This post is sponsored by AVEENO® Canada. All opinions are my own!
Despite her namesake, Summer was born in the dead of Canadian winter – in fact, her birth seemed to set off a whole series of snowstorms!
I’m a summer baby myself, and since I’m originally from Vancouver I never really dealt with below freezing temperatures as a kid, even in January. When Summer arrived I was totally unprepared for how much careful bundling would be involved in just getting to the car for a grocery trip. There was so much more to think about when it came to keeping her healthy and safe – including taking care of her skin!
Baby skin is just like any of their other tiny organs: always growing and still developing. They’re not used to all of the toxins and pollutants we experience daily in the outside-the-womb world, which means they’re prone to all sorts of skin issues in their first few years. Add in the extreme cold temperatures and the “hard” water here in Ontario – newborn skin doesn’t stand a chance!
Summer had pretty constant skin issues right from the get go – dryness, cradle cap, and a couple weeks of red swollen baby acne that looked so painful I took her to the pediatrician in a panic. He assured me everything she was going through was normal but there were a few small things that could help. His main recommendation: slather her in lotion from head to toe!
Summer’s skin doesn’t seem to like much, even simple natural solutions like coconut oil, so we turned to Aveeno baby products. Both their Aveeno Baby Daily Care and Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy collections are #1 Pediatrician recommended, and contain ingredients like oats that are perfect for sensitive newborn skin. All of their products are also hypoallergenic, phthalate and paraben-free, and since they’re stocked at most drugstores they’re easy to pickup in a pinch.
Now that winter has passed and the weather has warmed up, Summer’s skin has improved drastically, but we still enjoy the ritual of nightly bath time (more like splash time these days!) and a relaxing lotion massage before bed. The sun has also introduced a whole new set of considerations, and we never leave the house without our Aveeno Baby Sunscreen and Baby Sensitive Skin Face Sun Stick!
Dressing a baby is one of those super cute fun things that every parent I know looks forward to, but once you’re in the thick of it there’s a lot more complexity than one would expect! Fit, comfort, laundering and ease of changing diapers are all important factors to consider, and a lot of these specifications are impossible to plan for until you actually meet your own unique baby.
Summer was born very small and dainty, but also tall, which means one day everything was HUGE on her and the next day all of her footed onesies were way too tight lengthwise. So many parents had advised me not to waste money on newborn sizes, especially for shoes, but at 6 months she’s STILL wearing size one shoes, and had I not picked up a couple of newborn onesies in those early days she would have been naked for months because of her size!
I also didn’t find out my baby’s gender before she was born, and it was such a struggle to find cute, colourful clothing that didn’t have ruffles and bows all over it to mark that it was specifically “for girls”. The “mommy and me” matching category was particularly dire. I just wanted mom and baby pink coverall-style onesies without the frills, is that so much to ask for?! I ended up with a lot more grey than I had hoped, and now that I know the options better I am confident I can put together a perfectly pastel, gender neutral wardrobe if there another baby in my future!
It’s taken me awhile to figure out our very favourite brands (with all of the above mentioned factors considered), but now that we have a long list I wanted to share our #pastelpicks.
And now on with the reason we’re all here: many adorable photos of Summer in tiny little outfits.
This New Zealand brand is so beautifully crafted, and though it’s a splurge the quality makes it so worth it. I ordered a whole bunch of the simple ribbed Organic Cotton Bodysuits, tights, and knee socks, all of which are surprisingly hard to track down in teeny sizes but so necessary for a winter baby. We also loved the organic Cotton Leggings in Bloom & Golden. Though this brand might seem super “girl heavy”, they actually have a ton of great basics and neutral pieces.
Fun, colourful, AND they make mommy and me items that work for both genders (aka not just dresses!) Summer and I are all about our Mommy & Me Pink Dog Sweatshirts. No one does cool kid prints quite like this brand.
This brand was the only one that actually fit Summer right from birth because it’s cut less wide, but the material is super stretchy. If you have a tall baby, this is the brand for you! Plus the colours are amazing, and the bamboo fabric is unbelievably soft. They wash well, wear well.. I can’t say enough good things! We especially love their Colourful Cotton Sleepers.
