Tricks of the Trade

Grace is just a tad over ten months old, so I definitely can’t claim to be an expert on motherhood (but really, can anyone?). I have however, learned a few tricks of the trade that I thought I’d share.

These are just a few things I’ve learned in the last ten months that have made mommy-hood go a bit smoother.

*Nurse if you can. This isn’t really a tip or a trick, but once you get the hang of it, it makes life much easier (and more affordable). We all know it’s what’s best for baby, but there are some selfish perks as well. It’s significantly cheaper than formula. Grace still nurses and I pump, but we supplement with formula when I work. Even THAT is expensive, so I can only imagine how spendy it would be if she had formula all the time. On top of that, it allows your body to burn extra calories, without the effort of exercise. I gained 35 pounds in my pregnancy. I’ve lost all but five. (My goal is to be back to my prepregnancy weight by Grace’s birthday.) I know there are woman who dropped all their weight within a few months, but I’m just not one of those, and if I can drop these last five pounds by May 8th, I’ll be content. I have only recently (as in the last few weeks) started exercising on a regular basis again. (I know, I’m not proud of this fact, but baby and work have kept me busy.) The majority of my weight has come off without much effort on my part, and I attribute that to extra calories burned because of nursing. (Now, I have a feeling these last five pounds are planning to stick around until I work them off. Which is a completely different story/post.)

*BRAT-Bananas-Rice-Applesauce-Toast. Works great for a baby’s upset belly (can we say explosive diaper?). Anytime Grace’s belly is having issues, or even my step-son’s for that matter, we serve up at least one of these four.

*Cranberry juice helps you rid yourself of excess water weight. How is this a mom tip you’re wondering? When I came home from the hospital I insisted on stepping on the scale. My daughter weighed 6 pounds and 12 ounces, but I had only lost six! I don’t remember going into the hospital bloated, but I definitely came out that way. My legs were like balloons. I blame it on the meds they give you right after birth to help your uterus shrink. It took almost two weeks for my legs to return to normal, and during that time I drank a lot of cranberry juice, and it helped. Plus, it’s just plain delicious!

*I’ve been a pretty lucky mom when it’s come to my daughter teething. However, when her teeth are bothering her (and sometimes just when I need to quickly clean the kitchen), I hand Grace a frozen washcloth with applesauce in the middle. I make the washcloth ahead of time by wetting the washcloth, spreading applesauce in the center, twisting, and then tossing into a plastic bag and into the freezer. When Grace’s mouth is hurting her, I hand her the frozen washcloth. The cool cloth feels good against her teeth, and she also gets a sweet and healthy treat as the cloth begins to thaw out.

*If you’re planning to make your own baby food (also cheaper than buying already prepped baby food), make it ahead and freeze it. This is what we’ve done with the majority of Grace’s food. At first I was trying to make it almost daily, and I just couldn’t keep up. By the time we get home on a typical school day, we only have a few hours until bed, so I started making the majority of Grace’s food on the weekend and then freezing it in ice cube trays. In a typical ice cube tray, a cube equals one ounce. This makes it super easy to determine how much food to heat up for baby. When it comes to using frozen fruit and veggies, you can unfreeze it, cook it, purée it, and then freeze it one more time.

We just recently started freezing chicken. I cooked a chicken breast up, stuck it in the food processor, and then froze it in a freezer bag. If we end up eating something for dinner that Grace can’t, I just pour a little puréed chicken in with her veggies and heat it up.

*Always pack an extra set of baby clothes in your diaper bag (above picture illustrates what happens when you don’t:), if not two. Also, ALWAYS keep an extra diaper and wipes in your car. ALWAYS. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.

*Another thing you should always pack is a plastic bag.

Just recently we had an incident where I did not have extra clothes, and I have learned my lesson. I took Fenix to his first soccer practice last week. It had been a super long day. We had been in the car the majority of the afternoon. As I was walking up to introduce myself to Fenix’s coach, I noticed that Grace was beginning to smell pretty rank. I didn’t dare look down. Instead I quickly introduced myself to Fenix’s coach (and prayed he didn’t mistake the wretched smell as me) and booked it back to my car, only to discover that Grace had completely (COMPLETELY) blown out her diaper. I changed her in the back seat, and she had to ride home in just her diaper. Luckily I didn’t have anywhere pressing that I needed to be. Most public places frown upon a semi naked baby:)

Well, there’s a few tricks I’ve learned a long the way. I’m sure there are many I didn’t think to mention, and quite a few more that I’ll learn, and hopefully remember to share:)

I’m not much for ending on a question, but if you’re a mom and you have any other tips you feel like sharing, please leave a comment, or blog it and leave the link. I’d love to add a few more to my mom bag of tricks!:)

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One thought on “Tricks of the Trade

  1. The spare clothes makes me giggle. I learned that one the hard way as well. Not only do I keep spare clothes in my bag, I have a spare outfit/diaper/wipes in the trunk of the car. My SIL goes so far to have a spare t-shirt for herself as well. 😉

    I'm learning on the making my own food thing for Lydia. I'm excited to embark on this new adventure.

    My only other mama trick is to trust your own instincts. Our old pediatrician diagnossed Natalia with just a viral cold when she was 7 months. She had already been sick for almost 3 weeks and I thought that couldn't be it. After another week and no improvement I went for a second opinion. She had pneumonia! I wish I had trusted myself, when I had a feeling it was more then a viral cold and gone to a different doc sooner. It was AWFUL!

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