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C-Section Recovery : Tips & Tricks

>> Thursday, March 31, 2011

With my third c-section coming up in less than two days, I have been thinking a lot about the recoveries I've had. With my first it was an emergency c-section. I had wanted a natural birth and had my birth plan and it just didn't go the way I had planned. Just in case you end up having a c-section or have one scheduled, I wanted to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned regarding the healing process.

*Belly Binding Belt: Of some kind. The hospital gave me one after I delivered my second by Cesarean. That made a WORLD of difference in my recovery. I bought one myself this go around from Amazon.com. The trick is to put it as tight as you can stand. It holds everything in and makes it MUCH easier to move around. It gives incredible support and smooths your stomach [as an added bonus!]

*Overlap Pain Killers: Do NOT let your pain meds "expire" before you take your next dose. The medications your doctor prescribes for pain, make sure you take your next dose before the last dose wears off. Not by a whole lot, obviously, but you will be glad you did not let it completely leave your system before you take your next dose. Trust me. I could have escaped some unnecessary pain if I had listened when others told me that.

*Get Moving: I know it's painful, but moving around a bit helps. Moving around too much is bad. You don't want to overdo it. You have a precious baby to take care of so you don't want to overly exhaust yourself. I learned by the second go around that my recovery was MUCH quicker since I moved around a bit more. There's another reason to move: bowel movements. In order to get your body functioning again, moving around gets things moving!

*Stool Softeners: They give you one Post-Op, but I asked my doctor at my pre-op appointment last week if I could start taking them a couple days before and she emphatically said yes! I'm not talking about a laxative [not safe for pregnancy]. A stool softener like Colace, is what I mean. Also, during recovery you can try other things if that's not working: Prune juice, orange juice, coffee, teas, tons of water, flax seed, apples, bran, bananas, honey [three tablespoons/day]. Those are some of the more natural ways to help that aspect of healing.

*Limit Visitors: In the beginning of recovery, limit the amount of friends and family that stop by. My hospital has just implemented an immediate family members only for the first 24hrs. I am thankful for that because so many people want to stop by. While I appreciate their excitement, I know that I will be so exhausted and in pain and won't want to deal with a rotating door of visitors once I deliver and all day. I have let people know that we will call them when we are ready to take visitors the next day and that after that it will be a couple weeks before we will have visitors at home.

*Ask for Help: Even though you want to limit visitors, you don't want to be completely alone either. There's a middle ground. You're going to need help moving around and help with baby. Maybe a friend or family member could get a meal for you or do the dishes for you. Do not freak about getting chores done. Recovery is your goal, not a spotless house!

*Avoid Comedies & Comics: This sounds silly, but I'm telling you I was in tears after my first because my father-in-law and a friend of ours are pretty much comedians. I always yell, "DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH!" It hurts to laugh...or cry...sneeze or cough! So either watch that funny movie now or wait a week or two after delivery. I told everyone to go ahead and tell me your best jokes now...it won't be so funny to me in a couple days!


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Pregnancy Jokes

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In case you need a giggle today...

Q. Should I have a baby after 35? A. No, 35 children is enough.

Q. When will my baby move? A. With any luck, right after he finishes high school.

Q. How will I know if my vomiting is morning sickness or the flu? A. If it's the flu, you'll get better.

Q. Since I became pregnant, my breasts, rear-end, and even my feet have grown. Is there anything that gets smaller during pregnancy? A. Yes, your bladder.

Q. What is the most common pregnancy craving? A. For men to be the ones who get pregnant.

Q. What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex? A. Childbirth.

Q. My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational. A. So what's your question?

Q. What's the difference between a nine-month pregnant woman and a model? A. Nothing, if the pregnant woman's husband knows what's good for him.

Q. How long is the average woman in labor? A. Whatever she says, divided by two.

Q. My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right? A. Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q. When is the best time to get an epidural? A. Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q. Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor? A. Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q. Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth? A. Yes, pregnancy.

Q. Does pregnancy cause hemorrhoids? A. Pregnancy causes anything you want to blame it for.

Q. Do I have to have a baby shower? A. Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q. Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again? A. When the kids are in college.


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Mommy's Medicine Cabinet Giveaway Winner

>> Monday, March 28, 2011

The winner of the Mommy's Medicine Cabinet Giveaway chosen by random.org is:

Congrats! Please e-mail service@milanmaternity.com by Wednesday, March 30 11:59pm to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.


