Made Mommy // May 19, 2014

I’ll be honest: Setting up my baby’s nursery hasn’t exactly been as fun as I imagined it would be. Living in the land of the expensive San Francisco Bay Area real estate means baby is coming home to a two-bedroom apartment instead of the large, lovely house I imagined I’d have when I started to have children. But alas, we’re working with what we’ve got, and with a bit of organization and planning, our nursery has really come together—just in time for baby girl’s due date.

Since this isn’t our permanent residence, I didn’t want to go overboard and create one of the adorable baby wonderlands I’ve seen on Pinterest. I have a feeling that few moms really do the dream nursery, anyway. Here’s the approach I took to get my baby’s room ready so that it’s still a sweet, cozy space that will meet our family’s needs.

Clear Out The Clutter

Unless you already have an empty room waiting to become a nursery, you’ll likely need to de-clutter your current space to make it baby ready. This is important: Before bringing any new stuff in, get the old stuff out. Make a few Goodwill donations, reorganize your living space and clean out the closet. That way, when all the baby gifts and goodies start accumulating, there will be space for it all and you won’t get overwhelmed.

Paint

If you plan to paint the room or change out flooring, etc., be sure to do it after clearing out the space and before bringing in new stuff. We can’t paint in our apartment, but if you can and want to, this is the time to do it.

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Set Up The Basics

Before installing fancy window treatments, special lighting or custom wall art, be sure to set up the room with the essentials. Usually that means a crib, dresser, changing table (dresser/changing table combo, in my case), a glider, and possibly a bookshelf or nightstand. Once there’s a place for baby to sleep, get changed and be rocked and fed, you can jazz up the space with accessories. Be sure to allow plenty of time for furniture assembly!

Wash Everything

After all the furniture is in, it’s time to wash all the blankets, bedding and baby clothes. Believe me, there’s more to wash than you might think! Be sure everything that is washable and will touch your baby’s skin gets a run through the washing machine before you use it.

Accessorize

Now the fun part (and also the part that I’ve been putting off). Once you have everything in place, washed and ready to go, you can add those finishing touches that give the room personality and pizzazz! I’ve been checking out cute area rugs, handmade art, decorative mirrors and pretty window treatments. I haven’t totally figured out where I want to take the décor, but it’s fun to work through the process.

So, Made mommies and mommies-to-be, what’s your advice? How did you set up your baby’s room, and is there anything missing here that you’d recommend?


Published in Made Mommy

Relationships // January 27, 2014

This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com.

It sounds like this:

It’s cold out, take a sweater.

Don’t leave that here. Put it back where it belongs.

That’s too expensive, you can’t spend that.

Oh no, you can’t do that!

Ladies: your guy is not a fresh-faced five-year-old.

Men don’t need to be trained and scolded like puppies.

For the love of your love life: resist the urge to whip out motherly advice. Our misplaced maternal tonality is more than emasculating. It’s a cease and desist order on those steamy nights you long for.

Sexy seductress? Forget it. When you’re busy demanding and reprimanding your man, you’ll remind him more of his third grade teacher. Or worse…his mother.

We know you’ve got his best interests at heart. You don’t mean to boss him around, but it just comes out that way, right?

It’s lovely that you want your honey to be A-OK but this is a prime opportunity to distinguish between the nurturing feminine qualities we recognize as the best in our own Mothers, and “mothering.”

And yup. You’ve guessed it- ya gotta quit mothering.

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Our femininity exists at a cellular level. We’re born with a galaxy of intoxicating qualities; facets of femininity that nurture, seduce and support the men in our lives.

We heal. We comfort. We empathize, sympathize, and we certainly know how to pay a compliment.

Your guy craves these maternal qualities. You make him feel cared for. You patch him up for his next battle. Your laser focused attention restores and renews him while your unwavering faith gives him strength. Your tenderness & encouragement is elation, lifts his mood and is nothing less than suh-weet.

Maternal affection is natural. Mothering is cruel. When you mother your man, your game is manipulation + control. Your advice, beliefs, and affection are no longer sweet gifts. They’re more like blunt hammers straight to his aching temples.

Try this power-duo of natural nurturing techniques instead:

1. Invite him.

Inviting is open, free-flowing and easy. Instead of: “Here’s some cold medicine. Take it.” Try: “You don’t feel well? Is there anything I can do to help?”

2. Demonstrate & Reinforce by Thanking.

Men are innately generous. They really do want us to have what we need, but they certainly aren’t mind readers. Kindly explain how you enjoy things done (Ahem… this includes in the bedroom. Meow!) When he gets it right, remember to thank him. Giving begets giving. Give patience, detailed information, and respect. He’ll give it right back.

