My Deep, Dark Secret: I Sleep Trained

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As I sat in the rocking chair this afternoon nursing Leo pre-nap, thumbing through momstagrams as I do, I came across a flagrant debate between two opposing viewpoints: to sleep train or not to sleep train.

Angry parents were openly criticizing the blog Your Zen Mama for posting an article by Beatrix James describing her personal choice to sleep train.  These upset individuals insist that sleep training is not exemplary of “gentle parenting” and that “scientific research proves” that sleep training is detrimental to a child’s development.

Well, guess what folks? My deep, dark secret: I sleep trained. It worked really well for our family. And I am pretty angry with the parents who make me–and other parents who decided sleep training is right for them–feel like that truth should remain in the shadows.

Firstly, let’s get a bit of context for the term “sleep training.” In simple terms, it is teaching your babe how to fall asleep on their own, in peace and security. As it was described to me by our pediatrician, everyone (you, your partner, your baby…) wakes up either partially or fully, multiple times a night. As adults we have learned that waking up in the quiet darkness is nothing to be afraid of. We can roll over and go back to sleep. But a new baby has yet to be given that reassurance. While the “cry-it-out” method has infamously become associated with sleep training, there are numerous techniques to chose from: verbal reassurance, pick-up-put-down (PUPD), a strong and consistent bedtime routine, graduated extinction, etc.

People, you are not leaving your child to scream in terror in his crib for hours, or even multiple minutes. And if you are (now here I go judging…) shame on you.

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I, too, was resistant for so long to the idea of sleep training. I couldn’t detach from the idea that anything other than tending to my baby’s every nocturnal whim, regardless of our doctor’s reassurance that he was gaining weight well and thus wasn’t waking out of hunger, was cold and damaging. Every night before bed I would embark on a crazy routine that was one step away from wearing our underwear inside-out and drawing a circle of salt around our bed. I was convinced that dimming the lights just so and speaking in languid tones would help–this time I swear it–the baby to sleep more than a couple of hours. How my husband had the patience to jump through my nocturnal hoops, i’ll never know. Beyond regulating the height at which he could keep his bedside lamp (on the floor was preferred) I went as far as to insist that he hold the baby in certain ways before bed…and so on and so forth…

The reality is that a soul-aching exhaustion and the feeling that I was trapped in a terrifying cycle of helplessness was making me unwell.

We fed more. We gave warms baths and massages. We used dock-a-tots and zen sacks and whale sounds and mood lighting and lullabies and rhythmic movement. We also co-slept for many months. Even in our bed, nestled warmly between his two adoring parents, Leo woke up every 1 to 2 hours crying.

So before anyone berates me for not trying hard enough, not giving motherhood my all, or being withholding of love and nurturing for my son, consider that I TRIED EVERYTHING.

The regime that ended up working best for our family was a combination of PUPD, verbal reassurance and graduated extinction. It was important to me that we did not let Leo cry for long periods of time, and while the no-tear methods may take longer to implement, they do work. Also–and this is KEY–I stopped nursing (or bottle feeding) Leo until he was asleep. Instead, we did our bath (if it was bath night…because  let’s be honest…he doesn’t get a bath every night) got in pjs, did our feeding routine (which in our case was a bf/bottle combo) and then read a story. If Leo fell asleep during the feeding I would WAKE HIM BACK UP before reading the story. Crazy, huh? Crazy enough to work. It is imperative that your baby be laid in the crib awake so that he understands that it is bedtime and time for him to put in those long nighttime hours.

And thus our sleep training efforts did just as they were meant to….they taught our son how to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Sometimes we have a bad night, especially after returning from a vacation–or other unavoidable (and important) life events–when sleep routines get jostled. Inevitably after a trip we have to start back at square one to reteach Leo to settle into sleep on his own. The first night can be really tough and I hear the confusion, frustration and, sometimes, fear in his voice. On those bad nights we nurse and snuggle more, just so there is no doubt in his mind that he is safe and loved. But the point is that you can hear the difference in your baby’s cries. There is a distinct difference in a cry of panic and a cry of protest. When your baby cries in panic go to him. When he is fussing and grumpy because it’s bedtime, but he’d prefer that all the wonder and exploration of daytime not be over, let him communicate his displeasure. He’ll be happily dreaming in no time.

