STRIPED

Photography by Shadi Garman

Dress: Asos Red version here Heels: INC BAg: Louis Vuitton Earrings: 14th & Union

Hi Guys and Happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful week. Tonight is date night for Matt and I and I’m super excited. I really cherish when Matt and I take time for each other. It’s very important to us :). We have been doing a date night a week since Charlee was two weeks old!

Anyways, I really love this dress! I am so tempted to buy the red color too. It’s super comfortable and easy to style. I paired it with nude heels here, but you could pop on a pair of white sneakers for a casual brunch look too. I will say the size runs a little big so size down unless you want the sizing to be a bit relaxed like mine is in the photos.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

xoxo-J

TIPS & TRICKS FOR TRAVELING WITH BABY ALONE AND WITH PARTNER


Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Easter weekend! Matt, Charlee and I just got back yesterday afternoon from a long weekend in NC visiting my side of the family. It was a wonderful weekend and the most exciting part of it was that my sister announced to the world she is having a baby!! We are so excited and thrilled that Charlee will have a cousin so close in age! Baby Miano coming October 2018!!

This past trip was Charlee’s 6th round trip flight since she was born. I have travelled once alone with her and the other times Matt has been with me. I wanted to round up my tips and tricks for traveling with baby. Keep in mind that Charlee is currently 7 (almost 8) months old so these are tips for ages 0-8 months. I am sure my tips will change once she becomes a bit more mobile 🙂

  1. Before I get in to logistical tips, I want to tell you all to make sure you add your baby or lap child to your ticket. Matt and I didn’t realize we had to do this until we arrived at the airport! It doesn’t take long to add the baby, but it’s way easier to get it done ahead of time. You can call the airline to add your baby. Also, I’d bring a picture of your baby’s birth certificate just in case they need to see it. Some airlines do, but a photo suffices.
  2. Tips for packing baby’s suitcase:
    • If you’re traveling somewhere that you won’t have a washing machine, make sure to bring two outfits MINIMUM for baby per day. Charlee used to spit up a lot so we would have her in multiple outfits per day. I would love to say that I am a minimalist packer, but I find that overpacking (or just packing more than you think you need) when it comes to a baby makes things way less stressful. I hate not being prepared and by making sure I have what I need (even if I don’t use it) lowers my anxiety and helps me relax when traveling. For baby, I always make sure I have enough diapers and wipes in her suitcase for when we get to where we are going. Sometimes I’ll buy them when we get to our destination but I prefer getting to where we are going and not having to stop at CVS to pick stuff up.
    • Use ziplock bags to keep tiny items organized. I organize her baby shoes and hair bows in one large bag, her medicine, nose frieda and basic baby toiletries I use for her in another, and her socks and bibs in a third. This keeps me organized!
    • The first time I traveled with Charlee, I had a carry on filled with all of her clothes, diapers, pacifiers, wipes , extra formula etc. I was panicked that we could potentially lose her bag and then be screwed upon landing if we checked it. This ended up being more of a hassle than it was worth because we also had the travel stroller, carrier and diaper bag so we just had so much crap with us to carry around the airport. I would recommend checking your baby’s bag UNLESS you are going somewhere that you aren’t comfortable finding your baby’s necessities in local shops if your bag gets lost. I would most likely carry on Charlee’s things if we were traveling internationally. Domestically, I am totally comfortable finding what she needs at Target!
  3. Tips for packing baby’s diaper bag:
    • First, I can’t stress enough how amazing it is having a backpack diaper bag in life and especially when traveling. I had a regular diaper bag for the first few months of Charlee’s life, but when I switched to this backpack by Skip Hop I realized how much easier it was and what I was missing! Having your hands free is a game changer. In Charlee’s diaper bag I always have these items packed for flights: 4-5 diapers, wipes, boogie wipes, pacifier wipes, travel size diaper cream, travel size toy sanitizer spray (I use this all the time since her toys land on the floor constantly when we travel), Pacifier in a pacifier holder, diaper storage bags, travel diaper change pads, baby toys (I usually bring a noggin stick, baby keys, and her banana…small but distracting toys), a small bag of puffs, her formula in this formula travel pack already pre-measured, two extra bibs, a change of clothes for baby and yourself (usually a onesie with footies attached) and a large muslin blanket.

