Recommended Apps for Pregnancy and Postpartum

***This is not a sponsored post.***

I found these four apps incredibly using during my trying to conceive months, pregnancy, postpartum, and first year of motherhood.

Clue app: This app… It helped me track my menstrual cycle after I went off birth control so my husband and I had the best chance at getting pregnant. While no app is 100% accurate in ovulation estimations, I feel this app was accurate enough. I still use this app for menstrual cycle tracking and tracking various other things, even though I’m back on birth control.

What to Expect app: This app paralleled the book of the same name. It was nice to be able to look at it while I was at work and the book was at home. I loved the visual representations each week of how big the fetus was-though some of the comparisons were questionable.

I continued to use it once my son was born, because it has information and forums for new and veteran parents. I did end up leaving the forums when my son was 4-5 months old because I was overthinking a lot. I still consult the app from time to time.

Kick Counter app: In the second half of pregnancy, you’re asked to track how many times the fetus “kicks.” I loved using this app. It was very easy to use and you can pull up different logs (daily, weekly, monthly).

After my son was born, I screenshot the logs so I can look back on his activity level. (Weird first time mom thing.)

Baby Tracker app: I didn’t find this app until my son was almost 2 months old. It would have been much more useful to help keep track of the feeding, ounces, wet diapers, dirty diapers, and sleep tracking my pediatrician asked me to do.

You can track the above listed, as well as: activity time (tummy time, play time, bath time, outdoor time), metrics (height, weight, etc.), temperature and meds if sick, pumping sessions, add monthly pictures for memory keeping, and other info.

I like how most input sessions allow for notes to be added as well. That was incredibly handing when we first started solids and I would log what he ate in case of an allergic reaction.

You can also track multiple kids. I used it for myself for a short time to make sure I was drinking enough water and going to the bathroom. That may see a little neurotic, but anything that could help me during the newborn phase was utilized.

Recommended Reading for New Parents

This post will be updated as I find and read additional books.

The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle AlexanderDissing Sandahl

This title could wait until the kids are a few years old. Not much in it for infants. I will be using the mnemonic of PARENT when my son is older.

Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman

I really wish I had read this book before my son was born. I would have do so many things differently in those first few months.

Free Audio Books

We all know about Audible.com if you want electronic access to audio books for a price.

Public libraries give you free access to audio books via Overdrive or Hoopla. But did you know the podcast app you have on your phone may get you access to audio books for free, and not only the titles in the Public Domain?

I have an android phone, and use the app Podcast Addict. The two audio books I’ve been able to get access to are Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.

Just thought I’d share this with everyone.

Favorite Baby Items from 6 mos. to 1 year old

Here’s additional stuff we used all the time once Little One turned 6 months old:

Feeding:

ezpz Tiny Cup (Gray) – 100% Silicone Training Cup for Infants – Designed by a Pediatric Feeding Specialist – 4 Months+

Weaning Bib, BIBaDO Baby Feeding Coverall Straps To Any Highchair, Ideal for BLW >> LOVE LOVE LOVE these things! We didn’t have 1 when we first gave our son avocado. That onesie is still green! We have 3 of them, in different designs.

Silicone Baby Feeding Bibs – Waterproof, Easy Wipe Silicone Bib for Babies, Toddlers – Baby Bibs with Large Food Catcher Pocket – Travel Bibs Set for Boys, Girls – Food Grade BPA Free (Cloud Nine) >> We double up on bibs with our son. He uses it to store the food he’s not done with yet!

Chicco 360 Hook-On Chair, Scarlet >> We started using this long before we began our Baby Led Weaning (BLW) journey. We had our son join us while we ate dinner. We also love the fact the it rotates 360 degrees because after we’re done feeding him, we spin him around so I can wipe him up and remove him from the chair.

Graco DuoDiner DLX 6 in 1 High Chair | Converts to Dining Booster Seat, Youth Stool, and More, Mathis >> At both grandparents’ houses, we have this high chair.

