The Ultimate List of Millennial Mom Stats (From Target and Yoga Pants to Careers and Mommy Shaming)

As a part of the millennial generation (anyone born from 1982 to 2004), and someone whose job ties in with the retail industry, I am so fascinated by peoples’ fascination with millennials. If you do a search for “millennial moms,” the majority of results are marketing companies claiming to have the key to selling to millennials.

You may not know this, but as millennial moms, we have some serious buying power. Millennial parents have $200 BILLION in buying power total, and women are more likely to make purchase decisions than men. I know in our house, I put together the grocery list, make all purchases for our son and buy any health or decor item we need for the house.

Because we’ve got so much control when it comes to purchases, a LOT of surveys and studies have been done on the subject of millennial moms. On a personal level, I was interested to see where I stacked up against other millennial moms, but as I started to go through more and more data, I found so much information that I wanted to share with my blog readers. Read through this ultimate collection of millennial mom stats and see if any of them stand out to you. A few really stood out to me, but more on them after the list!

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The Stats

  1. 74% of millennial moms report they are sought out more often than other friends as advisors on a wide range of topics, and have an average of 24 close friends in which to share product recommendations. (Mother Mag)
  2. Among Millennial women ages 18 to 33 in 2014, 42% were moms. When women from Generation X – those born between 1965 and 1980 – were in the same age range, 49% were already moms. (Mother Mag)
  3. While watching TV, while grocery shopping, and even during those middle-of-the-night nursery visits, they tend to have their smartphones in hand. Their sites of choice? Pinterest, Instagram, and online parenting communities. (BabyCenter)
  4. 64% of moms say that parenting is more competitive today than it used to be. (BabyCenter)
  5. 3 out of 4 admit that it’s important to try to be a “perfect” mom. (That number is higher among stay-at-home moms.) (BabyCenter)
  6. Millennial moms spend an average of $13,000 per year on their kids. (BabyCenter)
  7. Eight out of ten moms who were surveyed said that motherhood is exhausting…but fun. (BabyCenter)
  8. According to Millennials, the “Perfect Mom” is organized, educated, fit, focused on family but still able to hold down a good job and a good cook. (BabyCenter)
  9. 33% are the majority contributor to their household’s income (vs. 26% of moms in general). (Weber Shandwick)
  10. 32% are single/never married/not cohabitating with a partner (vs. 16% of moms in general). (Weber Shandwick)
  11. 61% are married or living with a partner. (Weber Shandwick)
  12. 30% are employed full-time. (Weber Shandwick)
  13. 35% are self-identified homemakers. (Weber Shandwick)
  14. Millennial moms spend an average of 17.4 hours per week on their social networks. (Weber Shandwick)
  15. 60% of millennial moms AND dads said that being a parent is extremely important to their overall identity, which was more than Gen X and Baby Boomers. (Pew Research)
  16. 52% of millennial parents say they are doing a very good job as a parent, compared with 43% of Gen X parents and 41% of Boomer parents. (Pew Research)
  17. Millennial parents are more likely to say that parenting is rewarding (58%) and enjoyable (52%) all the time than were Gen X parents (51% and 39%) or Boomer parents (46% and 39%). (Pew Research)
  18. U.S. millennial moms are two times more likely to own a wearable health and fitness tracker than the general population. (BabyCenter)
  19. 70% of millennial moms consider themselves to be the main decision-maker when it comes to purchases. (AdAge)
  20. More than 80% of millennial moms join loyalty programs specifically to save money. (AdAge)
  21. 81% of moms prefer texting to talking vs. 77 percent of non-Moms. (Business.com)
  22. 77% say the internet makes them a better parent. (Business.com)
  23. A majority of millennial moms believe their economic status will eventually be better than their parents’. (ROTH Capital Group)
  24. 90% of millennial moms are comfortable with brands communicating with them via their mobile device while they shop in-store. (ROTH Capital Group)
  25. 59% of millennial moms are likely to write a review after visiting a restaurant. (ROTH Capital Group)
  26. 53% of millennial moms are Amazon Prime members. (ROTH Capital Group)
  27. The majority of millennial moms own between two and five pairs of yoga pants, and 16% own more than five pairs. (ROTH Capital Group)
  28. About 50% of millennial moms are willing to pay a premium for socially responsible brands. (ROTH Capital Group)
  29. 36% of millennial moms trust local food brands the most. (ROTH Capital Group)
  30. Millennial parents have a more open relationship with their children, even compared with Gen X parents. Eight out of 10 say their child is one of their best friends, and about three-quarters say their children are involved in household decisions. (Google)
  31. Millennials are more likely to hold onto their hobbies than previous generations, whether that means taking time for themselves or involving their kids. (Google)
  32. More than 50% of millennial moms want to start their own business. (Entrepreneur)
  33. Compared to Gen X moms, millennial moms are 17% more likely to freelance. (BabyCenter)
  34. 20% have started a blog with substantial followers. (BabyCenter)
  35. 39% of millennial moms have used social media to sell items they’ve made. (BabyCenter)
  36. Millennial moms are 67% more likely than Gen X moms to have received payment for running errands or helping others, using apps like TaskRabbit and GigWalk. (BabyCenter)
  37. Millennial mothers say they prioritize nutrition (88%) over price (65%) and convenience (52%) when planning lunches for their kids to take to school. (AdWeek)
  38. 75% say the meals they pack for their own kids are more nutritious than those prepared by their own mothers back in the day. (AdWeek)
  39. 80% of millennial moms deal with mom-shaming. (Beech Nut)
  40. 68% think the issue has gotten worse over the past five years. (Moms who have experienced shaming are more likely to shame another mom) (Beech Nut)
  41. When describing their role as a parent in today’s world, millennial moms were more likely to proactively cite the words “technology” (35%) and “social media” (15 percent) than millennial dads, who used these phrases 10% and less than 5%, respectively. (Crowd Tap)
  42. Millennial parents say they turn to their mothers (AKA “Grandma”) before consulting parenting websites, social media and blogs. The internet and social media are the next most influential sources of parenting advice. (Crowd Tap)
  43. 49% of millennial moms say they check the internet at least once a day for parenting advice. (Crowd Tap)
  44. 17% of them are concerned with the “social pressure” social media creates. (Crowd Tap)
  45. 61% of millennial parents think kids need more unstructured playtime. (Millennial Marketing)
  46. 48% of millennial parents say children do best if a stay-at-home mom raises them. (Millennial Marketing)
  47. 50% of them agree with the statement, “I am raising my kids the way I was raised.” (Millennial Marketing)
  48. When it comes to brands, millennial parents favor Nike, Target and Apple first. (Millennial Marketing)
  49. When answering the question, “I want my kid(s) to_______”, ranked in order of importance, 82% want their child to know that they don’t need possessions to make them happy, 77% want their child to graduate college and 56% want their child to excel at sports. (Millennial Marketing)
  50. 30% of millennial moms say they are the same person as before they had children, compared to 45% of millennial dads. (Millennial Marketing)
  51. 18% of new millennial moms expected to introduce infant formula to baby during the first three days of life, but, in the end, 45% relied on formula during those first days. (PR Newswire)
  52. 17%of moms planned to wait until their baby was six months old to introduce formula; only 4% made it that long.  (PR Newswire)
  53. 61% experienced breastfeeding issues, with low breast milk supply being the top concern. (PR Newswire)
  54. 35% percent of moms chose to feed their baby with infant formula so they could share the feeding responsibilities for baby with their spouse. (PR Newswire)
  55. Millennials are far more likely than moms of any other generation to be raising their kids near or even in the same house as their extended family. (U.S. Census)
  56. Of working millennial moms, 64% say they wish they could quit and stay at home. (BabyCenter)

