So Malakai’s first birthday is coming up on the 30th so I found the perfect Snitch invitations to go along with theme of his birthday which is “The Boy Who Lived”. He was Harry Potter for his first Halloween so I thought it was only fitting to find him a Harry Potter birthday party invitation. I don’t have time to make them so I ordered some for pictures and props and everyone else just gets an e-vite. 😉I found the Harry Potter birthday party invitation on Etsy and you can buy them HERE because they’re awesome!You just slam them down to crack and they reveal the invite of the Harry Potter Birthday Party Invitation for Malakai’s first birthday party. So excited.And if you’re headed to Universal Studios any time soon, book with Get Away Today.
This post is sponsored by Carter’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.So Malakai is almost one. I cannot believe it. We’ve come so far from his days in the NICU and it almost seems like it was someone else’s life. I’m so glad he is healthy and strong today but we do have a ways to go. I want to share with you the best Fall baby boy fashion to grab at one of our favorite stores.
When Malakai was in the NICU, the best preemie clothes we were able to find were at Carters. Their original bodysuit is something that I’ve used with all my kids and have found it to last longer and it was more durable than the ones you grab off the shelf at the supermarket. For the preemie clothes it gave my son the sense that he wasn’t a hospital patient. He was dressed so cute like a baby should be and the clothes actually fit his tiny body. Most premature clothes are wide and short. The Carters preemie clothes are close to the skin, give them actual designs on the clothes and were soft enough for them to be comfortable.
When Carters asked me to grab some items from their new Fall line, I was excited because of how much of their items we already own. However, being a baby photographer is not my thing and I think Malakai fell over 5-6 times. We went to our local pond and changed him a bunch of times into the cutest baby boy fashion you’ve ever seen.When choosing a wardrobe for a baby, think comfort. I think some new moms don’t realize how often they’ll be changing a baby and how accessible a baby’s bottom needs to be for diaper changes. I love to get packs of the original bodysuit and always have a layer under my babies regular clothing. I also love the comfy pants that Carters has to offer. I also grab their Sleep & Play jammie’s but I try to stay away from the fleece. Because Malakai was a micro-preemie, he over heats a lot. He cotton is plenty warm for him and it does the trick. It’s also an experience thing when trying to figure out what works for your baby. Go ahead and try new things and see if it works for your family.
Carters clothes are so comfortable for babies and it makes a big difference in how they feel staying in certain items all day. Softness and durability are key when looking for baby fashion. There are so many fads going around and while they’re all adorable, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it for them to wear for a short amount of time for the money you’re spending. From my experience it’s all about comfort and sustainability which Carters clothing fits into those categories perfectly. When I am looking at baby boy or baby girl clothes, I want something that will last and that will also not break my budget. There are very few things that I find are actually worth spending the big bucks on like soft sole shoes and a good baby carrier.Carters always has great sales and you never have to pay full price for anything, ever. If you’re on their email list, they send you coupons all the time. They also have a reward program and the best thing is is that it’s all traceable in their system so you don’t have to go digging for the previous receipt. We love Carters clothing for our baby boy but I was especially appreciative that they had the best preemie clothes on the market. Use the coupon below for more savings!To find your nearest Carters, click here and to get it all shipped to your home, click here. I’ve loved working with Carters and I know Malakai is as snug as a bug in their new Fall line.
Carters is also having a Pinterest contest called ‘Pin Baby Pin’ and you have the chance to win a $50 gift card by just uploading your favorite Carters baby’s first look to Pinterest and submit your link here. Contest ends 9/26/16 and 75 lucky winners will be selected. Good Luck!
This post is brought to you by our friends at The Baby Cubby.Diaper bags are so hard for me to get right. I’ve had several through the years and I finally made the perfect choice with the Ju-Ju-Be Be Classy and guides like this one from The Baby Cubby helped in that search. I’m going to be answering questions that I’ve often wondered about in how to pick the perfect diaper bag. I’d love to hear some of your feedback as well.How many pockets will you need? You definitely want one or two on the exterior to hold your bottle. I like that the Ju-Ju-Be has insulated pockets so that you don’t have to take a separate insulated bag to keep your water warm. I also like them to be easily accessible for everyone involved. If you have to dig through your bag just to find the bottle, it’s not worth it. On the interior it’s great to have 2-4 more so that diapers, medicine, Copper Pearl bandanna bibs and pacifiers all have their own dedicated space.