WeeSprout Suction Plates with Lids for Babies & Toddlers>>These have 4 suction cups on the bottom, so even if the child pulls up 1 or 2 cups, the others stay down. I do like that they come with lids so we can pack away what he didn’t eat and save it for his next meal.

2 Pack Silicone Baby Bowls with Super Suction>>These are nice, but there’s only 1 large suction cup on the bottom and my son pulls it up easily. At the moment, we don’t fill the bowl with much except a few spoonful’s of yogurt so he can practice feeding himself with a spoon. I wish it had 2 small suction cups instead of 1 big one. But it’s still very useful.

Safety:

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat, Infant to Toddler Car Seat, with 10 Years of Use, Bryant >> It was a very sad day for me when I was forced to accept that my baby was too big for his infant car seat and needed to be upgraded to the next step up. The 4 in 1 can be used from newborn stage on, but I liked the idea of having the traditional style bucket cart seat to load and unload. And since kids have to be in booster seats until they’re practically driving themselves, this one will grow with him and we [hopefully] won’t have to purchase a different seat for him.

Regalo 192-Inch Super Wide Adjustable Baby Gate and Play Yard, 4-In-1, Bonus Kit, Includes 4 Pack of Wall Mounts >> We have this gate along the front of our living room, blocking off the TV stand and our fireplace.

Summer Extra Tall & Wide Safety Baby Gate, Cool Gray Metal Frame – 38” Tall, Fits Openings 29.5” to 53” Wide, Baby and Pet Gate for Extra-Wide Doorways, Stairs, and Wide Spaces >> We have several of these gates blocking off other spaces in the house. We got a bronze color, not the cool gray metal.

Evenflo Position & Lock Classic Pressure Mount Gate, 26″-42″ >> We have several of these style of gates as well for doorframes.

EasyBaby Products Indoor Outdoor Retractable Baby Gate>>We have 2 of these gates. They come with 2 sets of hardware each, so we have multiple options of closing of various portions of the house if necessary.

Toys:

Misc. Ideas for Montessori-inspired Treasure Baskets and other toys: I ended up making a lot of rattle jars and sensory bottles for my son. I’ll post some YouTube video links that inspired me to make some toys. We also received hand-me down toys as well as toys at Christmas. We don’t intentionally buy electronic or battery-operated toys for our son, and our family understands that for the most part. If we are gifted an electronic toy, after thank you’s are expressed, we either figure out if we can still use the toys in the OFF option or if we truly need to exchange it for something more appropriate. Most of the time, our son uses the electronic toys without them being turned on or having batteries in them at all. He still gets some benefit from them.

DIY Montessori-style Toy Video Links:

MONTESSORI AT HOME: DIY Montessori Toys for Babies & Toddlers

MONTESSORI AT HOME: DIY Montessori Materials (on a Budget!)

Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring STEM Learning Toy, 9 Piece Set, Age 6+ Months >> As much as my husband and I love Montessori, these called to me so hard! They appeal to the inner child in me. Plus the different textures allowed them to double of teethers for our son.

VTech Sit-To-Stand Learning Walker>>My son used this to learn to walk-assisted, and even though he can run laps around our house, he still likes to push it around. Yes, it is electronic, but we just keep it turned off. There are other ways of playing with it which don’t involve it being turned on.

VTech Light and Move Learning Ball>>I call this thing the Demon Ball from Hell. It’s one of those toys that is pointless unless it is turned on. AND IT WILL RANDOMLY START UP!!! (Hence why I call it Demon Ball.) My son wants to play with it occasionally, but he’s not too fussed about it.