      That sounds like a lot but it actually all fits comfortably in this backpack. All of these items are necessary for us to travel with but I wanted to explain a few of them. The disposable diaper change pads are awesome because you can just throw them away after you use one. Public bathrooms are yucky and you just never know what kind of germs are on the surface. I used to hate putting my own diaper pad down and then putting it back in my diaper bag with all the germs on it. These pads eliminate that worry! I also wanted to share how helpful a muslin blanket is. Charlee likes to sit up and play on her own so bringing this blanket makes this a lot easier. I can lay it on the floor of the airport and spread out her toys so she isn’t in contact with the germs. I also use this blanket on the plane as well. Charlee gets very stimulated and has a hard time sleeping when people are moving around. I’ll pop her under the blanket and sway her to sleep. The muslin fabric is very light weight and keeps her from getting hot.
  4. Curbside check all of your items if you can. Obviously this doesn’t work if the weather is really cold, but I find this super helpful when traveling without Matt. It can be a circus trying to get baby from the car, our of her car seat, into the carrier and all of your luggage into the airport and in-line. Thank God for curbside check! I really recommend checking your car seat, unless you plan on buying a seat for your baby and putting them in the car seat. We have never done this and it seems like it could be a lot more work just lugging it through security etc.
  5. Buy a carseat travel bag. I really recommend this one. Bags that are checked aren’t really secured in the airplane so with turbulence things can get damaged. Using a great travel bag for your carseat is going to really protect your car seat. It also protects the car seat from germs too!
  6. Use a travel stroller when traveling. Matt and I bought a great travel stroller by Mountain Buggy. It’s super lightweight and folds down super compactly making it easy to take on to the plane and put into the overhead compartment. It also reclines very low so I was able to use this stroller when Charlee was around 4 months old. I love the Mountain buggy.
  7. If your baby is old enough for toys, pack small but distracting ones that attach easily to a paci-clip. This is so ideal since the ground is gross at the airport. I would clip Charlee’s noggin stick or banana teether to her bib and let her play. She was able to drop it and I wouldn’t have to worry about germs.
  8. Ask for help! People love babies and are so willing to help you. I asked for help when I was traveling alone with Charlee and it made it so much easier.
  9. Take your time. There is no rush! Getting through security is stressful, and trying to do it quickly is even more stressful. People can wait! Just take a breath and take your time.
  10. Wear your baby! Wearing your baby gives you free hands and more mobility. You also can go through the security line with your baby on you. If you have them in a car seat, they will make you take your baby out before going through so keep that in mind for naps etc. The only time you are not able to wear your baby is for take off and landing, so try to keep your baby from falling asleep in the carrier before you board, unless of course they transfer out of the carrier well!
  11. You can pack as many liquids as you need when traveling with a baby, but note that you WILL get a bag check. I would recomend putting all of the liquids into a plastic bag so you can just pull it out when they check your bag. I used to do a bag of the formula and then another bag with wipes and diaper cream. All of these items set off the alarm and will get tested and checked.
  12. Get to the gate early if you can. We always leave 2.5 hours before out flight leaves to give us extra time to get where we are going. You are able to board first if you have a child with you. Take advantage and be at the gate early!
  13. If you are traveling alone, sit on the aisle. If you are traveling with a partner, sit by the window. When I was alone traveling with Charlee I loved being on the aisle in case I need to hop up and walk her down the aisle without bothering anyone. When traveling with a partner, the window seat is better and can be great for baby. Charlee loves to look out the window.
  14. Bring Snacks! I pack a ton of snacks for Charlee because it’s a great way to distract her. I will pack baby Mum Mums and puffs and let her eat as many as she wants. It sometimes buys me an extra 30 minutes of her sitting in my lap!
  15. Change your baby before you get on the flight! I have not had to change Charlee on a flight before because I always did so right before we took off. Keep in mind the flights have been max two hours for us, but it definitely helped to change her right before!
  16. Remember, babies cry. It’s sad but true! It’s the only way they know how to communicate. If your baby is crying on the flight, just take a breath and keep calm. Try not to think about other people. Your baby will feel your energy and be more upset. One time Charlee was very upset and wouldn’t stop crying for 10 minutes! That felt like a lifetime!!! I stayed calm though and rocked her back and forth and finally she just passed out on me and slept the whole rest of the flight!! In the end she cried for 10 minutes and that’s it. No sweat off my back or anyone else’s!
  17. Dress your baby in layers for the flight! I have been on flights where the temperature is FREEZING and then another where the plane is so hot. I always try and put Charlee in footie PJ’s with a sweater on top, a cotton hat, and booties (I just got these booties and love them! They stay on really well and are under $10). If the plane is too hot, I can take off the sweater, hat and booties and monitor her temperature.
  18. If you can, fly out in the morning. Babies are their happiest in the morning after a good night’s sleep. We try and leave around 9 or 10 in the morning and that has been the best time to travel with her so far. Obviously we can’t always do this, but morning flights tend to be a bit easier.
  19. If you are traveling alone, don’t sit in the first row of the plane. You will have to put your diaper bag above for take off and landing and it’s super annoying. That said, Matt and I always sit in the front when we are together because  there is a ton of room and I can pop Charlee on the ground on her blanket and let her play with toys. I only do that when we are together though because we have two sets of hands!
  20. Bring a change of clothes for yourself! I always bring an extra shirt for myself in my diaper bag. I have used it a few times! Once because of a spit up incident and another because of a diaper blowout!
  21. Have fun!! You and your baby are on an adventure! I’ll never forget how nervous I was to take Charlee on our first flight just us. I had anxiety for weeks! It ended up being SO MUCH EASIER than I thought it would be and really fun! It was a Mommy and Charlee adventure and a memory I will always cherish.