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Fun Things For Soon-To-Be Siblings

>> Thursday, March 24, 2011

  It can be a tough transition time for children that are going to be welcoming a new sibling. Whether it's the child's first sibling or seventh! It's always an adjustment for everyone, but can be extra adjusting for a child to go through. There are dozens and dozens of articles on how to incorporate children in the pregnancy and delivery of a new baby. My two daughters helped pick their baby brother's name, talked to him in my belly and read him stories. Some other ideas are to let them paint your belly or help with a super fun belly cast! We also sat the girls down and had a chat with them about how things will change and how they can be big helpers. It helps to let them know that your heart grows with each child born, that your love for them will only grow and that their role in the family is important!
  There are other fun stuff that can help in a more visual way as well! Here are some of the fun stuff that have helped our daughters:

Our girls love books, and reading is a great way to spend some quality time with the kiddos. 
Baby on the Way  is a great book on pregnancy & what's happening to mom. It's written from a child's point-of-view.

 They wrote another one that goes on to the next step called, What Baby Needs:
It's for after baby arrives, but is a great read for those nights before delivery!

Another great book for kids is On Mother's Lap:
This book comes in not just hardback or paperback option but a board book option! It introduces the mantra to kids that "there's always room on mother's lap" even when there's a new sibling. A book of love and caring. Beautifully illustrated also. 

These are certainly not just for girls. A lot of the reviews are from moms of boys! These can help siblings to have something to help take care of. We got two tan boy dolls for our daughters to open when baby brother joins us next Thursday. There are a few skin and hair color variations as well as accessories for the dolls. They're all plush and safe. The ones below are North American Bear Company Rosy Cheeks Dolls. They come with little hospital bracelets that you can write on!
Then of course there's always sibling shirts, big sibling buttons and stickers! 
Some of my favorite sibling shirts are made by Zoey's Attic. They are sibling "pecking order" shirts! They are custom ordered with however many you need! It looks super cute on huge households too! Your childrens' names can be added for FREE! Cafepress.com has some adorable sibling buttons if that's what you're looking for, and they're reasonably priced around $4 a button.

  On a final note, don't forget to check out your local hospital where you're delivering or birthing center and sign up for a sibling class if they have one. Our hospital has a free one that took the girls around the hospital, showed them the nursery [and cute babies!], gave out stickers and taught them how to swaddle and change diapers! They had a blast and felt very included!


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Janey Pie Design Giveaway WINNER

>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Winner as chosen at random by random.org:

And the coordinating comment is:

please contact service@milanmaternity ASAP to claim your prize!!!


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Shannon Garber Photography Giveaway WINNER

The Winner as chosen at random by random.org:

And the coordinating comment is:

Please email service@milanmaternity asap to claim your prize!!!


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Dangers of Dehydration & Ketones in Pregnancy

  I just spent the last weekend in the hospital getting a lesson from my doctor on the dangers of dehydration and ketones. It's common enough in pregnancy that I felt I would share with all of you. I was not even aware I was dehydrated, as I didn't feel any of the symptoms I will describe below.
  What is dehydration? Simply put, it's where your body eliminates more water than is being replaced. In your first trimester this is usually brought on my vomiting caused by "morning" sickness. Other culprits can be airplane travel and humidity. It is vitally important that you are drinking plenty of water throughout the entire day. A good rule of thumb is one glass for you; one glass for baby once per hour.
  Later in pregnancy, 2nd and 3rd trimester, dehydration can cause preterm labor. Actually, dehydration is the third most common reason that women experience preterm labor. When your doctor has you pee in a cup, they are checking for many things, one of them being dehydration and the other being ketones.

Dehydration Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst. This is the first sign, and probably the most ignored. Listen to your body – if you’re thirsty, your body is trying to tell you something. You should try to maintain a schedule of drinking at least one glass of water an hour (more if needed).
  • Dizziness. Dehydration may lead to feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness or vertigo, especially when standing up, bending over, or kneeling. This dizziness symptom is due to low blood pressure caused by dehydration.
  • Headaches. Dehydration is a major cause of headaches, particularly migraines, in pregnant moms and non-pregnant folks alike. Don’t dismiss your headaches as hormonal (although, those can be a contributor). Make sure you’re drinking at least 10 pints of water a day – more, if you can handle it.
  • Dark yellow urine (prenatal vitamins can also cause urine to be darker – make sure you’re getting enough water so that the vitamins are being used by your body as they’re meant to be).
  • Urine with a strong odor (again, your prenatal vitamins may cause this as well – if they are, drink more water!)
  • Inability to urinate (or, since you’re pregnant, a less frequent need to urinate).
  • Dry mouth and nose, and chapped lips
  • Weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Skin has lost its elasticity or is very dry