Bright Starts Wobble Bobble Activity Ball Toy>>Okay, compared to the above item, this toy has been worth its weight in gold. Yes, it is an electronic toy. We call it the wobble ball. To quote my new obsession (The Minimalists), my son gets so much value from this item. When it wobbles, it has a strong vibration and he holds it up to his mouth when he is cutting his teeth. Even now with his molars are coming in, he still uses it as a sort-of face massager. AND IT DOESN’T RANDOMLY TURN ON BY ITSELF, but it will if you accidently kick it. It’s the one toy we always triple check is off before we begin the bedtime routine.

VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube>>This is a toy my son can use without it being turned on. He has figured out how to turn it on, but when he does play with it (i.e. when it’s rotated in) he generally leaves it in the off position.

Play Day Mini Sports Balls, 3 pack>>This admittedly was an impulse purchase on my part. We’d been talking about getting our son some non-foam balls (he was biting and tearing at things). His preferences in order: soccer ball, basketball, and football. He’s not quiet sure what do it with the football yet. Once again, he gets a lot of value from these.

Wilson Pentagon Soccer Ball>>We decided to get him a legit soccer ball since he loved his little one so much. We recently had our front yard re-sodded and having a nice big ball to play with out in the grass. Possible future soccer player?

Other:

Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush, 0-2 Years, Soft Bristles, BPA Free 4 Pack >> I bought this 4-pack when my son’s first teeth have started appearing through gums. He is showing interest in trying to brush his own teeth, but we may need to upgrade his toothbrush already.

Parent’s Choice 2-Step Stool>>Now that my son is standing regularly and can reach the top of the bathroom vanity, we got him a simple (yes, plastic) step stool with rubber grippy stars. Even standing on the 2nd step, he’s barely taller than the counter top, but it is allowing him to get into the habit on washing his hands and brushing his teeth.

Favorite Baby Items (Birth to 6 mos.)

*This is NOT a sponsored post***And there are no affiliate links*

Here’s a list with links to some of the items my husband and I used over and over during our son’s first six months of life. This does not include our crib because that was a hand-me down and I have no clue what the make/model is.

Safety:

Bedside Bassinet Side Sleeper/Portable Infant Crib >> I loved this item. It was the only bassinet that came up high enough. We have a very high bed, where the top of the mattress is 3 feet off the ground. The latches on each side are independent so we were able to lower one side so it was at an angle, which was useful since our son had reflux.

Babysense Video Baby Monitor with Camera and Audio, Long Range, Room Temperature, Infrared Night Vision, Two Way Talk Back, Lullabies, VOX and Long Battery Life, Model: V24US >> I have a love/hate relationship with this monitor. It only reaches so far into our bedroom signal-wise. And the battery only lasts 4 hours before it needs to be plugged in.

Graco FastAction SE Travel System | Includes FastAction SE Stroller and SnugRide 30 LX Infant Car Seat, Hilt >> I love the quick click connect set up of this system. Granted, the first time I tried to take my son for a walk in his stroller, I couldn’t remember how to open it! It had been almost 5 months since I’d gotten it. I’m not proud of the fact it took me almost 30 minutes to figure it out.

Feeding:

Dr. Brown’s bottles, 4 oz >> We’d gotten a free 4 ounce bottle in one of the boxes of goodies from making a baby registry. Our son ended up preferring this style of bottle to other types.

Dr. Brown’s bottles, 8 oz >> Once our son grew big enough to need the bigger bottles, we upgraded.

Little Remedies Gripe Water, Colic & Gas Relief, Safe for Newborns, 4 fl oz, 3 Pack >> My son, unfortunately, had a very sensitive tummy. In addition to the formula he was on, we also had him on a regimen of gripe water, gas drops, and probiotics. Once he was older (6-7 months) we slowly took him off them one by one to make sure he was okay.

Mylicon Gas Relief Drops for Infants and Babies, Original Formula, 1 Fluid Ounce

Colic Calm Probiotic >> So expensive! But it did what we needed it to do, which was balance his gut flora so he could begin to develop an immune system.

Clothing:

A lot of our clothing was hand-me downs, which was perfectly fine. But the sleep sacks! Those are a must!