How large should it be? I am a big bag lady – not the Erika Badu kind – the larger the purse is, I’ll buy it. I personally think that no bigger than 18″ on the base is really needed when it comes to diaper bags. You want it to be large enough to carry all your essentials and yet easy enough to carry.
Should I get the backpack or purse style? I prefer backpack style so that your arms are free to do the heavier duty things. Backpack style bags are great for traveling and walking around but it’s a little harder to keep on if you don’t have both straps around each arm. Purse style diaper bags are great for convenience. Their zippers are easily reachable and you can grab and go and not worry about other straps dragging on the ground. Look for a purse style that has a strap that can be added to convert it into a tote, I think you’ll love that.
What will I put in it? Your life! It’s so important to have the little things available when you need them and you’re not always going to be home. I like to stock up my bags with at least 10 diapers and a pack of wipes. I always have an extra change of clothes on hand because they’re babies we’re taking care of. I also keep some medicine and always a spare pacifier because I lose those all the time. I’ve already lost 4 pacifier clips and I’m surprised I haven’t lost my baby…yet. What material is best? I go for a material that I know will not get holes easily (that’s obvious) but there are so many options when it comes to material it just is really about preference. I’ve had a real leather bag that to-be-honest wasn’t worth spending all that money on. I have a faux leather backpack style one and I do appreciate that one because the pleather is on the inside and out. I personally prefer the Teflon protection that the Ju-Ju-Be bag offers. It’s easily cleaned and it has my favorite ‘crumb drains’. You have no idea how much you’ll use that feature. Get one that can be wiped down or washed easily, that’ll make life so much easier than having to walk around with a giant stained bag.
Should I buy a gender-neutral bag or go all in on patterns? When you invest in an item, you want it to be timeless. The same thing is true when buying diaper bags. Get one that suites your style and can be carried by both you and your partner. Get one that most people can’t tell it’s a diaper bag. You’re already tired from having a baby, you might as well feel like your style is somewhat amped up with a stylish bag.
How much should I pay? I would rather pay once for a good quality bag than have to buy 2-3 bags at $50 a pop. You end up getting the one you want in the end anyways. Be sure to try it before you buy it. Don’t be afraid to see if there is a local boutique that carries the bag and try and bring what you think you’ll carry in it to give you an idea of functionality. If you buy online like I do, be sure to buy from a company that has a good return policy and don’t throw anything away until you’re sure it’s the right one.
Will I use it as much as I think I will? Answer for me was yes. I did opt for the neutral patterned bag and so I use it as my purse and my diaper bag at the same time. Look for bags that serve a dual purpose and ones that have places for mom, not just baby. Be sure to get the style that you will like as in the tote style, backpack style or purse style. Get one that you actually want to carry around and your investment will be well used.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. This post is sponsored by Huggies Little Swimmers. All opinions are mine alone. #WaterThemDailyCB #CollectiveBiasBabies and summer are hard. There is so much to remember and you can’t always find a cool place to hang out so what we love to do is head to the pool. I’m going to show you what to pack in your summer swim bag and also how to make a personalized saying so you don’t get it mixed up with your neighbors..or lose your pool key (that may have happened today)I used some Iron-On Vinyl and my Cricut Explore to make the saying ‘Life’s a Beach’. They have a Heidi Swapp font now available that is to die for and so of course I had to use it. I used some teal glitter Iron-On and placed my iron on medium settings so that it won’t burn. To see the entire ironing process, head here. It’s pretty easy, just be sure to apply pressure and when you’re going to wash the bag, be sure to turn it inside out. Now that we go to our community pool weekly, I needed a bag that would house everything and nothing that I’d have to transfer, I needed a dedicated swim bag for my baby. Older kids, smolder kids – they are important but you just need less stuff when you go out so lucky me, I’ve got this bag now. Here are my 8 essentials that you’ll need in your summer swim bag.
