What Kind of Diapers Should I Buy?

So you’re a new mom. There are a ton of options: disposable, cloth, organic, sensitive, overnight, swadlers, movers, groovers etc.. It is literally one of the most overwhelming things. I have heard from different mothers that different types of diapers work for different babies. I even have a friend who said that she used different types for each child. Some mothers say that certain brands work great for girls and others work great for boys. I cannot tell you what will work perfectly for you, but I can tell you what has worked great for me.

The best advice I can give you as a new mother, is to have a diaper raffle for your baby shower. Offer a drawing for a $50 gift card to whoever brings a small pack of diapers. It doesn’t have to be a gigantic pack. Ask for a variety. In this way, you will be able to try many different types of diapers for your little one.

For my son, it happened completely by accident. We tried the Pampers Swaddlers which are actually pretty pricey. Then I pulled out a package of Pampers that were labeled a little differently. They were blue and did not have an “indicator line” to show when there was a need to change the diaper. I thought maybe someone brought me an old package or something that was discontinued. Boy was I wrong. I put that diaper on my child and that thing held up better than any Costo, Target, Huggies or Swaddler combined. It was called “Pampers Baby Dry” Recently, my son wore one all night to sleep, and then took a big poo in it before I could change him. There was NO BLOWOUT! Don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself.

Reducing Fear of Childbirth

INTRODUCTION

First and foremost: If you are a first-time expectant mother, this article is for you! My recommendation for the first step of getting ready (emotionally and physically) for your birth plan is to: please, please stop asking your friends about their birth experiences, unless you know they were great. I promise you that most of what you hear from other mothers will scare you. This article is meant to do the opposite. So if you want to find some resources and reassurances about giving birth with lots of support and helpful techniques, keep reading.


MOTHERHOOD RITE OF PASSAGE

There is some sort of stigma that we have in the motherhood community that causes us moms to scare others who are getting ready to have a child; it’s almost like a rite of passage. I don’t know what makes so many women want to share their downright horrible birth stories with other women who are expecting a child, but if you are guilty of this you know who you are (and please, please stop it!). I’m sorry if your birth wasn’t a good experience. I really am. But not everyone is destined to have a bad experience. By sharing these scary stories, we can negatively affect an expectant mother who is already probably tripped out about giving birth, and it is sure to add to the stress and difficulty of the overall process.


MY BIRTH STORY

When I tell people that I gave birth without an epidural, most people look at me with bewildered looks on their faces. For my first child, I went in with a simple plan: I wanted to go as long as possible without intervention, but I wasn’t opposed to an epidural. As it turns out, I didn’t end up needing it– and I had a great birth! What’s funny is that I don’t like sharing my birth story with people, because so many women get angry at me for my positive experience; however, I am not apologetic for having enjoyed giving birth.

What I do want to do is share how I got to be so comfortable going into labor and share the resources which prepared me. I am not a doctor, but in my *limited* experience I came to the conclusion that a good chunk of our labor experience is defined by our emotions during and about the labor and birthing process.

*Note: For some women there are complications and anatomical challenges which do, indeed, cause for a poor labor experience. Many times these complications require the use of medicine. I am in no way shaming any woman who has had a complication and needed medical intervention. I was fortunate enough not to need any intervention, and I am simply sharing how (in my opinion) your emotional perspective can help (or hinder) your delivery experience.

MY GOAL IS TO HELP YOU

You may think what I am saying is a load of bull, but if you read up on what I am about to share with you, I have a feeling you may be swayed in a positive way. I don’t benefit from sharing this information with you. Literally my only goal here is to help you get the information you need to have a more relaxed and easy labor.

Currently, there are mothers contemplating their own birth plan; maybe you are one of those mothers. If so, I write this for you.


RESOURCES THAT HELPED ME

When I was about half way through my pregnancy, it started to occur to me that I would have to do some research and preparation for labor. During my research, I started to feel unsure about the situation and anxiety slowly started to creep in. Luckily, I have one very cool “hippie” friend who gave me what I now think is literally the best book for preparation of delivery.