  If you have any of these symptoms you are already dehydrated - don’t try and ‘tough it out’. Dehydration can become a serious problem very quickly, and can lead to more serious illnesses, as well as cause preterm labor and other pregnancy complications. The best prevention – and remedy – for dehydration is drinking water. Our bodies are made up of approximately 50 – 60% water (some useless trivia: blood is made up of 83% water, muscle is 75% water, the brain is 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water). If the body doesn’t have enough water, it can’t do its job properly.
  What are Ketones? Ketones are broken down fat cells. When your body cannot use carbohydrates, the bodies preferred source of energy, for your energy requirements, it begins to break down fat, a stored form of energy. Although this may seem like a positive thing, it isn't. When your body is breaking down fat instead of carbohydrates, it means one of two things. One, your body is in starvation mode, or two, you are suffering from diabetes. If your urine and breath smell unusually sweet, ketones are likely present. Also keep in mind that ketones could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
  If you're like me in your third trimester, you already took  the SUPER fun glucose test. Maybe even twice. If it came back that you are not having gestational diabetes, then the issue is that you are not eating enough. To find out how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis while you are pregnant, try the pregnancy calorie calculator. Usually it's between 1800 and 2500 calories. It goes up each trimester. I have had some major food aversion this whole pregnancy, so eating enough has been a big issue. A good idea to gauge whether or not you are eating enough is to keep a food log/journal. It helps to visually see what you're actually eating. Sometimes it feels like you're eating more or less than actuality.
  No matter what, you want to make sure you are eating as healthily as possible for you and for baby. Don't forget to drink plenty of water!


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The Importance of Mommy Groups...

>> Wednesday, March 16, 2011

...And Mommy Friends!
   As a mom to an almost 6 year old daughter, a 4 year old daughter and a son to be delivered in 15 days, I have no idea how I've made it this long without joining a mommy group. I think part of it was my thought that since I live in a small town, there simply weren't any. Well, there actually weren't for quite awhile, so I stopped looking.
   Right now my friends that are local don't have children and they work full time jobs and/or are students. Most of my friends don't have kids. My closest mom friends are two hours away and with gas prices...well, you know. I talk everyday to one of my mom friends who lives in another state and I can tell you now, that bit of adult conversation, even if we're both half talking to each other & half scolding the kids for being loud or getting into something, it's truly golden. She helped me survive when my hubby was away with the military. And of course I did join online mom forums from time to time and connected that way...
  But there is something magical about getting together with other moms in person that totally get EVERYTHING you're going through. As luck would have it, I was taking one of my sick children [I swear kids are petri dishes for any and all viruses] to the pediatrician, when I ran into an old high school buddy. I knew she lived in my town at one point in her pre-mommy days, but had NO idea she still lived here! Anyways, in our reconnection she told me recently about a local Moms Group. They plan activities and get-togethers. I squealed. No I'm dead serious. I couldn't BELIEVE there was anything to do here! [I transplanted to this small southern town from San Diego...]
  So I'm going to be joining for some MUCH needed mom-interaction. It made me wonder how many other moms need some mom friends. I can't be the only one! The rut that we moms can get in after giving birth & getting a routine down with our little ones can really take a toll on our mental state. Even if you work outside the home everyday, having conversations with adults, you need some mom friends! If you are having Baby Blues or PPD [Post Partum Depression], I think it's especially important that you reach out to other moms. Getting out of the house, connecting with others, getting a break, can all aid in your well being and health. Because let's face it: Healthy, happy mom = healthy, happy family!

  Starting Your Mom Friend/Group Search:

*Moms.Meetup.Com: This website has an interactive WORLD map to help your search in mom friends.
Just click on the link above and search for your area! With over 3,500 groups listed in 23 countries, I'd say you have a pretty good shot! Even my small town had one listed and I swore there wasn't one. And there are MANY types of groups listed. Some for moms under thirty with kids under 5, moms who work outside the home, scrapbooking moms, dancing moms, moms of multiples, moms with a Dugger clan...

