Maternity Photoshoot

We traveled north of Scottsdale to Flagstaff for our maternity photoshoot. It ended up being a great decision to get out of town and change the scenery to get these gorgeous shots! Here are some tips that we used to get our best maternity shots.

I kept my outfits very simple, highlighting my pregnancy glow and big ol’ bump. I chose one pretty lace dress, and one cute oversized sweater over a tank top and leggings.



Bring props! Great props are stuffed animals, little clothes, shoes, or hats, anything with their name on it, or ultrasound pictures.



Whip that belly out! Regardless of what it may feel like at the time, you actually will not be pregnant forever. You’ll love looking back at how cute/giant/funny your belly looked!

Lastly, time it right. I did mine at 34 weeks which turned out to be perfect. You want your belly to be perfectly big and round, but not quite as big and round as it is in those brutal last few weeks of pregnancy.

I hope these tips will help your maternity photos become ones you’ll treasure forever like I do with mine!

Motherhood with Anxiety Disorder 

It’s three a.m. My beautiful baby girl and amazing husband are both sleeping peacefully next to me. What am I still doing up? To be completely honest, tonight I’m letting my anxiety disorder get the best of me. My baby girl has her first illness and that has elevated my anxiety every day to a level I didn’t think was possible! This post won’t be an easy one for me to write, but feels important for me to share.

I don’t talk often about my anxiety disorder, mainly because it is still not a well-understood disorder. Even my husband, who knows me better than anyone else in the world, still struggles to understand mine. Before I became a mother, my anxiety disorder was kept at bay by lots of natural calming remedies, occasional medication, and alone/quiet time to collect myself. But now, 5 months postpartum, I’ve realized my only tactic for keeping it at bay has been transferring it onto my baby.

Here are a few ways you may notice yourself projecting anxiety after becoming a mom:

 

  • Baby scheduling is running your life. Every moment of your day is spent mentally anticipating the upcoming needs of the baby as well as the present needs. (Example- anxiety that baby will stay awake too long and get overtired and mess up his/her sleeping schedule.)
  • Worry over SIDS/accidents/illnesses. This sent me spiraling with anxiety as a new mom!
  • You’re not letting yourself leave the house. You may find it extremely overwhelming at first to leave the house. Even a new mom without anxiety will find this hard. But your anxiety can stop you from leaving the house altogether. (Example-anxiety over not knowing whether the baby will fall asleep while you’re out, leave them in the car seat or put them in a carrier, difficulty nursing in public, or diaper blowouts and where to change them.)
  • And finally, cry anxiety. Whether it’s being out at dinner and worrying that he/she will begin to cry, or getting tense and anxious during an actual crying fit- this one is a real challenge. Sometimes your newborn may cry and you won’t be able to do a thing about it, no matter how hard you try. Well, anxiety disorder does not take fondly to that situation!

If you are a new/expecting mom who suffers from anxiety disorder, let this be your warning. Motherhood will break you, and it will be beautiful. It will always be worth it to put your baby first in your life. You will learn very quickly as a new mother that the beautiful baby you created will take every energy and effort you have in you to care for. You won’t regret a second of it, and you will most likely put their every single need before any need of your own. But, no matter what you do, do not put your anxiety disorder on the back burner. It WILL come back around for you. You still need to take care of you.

Always remember, your baby needs YOU. Not an anxiety-ridden, sleep deprived, shell-of-a-person mom. Your baby deserves to have you at the top of your game. And that means taking care of yourself! You need to practice the self-care and self-love that will enable you to be the best mommy you can be to your little one.

My personal anxiety in regards to motherhood manifest itself through anxiety dreams/restless nights worrying, micromanaging my husband’s every move with her, being a huge germ-a-phobe, and not enjoying some precious moments with my newborn the way I should have. I’ve found that as I became a mother, I often unnecessarily worsened my own anxiety for myself. I burdened myself with being a perfect mom in every way. By burying myself in endless baby tasks and never giving myself a break. So if you’re battling some of the same things and need some tips to keep yourself together here’s what I have learned so far.

  • Try not to spread yourself too thin. Maybe you fully went into your day expecting to get the dishes done, laundry done, baby’s room cleaned, and the grocery shopping done. But try to remember that some days it will be all you can do to care for yourself and your baby and accept that that is OKAY.
  • Give yourself a minute. When you feel the anxiety setting in, try and take a step back. If possible, let someone else care for the baby for even just 5 minutes while you go lay down, listen to music, or do some lavender aromatherapy. If you are alone with baby make sure their basic needs are cared for (fed,changed) and then try to rest. Lay down with the baby safely next to you, go cuddle them and slowly rock in the rocking chair, or take them for a slow walk in a carrier or stroller so you can take deep breaths and calm yourself.
  • Find a way to have some alone time every day. For me, the only way that’s possible is to stay up a half an hour after my family is asleep, or to wake up half an hour before them. I know what you’re thinking, “not my precious sleep!!!” But this time has been really beneficial for me. It gives me the much needed quiet time where no body needs anything from me. THAT is a beautiful thing as a new mother!

New mom anxiety will be different from the anxiety disorder you experienced before your little one came into the world. Your anxiety will no longer be about yourself. It’s a strange thing to transfer your anxiety from yourself to another person. In a lot of ways it may be worse than before. Anxiety makes me think that every tiny thing to every happen to my baby will have long-term negative affects on her. If you find yourself in my shoes remember to tell yourself this: my baby is going to be okay,  I’m not going to project my anxiety onto him/her.

Now, I’m going to try to set my anxieties aside for the night and get myself the rest I need. I hope that these tips can help you if you too have an anxiety disorder. Always remember, it’s going to be okay mama!