What I found most surprising about our sleep training journey was how peaceful our nights became in such a short time. Even with all of our above mentioned “gentle parenting” practices, Leo was swinging in and out of distress every. single. night. He would fall asleep only to wake (at most) a few hours later in a panic. I would get him back to sleep for a short spurt before he would wake again, just as panicked. After we implemented our sleep training regimen, Leo’s rare night wakings are punctuated by a couple of chirps before he falls back to sleep. Most often, when he is placed in his crib and the lights are turned off, he falls asleep on his own without even a peep. If ever he wakes and cries out in fear or hunger, I go to him. And with this newly adopted routine I can sense a greater ease for him overall. And of course, I finally feel at ease, too.

With all of the parenting noise out there–studies declaring that you should breastfeed until your baby is 2 years old vs. those saying 6 months is perfect; message-boards commending stay-at-home parents vs. warning non-working parents against losing their sense-of-self–what happened to gathering all the information you can and then using your gut.

How about instead of relying on facts and figures so much, we honor ourselves and trust in our instincts to be good parents? Let’s believe in the deep connection we have to our children, and intuit that while we may not know what is best for them, we can most assuredly feel it.

I’ll trust in your parenting if you’ll trust in mine.

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Post Party Fridge Forage

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I woke up this morning with a visceral understanding of the phrase “bone tired.”  Yesterday’s festivities for Joe’s 33rd made for a big day–big effort, big energy, big love–and we were happy for it. He seems to have genuinely enjoyed the day and, with the exception of a few instances of loose mothering in favor of playing hostess (skipping Leo’s bath and not adhering to our normal bedtime rules which led to a bit of a nocturnal meltdown…), I felt the celebration was a huge success.

But, the last thing I wanted to do today was anything I didn’t really need to. So came the mission of the day: avoid the grocery store at all cost.

Breakfast was easy to create with some tried-and-true eggs and toast. As was lunch, thanks to the bits and bobs of leftover meals we had squirreled away. Dinner, as always, posed a larger challenge.

One of my greatest joys (and one of the skills Joe most admires in me) is scrounging around in cupboards and reaching to the back of our fridge to pull together a delicious meal. Making something out of nothing, in other words.

Today’s post party fridge forage was a challenge I relished, turning the uninspiring contents of our kitchen into a from-scratch chili.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Brad’s Organic Kidney Beans
  • 1 can of Brad’s Organic Black Beans
  • Half a red bell pepper & Spanish onion (leftover from Thursday’s stir fry)
  • Large white onion
  • Half jar of medium salsa (left over from the birthday party)
  • 1 pork shoulder (frozen bone with some meat still on it, saved from the pulled pork I made in October)
  • 2 peppers in adobo sauce (from….(?)…but they passed the taste test)
  • Ground cumin & cayenne

Directions:

  • Add onions, red pepper and a tablespoon of oil into saucepan, add ground cumin and cayenne, sautée until just fragrant.
  • Add onion mixture, two cans beans (with juice), adobo peppers (chopped), salsa and pork shoulder into large soup pot.
  • Bring to a boil, uncovered. Then turn flame down, cover pot and let simmer for a few hours until the liquid reduces and the flavors blend.

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Serve with rice, shredded cheese, sour cream (or greek yogurt), chopped cilantro or green onions. Perhaps a lime wedge. Basically, whatever you have.

In case you’re not weird like me, and you don’t save animal bones in the freezer for untold amounts of time, you could add ground turkey, spicy sausage or an extra can of beans (in lieu of meat) to this fridge forage chili.

Here’s to a Sunday spent successfully indoors. Bon appetite!

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Baby’s First Purée

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If WordPress allowed for sub-headings, the full title of this post would be, Baby’s First Purée: A party in baby’s mouth, A pain in mommy’s butt. 

Early motherhood seems to be riddled with moments that were better as fond daydreams than as reality. The greatly anticipated journey to solid foods with Leo was one of those moments.

img_0983.jpgI had planned to share this post weeks ago: my triumphant Pioneer Woman mission of hand-making meals for my baby. Unfortunately, my pioneer-woman-visions were quickly replaced by the reality that Leo was bewildered and a little grumpy at the prospect of eating food.

I boiled, sautéed, steamed. I mashed and blended. I put away an auxiliary stash of delicious, handmade food in the freezer as I had been told to do.

img_0324.jpgimg_0318.jpgAt first Leo would apprehensively tongue the purée he was presented with. Then his face would take on a look of confusion and disgust. He would begrudgingly swallow or, just as often, casually expel the contents of his mouth.