We LOVE The Bonnie Mob SO much. Hailing from the UK, this sustainably crafted heirloom children’s brand is all about sunshine, rainbows, and imagination. Their motto is “Buy once. Buy well. Pass it on.” and we couldn’t agree more. The Organic Cotton Paw Playsuit was one of our very favourite wintertime pieces.
CANADIAN FAVES //
Agaboshi // The cutest little Korean baby store right here in Toronto, this shop offers minimalist oversized basics in soft shades and almost everything is gender neutral.
Mini Mioche // This brand is like a cuter American apparel for babies – the BEST basics, and they actually carry teeny tiny sizes for new babies. Summer lived in their grandpa cardigans the first few months!
Little and Lively // A children’s line hailing from Abbotsford, BC, Little and Lively also makes coordinating adult clothing so you can twin with your mini!
Mini Moc // Also a BC brand, Summer has worn Mini Moc’s shoes constantly since she was born and they’re the only brand that seems to stay on her tiny toesies!
Ulla & Viggo // This Winnipeg-based children’s shoe company is so popular I had to wait by my computer multiple times to order Summer her beloved pom pom shoes. These handmade beauties are so special!
OLE Design // Handcrafted, sustainable, AND their adorable fruit prints are FRUIT SCENTED! I can’t say enough good things about this bright Canadian baby brand.
Pehr // I only recently discovered this beautiful nursery brand made baby clothing, and I’m so glad I did! Designed in Canada with hand-painted prints and natural fabrics, this Summer has been in their sun hat all summer long.
Angel Dear // When it comes to watercolour prints, Angel Dear simply can’t be beat, especially considering the ultra-soft muslin fabric they use for everything!
Quincy Mae / Rylee + Cru // I know it’s predictable, but Kelli Murray’s children’s clothing really is so beautiful and well made. Not an everyday shopping destination but worth the splurge every once and awhile. I also feel this way about Oeuf NYC and Mini Rodini.
First off, happy World Breastfeeding Week everyone!
I have so many mixed feelings about breastfeeding, something I did not expect when expecting. My mom had a horrible time trying with me and my sister, a painful anxiety-filled experience that left her riddled with guilt, disappointment, and in the end, no milk. Her milk supply never even came in, and my sister and I were on formula pretty much from day one. I’m a lot like my mom in so many ways, so I suppose I internalized her story and assumed mine would be similar. My entire pregnancy whenever someone asked if I planned to breastfeed I’d answer “if I’m lucky!” or “I hope so!”
When I ended up with a c-section a week before my baby’s due date I was so scared my breastfeeding fate was sealed. After all, I hadn’t had leaking boobs while pregnant like some of my friends had reported, and my boobs had always been so small – maybe they just weren’t built to make milk. Those first few colostrum-only days waiting for my milk to come in were absolute torture. It’s so scary to watch your baby lose those few pounds of birth weight (even if everyone assures you it’s normal!)
Those early days I was LOADING up on all things lactation – I drank Mother’s Milk Tea constantly (a lot of people hate the taste, but if you like licorice like I do it’s delicious!) with a side of Booby Boons cookies, and smoothies with a healthy scoop of Majka’s protein powder. I even enjoyed a beer or two, though the jury is still out on that one (TBH, I just love beer.)
On the second day home Johanna made me homemade Salted Caramel Oat Mylk after reading oats are a great lactation stimulant, and I drank the whole massive jar as quickly as I could. Now there is no science here and I’m not a medical/lactation expert by any means, but the very next day, sure enough…
MY MILK CAME IN!
