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Summertime is upon us, and that means spending more time outside! Keeping babies safe in the hot summer sun is imperative; sun damage is cumulative over a lifetime, and overexposure early in life can increase your risk for skin cancer. Practicing sun safety doesn’t have to mean keeping your children cooped up all day long; instead, a little forethought and preparation is all you need to keep your little ones safe on the playground and in the pool.

An infant’s limited amount of melanin, our skin’s naturally protective pigment, makes them especially susceptible to the damaging effects of sunlight. Unfortunately, sunscreen isn’t the answer for infants. Pediatricians advise not using sunscreen on babies 0-6 months old; the skin is too sensitive at this age for sunscreen. Instead, infants should have limited sun exposure by covering their body as much as possible and keeping them in the shade. Dress your baby in lightweight clothing that covers arms and legs, and choose a wide-brimmed hat to protect baby’s face and neck. I am partial to Swim Zip’s stylish and functional rashguards, sun hats, and sunsuits.

Taking early morning walks and evening strolls also limits the amount of sun exposure. The hours of 10 am to 4 pm are when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, so finding a shady spot in the middle of the day for your picnic or playground outing is essential. Shade isn’t always easy to come by, so consider keeping a baby pop-up shade dome in the car. I liked this one from Redmond Beach.

Once your baby reaches 6 months of age, you can use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. This type of sunscreen protects from harmful UVA and UVB rays. If you choose a spray-on sunscreen, be sure to mist it into your hands and then apply to your child. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before venturing outdoors, and should be reapplied every 2 hours or more often if swimming. Be generous when slathering on sunscreen; the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that most only apply half as much sunscreen as they should. A good rule of thumb is about half an ounce (enough to fill the palm of your toddler’s hand) to cover a child’s body. And even though it seems counterintuitive, cloudy days still necessitate skin protection; 80% of UV rays penetrate cloud coverings.

Choosing a sunscreen can be confusing; the Environmental Working Group recommends finding a brand of sunscreen that does not contain potential hormone disruptors like retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and oxybenzone. Some of the suncreens on this list can be hard to find. Look for Kiss My Face and California Baby brands, both of which are easier to find in stores.

The best way to ensure your baby is safe in the sun is to make it easy on you – keep extra sunscreen, layers of clothing, and a hat in your diaper bag. You’ll be ready for impromptu outings and you and your little ones can safely soak up some vitamin D.

As new moms we tend to neglect our own self-care as our main focus becomes our newest addition(s).  Duo Diary allows you a space for self-care at a time when you are likely to neglect it, but also at a time when you need it the most.    

A Duo Diary is a portable journal that allows you to monitor your postpartum health and wellness while you care for your new baby. Track all of your baby's feedings including breastfeeding, bottle, formula, and pumping; monitor behaviors, patterns, sleep, diapers, and more on one side. On the other side, care for yourself with a food journal; track water intake, sleep, and exercise, plus keep notes on how you are feeling mentally and physically postpartum.

Studies have shown that the act of writing down is important in helping us process information, something that doesn't happen as well without the physical act of writing. The notes space can be used in so many helpful ways- jot down behaviors or patterns your baby is displaying, discover food sensitivities much faster, jot down emotions or any physical pain or issues you are noticing in yourself, keep track of questions for the pediatrician or OB, leave instructions for a sitter - the possibilities are endless. 

If you saw the title of this post and expected to see yet another article screaming at you to drink 5 gallons of water a day or else you and your baby will shrivel up and die, rest assured that isn’t the case. Hydration while breastfeeding, like so many other aspects of motherhood, seems to be a simple concept made complicated by the wealth of information available on the internet.

Nursing mothers do indeed need more fluids to offset the amount lost while breastfeeding babies, but most research shows that letting biological indicators (like thirst) guide your water consumption will be your best bet in maintaining milk supply and staying hydrated. After all, as the Institute of Medicine points out, everyone’s water needs can vary: “Given the extreme variability in water needs that are not solely based on differences in metabolism, but also in environmental conditions and activity, there is not a single level of water intake that would ensure adequate hydration and optimal health for half of all apparently healthy persons in all environmental conditions.”  

