Who will want to read this list? Pregnant women, moms, women who want to be a mom one day, friends and family of pregnant women who are searching for gift ideas, and dads or partners of pregnant women or women who want to be a mom one day. Am I missing anyone?
Following is the list - a few (26 to be exact - yes, I've been pining for a marathon, hence the number) of my favorite baby things, from pregnancy to labor to babyhood. They are not numbered in any specific order, though numbers 24, 25 and 26 earn the highest rankings. Enjoy!
2. Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. Here is the book's description from the official Ina May web site: Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention.
3. Nicole Gauthier-Schatz's Prenatal Yoga Class - Nicole's wisdom and expertise inspired me to have a home birth just like my mother did for me and my identical twin sister, to seek natural solutions for an optimal pregnancy and labor, and referred me to the books listed in numbers one and two. Eric and I were signed up to attend her Birth Boot Camp labor preparation class, but Avie arrived one month early, and we missed the class by two days! We felt confident, though, from reading the resources she recommended and from insight gained during my yoga classes with her. Read more about Nicole on her web site, and, if you are pregnant, get this lady in your life, STAT!
4. Yoga - The single-most beneficial physical, mental, emotional and spiritual thing I did for pregnancy, labor and postpartum. In addition to Nicole's prenatal yoga classes, I practiced twice weekly at Yogi Wade's hot, 90-minute power yoga classes. Check out his pod casts. Also, Power Yoga Morgantown's owners/instructors Amanda Love and Jared Callahan and instructor Tara Cunningham (as well as my twin sister!) were lovingly supportive of my practice throughout my pregnancy, and did not freak out when I came to class late into my third trimester! Thank you Wade and PoYoMo! Additionally, as a stay-at-home mom, my subscription to www.yogaglo.com allows me to practice many types of yoga with world-reknowned instructors every day. Avie enjoys participating and watching!
6. A Foam Roller - A recommendation from Nicole, I used this on my tight piriformis and other hip muscles during pregnancy, and, like the exercise ball, Avie loves to play with it while I'm rolling out my calves, IT bands and hip flexors.
8. Epson Salts - Add these to a hot tub of water, and I am one happy mama. Did I mention I love baths? They took on a whole new meaning as a pregnant woman with achy feet, calves, hips, and low back and during the postpartum period, when I would place my sleepy newborn in his Moses basket on the bathroom floor while I sunk into a long bath.
10. Essential Oils - Add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to a foot bath in the Tummy Tub and settle in for a few moments of relaxation! Essential oils are so versatile, which is why I love them. When I was pregnant, I began using all-natural cleaning products enhanced with essential oils. When we moved to our new house, my sister gifted me with a collection of homemade cleaning products, plus a book with recipes to make my own. Now as I clean with Avie nearby, it feels more like an aromatherapy session than a chore. Breathing in the lovely smells of cinnamon, tea tree oil, peppermint, and pine put me and baby into a Zen state of mind.
11. Arnica - Immediately after having Avie, I began taking Hyland's Arnica Montana 30x to naturally reduce swelling, bruising, and general pain. I use arnica cream, gel, and oil for sore muscles, achy joints, and bruising, and I even rub it on Avie if he bumps his head, which he seems to be doing more these days as he becomes more mobile. This is a great addition to my all-natural medicine cabinet.
12. My Journal - Writing has always been a big part of my life. With the myriad emotions and thoughts accompanying pregnancy and postpartum, writing was paramount to my centeredness and peace. Now, I jot down Avie's developmental milestones. For instance, I was elated at seven months to write, "Avie said mom today!" and at nine months, "Avie cruised (walked while holding onto something) today!"
13. A Crock Pot - We have the Ninja, one that doubles as a stove top, allowing us to saute in the crock pot and then switch to slow cook mode. One-pot meals are a savior for a new mom who is too tired or tied up with nursing and baby care to think about dinner. I can start sauteing in the morning, switch to slow cook, and by dinnertime, we have a wonderful meal prepared with few dishes to clean. We always have leftovers for the next day or to freeze.
14. Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, Avocados, Greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard, and the like) and Roasted Garlic - These are our go-to foods. Avie prefers eating them over anything else, they're easy to prepare, and I've been eating them almost daily since pregnancy. Bonus: Avie had a runny nose, and ever since we introduced roasted garlic, his runny nose has been clear and dry. Amen!