- Huggies Little Swimmers – The swim pant has adjustable tabs on the side that are great for quick changes. They come with new characters from Disney•Pixar Finding Dory, possibly the best movie to be released in a while!
- Camera – You want to catch those sweet moments at the pool. Just remember that a camera is replaceable – your child is not.
- A thin blanket – You want one that’s breathable so that the breeze can cool your baby down once you’ve decided to remove them from the pool. Muslin or cotton is a great choice.
- A useful toy – You don’t want a toy that your teething baby can’t grasp or put in their mouth. There is such a better selection of toys nowadays and I’m sure they’ll just get even better.
- Food – Whether they eat formula or they’ve moved onto finger foods, having some food is good for everybody involved.
- Sunscreen – Be sure to put sunscreen on you and your babes. This is so important and more important to me now. I’ve recently had some moles removed which were one step away from being malignant. Just because my kids are bi-racial, it doesn’t make them immune to skin cancer. Start them early!
- Change of clothes – You don’t want your baby to be freezing if the older siblings are still in the pool but they’re ready to get out. Be sure to have some extra clothes and diapers in your bag to get them all warm and snugly.
- Your phone – Malakai’s therapist always used the light on the screen to help him with his head and eye movement so it’s got some purpose other than entertainment. You also want to have your phone available for emergencies in case any arise.
For worry-free water fun in the sun, look for Huggies Little Swimmers with new Disney•Pixar Finding Dory characters at a retailer near you, and follow this link to download a coupon for $1.50 off your first pack of Huggies Little Swimmers – for a limited time – and find other Huggies offers.
I want to thank Hatch Baby for providing Malakai one of their Smart Changing Pads. All opinions are my own and the little guys himself. I also don’t recommend items I don’t love myself. When Malakai was born, he weighed 1.65lbs. – that is less than a bag of sugar. I had a feeling that he was going to be early because my symptoms were similar to my third pregnancy, but I didn’t know he’d actually be delivered at 24.5 weeks. These babies are miracles in itself but it also takes a lot to get them on their way.
He spent just over 4 months in the NICU and they were adamant about getting him to grow. The more he can grow, the faster he’ll be better. He had an issue when it came to taking his daily intake for feeds by mouth. He was on 27 calories per ounce and standard formula consists of 20 calories. He’d gain weight so quickly that they’d up his quantity – yet he was barely taking 2 ounces by mouth each feeding. His normal routine was around 1.5 ounces and then they’d have to use his nasal tube (ng tube) to pump the rest of the milk into his belly. This was increasingly frustrating to me because how can they expect him to take more when he can barely eat what he’d already been taking.
Finally, towards the end, they moved him to 24 calories and I felt comfortable enough to be able to deal with his NG tube at home. At this time he was taking about 2 ounces and he had done that for 4 days straight so I thought it was safe to remove the NG tube and do oral feeding from now on. I was not prepared to go where we were headed. From February until April, his intake never increased. He was still eating 8 times a day and are anywhere from .5 ounces to 2 full ounces. Never any more and it was increasingly becoming frustrating. I’d take him on a 30 min drive to our pediatrician for weight checks and he was never losing but he was also not gaining what the doctor wanted him to. When I had heard about Hatch Baby and their awesome app, I knew it was something that Malakai really needed. With him, it is never about cost. He has exceeded where we ever thought he’d be and I needed to continue with that demand of care. I’m glad to say that with Malakai’s consistency growing more steady, we’ve been able to get him eating around 3-4 ounces and we’ve been able to track everything using the Hatch Baby Changing Pad and their app. Also a plus, you don’t need the pad to utilize their app. There are great tracking abilities for their app like diaper changing, feeding length, pumping times, sleeping amounts, length charts, etc. The best part is that it’s free and it really is one of the better baby apps out there.
