BABY BEAUTY – BABY SKIN CARE THAT I LOVE AND USE!

Being a new mom means learning everything from scratch; for me anyways. I had no experience with anything to do with “baby” before I became pregnant, so literally everything was (and still is) new to me.

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I started researching was top products that I would need for my baby and life as a new mom. Of course, there were THOUSANDS of product recommendations, and essentially, I became lost in all of it. I asked friends and relatives and everyone shared their favourites, but it was still all a little bit too much. I had no idea where to start – there were just too many options. Talk about overwhelming!

Eventually though, after many hours online + in the store examining products, I picked out what I thought would be best for my baby and decided that it was at least a good place to start – for now. I anticipated the fact that once baby arrived and we go to know her needs, I would most likely be adjusting my product choices – and I was okay with that.

Now that we are five months in, I have a better, and pretty good understanding of the products that work best for my daughter. Although some things have changed since birth, I have a list of go-to items I feel comfortable recommending and sharing with you – these are products that we have been using either since birth or shortly after and have loved.

Since I now have a collection of products from bath, body, clothing, and food to recommend, I’m going to bread down these products into separate posts so it’s not too overwhelming for you, and to give myself the time to write each of these posts (time is one thing I lack these days).

First off though, BABY BEAUTY – also known as, baby bath and skin care products I love and use and always have a surplus of.

AVEENO BABY ECZEMA CARE WASH – Eczema or no eczema we bath our baby in this most nights. When we first learned our daughter had drier, eczema prone skin, we were told by our pediatritian that this was the best product to try out. So we did, and it worked like a charm. Her baby soft skin came back. It doesn’t necessarily have a scent to it; its more of that natural oatmeal almost scent. To be honest, I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. BUT it works for baby so its perfect.

LIVE CLEAN BABY TEARLESS SHAMPOO AND WASH – This is my favourite product for many reasons – for starters, the product of harsh ingredients and is 97% plant derived. It also smells so delicate and baby-like that I have a tough time not wanting to use this on my daughter each night. We use this product on her hair once in a while when we don’t have any eczema flareups. I do plan on starting to transition to this product slowly; now that her eczema is getting much better and we have it under control.

SUDOCREM – When Zuzia was born, this is one of the first products we started using for her bum. Eventually, as she was a little bit older I though, maybe I can switch to vaseline instead – give something else a try. WELL, that didn’t last long and within a few days of switching over she developed a rash which actually caused her skin to tear! Imagine seeing that on your baby as a first time mom – PANIC MODE ON! Luckily we had a doctors visit that week so we go it cleared up shortly after and were reassured it was just a diaper rash. Sudocrem to the rescue and back to our changing table. Like the magic cream it is, the rash went away just as quickly as it appeared. I swear by this cream now, and am stocked up to make sure we never run out. NOW, having said that, if there’s no rash or irritation (redness) I only put it on her twice or three times day – not with every diaper change. Mainly in the morning, sometimes mid day, and of course after her bath for bedtime.

MUSTELA STELATOPIA EMOLLIENT FACE CREAM – This is THE ONLY thing I will put on her face. I am not worried about this product getting in her eyes because it sinks in momentarily; it’s so easy to apply and leaves her skin instantly smooth. Currently, we are fighting dry skin around her eyes, including her eyelids – and again, this is THE ONLY product I’ll use for her eyelids.

AVEENO ECZEMA BALM – At about two months old, we learned that our daughter has quite sensitive and dry skin, which caused quite an eczema discovery and flare up – this was news for both of us since neither one of us has had eczema or sensitive skin. Again, I popped open handy Uncle Google and started researching. From all my research, and from speaking with our doctor, friends, and family, Aveeno Baby Eczema care creams were the top recommendation to try first. WELL, let me tell you, from the day we started using the creams we’ve never looked back. First we tried out the cream, and quickly switched to the balm once I found it. We use this every single night after her bath, on her entire body (minus the face). I love Aveeno products so seeing the results on her skin with this product was no surprise.

HELLO BELLO BABY OIL – A few weeks after my daughter was born, we started noticing cradle cap coming on. Of course this worried me and I automatically ran for the laptop to start researching ways to clear it ASAP. In the end, I didn’t try any “special” methods. I simply washed her hair /head twice a day, and applied a lot of this Hello Bello Baby Oil to her head. About an hour after applying it (during the daytime) I would brush her hair through for a few minutes, as the oil softened the cradle cap. Thats that backstory, the truth about this product is that it’s also plant based, made with great ingredients, and does not contain any mineral oils. They package says its fragrance free but in my opinion there is a bit of an earthy scent to it – which is totally fine.