My take

Of all of the interesting stats on this list, I was most interested in the topics of mommy shaming, career and social media.

As tough as parenting is, it’s even more difficult because of social media. If we aren’t seeing Suzy Homemaker’s feed filled with happy kids and apple pies, we’re stressing about posting our own photos for fear that we’ll be criticised. While previous generations were able to make parenting mistakes without much notice, we’re told that we’re assembling the stroller wrong, choosing the wrong products, and failing to do the right activities, when all we wanted to do is share a photo of our cute kid.

While I luckily haven’t experienced a TON of mommy shaming, I see it happening all the time. If someone posts a photo without their kids, they’re being neglectful. If they post too many photos with their kids, they’ve lost a part of themselves and are now “only a parent.” From the decisions we make about our births to how we motivate our kids in school, it’s all up for debate.

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Speaking of debate, I had a major internal debate about my career when my son was born. I work from home, and while that’s amazing in terms of not needing a sitter, how was I supposed to get anything done with a newborn around? Could I handle a part-time schedule and still pull in enough money? Could I stop working and still feel fulfilled – especially on a limited budget? Many moms don’t even have the option to stay home, so while I felt extremely fortunate, it was one of the most difficult decisions I’d ever made. In the end, I chose to work part-time, telling my husband and my boss, “I don’t want to run myself to the point of exhaustion and still end up feeling like a crappy mom and a crappy employee.”

I’ve had the working mom vs. SAHM conversation with friends before, and just like survey results showed, the majority of my mommy friends wished that they could quit their jobs and stay home with their kids. But as a generation, we were encouraged to go well in high school so that we could go to college. We were encouraged to study hard and have six internships so that we could break into a successful career. And we were encouraged to put work above everything else in order to reach Girl Boss status.

So when it comes to staying home with our kids, even though most of us want to, and society believes it’s best for the child… we’re left with a ton of guilt about it.

