5 Baby Essentials I Couldn’t Live Without + Our Schedule

Avery is gaining weight and growing inches. With how fast time is flying I feel like she’s going to turn 1 year by next week! But y’all, it’s been so fun. Looking back, the first month was all about snuggling, waking a sleepy baby to feed, figuring out nursing, and surviving the 24 hour shifts. The eye bags were real and deep. It was hard. It was tough needing to be present for my older 3 kids that are still so dependent on me for everything. By month 2, things felt a little more consistent with the schedule but I was still so tired. Month 3 came along and Avery had been sleeping through the night, nursing was going great, I was back to exercising and going to regular playdates with the kids and friends. Now that Avery is 4 months everything feels a bit more solid. Avery is such a good baby. The only time she gets unpredictable is when I’ve thrown off the schedule. I’ve had a few requests to share my daily routine/schedule. It’s ALL over the place. But I’ll list what’s been happening for the last 1-2 weeks.

8:00am- Avery nurses (or I pump and then give her a bottle because getting a baby to take a bottle after she’s only dealt with breast her entire short life is no joke.)

9:00am- Swaddle Avery, lay her in her crib for nap. Make breakfast for myself and the older 3 kids (age 3, 3, 5). Watch the twins play dinos together + savannah usually colors/plays dress-up. I’ll start catching up on emails because i’m always weeeeeeks behind. Ugh, hello anxiety! Let the diet coke begin.

11:00am- Avery nurses. Make lunch. Dress kids and run off to the gym or to a playdate with friends. We’ve been LIVING in the pool this summer!

2:00pm- Get home. Nurse Avery. Put the 3 older kids down for naps. YEP, my 5.5 yr old still naps and I’m sure she hates me for it 😉

3:00pm- Swaddle Avery, lay her in crib for nap. Catch up on emails, plan/style future collaborations, etc. Consider cleaning the house, grab food from the kitchen instead. Sad that I have to have water instead of caffeine since I can’t handle my caffeine anymore.

4:00pm- Older 3 kids wake up (Well–oldest has probably been up for an hour). Snack. We all hang out with either watching a show, coloring, whatever the kids want.

5:00pm- Nurse Avery. Clean up. Snuggle baby girl + email/collabs while kids play in the backyard or playroom.

6:00pm- Dinner. Hubby gets home. Whirlwind for the next few hours.

8:00pm-Kids go to bed. Nurse Avery, swaddle, and put her to sleep by 8:30/9pm.

Herea’s a list of 5 baby essentials that I couldn’t live without!:

1.) Nested Bean Zen Swaddle. This has been my favorite swaddle to use with Avery. If you haven’t heard of it then you’ve been missing out! Here’s how it works: Most babies sleep better in your arms or with your palm on their chest. The Zen swaddle simulates that with lightly weighted pads on their chest and sides. I LOVE that this swaddle fits babies from 0-6 months! It has a newborn pouch while also fitting bigger babies (which is Avery now—slow down baby girl!). The velcro pads are thin and flat, not bulky like most other swaddles I’ve tried. This swaddle should be on every girl’s baby registry! (Use IVORYROSE15 for 15% off!)

2.) Baby Swing. Avery’s been waking up early around 6:30am. There’s no way I want that to be her breakfast time and so I’ve been quickly transferring her from her crib to her swing (that’s in her bedroom) and she’ll fall back asleep until I wake her at 8:00am. It’s worked great! I used the swing so much to keep her napping during growth spurts or fussy times—hello witching hour. We even took her swing with us on vacation to San Antonio and it saved my bacon!

3. Baby Carrier. I have this one by LilleBaby and it’s the ultimate of all baby carriers. It’s so decked out! Can comfortably wear a newborn up to a large toddler. I have the pewter color and it’s gorgeous. I’ll have to post a pic to my Instagram next week.

4. Nursing Pillow. I love this one by Au Lait. I have the pillow with the ”blush’ cover. It has a firm side and a plush side. I nurse Avery on the plush side and I’m actually using the “firm” side to prop up my lap top while I type this blog post. Ha! It’s 100x better than a boppy.

5. Breast Pump. Okay. I had a ton of requests from you mamas wanting help with feeding a breastfed baby their first bottle. This is my first baby where I haven’t done much of any bottle feeding since nursing has gone so well. And it’s been great so far, except now I’m finding it tough to get back home to nurse in time after teaching my gym classes, shopping, dinner dates, etc. We discovered that she did NOT want a bottle and would totally just scream at it! So, I started working last week on helping her learn to take a bottle. It hasn’t been easy and here’s what I’ve learned. The most successful bottle feeding sessions always happened first thing in the morning when she was the most hungry. I set my alarm and pumped in the morning. Transferred the milk from 2 bottles to 1. Warmed the bottle up in the microwave for 5-8 seconds. Woke Avery and fed her the bottle right away. If you want your breastfed baby to take a bottle then you need to offer a bottle at least twice a day. If baby doesn’t feel comfortable taking a bottle, I’d suggest offering a bottle for 2-3 days in a row. I’ve been topping off with my breast because I missed it! Ha! Once I decided to offer the bottle 2 days in a row she became a champ and will now take it whenever she needs to. At this point, I”ll probably offer a bottle 5x/week and will then taper off. Tips: If she was fussing/crying at the bottle, I would give us a break by going for a walk outside to help her calm down. Then I’d reheat the bottle and try again. She would never take a cool bottle. Such a tiny diva 😉 I’ve used this Medela and I currently use this Spectra. I reeeeally love the Spectra since its much smaller than the Medela and it has a bright screen with a timer! LOVE the timer.