MUSTELA HYDRA BEBE BODY LOTION – After using Aveeno for a couple of months, and feeling comfortable with Zuzia’s eczema situation, I felt ready to branch out and try a different product. At this point, her eczema had gone away for the most part; there were no new flare ups and her skin was looking and feeling so delicate and soft. I wanted simply a moisturizer for her skin, but still something that would tame the dry skin and basically prevent her condition from coming back up dramatically. Mustela was my second choice in Eczema care so naturally I reached for it next. We use this lotion every morning when we change her out of her PJs, for the day. The scent is so refreshing and delicate, I love the way her skin smells with this on.

As I mentioned at the very beginning, if you are a mama-to-be or a new mama and are still figuring out your “baby product game” don’t stress it. Try out different products as you feel suits you best and eventually you will find the ones that work best for you and your family.

Good Luck!

FRESHLY BAKED HOMEMADE BREAD – SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS

Like many others, my husband and I have taken on a new hobby during this quarantine – bread baking! It has honestly changed our morning routine, and the way we look at our bread now. First off, it’s SO SIMPLE. Why have we not done this before? It’s not even THAT time consuming – but I will admit this is not your typical work day breakfast; for us anyways – it does take about 30 minutes to prep and an hour to bake!

Anyways, I posted on my Instagram about this bread a week ago, and received a lot of comments back asking for the recipe – so I figured I’d share it on here, where I can properly write it all out and make it accessible for anyone who’s interested.

Here goes; your new favourite BREAD RECIPE:

Ingredients:

500 ml of warm water
25g of fresh yeast
2 teaspoons of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of oil
750g of flour

How to make it:

Take all of your ingredients, and mix them together. Once mixed, put the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 12 hours (we basically make the dough around 8pm, and bake it around 8am the next day).

After the 12 hours, or the next morning, take it out of the fridge, and work the dough for a few minutes, using some flour for the stickiness as needed. Place back into bowl and set aside for 30 minutes in room temperature. We have found that using a plastic bowl works best for this part, as the dough doesn’t stick to it.

When the 30 minutes is coming to an end, turn your oven to 440 Fahrenheit, and put the dish you’re going to bake your bread in, into the oven to warm up (we use a glass dish with a cover). Once it’s warmed, take dish out, put the dough into the hot dish, and cover with the glass cover. At this point, reduce oven to 410 Fahrenheit, using the “bake feature” if you have it. Now, bake 30 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.

So there it is; if you decide to try it out, let me know how it works out for you!!

BECOMING MAMA – THE FIRST THREE MONTHS WITH BABY

December 1, 2019 will now be one of the most precious dates in my life – this is the day my first child was born, and this is the day my life changed forever.

Our daughter Zuzannah Rose was born at 9:24pm, right here in our nations capital; Ottawa. Sharing her birth story is very personal and emotional for me so for now, while I’m still working on writing it, I’ll tell you that even though some things didn’t go as planned, I’d say I had a very good labour and delivery adventure.

Once she was born, we were in the hospital for two days; no complications, just procedure. But honestly, we just wanted to get home already – to the comfort of our own bed, to our kitchen, and just in general out of the hospital. Don’t get me wrong, we had a private room and AMAZING care (thank you to the nurses at QCH), but as we are very self sufficient and independent, we just really wanted to take our baby home and to be home ourselves.

STAGE ONE: THE FIRST FEW DAYS

The first few days being home with baby were something totally new for us – neither of us really had ANY experience with this type of thing. Yes, we read books, took classes, and listened to advice from others, but honestly, every baby is different and every home/lifestyle is different. ALSO, did I mention that we were on our own – entirely. No family, no mothers, fathers, grandparents, or siblings around to help us. Although my husband took a few weeks of parental leave, he still had to go into the office a few times to complete some year end things, leaving me by myself from, sometimes, even 9am-9pm. It was all quite the learning experience though, and I don’t think I would have changed it anyways.

I was just moving at a romantic Venice gondola sail pace while he was the Eurostar

Although I had a natural birth and everything went smoothly, I was EXHAUSTED and so weak – mainly everything fell on my husband. Now, that’s not to say I was out of the picture; we were doing everything together, I was just moving at a romantic Venice gondola sail pace while he was the Eurostar. We managed to organize ourselves and the routine the best we could. Now that I think about it, although this “more difficult” time felt like an eternity, it maybe lasted about two weeks before we fell into our groove and I was back to feeling more like myself.

