crying to be fed a lot, that is normal. Babe is just reminding your body to keep it coming!

3. When it doubt, whip it out.

Those first few weeks, your milk supply is coming in and trying to figure out how much milk it needs to make. Think of your boobs as a factory keeping up with supply and demand. Our lactation consultant always says “remember, it’s your baby telling your body to make more milk”.

I remember Brooke eating, I’d pass her off to her dad and then she’d start crying within 15 minutes. I would say “there is no way she is hungry, she just ate!” In those early weeks/months, if your baby is crying, he/she is more than likely hungry. So, “when in doubt, whip it out”. Babies are little humans, so like us, they may eat when they are happy, sad, bored, scared, tired or they want to be close to you!

4. Terms used in the Breastfeeding world. Note these are not actual definitions. 🙂

  • Colostrum – The first “milk” your body makes. Usually more yellow, which is why they call it “liquid gold”.
  • Cluster Feeding – Very frequent to constant feeding. Basically it means just sit on the couch and binge TV Shows and let that baby eat.
  • EBF – (Exclusively Breast Fed) – I was in a FB group and I was like “what in the heavens is “EBF”? Haha..You are welcome.
  • Mastitis – Personally never experienced, but it sounds just awful. Basically if your milk gets clogged in the ducts, it can cause an infection. If your boobs are in pain, look red and swollen and you have a fever and/or chills. You may have mastitis. Docs can prescribe antibiotics, but I’ve heard get that baby to nurse a lot, take a hot shower and massage the ducts towards your nipple.

Pro Tip: A lactation consultant did tell me early on to ensure I massaged my breasts regularly to prevent mastitis. You can do this in the shower and make sure you massage all the way under your armpit.

5. Random things I’ve learned:

Resource: One of the best resources that I was directed to is a website called “Kelly Mom”. Click here to check out Breastfeeding your Newborn. This website has answers to every question. So at 3 AM if you are searching Google for peace of mind, check Kelly Mom out first.

Introduce a bottle: Around 4 – 6 weeks, if you are exclusively breastfeeding, have your partner or someone introduce a bottle at least once per day while you go in the other room and pump. If you want to be able to leave your baby longer than 3 hours in the first 8 months of you their life, I recommend you keep this tradition up.

Buy nursing bras: You can drop a lot of money, but honestly, these sports bra type nursing bras are my favorite. They are comfortable and not expensive. The only con is the padding inside folds in the washing machine. I ended up removing the pads altogether. Amazon ~$20

Get a Haaka: No I didn’t say hooka. Haha…This is a silicone contraption that you suction to your boob that catches milk from the opposite boob you are feeding from. So if baby is eating on your right, you put it on the left. It is AMAZING and you will be very surprised at the amount of milk that will leak out. I collected from each feeding and froze milk in 4oz increments. Woohoo! Amazon ~$20

Side position: This is my favorite and I wish instead of hunching over in the beginning, I would have tried this out. Lay on your side, relax your neck and back and feed your little one. If you are worried you will go to sleep while feeding, take your shirt off and take off covers. If you are chilly you won’t be likely to fall asleep.

Breastfeeding is a tough full-time job. As a new mom, I recommend seeking professional help if you need it and get a group of mom friends on the same journey. It is tough in the beginning, but you will get the hang of it and it will be rewarding to know your body provided the milk for that chubby little tummy, those chunky legs and rolls. Also know that if breastfeeding doesn’t work, you are not a failure. Breastfed or formula fed, at the end of the day you are feeding your baby and that is all that matters. Good luck mama! You got this!

Your Friend, Amanda

Working from Home with Baby

Thinking about working from home with a baby? Well this one is for you mama! I won’t tell you that is a magical ride and super easy because to be honest the last week was rough. My husband and I both work for companies that allow us to work virtually and with all the toys and distractions we own, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard, just different.

Well, its tough to juggle nursing, nap schedules, conference calls, video calls, emails, webinars, and make sure that you eat lunch, use the bathroom, (ya know, the basic human needs?) and keep your baby occupied during playtime. Here are a few things you should do if you are seriously considering going back to work or starting a new job (from home) after having a baby.

  1. Flexible Schedule

Our baby girl has been on a pretty consistent schedule since she was around 2.5 months old. She takes two morning naps and one or two in the afternoon. She is happier in the morning and much needier and fussy as the day progresses.