Of course, working moms feel the guilt, too. They have to think about missing the little moments to provide for their family.

While I could write a book on this stuff, I think a major takeaway for me from these stats is that we have GOT TO STOP acting like our path to motherhood is the only path that exists. We’ve got to stop striving for perfection, comparing ourselves to others, and putting other moms down because they do things differently than us.

Millennial moms, and all moms, love their kids, and that’s what matters. No statistics required, there.

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Smooth Transitions

I found an app called “Wonder Weeks” about a month ago while I was searching for a way to better predict Max’s physical and mental growth spurts. The app is based on the book by Frans Plooij, who spent 40 years studying the reasons behind babies’ fussiness. It helps parents track “leaps,” or significant periods of developmental growth. Right now, Max is going through Leap 3, the leap of smooth transitions. During this time, his movements should become less jerky and more seamless, and his “talking” should become more sing-songy than squawky.

The idea of smooth transitions has me thinking about the transitions I’ve been going through recently.

I became a mom 11 weeks ago. Sometimes I feel like a total pro and sometimes I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do anything more incorrectly. I can’t think of a bigger transition than going from focusing on yourself and your spouse to being in charge of a tiny human’s well-being. I’m no longer phased by poopy diapers or spit-up, so I’m pretty sure that I’ve officially been initiated into parenthood, but I’m still figuring out how being a mom affects my being a wife, a friend, an employee, a blogger.

Starting next week, I’ll only be working 10 hours a week. That’s even uncomfortable for me to type. I got my first job at 15 years old – at an old-timey general store at an amusement park – and I’ve worked or gone to school full-time ever since. While this gives me more time to spend with my son, reading books, getting in tummy time and making faces, it also leaves me with less structured time, which feels… foreign. More foreign than those first few days of motherhood. For a very long time, my goals and accomplishments were so closely tied to my career.

Now what?

I’m smoothly transitioning into a life that is a mix of motherhood, career, and hopefully some more creative passion projects that I’ve put off for far too long. Projects like this blog. I’ve even started learning some new creative skills, like hand-lettering.

With every transition comes a new opportunity to reinvent yourself and, as I sit here, my discomfort is mixed with a heck of a lot of excitement on what’s to come.

You Think You Know Your Body, Then You Have a Baby

After 28 years, you really start to know your own body. You know how much food, how much alcohol you can handle. You know how long you can stand being in the sun or how many miles you can run (zero miles is about right for me). You become an expert at eyeing things up on a hanger and deciding if they will fit you.

And then you have a baby, and most things you know about your body go out the window.

In some ways, this is a good thing. You realize that your body is capable of so much more than you thought it was. You go through an immense amount of pain and come out of it not only alive, but thriving (after a few weeks of recovery). But carrying a baby for nine months and then giving birth to that baby does a lot more than just make you a mom. It changes your body from head to toe.

Your feet can grow so that you no longer fit your shoes. Your fat settles into new places. You lose muscle. I didn’t gain any weight in my legs, arms or feet, but I have a nice addition to my spare tire. This is normal, especially only at 7 weeks postpartum, but it’s new. Also new is my mom bust, which is making it impossible to fit into any of my pre-baby shirts that don’t stretch. There would have been a time that I would have loved to have a chest that was busting out of my tops, but in this stage of life, I just want to be COMFORTABLE.

Like most women, I’m still wearing my maternity clothes while I lose the baby weight. I gained 34 pounds in pregnancy and have lost 24 so far. Because of this, the elastic of my maternity jeans is entirely too big on me, making it difficult to keep them up.

And yet, my pre-baby pants don’t fit.

I’m glad mom + jeans no longer = mom jeans.

I’ve been surviving on two pairs of maternity jeans and two pairs of shorts, along with a selection of leggings and stretchy tees. As a new mom, it feels awesome to get cleaned up and put something on that makes you feel good… but I had some slim pickings. I’m not where I want to be, but not where I was. How the heck am I supposed to dress for where I’m at right now?

I started by buying some new shirts. Ones that were a larger size, but made me feel good when they were on. I figured that if I got down to my goal weight, I would be able to wear them as baggy tees and tunics. My baby doesn’t give a crap about what size I wear. I know that for sure. And he certainly doesn’t give a crap about how great I look while I take care of him. He cares that I’m there, making decisions that are right for the both of us.

Shirts have their own challenge for new moms who are breastfeeding: Easy access. I started to realize that tank tops with tee shirts layered on top were going to be a go-to, as well as wide-necked shirts with loose cardigans.

For some reason, it was easier for me to think about buying new shirts than new pants. Somewhere in my mind, I’ve been convinced that it’s more shameful to have to size up for your belly than to size up for your boobs.

But I was getting sick of those maternity jeans. So last week, I decided to suck it up and just go jeans shopping.