That said, it can sometimes be tricky to consume the extra water you need while taking care of your baby and juggling all the other tasks that mothers deal with on a daily basis. Below are some tips to help you stay hydrated while also staying sane:

Drink when baby drinks

If you have a rocking chair or certain area where you usually go to nurse your baby, keep a water bottle or glass of water in that spot. When baby is nursing, use that as an opportunity to take in some extra liquids too.

Find a water bottle you love

This one is especially important if you find yourself on the go a lot. Keeping a water bottle in your diaper bag or your car ensures that you always have some water on hand if you get thirsty, which is especially applicable in these hot summer months. My personal favorite water bottle is the Hydro Flask. It maintains the temperature of your drink for a full 24 hours (great if you like your water ice cold) and is available in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The straw lid is a must.

 

Another great option, especially if you’re a bit more Type A about your water consumption, is the hydr-8 bottle:

This one is marked with lines indicating how much water you should drink by each time of day. It also mimics the design of the hospital-issued water bottles that so many new moms love.   

Add some flavor to your water

Water is the best choice for new moms (and people in general), but it can sometimes get a bit boring to drink it exclusively. If you find yourself craving more flavor, try simply adding a splash of fruit juice or natural flavoring packets to your water. Flavoring my water with a little bit of cranberry juice made all the difference when I was nursing my first baby.

Listen to your body

As mentioned above, it is impossible to nail down a specific number of ounces that each woman needs to stay hydrated and maintain milk supply. Most sources say that as long as you drink when you’re thirsty and your urine is light-colored, you should be good. There’s no need to force yourself to chug tons of water or make staying hydrated a full-time job. In fact, overdoing it may have a detrimental effect on your milk supply. According to Dr. Sears, “Drinking more water than you need won’t produce more milk. In fact, by a strange biochemical quirk, forcing fluids has been shown to diminish milk production.” That very thing happened to a woman I know who took the “drink lots of fluids” advice a little too far and ended up with a very hungry newborn. So be sure to drink the water you need, but don’t go too nuts J 

Happy hydrating, mamas! 

I am a great big ball of anxiety when I travel, and particularly when I fly. My brain becomes a worry machine, listing all of the what-if questions one after the other, killing any and all excitement for my trip. So, needless to say, adding a baby to my travel scenario just about sends me over the edge. However, because I can’t avoid flying all together, and because driving is not an option as it’s the only thing worse than flying, I have come up with a few tips and tricks to help ease anxiety while flying with baby.

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"This tee worked perfect for my pregnant belly, but is flowy enough to keep out for my postpartum days. It's so comfortable. It's light, durable and very flattering."

PERFECT FIT- 
Loose fitting and long
The softest, breathable, stretchy fabric.

 

EASY TO WEAR - 
The side slits provide easy breastfeeding access and accommodate a pregnancy belly. You can lift just the front of the shirt to nurse, while the back stays down.This is the perfect complement to wear over your Undercover Mama tanks.

PURCHASE HERE

"This is one of the softest shirts I have worn! It's so comfortable but also really cute and functional which is a perfect combination for me." 

PERFECT FOR NURSING AND PREGNANCY!


-Same great hook & loop design-one hand nursing access
-Works with ANY bra
-The most flattering sleeve length
-Trendy stripe print, the softest breathable fabric
-Great for pregnancy and breastfeeding
-Longer length works great with leggings

 

EASY TO NURSE: just lift the panel and unlatch your bra, leaving the shirt attached to the flap. This One-step process eliminates having to dig through layers of clothing.

PURCHASE HERE

"I'm in love with this dress. It's amazingly soft comfortable and light weight. It has everything I need in a nursing dress."

PERFECT FOR NURSING AND PREGNANCY!