I highly recommend trying to get your baby on some sort of a predictable “schedule” (like Moms On Call suggests) so you can plan around nap times for conference calls. I pre-warn you to say some days your little one may refuse a nap and other days they may be like clockwork. It’s unpredictable just like new meetings pop-up on your schedule. Discuss with your boss about the ability to work in the morning and then maybe working in the evenings when your baby has gone to bed or when your spouse can help watch them. Every day is an adventure. It can be VERY frustrated when you are being pulled in two directions. Some days you may be doing good to get anything done at work and other days you will be doing good to babble with your little one or curl up for a nap. Hang in there! It’s not for the faint of heart.

2. Set Up a Baby-Friendly Office

Bouncy activity gym, a play mat with toys, a tummy time space with toys, an excersaucer and anything that can help entertain your little one is nice to have in your office space. Keep in mind that with all those fun things in her office, my daughter loves to hold my ear phone cords and stare at my computer screen. Lovely, right?

Another great thing to have is a baby carrier. She loves to sit close to me and it allows my hands to be free. We have the Ergobaby 360 (allows babies to face outward) and she loves it! I can type and stand at my kitchen bar to get some work done during those awake periods or when she is refusing a nap.

3. Schedule a Call on a Walk

If you have a meeting that doesn’t require you to be in front of your computer, perhaps you can put your baby in the stroller, attached your earphones to your cell phone and take a walk outside. This will allow you to keep your little one calm and occupied while you get some work done.

Here I had a few webinars I needed to watch. My daughter loves to be outside and she loves to be pushed in a stroller. This was a great way to keep her occupied and allowed me some time to focus.

4. Schedule Time on your Calendar for a Break

Before I had Brooke, I was adamant about taking a lunch break. Working from home can easily distract you from a normal work day and cause you to sit at a desk all day and not take time to take care of yourself. Sometimes your brain just needs a break from all the emails.

Now that I am back to work, I still have those scheduled hour lunch breaks on my calendar. During this time, I take a break. Get up, stretch, play with her, walk outside and grab some lunch. It prevents co-workers from scheduling meetings during that time too.

I also recommend putting “place holders” or “fake meetings” on your calendar during your baby’s awake time. This will allow you time to get up, move around, change diapers, play with them and prevent others from scheduling back to back calls. It has helped me tremendously!

5. Take Advantage of Nap Time

Nap time is the golden hour of when I need to be 100% focused on work. I attempt to schedule my important client calls during the times I know she will be asleep. It is the only way I can focus and actually get work done. Thank God for nap time!!

A thing that I have found helpful is to put your baby in the crib for naps. If they wake up and you are still on that call, it is okay to let them cry for a bit until you are finished. Sometimes babies have to cry and as long as they are in a safe space, that is okay.

Working from home while caring for a baby is the job of a super hero or a very flexible work environment. We already know moms are super heros, so be sure to be upfront with your boss that your kid is at home. It will make it a bit more manageable!

May the odds be in your favor!

– Your Friend, Amanda
Explore Wilmington

Smith Creek Park

Address: 33 Shenandoah St, Wilmington, NC 28411

7. Smith Creek Park and Nature Preserve

Located off of Harris Road/Gordon Road in the Ogden area is Smith Creek Park and Smith Creek Nature Preserve. This park is slightly hidden and a nice surprise in midst of the hustle and bustle of the large neighborhoods on this side of town.

  • Parking: A large paved parking lot
  • Restrooms: Yes! Located near the parking lot and playground. Several stalls in the ladies room
  • Stroller Friendly: yes!

The large fresh water lake has a paved one-mile walking trail that wraps around it. The trail is wide enough for a stroller or two, making this a great place to walk with new mom friends. A large picnic shelter is located near the playground which has several of picnic tables and there are a few benches around the lake.

The lake is great for fishing or using the dock to launch a canoe or kayak, but no swimming allowed. If you are looking at the lake from the parking lot, the Nature Preserve is located to the left. An access area goes up a dirt hill to the preserve (so not ideal for strollers). Check out the link below to read about native plants and animals.

Fun fact: Funding for Smith Creek Park came from a half-million dollar grant from the North Carolina Parks & Recreation Trust Fund. The project was also supplemented by selling mined sand that was removed to create the lake. 

Click here for more details.

Smith Creek Park is the go-to place if I want to walk with friends and their babies. The trail is very wide and the area is just so pretty! Be sure to wear sunscreen as most of the trail is in the sunshine. Enjoy my friend!

