The end of the year 2020 is nearing and at this point, it would be redundant to point out what a crazy year it has been. Clearly, a lot of people are hopeful that things will change for the better in 2021. It is very common for people to have New Year’s resolutions to improve their personal life. While there is nothing wrong with setting some goals for yourself, there are a few resolutions I would recommend for all moms to implement in 2021. If you do not have them in place yet, these goals will surely make mom’s life easier.

  1. Set an early bedtime for your kids…and stick to it

Maybe you don’t see yourself as the type of mom who is into routines and strict rules. Or to quote the movie Mean Girls, you are not a regular mom but a cool mom. But studies have shown that putting kids to bed early means better mental health for mom as well. An early bedtime is considered before 8.30 pm. Evidently, an early bedtime has positive effects on the child such as overall better-quality sleep and even long-term effects such as learning abilities and reduced likeliness of obesity. But recent studies have proven what we already knew that it also increases mom’s quality of life when the children go to bed early. Getting a well-deserved break, some me-time or couple time, and more sleep for mom makes her happier and her life more balanced. If you do not have a set bedtime in place yet, you can check out this article for more tips.

2. Ask for help

This sub-headline is pretty self-explanatory but somehow most of us moms think we have to do it all by ourselves and have such a difficult time asking others for help. But in all honesty, not only is it ok to reach out to others, it is something you definitely should start doing in 2021. There is a reason for the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” But you got to pick up the phone and call your “village” aka your family and friends and ask them to come over and babysit, or whatever else you need help with. More likely than not, you have helped people in the past or done favors for them. You can also pay it forward by helping out your friends or family members with their kids. Furthermore, there are other ways to make your life easier like using a grocery service delivery service such as Instacart or a subscription service for baby and mommy items such as Baby and Sunshine.

3. Get healthy without buying into toxic diet culture

A lot of women set the resolutions to lose weight every.single.year. Somehow they believe that 2021 might be the year when they will finally get into vegetables and CrossFit even though none of it happened in the last year. I do believe that it is important to become the healthiest and strongest version of yourself for your kids – but probably not in the way you are thinking. Mental health and a good balance are extremely important for all women. Moreover, it is important to point out that physically healthy does not mean skinny. Keep in mind that the fitness and diet industries are a billion-dollar business so not every article you read or every ad you see may have your best interest in mind. The best thing that I started doing in my life was to ditch any diet or “lifestyle change” including categorizing foods as good and bad which is extremely toxic. I started listening to my body and exercising portion control. It made me enjoy life more and stress less about food. Before my whole life pretty much revolved around food. I was so obsessed with making sure that all my meal options are healthy and that I eat before 6 pm to the point that it would affect my personal life. Being more flexible with food has made me a more relaxed and easy-going mom. I don’t pick places or activities anymore based on how healthy the food is they offer, I pick family-friendly activities that are fun for my son. If this means that we will have to eat some chicken tendies every once in a while, so be it. I do not adhere to a strict dinner time schedule either when we’re out having fun. Previous-me would have probably put her child on some organic-only healthy diet. But now I let my son have cake and juice at birthday parties without a problem. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that eating healthy is important but I also believe in balance. Also, keep in mind that most of the time, the way your body looks has a lot to do with posture. Unfortunately, since I am a mom who carries her child a lot, I had created that bad habit of arching my back and sticking my belly out. But one thing that has helped me a lot with my posture and appearance of a flatter tummy is to use a waist trainer for a few hours a day.

4. Spend quality time with the kids

When I talk to people whose kids are already grown up or to parents who lost their kids, they all have one thing in common. They all tell me that they wish they could still carry their kids, play with them, and how much they miss the time when they were babies. Clearly, I have never met any parent who tells me that they wished they would have spent more time doing the dishes or working. Try to enjoy the little moments when they want to play with you or hug it even it means you won’t have the cleanest house that day or you have to take a break from work. This does not mean that you have to be completely irresponsible but taking an extra 5 minutes here or there to hug your kids and be in the here and now cannot possibly throw off your schedule that much. Furthermore, these little precious moments of joy also give you the energy and love you need in your life.

5. Me-Time 

“You cannot pour from an empty cup” so make sure to fill up your cup every once in a while. Make sure you find a little time for yourself to do things that you enjoy doing and that help you recharge your batteries. As already mentioned above, thanks to modern technology there are so many services nowadays that make your life easier and help you save your precious time. Not only that, they actually help you save money. When I order groceries online, I see what everything adds up to and it is easier to stick to my set budget as opposed to just going to the supermarket and adding everything that looks great. The same applies to my mommy and baby items delivery service Baby and Sunshine. You get great quality items that you actually need for a great price. We all know how almost every Target run ends: you go in for one or two items and 300 dollars later you leave with a bunch of rubbish quality items “because they were cheap.” The time and money saved by using these types of services can in turn be used for you and your me-time.

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Dear Mom,

We are getting close to the holidays and nearing the end of the year. This year has certainly been very different from every other year before. While this is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, it truly has left some scars for a lot of people. Some people may not be able this year to buy a lot of toys or any toys at all. But I am here to say that things will be better. What kids remember the most are experiences. So despite any hardships you have encountered this year, I encourage you to make this a memorable holiday time with your loved ones. After all, you made it through one of the toughest years of our lifetime. That alone makes you a warrior and is proof that you can accomplish anything that life throws at you. Here is my open holiday letter to all the moms out there.

To the working mom:

You above all would know what it means to make sacrifices. In order to help contribute to the household income, you have sacrificed spending precious time with your babies and woken up tired to drive to work to spend hours there to drive back in traffic. You may have left your baby with someone else since they were a few months old and may have experienced the tremendous inconvenience of pumping at work. This year, you had an almost impossible task. You had to work from home while taking care of your kids and possibly even homeschooling them. This just shows what a true badass you are at multi-tasking. We all know that you had too much on your plate this year and commend you for accomplishing the impossible. Enjoy the holidays with your loved ones! You truly deserve it!