*MomsLikeMe.com: This site has groups in many states. It's not worldwide like Meetup, but it's one site that runs mommy groups in several US cities [even in Hawaii]. 
  The groups share Pediatrician & Preschool recommendations, baby clothes/gear buy, sell, trades, contests and SO much more. Each has an online community also, so you can stay in contact even when you're not at a get together!

*StrollerStrides.com: This one is probably my favorite just for the fact that I LOVE any way to stay fit and healthy. If you haven't heard of Stroller Strides, it's basically where you take fitness classes that you take your baby and stroller to. They are held outdoors in neighborhoods and parks on nice days and indoors at places like malls when the weather in not so nice. You basically do an hour long workout that incorporates you, your baby or kids and stroller!  
  There are different types of classes, you just have to search for your area to see what's offered. If joining one of the fitness groups doesn't fit for you, they have LUNA mom playgroup that is FREE! They typically meet after the classes, have some weekends and mom's night out meetings! If there isn't one in your area, you can always start your own [that's my plan later this year or early next]

*Google.com: If you have checked into the above three and have not found something that works: Google is your friend. Google "Mom Group _______" with your city/town name in the blank. Hopefully something comes up! But if not...proceed to the next step...

*Self-Starter: Start your own Mom Group! Post fliers at the grocery store, consignment store, fitness club, Pediatrician's office, OB-GYN office, and anywhere else you can think of! If you're shy, know that there are other shy moms out there. You're not alone. You don't have to do the mommy thing without mommy friends. I definitely wish I would have joined up with one a LOT sooner!


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Secrets of maternity dressing

>> Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You're having a baby! But you're less than excited about the prospect of giving up your hip clothes in favor of tent dresses and sweats. Don’t worry; there are some ways that you can still look like a hip mom!

"The key is to stick with the same kinds of things you wear when you're not pregnant," advises fashion designer Liz Lange. If you wear a lot of black and that makes you feel confident and comfortable, then by all means, don't start wearing pink just because you're pregnant.

If you prefer solid colors to prints, choose a favorite neutral — say, gray, black, or khaki — and build your wardrobe around that.

Borrow before you buy

Maternity clothes can be expensive! Maternity clothes range in prices well up to the $100. Thank goodness for MILAN MATERNITY though!

Ask your friends if they have any maternity clothes they are willing to let you borrow for a few months. Check out consignment shops and thrift stores. Women who spend a lot on maternity clothes often try to recoup some of their costs by reselling them at such stores. With a little patience, you can score designer maternity duds at a fraction of the original price.

Scour your closet — and your man's

We all have at least a couple of things in our closets that we wear when we're a few pounds heavier than usual. Loose tops and pants or skirts with elastic or drawstring waistbands can be terrific pieces to get you through the first few months.

Even your favorite jeans can last a couple of extra months if you use a little ingenuity. Try this trick: Loop a rubber band through the buttonhole and then wrap it around the button. This will provide that crucial extra inch or two of breathing room. I have done this a few times and it does work!

You can also find an alternative in stores and on MILAN MATERNITY called the belly band, a stretchy band you wear around your waist. The band holds up your jeans and shorts so you can leave them unzipped. On top, wear a long shirt to cover your quick fix.

Paint yourself in one color

"When you're dressed in one color from head to toe, you look really put together," says Liz Lange. You can use a scarf or sweater or even jewelry to add splashes of color, she says.


Your metabolic rate increases by about 20 percent when you're pregnant, which means that if everyone else is shivering, you're just as likely to be complaining about the heat. With a layered look, you can peel clothes off as needed. On cold days, wear a T-shirt or polo under a sweater or a turtleneck under a long cardigan.
Don't get carried away, though — too many layers or layers that are too loose can look sloppy instead of sophisticated. Sweater sets (maternity or otherwise) are a great way to look sleek and pulled together.

Flex your shoe sense

Shoes feeling a little tight? Many women's feet expand a half or even a full size during pregnancy (and some never go back to their original size). Needless to say, this is not the time to be strutting around in stilettos. Choose flats or shoes with wide, chunky heels or lower "kitten heels" instead. And be sure to buy slip-ons — you're not going to want to bend over and lace up your shoes when you're nine months pregnant!


Accessories are a great way to get more mileage out of an outfit. You can give a basic piece, such as a black dress, a whole new look by swapping a chunky necklace for a silk scarf. An added bonus: If you splurge on a few accessories, at least you know you'll be able to wear them after you give birth.