I had a pit in my stomach just thinking about it. I knew I wasn’t fitting into a size 6 or 8, and that the jeans that fit me would probably be the largest size I’d ever worn. But I wanted so badly to feel comfortable again. I got online and typed in my new weight to try and figure out what size I would wear. Do you know how WEIRD it is to not know what size you wear?

Yep… that was the biggest number I’d ever seen on the tag of my jeans. But now I had a number to go off of. And so, I headed to the store and grabbed the bigger jeans from the sales rack. (I didn’t want to pay full-price for “transition” jeans). I tossed a few pair in my cart and made my way to the dressing room, expecting the worst.

At first, I was sad that the big jeans fit. But when I looked in the mirror, I saw pants that REALLY fit for the first time in quite a while. Not maternity pants – just pants. My tiny butt looked good in them. I didn’t have a muffin top. My body is so different than it was before I got pregnant. I have new stretch marks on my stomach and a new bra size. But for a moment, I forgot that I had a “postpartum” body and just saw that I had a good one.

Motherhood can be tough… we shouldn’t be tough on ourselves.

I bought those jeans and a pair that looked good one size down. I figured these two could get me through the next few months or whenever I was able to fit into those pre-baby pants. I’ve worn those jeans a lot already, and all I think about when I wear them is how darn comfortable I am, which allows me to focus on other things, like how darn cute my baby is.

I thought about making this post a “10 Things to Wear Postpartum” post, complete with style tips and links to products. But I decided that it was more important to just talk about what it’s like to dress a new body after you have a baby. I’ve been dressing my body for the season it is in. And when I end up back in an old pair of jeans, that will be fantastic. Until then, my big girl pants will be just fine.

Maxon + Motherhood: My Birth Story

Woah, guys. Woah. I’m a MOM. And a mom to a six-week-old, at that. I’ve spent the last six weeks adjusting to the biggest change I’ve ever experienced, and getting in lots of cuddles. My son Maxon was born at 6:27 p.m. on Saturday, June 10th. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Oh, and perfect.

Here is the full story of Maxon’s birth!

(If you can’t handle the gory details of labor, I’d skip this post and wait for the next one. I’m holding nothing back!)


The (Long) Road to the Hospital

On Wednesday, June 7th, my husband and I went to my OB’s office for my 39-week visit. We were late, as usual, due to the inconsistent traffic patterns that meant we were ALWAYS 10 minutes late or 45 minutes early, depending on the day. The previous week, I’d been a fingertip dilated and 80% effaced, according to the doctor I was seeing. This week a different MD in the practice saw me, and when she checked me, I was frustrated to hear,

“Yeah, no progress. Still a fingertip. I’d say 60% effaced.”

Great! A step BACKWARD!

At this point, I wanted that baby out. My back and my feet were killing me. I could no longer shop, go for walks, or do anything that required me to be on my feet for long periods of time. Contractions began for me at 34 weeks, so I was more than ready for my body to stop “practicing” and get on with the real thing.

One thing that had changed at my appointment was my blood pressure. As someone who is typically well below 120 over 80, a 140 reading caught my, my husband’s, and my doctor’s eye. She told me that she wanted me to go and get some bloodwork done the following day and wanted to see me back on Friday to check my pressure again and go over my lab results, which would tell her whether or not I was pre-eclamptic.

I wasn’t planning on taking maternity leave until the baby arrived, but with so many tests and appointments in my future, I decided that Thursday would be my last day of work. That morning, I went to my local lab and had my bloodwork done. I stopped for a coffee and headed home to try to finish up any last-minute tasks at work. But around lunch time, I started to have contractions that were growing in intensity. I started to time the contractions and around 3 p.m., told Mike to come home from work. They were three minutes apart for a minute long. I called my doctor and let them know that we were coming in.

We were taken to a triage room on the labor and delivery floor. I knew from my visit at 34 weeks that the beds were INCREDIBLY uncomfortable, and I was hoping to get admitted so that I wouldn’t have to go through that again. When you’re 9 months pregnant, an uncomfortable bed is enough to make you lose your mind. What I REALLY didn’t want to happen was for us to get sent home from the hospital without being admitted a second time.

And yet… that’s what happened. After monitoring me, the doctors and nurses said that I was having contractions 4 minutes apart and was no more dilated than I was the day before. But my blood pressure was still elevated. My bloodwork had come back negative for pre-eclampsia, but they said that I was now considered to have gestational hypertension and that it was time to start talking about an induction.


An Unexpected Induction

I had a lot of feelings about being induced. If you read my previous blog post about Bradley Method, you know that I wanted a natural labor – no drugs. But when you’re induced, you’re given Pitocin, a synthetic drug that brings on contractions but also makes them longer and stronger, with less time to rest in between. I was prepared for my body’s natural hormones to do their thing, but I wasn’t prepared for something artificial. I made the decision right away that I would be getting the epidural for my induction.