Worse than that, each time during the dinner dance, he would utter the animalistic growl of frustration that we’ve come to dread. It’s the sound a meat-grinder makes when you turn it on but forget to put the meat in: metal on metal. He makes this sound when he’s hungry but we’re not meeting his requirements. It happens occasionally at the breast when my milk isn’t letting down quickly enough. And now it was happening…every single time…when we fed him solid foods. It is the sound of my nightmares.

Needless to say, my dreams were dashed when my hard work of preparing and blending baby’s first purees seemed to go unappreciated.

Perhaps it was the fantasy of a full-bellied, soundly snoozing babe that had me so excited to introduce purees. Perhaps it was imagining Leo’s first foods as a gateway to our whole future together: rife with exotic travels and tastes.

Or perhaps it was ego. Another notch on my “perfect mommy” belt: nourishing my baby with my body and then by my sweat and elbow grease. Since our breastfeeding journey had led us to supplementation at 4 months, and no matter how much I rationally understand that supplementing is ok as long as baby is getting what he needs that’s all that matters, maybe I thought this was my way of somehow taking back the status I had lost.

Regardless, I felt defeated and nearly gave up on the whole concept until I read that it can take up to 15 times of introducing the same food before baby responds. He’s learning a whole new approach to eating, after all.

So we tried, again and again.

We used prepared foods, sometimes doctored up with cinnamon or paprika from our spice cabinet, to get an idea of his tastes before I would make the foods on my own. And now that he’s graduated to stage two foods…blends…I feel more confident sharing watered down versions of our dinners with him.

He seems to be getting the hang of things. Though there are some foods he still doesn’t care for, there are many that he flashes big smiles at the taste of, and I have come to realize the joy that I had originally anticipated in introducing my son to a world of new flavors.

img_0985.jpgimg_0335.jpgTherein lies the beauty, of course, of becoming a parent. It is learning that happiness doesn’t come from a perfect, manicured version of mothering but rather, the montage of messy, head-scratching (and head-aching) scenes that we navigate and become stronger as a result of. It is meeting the fear and unpleasantness head on and rejoicing in the ever-present silver lining.

Leo’s First Apple Purée:

  • 2 sweet eating apples (Pink Lady, Gala, etc.)
  • Water

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  • Peel, core and quarter the apples
  • Sautée in a pan with water until soft
  • Blend in food processor until smooth
  • Add a dash of cinnamon
  • Freeze for up to 3 months in a covered ice cube tray.

Voila!

Amber Beads for Teething Woes

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For starters I want to clarify that I am no expert on amber beads or teething in general. But, since getting so many questions about how I chose mine, how they help baby, and how to tell if they are genuine, I thought I would share my experience here on the blog.

I’m not sure where I originally heard about genuine Baltic Amber Beads and their supposed relief for teething babies in need, but they have been on my radar for quite some time. It is believed that when worn on the skin, body heat causes amber to release an oil containing succinic acid, which if absorbed into the skin, might act like a natural Ibuprofen, blocking pain and reducing inflammation. This is how wearing a strand of amber beads can help fight teething woes. Of course, when I finally had a baby of my own, I was eager to try a strand for myself.

Was I intrigued by the potential for natural pain management to help my sweet baby get through what can only be a deeply uncomfortable and distressing time? Yes.

Was I also excited to see how cute my baby would look in a tiny necklace? Absolutely.

IMG_0425IMG_0422IMG_0428I am happy to report that we did, indeed, see a difference in Leo since he has begun wearing his amber.

Firstly, the amount of drool that soaked through his shirts while he determinately and indiscriminately chomped on objects noticeably decreased. Drool of course being a huge indicator that your baby is teething because the increased saliva helps to cool-down swollen gums.

Also, his mood was markedly sour when he wasn’t wearing his necklace as he got more deeply into teething. For example, if I would forget to replace his beads after a nap (baby should never wear his strand unsupervised and especially not while sleeping) he would be fussier than his normal post-snooze self.

The above points considered, as well as the fact that Leo cut two teeth before Thanksgiving with little more than stage-one crankiness, has led me to believe that the amber beads work for us.

IMG_0962But how do I know that my beads are authentic Baltic Amber when there are so many fakes on the market?