16. My Kindle - Reading goes hand-in-hand with breastfeeding, especially during those hour-plus sessions. The Kindle has enhanced this experience by letting me choose a new book the moment I finish one and making holding and page turning effortless when one arm is preoccupied with holding a nursing infant.
17. Cloth Diapers - Avie's only had diaper rash a handful of times, and those times were when we were traveling and changing him less frequently. They're cute, simple, help save an enormous amount of money, and I love using my homemade lavender diaper detergent to lauder them!
18. Amber Healing Jewelry - A friend told me about the calming effect an amber teething necklace had upon her baby, and I jumped on board. The night we put Avie's around his neck, he easily fell asleep, and his teething pain subsided tremendously. He wears it almost 24/7. I even bought several to wrap around my ankles in hopes that they'll aid in healing my plantar fasciitis and heel spur! To date, inflammation and pain has significantly subsided for me, too.
20. Patagonia Baby Clothes - They fit better and for longer periods of time than any other baby clothes. We borrowed a Patagonia Infant Synchilla® Fleece Bunting suit from my cousin; were gifted the Patagonia Kids Baby Synchilla® Cardigan (Infant/Toddler) as well as the Patagonia Infant Tribbles Reversible Bunting, a down snow suit (pictured on right). If you love to be outside as much as we do, we use them constantly. The fit and quality far exceed any other baby clothing we own. I'd take one Patagonia hoodie in exchange for the 15 or so Carters hoodies we own any day.
21. Train Like A Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea - Amazon featured this book on their April monthly deals. The authors cofounded Another Mother Runner, an organization/ company for running mothers. I wish I read this book while pregnant, because it provides the much-needed support, training plans, insight, and feeling of connectedness and shared empowerment with other mother runners the world over. It also led me to the idea of investing in the next item on my list. After reading the authors' "Bike to Run" training plan, which one of the authors used to train for a marathon while healing a stress fracture in her foot, I sought out a spinning bike.
23. The Elizabeth Mitchell Pandora Station - Nothing soothes Avie more than when I sing to him, so I've taken to learning the lyrics of many a children's tune. Elizabeth Mitchell and similar artists on her Pandora station offer folky, acoustic guitar-laden children's songs that are cute and fun to learn and not over-the-top annoying (sorry, I couldn't think of a kinder word here) as some of the ones on Toddler Pandora.
24. An Amazing Partner - Eric gets my and Avie's vote for dad of the year! Yes, we are bias, but, what I'm trying to say is that Eric is a great dad and partner. He cooks as much as I do, helps with laundry, does all the grocery shopping, enjoys making sweet-potato-kale-squash puree for him, rocks Avie to sleep every night, takes Avie for runs with the jogging stroller, watches him while I go to yoga or the local spa, and supports all my wild ideas (such as an in-home spinning bike, this blog, my goal to run a marathon ASAP, and, well, I'm sure there will be more to come, sooner rather than later). HE. IS. INCREDIBLE. We love you, Eric!!!
25. Fellow Mother Friends - When a friend joins motherhood with you, your friendship takes on a whole new, beautiful realm. The connection and understanding is unbeatable, the play dates are priceless, and the mother-to-mother bond makes new motherhood that much more precious, endearing and, at times, enduring. Thank you fellow mothers, especially my mother, for providing me with guidance, reassurance, and love, for letting me be the mom I want to be, and especially for spending time with me and Avie. These times together mean the world to us. You mean the world to us.
26. Friends and Family - Finally, even though I now have a baby, this does not mean that my only other friends are other mothers! My sister, Tara, for instance, is not a mom, but her unwavering encouragement keeps me flying high, not to mention the quality time we now spend together. I, along with Eric, look forward to our weekly get-togethers with Tara and her fiancee Chuck, both of whom Avie adores and showers with smiles and laughs. Second, we are always eager for our visits with my best friend Sarah (read her blog here) and her husband Bobby, whose love and attention to Avie warm my heart. Finally, the friends that make up the greater river community to which we belong; my family; and Eric's family (with whom we enjoy Skyping!) all make this motherhood thing a little easier, and I thank you.
With love, and until next time, go in peace.