To the stay-at-home mom:

You dedicated your life to your children being there for them 24/7, educating them, teaching them right from wrong. You never get an hour lunch break, paid time off, or a bonus for excellent work. Often, people try to dismiss your job as being easy but I see you and appreciate you. You have managed to guide your family through an emotionally draining time and were there for them more than ever without any breaks. I really hope you have the most joyous holidays with the home you created for your family!

To the involuntary SAHM:

If you have been laid off this year even though you really liked your job and wanted to keep it, rest assured that you have done your very best and it is not your fault. COVID-19 closures have been financially challenging for a lot of businesses which forced them to restructure which oftentimes means laying off people. I know there are a lot of you out there who had to somehow manage to support your family without getting any income. Your time will come! The economy will recover and you will get back in the workforce. Maybe this is a good time to reflect or where you want your life to go career-wise. Do you even want to stay in the corporate world? Is there a skill you want to learn to further advance in your career? I hope that for now you can put the worries aside and enjoy the holidays with your family. Remember: the sky is the limit and you can achieve anything you want!

To the expecting mom:

Congratulations on your new addition to your family! A baby is such a blessing no matter what the circumstances are. You certainly got pregnant in quite a crazy year! Due to COVID-19, most hospitals and OB/GYNs changed their policy to not even allowing the baby’s Dad to be part of the ultrasound, one of the most amazing experiences for a pregnant mom. You are probably quite sad about the fact that you cannot share the joy of your new baby with your significant other and have to go through all of this in isolation. But if there is one thing to know about motherhood is that moms are extremely strong and so are you! You will have plenty of time to share the joy of having a baby with your loved ones once you have given birth and things have gone back to normal. To be quite frank, there is not such a thing as the perfect time to have a baby so just enjoy the ride. If you want to plan a virtual baby shower, here are some tips in this article. But for now, just enjoy your holidays with that beautiful growing belly of yours!

To the mompreneur:

If you have your own business and you’re a mom, you are basically a wonder woman. It is very admirable and takes a lot of guts for a woman to follow her dream and start her company to support her family. This year might have been a disappointing year for your business. Many people lost their jobs this year and had to keep their money together which means sales may have plummeted. Or maybe you had just reached momentum before the pandemic and now it went all down the drain. But don’t worry, mama! You will find the same willpower you had when first opening your business to get yourself back on track. Maybe you will have to tweak your business model and change up some things but one bad year does not mean you have to give up your dreams! I wish you the most amazing holidays with your family. And don’t forget: you’re a Rockstar!

To the mom who had the best year of her life:

You may be one of those unicorns who cannot relate to any of the above. Your company’s sales may have skyrocketed this year. Or you may have kicked ass at work and gotten a raise. Or you may have had a serious quarantine glow-up and gotten in the best shape of your life! If you feel like 2020 has been YOUR year, you may not want to openly celebrate it out of empathy for all the losses and hardships others have experienced this year! But I am here to tell you that you did an amazing job! You managed to turn a negative situation into something positive which is a true gift to have. I hope you get to celebrate during these holidays and end this year 2020 with a bang!

As you can tell, no matter what everyone’s individual situation was, most moms had some challenges this year to deal with. If you know a mom and would like to cheer her up for the holidays, check out Baby and Sunshine’s holiday boxes that are still available until 31/12/2020. In order to give back, Baby and Sunshine will give a mini box to a family in need. Head over to their Instagram to nominate a mom/dad in need who is currently pregnant or has a new baby.

I hope you enjoy the holidays and have a wonderful time with their family!

Lots of Love,

Bella – The Miami Mami

If you have gotten pregnant during the craziest of all years 2020, let me first start by saying: Congratulations, mama! A baby is such a blessing and brings so much joy no matter the conditions. However, this year might be a particularly tough year to get pregnant if you are someone who loves to celebrate pregnancy and the expansion of your family with the other people around you. If you are like me, then you are someone who has been having a Pinterest board with baby shower ideas for a long time. You might be afraid that the outbreak of COVID-19 has just thrown out your whole vision of a picture-perfect baby shower (and the gifts that come with it), out of the window, but don’t worry, I got some alternative ideas on how to throw a virtual baby shower and share the joy with your loved ones.

Let’s Get Started

Mama, you deserve to be celebrated and so does your new baby! So, let’s make this virtual baby shower happen! There are actually a lot of advantages to hosting a baby shower online. To name a few: people from out of town or people who are sick with a cold still get to attend. As a matter of fact, my sister-in-law who did all my party favors and was supposed to MC my shower had a fever in the week of my event and was highly advised by my other SIL who is a doctor to not attend to avoid getting me sick so close before giving birth. Moreover, it is generally really not a great idea for pregnant women to be exposed to a lot of people as pregnant women have weakened immune systems and cannot take any cold or flu medicine. Your first step should be to make sure to download Zoom and then send out virtual invites on your baby shower, e.g. from Evite or you can create a Facebook group as well. Just to make sure that older family members who are not too tech-savvy still get their invite. You might want to opt for a text message, email, or good ole’ traditional snail mail for these people. Hopefully, you have someone who can help you with all of this. And don’t worry about not getting any gifts! Nowadays, it is super easy to have an online registry where the items get sent directly to your home. But there is an even better gift idea tip I would like to share with you that I wished would have been around when I was pregnant for the first time. Baby and Sunshine has amazing subscription boxes with everything a new mom needs for herself and her baby. Your friends and family can also opt to send you a one-time box. The boxes have different sizes and are priced accordingly which means this can be the perfect gift for everyone – for those on a budget and for those who want to give a very generous gift. There are so many things I love about these boxes but let me list a few:

  1. All items are made out of premium quality such as organic cotton, bamboo, and cashmere. Not only are these materials very comfortable but also gentle to your baby’s skin making rashes a lot less likely. Their sleep sacks, baby clothes, and baby clothes are a lot nicer and softer than the ones you find at other baby stores.
  2. They can pack the contents of your hospital bag in one box. How awesome is that! So many moms are so stressed about what to put in their bag. I would have loved to just delegate that task and just move all the contents of the box in my bag to avoid that headache.
  3. You actually get to personalize your boxes. Thankfully, most of my friends and family have great taste. But there were a few baby gifts that I may or may not have returned. Here, you get to actually let Baby and Sunshine know what you are looking for.
  4. You get some awesome mom items as well. People tend to forget about moms and only buy stuff for the baby but moms need to be taken care of too in the postpartum stage. They even have awesome postpartum belly binders that will help you bounce back quicker and comfy clothing that you will need after giving birth
  5. They collaborate with other mom-owned small businesses giving you plenty of options to choose from. Recently, they even added skincare products by Baby Bear Naturals to their repertoire. I was so excited to hear about that as a woman’s skin usually suffers after giving birth due to the changes in the hormonal levels. This will give moms to chance to practice some self-care after giving birth. 

