Friday, June 29, 2012

{Post-Partum Care}: Make Your Own Frozen Sitz Bath Pads

      When you're thinking about the birth of your baby, you don't really think about your own post-partum recovery. Everything is about preparing for the baby... diapers, wipes, burp cloths, etc. But you also have to be thinking about YOU. So if you're giving birth naturally (non c-section) you are going to be pretty sore down unda if you know what I mean. And thankfully, mother nature has the perfect recipe that will give you some major relief for that little heiny of your's.
       With the use of specific herbs and flowers, a sitz bath is used to help promote healing, keep things hygienic and give an overall sense of relaxation. They are usually done, well, in the bath and you soak in it. But when you take the same herbs, spray them in an overnight feminine pad and freeze it... it's just about the most glorious thing your incredibly sore post-partum bottom will ever dream of.

What you'll need:
  • Large, maxi over night pads. 
  • Your sitz herbs (recipe below)
  • Peri bottle
  • Small bowl
  • Large bowl 
(If you don't have the time or the resources to make your own sitz herbs, you can buy them pre-made online, at your local Whole Foods or the like. Or, you can soak your pads in good ol' witch hazel instead.)

Sitz Herbs Concoction: (I got this pack from a doula here on the North Shore)
     1/4 Cup of the following dried herbs and flowers (give and take with what you can find. The highlighted ones are the most commonly used and would be the most important ones to find):
  • Blue Violet
  • Burdock
  • Calendula- analgesic, anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, cicatrisant, used to treat cuts, wounds and sensitive skin.
  • Chamomile
  • Comfrey- speeds healing, soothes wounds an reduces itching and pain.
  • Lady's Mantle
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Myrhh- helps your herbs to stay fresh.
  • Plantain
  • Sage
  • Uva Ursi- natural antibiotic
  • Witch Hazel- astringent
  • Yarrow- astringent and anti-bacterial
  • Sea Salt
Directions:
     1. Boil 1/3 cup of the dried herb mixture with 4 cups of water. Simmer for at least 20 minutes. You can turn the burner off, remove from heat and cover with a lid to let it steep for up to 2 hours. If you don't have that much time, the simmering for 20 minutes will do.

2. Strain and let cool.
3. Grab a small bowl, your overnight sized pads and your peri bottle. Fill the peri bottle up with the sitz herbs. 
4.  Over the large bowl, squirt the liquid herbs on the pads. My midwife says she skips the peri bottle part and just dips the whole pads in the liquid. If you don't have a peri bottle, just do that. After I soaked them, I put back the sticky parts and placed them in layers in a small bowl. 
5. Once you've finished the whole pack/herb liquid and piled them in the bowl, place them in the freezer. The reason we use the bowl, is to keep the proper shape that you'll need the pads in. Sometimes if you freeze them and fold them back up, when you open them to use, they crack. Once they're frozen, you can place them in a large zip-lock bag and do another batch. 

     You can also use the same herb liquid (I would water it down a bit to extend it's usage) and save it in the fridge in a pitcher or something. After you give birth, have someone fill up your peri bottle and use this instead of just water to help with the healing as well. 

Here's to healthy babies and easy recoveries!

With love,
Maryam

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

{Review & Giveaway Goodness}: Juno Lucina- The Perfect Push Gift

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
     So what is a Push Gift anyways? Did you get one? Do you want one? Well... I had to find out more about it because I have heard of it from time to time, but never received one myself. So after a little bit of research, I found it very interesting that there's an 1000 year history of push gifts, all surrounding the Roman Goddess of childbirth, Juno Lucina. 
She "safeguarded mothers and their newborn children. Theology states that she was invoked during childbirth for both an easy delivery and the promise of a healthy child. The name Lucina, of Latin origins meaning light, refers to "she who brings children into the light of the world for the first time." In ancient times, as was the custom, men presented their woman with a gift in commemoration of Juno Lucina who protected both mother and newborn in their journey ahead."
{There she is, Goddess Juno Lucina in all of her glory}
   
     So this is where our lovely sponsor, Juno Lucina got their name. They wanted to bring back this ancient tradition and offer an elegant and meaningful way to commemorate and celebrate the birth and protection of mother and baby. 
    I had a chance to talk on the phone with the owner/creator, Eric, who is as genuine and authentic as can be. He expressed that as he himself is a new Father, he knows firsthand the sea of emotions (and sometimes stress) that come along with the birth of a child. He truly wants every Juno Lucina push gift to celebrate this special moment for mother and baby, just the same way he would for his own family. 
    There are many jewelry companies out there, but Juno Lucina is the only company that's only focus is on us moms (two thumbs up). This means that every part of the company surrounds the celebration and appreciation for Mothers, which is very unique in my mind. 
    It's also clear that their pieces aren't just for husbands to give to their very pregnant wives, its a way for any loved one (grandparents, aunts, uncles, even a handful of close girlfriends) to show the love for us mamas.
     It comes in a pretty box with a sweet and sentimental little poem.
And this is their Signature Pendant. Pretty stunning, right? It symbolizes the hands of Juno Lucina®, the Roman goddess of childbirth, cradling and protecting the head of both mother and child.