Burt’s Bees Baby Baby Beekeeper Wearable Blanket, 100% Organic Cotton, Swaddle Transition Sleeping Bag >> Our son never liked being swaddled once we brought him home from the hospital. Since babies can’t have blankets, these sleep sacks are fantastic for keeping them warm. We got these sleep sacks in multiple patterns and sizes as our son grew.

Hygiene:

Baby Nail Clippers 20 in 1 by Royal Angels Baby | Safe Electric Baby Nail Trimmer, Baby Nail File Kit, Additional Replacement Heads, Newborn Toddler Toes and Fingernails, Trim and Polish (Blue) >> Such a great tool for trimming baby finger and toe nails.

Summer Newborn to Toddler Bath Center and Shower (Neutral) – Bathtub Includes Four Stages that Grow with Your Child >> I loved having this Grow-With-You system for my son.

Little Remedies Saline Spray and Drops, Safe for Newborns, 0.5 fl oz

Toys:

KiwiCo Panda Crate subscription >> This was a gift from my in-laws. We look forward to the new developmentally appropriate toys that our son gets every other month. Granted some of the items are hit and miss with him, but all subscriptions can be like that.

Sassy My First Bend & Flex Rattle Set – 2 Piece – for Ages 0+ Months

Shumee Wooden Rattle Ring and Teething Toy for Infants, Babies(0 – 1 Year) – Organic, Natural, Grasping, Clutching Montessori Shake Toy – Polished with Beeswax

Jolly Jumper – Stand for Jumpers and Rockers – Baby Exerciser – Baby Jumper >> Like his father, my son loved being in his jumper. Such a happy baby bouncing around.

Evenflo Splash Mega Exersaucer >> We didn’t get to use this for very long, because our son is ridiculously tall. It has also been discontinued by the manufacturer, but I did see several of them at my local Once Upon a Child.

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym, Green, Gender Neutral (Frustration Free Packaging) >> The little panda crinkle toy on this activity gym was my son’s absolute favorite thing until it was used up.

Other:

White Noise Sound Machine | Portable Sleep Therapy for Home, Office, Baby & Travel | 6 Relaxing & Soothing Nature Sounds, Battery or Adapter Charging Options, Auto-Off Timer | HoMedics Sound Spa >> We didn’t get a sound machine until my son was 6 1/2 months old. What a mistake! I wish we’d had this thing from the beginning!

Delta Children 2-in-1 Changing Table and Storage Unit with Changing Pad, Grey >> I chose this changing table because it can become a bookshelf and toy chest when he’s older.

PooPoose Wiggle Free Diaper Changing Pad/ Changing Table Pad, White, 16″ X 32″ X 3.5″ >> This came in handy for making multiple changing stations around the house. First in our bedroom, then in another area with a higher work top so my husband didn’t have to bend over as far to pick up our son after changing him. Currently not available, but it was worth it.

Angel Line Windsor Glider and Ottoman White Finish and Gray Cushions >> My mom really looked forward to having a rocking chair to rock her grandson in. This and the changing table (above) are the first things she bought when I told her I was pregnant. The nursey was barely set up when the boxes arrived!

Pros and Cons of Multiple Baby Registries

I had 3 different baby registries. Did I need 3 of them? Of course not! But I still did. I’m going to share why the pros and cons of having multiple baby registries, which ones I had, and why I chose to do that.

Pros: each registry can be themed to a specific thing like diapers or breastfeeding supplies; if you need to return a duplicate or exchange for diapers your baby is too big for, you don’t have to hunt for wherever they came from.

Cons: if you don’t theme the registries, you can end up registering for duplicates of items that are a pain to return; one more thing to keep track of on top of everything else when you’re expecting.

My Main Baby Registry: Amazon

Everything I could think of went on there. What’s nice is Amazon will baby step you through all the categories you could possibly need stuff for, which is nice if you have no clue what you may need or didn’t no you absolutely needed for your bundle of joy. It’s also a great catchall place. People can give gift cards and if you end up needed other items that aren’t on the registry but are available on the website, BOOM! Gifted money to help fully pay or offset the cost.

