• Category Archives: mom tips

    A Few Lessons I’ve Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    I’ve shared quite a bit about my motherhood experience both here on my blog and over in my instagram feed (and these days on Snapchat as well). I try to be pretty honest without constantly oversharing. I try to be encouraging so other moms find a community of support and maybe solutions to something they are going through (or at least to see they aren’t going it alone). I try to be real. On some days the real me doesn’t get dressed until the afternoon, and only if I have to leave the house. On some days the real me has a hard time and there is a lot of anxiety. On some days the real me feels really good about myself and like I’m kicking ass as a mom. But after having three babies I at least have learned that I’m not alone. I know we all have hard days. I know we all feel like we’re doing a shitty job sometimes. But there was a time when I struggled really hard as a mom and I thought it was just me — like I was doing it the worst. Do you ever feel like that?

    One thing I found particularly difficult with my first baby was breastfeeding. Nursing is probably one of the hardest things for many moms, but people make it seem so easy — like you just “do” it. Nursing is the thing other people (other moms, family members, total strangers) will judge you about the most, whether you do it or not (if you do, it’s all “cover up, don’t do that in public, don’t do it too long, you aren’t doing it long enough” and so on. And if you don’t it’s like you are the worst mother ever, regardless of why — and really, it shouldn’t matter why.) And if you choose or are able to breastfeed, it is probably the thing you’ll be hardest on yourself about. After being able to breastfeed three babies myself, to varying degrees of “success”, I feel like I’ve learned a few nuggets of wisdom that might help other mothers who also hope to breastfeed. And maybe even the ones who don’t.

    I have been lucky enough to have had the choice to nurse my babies, but not everyone has the choice to breastfeed, and not everyone wants to breastfeed. I fully support mothers choosing whatever works best for themselves and their families. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing comments from “well-meaning mothers” who like to suggest that breastfeeding is the only way. Or if you do breastfeed you should breastfeed longer. Or if someone is giving a bottle to a baby they automatically assume they chose not to breastfeed (it could be breastmilk, it could be their only option, or it could be a bottle of formula — who the hell cares!?) We all know breast is best, but breast isn’t for everyone, sometimes by choice and sometimes not. Just do you and let other moms do them and as long as no one is harming anyone else then everyone is ok. But I digress…

    Back to ME 🙂 I did really want to breastfeed and with my first it was a struggle. At around one month we realized my supply was really low, but I didn’t know why. I saw a lactation consultant who told me to pump pump pump. She told me to try a drug called Raglan (that wasn’t FDA approved for milk supply help and had some nasty side effects that didn’t help what I was already experiencing, which I later realized was PPD). She told me that every mom can breastfeed, you just have to work at it. So when I couldn’t, I pretty much felt like a failure. First lesson: not every mom can breastfeed, and it is ok. Not every mom wants to breastfeed, and it is ok. And not every mom that tries to breastfeed is able. And it is ok.

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    I came to that realization once Charlie was older and I was doing better with my PPD. I realized that lactation consultants don’t know everything (although there are mostly wonderful ones out there — I just happened to have a bad experience with a specific and highly revered one) and some have an agenda that isn’t supportive of all mothers or babies. I realized that my formula-fed baby was strong, healthy, smart, and happy. I had a very low supply and no amount of pumping, teas, supplements, water, etc. could help me. I was a good mother. I am a good mother. Second lesson: good moms feed their babies however they can.

    Flash forward to when Calvin (my second baby) was five months old and stopped gaining weight after nursing well up to that point. My pediatrician advised me to start offering a bottle of formula after every feeding to get his weight back up. After two weeks of supplementing he did gain weight and he was back on track. He started napping well. He was much happier. I realized my supply had like a 4-5 oz max and once he needed more than that, I needed help from formula. Gradually he started preferring the bottle to the breast, and it was also around the time he started solids (we did mostly baby led weaning with him). So I decided to follow his lead and fed him bottles of formula after every nursing session, which eventually turned to only nursing in the morning and at bedtime, and offering formula bottles for his other meals. Lesson three: sometimes breastfeeding is going really well and then something unexpected happens and you need help. It throws you for a loop. But everything will be ok. Giving formula won’t keep your kid from going to college. It doesn’t mean you love them less. Breast, bottle, breastmilk, or formula: #nourishwithoutshame.

