postpartum essentials

now that we’re almost three months out and i’m finally feeling a little more normal (in some ways), i can look back with a little clarity even though that first month and a half was a complete crazy blur. it’s kinda weird how you think you’ll need certain things and expect some items to be crucial and then end up never using them — everyone is different but for my first month with the baby, these were the things i could NOT have survived without. 

baby stain remover : i actually bought this last minute, and i am so glad i did. i pretty much use it daily for spit up and poop stains and it works every time. nothing has gotten ruined yet! YET. but i just keep it on the bathroom sink and do my doody duty whenever applicable. (i just came up with that right now)

discreet underwear : i didn’t realize you’d still bleed when you get a c-section, but you totally do! (and lucky me, i bled for 6 weeks and got my period a week later! and i am breastfeeding!) i wore the free mesh underwear from the hospital for the first week, but i can’t stand wearing pads, so i got a pack of adult underwear instead and they were waaaay more comfy.

capri sun juice boxes : when you first start breastfeeding, you are soooo thirsty and hungry — but you’re also trapped under a baby most of the time without being able to make a lot of stops to the fridge. some people would recommend a large water cup like this one i bought but i could not live without… capri sun juice boxes. they stay cold, and they don’t really spill so i could keep one on my deep couch next to me without having to reach for a. up on the coffee table, lifesaver.

silver nursing cups : i was not a believer and almost didn’t buy these, but was talked into it just a few weeks before i had arlo. i packed them in my hospital bag and i wore them immediately after delivery, and from then on i wore them at all times and only took them off to nurse for a month. i obviously have nothing to compare it with, but i had zero pain, zero bleeding, zero cracking and i have a big chubby hungry baby so i have to recommend these 1000%. nursing NEVER has hurt. i just think the thing you really need to do is wear them always, as embarrassing they look and uncomfortable they feel on. they work.

my brest friend i originally got the ergo nursing pillow but because of my c section i had a really hard time with it. it was always sliding away and arlo was sliding down and it just wasn’t working out for us — so i ended up getting my brest friend and it was a lifesaver. i finally felt independent enough to be able to nurse without any assistance from gid, which was so hard with my c section PLUS having a big baby and he was soooo helpful while he was home on paternity leave.

long phone cords : we bought a bunch of long phone cords for the hospital so that we’d be able to charge and use our phones no matter what, and since then they’ve been a lifesaver at home too. i am stuck under the baby a lot, or moving around the living room while holding or rocking him so it’s nice to have a super long cord — because my phone is also always dead now that i nurse all day long.

digital clocks : oh man, we didn’t even have one clock in our house prior to baby, but checking the time is a thing the parent of a newborn does all day and all night. so i got a few different ones and scattered them in each room.

baby log : i started out using this journal for tracking, but after 2 months i’ve now switched to an app so i don’t have to always deal with trying to grab the pen thats fallen on the floor with my toes while babys on me. i always have my phone on me anyway so its easier — and i really like this app a lot, it’s clear, easy to use, my husband and i can both log from our phones and it’s cute looking.

nursing pads : at first i hated these because they were always soaked and then they’d feel really stiff and gross, but now that i do laundry almost daily — i am a big fan. but they are super visible a lot of the time, so i wear these disposable ones when i’m leaving the house (which i think absorb a lot better)

sound machine : cannot believe i didn’t have a sound machine on my registry. this thing is CRUCIAL. arlo was not a typical sleepy newborn, so the first day at the hospital was spent wondering why he wouldn’t sleep, and on our second day when a lactation expert showed us this sound machine app on her phone and arlo passed the f out — we immediately both downloaded. we use the blow dryer sound only (it’s a blast to listen to!) (no pun intended!) (actually pun intended). but i also got one for the changing station because he was sooo bad at being cold/changed for the first few weeks, so i would just put the sound machine on as soon as i’d set him down to be changed. now we don’t need to use it for changing, but we put it on as we rock him to sleep. i also have this travel one, but honestly i find it way too quiet compared to his screaming that it isn’t so effective.

thank you cards : you get a lot of gifts after the baby arrives from relatives, so it was so convenient to have thank you notes on hand and felt like something productive i could do during naps while watching TV. i love the look and price of this set!

as for clothes, i decided to do a little post about postpartum fashion which i’ll be sharing soon — because i learned from my pregnancy wardrobe what not to do. the first month was so uncomfortable for me to look in the mirror and be comfortable with my appearance, so i bought one dress that i literally threw on every time i left the house. it was much easier than going through what i have and thinking everything looks bad, and this way i knew how it looked and i don’t have to think about it (or ever look in the mirror much).