SOCKS WITH SANDALS: HOW TO ROCK IT!

 

Photography by Shadi Garman

Jacket: Banana Republic Earrings: Baublebar Pants: Banana Republic Top: H&M Sandals: Gucci Socks: JCrew

Hi Everyone! Hope you are all having a great week so far. I am so excited that we are one day closer to warm weather. I am deep into spring transitional dressing with this cold one day, cool the next weather. I love a great cold weather look don’t get me wrong, but I am a spring/summer girl through and through. I just got these beautiful Gucci sandals and I couldn’t wait to wear them, so I decided to pair them with a fabulous pair of socks! I have been seeing this trend all over the place and wanted to try it. This trend is a great way to add a little “extra” to a basic look. My only advice when trying to rock socks with open-toed heels and sandals is to stick to socks that are delicate and not so bulky. I linked some awesome sock options here:

I really love this trend since it extends the wear of your summer and spring shoes! Here are some of my favorite ways blogger and celebs have styled this type of trend!

Blaire of Atlantic-Pacific can really do no wrong in my book. She always looks so amazingly put together and rocks some pretty outrageous looks but makes them look seamless and curated!

(photo courtesy of www.atlantic-pacific.com)

This look is amazing!! I love how unexpected her socks are! It really adds an element of fabulous don’t you think?!

I love this look. The socks are super understated but still fashion forward. SUPER cool.

I love this heel and sock combination. I think a chunky platform heel works really well for this type of look.

Hope you guys have a fabulous rest of the week!

xoxo-J

THE BEST BABY TOYS

 

Photography by Shadi Garman

Hi Everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the second day of spring. We are currently in the middle of a snow storm in NYC (insert eye roll here). This winter does not want to let up! Hoping it takes a turn for the better soon!

Despite this seemingly never ending winter, living in NYC is one of the best experiences of my life. I knew from a young age I wanted to live here. That said, space has always been issue. Apartments with tons of extra space is considered a luxury in NYC. It’s what you have to give up in order to live here! Add a baby into the mix and things get tricky. Apartment living with a baby can be challenging but I’ve made it my mission to try and create a kid friendly atmosphere without sacrificing on interior style. I keep all of Charlee’s toys in this gorgeous woven basket with a lid.  I purchased a really pretty play mat as well. It has been a challenge to keep our apartment from looking like a baby factory and I am sure it will get harder the bigger Charlee gets but so far I’m happy with how our apartment looks! One thing Matt and I have done thus far is to not overload the apartment with baby toys. I’ve been very strategic in purchasing toys that I think Charlee will love, but not over-buying. I’ve also gotten a few toys from friends as well! I put together a list of the best toys for babies ages 0-6 months. Charlee still uses these toys today at almost 8 months old!