The hospital wanted me to keep my Friday appointment, so we made our way to the OB on Friday, my husband’s birthday. They hooked me up for a non-stress test, which only took 20 minutes. When they saw what my blood pressure was, the nurse disappeared for a few minutes. When she came back, she let us know that my doctor was suggesting we go to the hospital right away and that I would most likely be induced.

Holy cow. Was this it?! Finally a baby?!

We made our way over to the hospital AGAIN where I was taken to triage AGAIN and checked for pre-eclampsia AGAIN. Our fingers and toes were crossed that we weren’t going to be sent home again. After all, we were SENT here this time. After waiting a while, the doctors came in to tell me that I was going to be induced… but not until 12:45 a.m. This was around 10 a.m. I was still not pre-eclamptic, so my induction wasn’t an “emergency” and needed to be scheduled. They told us that in the meantime, we could go home.

I was NOT going home. We had been sent back and forth from that hospital so many times, my GPS was starting to think I lived there. All of our bags were in our car, we had called my mom and had her take the dog to daycare. Not to mention, my mom had made the hour and a half trip in for the second time and our apartment was an hour drive, one-way, from the hospital. We decided that we were going to stick it out and hang out near the hospital until around 10 p.m., when we would go to take a nap in the waiting room.

To be honest, we had a pretty great day. My mom met us for lunch at Franktuary, we browsed the shops in Shadyside, bought the baby a teddy bear at Target and got one of my favorite meals for dinner: Tofu tacos from Mad Mex. We got to the hospital around 10 p.m. as we planned and set up camp in the waiting room. I asked my husband to let the nurses know that we were there, just in case. As we sat, I started to feel a little bit lightheaded and anxious. I felt like my blood pressure was rising again, and we got one of the nurses to check me. I got the highest reading yet, and they started to work on getting me a room. This part of the night was a blur. When we got to my delivery suite, I asked to get a shower before we started. While I showered, it hit me that we were REALLY going to have a baby within the next 48 hours! Nine months of carrying this baby and imagining its face and soon I was going to get to see the real thing.


Labor

The first steps to starting my labor were getting me on Pitocin and giving me a Foley bulb. A Foley bulb is a catheter that is inserted into the cervix and then filled with saline. It helps your cervix to dilate and falls out when you reach 3 centimeters. This was my first time even hearing of a Foley bulb, so I had no idea what to expect. It gave me some painful contractions early on since my body wasn’t going into labor on its own. I was able to breathe through them pretty easily using the breathing methods from Bradley class, and when I got up to go to the bathroom after a few hours, the bulb fell out. (Fun fact: I didn’t even think about the fact that the catheter was hollow and was very surprised that blood went everywhere when the bulb fell out. But things would eventually get much messier.)

c/o Nurturing Hearts Birth Services

Around this time, my nurse let me know that the anesthesiologist was scheduled to do a c-section soon, and I had a few hours to decide if I wanted the epidural. I had been mentally prepared to handle my body’s natural contractions, but not Pitocin-induced contractions. I’d heard some horror stories of moms who waited until it was too late to get the epidural so, knowing I would want it eventually, I opted to get the epidural early on.

The epidural was quite possibly the most uncomfortable part of labor for me, even counting the pain. You’re allowed one person in the room to get it inserted, and they have to sit in front of you in a chair while you sit on your bed, facing the side. Before you get the epidural, someone explains all of the risks to you, which makes the process so much scarier. My team included a student, who took the first shot at inserting the tubing needed for me to get the meds. I was told to arch my back and was given a pillow to hug. I groaned the whole time. It was such an odd sensation and I kept picturing them hitting my spine. It didn’t help when the anesthesiologist told the student, “There normally isn’t this much blood.”

Once the tubing was inserted… they decided that it was inserted incorrectly and we started over again. I was in tears, but there was little I could do at this point. On the second try, the anesthesiologist took over, and I knew it was working when I started to feel relief… and could no longer feel my legs! The nurses seemed surprised that I couldn’t lift them at all, but it was a nice reminder that the drugs were doing their job.

Once I was dilated so much, it was time to break my water. This will forever be one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever gone through. First of all, I didn’t expect my water to be broken in bed, my butt propped up on pads to soak up the water. I thought maybe my butt would be at the end of the bed and the water would… I don’t know… go into a trash can?

Mike watched every single step of my labor, including the breaking of my waters, and it was fun to hear his side of the story, “He went in with the hook to break it, and there was a small gush, and I thought, ‘Oh, ok. That must be it.’ And then the flood gates opened and there was water EVERYWHERE.”

EVERYWHERE, GUYS. EVERYWHERE. It felt like I was lying in a vat of soup big enough to feed a moderately sized village. My stomach deflated by INCHES as soon as the water left, and I realized that my baby was probably smaller than was anticipated. The doctor had thought my stomach was all baby and that he would be over eight pounds, but as it turns out, it was all water.