I did a simple home-test. Here’s how:

  • Mix together a solution of 1 part salt to 2 parts water. (For example, use 1/3 cup salt to 2/3 cup water)
  • Dissolve the salt completely.
  • Drop your beads in the mixture. Plastic and glass will sink, true Baltic Amber will float.

Ta da!

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DIY Natural Disinfectant

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Watching our baby learn how to crawl before our eyes is exciting, but it’s also hair-raising when I imagine him crawling through the grime of these New York City streets that has been tracked into our house. All germaphobia aside, we are pedestrians in one of the worlds yuckiest cities.

To prevent Leo from rolling around in the muck (and to prevent a never-ending anxiety fest for me) I began researching DIY natural disinfectant sprays that are strong AND safe. While there are many “all purpose” cleansers made for hard, non-porous surfaces on the market (re: my beloved Seventh Generation sprays and wipes), there are few that are suitable for fabrics. I really wanted an anti-bacterial solution that would work for our rugs, couches and pillows as well as our countertops and hard floors.
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Essential oils have powerful cleansing properties, but they can be harmful to the skin (lungs, eyes, etc.) if used at full concentration. Naturally, it makes sense to cut the oils with water, which you’ll find in most recipes, although you’ll then need an additional disinfectant agent to strengthen the mixture.

I found recipes calling for hydrogen peroxide, but further research revealed that peroxide may also abrasive to the skin in high concentration. Many other recipes called for pure vodka…which I thought was strange and assumed would make my living room smell like my college dorm.

Finally, I found a mixture calling for witch hazel on Live Simply. Having fallen in love with the magical healing powers and endless uses for witch hazel through my postpartum recovery, it was the perfect addition.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel (alcohol based)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 25 drops lavender pure essential oil
  • 25 drops tea tree pure essential oil

You can use any mixture of the cleansing essential oils, including lemon oil. You can omit the tea tree oil if you dislike the smell. Lemon, Tea Tree and Lavender oils are all safe for use around children.

Mix the solution as follows:

  1. Pour witch hazel + desired essential oil mixture into a spray bottle, shake vigorously to blend.
  2. Then pour in the water and shake again.

Be sure to use a glass bottle for the mixture rather than plastic to avoid any risk of the bottle breaking down. Always spot test your fabrics before use on a larger area!

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“Papoum Papoum”

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Papoum Papoum.” The name says it all as it’s meant to represent the tiny heartbeat of a baby or our own happily beating hearts as we think of our little ones. My heart certainly skipped a beat when I discovered this teething doll, named Sweet Pea Baby by creator Sophie Guindon, while poking around Vieux-Montréal on our recent trip.

In the grand tradition of my family traveling across borders before turning one year (my first flight was to France at two and a half months), Leo crossed into Canada at two months. I was turning 30 and Joe’s most recent film, The Sleepers, had been accepted into the famed Fantastia Film Festival. A trip to Montreal seemed to be the perfect celebration of our new parenthood, our shared creativity and my 3rd decade of life.

Joe kept busy during our stay in the great city of Montreal attending his own film’s screening and catching some of the other programs that the 3 week festival had to offer. I split my time between our Downtown Montreal AirBNB and the beautiful streets, shops and cafes of the city—baby-in-tow—meeting up with Joe between screenings for some quality family time.

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On our third day we devoted the morning to exploring Vieux-Montréal and the old port. What became our favorite part of the city was criss-crossed with cobble stone streets, awash in summer blooms and, of course, teeming with tourists and the tacky shops catering to them. Although the old part of the city lacked originality in some of its gift shops, hawking the same wares as all top international destinations (insert “Montreal” on your $10 t-shirt), it made up for it with its galleries and art shops.

Metiers d’art du Quebec caught our eye with its entrance off of the main street in a little side corridor. Designs by local artisans filled the sunlit space, including a comprehensive baby collection. Sweetly embroidered children’s clothes and fantastic, cooky animal pillows were among the most exciting offerings. But the delicate, imaginative Sweet Pea dolls and teething friends were perfectly made for our growing babe.

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Sophie, creator and designer of the PapoumPapoum brand, is a native of Canada. Her vision for these precious, keepsake toys came as she was a stay-at-home-mom and made the first rag doll for her daughter. She then devoted every free moment to creating her original dolls and the business was born. With a background in herbal therapy and a love of the planet, Sophie instills the same morals into PapoumPapoum. The toys are as safe as they are durable, hand made in Quebec using environmentally-friendly materials, like her series of bamboo blanket animals. Uniquely created, each toy slightly differs from others in the same collection, and all are made to love for years and years.

