One of the best parts of having your 2nd baby is having an idea of what baby Items you really need and the ones you could do without. This isn't a list of everything you need, just my go-to items. I figured I would share my personal faves to help any pregnant or new mamas out there. This is not a sponsored post and none of these brands even know I exist. ;)
1. Receiving blankets! We got an inexpensive pack from buybuybaby and some as gifts from Target and we use them for a ton of things. I actually use them most for nursing. I keep one on our boppy pillow and use it to wipe up overflowing milk (that happens more than you know) and then I use it as a burp cloth. I also pack an extra in the diaper bag to lay over either a changing pad or changing table. It helps keep germs away and allows for a change anywhere, including the front seat of our car.
2. I mentioned my Boppy pillow above, and while I know other people may have different favorites for nursing, I have used this one for both girls and I found a system that works for me. In bed, I usually have a 2nd pillow I prop underneath so that it's high enough to support my arms. However, it's become a fave for propping up baby. She feels comforted in it and it's a nice thing to have when I want her close but need both hands for her big sister.
3. A cradle. Sleep was my big worry when I was pregnant the 1st time. We knew we would have baby girl in our room for awhile and do naps in her room in her crib, but what would she sleep in in our room? We originally thought pack n play, but I just didn't feel settled about it. The day before my water broke, my parents ordered us this awesome old school cradle that's tiny, on wheels, flat, and is a safe sleeping space. We have loved using it with both girls and I love that Brynnen is about a foot away from me and then I can pull her next to me to grab her and nurse.
Sorelle Dondola Cradle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S7E7APE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_trvvzbH16M9SR
It is also sold at Babies R Us.
4. A carrier. We love our Lillebaby all seasons, but my go to is a ring sling. This is the Maya Baby padded shoulder sling. I started using it when Calista was 6 months old and going through a super clingy period. It's really fast, very cozy, and comfortable for all. Brynnen has loved this baby from day one as it cups her as close to being in Mommy's belly as possible. I would love to invest in a brand like Sakura Bloom or MyWildbird and skip the padded shoulder all together, but this one works for us. If you decide to babywear, be sure to check out safe babywearing guidelines. https://babywearinginternational.org/what-is-babywearing/safety/
It is also a good idea to join a FB group for babywearing and check out buy, sell, trade for inexpensive slings.
5. Breast pads. If you are nursing this is a MUST. I love my Bamboobies reusable bamboo pads for later on, but for the first 2 months or so, disposable is best. Now, I'll be real. They don't lay super flat and you have to make sure you have a thick shirt or bra or you will see them. I avoid wearing white. Anyway, I've tried Avent, Medela, and Lansinoh and by far Lansinoh is the most discreet. You can find them at Target, buybuybaby, and Amazon to name a few.
6. A meal train. If anyone asks you what you need. Ask them to set up a meal train. This was my first time ever experiencing this awesomeness. A friend from church set it up so that for 3 weeks, every other day, a sweet lady brought us dinner. It was a huge lifesaver. It was amazing to meet new people. It was encouraging and on many days saved me. My husband works nights so you can imagine how hard it was to find time to cook every night with 2 under 2. Lifesaver. Do it.
7. White noise. We bought one that plugs in, otherwise you pour through batteries. We also bought one that isn't marketed for babies. They are generally less expensive. Big Red Rooster BRRC107 Sound Machine, 6 Sounds https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01H6WXUX8/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apip_keVkdS9Lkyasl
8. Swaddles. Our girls are always swaddled for sleep until they can roll. We use SwaddleMe swaddle pods and Halo sleepsacks as well as giant muslin swaddle blankets. Make sure they are 44x44. Always check HomeGoods for expensive brands on sale.
9. Blooming Bath. This item was out when I was pregnant with Calista and I seriously thought it was dumb. Then after trying to balance her on one arm in an itty bitty sink and wash her with the other... awful. We made it through and then switched her to 2 different baby tubs, but this time, oh this time I wanted this silly flower. It's comfortable. It's soft. It fits all types of sinks and Brynnen doesn't cry. It's machine washable and dryer friendly and it's the best gift we received this baby. Get it at Target, buybuybaby or Amazon. The old version has more petals, the new one has 4.
10. Support. You can't do this mama thing alone. Whether it's your spouse making sure you eat, get a 30 minute break, or extra sleep... or it's your parents or friends or church family. You will need breaks. You will need someone to message in the middle of the night. You will need to be prayed over. Reach out. Ask for help. If you feel like you have no where to turn, call me. Seriously. Send me a message. You are not and never will be alone. You can do this mama. You are more amazing than you know.