From there, I settled in and was actually able to get some rest. The next few hours were a blur of TV (“What to Expect When You’re Expecting” was on!), naps and contractions… not that I could really feel them. Beyond a faint tightening, I couldn’t feel much. My husband and nurses were able to see my contractions on the monitor and would let me know when I was having a strong one. To be honest, I was quite comfortable and cool as a cucumber through 95% of active labor. I didn’t know that with each contraction, more of your waters gush out. I thought it was a one and done thing, but I was losing amniotic fluid during the whole process.

I wasn’t allowed any food or water after the epidural went in, so I asked for a constant stream of ice chips. Later on, I would get ice chips between each push to stay hydrated. If Mike got distracted and didn’t immediately pour ice chips in my mouth when a contractions stopped, I’d yell, “Ice chips!” Somewhere in the middle of active labor, I asked for anti-nausea medication because I was so hungry, I felt like I may throw up.

Another uncomfortable sensation was the itchiness that came with the epidural. When I started trying to scratch my skin off (only slightly exaggerating), they told me it was probably from the fentanyl in my epidural. My epidural was on a drip and I had a button I could push to give myself more. Besides the initial injection, I only pushed the button once (but probably should have pushed it twice, you’ll see below).

After about 12 hours of active labor, I felt a pressure that I guessed was the urge to push. It felt like something was pushing down with a decent amount of pressure every few minutes. I let my nurse know and she alerted my doctor. At this point, I was already at 10 centimeters and mentally SO ready to push. Even though I pushed for two hours, it went by really quickly. My nurse would take one leg, my husband took the other, and my mom cheered me on from behind my head. I’m not sure if it was just lip service, but I felt like I pushed effectively and everyone in the room seemed to make a comment about it. Between contractions, I was still able to relax a bit, until we reached that last half hour… and my epidural wore off.

To be honest, I didn’t realize it had worn off until Max was a few days old. I thought maybe labor just hurt that bad WITH the drugs. But after a conversation with a friend, I realized that no, a labor with a full epidural does NOT feel like that. I knew it had been decreasing in effectiveness because I needed to feel my legs to push, but by the time the baby got into my pelvis, I was screaming in pain. He got stuck a little bit and all I could do was scream nonsensical things as well as, “HE IS NEVER COMING OUT!”

I knew I was close to holding my baby when the room went from 4 people to 10, all trying to introduce themselves to me as I screamed. The spectators included a few members of the NICU team because there was meconium (poo) in Max’s amniotic fluid, and they needed to make sure none of that made its way into his lungs.

I was feeling stuck and in an intense amount of pain when my doctor came up with an idea to get Max through my pelvis. She had another doctor prep to catch the baby and went to grab a towel. She one end and I held the other, and when I had a contraction, we would both pull. This helped me sit up a bit so that Max was being pushed DOWN and out. It felt like I did this for a while, but Mike says that after we got the towel, Max was out in two pushes.


Baby Max

He had a full head of dark hair and long fingers and limbs. His eyes were open from the very first moment and his first cry sounded almost like a “meow.” It definitely didn’t sink in right away that this was MY baby. That I had given BIRTH and experienced LABOR. To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in. Mike was unable to cut the cord because of the issue with the amniotic fluid, but he got to stand next to Max’s warmer and take in the sight of him first.

I had second degree tearing and required what seemed like A LOT of stitches. Worst of all, I could feel it. They eventually numbed me a bit but I’d felt enough to be groaning. The only negative part of my birth was that this is what I was experiencing when they first put Max on my chest for skin to skin, and I wasn’t really in the moment at the start.

He was snuggled in so close to my chin that I couldn’t see him when I looked down. He was already lifting his head and trying to look at me and it was comical as we both struggled to get a good look at each other. I fed him the first time and Mike was able to do some skin to skin before my best friends came in to meet Max. My family also came in to meet him and grab our stuff to take to our recovery room.

We didn’t get to the room until about 8 p.m. and I was STARVING having not eaten since the night before. We ordered a pizza as my family left and we settled in for our first night as a family with our beautiful, beautiful boy.


I can’t believe this was already six weeks ago!

Max is now 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and over 21 inches. He is an excellent eater and even though we’ve been struggling with colic, he is starting to sleep for about five hours at night. He sucks his thumb, smiles and makes the most hilarious faces. In his short life, he has already traveled out of state and sat in the Stanley Cup! He was born the night before the Pens won.

Being a mom is so fun, so amazing, so difficult, and I am so excited to share my journey through motherhood with you here. I may be a writer, but it’s hard to put my feelings for my little boy into words. He is so, so loved.

I’d like to hear how your birth was similar or different from mine. Tell your story in the comments below!