Explore Wilmington

Wrightsville Beach North End

1. Wrightsville Beach – The North End

Wrightsville Beach offers a lot of fun kid-friendly activities. If you like being outside, don’t mind a walk in the sand and are willing to pay for parking (~$3/hr | March 1 to October 31 from 9am to 7pm (with some enforced 9am – 8pm) then I recommend heading to the famous “Mailbox“.

  • Parking: Park in Public Beach Access # 2 (located next to Shell Island Resort)
  • Restrooms and a foot washing station are both available.
  • Stroller Friendly: No

Points of Interest:

  • The Wrightsville Beach Mailbox” has been a hidden gem on this stretch of the beach for many years. In 2003, locals Bernie and Sidney Nykanen placed a mailbox at their favorite spot on the North End of WB facing Figure 8 Island. They placed pens and a notebook in the mailbox to allow its’ visitors a spot to write down scriptures, favorite quotes, prayers, love letters or just a simple message. When I moved here in 2010, I remember walking the sandy mile walk with my new friends to this famous mailbox. We would write our names in the wrinkled, half soaked pages and take time to read what others had written. It’s always been a fun adventure. In 2018, during Hurricane Florence the mailbox was moved along with the many notebooks collected over the years to the Wrightsville Beach Museum. A new mailbox is now located in front of Shell Island Resort for a more prominent location for beach goers to access (the old location is now roped off for a bird sanctuary). Visit the mailbox with your kids and leave a note or message for someone else to discover.
  • View Figure Eight Island: Continue walking toward the North of the island, where on a clear day, you can glimpse over at the exclusive Figure Eight Island community. Only accessible by boat or over the private bridge, these million dollar homes are always impressive to see.
  • Dip in the water: During high-tide, a nice natural pool forms at the very tip of the island. Although the water is calm at this specific point, I don’t recommend allowing children to swim in the ocean (where waves appear) as the tides can be very strong and no lifeguards are on duty in this area.

Have fun and go enjoy the North End! One of my favorite places on Wrightsville Beach.

Your Friend – Amanda

Hospital Bag Checklist

My first bit of advice is to go ahead and get your bag ready because you never know when you will go into labor. Never! So, even if you are 30 weeks, go ahead and pack your bag. Our baby girl came 4 weeks early and I thankfully had the bags packed. Below you’ll find the must have list for your hospital bag.

For You Mama

  1. Socks – Girl, I kid you not, I wore socks while in labor! haha! My feet are always freezing and hospitals are always so cold, so it was nice for my feet to be warm. To give your doctor a good laugh, why not wear a pair like these from Amazon? (Amazon~$12)

2. Hair Ties – Get your favorite hair ties or bobby pins if you have short hair.

3. Toiletries – Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Hair Comb or Brush, Deodorant, any must have face creams, lotion, etc.

4. Bath Towel + Wash Cloth – The hospital did have towels and washcloths, but they were scratchy and small. This was something a girlfriend of mine told me to pack and I am glad I listened because a soft towel that only had touched my body was a nice feeling after my first shower.

5. Flip Flops (for the shower) – I’m not totally freaked out by germs, but I felt better hoping in the shower with my flip flops on. Another tip from a friend. Thanks girl!

6. Hair Dryer – Alright, I’m not all about getting “dolled” up in the first place, but when they took Brooke to get her first bath, I was taking full advantage of the down time and jumped in the shower myself. When I got out, I was so thankful that I was able to dry my hair. They do not have hair dryers at the hospital, so pack one. You will feel somewhat normal once you dry your hair before you jump back into your PJs. 😉

7. Dark PJ’s – These are essential. After you deliver, you will more than likely be moved from Labor & Delivery to the Mother/Baby hall. Once you get settled in your room, the nurses will allow you to get out of your trendy hospital gown and into actual clothes. This PJ set was hands down one of the best purchases I made. The buttons allowed easy access for constant breastfeeding, it was comfy to lounge around in and the dark color was nice because you’ll be sporting a HUGE pad and will be bleeding. Just in case you get any blood on it, the dark color will hide it. (Amazon~$40)

8. Slippers – I didn’t want to be barefoot in the bathroom or put on actual shoes to do my “daily exercise” (the nurses ask you to walk the halls if you are able to). So, I am happy I packed my fuzzy slippers. I got mine from Costco, but these on Amazon are very similar. (Amazon~$20)

9. Nursing Bra(s) – I listed this on the “Postpartum list” as well, but I recommend packing at least one. (Amazon~$30 for 3 pack)

10. Going Home Outfit – Realistically, you will be about the same size you were 2-3 months pregnant, so don’t pack those pre-pregnancy jeans and a fitted top. I wore home maternity tights and a loose maternity shirt.