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    For a while I pumped when I could so some of those bottles had some breast milk too, but I didn’t get much when I pumped and I finally stopped. In all honestly, all the pumping I did the first time around really made me hate pumping. I’m sure no one likes pumping. No mom says “ooooh, I can’t wait to pump!” But after the first time around I gave myself permission to just do my best and to refuse to pump if I didn’t want to. I still nursed first thing in the morning and the last thing at night until Calvin started biting around 8 months old. I tried but couldn’t get him to stop and couldn’t work past it (he’s still a biter so I don’t think we would have ever worked past it). I was really sad to stop nursing — it was earlier than I had planned for sure. I was really down about it at first — the end happened so fast and unexpectedly. But I knew I tried my best. I didn’t feel guilty about giving formula. I didn’t feel like a bad mom. Lesson four: pumping sucks and biting, well, bites. (Puns intended.) You are allowed to decide to stop. You can give yourself permission and you don’t need permission from anyone else.

    And now with Quincy I have been able to exclusively breastfeed. He’s over 6 months and the chubbiest baby I’ve had at this age by far, and it’s all from me. I can’t believe it. And to think he spent a week in the NICU and I was so worried it would ruin my chances at nursing. Quincy has never taken a bottle! It is the first time I have had a steady milk supply. It is also the first time I’ve had any issues in the beginning that other women dealt with but that I had only heard about (engorgement, clogged ducts, pain, bleeding nipples, etc.) I’m glad that nursing him has been relatively easy, aside from a few minor clogged ducts, a bout of thrush for me, a quick visit from mastitis, and eliminating dairy from my diet to help with Quincy’s reflux (which has been our struggle with baby three – you can read more about our colic and reflux battles if that is something you think you might be dealing with as well.)

    What I've Learned After Breastfeeding Three Babies | Oh Lovely Day

    I don’t have any expectations about breastfeeding this time around. This is my last baby, so I’m just going to do it as 2long as I’m able, as long as he wants to, and as long as it works for our family. I have a goal of one year but definitely would go longer. I just know that having expectations makes you feel bad if something happens and you can’t meet them. It’s great to have a goal, but putting pressure on yourself is unfair. We already have too much pressure, too little sleep, too little help, too many things we feel we aren’t doing well enough. Lesson five: don’t go into breastfeeding (or anything in your motherhood/parenthood experience) with big expectations. It never leads to anything good. Instead, just do the best you can, enjoy it while you can, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

    I hope someone finds this somewhat helpful. It is something I wish someone had told me or something I had read when I was struggling. I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts as well, but please remember — this is a judgement free zone.

    Also, I blogged my breastfeeding essentials with some of my favorite things here. And again, I’d love for you to share your thoughts or experiences, or your biggest lessons learned either here or on instagram. I think we all have something to learn from each other. And if you aren’t yet familiar with it, I’ve been using the hashtag #battlefieldmotherhood on instagram to share my real, raw, hard, and victorious days and other moms are joining in. Check it out and use it if you’d like! The more the merrier.

    Photo credits: Photos 2 and 4 by Jennifer Roper, others by me. Jennifer Roper is a member of my Lovely Vendor Guide. If you are interested in becoming a Lovely Vendor, apply here.


    7 Tips for Dealing with Infant Acid Reflux and Our Experience with Reflux and Colic

    tips for dealing with infant reflux 3

    If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Instagram, you are probably well aware of our struggle with infant acid reflux with our third baby. It has been so so hard and I know that when I was in the thick of it I spent so much time online looking for answers. So I thought that if I shared our experience, the signs and symptoms that Quincy showed early on, and what ended up working for us that maybe I’ll help another exhausted momma out there googling for answers on her phone while she’s nursing like I did.

    Looking back, Quincy showed some signs of reflux right away, while we were still in the hospital (we had to stay an extra week due to some delivery complications and an infection.) I remember the nurse coming in to give Quincy medicine and he would make this sound like he couldn’t breathe – like he was gasping for air. The nurse and I both made mention of it like it didn’t seem normal, but he was fine otherwise. The gasping got worse later on and I realized that basically anytime I gave him medicine or when he would nurse that often happened and I think it was because stuff was coming up due to reflux, and it made him feel like he was choking when we were trying to get something else down.

    tips for dealing with infant reflux 2

    By two weeks old, Quincy had full-on colic. Like screaming for hours, not sleeping, writhing in pain colic. It was horrible. We went to the pediatrician and heard “sounds like colic. He’ll grow out of it eventually.” But since this was my third baby and not my first my gut told me it was more than that. I just knew something was causing the colic — it was a symptom of something bigger, not the main issue. I now strongly believe that colic is usually a symptom of severe gas, reflux, food sensitivities or allergies, or a combination. Seriously, if you think your baby has colic or if he or she is showing colic-like symptoms (prolonged and pained crying for hours, multiple times a week, for at least a week) I would try the tips below and see if there is any improvement. Your baby (and you) do not have to suffer and just “wait for him to grow out of it.”