For the Smart Changing Pad, it is something that I cannot, now, live without. I’m really able to pinpoint how well he is growing right down to the very ounce and I can take my phone with me and show they Doctor what readings I have been getting. I don’t have to go in as often for weight checks because that also puts his health at risk. The more I can keep him indoors, the better.
What I do to get an acurate reading is I undress him and put on a fresh diaper, I zero out the scale and then weigh him to get consistent readings for him. There have been many new gadgets out there that have been released in the last 5 years, a lot of which I wish I had had for Leila but now I am so grateful I have them for Malakai. This Hatch Baby Changing Pad has been a real game changer in how we care for our micro-preemie. It’s definitely on my Top 8 things that every NICU parent should have. There are so many variations between NICU babies these days, not all are severely premature but you need to give them the same standard of care that they received in the hospital and so this is why I love this changing pad.
To purchase your own, head on over to www.HatchBaby.com and see what they’re all about for yourself. I guarantee that you’ll be just as satisfied as I am. It’s great for any baby whether they were born as small as Malakai or as big as a giant. Let’s just hope for your case that they weren’t as big as a giant!
Oh my gosh, we love this thing. It’s perfect to snuggle Malakai in and it gives him the comfort he needs instead of in a bare crib. Grab one here. The DockATot is a luxury item for most but it honestly has been the best for co-sleeping.
The DockATot is perfect for preemie babies because they are given the snugglers in the NICU and the DockATot has a similar concept in having a pillow form on the sides.
To see what other products I recommend when you have a preemie coming home from the hospital, visit here.
Are you bringing home a preemie baby from the NICU anytime soon? Here are some of the essential items I’ve needed to care for
a premature baby that is finally coming home. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
So I have had my share of premature babies and I’ve given some advice here, and quite frankly – it’s too many that one person can handle. Premature baby care can be tough if you haven’t been there before.
I have also found that being prepared is most helpful for when you finally get to bring them home from the NICU. I’ve compiled a list of things that are so helpful to make that transition from hospital to home so much easier.
1. Diaper Genie –
The design has changed recently and it’s much more user-friendly. You don’t need to twist any bags any more or even touch the thing! We share a room with our micro-preemie so having some sort of bin was essential, this just happens to be a luxury bin and it keeps me by the baby rather than running diapers to the trash outside. I grabbed mine from Target because what can’t we find at Target? It also helps because he is on oxygen and I can’t be running everywhere hooking him up to a new tank just to run a diaper out.
So our son has had the most complications as far as lung issues and so having a monitor that we could rely on was very important to me. They can be a bit pricey but they include 3 sizes of socks so the monitor grows with them. It has been a game changer in how we react to my son’s needs.
I’ve been able to look at his oxygen rate and determine if a breathing treatment has been successful or if a trip to the ER is necessary. *I’m not a medical professional. For me, it’s always been better to overreact than having to worry.
3. Leather Moccasins –
or any soft-soled shoe that will make walking and crawling a breeze. They stay on their little feet while they are on the go and having some natural movement in the feet while learning to walk is something that will make them learn that much faster.
4. Good Bottles –
Your child may have been prescribed a certain bottle or nipple requirement in the NICU but coming home and having them grow, they need to adapt. I have found that with the Playtex Nursers, they make a tired mom grateful for Drop-In Liners. I still wash the bottles obviously, but if I find that infamous one that’s been under the bed for months, I can just throw away the liner and I’ve got a whole new bottle.
For us, Malakai ate much better with the Dr. Brown bottles in the beginning. They have a preemie flow nipple and it allowed him to eat at a slower pace so he didn’t use up all his energy. Once he was older and able to figure things out, I preferred the Playtex because of the easy cleanup.
5. A Snuggle/Travel Bed –
In the NICU they have snugglers for the babies and it can be intimidating for them to come home to a wide open crib. These give the children the same type of comfort while in their own new bed and you can even travel with it.
My son had ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) surgery on Christmas day. That was a rough day but thankfully I can still help strengthen his eyesight by giving him stimulating things to look at. He has restricted peripheral vision that he can never get back but this at least helps him to focus more and strengthen his retinas.