11. Granny Panties – The hospital will give you net panties (one size fits all sista), so I recommend bringing some ol’ granny panties, at least 2 pairs. They will just make you feel comfortable, but not a must have. (I rocked those net panties for 2 days y’all).

12. Cell Phone Chargers + Camera/batteries – That youngin’ is going to be photographed no less than 100 times. So, come prepared.

For Baby

13. Going Home Outfit – Pack a Premie and a Newborn outfit. I only had a newborn outfit packed and my poor child was swallowed in it. I also recommend not spending lots of money on this outfit as its only worn for a short amount of time.

14. Carseat – You will need this to of course leave the hospital in, but also for the “Car Seat test”. Go ahead and have the base installed in the car.

Optional, but nice to pack too

14. Snacks – So the hospital only gives you breakfast, lunch and dinner and breastfeeding turns you into the hungry hippo, so girl pack all the snacks. You will thank me when you (and your spouse) are up at 2 AM and starving. Mother/baby won’t allow visitors to leave and return during these hours and you guessed it, the cafe will be closed.

15. Gatorade – I was chugging lots of water, but it was nice to have something else to drink, but keep me hydrated.

16. Power strip – Those hospital rooms usually have 1 outlet that isn’t 10 foot up on the wall, so packing a power strip will allow you to charge your phones without having to get too creative.

17. Pillow – I didn’t initially pack my pillow, but I asked my parents to bring it when they came to visit. I felt much more comfortable and was able to get a nap in with my pillow. The ones the hospital provided were small and would deflate when I laid on them.

18. Photo-Props – So many ladies these days want a social media photo to use for their announcement, etc. I’ve seen some cute ideas, but we weren’t as prepared a month early. I did have a swaddle that Brooke was wrapped in, but that is it. Ideas I’ve seen are:

  • Birthday themed – Cupcake, confetti, birthday hat
  • Message board
  • Chalk board name
  • Blanket/swaddle with baby’s name

19. Spouse Clothes + Toiletries – Alright, go ahead and throw in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for your spouse. A spare tooth brush is a nice gesture too. I knew my husband wouldn’t have packed a bag and I knew better than to wait until I was in full labor for him to throw his things together. Remember to grab a plain t-shirt in case you get photos together.

I faintly remember my time in the hospital and I think that is because we were there less than 48 hours and I believe I was awake for most of those hours. Ha! Seriously. I couldn’t rest. Let me warn you ahead of time that between nurses coming in to get your vitals, blood work, having to pee, drinking water, nursing, and just admiring the new sleeping baby you have waited so long to meet, sleep is the last thing on your mind. We only had my parents and a friend stop by to visit us and I’m thankful for that. I highly suggest texting your friends and family a photo and let them know when is a good time to stop by after you get home. Good luck mama! You are going to do great.


Post-Partum Check-List

Alright mama, here are the items that you will want once you get back home from the hospital. The next few weeks are a bit like being a walking zombie and if you are breastfeeding, then you may also feel like a cow. I remember my husband holding Brooke for 10 minutes and the moment she started the whine, he would freeze and say “Amanda, I think she’s hungry”. Thinking to myself, “she just ate”, I’d go and pick her up. Good times y’all.

  1. Squirt Bottle – This little bottle came home with me from the hospital. I know the Mama Frida company sales one also, but this one worked just fine. Basically, when you deliver a baby vaginally, you are in pain and warm water is about the only way to “wipe” after you go to the bathroom.
  2. Colace – Stool Softener because you want things to flow nicely if you know what I’m saying. This is the same stuff the nurses in Mother/Baby gave me after delivery and they tell you to continue taking it once you get home. (Amazon~$15)

3. Dermoplast – This stuff is wonderful and it helps with the pain. You just spray after you go to the bathroom. This is another product the hospital had in my room, but I’m glad I went ahead and purchased another bottle for home. (Amazon~$7)

4. Pads – Again, I brought home a good amount of pads from the hospital; however, the ones the hospital had were HUGE. Like from my very front to literally my back. Haha! These Always Pads are a bit more “fitted” and have the wings which helps them fit to your undies. Also, I don’t know if they sell them, but the hospital also had some ice pack type pads. I wish I would have taken more of those home because they were the best to help reduce swelling and they just felt nice. I’m sure recovery is different for everyone, but I think I used these for about 1 week and half once I got home. (Amazon~$9)

5. Tucks – These are circular medicated pads with witch hazel that the hospital also gives you. You place them on your pad and they absorb onto your skin to help reduce the pain and any urge to itch while your lady bits heal. I had bought them for home as well. (Amazon~$7)

6. Olly Prenatal Vitamins – (Amazon~$9) – So, I’m not the best at taking huge horse pills, so the chewable Prenatal Vitamins were the way to go for me. My husband was actually jealous of my daily “candy”. ha! My OB encouraged me to keep taking these for the benefit of my healing body, as well as for my baby since I was breastfeeding. I went ahead and purchased a few bottles since I knew I’d be taking them.