    The first thing I did after doing some research online and talking with some mom friends was cut dairy. I should mention that Quincy was (and still currently is) exclusively breastfed (if you formula feed, there is dairy in regular formula as well, so switching to soy or a more hypoallergenic formula like Nutramigen or Alimentum may help (and I’ve heard buying it on Amazon is way cheaper – ask your pediatrician she thinks it is right for your baby.) I also started trying out some products to help him with his gas pain (you can see a full post on that and other colic helpers here.)

    tips for dealing with infant reflux

    After about a week of cutting dairy, I saw a drastic improvement in Quincy. While he still had colic-like fussy periods (especially in the evening or if we tried to go somewhere and he was in the infant seat) he wasn’t screaming inconsolably for hours on end anymore. He never showed signs of a full dairy allergy (no blood in his diaper, for example) but I do think he had a sensitivity and it was exacerbating the reflux that we didn’t yet know he had.

    After cutting dairy and using things like the Windi, Gerber Soothe drops, and an all-natural colic tonic for a couple of weeks, Quincy was good more often than not. But he was spitting up a ton, would still scream if he was laid down within an hour of eating (he really couldn’t be laid flat ever), and absolutely hated being in his infant seat or anything that put him in a curled position. He also would wake himself up with hiccups or spitting up about two hours after feedings. While he spit up breastmilk during and after feedings, he spit up a lot of clear fluid a couple hours after feedings, which is even more indicative of reflux.

    He also showed the following signs/symptoms:

    • raspy/gurgling breathing
    • coughing/choking, especially when put down or after eating
    • smacking his mouth and grimacing
    • sounded like he was congested but wasn’t sick
    • would often rub at his nose/mouth area like something was bothering him
    • could not be put down or laid flat without crying/screaming within a few minutes
    • would sometimes have milk come out of his nose when nursing and/or choking when nursing
    • arching back and stiffening neck
    • lots of spitting up, trouble burping (you’d really have to burp him for a while and if you put him down before he was able to burp things would get worse), hiccups

    Reflux babies are also often underweight, but Quincy was the opposite. He would nurse more frequently because it helped soothe the burning, but then that would also make the reflux worse. Some babies don’t want to nurse because they realize that is causing them pain. But he was gaining weight well. So don’t think yours can’t have reflux just because they aren’t having trouble gaining.

    tips for dealing with infant reflux 4

    I also realized that the reason Quincy screamed anytime I tried to put him in the stroller or car was because his infant seat curled him into a position that made his reflux even more uncomfortable. I thought it would be ok, because he was in a position that kept his head elevated, but it made him worse. And I tried a couple different infant seats — the brand didn’t make a difference because they are all basically designed to have baby in the same position, which unfortunately puts pressure on their tummies.

    So if this sounds like your baby, then here are the things that I did that worked for us. Maybe some of these tips or products will work for you too.

