tips

how to survive teething.

you know how everyone tells you how bad teething is?

they have no idea.

if i could remove one aspect of the child-rearing process (which includes pregnancy and childbirth and the rest of it), it would be teething. i mean, bone cutting through gums of a tiny little baby?? it’s so mean! the only thing i can think to rationalize it is that God put teething during the part of life that a child can’t remember, so they won’t be scarred forever.

amelia started teething really young, around three months old. her first two teeth (the bottom two) were all the way in by the time she was five and half months old, and now, at eight months old, she has six teeth, and is working on the next two in a big way. so we’ve been dealing with some sort of teething pain off and on for the last five months. i’m convinced that if it weren’t for that, and she were teething at a normal rate, she would have slept through the night a while ago, but there is no rest for the weary – or the teething.

all this to say, we’ve tried almost every single remedy out there, and have learned some tricks as to what works for the worst of the teething. i wanted to share them all in one place, because when you are dealing with a 6 month old who hasn’t napped all day because her head hurts, having an easy resource is a lifesaver. feel free to bookmark this and thank me later. fair warning for you sensitive types out there, there is some pretty strong sass coming up later in this post, so just let it wash over you.

teething remedies that have worked for us

1. frozen teether toys: these are the plastic, gel-filled toys that you keep in the freezer or the fridge for the babes to chomp on when their gums hurt. amelia only started to like these once she had her bottom teeth and could grip them better. they’re great for those mild pain days, or when their gums are inflamed and they need just a little relief.

2. mesh teether filled with iceyou can get the mesh “feeders” at target or most baby stores. they are actually for feeding babies softer whole foods, but we love to fill them with ice so amelia can hold them herself and chew on the ice to get some relief. these are great to bring with you places, as it’s usually not too hard to ask for ice when you’re out, and you can use it on the go.

3. washcloth filled with ice chips: i can’t tell you the amount of times i’ve walked circles around my kitchen and living room with amelia in the sling, her head on my shoulder, and me holding a washcloth filled with ice chips in her mouth for her. there is something about the texture of the cloth and the cold crunch of the ice that is magic for teething pain. a bonus is that since babies lose their appetites for both solids and nursing when their mouths hurt, they can get some hydration by sucking the water out of the cloth when the ice melts.

4. orajel: i’ve encountered a lot of people that say that orajel is the devil because of CHEMICALS and MEDICINE and DEATH and DESTRUCTION, but all i will say to that is that those moms are idiots who have never dealt with monster teething pain. orajel is a great way to relieve teething pain without pulling out the big guns. and i dare you to tell me that it’s better for my baby not to sleep than to use orajel. i guess what i’m trying to say is that i trust my pediatrician more than the crazies in mommy groups, and using this before naps and bedtime has been our saving grace during all of this.

5. ibuprofen: see above with the death and destruction of using medicine on your precious bundle of joy. if i were a good mom i would just use essential oils to fix everything, but since i’m just an okay mom, i use the stuff that’s proven by science-y folks to relieve pain. we seem to have an extra sensitive babe on our hands, so tylenol hasn’t really worked for her and we were given the go ahead by her doctor to use ibuprofen. we try our best to use it only at night to help with sleep, although there are days here and there that require it as well.

6. beer: this is not for the baby, this is for you. you will need to crack open a brew to keep you sanity and your spirits up during this time. i’m toasting to the end of this phase as i write this.

teething remedies that haven’t worked for us, but might work for you

1. hyland’s teething tablets: according to everyone and their mom, these are the best ever at soothing teething pain. i really wish they had worked for us. they are homeopathic, so they may or may not be super effective on the serious pain, but they are worth a try to see if they are effective for your baby. edit: there has been some controversy around the safety of homeopathic teething remedies lately. please do your research and only do what you and your doctor feel is best for your baby. 

2. tylenol: like i said above, tylenol only cuts it as a fever reducer in our house. but if it works for relieving teething pain, then give it a try.

3. amber necklacefull disclosure, we have not tried the amber teething necklace, and have no plans to do so. i just haven’t been able to get behind the reasoning for this working, and since i have a child that is busy and into everything all the time, this just isn’t an option for us. that being said, there are plenty of people who swear by these, so do your own research, because it could be a magic wand that i just wasn’t smart enough to use.

if you’re going through this right now, bless you and peace be with you. if you aren’t going through this right now, i’m jealous of you. high fives and hugs to everyone.