AND i’m going to do a follow up post of all the things i registered and what i ended up liking/not liking, etc. stay tuned!

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sriracha ketchup

while i am usually more of a mayonnaise person (i dip my fries in mayo because i am very european and chic), i do love a good flavored ketchup here and there. i’m excited to have teamed up with with Newell Brands, makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products to create a couple of fun posts for the rest of the year and show you how easy canning is, and i thought it would be really fun for gid and me to make ketchup together. any excuse to eat more fries and lose less baby weight tbh.

i’ve never really done canning besides for our charcuterie party, but the idea of it makes me feel very grown up living a very quaint life (my mom and i used to watch “baby boom” constantly when i was a kid), so i’m into it. it was fun having a little artisan operation going. and i mean, what friends would come over and not be impressed when you serve homemade ketchup? no friends i’d want.

sriracha ketchup

makes about 4 (8 oz.) half-pint jars

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium sized yellow onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 lbs. roma tomatoes
¼ cup brown sugar or honey
¼ cup rice vinegar
½ cup lime juice
1/3 cup sriracha
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 (8 oz) half-pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

1. heat olive oil in large dutch oven or saucepot. cook onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown. stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook for about 20 minutes or until tomatoes are completely softened and have released most of their liquid.  remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

2. puree tomato mixture through an electric food strainer or food mill. cook puree over medium-high heat for about an hour or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. stir more frequently as mixture gets thicker and lower the heat as needed to prevent scorching.  stir in remaining ingredients.

3. meanwhile, prepare boiling water canner. heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. do not boil. wash lids in warm soapy water and set aside with bands.

5. ladle hot ketchup into a hot jar leaving ½-inch headspace. remove air bubbles and wipe rims and center lids on jars. apply band and adjust to fingertip tight. place jar in boiling-water canner. repeat until all jars are filled.

6. process jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. turn off heat; remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. remove jars and cool.

canning may seem like a daunting task, but was actually really easy and rewarding — it’s also nice to know we will actually finish something before it spoils! (kind of a big feat in our house sadly.) we gave out the rest of our jars to friends and they were SO impressed — just like i told you they would be.

this post is in partnership with Newell Brands,
makers of Ball® Fresh Preserving Products.

all opinions are 100% my own.

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lighting is everything

so this might make me sound so lazy, but we keep a lot of lights on… all the time. we feel safer having our outdoor light on all night, we keep a light on for the cats to eat at night (no — our cats cannot see in the dark, that is a total myth or ours are just complete brats), and these days we keep a kitchen light on for the 4am feed/pumping session. the problem is that we forget to turn them off during the day, so our outdoor light is just always on and that’s always been something that bugged me but not enough to remember to turn it off every morning. so no joke, my life was just changed by sengled element bulbs.

you can control these bulbs with your phone, but the thing i love by far the most is the timing and schedule abilities. these are especially crucial rn with a newborn, because now i have the light scheduled to turn on at 6pm (no longer will i be nursing in pitch black until gid gets home from work), and then they get dimmer (8% brightness) at 10pm and stay on until morning, which again has been a lifesaver for when i go out to pump in the living room in the middle of the night and then wash everything in the kitchen. you can schedule each individual light, or groups of lights — also would be super helpful when you’re out of town and want it to seem like you’re home.

we also live in what you might consider a very dim house, so much so that my dad complains every time he stays with us that he can’t see anything (what a total old guy). i’m pretty sensitive to bright light and like to complain about it whenever gid is brushing his teeth with the dimmer up all the way, plus dim lighting is like, totally romantic — so for the most part, we keep all the lights dim at all times. any light switch that didn’t have a dimmer was quickly replaced when we moved into our house. so it’s sooo nice to be able to control the brightness of the bulbs from my phone while sitting on the couch or trapped under the baby.

you can also control the temperature of the lights, ranging from edison to daylight — we take a LOT of photos of arlo bathing in the sink, so i was so stoked to get a better photo lighting sitch going since we bathe him before bedtime. you can also sync it with smart home platforms like amazon alexa, which makes it even easier. we put another type of sengled bulb in the nursery, twilight, which stays dim for 15 seconds after the switch is turned off, making it a smoother transition for kids and leaving the room without kicking a cat or something on the way out. right now we’re keeping it in our living room until he’s actually sleeping in the nursery.

anything that makes these newborn days easier is so crucial right now, so i really am stoked on these. also, did i mention, the bulbs can last 20 years?

this post is in partnership with sengled. all opinions are 100% my own.

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