It can still be a Pinterest-Worthy Baby Shower

In order for you to feel like this is a special event, I would highly recommend you still dress up and get dolled up like you would for an in-person baby shower. Make this a day to remember and decorate the house so you have a nice backdrop. A balloon arch looks super cute and maybe add some letter balloons or some baby balloons. Again, you should not be doing all of this alone and have someone help you. Another reason to make sure you are dressed for the occasion is so you get to take some nice pictures to keep as a memory of this joyous celebration. In all honesty, I do not think that you need to hire a professional photographer as most modern phones take amazing pictures but that is obviously up to you. You can also use the picture to send out a sweet Thank You card to everyone who attended later. Little Pickle Memories offers beautiful cards and other paper items for you to memorize your pregnancy and child’s first months in this world. 

Have a host

As mentioned before, do not do this alone! Baby showers are meant to be organized FOR moms so they do not have to worry about anything and they get celebrated while being gifted items that they need for the baby. The last thing you need is to add extra stress to your last trimester. Additionally, “preggo brain” is a real thing and you may or may not forget half of the things you had planned. Have someone be the host of the entire event who guides attendees throughout the baby shower. Thankfully, Zoom has mute buttons for every participant that the host can control so things do not get too chaotic. Additionally, Zoom has a feature where questions pop-up on everyone’s screen allowing for some baby shower games even though it is a virtual event. Questions can include: what advice do you have for the new parents? What were your pregnancy cravings? Or you could even play some of the traditional baby shower games such as “Guess the belly size.” If you wanted to you could send the winner a virtual gift card from Starbucks or someone similar. The host could also coordinate for key people to hold a short speech like the grandparents-to-be giving well wishes to the expecting couple. If you are willing to ship out prizes, scented candles are always a hit. You can check out the online store Happy Momma Merch for some of their hand-made candles. If you wanted to go all out, you could even create some cute gift bags that the attendees could either pick up before the event or you could ship to them if your budget allows it. These could be bougie little bags with a piccolo bottle of sparkling wine so there could be a virtual toast for the mom-to-be. To give it the typical brunch feel, you could also include a cupcake, some non-perishable snacks, and a party favor of your choice. 

I hope these tips can help you create the baby shower of your dreams even if 2020 put a damper on your plans. But even if you are not planning a baby shower, if you are currently pregnant and know someone who is, please check out Baby and Sunshine. They currently have an amazing offer where they will donate a mini box to a mom or mom-to-be in need for every box purchase. You can also check them out on Instagram or Cratejoy .

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One day, my husband I decided we are tired of having a clean house, sleeping in, and doing whatever we want, so we had a child. But in all seriousness, what a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy and childbirth goes against everything that is usually recommended for a healthy lifestyle. You gain a lot of weight, you experience a lot of stress, and getting eight hours of sleep will seem like a foreign concept. Unless you mean getting those 8 hours of sleep in three nights in a row – that sounds a lot more likely with a newborn. Now, I LOVE sleep! Actually, not only do I love it but I consider getting the right amount of sleep per night essential to my well-being. I feel like my whole day gets thrown out of whack when I am sleep-deprived, I cannot focus and somehow eat a lot more in order to get energy from somewhere. According to a study from UC Davis, “sleep deprivation stimulates the brain to increase overeating of sweet and fatty foods, which turns binge-watching into binge eating. The theory is that people consume more calories when sleep deprived in order to give the body more energy to stay awake.” So you can imagine how eager I was to get my little one to sleep through the night. I visited a sleep training class when he was born and successfully had my little one sleeping through the night since he was 2 months old. Here a few tips and tricks on how your baby and you can get in those zzz’s.

No napping after 5 pm

Newborns sleep up to 18 hours in a 24 hour period which means they pretty much sleep all the time. They usually wake all 2-3 hours for a feeding and diaper change. In the beginning, we were inclined to just have him wake up and fall asleep whenever mainly because we didn’t know better. It was almost like time did not exist and it did not matter if it was day or night since we were always up. After my husband and I started getting dark circles so big that we looked like pandas, I decided we need to get back to normalcy. My baby needed to start understanding the difference between day and night even if that meant that he would still wake up for feeding at night. Hands-down the best advice I received is to keep him up after 5 pm. It made him so tired that he would be in bed by his 8 pm bedtime. He is 2 and a half years old and I still stick to the no-nap-after-5 rule and the same bedtime. It is very important that you do not even let them have a quick cat nap so that they are so tired out by 8 pm that they will easily fall asleep.