    1. Cut dairy. I also limited (ate but in small quantities or infrequently) soy, citrus, caffeine (I was having one cup of coffee in the morning and maybe one later in the day if necessary), chocolate, and eggs. A few of my favorite non-dairy substitutes or dairy free things are (aside from the obvious fruit and veggies): Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chunks, Earth Balance non-dairy butter, Back to Nature Peanut Butter Creme Cookies, Oat Mama Peanut Butter and Chocolate bars, Silk Almond Milk Creamer, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars.
    2. Elevate baby when sleeping. Quincy slept swaddled in our Rock-n-Play until he was 4 months old. It was a lifesaver. I highly recommend it to anyone with a baby, but especially to those who have babies with reflux or who are happy spitters (lots of spitting up but otherwise a happy baby — my first son Charlie was one of these.) If you would prefer to have your baby in a crib you can buy a wedge like this and a sleep positioner like this to keep baby from rolling or sliding down when elevated. I’ve also heard a lot of great things about this product for helping baby sleep elevated, but I’ve never tried it. It would be a challenge for night sleep since you can’t strap baby in if he is swaddled but could be great for daytime.
    3. Elevate baby when eating. If you nurse, try to elevate baby on the feeding side. I use this nursing pillow and propped it higher on the feeding side. This meant I mostly nursed sitting up, as sidelying or similar positions kept Quincy too flat. If you bottle feed, pick a slow flow anti-colic bottle like these (my favorite when I’ve had to supplement with my first two babies – Quincy is exclusively breastfed so far.)
    4. Hold baby upright for at least 30 minutes after a feeding. I actually had to keep Quincy upright for 30-60 minutes after a feeding. This makes nursing to sleep and night feeds challenging. If he fell asleep while nursing I would just hold him upright on my shoulder, burping him off and on until I got a few good ones. And then when I did lay him down he was still elevated. Also, baby wearing helps a ton with this. I used both my Solly Baby Wrap and my Ergobaby 360 carrier, but now Ergobaby has a new carrier called the Adapt which you can use from the newborn stage without an insert. If you can only get one carrier that you want to work from birth to toddler, that one is the one to have.
    5. Give baby a probiotic. I tried pretty much everything from natural and homeopathic remedies, visiting a chiropractor (which didn’t work for us — per our chiro Quincy was perfectly aligned — but I hear chiropractors or osteopaths can really help), pediatrician visits, medication, etc. I was recommended different probiotics (fancier ones that you have to refrigerate and drugstore brands) and the one that I found that helped us the most was the one my pediatrician recommended: Gerber Soothe. It is targeted to help with both colic symptoms and food sensitivities.
    6. Limit their time spent in things that make them uncomfortable (like the infant seat) and use seats or bouncers that position then comfortably. For us, the two things that worked best for keeping Quincy comfortable but letting me have some hands-free time were the Baby Bjorn Bouncer and the 4Moms mamaRoo (at it’s highest position setting). Other rockers, swings, bouncers that we had from my first two babies didn’t work well for Quincy. He could tolerate them for maybe 5 minutes but then he would start with the choking sounds, spitting up, and getting fussy. Oh, and he HATED getting sink baths (similar positioning as the infant car seat) but loved baths in this bath seat in the tub (which I have had since my oldest was a baby). It made bath time so much more enjoyable for both of us.
    7. See your pediatrician and discuss whether medication could help your baby. I would prefer not to medicate a baby so young, but I also prefer for my baby to not suffer unnecessarily. After seeing how much pain Quincy was in and talking to his doctor, I decided that medication was right for us to try. We started on Zantac (a liquid form compounded at our pharmacy) and noticed an immediate improvement. But after a couple of weeks that went away (which is normal). So after a month on Zantac we decided to switch to Prevacid (a PPI). PPIs can take at least two weeks to start working, so we continued with our Zantac until it ran out, which was a little over two weeks on the Prevacid. I noticed more improvement with Prevacid (again the liquid compounded form). However, Quincy was rapidly gaining weight, so about every two weeks (when we would need a new dose, as the compounded form of Prevacid only lasts two weeks) he would start to regress a bit and we realized that he had gained weight and needed a higher dose. (I should mention that having the Hatch Smart Changing Pad was a lifesaver for me in dealing with the reflux too because I could track Quincy’s weight myself without having to go in to the pediatrician for a weight check before I could have his medication dosage adjusted. It’s also brilliant for breastfed babies so you know how much they are eating, especially in those early days before your supply is well established.) Finally, when he was around 4 months old we reached a good dose that has been working for us for a month. He gets 2 doses of Prevacid, one first thing in the morning and one at night before he nurses and goes to bed. It is important to keep in mind that for the compounded Prevacid you need to wait 2 hours after a feeding to give it, or wait 30 minutes after a dose for a feeding.

    I know that was a long post, but I wanted to try to include any information I thought might be helpful. If you have a specific question, feel free to comment below or email me and I’ll do my best to respond! Good luck and just know that it is temporary and things will get better 🙂

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    Embracing Your Postpartum Body

    Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby

    It’s sooooo hard for most of us to like our bodies (or not totally hate our bodies) after we have a baby. Even those blessed with amazing genes and tiny postpartum bodies are probably not loving them right after having a baby. Things aren’t the same. You’re bloated, stretched, swollen, have stretch marks and varicose veins and loose skin and c-section scars and enormous nursing breasts with big nipples. New mom body is tough no matter who you are. You feel frumpy, not yourself, and completely undesirable. It’s hard to find things to wear that you feel good in. It’s hard to feel good about yourself.

    It took me until my third postpartum body to finally accept it. To realize that this is part of the beauty of motherhood and that my body is like this because I have grown three beautiful boys inside of it. It has done amazing things. And it deserves to be embraced for that. When you look in the mirror and see your stretch marks and your soft round tummy, remind yourself of all of that before you start your inner self-hate.