Brynnen Clare Eskew
8 lbs 1 oz
5.13.17, 7:51 AM
Name means: Salvation from God, Clear/bright
One week with our 2nd little girl and I need to get this story down before I forget the details. This will probably be TMI... you've been warned. 😜
Friday the 12th I had a doctor's appointment at 40w3d. As some of you know, I had been having contractions since 32w5d. I was even on modified bed rest until 37 weeks so we could make sure she didn't come too early. The fact that I went over my due date was a little 🙄. An important thing to note here is that we make GIANT head babies and I have a small pelvic structure. Hence, 4 hours of pushing with Calista, bone on bone. This coupled with being overdue made me nervous about my ability to deliver vaginally.
Anyway, we decided that we would strip my membranes, which basically separates the cervix from the amniotic sac. The goal here is to release a hormone that can stimulate labor. Since I was already 4CM dilated and 70% effaced, we all felt like it was a good option. I'll also be transparent and say that I did not want to induce labor before 40 weeks. I also had a really hard time making this decision, but I did and that's that. Since the procedure is only 24% effective, we also scheduled my induction for 41w1d.
Tim went to work around 4pm. At 9pm, as it had many weeks before, my contractions picked up. I tried the usual tricks... lay down on the left side, sit on the ball, take a hot shower. Instead of easing up as they usually did, these got worse. Around 11pm, Tim left work early to come home. At this point contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart. We decided to try and get some rest... it never happened for me. I started having rolling contractions which is what I had with Calista, where I would have a contraction, it would act like it was done but then come back with a vengeance, repeat. At 3AM I called my doctor. They originally told me to wait to come in until contractions were 5 minutes apart; I was still 6-7 minutes apart but in WOAH pain. For those of you who don't know, I ended up delivering naturally with Calista after the epidural wore off, so I know what these feel like. Dr said to come in, but we had to wait for my parents to wake up and drive to our house to stay with Calista.
Fast forward through back labor that I couldn't sit or lay down through, we got to the hospital at 4:30AM. In triage, I immediately asked for an epidural. My contractions had me repeating "help"... my poor husband. My water broke and I was 6-7CM. They moved me to L&D, all which had me sitting on my booty, the worst possible position for me at the time. The anesthesiologist came in quickly, yay! By the time he was done I had been at the hospital about an hour. I have to say trying to sit through an epidural while contracting the ENTIRE time was incredibly hard. But blessed relief came and I was at 10 CM.
Around 6AM, they had me push. Brynnen's HR dropped so we went into "recovery" which typically lasts an hour. This was my favorite part because after 30 minutes or so, I could feel my body working to labor B down. I really wanted my body to do the work and to trust that B and I knew what to do. At about 7:25AM, I felt like I could push, still no pain, yay! So we pushed about 4 times per contraction and in less than 30 minutes she was here!
We were able to do immediate skin to skin and delay the cord clamping, just like we wanted. They then left us alone for an hour. I don't think it really hit me until she started to nurse for the first time. All of a sudden I realized that I get to love a new precious person and my heart already knew where she would fit. Just like with Calista, I feel like I've always known her and was just waiting for her to be mine. God always knows what He's doing and I can't help but be awed by His timing, His grace, and His forgiveness.
We ended up going home from the hospital after just 34 hours, on Mother's Day, just like all those years ago when my parents brought me home. It was incredibly special.
These updates seem few and far between, but I was warned it would be like this. :) Let me try to keep it organized for all of our sakes. This may seem more like a journal than a blog, but these days I'm just happy I'm documenting something somewhere. 😜 Overall, I'm incredibly grateful for this messy, precious, hard, and special life I get to live.