How to care for baby eczema

Your beautifully soft little bundle is all of a sudden covered in bumpy, red blotches. What happened? You might be surprised to find out that 1 in 5 babies suffers from eczema. Luckily, I have had skin sensitivities since the day I was born. So I was able to identify it as soon as I saw eczema start to spread across my daughter’s belly. If you’re unsure whether your baby has eczema or something else, ask your doctor at the next well-baby check up. But a few tell tale signs are: dry, thickened, scaly skin, or tiny red bumps that ooze and may possibly become infected if scratched.

So here is a look at my little one’s skin care routine that I have successfully kept her eczema at bay with.

This shampoo and body wash from Target is a lifesaver. I tried three others before deciding to spend the money and get something better. Let me tell you, this one is worth the price tag. It does cost much more than the other baby bath soaps on the market, but it is also much more effective. We’ve also had it for a couple months now and aren’t even half way through the bottle. It is also extremely important that you don’t bathe babies with eczema every day. I bathe Ellie every other night to avoid drying her skin out too much.
14394369.jpg

 

It is also very important to immediately lock moisture into babies skin after. This will take a lot of trial and error on the part of a mommy to a baby with skin sensitivities. You’ll have to find out for yourself which lotion will be okay with your babe’s skin. A few basic guidelines to follow include making sure whatever you choose is as natural as possible, as few chemicals as possible, and fragrance free. What works amazing on Ellie’s skin is also an item I bought from Target. (It also was the only thing that helped clear her cradle cap!)

The last thing you need to worry about is the clothes your baby wears. You want to make sure if your baby ever spits up or spills on their clothes that you change them immediately. Any wet clothing against their skin can cause a breakout. You also want to make sure that all new clothes are washed before wearing. The detergent I use is dreft. These dreft scent boosters are also amazing for a scent boost you can use on sensitive baby skin!

 

I hope these tips can help your little one’s skin just like they’ve helped mine!

Nursery Organization Tips

Around my seventh month of pregnancy it happened. I just woke up that day and all I wanted to do was nest. I needed to get the house ready and perfect now! Organizing Ellie’s room was by far the most fun thing I did while pregnant. Here are some of my favorite things about her nursey and how I decided to organize it.

 

DSC_0840.jpg

Organizing her clothes took so much longer than I could have imagined, she has so many! I love these closet separators that you can erase and rewrite depending on what sizes you need.

DSC_0838.jpg

I hung these divided boxes on the wall directly next to her changing table. It gives me a cute way to store things like diaper rash cream, and baby lotions/oils without cluttering her changing table.

DSC_0837.jpg

This changing table from Babies R Us is phenomenal. I love the way it fits snug into the corner of the room, being able to change her straight on, and how much storage it has for diapers and wipes.

DSC_0842.jpg

I used these $10 shelves from Home Depot to make a little library corner of the room.

DSC_0841.jpg

And finally make sure you have plenty of adorable storage boxes for when baby arrives. I put this one to good use by filling it to the brim with cute baby headbands!

Tips for taking the best photos with your baby

I spent most of my time being pregnant fantasizing about all the little things I would do every day with my daughter. One thing I always looked forward to was taking pictures of and with her. You can’t hire a photographer to be there for all the moments you’ll want to remember with your little one. So it is important to know how to capture them yourself! As someone who has always considered myself an okay photographer, I did not expect how challenging it ended up being. We had our fair share of disastrous photoshoots before I came to figure out the formula for getting good pictures together every time. So here I’ve compiled a list of my photo taking tips to help you get the best photos with your little one along all their milestones.

-The first one is very obvious, and very vital. Make sure your baby has napped recently, been changed recently, and eaten recently. You also want to make sure their outfit isn’t too uncomfortable. Mentally prepare yourself and schedule the timing of taking photos at the beginning of your day to set yourself up for a successful photo session. Unhappy baby=unsuccessful photos.

.dsc_2060

-When you’re trying to capture moments of you and your little one together it’s important  to make sure you aren’t letting yourself go too much. As a new mom I know the constant struggle it is to care for yourself and for your baby. Of course our babies are always our priorities. But self-care should still be on our list somewhere! If you feel confident with no makeup whatsoever, more power to you! But I personally always feel better when I wake up in the morning, take a shower, and do minimal makeup. For post birth photos in the hospital the best thing you can do is just apply a good waterproof mascara.

dsc_1801

Following this tip will ensure that any time your baby is looking adorable or reaching milestones, you’ll be photo ready too. You’ll be happy you showered when you’re taking your babies age milestone pictures and you have your dark circles covered and your hair isn’t greasy!


Always use plain, neutral backgrounds unless you are somewhere fun! Even a great photo could be ruined by a messy house backdrop. Or in this case, an okay photo ruined by a survivor backdrop?

dsc_1933


While at home you can use a clean area of the house like a couch or made bed, as well as a solid color wall (inside or out) or a large blanket.

dsc_2328


When photographing baby alone use props like pillows, blankets, or a boppy to prop them. You can also purchase cheap photo backdrops online. Check out some of my favorite etsy shops to purchase them here.


-And finally, make it genuine! No one knows your baby better than you. No one else knows the special way they like to be held, tickled or kissed. Happy babies are the best! So incorporate those things they love into your photo sessions. If their favorite thing is a noise or face daddy makes, enlist his help! If their favorite thing is a special toy or family pet get that behind the camera with you! Try to capture your personal favorite things about motherhood. Whether it’s the way they look at you, the way they hold your hand while they sleep, or the way they cuddle into the nook of your shoulder. If you capture those moments you’ll be sure to have beautiful photos you’ll cherish forever- even if you didn’t get any makeup on that day.