    So to show their generosity and appreciation for everything us mothers do, Juno Lucina is offering one lucky winner their very own Signature Pendant in 14k white gold and with 1/10 total diamond carat weight. How amazing is that??? It's a $299 piece and can be YOUR'S!
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
*****GIVEAWAY RULES******
 
PRIZE
*One Signature Pendant in 14k White Gold with 1/10ctw- $299 value!


 TO ENTER
     Tell us why you or your loved one deserves a Push Gift in the comment section below. IE: I deserve a push gift because I pushed out two human beings au naturel. Make sure to leave your email address too, this is very important!!!  This giveaway is open to readers in the the US :).


 ADDITIONAL ENTRIES
3 MORE WAYS TO ENTER:
1. 'Like' Juno Lucina on Facebook and tell them Milk-friendly sent you.
2. Share your excitement to win this giveaway on your Facebook feed. Take a screenshot of it (On Mac- Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop. On PC- ??? on Iphone- hit home & sleep button at the same time) and "+ Image" into a comment
3. Follow Juno Lucina on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. For example: "I hope I win the perfect @PushGift a Gold & Diamond necklace via @milkfriendly http://ow.ly/bYqA3"
***Be sure to leave separate comments on this post for each of the additional entries you've done and make sure to include your email address. I haven't been able to reach winners in the past who think their email is connected to their profile.***
 
ENDS next FRIDAY July 6th
@ 12 midnight PST
     Winner will be chosen by random and will have 48 HOURS to respond (or another winner will be chosen). The lucky winner will be announced the following Monday.

GOOD LUCK LOVELIES!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

{Fortuna Family Happenings}: We Are Ready for You Little Guy

 Dear little Sea Biscuit,
We cannot wait for you to bless our little family. We're ready whenever you are :)
Love,
Mommy, Daddy, Coral & Sky

Swimsuit top. Swimsuit bottoms c/o Seraphine Maternity.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

{Pregnancy Must-Have}: BLANQI Body Styler Review

     I have a confession. Around this time during my last pregnancy with baby number 2, I wore one of these...
     The one right there, second to the left. And no, these are not products from the early 90's. These are CURRENT products, sold in baby boutiques and I bought one. And wore it. And felt like the guy that comes and delivers your refrigerator.
     Now why would you buy something like this and actually wear it, Maryam? The answer is, I was desperate. I had horrible round ligament pain in the end of my second pregnancy  (can be attributed to the extra ligament stretching, suspension and chasing after a torpedo 18 month old). It feels just like a piercing side ache, but lasts for 5-10 minutes all throughout the day. I was told I should go get a belly support thinga-ma-bober and this is what the store had. So I bought it and wore it. I wore it over my clothes while I was at home and tried to put something over it when I went out in public. In fact, it was pretty humiliating.
      Now fast forward to pregnancy #3 and you could imagine the kind of excitement I had when I was introduced to these belly supporters...
     I just had to take one look at the BLANQI website, and I was sold. Everything I saw encompassed my belly support dreams: chic, smooth, modern, stylish, under bustin' support (my prenatal cradle literally criss-crossed over the center of my boobs) and two amazing and candid moms were behind all this greatness.
     I tweeted about my new wonderful discovery, and soon after, Valerie and Sabina personally responded that they'd love to send me a BLANQI to try out. Once I received it, I refused to take it off. It was everything I needed. It gave support, it smoothed out unwanted muffin tops, it held up my un-buttoned non-matenity skinny jeans (better than any other belly bands I've tried), and the under-bust design even gave the ladies I nice little lift (this same design makes it super easy to breastfeed in, post-baby). 
     I got to try the Pregnancy Body Styler in the regular length, in their winter white color and in size small. And as you can tell from the photos it still fits, and as you grow, it just gave me even more support.
Nighttimes usually consist of a bath/shower with the boys, my BLANQI and that extra support for toy and kitchen clean-up  
      Then those lovely ladies sent me two of their new colors, Mint and Bright Blue in the long length. I have to say, the regular and long length are two must-haves. The regular length is perfect for any regular outfit where you are wearing pants or shorts. But, the long length can pretty much stand alone underneath a dress, skirt, or worn with a tunic and leggings. I love wearing it to bed with just a sports bra....super comfy and supportive while I am covered in little co-sleeping dudes.