Now, it’s important to note here, I started feeling more life myself because I (we) made a pretty big decision at this point. The breastfeeding and pumping needed to stop. After much discussion between ourselves, and with other professionals, this was the best decision for baby and I. AGAIN, this is my personal story and opinion, but unfortunately this was not doing us any good; I was going downhill – fast. Since we made this decision, things started looking up for me on a both mental and physical perspective. It actually breaks my heart that this is the direction we had to take, but I also feel almost a sense of relief – it just wasn’t right for me, for us. And THAT’S OKAY!

Now the choice of formula and bottles started – although we had an idea of what we wanted that wasn’t necessarily what baby needed! At the hospital we were given Similac Formula – unfortunately after trying it out for a bit at home we found out that our baby just wasn’t enjoying it. We went on to trying Nestle Good Start – this worked out well for a bit too, but then we noticed it wasn’t sitting right with her either. At this point I was getting nevous – trying all these different formulas; what if we never find the right one? Next we tried Enfamil A+! It worked; she liked it, and it seemed like it was okay for her tummy. After trying one box of this, I asked my Instagram community for advice on formulas. Many moms basically had the same situations as us, and many opted for the Enfamil Gentlease Formula. So; that was on my list right away. Ta-Dah – Zuzia loved it! It was easy on her tummy, and it seemed like she enjoyed it too! {we have been using it ever since}!

In terms of bottles – before she was born we had a set of Natural Glass Avent bottles. I was determined to only use glass as I wanted to stay away from plastic/BPA etc. WELL, we used {and continue to use} our glass bottles and I love them very much, but we ended up getting some plastic ones (from Avent as well) and think they are just as great – especially at night when it’s easier holding a lighter bottle!

STAGE TWO: ONE MONTH IN

By January 1 (we had a one month old) we were PROs in the mommy + daddy business – or so we thought. WE GOT THIS. Yes, yes we do – but HELLO COLIC! Zuzannah cried, I cried, and I bet my husband cried (in the other room of course). Seeing baby in pain is something no one wants to go through. Of course, plans changed, and we ended up giving her drops for the colic. Before this I was determined to stay away from any sort of unnecessary medications, etc. Well, this was NECESSARY, and it actually really helped both baby and mama! Lesson learned. Make sure you add a few bottles of Infacol to your baby medicine cabinet – just in case this happens!

During this time, my husbands parental leave ended and he returned to work full time – his full time is probably the equivalent to two individuals full time. Thats the power of a demanding job as well as a workaholic personality. All good though I thought, I GOT THIS. Well, January was a very gloomy and COLD month – the days were so short and my night+day started blurring into one. Since baby was eating basically every two hours, and her milk came up sometimes after eating, I wasn’t able to lay her down right away after a feeding – this meant that we cycled through feeding, burping, cuddling, and sleeping on repeat in my arms. Weekends were my time to shine – and by whine I mean, get some sleep! Hubby took nights so I could sleep without waking every few hours! It helped, but I found that sometimes when Monday came around it just got more difficult to get up again and get used to the “system”.

STAGE THREE: GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER

January rolled into February, and February into March. Just like that we had a three month old on our hands. Her personality started coming through, and we started noticing specific little things about her that make her HER. It’s truly a magical to watch your child and see all the new faces and expressions their learning – it’s beautiful.

By this point in time, I’d say we had a few more things figured out and were starting to become more comfortable and used to all the different changes in our lives. We now had our first vaccination experience behind us, we knew how to tackle the colic, and we had learned her favourite positions to sleep and play in.

Also, most importantly by this point we had learned what her favourite formula was (and by favourite I mean one that didn’t upset her stomach), and we had figured out a bottle washing/filling system – or how we like to call it; “bottle service”.

Looking back on these first three months, I’d say we have come SUCH a long way from what we planned and anticipated. I read a number of books during my pregnancy, watched videos, spoke with other parents, but in the end (or the beginning) its never what anyone else said exactly. Sure, there are bits and pieces of information that I’ve pieced together to create one big picture for us, but not once was it solely one situation that I could entirely relate to.

The moral of this story is; yes, take all the advice you can get, read all the books you can read, but remember that things don’t go as planned with children. There are thousands of scenarios that you can experience and you honestly won’t know which one you’re about to enter until you get there. So yes, plan ahead, discuss your options and wants, but remember to keep an open mind; because starting the day you become pregnant – “plan” is only a word you will use once in a while – other than that; just enjoy moments as they come.

Stay tuned for the next post, once we reach our next milestone of month 6.