Here are some ways to add a little oomph to your outfits:
Use a bright piece of jewelry, such as a turquoise or beaded bracelet or necklace, to give a monochromatic outfit some zip.
Wear a pair of funky shoes and carry a matching handbag to add your signature to a basic piece.
Punch up an outfit with a colorful scarf or by tying a sweater around your shoulders.

Splurge (a little)

Few women can afford to buy a completely new wardrobe for pregnancy. But you should definitely invest in at least one outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident. A pair of skinny and flair jeans should get you through your whole pregnancy. A sexy dress, black velvet pants and a swingy top, or a stunning suit can make you look like a million bucks when you feel like anything but. Wear it as much as possible while you can.


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Mommy's Medicine Cabinet Review & Giveaway

>> Friday, March 11, 2011

I don't know about you, but flu season hit our family and neighborhood HARD this year. We've had so many sicknesses going on around in our area lately, we've needed to be prepared for anything. As prepared as I am, why is it that my kids almost ALWAYS get sick when we are away from home? Every time we fly home for Christmas, or go on a road trip, GUARANTEED my kids get sick. Then there I am, taking my kids to the doctor and going to pick up a thermometer and children's tylenol while on vacation. So now I have a medicine cabinet full of thermometers and tylenol {one from each vacation}. I should start labeling them as souvenirs...New York tylenol, Mexico tylenol, Christmas vacation 2010 tylenol, Yellowstone tylenol, you get the idea. I obviously was prepared as I could be at home, but not prepared enough for when things happened outside of home.

I was SO EXCITED to hear about Mommy's Medicine Cabinet, and have the opportunity to review the Kate bag and infant's medicine cabinet. This product is now at the top of my list of mommy must-haves! Mommy's Medicine Cabinet created a super chic bag for moms to keep everything they need in one place. You can choose to include the infant's medicine cabinet, the children's medicine cabinet, or the deluxe medicine cabinet (for infants and children) in the Kate bag.

The infants medicine cabinet includes:

  • The “Kate” bag
  • Infant Simethecone drops 30 ml
  • Probe Covers 30 count
  • Digital thermometer
  • Infant Nail Care Trio (clipper, nail file, manicure scissors)
  • Baby wipes 30 count
  • Alcohol wipes 6 count
  • Cotton swabs 30 count
  • Nasal Saline 1.5 oz.
  • Petroleum Jelly 3.75 oz.
  • Diaper Rash Ointment 4 oz.
  • Nasal Aspirator

This was exactly what I needed. A bag that has everything already in one place, so that I can just grab it and go. You know how packing for vacations are; you're trying to remember everything and pack as fast as you can because the kids are whiny and antsy, and you're anxious to get on the road during naptime so the kids will sleep. That's how it is around here. We took a road trip down to San Diego and instead of having to rummage through my medicine cabinet and pick out everything that I think I'll need, I just grabbed my Kate bag and head out the door! And sure enough, over the weekend my son got a cold and a little fever. And for the first time, we didn't have to go to the store while on vacation! We put the nasal aspirator, the nasal saline, the infant's acetaminophen, and the thermometer and probe covers to good use that weekend.

Mommy's Medicine Cabinet also has you covered when it comes to making sure your current medicine cabinet items have not been recalled or expired. Once you recieve your Kate bag, you can register your bag on the Mommy's Medicine Cabinet site and you will recieve information on any product recalls and expiration alerts.

I HIGHLY recommend purchasing a Mommy's Medicine Cabinet bag for those road trips and vacations, or to just keep at Grandma's house. Or if you're a first-time mommy, this bag has everything you need to start out with, making it a perfect baby shower gift. Speaking of which, this bag ships wrapped in tissue paper, in a super cute box, so if you can't make it to a baby shower, it would be a great gift to ship as well. It looks like a lot of love goes into the presentation and packaging of each bag. Most new mommies don't think to buy many of these things for their new baby until they actually need it. Save them the stress of having a sick or upset baby and needing to run to the store!

Score an exclusive 10% discount for Milan Maternity readers when you purchase your Mommy's Medicine Bag with code "MILANMATERNITY10".

Mommy's Medicine Cabinet is giving away either an Infant's Medicine Bag or Children's Medicine Bag to one lucky reader!