-Same great hook & loop design-one hand nursing access
-Works with ANY bra -The most flattering sleeve length
-Trendy stripe print, the softest breathable fabric
-Great for pregnancy and breastfeeding
-Dress it up or down, so many options

EASY TO NURSE!

just lift the panel and unlatch your bra, leaving the dress attached to the flap. This One-step process eliminates having to dig through layers of clothing.

PURCHASE HERE

 

These baby board books have a wonderful message about love. We picked our 3 favorites! These make great baby gifts.

1-You Are My I Love You

 

2-I Love You Through and Through

3-Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You

I’ve always had a weird relationship with makeup. In theory, I’m obsessed with its transformative properties and will tumble down a rabbit hole of makeup-related YouTube videos faster than you can say “smoky eye tutorial.” In practice, however, I don’t find myself wearing a lot of it on a regular basis. Partly because I hate the expectation that women need to wear makeup to look presentable (I think this whole #nomakeup movement is great) and, as a mom of two little kids that also works part-time, I just don’t have the desire to spend more than a few minutes staring into a mirror every day.

That said, I do my best to make those few minutes count. I’ve found that a bit of makeup can be a fun little pick-me- up when much of your life might not feel very glamorous and the long days (and nights!) of motherhood are showing on your face. So I’m always thrilled when I discover great products that maximize my simple beauty routine. Below are a few of my current favorites. 

 

NYX Hi Definition Concealer

If I had to pick only one item of makeup to wear, it would be under eye concealer. Brightening up that area and covering up my ever present dark circles really seems to lighten up my whole face. I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect concealer for years now, which basically means I’ve spent a small fortune trying to look like I consistently get 8 hours of sleep at night. And although I’ve tried products that cost three times as much and others that are specially formulated for the under eye area, I keep coming back to this NYX concealer. The coverage is great, it’s creamy and blendable, and you can’t beat the price.

NARS Miniature Blush/Bronzer Set in Orgasm/Laguna

I’d been using the elf knockoff version of this set for a couple of weeks when I stopped into Sephora to compare the two, and in my opinion the NARS version is worth every penny of the price difference. There’s a reason that Orgasm blush is such a cult beauty product, since it is indeed that perfect peachy pink that makes your face look slightly flushed and dewy, and the accompanying Laguna bronzer subtly warms up your face without making it look dirty or orange. Both products are silky enough to blend right into your skin without making it look dry or powdery, and the sleek miniature packaging is great for saving space in your makeup bag. I use this kit for quick contouring with this brush:

Real Techniques Retractable Kabuki Brush

Real Techniques brushes are one of the best beauty bargains out there, and this one is a great multitasker. You can use it for powder, bronzer, or blush and I’ve found that it works perfectly for applying bronzer in the hollows of my cheekbones for subtle contouring. Since I tend to do my makeup on the go a lot and keep all my essentials in one bag, I also love that this brush is compact and has a cap to keep it from getting dirty.

All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

It’s a real bummer when you take the time to apply makeup only to have it rub off or fade within a couple of hours. I was skeptical of this Urban Decay setting spray when it claimed to extend the life of your makeup by 16 hours, but after using it I can definitely tell a considerable difference. Even after a long day of two little kids pawing at my face, my makeup still looks fresh and polished.

Simple Cleansing Water, Micellar 6.7 oz

If there is one product on this list that has been a total game changer for me, it’s this. I have always been super lazy about skincare and have slept in my makeup more often than I care to admit. Most cleansers or makeup removers make my skin feel funky, and washing my face just feels like way too much of a production when I’m bone tired at night. Enter micellar water. You can read all about the science and benefits of this stuff here, but the short version is that it removes makeup and cleanses skin in one easy step with no rinsing required. It also has zero fragrance or residue and doesn’t dry out my skin. I’ve been using it for a year and am completely converted. (Note: this brand also sells pre-soaked micellar wipes, which are fine in a pinch but I really prefer using it out of the bottle with a cotton pad).

What are some of your beauty favorites?

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