Calista: She's 20 months and in the last week and a half has cut her bottom two 2-yr molars, which aren't even supposed to consider coming in until 23-31 months. 😳 She's on a bedtime and naptime strike and we've had to re-institute the 3, 5, and 10 minute check ins. She's also getting really good at taking her clothes and diaper off at naptime and has even been known to rip some blinds so she can watch the birds out the window. Her words. We've moved her crib to the middle of her big girl room and now it's a favorite game to play peek-a-boo all the way around it. 😂 She's combining words to make short sentences and also gets really frustrated, as in flailing on the floor frustrated, when she can't explain herself, but such is toddler life. On my favorite notes, she has felt her little sister kick, calls her by name, and asks to kiss my belly. She even tried to feed my belly a few times. It's pretty sweet and I'm getting really excited to watch her with the baby. She just learned to say "love", which resulted in my favorite mama moment ever... "mama, I love you." 😍 She loves bows, picking out her own clothes, saying "no" followed immediately with "yes" and is newly loving the potty. Today she even asked herself to go and went 3 times, so I'm thinking in the 8.5 weeks we have before baby sister gets here I might be potty training. 😳
Baby Girl: She's roughly 3-3.5 lbs and instead of slowing down, she's speeding up. This child is so strong and constantly moving. Seriously, Calista moved A LOT, but this one, wow. It makes me really curious as to what her personality will be like. We already know she looks more clearly like me than Calista, and Calista is becoming more easy-going like her daddy, so we may have a trouble-maker, wild thing on our hands. I am pretty confident that they will both be stubborn and headstrong just like me. :) This one will be a Taurus just like her mommy since her due date is my bday. She wakes up when I wake up. It's like she hears my heart rate change and boom, awake. It doesn't bode well. 😂 I'm carrying more in front and not as wide in the hips, and she's head down so that's good. The concerns over the placenta location are gone and my cyst is out of the way and will be dealt with at a later date.
Workouts: Up until this past week, I've been teaching 3 classes at a local church. I teach an advanced Barre on Wednesday nights, a yoga/Pilates/bodyweight class Thursday mornings, and Barre on Friday AM. I've been doing BOD Active Maternity on Mondays, resting Tuesday, and doing 3 Week Yoga Retreat on Saturdays. I am no longer recovering well enough to teach Thursday, so I'm dropping down to 2 classes a week. I will need to either do Active Maternity or another Beachbody On Demand workout on Thursdays and I'm grateful to have such a large selection from which to choose. I get out of breath very easily since the baby is moving up towards my lungs. I'm still lunging, squatting, and planking as long as I feel stable and my form does NOT suffer.
Physical: My ribs are almost as wide as they were with Calista which means they have separated approximately 5-6 inches. This causes me near constant pain and I've tried wrapping my belly and it doesn't really help. I'm using a heating pad and trying to strengthen my back through my workouts to counterbalance the weight in the front. It's better this pregnancy, but it isn't good. I'm not having as many hip problems this time around and I'm grateful. However, I'm swelling and this is early for me. It's just normal swelling and my BP at the last visit was 118/68. I'm rocking some Braxton Hicks contractions but the doc isn't worried as long as I don't have more than 5 full uterus contractions an hour.
At that same 30 week visit, I had gained 36 lbs. That is faster weight gain than with Calista and my total with her was 49. I have to say, I freaked out a little, okay, maybe a lot. I have honestly been sooooo healthy this pregnancy. I've barely had any chests and my workouts are seriously happening and I'm not just coasting by. I did NOT keep this pace with Calista. I was really hoping that these healthy choices would lead to less weight gain, but apparently my body needs it. I want to be clear, my recommended weight gain was 25-35 lbs. I have tried incredibly hard to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle this entire pregnancy. Since I have, my doctors are not worried, but mentally it's daunting to face that type of gain and ponder the postpartum work I will have to do. I am convinced however that it will be easier this time because I am way stronger than I was with Calista and I'm also praying this makes pushing less than 4 hours. 😜Speaking of pushing.... I seriously think this girl is coming a week or so early or maybe that's wishful thinking. Tim thinks I'm nuts but I'm entering delivery the same way I did with Calista, let's see how long I can go without an epidural and if I can do it unmedicated, which with C was not really an option (her birth story is on my YouTube), then I'll go natural. 😳 I've lost my mind.
Nutrition: Still rocking the 6 servings of carbs a day like recommended and I need every single one of them. I'm loving finding healthy versions of treats and overall, I'm craving broccoli and taco salad. I am crushing on some veggies this pregnancy and that's wicked weird to me. I'm still drinking vegan chocolate Shakeology and taking my Rainbow Light Prenatal One. I recently ran a group where I did research on the majority of the ingredients in Shakeology and I'm convinced it's why I feel as good as I do. Having girls takes a lot out of you and I'm grateful for as many nutrients as possible. I also had to take my glucose test not once, but twice, and then do the 3 hour test. I passed, but it was interesting to learn that the way that I eat plant-based, high healthy fats, and mainly gluten-free complex carbs has changed my body into a sugar burner, which is why I spike at one hour.