The book was called “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth,” written by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May is a midwife who has chronicled her experiences and helped to provide education on childbirth. She has delivered hundreds of babies, and so many of those deliveries were done naturally, without intervention. This was a very foreign concept to me.


THE MEDICAL MODEL TODAY

It recently occurred to me that the majority of people I know today have had some type of intervention during their delivery whether it be an epidural, Pitocin, forceps, vaccum, c-section etc. Ina May goes on to explain how the medical model in our country today pushes these processes and even makes the natural birthing process more difficult on women because of the pressure put on them by having intervention processes in place (i.e. “if you don’t push that baby out in an hour, were taking it out!” Anxiety provoking, right?).

Now, I am not saying that you should give birth in your bathtub at home without any help. In fact, I am a huge proponent of depending on a healthcare provider to oversee pregnancy and birth. What I am saying, though, is that I think women are not given the chance or even enough time to naturally deliver their children– in fact we are programmed to learn about these intervention techniques from our doctors, our friends, the internet etc…

But if you educate yourself on alternative options, you may find that there is enough information about how your body is programmed (for thousands of years) to do what it was built to do without these interventions. I hope you will consider these resources and educate yourself on the natural birthing process. I wish you luck!


LINKS

• Ina May Gaskin: http://inamay.com/

• Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth: https://g.co/kgs/i8Kofk

• Ina May’s Ted Talk:

 

 

 

Moroccan Chicken Sumac

Growing up in California, I was blessed to have been surrounded by a plethora of other cultures. I am especially lucky to have a mother who teaches English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) to immigrants who are far more generous than many of my American peers. Some of my mom’s students (and other immigrants I have met) would literally give the shirt off of their back, so sharing food was just a basic gesture.

Each year, my mother would host a (glorious, fun, yummy) potluck where I was able to try food from many cultures around the world. The pride of each country or region was so fun to see and my mom’s students really “showed out” with their dishes. Each student urged me to try just a bit of their food. Each story was similar: “it’s the best food in the world!” The passion for food and culture started in my mom’s  classroom. It is safe to say that during that time, I had taken kindly to Moroccan food and culture.

That being said, I write my own recipes. Of course I always search for many recipes of what I want to cook, taking and adapting elements from each, but never imitating anything fully. I think cooking is very much an art form, and so I encourage you to adapt this simple recipe to your liking.

• Ingredients:

○ Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (or breasts)
○ 1/3 cup Olive Oil
○ 6-8 Cloves Minced Garlic
○ Juice of 1 Lemon
○ 2 Tsp Sumac Seasoning
○ 3 Tbsp Butter
○ Salt

1. Mix together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sumac and salt into a plastic bag.
2. Add chicken to the plastic bag with seasonings and let marinate for a few minutes. This can be done longer if desired.
3. When ready to cook, start by heating a large non-stick pan on medium heat.
4. Melt the butter into the bottom of the pan and spread around.
5. Add the chicken thighs and cook with medium heat on each side until browned.

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6. After about 10 minutes, the liquid should start to thicken up. This is the part that you don’t want to skip. If you let this part thicken, the mixture crystallizes and creates the most delectable browned bits on the chicken.

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7. When finished to your desired “brown-ness,” remove the chicken and serve with cous cous.

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Pro Tip: I like to serve my Chicken Sumac with Garlic Aioli 🙂

Louisiana Chicken Stew

Although I was born in California, I sometimes like to celebrate my heritage which goes back much further than my current home. My family emigrated from many parts of Europe, and some of them ended up in New Orleans, Louisiana.

It was my maternal grandmother who was raised in the Big Easy– she was the one who passed down not only my palate for food, but taught me how to cook it as well. She could make anything amazing out of very few ingredients. One weekend when I was young, she came to our home for a visit and whipped up a Chicken Stew for lunch. I had never eaten it before, but it would not be the last time I enjoyed this amazing creation.