    Solly Baby asked me to be part of their SS16 Lookbook back when Quincy was first born to represent that early postpartum stage. I immediately said yes — it wasn’t until the night before when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I would be showing up super sleep deprived with a 10 day postpartum body and hair that was desperately in need of highlights. And then I reminded myself why they wanted me, why I looked like that, and that I needed to embrace it. So that when other women were looking at photos and saw a mom wearing a newborn in a wrap, they would see themselves. It’s ok to look like shit for a while you guys. Let’s allow ourselves time to look and feel like shit, and when we do, remember that it won’t last forever and that we look like that for a really good reason and that it is ok to just embrace it. On that note, here is me, 10 days postpartum (with professional hair, makeup, and styling, of course).

    Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby Embracing Your Postpartum Body | Oh Lovely Day & Solly Baby

    When I look at these photos now, 4 months later, I don’t see how much I don’t like my weird postpartum hair or my still swollen face or the body bulges as much as I see that teeny Quincy. My body is still not where I want it — colic, reflux, sleep deprivation, cutting diary but surviving on carbs and sugar, not being able to exercise yet due to the colic, reflux, and sleep deprivation have all kept me from making much progress — but it’s ok. I’ll get there. I’m in survival mode still. I’m doing my best. I was a home to that teeny baby and have nourished him to a whopping 17 pounds in those 4 short months. So I’m trying hard to not dislike myself or put too much pressure on myself. To be forgiving of myself. We’ve earned at least that, haven’t we? Big thanks to Solly Baby for asking me to do this and to Max Wanger for taking such sweet photos of Quincy and me. And to the whole team there for making me feel pretty and comfortable at a time where when I was so not feeling either one.

    I’d love to see you embrace and share your own postpartum body photos proudly on instagram with the hashtag #embraceyourmombod and #battlefieldmotherhood. Let’s start a movement!

    Photos: Max Wanger courtesy of Solly Baby / Dress: Madewell / Shoes: Bryr Clogs / Hair & Makeup: Shew Gal / Wrap & Swaddle: Solly Baby


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    Adjusting As A Family of Five

    Thoughts on our first weeks as a family of 5 | Oh Lovely Day

    Now that we’re about 15 weeks into this whole ‘party of five’ thing, I thought I would share a little bit about how it’s going and how we’re all still alive and mostly smiling. If you follow me on instagram you know it hasn’t been easy — our newest member has had colic and pretty bad reflux. There was a lot of screaming and crying those first couple of weeks at home and since it has been a journey to figure out how to make him more comfortable and relieve his pain the best I can. I’ve had to change my diet (which is no easy feat when you are sleep deprived, early postpartum, breastfeeding, and have two other kids to care for.) I haven’t had dairy for over 3 months — you’d think I’d at least be losing the baby weight as a result but nope! I just replaced it with sugar and carbs to survive. UGH. But back to Quincy… It took a long time to figure out when he could be put down, in what, at what angle, how long after a feeding, etc. I’ve had to hold him and wear him a majority of the time and can count on two hands the number of times in almost 4 months that he has laid flat on his playmat. Night sleep is a struggle, as he’s still waking up 2-3 times a night due to discomfort and needing to nurse back to sleep. That means I’ve been struggling to get enough sleep. My sleep deprivation and early weeks of a screaming baby led to a bout of postpartum depression and anxiety, only made worse by the fact that his reflux made him too miserable to sit in his infant seat for very long, so anytime I tried to take him somewhere (either in the car or stroller) he would end up screaming. So I stopped trying to take him places and we became shut ins, which doesn’t help PPD one bit. But neither does the screaming.

    These days, the reflux is mostly managed — although he seems to need tweaks with his medication as he grows and has little setbacks because of it — and his colic symptoms are mostly gone. He tolerates the car and stroller better but now isn’t used to being out and about and gets a little freaked out by noises or a lot of activity. So we’re easing him in with daily walks outside in the Ergo or Solly wrap. And since he isn’t sleeping through the night, we both need naps during the day. Luckily he seems to be a pretty good napper. Actually, he’s a great napper. He typically takes a 2-3 hour nap every morning, and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Not always, but most days. I’m not sure if this is because he’s tired from his night sleep not being as great as he needs it to be or if he’s just a good napper. I’m grateful for the naps, but that also tends to confine us to home. Add to that the fact that Calvin (the toddler) takes a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day, I’m basically homebound all day everyday as a slave to the naps. But I’d rather that than my kids not nap well at all.

    Thoughts on our first weeks as a family of 5 | Oh Lovely Day

    A few things have definitely helped us all to survive these first weeks/months as a family of five, so I thought I would share those for anyone else adjusting or preparing for a new family member.