Papoum Papoum… is the sound of a little heart beating, it’s what we feel for a new-born, and it’s also a sound that can trigger a small child’s laughter, the kind that fills the world with sunshine.”

Leo isn’t yet teething so he is still too young to use his Sweet Pea, but I know he’ll be enjoying it sooner than we think. If new parenthood has taught us anything it is that time truly does move too quickly. Another month of his life has already clipped by, filled with his first travels in our blissfully nomadic summer. Now we’ll have his first doll to remind us of these moments and of his first, tender heartbeats. Papoum papoum. 

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Fast Food Fashion

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It was five days after I had come home from the hospital with Leo and sleep was hard to come by. So was clothing. On one particularly upside-down day I found myself wearing a tank dress rolled down to my waist and an old workout teeshirt knotted around my mid-section, holding up the makeshift skirt. It was a disaster and the last thing I needed in the midst of my hormonal maelstrom was something else making me feel crazy. Why the DIY ensemble failure, you ask? I had all-too-quickly discovered that when you are breastfeeding a newborn baby every 2 hours, there is no time to dress and undress. You need the wardrobe equivalent of a drive-thru restaurant. Aka fast food fashion.

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Everybody’s breastfeeding journey is different. Just ask my mom who insists that I was a dream baby who slept well and nursed at accommodatingly infrequent intervals. But when you give birth to the son of a man who as tall as he is handsome you’re in for an adventure. I believe my lactation consultant’s actual words upon learning Joe’s height were, “Oh, shit. Strap in, honey, it’s going to be a wild ride.”

And so I find myself, three months into this “wild ride”, with my son averaging only about an hour off of my breasts between each feeding (except for at night. thankfully he takes after me in that regard…), and getting very creative with the ways, places, positions in which I nurse him.

The most exceptional places I’ve find myself breastfeeding, so far, are as follows:

  • the on-ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge in gridlock traffic
  • friends’ empty Chinatown apartment in the midst of a move
  • the Canadian border
  • parking lot of a rural gas station in the White Mountains
  • Amazon’s NYC conference rooms
  • TJ Maxx

I always have to be ready to serve up a fast food lunch for my son and so long sleeves, tight straps and all manner of restricting clothing is no longer in my wardrobe rotation, rendering half of my closet unwearable. Nor have I been moved to purchase the expensive and completely non-versatile wares advertised as “nursing clothing.”

All hail the season of the tube top as I find this style of dress to be most handy in breastfeeding. Another blessing to having a May baby is that I can get away with wearing as little clothing as possible in these warm summer months. A close second to the convenience of the strapless dress, and best for giving the illusion that you’ve considered fashion when dressing, is the off-the-shoulder look which can transition seamlessly to accommodate a quick feed. Button-down ensembles, like the vintage dress pictured below (poached from my mother’s closet on our recent trip to Maine) are yet another way to discreetly get the job done.

Honestly, I don’t love wearing the modest nursing cover when I feed my baby (though I love and will occasionally use my beautiful swaddle blankets by Aden + Anais) because I can’t see where his face is to ensure the correct positioning. At this early stage in his nursing he is still often falling off the latch and needing to be put back into place.  And so these simple, wearable outfits are the best for accessibility, but also to keep most of my body concealed while offering up the goods.

As an added bonus? I can integrate them into my permanent wardrobe after my stint in fast food fashion has come to an end.

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Pom-Poms on a Rainy Day

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I bought this wide brimmed Panama hat in the Hudson River Valley at the end of last summer and never had a chance to really wear it because it was the end of the season. As it hung on the wall in my front hallway all winter, reminding me that warmer days would again return, I thought about how I wanted to add some fun color to it to celebrate the coming sunshine. Since its a nasty weekend in Brooklyn, I thought that the best medicine against the indoor-blues would be to create sunny pom-poms on a rainy day.

I love how pom-poms have been showing up on everything from beach baskets to gladiator sandals to straw hats. But instead of buying a piece of the trend, I wanted to learn how to make my own. The overwhelming urge to nest seems to have spilled into the mood to craft, which is great because it is something that I had rarely made time to do—depsite the desire—in the midst of working full time.