Theoretically I had yearned for this moment so badly, but HOLY MOLY there are no words for this experience and how weird/painful/alien it felt when it happened. My boobs were seriously like big, veiny, grotesque basketballs and I was SO endlessly leaky and sore. I actually ended up having to pump a bit every time I fed Summer because my boobs were so full and rock hard she couldn’t get her tiny mouth to latch onto them haha! And then there was the emotional side: I had been on such a high since Summer’s birth, but when the milk came I was an absolute mess, with unexpected bouts of crying hysterically set off by just about anything. Oh and my nipples… I don’t even want to talk about the state of my nipples those days, but needless to say I could barely put on a shirt, never mind a bra.
In the end it only took 3 days for my milk to come in, which is pretty good for an early c-section with no labour, and in part I thank all of the lactation boosting products (and the oat mylk, made with love) that I loaded up on!
Now that I’m over six months in, things have mostly evened out in the boob department. I’m no longer a total emotional wreck, but it definitely took me awhile to get past the unexpected rush of anxiety I felt every time Summer latched on for a feed. I also now fully understand that people mean when they say breastfeeding leaves you feeling “touched out”, and I’m sort of glad I don’t have a partner relying on me for intimacy right now because I have never ever experienced so little sexual desire (TMI?) When there are tiny hands on me all day, every day, I don’t really want anyone else getting handsy with my body!
I definitely feel torn at times, so much more than I had anticipated; on one hand I’m so grateful for this experience, for how much milk I make and how easy it has been to feed my daughter using just the magic of my body. Milk making is seriously a superpower, but it isn’t without its downfalls. On the other hand I miss having my autonomy and being able to call my body my own, and honestly breastfeeding takes SO much more time and energy than I ever could have guessed. It’s like a full time job in itself! I’m trying to appreciate this moment without wishing it away, to savour the connection I have with my daughter and the wonder of my body… but I won’t lie, I also look forward to wearing what I want (hello high necks and dresses) and being free to eat and drink (and maybe even smoke? I’ve missed out on this whole cannabis renaissance so far!) whatever without stressing about how it will effect my baby.
Supply-wise I’m still overproducing and constantly leaking, but I’ve made peace with simply being a milky mess (often leading to very hilarious see-through nipple incidents in my all-pastel outfits). Breasts and nipples are so far from a sexual object to me at this point, and if men can walk around all sweaty and hairy with their nipples out all summer long, you best believe I’m not shy about showing mine!
Scroll down for more //
Some of my breast friends in the boob and baby feeding department //
Majka // pretty much everything they make is golden. Their plant-based protein powder is the best formulation I’ve ever seen (it covers absolutely everything) and their lactation bites are delicious!
Elvie Breast Pump // Being hands and chord free while pumping was super high on my priority list because I am TERRIBLE at sitting still, and I’m so thankful Elvie launched their pump just in time for me to become a mom and need one! This pump sits right in your bra and works while you get other work done.
Beaba Bottle Warmer // do your baby’s care person (dad, grandma, friend, nanny, whatever) a favour and get this handy appliance. It heats up milk SO quick, so your baby doesn’t have to wait 20 minutes for water to boil etc. while having a hangry meltdown
Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads // When my nipples were so chapped, scabbed and bleeding I couldn’t handle wearing even a soft tee-shirt without wincing in pain, and these were the only thing I found that gave me some relief! They’re super soft and they work! The only downside – MORE laundry.
Things I didn’t use // Milkies Milk Saver (I was never organized enough to get it to my boob in time to catch the let down), Proper nursing bra (I don’t mind my full boob hanging out, and I can’t be bothered with the clips etc. I spent my entire pregnancy and postpartum in Knix bras), over the counter nipple creams (the only thing that got me through was an prescription cream my midwives ordered for me – it was seriously magic and everyone should ask for it!)
Scroll down for the our Lactation Boosting Oat Mylk (two ways) recipe below!
I started off planning to do monthly updates with all of our favourite things, milestones and more, a sort of digital baby book filled with cute candid photos and memories, but here we are at 6 months and all of those drafts never quite made it into existence. I kept thinking to myself “well at least I have so much time to get my act together for a big six month update”, and well, all the sudden, here we are.
My “monthly update” plan may not have come to fruition, but I still wanted to honour this big day with an overall update about life with baby, and some of our most-used items month-by-month (plus a couple of things I never actually used!)