Overall, I’m finding my new normal in the chaos. I read a quote from Elaine S. Dalton that hit my heart and soul in all the right places. She said, “From everything I read in the scriptures, I don’t think the Lord likes us to be in a comfort zone. He repeatedly takes his choicest servants out of their comfort zones and challenges them by their circumstances, their trials, and their opportunities, to become more and to do more.” ” I’m no real “choice” servant and all but I do feel that heavy weight from being taken out of my comfort zone. Let’s be real, it’s been that way since I was pregnant with my first. For those of y’all who have been with me on Insta since before Avery arrived, you know how crazy my following has grown. It’s been out of control. I chalk it up to blessings. I mean, I’m so lame y’all! And my heart has been pulling to find a bigger purpose in these platforms that have such a huge reach. And oddly enough, I’ve pulled away from scrolling through social media forums. I’ve turned off all notifications (SO sorry that I haven’t responded to your DM’s or emails!). It’s been a rollercoaster to navigate through my feelings in search of inspiration (and realizing it’s ok to wait for that special purpose to come to light). Until then, thanks for all your comments, love, and encouragement. It means more than you know!

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6 Comments

  1. Eileen
    July 25, 2017 / 11:12 am

    First of all, I love your blog!!! I have an almost 4 week baby girl and am a first time mom. How do you have time to get ready (hair, makeup) with 4 kids?!? I barely get time to brush my teeth with only 1 child! Teach me your ways!

    • Janene
      July 26, 2017 / 9:59 am

      Haha, well first off CONGRATULATIONS on your new baby! That is too sweet and it flies by. It’s super difficult to balance it all. I’m with you. Typically if i’ve showered and gotten ready then the house is a mess. Or, it’s a quick salad for dinner. If it’s important to me then I’ll let something less important slide. We can’t have it all and that’s totally ok! haha! Enjoy that sweet baby and thanks for connecting!

  2. Leah
    July 25, 2017 / 1:45 pm

    Hi Janene,

    Me again! Thanks so much for the note that you posted about sleep patterns! Our girl is sleeping like a champ at almost 3 months old! Three questions: what type of bottle did Avery eventually take to? You warm your milk in the microwave, how do you make sure there aren’t hot spots throughout the milk, all I have heard is to not do this but I can’t get the milk warm enough for our girl it seems? Also, how do you take some of your aerial photos of you and the kids and of Miss Avery in the top picture, is it all manual? Thanks so much!!

    Leah & Bellimy!

    • Janene
      July 26, 2017 / 10:10 am

      Hey Leah! Time is flying!! And I’m SO glad to hear that your darling girl is doing so well on her schedule. That takes a lot of work, well done mama! As far as your questions, I used the bottle that came with my Spectra breastpump. It’s super wide compared to my medela breastpump bottles. I think it mimics the breast perfectly. To be fair, the Spectra bottle is the only bottle I introduced to her early on. And so she wont even try with any other bottle. To make sure there aren’t any hotspots, I swirl the bottle around after warming it and then I dip my clean finger in to check temp. I’ve never had any burning issues with feeding any of my kids this way. And with the aerial photos, yes it’s all manual! No tricks really, lol. Long arms help 😉 It’s great to hear from you!

  3. July 31, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Love your post!!
    I have 2 y and then 2 m im only the sane schedule as you, other then my self I wake up at 7!
    I can’t find time for my self during the day I would love to put make up on, as soon as I step in the shower when the house is so quiet, someone wakes up! I try to put ben in the swing , but sister love to try to pushes it when your not around !

    Any ways I join a gym but I’m just so worried of the little one getting sick so I haven’t been yet! 🙁 . Any ways love following you on Instagram!!
    I’m a breastfeeding mama to!!

    • Janene
      August 2, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      Hey Chelsea! Ahh… i feel for you. When i had a 2 year old and newborn twins it was really hard to get any alone time. My twins are now 3.5 and theres a HUGE difference between a 2 and 3 year old. I always brought my babies to the gym once they turn 3 months old. I trust the ladies watching my kids and everything is as clean as i’d hope. But i completely understand your hesitancy! Hang in there! I bet things will get a little bit more manageable once your older babe becomes a little more independent. Having young babes is all-consuming the sweetest way ever!

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