Life lessons: God is awesome and He has really surrounded me with some wonderful friends who encourage, listen, and support me. This has allowed me to make tough decisions like quitting teaching a class 6 weeks earlier than planned. It's kept me from losing my mind when I did a side by side comparison and saw the size of this belly. They've sent me essential oils to help with my feelings of anxiety that I can't tell if they are coming from not being able to physically take a deep breath or because in less than 9 weeks I will have 2 children and a husband that works odd hours. I've learned that no matter our financial situation, our careers, our house, our cool baby things, fancy nursery or not, the list goes on... no matter any of that, we are incredibly loved, blessed, and God's plan is truly better than anything I could ever have imagined. I don't know how I'm going to do 5 bedtimes a week by myself, but I'll figure it out. I don't know how I'm going to nurse through a growth spurt with a toddler, but I'll deal. I don't know when I'll get back to actively working on building my Beachbody and training business, but I will. God has shown me that this season is to be treasured. Today is all that matters. Now is the time of salvation. Now is where He wants me, and so, I will be here. I will love every crazy hard challenging second. I will embrace the tears of pain, struggle, joy, and sheer wonder. I can't believe God loves me so much that He has crafted every aspect of my life and I will choose to see each moment as a blessing, hard or easy, because He calls it all good, me included.
Just for fun... nursery and first initial sneak peek!
Craving something a little sweet, but don't want to give in to all the sugar? Here is my go-to craving buster.
1 cup quick oats (If you have old fashioned, do a quick pulse in the food processor)
Handful ofchocolate chips
1. Mash bananas with a fork or muddler.
2. Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
3. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Makes about 9 cookies.
Short, simple, delicious.
These are an addictive, new favorite in our house. They don't have that dense gluten free texture, but are actually muffin texture. Soooooo yummy and kid friendly.
1 cup all natural, smooth peanut butter or almond butter
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
4 tbsp honey (Add one more if you have a sweet tooth)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
*Optional: 1 oz. mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners or oil.
2. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, bananas, eggs, and honey. Use a mixer until well-combined and smooth. Add cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix with spatula until combined, then use mixer until very well-combined. Batter should be soft, thick, and smooth.
3. Divide batter into muffin pan. Shimmy pan to even out batter. Sprinkle optional chocolate chips evenly on top.
4. Bake 22-25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched in the center.
2 cups fine ground blanched almond flour (I used Trader Joe's)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1. In a medium bowl, whisk almond flour, salt, and baking soda.
2. In a small bowl, whisk coconut oil, honey, and vanilla.
3. Add oil mixture to flour mixture. Stir until well-blended and smooth. Spoon the dough into the center of a large piece of parchment and wax paper. Wrap into a disc shape.
CHILL in the refrigerator at least for 1 HOUR.
4. Preheat oven to 325 degree. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
5. Roll the chilled dough to 1/4-inch thickness between 2 sheets of oarchment paper. Place the rolled out dough into the freezer for 5 minutes. (Makes it easier to cut out shapes.)
6. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes; transfer shapes to prepared cookie sheet. Chill the cookie shapes for 5 minutes in freezer. (It helps them hold shapes while baking.)
7. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until golden. Cool completely.
CHILL DOUGH BETWEEN BATCHES.
8. Open can of coconut milk and spoon out cream, leave the "milk". You can save it for smoothies or coffee creamer.
9. Whisk or use a mixer to add in honey until blended. Transfer to a piping bag OR a plastic ziplock bag. Chill. Cut corner of ziplock to pipe into cookies.
Original recipe from www.powerhungry.com
This recipe has all of my favorite fall/winter flavors and it's made in one skillet. While this recipe has a little more prep work than my usual dinners, it's so worth it. My husband works most nights, so we always save this for a night that he's home. We love to cook together and with him chopping the veggies and me in charge of the skillet, it's a fun date night in activity for us. Plus, it's because of him that we added more bacon and it's delicious. 😍
4-6 slices of bacon, nitrite and nitrate free, chopped
1 lb chicken breasts, cubed
3 cups Brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
4 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp)
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1. In large skillet (we used cast-iron), medium-high, cook chicken cubes for 5-8 minutes with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Remove to a plate and set aside.