It’s hard to put these precious, challenging, beautiful past six months into words. I can so clearly remember announcing my pregnancy around this time last year and daydreaming how my winter baby and I would spend our first summer together, and now I’ve blinked and we’re almost halfway through these golden dipped warm days. I get asked so often if motherhood is everything I thought it would be when I started out on this crazy adventure and honestly, it’s everything I ever wanted and so much more. Summer is a truly unicorn baby, and has been nothing but a delight since day one – she’s so chill and calm, her glittering energy is infectious to everyone she meets. Seriously, I don’t know that I’ve ever met a baby that’s just so totally… happy. She sleeps well, eats well, has yet to have been sick (knock on wood), and smiles LITERALLY nonstop. There isn’t a second that passes where I don’t thank my lucky stars that she’s mine.
In a lot of ways motherhood has been much easier than I expected, because I truly prepared myself for the worst. Being Summer’s mom comes super naturally to me, and it’s almost like all of the anxious, extra energy that was making me bored/destructive/depressed in my early years has finally found an outlet in caring for her. I had all of this love and nurturing in me for so long and nowhere to put it!
That said these past six months definitely haven’t been a cake walk – my motherhood challenges have taken different shapes that I had never really anticipated. While I have never felt any anxiety about taking care of Summer, I’ve definitely struggled with taking care of me.
For all of the planning I did to make my dream come true, I definitely overlooked how hard it would be to work full time AND take care of a baby on my own. I assumed because I work from home, I’d have plenty of time to work while being around for my baby. Unfortunately between breastfeeding, nap schedules and playtime, there’s a SHOCKINGLY small amount of time left in a day, and when that rare time does appear, all I want to do is glaze over with a fun TV show or nap myself. There is SO LITTLE LEFT TO GIVE. The weirdest part? When you do collapse into bed, you’re not even sure what it was you were doing all of those hours. Not having a second income to rely on so I could take some time to just be Summer’s mom has really been the biggest hurdle for me as a single parent, single income household. If I could do things over again I’d definitely try to find a way to give myself a proper mat leave.
I’ve also experienced a very unexpected identity crisis. I have always been so 100% confident and sure of myself, but having a baby and handing my life over to this tiny human in so many ways shook me to my very foundation. It’s hard to keep tabs on who you are (other than “mom”) when you’re thinking about someone else 24/7, with absolutely no time to workout, or get dressed up and go out with friends… even just sit and read a book without one eye on a bassinet across the room. Being a mother is truly all-consuming and it has a way of making you second guess your priorities, your values, and what kind of human you really want to be. As I mentioned on Instagram I’m trying to do a thing or two just for me, without Summer, every week, even if it’s just a 45 minute workout while a friend strolls her around the block. Taking these little moments for myself has really helped me feel like a stronger, better mama for her, and hopefully set the example that though it’s important to take care of others, it’s also important to practice self care too! I’m still learning, but aren’t we all?
Scroll down for a few of our favourite things, month by month!
Things we still haven’t used: Frida Baby Snotsucker (she hasn’t been sick yet!), ring sling (I can’t figure out how to use these and not feel like she’s falling out), car seat cover (I want to see her!), fancy bottles (she has no interest in anything other than the Playtex ones listed above)
I love to plan ahead, so for years I had my goal of becoming a mama in the back of my mind no matter what I was up to, even when I went shopping. I remember thinking, “Oh, this will be great for when I’m pregnant too!”, silently patting myself on the back from taking such versatility and longevity into account when adding to my wardrobe.
The only problem? I had NO idea what I was talking about.
When you think pregnant you think belly – this dress could fit a basketball in it, so it must be pregnancy-friendly, right? Wrong. I like to think I was pretty educated and prepared going into my pregnancy, but the biggest knowledge gap I found was surrounding my body and all of the different, unexpected ways it would change shape. Everyone’s story is unique of course, but personally I found myself totally thrown, with no idea how to dress my newfound curves! Instead of carrying the cute belly I had expected while I was expecting, my hips and thighs grew too big for most of my pants and shorts just 2 months in, and my new curvier figure made half of those “pregnancy friendly” dresses I’d collected over the years way too short for public. My butt and my boobs were popping buttons long before a belly was! I went from having a whole closet full of clothing to a couple of pieces I could squeeze into within a matter of weeks.