    1. Keep your expectations low – be realistic.

    Don’t think that you can do it all. You can’t. No one can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept help that is offered. And don’t think that you should be getting out as a family. Aside from getting to Charlie’s tee ball games and one time early on that was a total disaster, it took us three months for all five of us to successfully get out and do something together.

    2. Saying no is ok – know your limits.

    You can’t attend that birthday party with all of your kids in tow. You don’t want your in-laws staying in your home right after baby is born. You can’t bring the juice boxes to preschool for the class party, because you can’t even get to the grocery store for food for your own family. It is ok to say no to things. In fact, it should be expected. Don’t feel bad about it. My husband is taking our two oldest to visit family in a couple of weeks and Quincy and I are staying home. I just wasn’t mentally ready to tackle flying with three kids, or a baby with reflux that has barely left the house. So we aren’t going. And I think it is the best decision for all of us.

    3. Wear the baby.

    Whether you’re super into baby wearing or not (and I am and highly recommend it) or whether your wore your first child, baby wearing is a lifesaver when you have other children or if your baby is high maintenance like Quincy. Calvin lived in my Solly Baby Wrap for the first couple of months and then spent a ton of time in my Ergobaby 360. Both have been lifesavers again with Quincy, giving me hands-free time to cook, clean, hold my older sons’ hands, and so much more. Start early and do it often.

    4. It’s ok to use the TV and iPad as a babysitter for a while.

    Listen, unless you are lucky enough to have family nearby that you trust to help with your children (I don’t) or unless your older children are in school full-time (only one of mine is, and the other is a no-fear crazy toddler) there are times when you will have NO idea how you could possibly nurse a baby, feed an older child, put both down for naps, change a diaper, wipe a toddler butt, and maybe get to pee or brush your own teeth – all on your own. I’ll tell ya how you do it – you break out the iPad or put Mickey on the TV. At first Calvin wouldn’t watch anything and I discovered a 10 minute garbage truck show on YouTube Kids that he loves. If I have to nurse Quincy and Calvin is awake, he has to be restrained or he’s getting himself into dangerous situations. So I put on a show, put him in our 4moms Breeze playard, and nurse. The show distracts him from the fact that he is confined, which he HATES more than anything else. In the early days when Calvin was born and nursed 24/7 and Charlie wasn’t in school full time, we had to have some movie marathons. We all survived and our brains are all still working just fine (or theirs are, at least).

    5. A helpful husband is KEY. But they still don’t “get it.”

    It doesn’t matter how hands-on your husband is as a dad, how much he is around, how helpful he tries to be, and how much he does – he can never and will never understand what having one, two, or three children is like for you as the mother. It isn’t his fault. He’s just wired differently. He doesn’t have the hormones, the motherly instincts, the boobs, the uterus, the giving birth experience, the connection, or the brain that a mother has. He can go to the bathroom for 20 minutes and not feel guilty. He will probably get a shower everyday. He can somehow find time to exercise most days. It doesn’t cause him to physically hurt when the baby cries. He isn’t on a short invisible leash to the children like you are. He will tell you to relax and fully believe that saying that is not only possible, but helpful to you (when we know better). It will be hard not to resent him. And that’s not your fault. But just remember that the best dads and husbands often feel like a shitty husband for a while after you have a baby. He really isn’t a shitty husband – he just can’t understand what you are going through. And also, hormones are a bitch and make you crazy and not very understandable sometimes. Just remember that what you’re going through is normal, it will pass, and you will like each other again. And try to go out for a date night alone if you can, even for only an hour or two.

    Also, ask him for help. Be specific (and try to be nice about it) because they really aren’t mind readers and they really don’t just see what needs to be done like we do. I am SO lucky that this time around my husband is home with us. He works in the entertainment industry here in LA and is between projects (although he’ll be back to work this summer and I’ll have all of the kiddos to manage by my lonesome and I have NO idea how I’m going to manage it!) so he has been home to help with so much. He gets up with the two older kids in the morning, feeds them breakfast, makes Charlie’s lunch, packs his backpack, gets him ready for school, and takes Calvin with him to drop Charlie off. Then he and Calvin usually go on some sort of adventure for the morning, leaving Quincy and I home to sleep, nurse, and do whatever else we need to do. Given Quincy’s challenges, this has been a lifesaver for me mentally. Not only is my husband a tremendous help, but he’s completely capable of taking care of what needs done without my help. I don’t have to worry about it. He’s probably the better parent and doing the harder job these days, to be honest. I’m pretty lucky.