Create a bedtime routine

Another important piece of advice I got was to create a bedtime routine. Babies are creatures of habit and will quickly get used to their bedtime if you practice the same routine every single night. It is best to do soothing activities before they go to sleep. I would usually bathe my son closer to bedtime because the warm water would calm him down and make him sleepy. I would massage the lotion onto him and put him into snuggly pajamas. Right before he would go to sleep at around 7.50 pm, I would either give him a warm bottle or nurse him. The warm milk makes babies very sleepy and a full tummy makes them sleep for longer periods of time. However, here a few things to avoid: make sure they are not dependent on tools to fall asleep. The goal is to have them fall asleep on their own. They should NOT NEED a bottle, nursing boob, pacifier, soothing machines to fall asleep. As a matter of fact, you should make sure that they don’t fall asleep with milk in their mouth as this can cause teeth decay and other dental problems. Once your child has its first tooth, it is important to brush their teeth before going to bed. But you do not need to wait until they have a tooth, there are finger brushes that you can use from 3 months on which is recommended so your baby can grow some healthy pearly whites. Moreover, you should try to phase out the pacifier as soon as possible. A lot of babies have the habit of needing a paci for falling asleep which is detrimental to the teeth as well. Once you put your baby down in his or her crib, it is a nice bed time routine finisher to read them a good night story. Not only will this make them sleepier but it will also have a positive effect on their brain and speech development. It is super important that you actually put them in their bassinet at your chosen bedtime not only to get them used to sleeping in there but also because it is the safest way for them to sleep. Even if you would love to snuggle with the little one on the couch and have them fall asleep on her shoulder, you should refrain from doing so. Not only is it safer for them but also gives you the chance to enjoy a movie or dinner at home with your partner or to have some me-time if you are a single parent.

Comfortable PJs and sleep sacks

Last but not least, in order for your little one to fall asleep comfortably and stay like that throughout the night is that you make sure he or she only comes in contact with soft materials that are gentle to the skin. You want to make sure to not use any rough or coarse materials that could irritate their skin. Moreover, use pajamas that have zippers and not buttons to save yourself the hassle of having to unbutton a bazillions buttons in the middle of the night which could wake your baby even more and interfere with his sleep. Avoid using blankets for newborns to avoid choking accidents or SIDS. A great alternative to blankets that will keep your baby just as warm as sleep sacks. My absolute favorite sleep sack of all times is the one from Baby and Sunshine. This ultra-soft 3-layer bamboo baby sleep sack is a lot softer and higher quality than the regular sleep sacks you can buy. Even though my son is already 2 years old, he loves his sleep sacks. He doesn’t like blankets and just kicks them off. Thankfully, this sleep sack is fairly big and keeps him warm throughout the night. What’s another super cool feature is that you can zip it open at the bottom so that you can do a diaper change at night without having to take the entire sleep sack off. In addition to that, I highly recommend Baby and Sunshine’s Baby PJs as they only use high-quality products like bamboo or organic cotton making the material extra snuggly and soft.

These tips and tricks might work for your baby or they may not as every baby is different. I found it very helpful to visit a sleep training class that was offered complimentary at my son’s pediatrician. Afterward, I implemented the above steps, and ever since my son is two months old, he sleeps through the night. I am also sure the healthy South Florida ocean air attributes positively to is sleep as well. After a beach day, I see him sleeping extra well and early. Try out what works for your baby and use your motherly instinct for intuition. I also avoided listening to advice from other moms as each child is different, e.g. I was often given that old-school advice to add cereal to my son’s night-time milk in order to get him to sleep through the night. I found that completely unnecessary given that it just adds extra empty calories. So I decided to be patient instead and shortly after he slept through the night. So go by your gut feeling and professional advice instead of some old wives tale. I know you got this, mama, and will soon go back to a great night’s sleep every night!

Before I had a child, I would have never fathomed what a science in itself your baby’s bath time is especially if you have a newborn. My husband and I spent hours watching videos online researching the most appropriate baby bathtub and being fascinated at how organized some of these YouTube moms kept their baby bath caddies. I was very grateful that these moms shared their experience and expertise because – let’s be honest- no new parent has any idea what they’re really doing. Now after bathing my son every single night for the last two-and-a-half-year, I learned a thing or two so hopefully,  these tips below will help some new and expecting moms.

  1. Have an appropriate bathtub for the baby’s stage

Keep in mind that babies develop in different stages. So obviously, don’t throw your newborn who can’t even sit up yet in the adult bathtub. Since babies can only lay on their back at the beginning, I’d highly suggest getting an infant tub that they can lay in. We loved our tub from Four Moms (unfortunately discontinued) since it would display the temperature and display when it would get too warm (super important since you do not want to burn those little feet) and you would be able to drain the accumulated water and refill it (because no one wants to lay in poopy water). It is important to not wet the belly button of a newborn until the umbilical cord comes off. So until it comes off, it is best to give them a sponge bath. If you are delivering at a hospital, you or your partner can watch how the nurses do it at the nursery given that they still allow it during COVID -19 times. My son had to stay an extra day in the nursery for some phototherapy so I saw plenty of newborns coming in being bathed with a sponge by the nurses which helped me learn a lot. Once we were home we would set up our infant bathtub in the kitchen sink every night which brings me to the next super important point: read on to see how to efficiently and effortlessly to set up your bath time caddie. 

 2. Organize your diaper caddy

Like I mentioned before, we would set up the infant tub in the kitchen so we had to take all the needed items as well. Even if you’re bathing your child in the bathroom, I highly recommend having an organized diaper caddie with all of the baby’s items ready in one place so you don’t have to look for them. Trust me on that, as a mom you want to make sure you are organized and don’t waste your time looking for things, and also since mom brain is totally real you do not want to add an extra headache to your life. I love the diaper caddie from Baby and Sunshine. It looks like a fancy beach bag and has a divider that you can either use to be more organized or take out of what you like. Here are the must-haves for my baby’s bath time caddy:

  • Baby shampoo and body wash
  • Baby conditioner
  • Washcloths
  • Vaseline (always worked the best for my baby but if you use butt cream, rash cream, or anything else, you should add that to the caddie too. You should avoid baby powder as it can cause breathing issues and choke.)
  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Toys (be careful with the squeeze toys that have a hole in it. Even if you squeeze out all the water after each use, there will still be some moistness in there. Given that they are wet and dark inside, these toys quickly develop black mold and other bacteria which are extremely detrimental to your child‘s health. I personally would recommend buying bathing toys that do not allow water to enter)
  • Baby brush
  • Baby towel 
  • Optional: baby nail file/clippers and baby toothbrush 

3. Make sure to dry baby off right away

To ensure that your little one does not catch a cold, make sure to dry them off with a warm towel immediately after the bath. I love hooded towels as they cover their hair. If your baby‘s hair is still very short, rubbing it dry with the hood might be all you need. I love Baby and Sunshine animal hooded towels: in addition to looking super adorable, they are also a lot softer and bigger than the other store-bought towels I have used. If your child’s hair is a bit longer, you may want to blow dry them after towel drying them. Just make sure the temperate is not too hot and that your baby can’t touch the outlet. I like to blow dry my son’s hair in front of a mirror to do some speech exercises at the same time, e.g. asking him for different parts of his face and have him point at them in front of the mirror.