Published in Relationships

Lifestyle // November 20, 2013


Congratulations to all of the soon-to-be mommies out there! You have great excitement approaching in the months ahead when the most precious gift of all will arrive. In the meantime, you'll find that you have to make adjustments in life to accommodate the changes in your body. That includes holiday travel. Take advantage of the following tips to be as comfortable as possible as you undertake any journeys during the season.

Tip Number One: Be Practical in How You Dress
As you prepare to travel while pregnant, be sure to keep comfort in mind. You can look attractive and still feel at ease. Consider wearing loose fitting clothing, such as dresses or pants that have a maternity stretch panel and flowing shirts. You are likely to be warmer while you're pregnant so wear layers that will help you to adjust your body temperature as needed. Consider maternity tights with light compression; they provide support for your legs and decrease the aching and swelling that is par for the course.

Tip Number Two: Take Plenty of Breaks
If you are on a road trip, be sure to build in many stops along the way. Give yourself a chance to get out, stretch, and move. You're likely to need more bathroom breaks as well. If you are on an extended journey, think about having an overnight stop to make your trip more manageable. Bring a pillow to support your back as well. If you are on a flight, arrange to sit on the outside seat, allowing you to get up and walk when there is a need.

Tip Number Three: Take Care with What You Eat
You're going to find that it may be easier to eat light when you are traveling while pregnant. Your digestive system often reacts differently while your body is going through dramatic changes. You'll want to avoid too many trips to the bathroom or gastrointestinal problems. You can reward yourself with a more satisfying meal once you arrive. Be sure to remain hydrated and have snacks on hand to curb your appetite or head off motion sickness.

Tip Number Four: Allow Someone Else to Drive
If you are traveling by car while pregnant, choose someone else to be the driver. This is a time for you to pamper yourself. You'll have the opportunity to rest, take a little snooze, and recline if needed in order to be more comfortable. If your driver needs to take a break from time to time, that's no problem. You'll also benefit from pit stops.

Tip Number Five: Be Prepared
Be sure to bring your health information, vitamins, and a variety of clothing on your trip. You want to be prepared for anything and have everything you need. Your health records about your pregnancy will be extremely helpful if any problems should arise while you are away from home. You need to stay on top of your nutrition and continue to take your supplements. Keep comfort in mind for clothing. Here’s a handy list of essentials compiled by Parents.com.

Pregnancy is a joy; although, it poses challenges when traveling. Take time to prepare for any trip and you'll have a more pleasant experience. When all is said and done, you can share your experiences with your little one in years to come.

Published in Made Mommy

Made Mommy // November 4, 2013

From the moment I saw my positive pregnancy test, I knew that nothing would ever be the same. I was thrilled to find out my husband and I were expecting a baby, and suddenly I was daydreaming of all of the ways I’d prepare for this pregnancy. Prenatal yoga, new books, lots of rest, thoughtful meal preparation … life as I knew it would change in every way imaginable, right?

Reality check for us Made Mommies: Life as we know it in the workplace isn’t going to change. Pregnant or not, my company expects me to perform well right up until I sign off for maternity leave. But when I found out I was pregnant, it was ALL I could think about. I was a basketcase of emotions (thank you to first trimester hormones), and it was really hard for me to stay motivated at the office.

I have a hunch that most Made Mommies-to-be have (or had) a tough time keeping focused at work upon news of a little miracle. Here are a few ideas to help us keep up:

Talk to your HR Department

This is a big one. In the beginning of my pregnancy I was a nervous wreck as I wondered about how my career would change because of my little bundle of joy, and it was affecting my performance at work. But the moment I told my HR rep, my feelings changed completely. HR departments are built to deal with this stuff. They have the answers to your questions, and they can help you problem solve or plan ahead to make sure everything works out. Talking to HR can help ease your fears so you can focus on the work in front of you instead of stressing about what will happen to your job.

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Limit your Google Searches

Particularly for those of us at desk jobs, a quick Google search in the middle of a work day seems harmless. But it’s a slippery slope from reading a Baby Center email to researching baby names, looking up your latest symptom and reading mommy blogs. Before you know it, an entire hour of the workday could be gone. This certainly isn’t helping us deliver a star performance pre-maternity leave. My solution? I spend a few minutes on my morning commute reading or Googling baby-related info, and I also give myself 15 minutes at lunchtime. Once I’m at my desk for work, my mind is less likely to wander.  