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belly style: dressing the bump.

i’ve said it a few times before, but getting dressed when you’re pregnant can be really boring. you don’t want to buy too many clothes (unless you like wasting money, in which case, go ahead), so it’s very important to accessorize well to save your sanity. but there is something to be said about wearing your clothes the right way when you’re sticking out a little more in the front.

so here are my top five tips for dressing your baby bump. i hope this is helpful to anyone in the early stages of their pregnancy, for those who are looking to spice up their style in the middle of their pregnancy, or those who might just be thinking about getting pregnant. let me know if you have questions or any other ideas in the comments!

(for those of you who are interested, i’ll include a list of what i think the best maternity wardrobe is after the tips below)

***

1. emphasize that waist!

or what little waist you have left. my uniform is generally slacks and a basic shirt or a dress with a cardigan over the top and that can make you look a little like a sack of potatoes without the proper cinching. so 90% of the time, i’ll tie a belt around the top of my belly to show that i actually do have a little bit of shape left. it does wonders for the self-esteem.

2. don’t be afraid to wear things in a different way.

when you get big and bored, sometimes you have to think outside the box a little bit. as an example, take this skirt below. it normally looks terrible if you have a bit of bloat going on, but one day before my sister’s wedding shower when i was feeling particularly “over” my maternity clothes, i decided to see if i could still zip it up. i could! and as it turns out, if you hike it way up, it falls ever so nicely over your belly. the phrase “don’t knock it ’til you try it” applies perfectly to maternity dressing. things that may have looked terrible on your body type before you got pregnant may now look gorgeous on your new body. try everything on once, try layering in different ways, you never know what will work!

3. stretch your non-maternity wardrobe – just not too far.

by about 30 weeks or so, you will wish for the days that you had the ability to wear all of your non-maternity shirts. so take advantage of the days you still fit into them by wearing them layered over some long maternity tanks or belly bands. most shirts have enough stretch in them nowadays that they won’t be permanently stretched from wearing them over your 16-30 week belly. but be careful: once the side seams start to bend too far to the front, and the bottom of the shirt doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom of your belly, it’s time to switch into the maternity tops. just make the switch and don’t look back. the photo below was taken at about 26 weeks along, and i think that was close to the last time i could wear it comfortably.

4. basics are your best friend.

when you go shopping for your maternity wardrobe, make sure to consider how everything will work together. for example, i don’t own any maternity clothes that don’t go with black items. i also purchased a lot (and i do mean a LOT) of basic colored items. the majority of my tops are in black, white, cream or grey. i can pair them with any of my non-maternity sweaters or jackets, and they all go with the shorts and pants i have. this means that i get the most wear possible out of all my items, as opposed to having a lot of statement pieces.

5. wear what makes you comfortable.

so what if i wear the same baseball t-shirt every day after work and on the weekend? who cares if i wear the same black tunic dress and leggings to work once (okay twice) a week? if it makes you feel comfortable, even when the rest of you isn’t, then wear it. the jewelry can always be changed, and so can the hair, so chances are, people won’t even notice. and even if they do, you get to wear what you want because you’re growing a person inside your abdomen. game over.

***

now that you have the tips and tools necessary for getting dressed with a baby bump, here is my recommended maternity wardrobe:

  • 1-2 pairs of jeans (if you don’t wear jeans to work, i’d only buy one)
  • 2 pairs of work pants
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts (if you’re going to be pregnant in the summer…you can also make your with my tutorial)
  • 2-4 maxi dresses/skirts (my favorites are from here)
  • 2-3 nicer dresses for events and work
  • 1 tunic style dress to wear with leggings
  • 3 maternity tank tops, one black, one white, one gray (these ones from target and this one from gap are amazing)
  • 3-5 basic t-shirts that can be worn to work or casually
  • 1-2 casual t-shirts for working out or lounging around the house in
  • 1-2 belly bands in different colors (i recommend black and white so they look like tank tops)
  • 2-4 nursing bras (but wait to buy these later on if you can, i’m still holding out until i can’t fit into my regular bras anymore)

and then unless any of the following are part of your everyday wardrobe already, i suggest NOT buying any of the following:

  • button up shirts, your belly will inevitably get too big
  • cropped pants, this is too niche of an item that won’t get enough wear
  • maternity underwear, the stuff they make today is way too small anyway, so better to buy yourself some non-maternity boyshorts that you can wear after you are back to normal
  • a maternity swimsuit, i made the mistake of buying one, but realized that i still fit into all my more roomy bikinis and actually have fun with my belly out at the pool or the lake (when else can you strut around in a bikini without sucking in your gut??)
  • more than one statement or trend piece, remember that you are only wearing the maternity clothes for a portion of your 9-month pregnancy, and you want to be able to re-wear items as often as possible (and maybe in future pregnancies as well)

so what have we learned from this?

  1. be smart (and creative) when getting dressed while pregnant.
  2. plan your wardrobe purchases carefully, and invest in the basics.
  3. i need to wear my hair in top knots a little less (seriously, the ratio of top knots to loose hair in those photos up there is ridiculous!).

now get out there and flaunt those bellies!

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and the hosting begins.

you guys know me. i’m all about being a gracious, welcoming host. i love making sure people feel comfortable in my home, whether that means fresh sheets on the guest bed (or blow-up mattress, lbh), an extra toothbrush to use, or makeup remover and contact solution in the bathroom. i love cooking meals when people stay with me (or making Mister Man cook meals for them). i think i got the hostess gene from my mom, and i haven’t always embraced it, but it’s starting to manifest itself now that i’m older, and it’s great. having a house to offer up doesn’t hurt either.

 

and we’ve found out that having that house to offer up, especially when it’s in a central location, means being the ones to act as the bed and breakfast for wedding weekends, friends in from out of town, and family members *coughsiblingscough* wanting to hang out at our house. i thought at first that i wouldn’t want anyone to stay here until everything was completely set up, you know, until all the paint was dry sort of thing. but then i realized my friends and family aren’t crazy people with sticks up their butts, so they won’t care if the guest room is still painted like a big top-themed nursery. (i think homemade coffee cake will help with this?)

so august will pretty much be one big weekend filled with houseguests, and i know i’m going to love all of it. because it means seeing people i never get to see. and going to amazing weddings of family and friends. and drinking wine/staying up late (or not) or drinking coffee/getting up early (or not) and talking until there is nothing left to say.

coffee2

my goal for the next month of hosting (and obviously my goal for hosting always, goes without saying GUYS) is to be as laid-back as possible. it’s not fun to be away from home no matter how fun the weekend is going to be, so i want everyone who comes to stay at my home to feel as comfortable as if they were in theirs.

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i’ve decided on a few things that will help me in this noble pursuit of being a good host:

  • get that guest toiletry kit ready for the guest bathroom. include shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, toothpaste, makeup removers, and anything else you might need away from home to keep yourself so fresh and so clean clean.
  • take 30 minutes the night before people get here to whip up something for breakfast, like coffeecake or a quick-bread. yogurt and berries are a good standby, but at least on the first morning, it’s nice to have something special so it feels like a vacation.
  • be prepared with ideas and supplies for other meals while the guests are there. some ideas are: sandwich fixings, soup in the freezer you can heat up, quinoa and veggies for a filling meal. yea, you might end up eating out most of the time, but sometimes people just want a meal in that they don’t have to pay for.
  • bloody. mary. supplies. and tons of coffee.
  • extra blankets for the bed or air mattress. because you never if someone gets extra cold at night, and it’s terrible to be cold when you’re trying to sleep.

if one of you came over, would you need anything else? am i missing any essentials? because i don’t want to be THAT person. help me not be that person.

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and as a sidenote, can i just say how thankful i am that i don’t know any crazies? i know we all have nightmare stories of guests we couldn’t wait to get out of our homes, right? i haven’t had my own home for that long, but there were plenty of houseguests during my college years who i loved on a personal level, but could have gone without sharing my living area with…i’m thinking of a particular football game weekend senior year when a guest who was given the couch in our apartment decided it would be a good idea to drop grapes on the floor and then step on them. all over the apartment, kitchen to bedrooms. they were not invited back again.

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