2. Turn skillet down to medium-low, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel using a slotted spoon. I placed my paper towel on top of the chicken. Leave 1 1/2 tbsp of bacon grease in pan, remove extra.
3. Skillet goes back up to medium-high, add in brussels, sweet potato cubes, onion, and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt. Cook until onions are translucent, 10-15 minutes.
4. Stir in apple cubes, garlic, thyme, and cinnamon. Cook for 30 seconds then add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until absorbed. (2-5 minutes). Add chicken and the rest of the broth in and cook until it's absorbed as well. (2-5 minutes). Stir in bacon.
18 WEEKS with Little Lady Eskew #2! Y'all, I have to say it... I told you it was a girl, lol! We are so blessed and feeling more excited everyday. I've always wanted to have 2 girls in the mix of children, so I'm feeling extra blessed.
I started feeling her move VERY early and now feel her on a daily basis. Tim also felt her kick this past Sunday. That's a good 4 weeks earlier in my pregnancy than with Calista. It may have something to do with Calista having an anterior placenta, aka a pillow between my hand and her. I also am showing SO MUCH FASTER. I kind of love it though and am grateful I popped right after Thanksgiving. No awkward "is that a baby bump or did you gain weight?" comments.
I now have to make modifications in my workouts. Wider feet, no full abdominal exercises, and less jumping. I couldn't jump at all with Calista, so this is a huge plus. My goal each week is to do 4-5 workouts. Generally, I do yoga, barre, weighted interval training, and walking.
We do have a name, but Tim won't let me share it on social media yet. :)
A mom friend and I joke that when you become a mom, you immediately turn into a hippie, or try to. ;) All jokes aside, I do try to steer clear of chemicals especially when Calista was a newborn. Calista was blessed with her mama's super dry skin and we tried everything. Coconut oil, straight shea butter, every lotion/cream under the sun... I even layered them and would seal it with Vaseline or Aquaphor. We even tried the miracle bath of breastmilk. Nothing. I mean really, how hard could it be to take a freshly bathed baby and lock in the moisture? Answer: HARD.
That is how we ended up with this homemade body butter that has now replaced my face lotion, body lotion, and pretty much anything we used to use. I still love my Origins Plantscriptions face cream, but this usually goes under it. As for Calista, I still typically put Cerave or Aquaphor on top of this body butter to create a seal.
1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1/4 cup 100% raw pure shea butter (Got it on Amazon)
1 tbsp Vitamin E oil
10-12 drops lavender essential oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Usually the shea butter and coconut oil are solid, so I simply warm it up in a jar in hot water or use the microwave.
2. Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix for 5 minutes. When done, pour into container of choice.
*Note: I studied all the Pinterest recipes and couldn't make mine look fluffy like lotion. Since I had warm oils it stayed in liquid form and created a slight whipped effect. I tried placing it in an ice bath and continued to whip and it did firm into a nice solid that melts right when I put it on. I think you can skip this step and simply pour into a jar of your choosing and it will solidify on its own.
**This is also my anti-itch belly stretch mark lotion even if it's all genetics anyway. ;)
I am always talking to moms about how to get our toddlers to eat. It seems like a universal issue and everyday is a completely different battlefield. I am so grateful that I came across this recipe from The Nourished Seedling.
Up until this point, Calista wouldn't eat pasta. We run out of carb options quickly in this household. Reminder: this is the kid who can eat 7 of my "Baby Pancakes" in one sitting, with a banana and as many scrambled eggs as I eat. 😳
My concerns for her food are usually in finding ways to get spinach into her (hello iron), healthy fats (babies neeeeeeeed these), and carbs and protein at every meal. No pressure.
Enter Spinach Avocado Pesto Pasta.
10 ounces pasta (I used whole wheat rotini for her, but also have done it with zoodles for Tim and I)
1 cup raw spinach (I use organic from Costco)
1 medium Avocado, ripe
1 cup shredded parmesan
1/4 cup raw cashews (unsalted, I get the pieces from Trader Joe's)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 clove roasted garlic (takes the bite out)
3/4 tsp salt (Himalayan pink salt)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1. Bring water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. Quickly sautée the garlic in tbsp of olive oil just long enough to mellow the flavor.
3. Place all other ingredients, including garlic, into a food processor and pulse until smooth.
4. Add to pasta and mix.
This makes 4 adult size portions.
So far, in less than one week, we have had this twice and every time Calista ends up eating a full serving. Happy mama!