Things to do Before Baby #2

Now that we’ve adjusted to the idea of being parents to two kids, we’re springing into action in the time we’ve got left as a family of three. Little Oats is eighteen months, and though she won’t remember her time as an only child, we certainly want to make memories and have a blast before her little world is rocked. We’re also hoping to squeeze in a few last minute day trips and things before we throw a newborn into the mix!

That being said, we’ve come up with a list of things we would love to do before baby comes in September. Here’s what it looks like:

Things to Do Before Baby #2

  • spend a weekend away, just Mr. O and me
  • spend a night in a hotel, alone (just me!) with a stack of books, some junk food, and a huge bathtub
  • grow a vegetable garden
  • take Little Oats to the aquarium
  • go to the Toronto Zoo
  • sleep in until 10:00 one morning
  • go berry picking
  • stop watching so much TV (and cancel cable!)
  • finish our basement stairs (carpet, trim, etc)
  • set up a designated play space for Little Oats (not the living room)
  • keep a baby journal
  • enjoy every moment of a solid night’s sleep
  • take some family photos

Did you have a list you wanted to accomplish before baby? Whether it was your first or your fifth, are there things that you wanted to get done? Am I missing anything glaringly obvious on here?

When Baby Refuses the Breast and Prefers the Bottle

I loved breastfeeding.  I loved the little rooting noises and motions my baby made when he was hungry. I loved settling in on the couch or in a chair out in public and lifting my shirt to feed my kid. I just loved it.

When my son was a few days shy of 16 weeks, he developed a distinct aversion to the breast and went on strike. My love of nursing was replaced with an appreciation for modern technology that allowed me to continue to feed my child my breastmilk, and a deep sadness for all that I’d lost.

There are so many great resources on breastfeeding – including dealing with nursing strikesbottle refusal and exclusively pumping – all of which I relied on heavily as I moved through the stages of denial, grief and acceptance when my four-month-old son’s nursing strike proved to be a true, irreversible bottle preference and I became an exclusive pumper.

I have so many feelings wrapped up in this, and when I was deep in the thick of dealing with a screaming child at my boob every three hours, I could NOT see a light at the end of the tunnel. Will’s nursing strike/breast refusal fueled a deep anxiety in me, and led to a huge dip in my confidence as a mama from which I am still recovering from, more than two months later.

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Would You Let Strangers Take a Picture of Your Child?

I’m so curious how people handle these situations. Not that they arise that often, but it has happened to us and I’ve seen it happen to other parents. My husband and I have slightly different reactions to this and so I’m curious, what do you do?

When my in-laws were visiting recently, they took us over to the National Harbor to spend one surprisingly warm winter afternoon. While my son was running around the turf field a young woman approached us and began going on and on about him. She tried to strike up a conversation with him and asked him for hugs. He’s 1 1/2 and not that comfortable with random strangers yet, so he just stood there staring at her, hesitant to even smile. When we took him to play in the sandy play area she came back. This time she asked if she could take a picture of him. I didn’t really know what to say, so I said okay. I couldn’t think of any real harm in it besides the general uncomfortableness of the situation, and politeness kept me from shutting the whole thing down. He didn’t want his picture taken, tried to ignore the situation and clung to his grandfather. Instead of giving up she took a video of him and his grandfather. I’m embarrassed to confess that after she left I felt myself becoming irrationally paranoid that I had to stay very close to him or someone might run out and attempt a kidnapping. My husband met us for dinner after work and was not pleased to hear that I did not respond with a clear “NO” when a stranger asked to take a picture of our son. After seeing how nervous it made Roman, I realized in the future I could just say, “I’m sorry but it makes him feel uncomfortable,” or “I’m sorry, we’re just not comfortable with that.”