7. A Smart Changing Pad –
This is where life gets fancy. A new company has these changing pads that can record your weight, tell you how much they ate, weigh the diapers, etc. It’s all kept track in their app and to use the app you don’t even need to have the changing pad, it’s just an added bonus of not having to constantly go into the doc, especially during RSV season, and do weight checks. Those can now happen over the phone.
8. Love and Attention –
Most of all, this is what these babies need. They’ve been in the hospital and all they want is their family. The nurses, no doubt, try to make up for this but it’s really about being present and learning about your child’s needs. No one knows them better than you and it’s important to be there every time you can. So have you had a preemie? Let me know what your go-to product was and check out the features of the new Diaper Genie here.
OK, I have to come right out and say that I could not do this for longer than a month. As of now, my son is still in the NICU, and I lasted 3 weeks with him. I knew almost immediately that pumping, labeling, transporting, pretty much everything was going to be overwhelming. With my 30 weeker, I was able to do it for 6 weeks but she had a hard time latching on and so I could not breastfeed when she came home. I know I could have gone further had it not been mentally challenging.
I, however, learned some tips and implemented them for my short experience. I want to share some of those tips with you. I also want to advocate that breastfeeding is completely your choice and it is a taxing experience. I have zero patience so pumping is not easy but it is your choice to do what you feel is best for your baby.
- Pump like your life depends on it – With babies that are taken straight to the NICU don’t have the opportunity to latch right on and help trigger your milk supply. The nurses will bring you an industrial pump and a kit to get the process started. Ideally you want to pump every 3 hours for 20-30 minutes in the beginning. Don’t be discouraged, it won’t be much. It can take some moms a full week for their supply to start looking ample enough. With my micro-preemie, it took me 5 days to get maybe 15ml of milk. During the night you can do every 4 hours but be sure that you’re at least getting in 8 sessions of pumping.
- Eat, eat and eat some more – Milk won’t produce if you have nothing to produce it with. The fattier foods you eat, the fattier your babies milk will be and more calories. Don’t mistake that because you’re breastfeeding you can eat all you want. There are still consequences by overeating and not balancing your calorie intake. Take it from the fat chick!
- Drink like you live in a desert – Water is essential to keeping your milk flowing. You’re outputting fluid so your intake needs to be more. I’ve found that adding a simple lemon or some essential oils to water gives it variety.
- Get a pumping bra – Kourtney Kardashian was living it up showing her goodies on TV. I thought these hilarious at first but they are so awesome. If you have an industrial pump, you can’t walk around with them but it does help keep you hands free.
- Use an industrial pump – This is vital. You can’t just use a standard pump that you grab at Target. You need to use one that is hospital grade. Some insurances will cover these to have a home health company rent them to you. If that is not an option, your local WIC clinic has some that they can also rent. Your body needs to have the strength to trick your body into thinking its a baby.
- Fenugreek – This is a great natural supplement to help in the production of milk. It takes a few days for it to kick in but it works awesome.
No, you can never replace actually breastfeeding your baby directly on your body but some babies are just too fragile and do not have the coordination to do it. It usually takes them to about 34 weeks gestation to get the suck, swallow, breathe down. Every baby is different and some can catch on quickly. It really depends on what your baby has already experienced. Feeding can be very challenging for preemies. It’s important that you do what is right for you and your baby will be OK if you choose not to breastfeed. Trying to breastfeed a preemie can bring joy and it can bring pain. All babies progress differently so don’t compare yours to their neighbor. I know first hand how many challenges they face and how it can impact their progress.
A 24 week baby is so different from a 30 week baby or even my oldest that was born at 34 weeks. I’m close to spending almost 200 days in the NICU from 3 children and they’ve all presented different progress and challenges. Don’t give up. You do eventually forget all what you’ve experienced but there are triggers that can set you off. I think with my micro, I had been through the trial before and I knew first hand that, mentally, I could not handle the challenge that breastfeeding has always been to me. When you take care of mom, baby will be taken care of as well. Good luck!