 

Pull and Sing Puppy by V-Tech: This little puppy rolls around and has a little leash attached. It sings a bunch of songs, has buttons and the ears swing around. Charlee just loves it.

Fisher-Price brilliant basics boppin’ activity bugs: Charlee got this as a gift and LOVES it. She plays with the little bugs and pops them up and down. It’s also a great way to teach your baby what “up” and “down” means! We play that game a lot with this toy.

Nogginstick: This has been our go-to since Charlee was super little. It was her first toy and she STILL loves it! It’s been through the ringer though and only glows red now (used to glow green and blue) but she doesn’t care!. It’s a great toy.

Baby Maraca: I bought this toy randomly at Buy Buy Baby when Charlee and I were shopping there. I had forgotten to bring a toy for her so I picked this up out of a random bin and she LOVED it. It kept her entertained the whole shopping trip. She loves anything that makes lots of sounds she can control.

V-Tech Moosical Cow : This is another V-Tech toy that Charle loves. It has a lot of songs and buttons and lights.

Baby Banana Toothbrush: My friend Katie gave us this little tooth brush and it has been a lifesaver. It’s a teething toothbrush that feels really good on Charlee’s gums. It also has two little banana peel loops on the side which make it easy to attach to a paci holder. I like to keep it attached to her so she doesn’t drop it on the floor when we are out and about.

Nuby Teether Keys:  These are great! You can pop them into the fridge and it helps to soothe babies gums. Charlee isn’t teething quite yet but she loves chewing on these.

Sophie the Giraffe:  I think every Mom would agree with me that Sophie the giraffe is the best. There are so many parts to chew and Charlee loves it. I always bring Sophie with us wherever we go. It’s a must-have!

I hope you guys found this list of toys useful. I do my best to rotate the toys so Charlee isn’t overwhelmed with constant distractions. These have been our go-to’s and they continue to be even at 7 (almost 8 months old). I will be sure to post a follow up toys post down the road!

xoxo-J

POLKA DOT STREET STYLE

 

Photography by Shadi Garman

Dress: Asos (tall) Regular size here Boots: Stuart Weitzman Coat: Asos (sold out) similar here Earrings: Bauble Bar

Hi Guys! How was your weekend? Ours was great but it was SO cold we barely went outside. I’m so sick of this weather I can’t WAIT for spring to officially start. I got this dress to wear this spring and unfortunately haven’t been able to wear it without a huge coat on top quite yet. I have been wanting a polka dot dress and when I saw this one I scooped it up. I got it in a tall size but it also comes in regular which I linked above. The only good thing about this winter lasting so long is that I have gotten good use out of my winter coats and boots!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

xoxo-J

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT GETTING FIT AFTER BABY

 

Jacket: Lululemon Leggings: Mono B Sneakers: Nike

Photography by Shadi Garman

Hi Friends!  I have been wanting to put together a blog post about getting fit after baby for a while. Not because I’m super fit or am any sort of expert in the area of fitness, but because it’s so much harder than I thought to get fit after having a baby! Before I got pregnant, I was working out 5-6 days a week. I felt great and was strong and lean and fitness was a huge part of my life!

This picture above was taken the month before I got pregnant. I am also hailing a cab the WRONG way for this photo which makes me chuckle. We do weird things sometimes to get the shot lol! Anyways, once I got pregnant I had all the intentions to continue to exercise throughout the course of my pregnancy. I had visions of myself with my belly at 305 fitness dancing my little heart out. WELL the universe had other plans for me! Early on in my pregnancy, I pulled my neck out. That sounds weird but it was essentially like when you pull your back out, but in my neck which was HORRIBLE. I could barely move you guys. This was also around the time that my morning sickness started to hit so you can imagine it was a bit of a tough time for me. It took me about 2 months to really heal my neck which meant no exercise for me at that time, clearly! Once I felt well enough to start exercising again though, my back pain started. Throughout my pregnancy, the back pain got worse and worse and by the third trimester I could barely brush my teeth without pain (I had sciatica). If Matt and I went anywhere, I would bring a small pillow with me so I could have something comfortable to sit on. I was really frustrated that I couldn’t exercise and by the end of my pregnancy I had gained close to 55 lbs! A lot of that was swelling, but it was super uncomfortable to carry around that weight.

