Please welcome back celebrity blogger Christy Carlson Romano!
The actress is best known for her early-2000s Disney Channel work, including her turn as type-A older sibling Ren Stevens on Even Stevens, and for voicing the titular character in the animated series Kim Possible. In 2004, she starred on Broadway as Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Romano, 33, married writer-producer Brendan Rooney in a romantic winter-wonderland wedding set against the backdrop of the Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada, on New Year’s Eve 2013. The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Isabella Victoria, on Christmas Eve 2016.
Romano recently directed and starred in Christmas All Over Again, which Rooney co-wrote. She also directed a recent video spot (starring Rooney and Isabella!) for Ju-Ju-Be’s new XY Collection — a line of diaper bags geared toward stylish dads.
(Disclaimer: Romano received compensation from or was gifted product by some of the brands mentioned in this post.)
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How many months has it been? Because it feels like yesterday that I wrote about my hospital-bag must-haves and awesome babymoon. I now have a 7-month-old child and am scratching my head at the impossibility of this notion!
I truly believe there is something that happens to new parents, chemically, that allows them to survive labor, then the postpartum months — and looking back, I have hard time remembering all the scary new things that were coming at us all at once, it seemed. So here is my postpartum roundup for you new parents out there. I hope that some of my baby-poo-stained, caffeine-needing mom advice will help some of you!
I know you’ve heard this several times by this point, but do NOT over-schedule yourself when you come home from the hospital. Looking back, I can’t believe I invited my whole family to our two-bedroom apartment the afternoon we got back (we have since moved — more on that later). I think I was still in the nesting phase and was literally trying to serve people food while still on pain meds, which brings me to my next point …
Just choose sleep. I still do this, which is why my announcements have only just gone out. And they are glorious! So are my thank-you notes for my baby shower, which also just went out. I’ve come to learn to be patient with myself and put my baby first. Sometimes that means missing a deadline, especially if it’s one that is self-imposed. Do try to get some timely cute newborn photos, though!
You will have expectations of yourself, your partner, your friends and even your baby. If there is any word of advice I can give you, it is to become completely adaptable. Nothing is going to go as planned for the rest of your life now — and that’s part of the adventure! You can and should voice your opinions, however, and see that people respect your boundaries. People need to trust that you are doing everything in your power to keep that baby safe and fed.
I have read and also personally found that experimenting with keeping a routine is so helpful in maintaining your sanity throughout the first months. It also informs you of the patterns your child may cling to in the future. Great products like the Project Nursery Parent & Baby Smartband can help you start to track and learn about your baby’s preferences. After all, each baby is their own person, and you’re just starting to bond and get to know one another.
ALL THE GEAR
Conundrum: I love not having extra things lying around the house, but I am a self-proclaimed pack rat when it comes to not throwing out something that I think can be re-purposed. But reader, my nursery needs grew far beyond what I expected of them.
Here are my picks for nursery products I think you could consider after having survived these past seven months:
- Baby Monitor: Nanit (Tells you how well your child slept!)
- Newborn Bassinet: Snoo (Has the patience of a night nurse and convenience of sitting next to your bed.)
- Sitting/Play Pillow: Pello (This was so helpful for her learning to sit up, since it’s padded. And bigger kids love these too!)
- Door Silencer: Cushy Closer (Vital for a clean break!)
- Safety Flooring: Softiles (Hard-floor fears removed and super-cute design.)
- Food Mini Fridge: Smeg (Perfect for late-night pump sessions or formula mixing.)
- Bottles: Munckhin Latch
- Bottle Warmer: Kiinde Kozii
- Bottle Wash: Dapple
- Bottle Brush and Tray: Boon
- Breastfeeding Pillow: Back Buddy
- Ambiance Oil Diffuser: GreenAir (For when you need to air out the room. I love the Gentle Baby oil from Young Living.)
- Fan and Humidifier: Dyson (Both essential to keeping baby’s room an optimally healthy environment.)
- Sleep Sounds: Withings Aura and Project Nursery (Bliss for both of us when used at the same time.)
- Diaper-Changing Table: DaVinci Jenny Lind (So affordable and super vintage-looking.)
- Diaper-Changing Pad: PooPoose (Great Velcro strap = worry-proof.)
- Diaper Spray and Cream: The Honest Company (The aloe-based cream helps air out a bad situation and has calendula in it, so it is calming.)
- Diapers: Huggies and BabyBackups (An AMAZING invention, guys!)
- Diaper Pail: Ubbi (Why try anything else?)
- Crib Bumper: JuJu & Jake (Braided design allows for breathable comfort! Phew.)
- Crib Sheet: Bebe Bamboo (Hands down the softest option in all textiles.)
- Head Rest: Babymoov Lovenest (Helpful on the changing table as well!)
- Infant Tub: 4Moms (This has a thermometer that will save you from mom paranoia.)
- Newborn Shampoo/Body Wash: Mustela (So luxurious smelling!)
- Lotion: Noodle & Boo (Also fabulous.)
- SPF: Babyganics (Once she turned 6 months; tried others, and this one doesn’t cake on.)
- Massage Oil: Bathtime Baby (Other oils gave baby hives, so this being vegan made a big difference.)