A wonderful example is the bassinette we ended up buying when I was 9 months pregnant. We hadn’t planned on getting a bassinette at first, because we planned on using the heirloom cradle some close friends had. When we brought the cradle home and began to put it together, it became apparent rather quickly that it was going to be too short for our bed. Our bed is quite high. The top of the mattress is 3 feet off the ground. Lots of research and checking the tape measure later, we found the ONLY bassinette on Amazon that came up high enough. It was a pricey surprise, but my husband’s work had gifted us almost $200 in Amazon gift cards (as well as a basket of goodies) and we used those to offset the cost.

My (supposed) Diaper Registry: Walmart

The original plan for my Walmart registry was for it to be nothing by diapers and wipes, because (pre-Covid shut down) Walmart was open 24 hours. I ended up adding other stuff to it, and forgetting that I had (blame pregnancy brain). I do recommend having a diaper registry. Again, if you’re gifted gift cards to this store, you also have the option for using them towards other needs and essentials to pay or offset the costs.

My Breastfeeding Supplies Registry: Target

I put all my eggs in the breastfeeding basket. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t end up working out as hoped.) Target had the best selection of breastfeeding supplies and care products compared to Amazon and Walmart. So I set up this one with everything I thought I was going to need: storage bags, manual pump, the Haakaa pump, nursing pads, etc. In hindsight, I’m glad this one wasn’t as popular of a registry because most nursing supplies are considering medical supplies and wouldn’t be returnable.

Why?

So, by now, you’re asking yourself, okay, Cori, so why did you drive yourself crazy with three different registries? Pregnancy is a “fun” mental and emotional roller coaster on a normal day, so why add more to think about?

BECAUSE OF THE FREE STUFF!

You read that correctly. By starting each registry (and fulfilling the requirements to get the free stuff), my husband and I received some cool stuff for our baby. All three boxes (okay, Target’s was a bag) had a bottle which came in handy when we realized we needed baby bottles for formula. Diaper samples, travel size lotions and shampoos/washes, pacifiers, and the occasional clothing item (we got a onesie from Amazon).

I don’t regret the additional time and effort it took to put these registries together. My son is almost a year old at this point and we’re still using some of the free products we received.

P.S. All my registries were created online. I did not run (okay, waddle) around Walmart and Target with a scanner gun. One place I didn’t have a chance to check out and possibly make a registry at is Buy Buy Baby. The weekend we’d planned on going to BBB was the weekend my state shut down due to COVID. Maybe one day I’ll go.

You read that correctly! By creating

5 Minute Meditation Practice

Before I got pregnant, I had a fairly consistent yoga and meditation practice. It continued until my son was born, and then I no longer had the time, energy, wherewithal to do either.

Yes, there was the occasional pocket of time where I was able to indulge in yoga, but I didn’t try to get back into meditation. I was already mentally struggling with being a first-time mom, and in hindsight (it’s always hindsight isn’t it?) I should have prioritized meditation.

The other weekend, while my husband was rocking our son to sleep for his first nap of the day, I sat in another room, laying on the loveseat, and decided to try to meditate again. I didn’t turn on a YouTube video or an app. I experimented with my own way of meditating.

If you count to 300 slowly (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, etc.), five minutes will pass.

I closed my eyes and began counting to 300.

Now, for most people, trying to sit quietly with their thoughts or clearing their mind only results in the opposite. Hundreds if not thousands of thoughts swirl around inside our heads at any given time. And normally, my brain is no different.

But this time, I only allowed myself to focus on images that brought me peace and joy: images of a cabin in the mountains I hope to visit one day with my family, a campfire blazing as the sun sets, my son asleep in my arms….