Fast forward to after I gave birth. I wasn’t thinking about getting back into shape. I really just wanted to focus and be present with my daughter. I lost about 30lbs in the first month after having Charlee. I like to think of it as deflating all the swelling! Then I had 25 lbs to go and I sort of plateaued. I slowly got back into exercising and started with yoga and would take soul cycle every now and again but nothing was really doing anything to change my body! It was frustrating to say the least. January rolled around and I still had about 20 lbs left to lose. That’s when I decided to start BBG. It has been such a game changer. For those of you who don’t know what BBG is, it’s a workout program that consists of three “resistance”  and three “cardio” workouts per week. The best part about the program is that the resistance workouts are only 28 minutes so it’s a program that is do-able and easy to complete. That said, it’s SUPER hard and challenging. In the beginning I could barely get through them. I still have days where I can barely finish! I love how easy and attainable the program is ESPECIALLY for Moms and people with limited time. You can always find 28 minutes in your day, and the workouts are designed so you can do them in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a light set of weights and a chair. The workouts consist of a combination of targeted workouts with cardio and body weight exercises. I like to run down to the gym in our building but if I can’t leave the apartment or I’ll set myself up on a mat in the living room. So far, I’ve lost about 6lbs in the 6 weeks iv’e been on this program. I’m trying not to focus on the weight though and instead focus on how I feel and how my clothing fits. I am excited to see how my results look at the end of the 12 week program. I recommend downloading the SWEAT App on your phone if you decide to try the program. It’s super easy to follow and it’s like having a personal trainer with you while you do your workouts!

The program has been great, but one thing I will say is how slow the progress has been. I have been working so hard and for me, my body just isn’t responding in the way it would have before baby. I still suffer from back pain and if I overdo it on the exercise front, I pay for it later. I have been training for a race that Matt and I are running next weekend and I have had a lot of back pain through my training. It’s been a struggle because I constantly keep comparing my new body to my old body which is NOT healthy and simply unfair to my current figure. I keep having to remind myself that I birthed a human 7 months ago! I am slowly learning to celebrate my achievements and doing my best to stop comparing my new self to my old self. One thing that really helps when I am being tough on myself is to look at my progress photos. The SWEAT App encourages you to take a progress photo every week. The below photos are my progress from week 1 to week 8. I can see a difference and  I am so glad I took these photos to remind myself of the hard work I’ve put in.

Week 1 vs. Week 6

Week 1 vs. Week 8

I am excited to share my progress on this program at the end of 12 weeks. There are so many changes that happen to us when we have our babies! It’s crazy what we as women go through. I think it’s important for all of us to support each other and honor the work and dedication we give to our families. I try to also give myself the same dedication and love. What are you guys doing for workouts? I’d love to see what is working for you!

xoxo-J

 

 

A LITTLE BLACK MINI DRESS

Photography by Shadi Garman

Dress: Tobi c/o Boots: Stuart Weitzman Earrings: Nordstrom Rack Bag: Gucci

Shop all Tobi here

Hi Everyone and happy hump-day. I hope this week has been off to a good start for all you lovelies! I feel like I’ve had quite the week already and I’m only halfway through. Yesterday, I took Charlee to her first swim lesson and she LOVED it. She had so much fun and it completely exhausted her and she slept 13 hours last night! It’s alway kind of a circus trying to do things with a baby, and each time I sign us up for an activity or play date etc. I get kind of anxious about pulling it off and getting to where we ned to go. I usually forget something, or am sweating profusely by the time we arrive. Yesterday, I forgot to bring a towel for her swim lesson and ended up drying Charlee off with my cardigan while I dripped dry and almost froze to death haha! That said, every time I do something for Charlee it totally works out and seeing her have fun makes it all so worth it!

Anyways, I wanted to share this adorable black sweater dress with you guys. It’s been way too cold to pull something like this off in NYC but now that the weather is hopefully taking a turn towards spring, I have been wearing it non-stop. I’ve worn it three times on date night already! Lucky for you guys, it’s currently $29!!! I sized up for the length, but it runs pretty true to size. I am wearing a large, but usually wear a medium.