My Favorite (Free) Apps

I’m an app addict. Just look at my home screen! (You’ll notice I made everything smaller so I could fit more apps and widgets in).

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I’m always downloading, testing, deleting. For work, it’s social media tools. Lately, I spend my free time testing out new parenting apps to see if they can make those first few months a little easier on us. And, of course, I have to have any app that makes my photos and videos the best they can be.

I’ve been through so many apps, I’d like to think that I’ve done enough user testing to have a pretty fantastic selection. So, here are my top apps for life and for work/side hustle.

 

Life

Instagram – I don’t need to explain this one to you. Instagram is by far my favorite social network, my least favorite being SnapChat. If my friends didn’t share so many snaps of their babies on the platform, I’d delete my account… for about the 10th time. Now that Instagram has most of the same features as SnapChat, it’s my go-to app for sharing moments and wasting time.

Pinterest – SPEAKING of wasting time, I can’t tell you how many hours of pregnancy insomnia have been filled with the Pinterest app. From looking up labor symptoms to planning out all of the summer cocktails I’m going to have once Max is out in the world.

Relaxio – I first downloaded this when I was looking for white noise options for the baby, but I ended up using it for myself instead. The baby has his own white noise MACHINE. I like for bedtime to sound like I’m in the woods next to a stream, and this makes that happen. Unfortunately, my husband likes it to be totally silent when he sleeps… so I just wait until he’s out to turn on my zen noises. (PS – I tried a LOT of white noise apps and hated many of them!)

Baby Center – Of all of the apps out there for pregnant women, I would only recommend two:  This one and the one below. This app gives you facts about your baby week after week, lets you know what veggie they are the size of, reminds you to take your prenatals and helps you track you bump as it grows. It also has a busy community where you can ask questions and read answers from others. Fair warning… the forums have taught me that there IS such a thing as a dumb question.

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Ovia Pregnancy – Ovia is similar to Baby Center, but it’s a little bit more attractive and gives you more options for tracking how baby is growing, including size themes (fruits and veggies, animals, toys and games) as well as hand and foot size.

AirBrush – If you want to do some serious editing on a photo… like make a raccoon look like Brad Pitt… this is the app you want to use. It’s also good for small edits, blurring out parts of a photo and more.

Candy Camera – When it comes to filters, Camera Candy is my favorite app. There are dozens to choose from and you can make your own adjustments to each one. I barely use anything for photo editing outside of this app and Airbrush.

Wunderlist – I am a list woman, and my husband is a list man. There are a TON of list apps out there, but when it comes to errands and our weekly grocery list, we really love Wunderlist. I can add things to the list at home on my computer and then access that list from my phone or his. This has really come in handy in the third trimester when a trip to the grocery store can take up all of my energy. I can build the list and send him to the store… and creepily see as he checks each item off.

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Photofy – I used this to make all of my “bumpies” in pregnancy before I started to make my own. This app adds fun text and images to your photos and has a TON of free customization options. Though I have paid for a few content packs and to get their watermark removed.

Keep – Like post-its on the go, I save a TON of things in keep, from which restaurants I’d like to try to what fun facts I have about myself in case I need an ice breaker.

MightyText – I LOVE MIGHTYTEXT. I am on a computer all day for work, and it feels like such a hassle to check and respond to people on my phone when I have this full keyboard at my disposal. MightyText pushes my texts and phone notifications to my computer so that I can answer them like an IM.

 

Work/Hustle

Later – It is SO annoying that Instagram hasn’t given users a way to schedule yet. Later makes it a litttttle bit less annoying. You can upload your image, write your description, add your hashtags, and schedule your post. When that time comes, Later will remind you to post and put together your post for you, but you still have to press the button.

Ripl – Ripl allows you to put animation, text, and photos together to build a fun little video for social. You can use this in your personal life (you can actually use all of these in your personal life), but we recommend this as a tool for the small retailers we work with to promote their products.

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Legend – Similar to Ripl, but with more of a focus on text. Personally, I love to use this for work, the blog, and just for myself. It animates your text and makes it visually appealing without a lot of effort from you!

Repost – Sharing is caring, and repost makes it easy to repost Instagram posts from other users just by copying the post URLs.

Pocket – Pocket is a bookmarking service that allows you to save and tag links. I use it a lot for the blog to save sources (stores I want to share with you, tagged by type of products) and for work to save info (URLs of retailers we work with).

How many of these apps do you use? Any of them totally new to you? You can download all of these apps from the blog’s NEW Pinterest page! There is a special board just for this post. Be sure to follow the account while you’re at it!

 

Caffeine + Credit Cards: May Meant Prepping for Post-Baby

Caffeine + Credit Cards is a Monthly Series covering my must-buy items of the month, complete with reviews.