Listen to your Body

Between nausea, exhaustion, weight gain, frequent bathroom breaks and a plethora of other lovely symptoms, pregnancy doesn’t exactly lend itself to sitting comfortably at the office all day. I’m trying to make it a habit to listen to my body -- I get up to stretch or walk around the office, or I take a few minutes away from my computer if I feel a headache coming on. I also keep snacks and a water bottle around at all times to prevent hunger and dehydration. Taking care of myself physically helps me stay on task rather than losing motivation because I am uncomfortable or I don’t feel well.

Although most women work through their pregnancies, sometimes it’s really hard to stay motivated. Pregnancy is a big deal, so take care of your body throughout the day, find your support system at work and try to keep those daydreams to a minimum to maintain career success during this time. And after work, indulge yourself in naps, bubble baths, long walks, good meals, and as much Pinterest or Baby Center as you want!

Published in Made Mommy
Saturday, 29 June 2013 01:38

Made Mommy | Maternity Clothes Essentials

Style // July 1, 2013

You've got the glow of a soon­-to­-be mommy, or so people are telling you. You may not feel very different -- or your pregnancy may send you running to the restroom all morning. Either way, you are noticing your belly starting to protrude; and it wasn't from the extra toppings at Yogurtland. It's the new life that is growing inside of you. That's when it hits you: your skinny jeans may not be very comfortable in a few more weeks. But the thought of buying a whole new wardrobe for just a few months is making you feel contractions in your wallet.

Let me tell you, there are a few maternity essentials that you may want to drop a few dollars on, but there are also few tricks you can use to extend your pre-pregnancy wardrobe through the last few months of your pregnancy. And you'll still look like the hot mama that you are.

In Your Closet

  • The Tunic - Using fabric ribbon or a skinny belt, cinch this versatile top just above your belly--empire-style.
  • The Mini Dress- Pair it with leggings and booties, and the dress becomes a cute tunic.
  • The open cardigan - The mild weather staple will be handy throughout your pregnancy. Throw it on over your outfit (thick coats may stay in the closet as you may feel your internal thermostat running hotter as your pregnancy progresses) and accessorize with a statement necklace.
  • Maternity Jeans - Select the cut you would normally prefer wearing. Soft elastic fabric replaces the zipper and button waistband. They come in over- and under-belly cuts that and feel very comfortable on your quickly stretching skin and navel, which at times, will feel sensitive to clothing hardware such as zippers, buttons, and hooks. Must-purchase!

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  • The Maxi Dress - Really, it's versatile anyway you look at it. Empire cut always works great with a preggie mama by slimming her down, but still allowing her to show off her new baby-carrying curves. If it's a tank dress -- again -- add a skinny belt or sash for an instant empire waist.
  • The Bella Band - a cotton lycra tube that holds your pants up. It allows you to wear your regular jeans longer through your pregnancy by holding them up, and hiding the fact that you hadn't buttoned your pants. It'll also hold up your maternity pants when they're still a little big.
  • Leggings - If you don't already own some, get a set. You may be able to wear your pre-preggers leggings throughout your pregnancy by allowing the waist to sit below your belly. Otherwise, maternity leggings come in above and below the belly cut. Leggings go with just about any outfit.
  • The ruched waist tee - Often, these t-shirts are made with softest and stretchy cotton. They come in a variety of cuts to compliment most pregnancy body types. They are so versatile--pairs well with your maternity or Bella-banded jeans, shorts, or skirts of any length.

With this list as my guideline, I never felt like a frumpy mama, nor did I go broke on my pregnancy wardrobe. I was left with plenty of extra cash to build my Made Baby's wardrobe.

Published in Made Mommy

Made Mommy // March 11, 2013

So, you’ve heard that you can’t exercise anymore once you’re pregnant? Well, that’s a big, fat myth. In fact, if you have a healthy pregnancy (one without complications such as a “compromised” cervix, or previous difficulty carrying to full term, etc.), you are encouraged to stay active. Of course before you start running laps or going for bike rides, you must consult with your OB regarding how active you can be since the doc is one of the few people who can determine the state of your pregnancy.

If your pregnancy is without issue, you are encouraged to exercise whether or not you did so prior to the positive-resulting test. You may have heard differently -- that if you didn’t exercise before, you shouldn’t start. That, too, is old news. The new news is that exercise will benefit your baby post-partum, with a stronger heart, lean body mass, and lower body fat (meaning a lowered likelihood of childhood obesity). What does an active pregnancy mean for you? Read: shorter labor time, fewer fat pounds gained, faster return to your pre-pregnancy size, and sound mental health. Exercise benefits both you and your miniature human.