This was not my grandmothers exact recipe–but from my memory and some online searches for ingredients, I was able to create something that tastes very similar. I hope you enjoy this amazing southern meal!

Ingredients:

• 1 full chicken, cut up
• 4 additional legs
• 2 additional leg quarters
• 1 stick salted butter
• Spices: Paprika, salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 to 1 cup celery, chopped
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 2 cups sliced mushrooms
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 cup chopped green onion
• 2 Boxes [32oz] chicken broth *Pro tip: less can be used for a thicker consistency stew
• 1 cup flour

Directions:

1. Start by melting the butter in a non-stick pan.
2. Add the chicken seasoned with spices as desired.
3. Brown chicken on both sides on medium heat and remove from the pan (you may have to do this in 2 batches).
4. Take the leftover oil from browning the chicken and slowly add 1/2 cup of flour. **DO NOT STOP STIRRING. Cook until golden brown.
5. Add celery and onions and let them cook down for a couple minutes.
6. Add chicken broth slowly, as needed while the vegetables cook.
7. Once vegetables are cooked down a little bit (about 5 min), add the chicken back to the pot.
8. Add more chicken broth as desired. More for a soupy consistency or less for a thicker consistence. Note: you can always thicken later on.
9. Cook for 30-45 minutes. The longer it is cooked within this time frame, the more tender the chicken becomes while on medium-low heat.
10. Add green onions a couple minutes before removing from heat.
11. Add extra seasoning if desired, and extra flour for a thicker consistency.
12. Serve with sourdough bread or over white rice.
13. Enjoy!

Note: You can add different vegetables or ingredients for different flavors. Some people like to add a bit of spice. Others like to add bell peppers. I don’t necessarily care for those flavors right now, but anything can change!

Learning to Live Small and Love Big

Our world is so focused on possessions and accomplishments, that we sometimes lose sight of what life is really about. Live Small Love Big is focused on minimalism which sometimes requires us to rewrite our story as a culture. As parents, we can help our children by giving them less rather than more by teaching them to play with imagination rather than to consume media. We can show them that sometimes DIY can save money and be a fun learning experience. Finally, we can model that learning to cook some meals at home can be a great way to spend quality time while not shelling out a ton of money for just one tasty meal. Above all, loving your family, and your neighbor is our motto here; we like to model that by serving others and this blog is a way to share all of that knowledge. Welcome and enjoy!

5 Baby Shower Pro Tips

“Oh thanks aunt Margaret, I’ve always wanted **insert terrible gift** for my child.” you say, feigning a smile. This is an example of a gift you received which was not on your registry, and probably something you will never use.

If you are like me, I never know what to say in these situations, and I certainly don’t want to be rude– so then I just end up keeping those extra or unwanted gifts so as not to rock the boat!

I had a friend give me a few tips which I found to be genius pro tips which in hindsight I wish I would have paid closer attention to in order to help the baby shower go the way that you want it to and to get things that you will actually use.

1. Don’t tell the gender of your baby:

This seems like an odd thing to do, especially if you are very eager to know the gender yourself and also to share with everyone. The secret behind this is that when well-intentioned family and friends purchase clothes, toys etc… they will be unable to get gender-specific items, making it difficult to shower you with things you may find that you don’t like. They are forced to get you items from your registry. Everyone wins!

2. Don’t Open The Gifts At the Shower:

While I was at my shower, I was made to sit down and open up EVERY. SINGLE. FREAKING. GIFT. After I was done, everyone pretty much got up and left afterwards. I was really bummed that my time was spent laboriously opening up gifts (something I would have preferred not to do, and people probably had no desire to watch). I would have rather just spent my time visiting with friends and family which is SO much more important to me!