The idea of taking pictures of a stranger’s child feels bizarre to me. What do you do with those photos? I’ve observed it most commonly as a tourist behavior and considered it a cultural difference in personal boundaries, which was part of why I consented, out of respect for that difference. Thinking about it more I realized that American tourists are guilty of this abroad as well, so it is something for us all to be conscious of.

So what would you do? Any experience with this or tips for handling it?

Our Version of a Baby Book

I’m big on recording memories. I used to scrapbook constantly when I was younger, and as soon as creating photo books online became a thing, I hopped right on that bandwagon. I was never actually very good at scrapbooking, so this is much more up my alley! I’ve been creating yearly photo books for our family since Mr. Garland and I got married, and I’m constantly looking for good ways to preserve and display our family memories.

So, as soon as we had Jackson I knew I’d need to come up with a good way to document his first year. I didn’t want to use a traditional baby book, and I was already taking weekly photos, so my idea was born. I took a photo of him every week, and on the other side of the spread I did a collage of 9 photos of him from that week. We used Blurb to have it printed (our favorite photo book company!). Their program just stores the book on your computer so it’s easy to access any time you want to work on it. It was definitely a time-intensive project, but I was taking a billion photos of him anyways, there was no reason not to actually have them printed!


We just got the book in the mail this past week and I’m so in love with it. It may have been a lot of work but it was oh so worth it. The book perfectly captures all of my favorite moments from his first year, and it’s so sweet to look back and see how much he’s grown.

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Gingered Carrot Oatmeal Cookies


Here is my adaptation of Heidi Swanson’s Carrot Oatmeal Cookies. Whole wheat pastry flour, coconut oil instead of butter, oats, and carrots? Dare I say it, a “healthy” cookie (at least as far as cookies go). They were sweeter than I would have expected from a cookie that involved carrots. I added flaked coconut, candied ginger, and hazelnuts and I think they turned out lovely. My toddler loved these, too, and I made special cookies for her without the nuts posing a choking hazard.

Heidi suggests playing with the recipe by adding lemon zest, and I imagine this could be good with cashews and ras el hanout (a Moroccan and North African spice blend – similar to a curry powder).

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There’s a New Bunny in Town!

A few fun facts (because that’s all this tired mama brain can come up with at the moment):

  • Madilyn was born on Friday the 13th
  • She weighed in at a whopping 9lb, 1.1 oz (just 1.5 oz shy of her sister’s weight)
  • Despite my lack of heartburn, she was born with hair, and brown hair at that!! (Bunny was basically totally bald for months, and now she’s very blond)
  • Giving birth to her was the complete opposite of my first delivery; this time it was med-free, I only pushed twice (my husband says it was more like one push), and she was born “en caul”—a fancy way of saying she that my water never broke and she was born “in the sack” (a more in-depth birth story to come…later)
  • Bunny’s loving her “sister Maddie,” and is extremely helpful so far
  • Two under two is a little ridiculous, but the sweet moments are pure bliss
  • This little newborn has gigantic, wrinkly long feet

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Partner Preparation: What My Husband Recommends

As I shared previously, my partner was very involved in preparing for our baby. He took the lead in reading the books and identifying the classes we should take as well. Mr. Milk has a few specific recommendations if you want to prepare your partner for a new family member. I second all of these as the one carrying the baby, as it was very useful to read (well, skim) these books and attend the classes too!

W H A T  T O R E A D

best books to read during pregnancy

1) What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Surprisingly, Mr. Milk LOVED reading this. In his words,  it prepared him for all the different things that might happen, was incredibly thorough, and once he had read it, he realized that there are so many variations of ‘normal’ for pregnancy that there was little cause for worry in most cases.

2) The Birth Partner: We decided early on that Mr. M would be my partner and coach during labor. I bought him this book and he really enjoyed it. It has a very holistic approach to childbirth, and great tips for pressure point massages you can offer during the pains of labor. I loved it because it had a great section on the difference between pain and suffering, which helped me sort through some fears I had about childbirth. It’s also the same book our doula references during labor!

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