    Quincy's Newborn Session + brother photos | Oh Lovely Day

    6. Laugh and dance as often as possible.

    Honestly, I have literally cried over spilled milk. It’s so much easier said than done, but if you try to take a breath and just laugh when things get crazy or frustrating, it makes things so much better. It isn’t that you won’t have anxiety, or want to cry — those things might happen too. But laughter really helps. Sometimes when things get rough and we’re all at each other’s throats, one of us will put on a song and we break into a family dance party instead. Because how can you have a bad day when you’re having a dance party? When Charlie gets home from school and we’re exhausted and the boys are all rev’d up and full of energy, we put on music and dance. It makes them happy, burns off energy, perks us up, and brings joy to a hard part of the day. Charlie’s favorite dance party songs currently are: Windows Down, Thriller, Uptown Funk, and Poker Face 🙂

    7. Get support. Build a village.

    If you don’t already have support from the first time around, adding a second or third kid will definitely have you needing a support system for you and your partner. For me, that is a group of women that I met in Mom’s Club when Charlie was under a year old. We have become such great friends over the last few years and many of us have had our second babies together (I’m the only crazy one with three so far). We talk about nursing issues, annoying husband habits, and our “fournagers”; we have girls’ nights out, celebrate each other’s small victories, deliver food and coffee on rough days, and compare notes on naps and non-naps. We’ve gotten each other through moves, cancer treatment of one of the kids, miscarriages, infertility, as well as celebrated pregnancies and babies, new jobs, birthdays, milestones, beating childhood cancer, and so much more. This group of friends have saved my life as a mom. Whatever village you have — friends, family, nanny, neighbors — use it and support it in return when you can.

    Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed, extremely anxious, or depressed, you need to have someone to talk to. Whether it is a friend or a professional, having a supportive outlet will make all of the difference and can be a good sounding board as to whether you might need additional assistance with something you are going through. Texting or calling a long-distance mom friend is great, and I have a couple of besties I do that with. But having some local mom friends that you can grab coffee with, have playdates with, and share tips on local classes, preschools, cleaning ladies, babysitters, etc. makes a world of difference. If you don’t have local mom friend support, I highly recommend joining your local Mom’s Club! That’s where I met my local mom crew and it’s the best thing I ever did.

    8. Self Care

    I put this one last, because that is what we moms so often do, but self-care is SO important. I never realized that you could and should give yourself permission to take a break, get out on your own, pamper yourself, or just rest until after Calvin was born. It’s been hard to do this one for me this third time around (showers and naps are my only self-care on the regular and even those aren’t as often as they should be) but if you don’t take time to nurture the nurturer, you aren’t any good to anyone else. It’s like putting on your oxygen mask first, but on a daily basis. Just do the best you can at taking care of yourself and making that a priority whenever possible. You are worth it and are a person in need of care too.

    Thoughts on our first weeks as a family of 5 | Oh Lovely Day

    I’m starting a feature soon getting real about the battles of motherhood that I have dealt with and plan to have other mommas share their experiences and tips as well. You can also follow and share your battles (and victories!) on instagram in the #battlefieldmotherhood feed. If there is a particular topic you’d like covered or momma you’d like featured, let me know in the comments below. Oh, and I’m on Snapchat now and I share lots of tips, products, and BTS realness there. It’s fun – come find me at chandrafredrick over there!

    Also, I’m linking to a few products that I’ve found tremendously helpful below. And if you have any products, tips, or advice for this momma of three, leave that below too. I’m always happy to get more help and hear what works for other mommas.

    Baby & Multiple Kiddo Lifesaving products:

    4Moms Breeze (we use this more as a safe play space for baby or a good place to confine a toddler when necessary, and we have used it every single day for the last 18 months!)

    UPPAbaby Vista with rumbleseat & piggyback board (carries all three kids!)

    UPPAbaby G-Link double umbrella stroller

    Ergobaby carrier (they have a new “Adapt” that works from birth but I haven’t tried it yet)

    Solly Baby Wrap

    4Moms rockaRoo

    Baby Bjorn Bouncer (this has been great for Quincy’s reflux)

    Fisher Price Rock-n-Play (what Quincy sleeps in due to his reflux)

    Oh, and a minivan 😉

    (family photo on bed by Jennifer Roper from our family newborn session; all photos from my instagram feed)

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    DIY Diaper Rash Treatment + Tips

    DIY diaper rash treatment | Oh Lovely Day

    There are so many diapering products on the market today. It took a while and a bit of trial and error to find the diapers, wipes, and other products that work best for my babes. Calvin tended to get (and still does occasionally) horrible diaper rash (I think due to a certain brand of diaper and an almost constant pooping issue as a newborn, and usually gets it with teething as well), and I tried every cream out there. But only one thing seemed to do the trick virtually overnight, and that was my DIY diaper rash treatment that I’m sharing today.