Here's how to enter: (submit a comment for every entry completed)

  1. Mandatory Entry- Visit Mommy's Medicine Cabinet and let us know which medicine cabinet you would like most and why.
  2. Follow this blog (right hand side under followers)
  3. Like Mommy's Medicine Cabinet on Facebook
  4. Like Milan Maternity on Facebook
  5. Follow Mommy's Medicine Cabinet on Twitter
  6. Share this post using one of the share links below (e-mail, facebook, twitter, etc.) It's super easy! (1 entry for each way shared)
  7. Blog this giveaway and leave the link (2 entries)
  8. Enter any of our other giveaways (1 entry each)

Giveaway open until Friday, March 25 11:59pm to US residents. Winner will be chosen by random.org


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Janey Pie Design Giveaway

>> Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We also need to give a serious shout out to Jane Huddleston, our leading lady for graphic design. Jane has done everything for Milan Maternity including our website layout, logo, advertising, and blog design. She has an amazing ability to create the exact look you have in mind. Whether you want the perfect birth announcement to let everyone know about your new arrival, a festive family holiday card, or if you're starting a blog or a business and there is a certain look you have in mind, Jane can make it happen!

A "jane of all trades", not only does she design work for businesses, blogs, and personal announcements or invitations, she is also a great photographer. She is located in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so if you live in the area and are also looking for a photographer, she's your girl! You can check out her photography and her design work on the Janey Pie Photography blog and website.


Jane is offering a fabulous giveaway to one of our lucky readers! One winner will receive free custom design service for a 5 x 7 announcement (newborn, holiday, invites, your choice!) with 25 printed cards and envelopes included.

Jane is also offering our readers an exclusive discount on announcements! So when you're ready to create those birth announcements or holiday cards, e-mail Jane at janeypiephotography@gmail.com to work with her and create a uniquely personal and custom card to reflect your own personal style and interests. All cards are sized at 5 x 7 inches and include envelopes.

25 custom cards with envelopes--(regularly $75)--Only $50 for MM readers
50 custom cards with envelopes--(regularly $115)--Only $90 for MM readers
100 custom cards with envelopes--(regularly $185)--Only $160 for MM readers

Enter to win free custom design service for 25 cards! Here's how:
(Submit a comment with your e-mail address for every entry completed)
  1. Follow the Janey Pie Photography blog
  2. Follow this blog
  3. Like Janey Pie Photography on facebook
  4. Comment and tell us what kind of custom card you would create!
  5. Follow Milan Maternity on facebook
  6. Blog this giveaway and leave the link (2 entries)
Giveaway open until Monday, March 21 11:59 PST to US residents. 
Winner will be chosen by random.org.


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Coping while your baby is in the NICU

>> Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I recently had a good friend of mine deliver twin boys just a few weeks earlier than her full term 37 week twin due date. She soon realized after birth, that her babies would be placed in the NICU until they were able to go home at 36 weeks. It was a surprise followed by emotions that she hadn’t experienced before.
How you may feel while your premature baby's in the neonatal intensive care unit?

If at first you feel distant from your baby while she's in a NICU, you may wonder whether there's something wrong with you as a parent. Or you may worry that because you can't snuggle with your baby, you won't be able to bond.

Rest assured that feeling distant is a normal reaction for parents during the early weeks of their infant's NICU stay. And feeling distant doesn't mean you're not bonding. Your bond with your baby began during pregnancy and continues to grow long after she's born.
Over time, as you adjust to the NICU, you'll feel closer and more like a parent to your baby. As time passes and your emotions change, keep in mind that most NICU parents feel many positive and negative feelings -- even at the same time. This is because your heartfelt connection with your baby includes all the joy and the pain.

Many NICUs welcome parents and encourage them to help take care of their babies. As soon as your baby is ready, you will be able to bathe, feed, dress, and hold her.

Taking care of your baby will help you feel closer to her. And as you begin to feel more involved, you'll feel more confident as a parent and more certain of your ability to take care of your baby after she comes home.

How to bond with your premature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit

When you're with your baby, observe her pleasure or discomfort at certain sounds, sights, touches, movements, tastes, or smells. When she withdraws or gets fussy, stop or reduce whatever stimulation is bothering her. When your baby is calm and alert, see what's soothing or enjoyable for her.

If your baby was born prematurely, don't expect her to have much interest in the world for a few weeks or even months. Similarly, if your baby is very sick, she needs all her energy to recover.