     A huge thank you to the BLANQI girls for letting me try your fabulous products. I am enamored with them and appreciate the fact that I am completely round-ligament-pain-free this time around! Alleluia!!!
    To get yourself your own BLANQI, go to the website now and use MILKFRIENDLY at checkout for BUY ONE GET ONE HALF OFF!  Make sure to also join their FACEBOOK page and TWITTER to stay in the loop.

Here's to happy, healthy and comfortable pregnancies for all,
Maryam

***Just so you friends know, I was given BLANQI Body Stylers in order to review this company, but everything I have written is my own and from the heart. I only accept to review products and companies that I truly love. Kapeesh?***


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

{Get the Look}: Francesca's Collections Promo Code


       In case you were wondering, one my favorite two accessories this season happen to be this here fedora and beaded necklace from Francesca's Collections. If you haven't stopped in one of Francesca's ever-growing boutiques or dropped in on their online boutique, you my friend, are missing out on some fab go-to pieces that are crazy affordable. 
      I have been a long time Francesca's Collections fan, so I really mean it when I say how much I love them. In fact, back in college, I would visit their boutique down on 2nd Street in Long Beach, CA when I would take a weekend break from school to hang with my brother, sister-in-law, uncle and auntie. They have SO many accessory pieces that are unique stand-outs and not to mention their chic bags (I use in place of a traditional diaper bag) and effortless clothes.
{As you can see, my wall is literally covered in Francesca's pieces I've collected over the years}
     So yes, they have wonderful accessories, bags, clothes and other goodies, but want to know the best part? They love and support us MAMAS. They had a maternity section for a while and they have reached out to me as a breastfeeding mother because they think nursing is just as cool as you and I do. More posts are to come that feature maternity-friendly and breastfeeding-friendly clothes from their boutique to make it even easier for you to shop their apparel.
     Their Sketched Line Tee is that perfect breezy top that will work both during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's got room to grow that bump and post-baby, all you have to do is pair with a nursing tank and you got yourself an "easy-up"tee. I really love the open keyhole in the back as well.
       Francesca's Collections has also offered you readers 30% off your purchases! HOLLER! Just use "FRIENDLY" at checkout and you'll be one happy camper, believe me.
{Oh, and did I mention I am now 9 MONTHS PREGNANT???!!!}
Yep, even thought I may have been in labor last night too. 

Hat (looks like they may have sold out online. I'd call in to your local boutique, or inquire on their Facebook page as to when it will be back in stock), Necklace, Tee all in c/o Francesca's Collections. Shorts are from Target. Sandals are from Rainbows.
With love,
Maryam

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Très Chic Mama Diaries: 34 Weeks

     Here, we go again, one more week under the belt, woo-to-the-wee! And today I am over on the Très Chic Mama Diaries sharing about this vintage numba I found patiently waiting in my closet. It's been years since I thrifted it and I never had a reason (or the cojones) to wear it. It proves to me that cleaning and purging your closet can be cathartic and rewarding all at the same time. If you make your way to my feature over there on Très Chic Mama, you can browse a few other vintage dresses I found that would be so very lovely for a maternity shoot (that's if you're in the market).
     Speaking of maternity photoshoots... I am still in awe of the photos the uber talented Laura Aguon was able to capture for me. I never took photos like this for my other two pregnancies and now I am a little confused on what to do with these gorgeous images. It feels awkward for me to print and frame pictures of only me and put them on the wall... am I crazy?!? I think it would be different if it was my first baby, but this is my third. Why do I feel like it's weird? Because I know it would be just me looking at them? Hmmm... this is awkward, so sorry about that. 

     ...While I figure out this little inner-ego conundrum, I'll just post them here and just...stare.
     So my dear friends, please tell me, what did you do with the maternity photos you took??? And thank you for helping me work through this. And, well, yeah.