Hooded towel from Baby and Sunshine

4. Transition to the bathtub 

Once your child can sit up by themselves, you can start transitioning them to the adult tub. Just be sure to be very careful with the water temperature. Some parents like to use a baby dam to make the bathing area a bit smaller. If your child already stands up, I would recommend getting a non-slip mat that sticks to the floor of the bathtub. For yourself, I’d advise you to buy a mat for outside the tub so you can kneel down more comfortably. Last but not least, I need to point out that it is super important to never ever leave your child unattended during bath time. Not even for a few seconds! I hate to be a fear monger and Negative Nancy but I personally know parents who lost their baby in a drowning accident. And these are not negligent parents but these incidents can, unfortunately, happen in a heartbeat.

I hope these tips were helpful for your little one’s safe and fun bath time. I hyperlinked some of the recommended products but you can also find them here. Also, follow me on Instagram to see more of my life with my toddler and follow Baby and Sunshine to see more of their amazing products.

While having a baby is the most beautiful thing in the world, there are certainly a lot of things women go through during pregnancy and after childbirth. There is a lot of emotional and physical stress on new moms and one very common worry for these moms is weight gain. A lot of women feel ashamed talking about their worries about their weight as it is deemed a superficial matter in the bigger picture. I would like to point out that women should be proud of their post-partum body as their body just created a human life; however, there is nothing shameful about trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be your best self even as a mom. Here are some tips and tricks to help you bounce back.

Me 2 months post-partum (left) and me 2 years post-partum (right) @themiamimami_

  1. Start doing exercises that are appropriate for your post-partum stage

First, I should start off by saying that it is very important to check with your OB/GYN when it is the right time to exercise again. The standard for vaginal births is 6 weeks after giving birth and eight weeks for C-sections. But it depends on the individual. My doctor had told me to wait six weeks because the body needs to get rid of the retained water first but told me I could get for walks. So I started taking my baby and my dog for walks that gradually got longer from time to time. Walking is a great way to keep your metabolism going and strengthen your immune system. If you live in a very hot or very cold area, make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions. Also, make sure to stay hydrated and keep a bottle of water with you. I live in Miami, Florida, and had my baby in the summer so needless to say it was extremely hot in the first six weeks after giving birth. So I would usually take my son for a walk in the stroller in the evening when temperatures were a lot more moderate. In general, I would also try to keep him from direct sun exposure as babies cannot wear any sunscreens before they are six months old. Fortunately, I would kill two birds with one stone with my evening walks as my baby would fall asleep.

2. Make sure you do not have diastasis recti

You have probably seen pictures of famous moms sporting a super-duper flat tummy right after giving birth in a tabloid magazine or while scrolling through Instagram. You may have felt admiration towards the celebrity’s body or even some sort of disappointment in yourself for not looking like that. But don’t worry, momma. I can almost guarantee you that these pictures have been retouched. It is not realistic to expect your belly to be super slim after childbirth and anatomically almost impossible as your uterus which was holding your growing baby for nine months will first have to shrink back. Thus, it will actually take a while for the belly to shrink back. Even though I lost my pregnancy weight in a few months, it took me a lot longer to get back my flat pre-pregnancy belly. A lot of moms will actually see some lower belly pouch, often called the mommy tummy, even a long time after the baby’s birth. But it is important to know that this might not be access fat, it could be a condition called diastasis recti which is an abdominal separation. As your belly expands, your abdominal muscles open up. The left and right sides of the abdominal muscles separate to make space for the baby. Therefore, this separation of your abdominal muscles is very common.  Once your baby is 12 weeks old this gap should have closed by itself but sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s how you can check if you have diastasis recti:

Step 1: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor as if you were about to perform a crunch

Step 2: Place your three middle fingers of one hand above your belly button

Step 3: Tuck your chin in and lift up your head

Step 4: If you feel a gap that is wider than two fingers, you might have diastasis recti

But don’t worry. You are able to heal this gap by doing the proper exercises. Some beneficial exercises for closing the gap are bird dogs, cat-cow pose, and Kegels. Any exercises where you bulge your belly can increase the gap and should be avoided. Some of these exercises are crunches, twisting and rotating moves, any type of plank, and sit-ups.

3. Breastfeeding – fat burner for some, fat retainer for others

While I know many women who attribute their rapid post-partum weight loss to breastfeeding, there are others who claim that the opposite is the case. It is true that through breastfeeding you can burn up to 500 to 700 calories per day which is a quick weight loss method for many women. Personally, I had the opposite experience. I felt like my body was holding on to the extra fat as a preservation method given that I am burning all these extra calories. I was holding on to an extra 10 pounds that came off quickly once I stopped breastfeeding after 6 months. On a side note, if you do breastfeed, make sure you have the right bras for nursing and for pumping if you pump. Check out the high-quality nursing and pumping bras from Baby and Sunshine here.

Pumping Bra from Baby and Sunshine

4. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition

You may have heard the saying “You can’t out-exercise a poor diet” or “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Proper nutrition is even more important than ever during pregnancy and after childbirth. First of all, your body is healing so it is important that you nourish yourself well for a quick recovery. But even more importantly, if you are breastfeeding, your baby is getting all the nutrients through you. So, it is important to have a lot of vitamins and healthy proteins in your diet and less sugar and fatty foods. Even my post-natal Yoga instructor told me that she mainly got her body back through nutrition and that a healthy diet was the most important factor – a lot more important than exercise.