Five minutes may not seem like a long time, however, by the time I reached 300, I felt calmer and more at peace than I had in a long time. Five minutes was all it took.

As a parent, and especially as a mom, finding time to do anything for yourself seems selfish and impossible. But you can find five minutes. We need to. I shared my “epiphany” with my doctor last week and her emphatic agreement has encouraged me to try for a 5 minute meditation daily. I don’t always succeed, but tomorrow is another day.

Using Less Plastic

Earlier this year I read another book called How to Get Rid of Plastic by Will McCallum. It was quite the eye-opening book, especially the chapter on plastic in the bathroom. One of the main reasons I want to use as little plastic as possible is because my county’s recycling program doesn’t take most plastics or glass.

Even before coming across this book, I’ve been doing what I can to use less plastic in my life. Before I list the examples, please note I’ve listed several resources I’ve found useful in my less plastic, less overall waste journey.

Less Plastic ~ Less Waste examples: *spare dishes and silverware in my desk at work so I don’t use disposable stuff as often *bamboo cutlery for on the go *reusable produce bags at the grocery store *reusable carry bags for grocery and general shopping *carrying my own water bottle *asking for a mug for my drink at certain restaurants *using silicone and other reusable straws *switching to shampoo, conditioner, handsoap and body wash bars *cloth napkins instead of paper napkins *DIY facial scrub *DIY hot cocoa mix *using glass jars for leftovers and dry goods storage *purchased a refillable wipe pouch for my diaper bag *made my own reusable face pads for applying toner to my face out of flannel fabric

One thing I learned from the Sustainably Vegan YouTube channel was the notion of using a plastic container until it is no longer useful. I do that with the containers for my facial scrub, using the previous scrub container and a Gelato container for storage. We keep the plastic tubs from take out and deli meats to use as faux Tupperware for leftovers and lunches. Any plastic food containers that we don’t use for leftovers and lunch are used for freezing items so I’m not risking my good, legit stuff like Rubbermaid containers. If they break after 1 freeze, oh well. My latest was taking a large body wash pump bottle I’d finished (I’ve since switched to a soap bar) and made it into a huge liquid soap dispenser for my guest bath. I also have soap bars in there and in my bathroom.

Resources: *Sustainably Vegan YouTube channel *Shelbizlee YouTube channel *How to Give Up Plastic by Will McCallum *Article: A Guide to Zero-Waste Living *Article: 6 Easy Ways for a More Zero-Waste Life

Books Read in 2020

Maureen Johnson Truly Devious #2 The Vanishing Stair Couldn’t put down!

John Curto Perry & Constantine Pleshakov The Flight of the Romanovs A long slog but really enjoyed the last 5 paragraphs.

Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrow The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society Interesting side story of WWII

Candice Flemming The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Insightful Read

Terri Dulong Sunrise on Cedar Key

Terri Dulong Post Cards from Cedar Key

Andrew Cook The Murder of the Romanovs More about politics & finding the remains

Mur Lafferty The Shambling Guide to New York City

Mur Lafferty Ghost Train to New Orleans

Sarah Knight The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck (#1) Loved the TedTalk; can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Sarah Knight Get Your Sh*t Together (#2)

Sarah Knight Calm the F*ck Down (#3)

Sarah Knight You Do You (#4)

Sarah Knight F*ck No! (#5)

Jen Mann People I Want to Punch in the Throat Funny & Relatable

Isabel Sharpe Knit in Comfort I knew the blow up was coming, but there are still unanswered questions.

Dr. Rebecca Sharpe Redemption Good escape reading for newborn phase of parenthood

Ursula Vernon A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking Took a bit to get into, but I enjoyed it

Caballo Publishing Freeganism A tad militant, but informative

Will McCallum How to Give Up Plastic Disgusted with all the plastic in the world, but also inspired me to change some things

New Recipe: Cojito

I was given the Disney Festivals Recipe book. Of course the first thing I make out of it is an alcoholic drink! Happy New Year!

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