After the baby shower I had a friend give me the best advice for my next baby: I could leave a disclaimer on the invites explaining that rather than opening gifts, I would rather spend time with family and friends visiting. That way, you don’t have the pressure of opening 893240928340 gifts at your baby shower, and people aren’t offended since you notified them ahead of time! Bingo, bango, bungo!

3. Hold a Diaper Raffle: 

Offer a prize (mine was a $50 Visa Gift Card) for one lucky winner at the shower. The admission was a small pack of diapers. Generally a small pack will run you under $10. In this way, you are generating an activity for the guests to take place in, as well as getting some sample packs of diapers for you to try out on your little one when he or she arrives. This was literally the best thing that I did for my shower and I was so glad I took my friends’ advice!

4. Have the Guests Write Their Addresses:

This one was new to me, but I went to a shower recently and the host past around pre-stamped envelopes and asked all of the guests to write their name and address on the return section. This way, the mom would be able to write the thank you card, place it in the envelope and send away! Cool idea, right?

5. Provide Food!

Wait, did she just say to provide food? Um, yeah, I did! I once went to this shower where there was food, but it was SO poorly planned that most of the food was picked over after the first 30 minutes, and what I did end up eating was not the best food I had tasted. You have to remember, ladies, not everyone enjoys being at a shower, so you have to make it worth everyone’s time!

Ultimate Checklist For Your New Baby

Diapering

  • Essentials You Need:
    • Diapers
    • Wipes
    • Plastic wipes holders (or wipes with resealable flap)
    • Diaper Pail or Garbage Can (your choice!)
    • Diaper Pail Refill Bags Refills
    • Diaper Cream or Coconut oil
    • Diaper Changing pad (with safety strap)
    • 1-2 covers for changing pad
    • 3-5 waterproof pads for changing pad
    • Petroleum Jelly (for circumcisions)
  • Things You Can Probably Do Without:
    • Wipes Warmer

Bathing and Cleaning

  • Essentials You Need:
    • Baby Bathtub or bathing support* Think “easy to store”
    • Baby body wash
    • Baby shampoo*Can get an all-over wash
    • 2-4 Hooded Towels
    • 4-6 Baby Washcloths* Can double as clean-up for feeding later
  • Things You Can Probably Do Without:
    • Shampoo Rinse Cup
    • Bath Kneeler
  • Things That Can Wait:
    • Bath Toys
    • Bath Toy Storage
    • Bathtub Spout Cover

Clothing

  • Essentials You Need:
    • 4­-8 Bodysuits (Long and
    • Short ­Sleeved)
    • 2-4 caps
    • 8-12 Pairs of Socks
    • 1-­2 Wearable Blankets
    • 2­4 Gowns
    • 6-8 Footie Pajamas with zipper
    • 4­-8 Pairs of Pants
    • Coming Home Outfit
    • Seasonal Clothing (swim trunks, holiday clothing, if desired)
    • 7 feeding bibs
    • 7 drool bibs
    • 1-3 Soft Sweatshirts
    • 2-4 baby blankets
    • Baby hangers
    • 10 Swaddling Blankets
    • 8-16 receiving blankets (can double as burp cloths!!)
  • Things You Can Probably Do Without:
    • No­Scratch Mittens *The nurses at the hospital recommend socks. The mittens don’t really stay on, and the socks have much more elastic!

Nursery & Decor

  • Essentials You Need:
    • Crib
    • Crib Mattress
    • 2-­3 Waterproof Mattress Pads
    • 3+ Fitted Crib Sheets
  • First Weeks Sleep Solution:
    • Cradle or Bassinet
    • Rock n’ Play
    • Snuggle Nest or DockaTot
    • Make your own co-sleepe
    • Dresser
    • Lamp
    • Night light
    • Hamper
    • Storage Baskets/Bins
    • Wall Hangings or Decal
    • Shelving for Books
    • Diaper Stacker** optional
    • Glider & Ottoman **See DIY link
  • Things That Can Wait:
    • Attachable Crib Toy or Soother
    • Mobile
    • Accent Rug
    • Toy Chest
  • Things You Can Probably Do Without:
    • Matching Quilt, Dust Ruffle and Valance You don’t need these things. The sets are sold for hundreds of dollars. You will be just fine with 2-4 fitted sheets.
    • Sound/White Noise** baby can grow dependent on this to sleep