With love,
Maryam

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Few Blogging Reflections

    Well as many little things seem to fly under my radar these days, so did the re-set of the Top Baby Blogs. I am probably super behind now, which isn't a big deal at all in the huge scope of things. I just know many of you find this here blog through their site and that makes me happy, happy to have you here to share and connect with.
    The first pregnancy, and the first year of baby's life was very challenging for me. I really didn't know anything about blogs, and especially the communities and inspiration that can come of them. To be honest, I felt pretty lost in my new identity and I was constantly striking out in terms of fashion and style. I wanted to feel like the old fashionable me, who took style risks and was very confident. It took me a while, but once I finally grabbed hold of myself and found my new balance as a mom and figured out how to dress the new me, things started to shift. It sounds so superficial to most, but I believe that what you wear and the confidence it gives you, can really affect your mood and the outlook on your day.  I felt very passionate about sharing the little things I had learned, and I started this blog with hopes that there would be someone like me who needed a little boost of inspiration.
    And then as a blogger, it can be hard to really see if I was making a difference at all. Yes, I can see from the numbers in my facebook community, or google reader or stats, but what really makes it worth it to me is when I get feedback, emails and comments from you. One reader/my new bff, Kate reached out and it truly made my heart happy-
Kate- this comment hit home for me and THANK YOU for taking a few minutes to say how you feel. I was SO there with you, watching high school and college friends "livin' life" on facebook while I was sleepless, frumpy and a bit depressed. Doesn't it feel amazing when you decide to move forward? There are so many positive inspirations out there and I am honored to be a little piece of helping you feel as FAB as you really are. :) xoxo


     And to everyone else there reading this, thank you for being a part of our little world and I hope I can keep on keepin' on. Thank you very much for all your votes, as well.

With love and Aloha,
Maryam
(and family)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sponsor Milk-Friendly For July and August!

Ok, so I FINALLY got around to setting up my new ad sponsorships by using Passionfruit. It's pretty perfect timing because as I am getting everything organized for baby #3's arrival, having Passionfruit take care of all the ad set-up is just amazing.
    All my ads are for a 2 month period, I just feels like two months gives a bit more time and exposure for your ad and kind of evens out the difference in the variation in the number of days in certain months. So when you look at the ad prices, you can divide it by two (go ahead, use your calculator app if your brain mal-functions when it comes to math like me). Since I just set things up with Passionfruit and it's still the beginning of June and you want to go ahead and sponsor this here blog, you'll be getting something like 18 extra days of ad exposure, for free- WOOT WOOT.
{If you're looking for my sponsor info, background and stats, check out the sponsor page here.}

Thanks friends and I look forward to working with you!

With love,
Maryam

Saturday, June 9, 2012

{Bump Update}: Iphone Photos and Homebirths

     I wanted to share a little photo progression of our little Sea Biscuit through my Iphone instagram pics (if you're on instagram, it's probably the best way to keep up with me and the family). Basically, I have been in total awe of how quickly this pregnancy has flown by. With no real pregnancy-related complaints, this baby has been "quietly" growing through each and every day here at home with my two boys. It's crazy to me that by the end of this week, the baby's organs will be fully developed and by the following week, he will be considered full-term. Both Coral and Sky were early (Coral just over 2 weeks and Sky was 9 days), and as for Coral we had NOTHING ready. NOTHING. Hadn't tested out the birth tub, no baby clothes had been washed, birth kit stuff was not prepared (the midwife's assistant actually had to knock on the neighbors doors for a few things) and we were actually meeting the pediatrician that morning while I was in labor and I had no idea. With all that in mind, I have finally realized that I need to kick it into gear and get things ready for the baby.

    {The first image is from 13 weeks and the last image is from last week at 33 weeks}
      So...next week will be my 35 week appointment where both my midwife and the assistant (another midwife) will be coming for the home visit. This visit ensures that they know how to get to our place, orient them with the space I’ll be birthing in, make sure we have everything we will need (ie-test out that tub and water hose!) and for us, it will be really wonderful for the boys to have the midwife in our home.
     We have been talking and having many conversations to get the boys ready for the baby and the birthing day. My oldest, Coral was only 19 months old when his little brother Sky was born at home, and he actually napped all through the pushing and birth. Coral will now be 4 and Sky will be 2.5 years old, so their understanding and concern for mommy is a whole lot different than before. I am confident everything will work out perfectly fine, but I still wonder if anyone out there has any tips and tricks... anyone?
     This is the homebirth book we've been reading with the boys and Coral seems to be cool with it and Sky still seems a little skeptical. It's funny, because Sky always laughs when he seems the baby nursing and coming from mister mama's milk boy, I think he's still internalizing that he no longer nurses and the baby soon will be. He weaned when he was 2 years and 3 months old and I was 22 weeks pregnant (I know, I know, I still need to share my experience on this) so he's had some time to move forward. But I kind of worry there might be some sort of struggle when he sees the baby nursing. Again, any tips on this would be appreciated :)
     Well, that's all the scattered thoughts I have on my mind tonight and I'll let you know how the home visit goes this week.

With lots of Love,
Maryam
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