It’s a lot of work prepping for baby… or at least it was for me. There were so many books I wanted to read, so much gear I wanted to research. To be honest, I almost forgot that there will be a life AFTER baby comes out, where I’m not perpetually pregnant and unable to bend over.

For this month’s budget, I had a little bit less to work with than in April. My husband and I are experimenting with some new savings strategies, and I gave up a portion of my personal budget to go toward things that are important. Like an emergency fund. Or a house. But it was also my birthday month, which meant I had some wiggle room to purchase some extra things with gift cards.

After my shower in April, I had everything I needed for baby. But with 22 days left until my due date, my brain has shifted for life with baby, and how my life will change as a new mom. My first thought? Oh my gosh… I haven’t bought new clothes in months.

Of course, this is a rough time to purchase clothes. I have zero idea what size non-preggo pants I would wear, and plan on spending more quality time in my maternity jeans. But I decided to play it safe and size up on some spring items. Items that I wouldn’t mind styling baggy with skinny jeans.

J. Crew had an AWESOME sale this month, and I couldn’t help but snag a few items.

Thin resin bangle set (in Tortoise) ($19.50 + 25% off)

Thin resin bangle set

Deck-striped T-shirt ($14.99 + 25% off)

Deck-striped T-shirt

Linen V-neck Pocket Tee (in Brilliant Peony) ($29.50 + 25% off)

Linen V-neck pocket T-shirt

Cotton Jackie Striped Shell (In White Gold) ($29.99 + 24% off)

Cotton Jackie striped shell

I got an adorable gingham top in grape azure, as well, but it is currently sold out on the website. Here is the same style of shirt in the windowpane print, but it looks like this will be selling out soon, as well!

Penny Windowpane Top with Cuffed Sleeves ($54.99 + 30% off)

I can’t wait for this baby to come out so that I can slowly start wearing non-stretchy fabric again. But during my clothes shopping spree, I realized that I didn’t have anything picked out for MY coming home outfit from the hospital. I know that my size won’t change a lot in a few days, so I bought an army green, super stretchy dress that I can belt post-baby.

12 Ami Solid V-Neck Pocket Loose Maxi Dress ($28)

And while I was at it, I tossed in this tunic, which I think will be great for the next few months as I live in leggings!

LARACE Women Short Sleeves Flare Tunic Tops (In Deep Green) ($14.99)

But you can’t think about post-baby clothing without thinking about nursing bras. I bought a few from Target that I started to wear… and most of them have already worn out! The lace ripped on one and the underwire came out of the other. I was really disappointed with the quality, but I didn’t love expensive bras I’d gotten from Motherhood Maternity, either. My friend told me she liked the nursing bras she got on Amazon, so I ended up buying these:

Lataly Womens Sleeping Nursing Bra Wirefree (In black and gray) ($16.99)

I got them in black and gray and have been wearing them since they came in. SO comfortable, and appropriate for both sleep and wearing out. I will most likely end up getting them in the lighter colors, as well!

I’ve really been working up a thirst in my third trimester and wanted to invest in a really nice tumbler. I kept seeing these in stores and finally caved and got one!

Corksicle Tumbler – Classic Collection (In Gloss Peach Echo) ($29.95)

I use this all day long, but particularly at night when I get really thirsty. I’ll fill it with ice and water when I go to sleep, and wake up to FULL ICE CUBES 9 hours later. It fits in your car’s cup holders and is incredibly cute to boot. Some users on Amazon complained that the mouthpiece fell closed too easily and generally hated the lid. I have been using a regular straw in it, however, and haven’t had any problems with it!

Free Download: 10 Tips for Capturing the “Just Right” Moments in Smartphone Photos

How many times have you tried to capture the perfect moment in a photograph, only to be a few seconds too late. Increase your chances of capturing those once-in-a-lifetime moments with these 10 tips you can do completely with your smartphone. From voice commands to syncing to the cloud, you can save yourself a ton of time and hassle trying to snap:

  • Your baby’s first steps
  • Your dog in the perfect sleeping position
  • Your best friend’s wedding kiss
  • Your parents attempting a 3-legged race

Or whatever else you think is worth capturing! And just so you know this guide is legit before you download, here is a preview of my 10 tips:

  1. Try for natural lighting
  2. Purchase a mini ring light
  3. Enable your 1-swipe camera
  4. Use the burst feature
  5. Enable motion photo
  6. Screenshot a video
  7. Turn on HDR… sometimes
  8. Enable RAW and JPG
  9. Use voice commands
  10. Sync Phone Photos to the Cloud (My #1 tip!)

Just click here to fill out a form to get your free guide. With Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, summer picnics (and a birth, for me) on the horizon, you just can’t take chances when it comes to the perfect photo.(Note that submitting means I’ll be able to contact you in the future. I like to keep emails to once per month when I do send.)

10 Tips for Capturing that Just Right Moment in Photos