ON THE GO
There’s no good time to move, right? A couple months ago, we picked up and moved to our first house, away from the smog-covered hills of Los Angeles. Honestly, moving back to a small town like the one I grew up in is the most amazing gift I could give Isabella! I will warn you, though: The moving process with an infant is a bit tricky. I made sure to set up her nursery before every other room in the house. Baby comes first, after all.
We also took our first trips in the last few months. I am not a fan of flying, so two full days of traveling home for my parents’ vow renewal was a little unnerving. But with a few travel tricks, the experience was really great! It was so great to introduce my baby to family only months after she was born.
Next, we traveled to Houston, where I had a celebrity appearance over Mother’s Day weekend. Having a baby in a hotel is its own batch of hectic between trying to make her comfortable and making sure you don’t disturb other rooms if she gets upset throughout the night.
Here are some tricks we learned as new parents while traveling/flying with an infant:
Rule #1: Always sit in the back row.
This is super useful for when baby starts to cry. Not only will the sounds muffle her from grumpy passengers, but it could soothe her as white noise as well. You’ll also be the closest to the bathroom, for if you need to pump or change her.
FROM PEN: Katherine Heigl Opens Up About Experiencing Her First Pregnancy
Rule #2: Befriend the female stewardesses.
These ladies rule the skies. Chances are they have seen it all and don’t want a screaming baby any more than your tired eyes do. They will help you, but only if you smile and say something charming at the beginning of the flight. My hubby was good cop to my bad cop (a.k.a. tired mama), and mostly did the talking.
Rule #3: Over pack. Ask questions later.
Travel diaper-changing tote? Check. Special toys? Check. Five different onesies in case of poo-splosions? Double check. If you think you have too much in your bag for this first batch of trips, good. There is no such thing as being too prepared. In fact, we were stranded in Atlanta for a night on the way back from my parents’ house and since I had so much with me, it didn’t make a difference! It’s good to have too much, but that’s just my opinion.
Here’s a list of great products to make your moving, traveling, on-the-go lifestyle a little easier:
- Toys: Lamaze (My baby adores this colorful and developmental-focused brand!)
- Stain Pen: Dreft (Smells great and works in a pinch.)
- Car Seat/Stroller: 4moms Moxi
- Travel Blanket: AmaviDreams
- Travel Luggage: Ju-Ju-Be’s The Admiral
- Baby Carrier: Babybjörn
- Cold Pack: PackIt
- Travel Crib: Guava Family Lotus
Some people might not label getting back to work as self care, but I do! I needed to know that I was able to still be myself while also kicking butt as a new mom. I didn’t want my work or my life prior to baby to just disappear. Both types of self care take a certain amount of planning and strategy, whether you’re paying a sitter or getting help from family. I was beyond excited to be asked to perform “Seasons of Love” from RENT for the Center Theater Group‘s 50th anniversary in Los Angeles.
During rehearsals, I had to balance a new commute and pumping on the go! But being on stage made me realize how healthy it is to maintain my profession and keep my skills active. Be advised: Too much work could affect your milk supply/schedule, so I had to drink teas, take elixirs and pills and eat chocolates to keep mine up. They worked great!
Oddly enough, at the same time, having a baby will help you feel so much stronger in the face of rejection. I don’t worry about the outcomes of auditions or meetings as much anymore because I have a tiny person who loves me unconditionally at home. This is just one of the many magical things having a child brings you.
- Christy Carlson Romano’s Blog: My Daughter Isabella’s Birth Story – and How I (Over) Packed for the Hospital
- Christy Carlson Romano’s Blog: Putting the Final Touches on My Baby Girl’s Nursery
- Christy Carlson Romano’s Blog: The Mirror & Me – Body Image In Your Second Trimester
- Christy Carlson Romano’s Blog: Keeping My Cool During Summer Shoots and Stitches (While Pregnant!)
Here’s a list of some self-care products that have helped me a lot:
- Postpartum Soothing Items: Pariday TendHer Gel Inserts
- Mom Clothes / Transition Clothing: Storq
- Breastfeeding-Friendly Clothing: Loyal Hana
- Insta-Diaper Bag: ToteSavvy
- Breast Warming/Cooling Pads: Lansinoh
- Milk Supply: Mother’s Milk Tea, Mrs. Patel’s Fenugreek Bars (So tasty!), Mother’s Milk Drops (Yucky, but they work; also come in pill form.)
Lastly, I want to give a shout-out to my awesome husband. We have made the best of being new parents, and I am super proud of all we’ve gone through. We don’t get out much anymore, but we really have enjoyed nesting in the new house.
We have date nights at home (with the baby monitor on hand) and love making Blue Apron dinners in our fancy new KitchenAid pots and listening to jazz on our Sonos speakers (a must-have for a family home). The night usually simmers down (or starts up?) with us watching Game of Thrones on our Vizio or playing Zelda on our New Nintendo 3DS XL and one of us passing out before it’s time for night feedings. Can anyone relate?
Overall, I think I agree with the saying that “Mom life is the best life.” I feel so blessed to be at this chapter in my journey. I hope the same for all of you.
Wishing you the best,
Christy Carlson Romano