5. Shapewear and waist trainers

Last but not least, post-partum belly binders help a lot to shrink the body back. Some people may see it as a fad but belly binding is actually a very ancient tradition in Malaysian culture. A postpartum belly binder can be used to help support your abdominal muscles directly in the first few weeks after you give birth when those muscles are very weak.  Just make sure to follow the directions for a heathy healing. Once your uterus has shrunk back to normal, you can go over to a waist trainer for that sexy petite waist.

Three-piece postpartum belly binder from Baby and Sunshine

I hope these tips are helpful. Also, make sure to check out all the awesome nursing and belly binding items Baby and Sunshine offers. Clearly, you need to consult with your doctor before performing any exercises after pregnancy. Also, it is important to emphasize that women’s bodies come in different forms and shapes and that is not necessary to stress yourself out about bouncing back right after giving birth. Your body just created a human being and did amazing things!

Before I had my son, I was never that much of a baby person. I never had a lot of experience with kids and there was a time when considered not having any kids at all. But all that changed my son was born. I felt like I was completely re-born as well and my whole outlook on life changed in a positive way. If you are still on the fence about having kids or you’re not particularly a “baby person”, read below why it is so wonderful to be a parent:

  1. Having a purpose in life 

When my son was born, I felt completely reborn as well. I turned from someone who was only responsible for herself into someone who is now responsible for another human being. I was now in charge of protecting and taking care of a life that completely depends on me. Looking back now on my life before baby, it seems very empty. It was basically just filled with work and whatever I liked to do in my free time. Now, I get to influence someone’s life by teaching him right from wrong and educating him. I also turned from someone who didn’t even know how to hold a baby into being super obsessed with my baby and become an expert about everything baby related. If you are someone who thinks they might not be a good mom, trust me, it will come naturally, and you will be a pro in no time. Most parents don’t really know what they are doing when they have a baby but the immense love they have for their little ones usually motivates them to be the best parent they can possibly be.

2. The energy they give you 

There is something about a child’s laughter that just brings to pure bliss. Having kids really teaches here to get lost in the moment and enjoy the precious time with your kids. By the same token, seeing a sleepy baby is the most peaceful thing in the world. I remember than when my son was a baby and he would still sleep in his bassinet in our room, I would always try to go to bed as soon as possible. Of course, one of the reasons was that I was tired as a mother. But it was more so because I wanted to soak up as much as I could of that peaceful energy my sleeping baby would send out into the room.

3. Kids are 100% genuine and honest

One big difference between kids and adults is that young kids and toddlers are a 100% genuine and honest. While adults are being programmed to always act appropriately and hide their feelings when necessary, small kids will cry when they’re upset and laugh when they’re happy. Adults usually act the way society tells them to act. If you are overly stressed, you’re still supposed to answer “Good” to the common (seemingly caring but not very genuine) greeting “How are you?” Children do not care about material things are reputation. They don’t care about how trendy the places are you are taking them. They care about the ways it makes them feel. We have a lot of new and nice parks in our area. I would take my son thinking he would be so excited about all the swings, slides, and other fun stuff. However, to my surprise he easily got bored by those, and would be more fascinated by all the little sticks on the floor. Same applies to going to the beach: he does not care whether we are at a luxury resort or not. For him playing with his toys in the sand is an enjoyable experience no matter where we are. I also love seeing him with other kids and their genuine interactions that you usually do not see in a lot of adults. The little girls at his daycare are so overjoyed when they see him, and they openly show it by screaming his name when they see him and hug him. I jokingly said to my husband “He should enjoy it while it lasts. Once girls get older, they ignore the boys they like to play hard to get.”

4. Kids love their parents unconditionally

Nothing in life is certain or lasts forever. Friendships come and go. Relationships fall apart. But one thing, you can always count on (unless you majorly screw up as a parent): your kids will always love you unconditionally. The fact that their life begins in your womb makes you have a major bond with them from the beginning. Children do not love their moms less because she is not is not pretty enough or will replace them with a younger mom. Their mom has a unique place in their life that is irreplaceable.

Now that I have my son, I can honestly say he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. If you are a new mom, an expecting mom or if you know a new or expecting mom that you are searching a gift for, I have the perfect event for you. Baby and Sunshine is having a virtual holiday event on November 14th. Baby and Sunshine has the most amazing products for babies and mommies. All the items are of extremely high quality and a lot of them are hand-made by stay-at-home mom businesses. During this event, you will be able to have access to deals that you would not normally get. They offer a ton of personalized items so if you are on the look-out for the perfect Christmas or Chanukah gift, this is just the right event for you. But you will love their items so much that I am sure you will want some of these for yourself. Moreover, they have special Thanksgiving items that would arrive just in time for the holiday if you were to obtain one during the event. Sign up for the Facebook event here. They already started some of the fun games and already gave away a cash prize. They currently have a game running where you could win a luxurious diaper bag. Hope you sign up and have a blast!

I cannot believe it – November is already here! While this year was full of surprises (and not always the good kind), it seems like it has flown by. Surely, this year has been tough for a lot of people: the unexpected outbreak of a global pandemic has led lots of people to losing their jobs, homeschooling their kids while working from home, and lots of other challenges. But there is one thing that has not only helped me throughout this year but has significantly improved my life: practicing gratitude

Appreciate the time you have with your child – it will go by fast

This year most parents have spent a lot more time with their kids than they are used to (and, let’s be honest, than they want to). The shut-down of schools and daycares nationwide has led to a lot of parents juggling working while taking care of their children at the same time, or even homeschooling them. I personally had a moment around April when I thought I would have a nervous breakdown due to being overwhelmed with a high workload while taking care of my very active and needy toddler. Just before I was about to get into having really dark thoughts, I changed one thing: I turned my frustration into gratitude which turned my 2020 from negative to positive. Instead of being frustrated about having so much on my plate, here’s what I did:

  • I started to be grateful for having all that time with my son, and mostly, for having him at home with me safe and sound. A lot of parents with older kids, tell me that this time goes by fast and that they wished they could still carry their kids in their arms. I have lot of people telling me they miss the stage where they fed their kids food with a spoon and they told me to enjoy every single second of this stage even if that includes waking up late at night and diaper changes. Without a doubt, all of us parents with babies and toddlers can clearly learn from these parents. They will never get that sweet time with their little ones back. So, let’s enjoy it to the maximum no matter what life throws at us.
  • I started journaling. Since gratitude is an incredible strong power, you will see how many more great things will come to your life. I started writing down everything I have that I am grateful for. If you think about it, there are a lot more things than you might think. Even if you are not a millionaire, the fact that you are alive, that you have access clean water, that your children are healthy and that you are able to provide a roof over their head and food is something to be thankful for. If you do not believe me, here are just a few things that happened to me after practicing gratitude and journaling every day:
  • I became a U.S. citizen this year. While all immigration proceedings were on hold due to Covid-19, I was selected as one of 500 lucky people to have their naturalization ceremony right before 4th of July
  • I got a promotion at work and shortly after an even higher paying job offer
  • My side hustle as a mom blogger and influencer took off in ways that I would have not expected especially not during these crazy times
  • Our house sold for more than asking price and I moved to the area I have always dreamt off
  • Focusing on being grateful for the things I have, made me a more patient and more focused mom. While I had always put my son’s well-being first, I believe that before I was a bit of a robot of our society: very focused on how things should be and very annoyed if they wouldn’t. I stopped sweating the small things. Even when I was working from home on a tight deadline and my son wanted to cuddle, I made the conscious decision to stop what I am doing and take a few minutes for my son. These moments with him are the most precious moments in the world to me that I cherish more than anything. It would help us bond and give me so much energy as well. And guess what, I would still meet all my deadlines just as well.  Also, not being able to attend events at activities made us explore all the nature in our area and focus more on our family.

Breastfeeding is without a doubt one of the best ways for a mom to bond with her child. Not only that but it is also extremely beneficial for the child’s immune system. Before I had my child, I was committed to exclusively nurse my son. I thought it would come naturally and didn’t understand why other women wouldn’t be doing it. While it may be completely natural, it is not necessarily easy. Like with so many things, expectation before giving birth and reality after giving birth turned out to be two different things. I had extreme difficulties nursing my baby at the beginning. I much later found out that my son had a lip tie which contributed to that. Moreover, it didn’t necessary help that I constantly had visitors at the hospital and at my home. I’m not the type of person that likes to be naked in front of other people and I feel like that these are intimate moments that should be enjoyed in private. In the hospital, I at least had the help of lactation consultants when my baby wouldn’t latch on. However, when I first came home with my baby, I had my entire family-in-law waiting at my home for me. I could have really used some time to settle in and figure things out with our newest addition to the family. The stress of having to breastfeed with an entire audience for the first time made me so nervous that I didn’t succeed. My baby threw a major fit and would not latch on. I felt like such a failure as a mom and that whole experience left me so traumatized that every time I tried to nurse after that, my baby boy just wouldn’t latch on so I resorted to pumping. However, I did have a success a few days later. Since I know so many moms out there are struggling with breastfeeding, I would like to give some tips on what to do and also reflect on what I would have done differently retrospectively:

  1. Lots of bonding and skin-to-skin

Like mentioned above, I had a terrible start to my breastfeeding journey which was so disappointing for me. I thought it would come so natural to me but because of several factors it didn’t. After difficulties at the beginning, I would also be afraid he wouldn’t latch before I even started feeding him that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. But at some point I became determined that a rocky start wouldn’t determine the future anymore. After all, a lion mom doesn’t need a lactation consultant and knows what to do. So why should it be any different from a human mom. I decided to become a lioness. I did lots and lots of skin to skin with my baby in peace when no one except maybe my husband is as around. It was important to me to bond with him and for him to feel safe on my chest. I gave him little massages after bath time to relax him. And one rainy day when I was alone with him on the couch doing skin-to-skin, it just happened. He started nursing again and from then on, it wasn’t an issue anymore. I highly recommend getting as comfortable as possible for feedings. A good nursing pillow can help you and the baby. Moreover, you can still re-purpose it later for tummy time or a sitting pillow. Additionally, I would recommend get a few good nursing bras without a wire so your milk can flow properly. It is definitely recommended to get more than one in case any accidents such as leaking or baby spit-ups happen. Baby and Sunshine has amazing nursing bras even some with padding which I totally love.

Nursing bra from Baby and Sunshine

2. The benefits of pumping

Pumping certainly is a great way to get all the precious nutrients of breastmilk to your child when you are not around or when you have difficulties nursing. It is a bit tedious since it involves constantly cleaning and sterilizing pump parts and the bottle you use to fill in the milk. You should do it every 2 hours at the beginning and then once you have a good milk supply you can go over to pumping every 3 to four hours. Therefore, it is great that you have the ability for your partner or someone else to take over the feedings if you are ever gone longer than that time frame. It is also great for working moms. It is required by law that women are provided at area at work where they can pump. You can either bring a bag with ice-packs or store it in the company’s fridge. Moreover, there are microwave bags you can sterilize your pump parts in. Additionally, pumping is a great way to increase you milk supply. A lot of women like to pump one side while nursing the baby on the other side. Or they pump in between feeding to signal to their body that more milk is needed. Milk production works like supply and demand. Your body produces the amount of milk your body needs. If you skip feeding and pumping while giving them formula, it signals your body that your baby needs less and it lowers your supply. Hence, the more you subtract milk via nursing or pumping, the more your body will produce. Since I was such an avid pumper, my number 1 must have was a great pumping bra. Pumping can get extremely time-consuming and tedious. Thus, you want to be able to pump hands-free. I would pump at least 20 minutes every 3 hours. The pumping bra was holding the pump for me so I was able to eat, work, write blog posts, scroll the phone and pretty much every time that can be done sitting.

