a traveling Wife







Newborn Essentials - What Worked & What Didn't

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Newborns require a lot of work but you don't have to buy everything that is marketed to you. Check out the products that worked for us and find out what didn't work. 

* This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
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If you spend any time on the internet while being pregnant or a new parent, you will find loads of advice and promotions for products to help with a newborn. Sometimes it can be hard to tell which posts are endorsed by a brand and which are honest, tried-and-true products (endorsed products should be disclosed). Well after one whole month with a newborn, I can honestly share what products worked for us and which products I can't live without.
Click to tweet: Newborn Essentials - what worked and what didn't
Just a disclaimer, all of these products were purchased with my own money or gifted to us by family and friends. Also, I am a first time mom and only know what has worked for LadyBug but that doesn't mean they will be successful for you and your little one.


Newborn Essentials - What Worked & What Didn't | a-traveling-wife | www.atravelingwife.com

1. Milkies Milk-Saver Breast Milk Collector ($29.95)
This is seriously a MUST if you plan on breastfeeding. I had no idea that I would leak so much milk from the non-nursing side. Sometimes as much as 3 ounces. By using the milk savor, I didn't have to dedicate extra time pumping or hand expressing to build up my freezer stash. Also, the days that I didn't use the milk savor, I had more engorgement issues which can lead to a whole slew of problems (mastitis, blocked ducts, etc). I highly recommend purchasing a milk savor for yourself and a few for your friends. I WILL be buying one of these for each of my pregnant friends!

2. SwaddleMe® Original Swaddle ($34.99)
Our little LadyBug is such a Houdini. She can manage her way out of even the tightest of swaddles. The hospital staff was impressed with her strength and desire to alway have her hands near her face. This made it extremely difficult for A and I to get any sleep. When we went for her first wellness visit, a resident had recommended that we purchase a swaddle with velcro. These have been great for the first four weeks allowing us to get 4-5 straight hours of sleep at night *Now that LadyBug is 5 weeks, she has managed to figure out how to get her hands out of even these swaddles. She's a strong-willed child. 

3. Retin-Oil ($20.00)
I gained quite a bit of weight during the 40 weeks of pregnancy. Luckily the only stretch marks I got were very small and on my hip/butt cheek. I wanted to find a product that could help tighten up my belly skin, reduce discoloration, and help improve stretch marks. I only use this dry oil on my belly and hips/butt and use a regular, unscented moisturizer on the remainder of my body. So far I can't say that this product has helped dramatically make a difference, but I have enjoyed using it. 

4. Nursing Bras (similar nursing bra $16.99)
Nursing bras - I could rant about nursing bras until I turned blue in the face. I went through what feels like dozens of bras to find something that was comfortable, functional, and supportive. You guys, if you are going to breastfeed then expect your boobs to be extremely heavy. So heavy that I feel like I have a 10-pound bowling ball in each of my bra cups. These have been a great option, especially at night. They don't provide the smoothest look under clothes but I'm all about comfort these days. I also really like this bra for everyday use. 

5. DockATot Deluxe ($165.00)
There are so many people that will rave about the DockATot and that it's completely necessary for you and your spouse to get any sleep at night. If you read up about the uses for the DockATot Deluxe, it's not recommended for unsupervised sleeping. We still chose to use this at night because LadyBug sleeps in the same room as us. I can't say that this product alone has helped with nighttime sleeping but since day three, we usually get at least four straight hours of sleep. For the cost of these, I can't say they are necessary to have. Please share your thoughts if you've used this product in the comments below. 

6. Rock 'n Play Sleeper ($79.99)
We've used this since day one only during the day. It's a perfect place to allow LadyBug to nap and we could keep our eye on her. It can be easily transported to any room which is super convenient for us in a two story house. We also ended up using this during a few evenings because the incline helped with her nighttime congestion. I can say that we absolutely love the Rock 'n Play.

7. Burt's Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash ($13.59) | Burt's Bees Baby Nourishing Lotion ($9.99)
There are loads of body care products available for babies. We've liked the feeling and smell of this shampoo/body wash and lotion. When it comes to body care items, I just recommend sticking with one product rather than playing around with different brands and scents. Babies have very sensitive skin so try and be gentle.

8.  Nalgene Water Bottle ($9.99)
Water is something I have never really enjoyed. I forced myself to drink a ton of water while pregnant - my goal was 100 ounces a day. Now that I am breastfeeding, I need a lot of water to help maintain my milk supply. I was given a huge water bottle at the hospital and I walk around with that every day. Again, my goal is to get 100 ounces in a day, but the nursing staff said that 64 ounces was plenty. Either way, find a huge water bottle that you like, preferably one that shows the measurements on the side.

9Trail Mix Cookies [Dairy-Free]
As a nursing mom, I need around 500 more calories a day. I like to munch on these trail mix cookies and I made a few minor adjustments to the recipe making them lactation cookies. But any and all snacks are great to have on hand including popcorn!

10. Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($6.48)
Those that have never breastfed before, it can be brutal especially while working on your baby's latch. I ended up meeting with a lactation consultant twice after my milk came in for assistance with latch and soreness. The consultant prescribed me a concoction of creams to use then recommended that I switch to coconut oil once my nipples healed. To this day, I continue to use coconut oil, plus it doesn't have to be washed off prior to feedings. This one is by far my favorite brand and has been for years.

11. Medela SoftShells ($16.58)
Speaking of sore nipples, I was gifted these shells and am so grateful for them. They allow for my lady bits to air out and keeps fabric from rubbing up against them. And while I was healing from a horrible latch, the scabs would stick to any breast pads that I would use. Talk about painful. These shells helped my so much during the first few weeks with a newborn.

12. Postpartum Belly Wrap ($39.99)
Several people recommended that I invest in a belly wrap for postpartum care. They are useful in prodiving back support while breastfeeding and also helps to shrink your uterus back quicker. The packaging says to wear this as often as comfortable - I chose to wear it for a few hours each day starting on day 3. It really helped with the back support and I feel like it helped 'slim' my waist quickly. However, this is my first pregnancy so I don't have much to compare the length of heal time to.

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These are just a few items. We all know that babies require a lot of work but you can easily get by with just a few essentials. One of those essential items that you MUST have but I didn not mention is a car seat. I feel like car seats are personal preference and you should find one that works with your lifestyle, car, and/or stroller. Besides those items listed above, I have a few honorable mentions and items that did not work for us. 
 Click to tweet: What you NEED for your newborn
Honorable mentions: Pampers Newborn Diapers, Seventh Generation Wipes, Butt Paste, homemade blankets, popcorn. sleepers with buttons, reusable cloth diapers, Baby K'tan, and Ergobaby.

What didn't work: Pack n Play reversible napper and changer, fancy or elaborate clothing, baby shoes, and baby toys. 

Tell me, what baby products were essential in your house?
What baby products just didn't work?
Share your favorite piece of baby advice that someone gave you in the comments below. 
PIN for later. 
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Trail Mix Cookies [Dairy-Free]

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trail mix cookies are filled with dried fruit and nuts making them a great snack to grab during the day. They also make for a great breakfast option for those mornings that you just don't have time to make anything. These trail mix cookies are dairy-free and do extremely well in the freezer so you will always have fresh cookies! Stay tuned for a special lactation trail mix cookie alternative soon. 
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Having a newborn in the house creates a whole new sort of tired. I've heard it a thousand times that it's important to sleep when the baby sleeps as nighttime sleep is unheard of. I've also heard over and over again about how sleep deprived I will be during the first few weeks.

Trail Mix Cookies [Dairy-Free] | www.atravelingwife.com | a-traveling-wife

Well either it's been the help of A or not having guests over or that we have an AMAZING baby, but sleep hasn't really been an issue. Sure the first few days required lots of naps because it's hard work to labor and give birth to a baby. Plus trying to figure out the whole breastfeeding thing and waiting for my milk to come in is a chore alone.

Now that we have a very flexible schedule in place after two weeks, LadyBug is getting around 5-6 straight hours of beauty sleep at night. This also allows me to get some much needed beauty rest too! But with all the feedings, swaddling, swaying, and diaper changes that often require four diapers at a time because LadyBug likes to eat and that food needs to go somewhere - this Momma gets hungry.

Trail Mix Cookies [Dairy-Free] | www.atravelingwife.com | a-traveling-wife

I've been chowing down on these trail mix cookies as often as LadyBug requests the 'boob booze'. They are a great midnight snack, great for breakfast, or just as a snack. With dried fruit, nuts and chocolate - these cookies will please everyone. Plus I've made an alternative for those breastfeeding momma's (recipe coming soon for lactation trail mix cookies).

I keep a large bag of premade trail mix cookies in the freezer and take 4-5 out at a time. It's like having fresh cookies whenever I please!!
Click to tweet: These trail mix cookies are great ALL. DAY. LONG.
Go ahead and run, not walk, to the kitchen to make yourself a batch.

Trail Mix Cookies [Dairy-Free] | www.atravelingwife.com | a-traveling-wife

Trail Mix Cookies

Recipe by a traveling Wife
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Yield: 42 cookies
Nutrition per cookie: 107 Calories | 13 g Carbs | 5 g Fat | 3 g Protein | 7 g Sugar

Ingredients
  • very ripe, medium Banana
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter (check ingredients label to verify 'peanuts' is the only ingredient)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/4 cup Oats
  • 1 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Pecans, chopped
  • *Optional: M&Ms on top of cookies
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a stand mixer, mix together banana, sugar and honey.
  3. Add eggs and mix together one at a time.
  4. Mix in vanilla extract and peanut butter.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, salt, oats and flour.
  6. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet until well combined.
  7. Stir in dried fruit, chocolates, and nuts. *Choose any fruits and nuts that you prefer
  8. Scoop out cookie dough using 1 tablespoon size balls.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool prior to eating.
  11. *Store extra cooked cookies in the freezer.
Trail Mix Cookies [Dairy-Free] | www.atravelingwife.com | a-traveling-wife

What is your favorite type of cookie?