What are you guys up to this weekend? I have been doing a TON of work on my blog and pinterest and styling business. It’s crazy how much work goes into the backend of blogs. Would you guys want to see a post on any of that?

Xoxo-J

WHAT I FEED MY BABY

Pictured: HIPP Formula , Baby MUM MUMS, Peter Rabbit Organics, Plum Organics, PUFFS, Earth’s Best Baby Food

Photography by Shadi Garman

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. I don’t know about you guys, but I HATE daylight savings! It never bothered me so much until I had a baby. I felt so bad last night because we tried to get Charlee to go to sleep an hour early, but of course she had no interest in that. I let her cry a bit and after 15 minutes I felt so guilty that I took her out of her room and let her play with her toys for another half hour. We ended up getting her to fall asleep  20 minutes early which is a good start. We are going to try for 15 minutes earlier tonight. If you have any tips for handling daylight savings with babies send them my way!

Anyways, moving on to today’s post! I always thought I would be the kind of Mom that cooked and stored all of my baby’s food. I had visions of myself prepping and steaming and cooking and freezing all her food. Well, then reality set in and I am simply not that kind of Mom and that’s OK! Luckily, there are so many INCREDIBLE food options for babies out there and I can honestly say that Charlee is getting such healthy and delicious foods that are maybe even a little better than what I could prepare.

Let me start off with which formula we feed her. Charlee has always been a spitter. Our Dr. likes to call her a “happy spitter” because even from the moment she drank breast milk she would spit up so much all day and not even seem to be phased by it! It was just an annoyance for me really since I ended up changing her outfits multiple times a day. Charlee was breast milk fed with one bottle of formula for the first 3 months of her life. Then I stopped exclusively pumping and we started her on formula for every bottle. We went through SO many formulas and the one that seemed to make her spit up the least was Similac Sensitive. Since she spit up a lot, we used the premixed formula which seemed to have less bubbles. It was a little pricier than normal formula but it worked. We stuck with Similac for close to 5 months until a friend recommended a Dutch formula called HIPP that really helped her baby from spitting up. We tried it and oh my gosh what a difference it made! I sort of hate that it works so well because we have to import it from EUROPE! HA! Anything for our babies, am I right?! Once Charlee was 4.5 months old, we slowly introduced a few purees. She started with Earth’s Best baby cereal and once she started figuring out how to eat off the spoon (about a week later) we gave Charlee her first food, peas by Earth’s Best! They make awesome baby food in stages and I bought the large variety pack of both veggies and fruit in stage one. It was the perfect amount and I stuck with this for about a month. My Dr. told me to feed Charlee the same food three days in a row to make sure she wasn’t allergic. Luckily (fingers crossed) she hasn’t been allergic to anything yet. Her favorites are peas, carrots and apples.

I have slowly started to introduce some mixed purees now that Charlee has had pretty much every veggie and fruit. I really like the organic pouches by Peter Rabbit Organics and Plum Organics. I also give her a package of MUM MUMS or a handful of PUFFS every day. These are a great way to bide more time between feedings or to distract Charlee if she is fussy. They are also a great activity to use when at brunch with friends ;).

My plan for food going forward is to continue to offer Charlee mixed purees and eventually share with her what Matt and I are already eating. I really want Charlee to love food as much as we do! I also am slowly introducing nut butters and so far she hasn’t been allergic! Yay!

It’s so crazy to think that only three months ago, Charlee wasn’t even able to hold her head up, let alone eat anything more than formula and breast milk. It really is so true what they say! It goes so fast!

Xoxo-J

 

A LITTLE LACE

Photos by Shadi Garman

Dress: Tobi C/O Heels: INC Brand Earrings: Nordstrom Rack Coat: Club Monaco

Shop all Tobi here

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic week. I’m excited for a very low key weekend. Matt and I have a date night planned for Saturday and other than that we are just excited to be together as a family. I love weekends and hanging out just the three of us :).

I recently collaborated with a new brand called Tobi. They carry a ton of fun and flirty pieces on their website for a great price. This gorgeous lacey number is currently 50% off with code TOBI50! I was super excited to try out their clothing but was worried about the quality with such a low price tag. The fit and quality is actually great and I highly recommend !