It’s so easy with all things baby and pregnancy to over spend because everything is all so new – it’s like suddenly shopping exclusively in a marketplace that you’ve never even glanced at before. With time I’ve realized that shopping for pregnancy is actually a lot like shopping for a new baby, and I now have the same set of rules in place for both: splurge on a few key basics but otherwise don’t spend a lot, thrift or borrow when you can, and plan for more rapid growth than you think is possible! Even my arms felt thicker!
Mistakes were made and lessons learned, but I felt it was only right to share my “research findings” here for all those mama-to-be types out there!
Key Maternity Pieces //
One good pair of great jeans with the elastic panels, NOT the belly cover. Everyone has a different preference on this but I found the elastic belt that goes over the belly kept sliding down all the time, and I actually ended up ripping two pairs of maternity jeans from pulling them up so often! My favourite were J Brand Maternity Jeans, and I rented (more on that below) a bunch of pairs in different washes before I bought my own so I definitely stand behind them! Sadly the pair I bought had a faulty elastic and had to be sent back – they would have been REALLY good to have postpartum when everything was shifting back into place and I deeply regret asking for a refund instead of a replacement pair. I’ve also heard great things about the HATCH x Current Elliot collab jeans and will definitely order a pair if I’m pregnant again one day!
Some form of cute overalls/jumper/onesie. I lived in my Hatch chord overalls (similar ones here) and they fit all the way through my 9 months. I also had a cute pair from Pink Blush and at home I lived in my Smash Tess romper (a size small lasted me all the way through and it has also been amazing postpartum)
Belly support leggings! I wish I had invested in a pair of these early on because they really helped me feel more comfortable in my day to day. I went for these leggings by Blanqi and my only tip would be hang dry them to avoid pilling! Mine snuck into the dryer one day and never quite got their original stretchy texture back. They also make shorts for summertime pregnancies.
A nice maternity/nursing bra and underwear set. Go a bit bigger sizing-wise because if you choose to breast feed your boobs will swell larger than you ever imagined every morning after your milk comes in! I really love this set from Lonely Label – it was amazing for my maternity photoshoot and I love how the lace peeks out from lower cut dresses.
Tips and Tricks //
Aside from the above, you don’t really need to spend a bunch on maternity-specific pieces that might never be worn again.
Rent and borrow what you can. I used Sprout Collection my entire pregnancy and it was a really great way to incorporate more fun, exciting maternity pieces into my wardrobe without breaking the bank.
Opt for button down tops and dresses – they come in handy later if you’re nursing! I have SO many high-neck dresses that I can’t wear right now and it’s so hard to have so little I can wear in my closet. V-necks are also better than round, even with t-shirts, as it’s easier to pull a boob out the top then pull your shirt up from the bottom (tank top layering recommended for this route unless you want to be half naked in the coffee shop/grocery store/restaurant/park bench)
Pay attention to seams. Just because something is empire waist, it doesn’t mean it will work – the larger hip and belly width means everything is going to get a LOT shorter even if it still theoretically fits. In general it’s best to go larger and longer. Wrap dresses were amazing as long as they were long enough to be tied above the belly… anything that cuts across the belly (ie. anything high waisted) is not going to work for very long. The more tent-like, the better.
Leak-proof underwear went a long way for me (let’s just say I had a lot more dampness happening downstairs and normal underwear got uncomfortable quick!) I love Knix, forever and always. I also wore their super stretchy, comfortable bras all through pregnancy, and they work great for nursing too because you can easily just pull them down to free a boob.
Best Maternity Brands //
BOOB design – all their pieces are great for both pregnancy and nursing afterwards.
HATCH – the most stylish of maternity, I miss shopping their collection already.