To encourage your baby to respond to you, try some of the following strategies:

Focus on your baby. Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy special moments. While it's normal to feel anxious, breathing deeply may help you feel calmer and able to tune into your little one.
Pay close attention to your baby's cues. If she arches her back, change or hold back your touch. See whether she calms when you cup her head and feet with your hands. If she turns toward you, offer her eye contact or a gentle voice -- or both. If she turns away when you talk but toward you when you sing, she's showing a preference for that kind of voice.
Provide a calming touch, voice, or activity. Try talking in a soothing voice, singing, or reading to her, swaddling her in a blanket, cupping her head and feet with your hands, cradling her in your arms, rocking her, or holding her upright on your chest or shoulder. By helping your baby stay calm when she's awake, you help her stay alert without becoming overwhelmed.
Take photographs of your baby. In the NICU, you're focused on your infant's health and may not be thinking about taking pictures of your baby. But photographs can be very meaningful for families during this time.
If possible, decorate your baby's space. Though the hospital isn't very private or cozy, work with the staff to try to make it a little bit more like home. You may be able to bring a blanket to drape over the incubator. Ask the medical staff if you can place family photos or small toys in or near the incubator. You may be able to leave a cloth with your scent or a recorded tape of your voice or some special music, so your baby's reminded of you when you're away.

Tips for coping while your preemie's in the NICU

For many babies, the NICU stay is like a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks. Of course, the parents are also along for the ride. The following tips can help you deal with your baby's ups and downs:

Give yourself permission to cry and feel overwhelmed. You may be concerned that if you let your feelings flow, you'll never be able to pull yourself back together. But you will. Allow yourself to feel this release of emotion.
Establish a routine. Find a way to balance work, home life, and visiting the hospital. Allow yourself to leave your baby's side when you feel comfortable doing so. Your baby needs you, but it's also important to have time to yourself, with your partner, and with your other children. 
Also take time to do things you enjoy, such as exercise. These restful breaks will help you find the strength to keep going.
Connect with other NICU parents. These parents share many of your feelings and struggles. Share your experiences, informally or in a support group. Ask NICU staff if there are graduate NICU parents whom you can connect for support.
Explore your spiritual side. It might be helpful for you to reflect and lean on your personal spiritual perspective. You may find comfort speaking with a pastor, priest, bishop, rabbi, minister, or imam.

It's normal for this experience to challenge your religious and spiritual beliefs. In any case, remember that prayer, meditation, or quiet reflection can help you find emotional strength and hope, and can guide you through this challenging time.


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Shannon Garber Photography Giveaway

>> Friday, March 4, 2011

We have some seriously talented women that work really hard for us behind the scenes and want to give them a shout out! Milan Maternity wouldn't be what it is without them and their amazing talents. Our next couple giveaways will feature their companies.

Shannon, from Shannon Garber Photography is our AMAZING photographer. We've exclusively used Shannon for all of Milan Maternity's photography. She has raw, natural talent and knows how to capture a moment and also give it a fresh, modern edge. We love her style!

Of course, we'll partial to her Milan Maternity shots, but Shannon also has a great eye for capturing families, babies and children, highschool seniors, and brides in a natural and beautiful way! She does a great job of helping you bring out your own personal style. Here are some favorites:

Visit the Shannon Garber Photography site and blog to see more of her work.

Shannon is located near Salt Lake City, Utah and for those of you that live in the area, we have a fabulous giveaway for you! Shannon is giving one lucky reader a FREE mini session. (Enter this giveaway at the bottom of this post). She's also offering mini sessions to our readers at a great discount. It doesn't have to be a maternity session; it can be a family, kids, or even a high school senior session. (A great opportunity to get those family holiday photos done extra early and out of the way too!) 

Shannon has scheduled two days of mini sessions just for our readers (YAY!) and are available on a first come basis. You can contact her directly at shannongarber@gmail.com to reserve a session. These 30 minute mini sessions are either shot in a country or urban location near SLC, include a CD of 10-15 of the best shots chosen by Shannon, and a free 11X14. The price for this package is $175, down from the regular price of $250. The shot times and location types are listed below. Be sure to enter the giveaway for a free session also! And if you don't live in the Utah area, don't worry, we have some other fun giveaways up our sleeve!