Now, if you didn’t exercise prior to your pregnancy, I’m not sayin’ you ought to start training for a marathon. Walks (let your body tell you at what pace and how much you feel like you ought to push yourself, if at all), modified yoga (no twists or inversions and be sure to find an instructor with experience working with pregnant clientele), swimming and/or aqua aerobics (you’re virtually weightless, for crying out loud!), recumbent bike or elliptical machines at the gym, and light strength training are all great get-fit options for the mommy-to-be.

For those of you workout queens, continuing your training routine will likely be fine, if you have a healthy pregnancy. Your growing baby will get the oxygen he or she needs. But be mindful and listen to your body. If you start to feel nauseous, reduce your intensity (stop if it persists, and contact your physician). With any pregnancy, you will experience a loosening of the joints due to an increase in a hormone called relaxin, which is most prevalent in the third trimester and is responsible for making ligaments more flexible. That said, you are more prone to injury during this time, so be particularly mindful of the activities that you choose to participate in, as you don’t want to get hurt before labor (that will hurt enough…).

Now you’ve got the low-down on the exercise part of a fit pregnancy. And, if you are more active during your pregnancy, you will need a few extra good quality calories (calm down, hungry tigress, that means an extra 100-500 calories, which equates to a large apple--100 calories--or a chicken and cheese on whole wheat toast--500 calories), depending on the level of your activity. Read up on the diet part of a fit pregnancy if you haven’t done so already. Lastly, work that Made Mommy glow!

Published in Made Mommy

Made Mommy // January 14, 2013

The stick you just peed on confirms that you are pregnant. Congratulations!!! Now, you can eat just as much as you want because you are eating for two, right? Ummm…guess again…

The + on that stick does not give you a hall pass in the kitchen, at the takeout window, or at the froyo-by-weight counter. Now, more than ever, you have to think about what you are eating. You are actually eating for 1.1, not 2. Your growing baby is highly unlikely to exceed 10% of your body weight. I’ll bet that the little person will weigh much less than that at the due date.

So, doubling your daily calories does not make sense. Did you know that during your first trimester, you actually don’t need to eat any more than what you do non-preggers? In your third trimester, which is when you will need to eat more, you won’t need much more than 300-500 extra calories per day.

The quality of the food you eat is far more important than the quantity of food that you eat. This is true all the time but especially now that you are pregnant. The body growing inside of you will extract all the nutrients that it needs from your body if you are not getting enough. For example, if you don’t have enough calcium in your diet, your body will “donate” calcium from your bones (where it is stored) to help develop the skeletal system of the baby you are growing inside of you. And, nobody wants to be at a greater risk for osteoporosis after a pregnancy.

Having just gone through a pregnancy and relatively uneventful labor, I am sharing with you my “power meal go-to menu” that kept my baby and me healthy, lean, strong, and happy (yes, I enjoyed my pregnancy!). Often I was still on-the-go, so these meals were pretty quick to prepare:

Breakfast and snacks

1. Quick-cook oats and frozen berries cooked and drizzled with ½ cup plain almond milk, fortified with calcium and vitamin D
2. Low-fat Greek yogurt (or dairy-free yogurt made with coconut milk) with a tablespoon of raw honey and slivered almonds
3. Scrambled eggs (scrambled with fortified milk or milk substitute) topped with sliced tomatoes and/or avocado and whole grain toast with a smear of organic unsalted butter
4. Sliced apple or banana with organic peanut butter or almond butter with sea salt
5. Fresh veggies with yogurt dip or white bean hummus

Lunch or dinner

1. Grilled salmon (fish once per week), chicken, or 4 ounces of lean steak over bed of fresh and colorful salad
2. Chicken teriyaki bowl with lots of steamed veggies over brown rice
3. Stir-fried firm tofu (or other lean protein) with tri-color bell peppers and snap peas over egg noodles or brown rice
4. Spicy minestrone soup with a side salad
5. Roasted turkey with sides of sweet potato hash and steamed veggies

Dessert (Of course, a pregnant woman ought not be denied dessert)

!. Berries and/or banana slices with dark chocolate drizzle
2. ½ cup of frozen yogurt with fresh fruit and honey drizzle
3. Baked green apple with caramelized brown sugar (a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream is optional)


Sounds good, right? Well, you don’t have to be pregnant to enjoy these easy go-to meals. They are healthy and energy-boosting for you regardless of whether or not you are growing a “mini-me” inside of you.

Published in Made Mommy