If you are planning to breastfeed, I’d also recommend:

7. Mama Earth Nipple Butter – Alright mama, I wish someone would have warned me that breastfeeding isn’t always easy (especially with a preterm baby) and that my nipples would hurt for the first two weeks or so until we both got the hang of it. I read a lot about latch and positions before she was born, but really you just have to wait until your babe arrives to “practice” since really it takes both of you. If your nipples crack or feel chapped, I was told to put some breastmilk on them and let it dry. That helps! This Nipple Butter also helped soothe my sore nipples since I was nursing around the clock. (Amazon ~$12)

8. Bamboobies – I didn’t realize that once my milk came in, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with milk soaked sheets. Or during the day, I’d have to change my bra because it would be soaking wet. These were so soft, didn’t fold down like the disposables and are reusable. Win/win! Pop them in the washing machine and keep using them. I stopped “leaking” around 3 months. (Amazon~$12)

9. Nursing Bras and Camis – Your boobs are going to be huge and you need easy access to them if nursing. I found these bras on Amazon that I really like. They are stretchy, adjustable and easy to snap and unsnap with one hand. Three colors and they are comfortable. (Amazon~$30)

Motherhood Maternity actually has the best nursing camis. I have them in a few colors and like them because I can throw a cardigan on and look like I’m in normal clothes – no nursing clothing required. They have several colors to choose from and sometimes the Motherhood Maternity online store puts them on sale. They are very soft and the little clip is easy to use one-handed. (Amazon~$25)

10. Haaka – I wasn’t really sure why I needed one of these, but I was told by every single mom I knew to get one. I’m not exactly sure why it’s called a “haaka”, but it definitely saves some milk that would have otherwise gone into my bra. Basically, what you do is turn the top inside outwards and suction it to the boob that your baby isn’t eating on. It collects the milk and you can either put it in a freezer stash or put it in the fridge to feed your baby a bottle later on. (Amazon~$20)

It takes your body some time to heal after having a baby, so don’t forget to give yourself grace! It’s easy when you are running off of little sleep to get frustrated, even if your baby is super cute, so if you are feeling overwhelmed, pass your baby to your spouse or lay him/her down and cry – give yourself a break. That first month is really the toughest. At least it was for me.

My baby girl Brooke was born 4 weeks early (at 36 weeks). She was considered a “late preterm baby” and even though she looked like a full term baby, her body still needed some time to catch up on developing and growing. In addition, since she was born early, I had to hurry and get my milk supply in and up. The lactation consultant had me on a pretty tough schedule. Every 3 hours I would:

  • Breastfeed her – while constantly trying to keep her awake, latched and in position (~15min)
  • Pump – until no more milk was coming out (~20 min)
  • Syringe feed her- supplement breastmilk or formula (about 10 ml) – my husband helped with this too, which was great! (~20 min)

So every 3 hours, I had to do these 3 steps. Sometimes the process took almost 2 hours to complete and then it was time to do it again. Girl, that 3AM shift was the worst for me. My husband was back to his full time job and needed sleep, and I was having to wake my sleeping baby up to do my regimen. I swear I fell asleep one night pumping. haha! I was running off of very little sleep and doing my best to get her back to birth weight, which was 6 pounds. At the 2 weeks mark, we reached 6 lbs and I could now feed her when she was hungry. Yay!

I tell you all of this because it was a surprise to me. I knew it would be rough, but I didn’t know how rough. I was the only one who could feed her and it was easy to not take care of myself. Try to take a shower and take it easy!

I also recommend while pregnant to:

  • Make freezer meals that you can quickly heat-up for dinner
  • Make “lactation bites” or energy bites (great recipes on Pinterest) – freeze them in batches so you can just pull more out to have for quick snacks
  • Make smoothie bags – freeze 1 banana + 4 frozen cubes of vanilla yogurt + frozen fruit (great ideas on Pinterest)