Country Location Session Avaliable Date/Times:

Friday March 25th:
-4:00 pm
-4:35 pm
-5:10 pm
-5:45 pm
-6:20 pm

Urban Location Session Available Date/Times:
Saturday March 26th:
-9:00 am
-9:35 am
-10:10 am
-10:45 am
-11:20 am

If you're interested in booking a discounted mini session with Shannon Garber Photography, don't delay, they're sure to fill up fast! Contact Shannon at shannongarber@gmail.com to reserve a session.

Enter to win a free mini session! Here's how:
(submit a comment with your e-mail address for every entry completed)
  1. Follow the Shannon Garber Photography blog
  2. Follow this blog (on the right side under followers)
  3. Like Shannon Garber Photography on Facebook
  4. Comment on your favorite picture on either Shannon's blog or facebook page
  5. Follow Milan Maternity on Facebook and comment on our March Madness challenge
  6. Blog this giveaway and leave the link (2 entires)
  7. Share this giveaway using one of the share buttons at the bottom of this post (2 entries for each way shared)
Giveaway open until Friday, March 18, 11:59 PST. Winner will be chosen by random.org.


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Coping with Hair Changes During Pregnancy

>> Thursday, March 3, 2011

Remember when you had no hair at all and then all of a sudden one day you have a thick mane? Or you could have been the next big star on a shampoo commercial and now you’re the next hair implant model. Pregnancy can be an amazing time of transition and possibility - but it can also be a time when pregnant women experience all sorts of temporary body changes that may require special care and adjustment during the months leading up to the birth of the child (and, for some women, for many months following the birth. Understanding what is going on with your hair during pregnancy may help, but adjustments to hair care will likely be necessary for the short term.

Some women experience hair loss during pregnancy - the hair actually falls out or breaks off at a much higher rate than is normal, while other women may find their hair grows faster and is fuller. The texture of hair may change during pregnancy, as well - becoming straighter or seemingly having more body.

Why is my hair getting thicker?

It's not your imagination – your hair is thicker than normal now. But you're not actually growing more hair; you're just losing it more slowly than you usually do. Normally, most of the hair on your head is growing and the remainder (about 5 to 15 percent) is in a resting stage. After the resting period, this hair falls out and is replaced by new growth. During pregnancy, higher levels of estrogen make the growing stage longer, so fewer hairs are in the resting stage and fewer are falling out each day, and you have thicker, more luxuriant tresses. After you give birth, though, your estrogen levels drop and more hair will enter the resting stage and fall out. This postpartum hair loss can be alarming, but it's totally normal.

Here are some hair coping suggestions that may help you in whatever stage you may be in:

Handle your hair with care. The extra hair that pregnancy gives, it takes away in the postpartum period. Camouflage the wispy new growth with bangs or trim your hair to make it look thicker. Similar to when you give your baby his/her first haircut, trimming the wispy new growth will reveal it is actually thicker than it looks. Don’t pull hair back too tight, as it may be more delicate and you want to avoid breakage. Take advantage of products that help promote healthy hair growth, such as thickening shampoos, conditioning treatments, and essential oils. If you have grown used to using a certain type of shampoo, you may need to change to one that fits your hair type during pregnancy. It may take some experimenting, but use the one that is best-suited to the current condition of your hair.

Try different products. Are you used to straight, thick hair? Well prepare yourself for a new challenge in life. You could come out of this whole experience with a new texture or thickness. You may need to experiment with products for the new texture. Rest assured though, even frizzy hair can be controlled with the use of smoothing products and a good Denman brush. Finer or thicker hair can also be treated with a myriad of products specific to your hair’s needs.

Think nutrition. Your diet during pregnancy was probably very healthy (aside from the major sweet tooth you developed). Don’t give that up just because you delivered your baby. A healthy diet goes a long way with the condition of your skin and the promotion of healthy hair growth. Also, nutritional supplements such as Biotin, Vitamin B, C, and E (probably similar to those in your prenatal vitamin) are great sources of nutrients for your hair.

Choose a new hairstyle. Stylists usually have great advice for new Mom’s on how to choose a style that will complement your hair and face postpartum. You will probably have a few relatives or friends asking to spend some time with your baby; take advantage of their offers and schedule an hour or two at your salon.


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AllyZabba Giveaway WINNER!

>> Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Winner of the AllyZabba giveaway chosen by random.org is:

Please e-mail service@milanmaternity.com by March 5, 11:59pm to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

Watch for more great giveaways this week and next!


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