Pumping bra from Baby and Sunshine

3. Set boundaries

One of the lessons I learned from my last experience of having kids is to set boundaries. The first time around I thought I would have to make everyone else happy, however this came at the expense of my mental and physical well-being and affected my ability to nurse my child. You simply cannot pour from an empty cup and you already go through enough stress and exhaustion with a newborn baby. You really do not need anyone adding to it. If you do like to nurse in front of other people, make sure to either send people out of the room or go to another room. Limit visiting times to 30 minutes. And quite frankly, if you feel visitors interfere too much with your privacy and your ability to bond with your baby, limit them all together. Maybe people would be very understanding if you expressed how you feel to them. And if they don’t, that’s their problems and not yours. I know for a fact, that next time I wouldn’t be willing to constantly put myself in uncomfortable positions. If you do like to have visitors and actually find them helpful, then of course, this is completely up to you. I remember that I would never really know what to wear because I wanted to be presentable and comfortable at the same time. Next day, I would definitely opt for one of the super cute Baby and Sunshine dresses made for nursing moms.

Nursing friendly dress from Baby and Sunshine

I hope these tips were helpful to you and your breastfeeding journey. You got this, mom! And remember: whatever decision YOU make for your baby is the right decision. If you are committed to breastfeed, you have plenty of resources, besides being provided a lactation consultant in the hospital, there are also free La Leche League help groups in almost every area. Like mentioned above, having the right gear definitely helps. Check out Baby and Sunshine and all of their awesome items they have. You will love the premium quality and softness of the clothes and your little one will, too.

If you are like most moms, you probably focus most of your energy and time on your child’s well-being. Moms are known to be one of the most selfless human beings. It starts with sacrificing your body while suffering through nausea and other side effects of pregnancies until bringing your baby to this world in the most unimaginable pain. And it certainly does not end there. Many moms spend endless nights taking care of their babies and worrying about them when they are older. I have heard a lot of parents of grown-up children say that they have never stopped worrying- they just worry about different things depending on the age of their child. While it is truly admirable that moms put their children first, it is necessary to point out that self-care is so important for moms. Ever heard the saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup?” It is so applicable to moms especially since they are in charge of caring for another human being. It is extremely difficult to help someone else if you are not well yourself. When I first had my baby, I never wanted anyone to help and felt like I should do everything on my own. But I have learned to take care of myself so I can take better care of my little one. Here is my 7-step guide on how moms should focus on their own well-being from time to time:

Step 1- Self-care: I cannot emphasize enough how important self-care is. You cannot pour from an empty cup. It is crucial to hit the brakes from time to time and enjoy some well-deserved “me-time.” Have your husband (or a babysitter of your choice) take care of your child while you have some uninterrupted time to recharge your batteries. I personally like getting my hair done or get mani-pedis. Other love to go shopping to relax. There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy.

Step 2- Find the time to work-out: This doesn’t mean you have to do some full-fledged gym workout. It can be as simple as just doing a 10 minute YouTube workout or going for a walk around the block. Exercising releases endorphins and helps tremendously at reducing stress. Start your day with a workout and you’ll feel more energized throughout the day.

Step 3- Get in your zzz’s: I know we’re all busy and have excuses but getting in a solid 7-8 hours of quality sleep at night is so crucial to reduce your stress levels. Try to not use any electronics close to bedtime. If you need extra help relaxing, you can do some light yoga before going to bed and use essential oils.

Step 4 – Have some adult time: If you keep having the song “Baby Shark” stuck in your head, chances are you spend too much time being baby stuff and not enough time doing adult things. I know from my own experience that sometimes you get so in the zone of focusing all your time on your happy that you almost forget that you are a person with needs as well. What helped me personally was to get back to work. The feeling of putting some real clothes and make-up on (as opposed to the yoga pants and top knot I was rocking for the first couple of weeks after my son was born) and having adult conversations made me feel like a woman again. Obviously, not every mom wants to go back to work but I highly recommend carving out some adults when you meet your friends for coffee or brunch.

Step 5 – Have date nights: Once you become a parent, chances are you want to spend all the time with your baby. I remember that my husband and had our first baby-free night two weeks after my son was born to go out to dinner for my birthday. All we ended up doing was talking about our baby and watching him on the camera app from our phones. However, it is so important to make time for some romance. When I talk to divorced people and ask them what led to their divorce, they tell me that the romance in their relationship was gone and that they were merely parents at the end and not partners anymore. It is important to keep the flame alive.  Try to get someone to watch your child every once in a while and spend some quality time with your partner where the two of you can bond. Remember that before you were parents, you were lovers and both don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Step 6 – Meditate: You have to believe me on this one! When your baby sleeps or you have a few moments completely to yourself, sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe in and out deeply. Try to block out any negative or stressful thoughts and just concentrate on your breath. Do this for at least five minutes every day. It will help you clear your mind and focus your energies. You will feel like a million bucks if you do this properly.

Step 7 – Keep a Journal: While it is always easy to focus on all the negative things in your life, it is a lot more powerful to be grateful for the positive things that are happening in your life. Maybe your baby kept you up all night but is he a healthy baby? Maybe you gained some weight during pregnancy but did you have a healthy pregnancy? Try to journal all your blessings by stating how grateful you are for them. The universe usually rewards gratitude with more blessings. Try it out and I promise something positive will happen to you.

I hope this guide will help you practice more self-care which is so important for moms. Baby and Sunshine has an excellent subscription service that can help moms save time and energy to focus more on themselves. Their subscription boxes will be delivered right to your doorstep. They pick out and personalize high-quality items for mom and baby tailored to their needs. They offer a lot of items that help moms take care of themselves after having a baby such as nursing bras, pumping bras, belly binders, waist trainers, and a lot more. And the best thing is you can let them know your preferences in a survey and they will plan it for you. Check them out under this link! This is a great investment to save some time and money, so you have more left for yourself and your baby. Follow them on Instagram under @baby_and_sunshine and follow me under @themiamimami_ . Also check out their YouTube channel below :

Let me know your self-care tips in the comments!

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