This dress would be so fun for a spring wedding. I just wish I had some fabulous place to go! I love the lace and how the skirt underneath is shorter so you can really see the lace detail.

Have a great weekend everyone!

xoxo-J

 

OUR DAYCARE EXPERIENCE

^^Photograhy by Shadi Garman (Mommy and Charlee on their way to daycare!)

^^Charlee with her baby friends at Daycare! She is on the top left with the bow 🙂

I want to firstly preface this post by saying that I now, today, LOVE daycare. My daughter is thriving and happy and learning SO much daily. The other day I walked in to pick her up and she smiled at me and started clapping her hands. I didn’t teach her that! Her amazing teachers at daycare did. Charlee has little baby friends, is stimulated by books and songs all day, and has learned to nap in a noisy and bright environment. Despite all the frustrating parts of making the transition into daycare that I am going to discuss in this blog post, I couldn’t be happier that we have Charlee in Daycare. I also want to say that this is 100% my own perspective and reflects no one else’s. I want to share with you all my experience and hope to offer some insight and perhaps even calm your nerves if you are going back to work and putting your baby in daycare!

Going back to work after baby is probably one of the hardest decisions a new Mother has to make. Continuing to work was important to me but I certainly didn’t feel ready to go back as soon as I did. Unfortunately for American parents, FMLA only requires 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for mothers of newborn or newly adopted children. This is one of the lowest levels of leave in the industrialized world! None of this leave is required to be paid. This forces a lot of Mother’s to head back to work way earlier than they would prefer and sadly, makes the transition that much harder. I was able to take 13 weeks off of work. When I filled out my FMLA paperwork (literally 4 days after giving birth), three months felt like a good chunk of time. Let me tell you that three months was definitely NOT enough time to be home with my baby and within the few weeks before heading back to work my anxiety started to flood in.

Even before Charlee was born, I knew I wanted to be a working Mom. Matt and I had decided that daycare would be the best route for our family. We had heard amazing things about the benefits of daycare including the socialization and engaging activities. Daycare was also always open and never took sick days which a Nanny could potentially do. Daycare is also more affordable than a nanny, and to top it all off, the daycare we wanted was literally in the same apartment building as ours! All fingers pointed to DAYCARE! NYC is kind of nuts and waiting lists are a real pain so we had Charlee pre-enrolled when I was only 12 weeks pregnant and pre-paid months in advance to make sure she made it in. Pretty nuts right?!

Fastforward to a few weeks before heading back to work and me realizing how hard it was going to be to go back to work and leave Charlee in daycare. I decided to put her in for a few half days before going back to ease into it. The first day, I had Matt come with me to help with drop off and setting everything up. It was the hardest moment of my life you guys. I literally didn’t speak to anyone because I thought I was going to throw up! By the time we left the building I was dry heaving and sobbing! Needless to say, I went back to get her two hours later haha! I also think I may have traumatized my husband!

I put Charlee into daycare on a Wednesday and by Friday I was SO ready for the weekend and to have time with my baby. I was dreading Monday and going back to work, but I felt at least more comfortable having done the drop off three days in a row. Monday morning came, and I was able to keep my composure and go back to work. It was an emotional morning, but by the time I got to work and saw all my old co-workers, took myself to lunch without worrying about my baby, I started to feel OK! It was actually really nice to be at work and be talking to adults and using my brain in a different way. I watched the clock by the mid-afternoon and shot out of my office at 4:59 P.M. to pick up my girl. When I arrived, she was doing tummy time with other babies and as happy as a clam! I was so relieved.

Seems great right?! Well, fast-forward to three days later (only a week after being in daycare) and Charlee woke up with her first fever. I will spare you the stress and all the details but after a day of fever and a horrible cough she ended up being admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay. Charlee had contracted RSV from daycare and they needed to monitor her oxygen levels. This meant that not only was my poor baby sick, but I had to stay home from work to care for her. It was extremely stressful, terrifying and it completely freaked me out. I felt like a HORRIBLE mother leaving my baby at daycare with all the germs! Over the next few months, Charlee was sick more than she wasn’t to be honest. It took about 10 days for her to get over RSV and then the next week she had another cold. It was so stressful. I’m not telling you guys this to freak you out, but I wish I had known that this is common and happens! I knew babies get sick from daycare but I just didn’t realize what you need to do in order to keep your family and YOU from the stress of it. I put together a list of tips and tricks as well as things I wish I had known before starting the daycare track. I really do love my daycare now and just wish I had been a little more prepared before I enrolled Charlee for what was to come. Hopefully this will help you guys!