    It’s a two-part treatment: a DIY powder and a DIY cream. The powder helps when the rash gets really bad, but the cream is great for before a rash and once a rash is already present.


    For the powder:

    • flour
    • skillet
    • stove top
    • empty shaker container

    For the cream:

    • cornstarch
    • A&D ointment or petroleum jelly (both work well for us)
    • tea tree oil
    • lavender oil
    • coconut oil
    • small airtight container


    For the powder:

    Step 1: Place one cup of white flour in a large skillet over medium heat.

    Step 2: Stir constantly, making sure flour browns but doesn’t scald. Scrape the skillet when stirring.

    DIY diaper rash treatment | Oh Lovely Day

    Step 3: Once flour is browned, let it cool.

    Step 4: Once cooled, scoop into airtight shaker container.

    DIY diaper rash treatment | Oh Lovely Day

    For the cream:

    DIY diaper rash treatment | Oh Lovely Day

    Step 1: Mix equal parts A&D ointment or baby petroleum jelly and cornstarch.

    Step 2: Stir together and add more of either ingredient as needed until it becomes paste-like.

    Step 3: Add some coconut oil (I like a couple of tablespoons)

    Step 4: Add 5 drops of melaleuca/tea tree oil and 10-15 drops of lavender oil (I use both of these oils for SO many things!)

    Step 5: Spoon into mason jar (or other airtight container) for storage. I often use an old petroleum jelly container.

    DIY diaper rash treatment | Oh Lovely Day DIY diaper rash treatment | Oh Lovely Day

    Some tips for making the diaper rash go away even faster:

    1. Give baby a baking-soda bum soak for a few minutes before a regular bath.
    2. Make sure area is clean and well rinsed before you remove baby from the bath.
    3. Pat dry.
    4. Lay a towel down and let baby do some naked tummy time to let the bottom air dry.
    5. Sprinkle powder on baby’s bottom before you put on his or her diaper. Do this at every diaper change.
    6. Apply a healthy glob of the cream to baby’s bottom to act as a healer and barrier. Also do this at every diaper change.
    7. If diaper rash is really bad, you could apply 1% hydrocortisone cream on the area once a day before the powder and cream applications (per my pediatrician, but check with your own doctor).
    8. Frequently change wet or soiled diapers.

    Diaper rash should be drastically improved or gone within one to two days – it was for us.

    Some precautions:

    • take care when using powders on babies under 3 months, so they don’t inhale particles into their new lungs
    • if your baby’s diaper rash is yeast-based, cornstarch could make it worse. If you see it worsen after one use, discontinue.

    You can see this included in my essentials for babies age 0-4 months round up, along with my other favorite things for that newborn stage here.

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    • Advertise on Oh Lovely Day
    •  7 months old today, but momma won't be taking your 7 month photo today (probably not tomorrow either) because I'm so tired from your sleeping more like a 7 week old than a 7 month old. Did you not get the 3rd baby memo? If you don't give me more sleep soon I'm going to pull a Lindsay Lohan and check myself into a nice facility due to my "exhaustion" (except in my case it really will be exhaustion). Then who will you wake up all night, huh? So can you try and just wake me up once a night? Instead of 3? Deal? DEAL!!!? #seriouslysotired #quincyrhys  Mama said there'd be days like this... Just not 200 of them in a row  good thing the company's cute. Also, currently loving this playmat from @lollalandusa - it's big and soft and cleans easily. And now we can practice sitting without worrying about head bumps when he falls over  #quincyrhys #OLDfavefinds
       I can hardly believe Quincy was ever this tiny. And now he's 7 months tomorrow. Since we are out of the infant baby gear/clothing phase, I'm selling it all at a deep discount now at @ohlovelydaysale (including this playmat!) and more this weekend if you are local. See the flyer a few posts back and head to my sale feed. Tag your expecting friends or the mom's of new babes that are in So Cal! #OLDsamplesale  Got one little corner of the boys' soon-to-be-shared bedroom done today. Once the bunkbeds arrive I may totally rearrange things but for now I'm loving this @thelandofnod table for reading, doing puzzles, and there is a hidden bin underneath where I have a Lego topper hidden so we can make it a Lego table too. And store those puzzles with all of the little pieces that drive me insane  Can't wait to finish and share more of this room (and move Cal in so I can move Quincy into the nursery and maybe get a little more sleep!) You can see the design process and inspiration that I did with the design services team from The Land of Nod on the blog as well (link in profile). #projectsharedboysbedroom #calvins3rdyear
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