Nursing & Feeding

  • Essentials You Need:
    • If you are breastfeeding:
      • Insulated Bottle Tote and reusable Ice
      • Breast Milk Storage Containers (Kiinde)
      • Cleaning Wipes (if you will be pumping out and about or at work)
      • Nursing Bras (Aenley from Amazon, great for sleeping and very comfortable)
      • Nursing Pads (Lasinoh)
      • Soothing Ointments (Medela)
      • Gel Pads These didn’t really do much for me
      • Nursing Pillow  This was only used for a few weeks. I would recommend getting one used or not at all. Regular pillows work as well.
      • Nursing Cover (Many places offer these for free; second hand is great also)
      • Breast Pump
      • Breast pump tubes and attachments
  • Feeding items below are needed for both breastfeeding with pumping and Bottle Feeding:
    • Microwave sterilizer (or you can boil stuff)
    • 4-6 Bottles and Nipples
    • Different sized nipples for bottle
    • Bottle Warmer
    • Bottle Brush
    • Bottle Drying Rack
    • Bottle Sterilizer (microwave or machine)
    • Formula (as a back-up to breastfeeding or as main nutrition if not breastfeeding)
  • Things That Can Wait:
    • Highchair Bumbo chair attachment
    • Splat Mat *or old shower curtain!
    • Make­Your­Own Baby Food Gear * Or use your existing Magic Bullet and the Kiinde milk pouches can double
    • Infant Bowls and Spoons
    • 2-4 Sippy Cups
    • 2-­3 Teethers
  • Things You Can Probably Do Without:
    • Dishwasher Basket
    • Formula Dispenser or holders for travel

Baby Gear & Travel

  • Essentials You Need:
    • Stroller or Travel System
    • Car Seat
    • Extra Car Seat Base (for second car)
    • Baby Carrier
    • Playard
    • 2-3 Playard Sheets
    • Diaper Bag for Mom and
    • One for Daddy, too
    • Changing Mat
    • Swing
  • Things That Can Wait:
    • Toys For Car Seat & Stroller
    • Entertainer and/or Jumper
    • High Chair
    • Umbrella Stroller
    • Waterproof Seat Liner
  • First world things:
    • Stroller Rain Cover
    • Stroller Hooks (maybe)
    • Car Mirror
    • Car Window Shade
    • Stroller Netting
    • Cup and Snack Holder for parents
    • Car Seat Bunting/Cover

 

Safety/Health

  • Essentials You Need:
    • Baby Monitor
    • Thermometer
    • Nasal Aspirator
    • First Aid Kit
    • Nail Clippers and Emery Boards
    • Brush and Comb
    • Gentle Laundry Detergent
    • Baby Tylenol by supervision of doctor for age and weight and dosage
    • Baby Motrin* 6 months and up and by supervision of doctor for age, weight and dosage.
  • Things That Can Wait:
    • Shopping Cart/Restaurant Highchair Cover
    • Humidifier
    • Safety Gates
    • Safety Locks, Covers, and Cushions
    • Furniture and Television Straps
    • Baby Toothbrush
    • Teething Gel

 

Toys & Learning

  • Activity Mats and Gyms
  • Rattles and Travel Toys
  • Developmental Toys
  • Books
  • Stuffed Animals

About Me

I am a millennial and a mom to one with an affinity for helping others. I like to organize stuff. I like to share things. I like to help others. I want to use my blog as a tool to equip others to be successful in as many ventures as possible, and even open minds to new ideas. Whatever knowledge I have or obtain, I organize and share. Live Small Love Big is my platform for that.

Learning to Live Small and Love Big

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