Tips and tricks for daycare:

  1. Have sick day care lined up. As I mentioned in my anecdote above, I had no idea how sick babies get in the first few months at daycare. We don’t live near family so when Charlee was sick, I had to take a day off of work to stay home with her. My husband has a very intense and demanding job so it always fell on me to be home with her. This was extremely stressful because not only was I dealing with a poor sick baby, but I also was neglecting my work! I eventually was able to set myself up with a fabulous rolodex of sitters to take care of Charlee when I needed to go in to work. I would have them come for a half day so I could run into work and get some things done. It was really helpful!
  2. Have a conversation with your Boss. Heading back to work full time is a transition and it’s important to be honest and forthcoming about the flexibility you will most likely need in the first few months of Daycare. I was so lucky to have a boss that was super supportive and understood when I needed to work from home or step out early. I think being pro-active and talking to her first helped a lot. She knew that I cared about my quality of work and appreciated that I came to her.
  3. When you go back to work, try to enroll your baby a few days before your back to work start date. This will let you get used to your morning routine as well as emotionally help prepare you. You’d be surprised how much of a circus it is to get everything ready and packed. Having practiced a few days in a row really helped me feel confident on my first day back to work.
  4. Don’t go visit your baby during the day unless you are picking them up early. I know this sounds really weird, but this is just my advice. One time, very early on after I went back to work, I decided to go visit Charlee over my lunch break. I came in and scooped her up (she was doing tummy time) and we had a little snuggle session. It was magical! Then I went to put her down so I could get back to work. Well, she was NOT happy about this and started sobbing. I tried to soothe her but she was just not having it. I started stressing because I had to go back to work for a meeting! One of her daycare teachers picked her up and was soothing her by the time I went to leave but I was so shaken up! I could barely make it through the rest of my day! That was the last time I went to visit. Instead, if I am missing her, I just go get her early.
  5. If you can, prep the bottles and pack your baby’s items for daycare the night before. I have plenty of time in the mornings to do all that I need to get Charlee ready for daycare, but I love to spend that time playing with her instead. Sometimes I do the bottles that morning, but I always pack her bag the night before so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning.
  6. Your daycare will tell you to do this but spend a few days labeling your baby’s clothes, bottles, spoons etc. I recommend these labels for clothes and these labels for bottles.  Both sets are waterproof and I have used them every day with no problem! The clothing labels actually work on bottles and I use those to date and label what is inside her bottles every day since it changes daily.
  7. Get to know the teachers! In the beginning, I was so worried and wrapped up in whether or not Charlee was OK, that I forgot to get to know who was watching her! These wonderful women were caring for my daughter and I was running in and running out wrapped up in my head! Once I got to know the teachers, guess what?! It was SO MUCH EASIER to leave Charlee because I felt comfortable. I try and do really nice things for the teachers as well. I bake for them and always bring them all holiday presents from Charlee. I think they really appreciate it.
  8. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Just because your baby is in daycare doesn’t mean you can’t ask for certain things do to be done a certain way for your child. There have been days where Charlee struggles to nap, or comes home a little cranky from lack of sleep. In the beginning, I just figured it was out of my control in that environment. Then I decided to ask what was up! I spoke to the main teacher and asked her what they do to help babies fall asleep. I gave her some pointers on what worked for Charlee and low and behold, her naps got better with some of my directions.
  9. Remember that it gets easier!! I like to compare your first days of Daycare to the first days of Motherhood. The more time passes, the more comfortable you get! I am so comfortable with daycare now and what is even better is how much my daughter loves it. These days, when I take her out of her stroller and she sees her teachers and baby friends, she starts to clap and is just so excited. I couldn’t ask for more!

I hope this gave those of you considering daycare a real look into what it’s like. Nothing about leaving your child in someone else’s care is easy, but seeing my child thrive in a new environment has made it all worth it.

Xoxo-J