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There are many tutorials online showing how to make pom-poms. You can buy kits or make cardboard rings, but the easiest solution I found was using a kitchen fork. I used the steps below to try my hand at making my own:

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The key is to wrap the yarn to the right thickness so that your pom-pom has enough fluff. After you’ve tied-off the yarn ball and you’re done snipping the strands, it’ll be an oblong shape. You’ll need to trim it all the way around to ensure you have a round pom-pom. Tip: if you want bigger poms, use your fingers instead of a fork.

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I opted for warm colors—yellow, pink & orange—to adorn this summer hat, but I have already been thinking up designs for other projects, like a branch wall hanging in the nursery that will feature some blues, greens and aquas. I guess it will be back to the craft store as soon as this seemingly endless rain comes to a stop.

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I’ll be sure to post about the nursery soon, as we’ve been working almost daily to bring it to life.

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Post-Pregnancy To-Do List

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The weather has been gray and rainy and I’m so ready for summer love with our little one. I have been daydreaming about the incredible things I will do after pregnancy. In no particular order, my post-pregnancy to-do list is as follows:

 

  • eat sushi
  • lay on my belly
  • get silly on one glass of rose
  • get all the tattoos (or maybe just one to start)
  • go running
  • take a hot tub or sauna or steam
  • go dancing
  • lift heavy objects for fun, exercise or necessity
  • make, and then drink, homemade margaritas
  • travel*
  • *to a tropical climate
  • drink coffee just for the buzz

Let the countdown begin…

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photo: AJ Garcia

A Fashion Cure for the Baby Bump Blues

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With an ever-growing bump eliminating some favorite outfits from my pregnancy wardrobe, I have had a hard time feeling fashionably relevant lately.  Moreover, the general pregnancy “blah’s” enhanced by the doldrums of winter have been making it difficult to even put in an effort to dress up on some days. That being said, I know all too well that how I look has a direct effect on how I feel. However seductive (and, honestly, practical) it would be for me to spend every remaining day of my pregnancy in stretchy fabrics that transition effortlessly from daytime to sleep time, I feel a lack of motivation to seize the day each time I dress down or, more accurately, fail to dress.

For example, I have been living inside my deliciously warm LL Bean down coat because, why not? It is winter, after all. The coat is a fail proof barrier against the elements and it is the only coat I have left that actually buttons around the baby belly. But, how do I feel when a friend invites me out to a party or an event after work and I am faced with having to show up in pair of glorified pajamas swaddled by a wearable sleeping bag? I feel like skipping the outing and heading straight home to bed, is how I feel. Not so healthy for a person that, while appreciating a lot of alone time, always has an overwhelming sense of rejuvenation when out-and-about. Self isolation imposed by body self consciousness is not going to fly right now, especially when a new baby will certainly necessitate a lot of home alone time come spring.

So, when Rachel invited me to last weekend’s Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show (so thankful that she has her finger on the pulse as I have somehow lost the beat…) my mission was clear: attend show, hunt for treasures, find something that makes me feel like my “old self.” A.k.a a fashion cure for the baby bump blues.

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It only took about 20 minutes of walking around the vast room of exquisitely curated wares for us both to question, “Have we died? Is this heaven?” Needless to say our hearts were a flutter with the seriously gorgeous pieces on sale by vintage boutiques (notably Another Man’s Treasure and La Poubelle Vintage among many others).

While silk dresses, high waisted trousers and fitted camisoles called my name aplenty, the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show was not the place to shop for maternity wares. But stylish coats, big in size, easy to transition to post-pregnancy and a welcomed alternative to my aforementioned LL Bean puffer, offered the wardrobe edge I was looking for. I tried on a few coats that were totally “me,” but that were only almost able to fit around my bump. I realized, instead of donning a piece of clothing that would only make me yearn for a flatter tummy, I wanted to celebrate my current shape. It wasn’t until trying on a 1960’s stunner from Thriftwares of Brooklyn that I learned this was possible. The subtle bell shape of the double-breasted leopard coat (pictured above) offered room enough for my belly and, magically, when Rachel tried it on, proved to maintain a chic shape even on a much smaller frame. Thus, my how-Stella-got-her-groove-back coat was discovered.

Alas, today it is raining in NYC so I left my new favorite piece at home. But it is sure to bring me many joyful, winter days of pregnancy and beyond.

If you’re interested in checking it out, the next Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show will be the weekend of April 7th and 8th.

Advance tickets can be purchased here.

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