5 Useful Resources for New Moms

It's been quiet on the blog lately! I have been busy preparing for the baby and trying to get things done before she arrives. I can't believe she'll be joining us in less than a month inshaAllah! Time has passed by so quickly Alhamdulilah and we can't wait to meet our precious little girl. I've surprisingly been far more calm than I thought I would be during the pregnancy and I hope that continues until it's time for the delivery! Having everything bought and organized in advance makes me feel so much better. We've also been doing our research about the basics of taking care of our newborn to make sure we're as prepared as we can be for this new journey. But as most moms have told me: "Prepare all you want, there will still be many surprises!"

Thankfully, I have my mom and sister (both mothers of 3 kids) nearby to help with any baby-related questions or concerns, but I still like learning about how I can be better equipped as a new mom. Afroz and I always do thorough research before making any huge decisions, whether it's buying something expensive or discussing our plans for the future, so why shouldn't we take the time to read up on caring for a little human that we'll love so much and will be responsible for? It's a huge responsibility and while I know we'll make mistakes and learn as we go, I'm enjoying learning new tips and tricks of caring for a baby, so when she arrives, I have some basic knowledge to test out.

I thought I'd share somethings I've found useful during my first pregnancy so far and those that are helping me prepare for the arrival of our little one. Through these resources I'm learning new things I didn't know before, so I hope this helps any other new moms like me:

1. Baby Center Mobile App
This was the first resource I turned to when I found out I was pregnant. The Baby Center App is loaded with useful information at my fingertips and has guided me throughout the pregnancy. It asked me when my expected due date is and sends me notifications every week to let me know how far along I am, what the approximate size of the baby is (i.e. size of a poppyseed, lemon, etc.), updates on the baby's development, suggestions of what to eat, frequently asked questions, links to the Baby Center forum where moms and moms-to-be ask and answer questions, and so much more. It's free and Afroz and I enjoy reading the updates every week to learn more about the baby's development. 


2. Common Sense Pregnancy: Navigating a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth for Mother and Baby
This book is straightforward and perfect for any new mom who wants to read a book filled with useful information without being bored to death. The author, Jeanne Faulkner, wrote the book in such a way that makes you feel like you're getting advice from one of your girlfriends who knows everything about pregnancy, delivering a baby, and how to survive it all. Faulkner shares the facts, her own experiences as a mom, and her experience as a nurse who has helped deliver thousands of healthy babies. The book answered many of my questions about the pregnancy, the medical tests that I had to take, and what I'll be experiencing when it's time for the delivery. She also talks about how to survive after coming home with the baby, how to overcome feeling exhausted, and so much more.


3. The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be
Afroz and I were hanging out in the parenting section at Barnes and Noble one day (yeah, we actually hang out at B&N for fun sometimes) early on in the pregnancy and we came across this book. Just by skimming through it, we found that it was packed with straightforward advice mainly addressing the dads-to-be. It contains information about being involved in the pregnancy, advice from top practitioners in their fields, from obstetricians and birth-class instructors to psychologists and sociologists, balancing work and family, finances, and a lot more. The author, Armin A. Brott, also incorporates some humor, which makes the book even better. Afroz hasn't read it cover to cover, but he skips through chapters to get answers for specific questions he's had since he found out we were expecting. It's a useful resource for new dads and we'd definitely recommend it!

4. What to Expect the First Year
I just started reading this book and I know I'll continue referring to it in between my baby's naps. As a new mom, I know I'll have numerous questions about feeding, sleeping, crying, and so much more. The table of contents is organized in such a clear way that allows me to to flip through and read about any specific questions I have about caring for my baby. 

5. Taking Classes at the Hospital
Afroz and I recently took a class at the hospital called "Baby Care 101" and I also registered to take a breastfeeding class as well. The Baby Care 101 class was very useful. The instructor discussed key questions new parents have and also demonstrated how to swaddle a baby, change her diaper, perform CPR, and so much more. They had baby mannequins, so we could practice as well. While experienced people who are aunts or uncles to baby nieces and nephews might feel like they're pros with simple things like swaddling and diaper changing, it's nice to have a refresher and learn any new tips and tricks you may not know. I would definitely recommend looking up what classes your hospital offers. You may come out of the class learning something that will turn out to be very useful when you're taking care of your baby. 


Disclaimer: By no means am I a pro at being pregnant or preparing for a baby. Honestly, I don't think anyone is. No one is ever completely prepared from what I hear. But I thought I'd share a few things that are helping me (a clueless/nervous/excited prego) learn more about my pregnancy and are making preparations a little simpler. I won't have any idea of what knowledge came in handy and what didn't until my baby arrives, but I hope this benefits anyone looking for resources, because I love seeing suggestions from other expectant and experienced mommy bloggers! 

Have a great resource that I didn't mention above? Share it in a comment below!

My Baby Shower

As my due date comes closer, I keep thinking about how time flew by so quickly Alhamdulilah. My pregnancy has had its ups and downs, but I'm so grateful for every moment. With every kick, cramp, moment of nausea and fatigue, comes the reminder that I'll soon be a mother to a beautiful little girl inshaAllah. I honestly can't wait. Afroz has been immensely supportive and my parents, siblings, and friends have also been a tremendous helpโ€”from taking me out to fulfill my many random cravings to sharing helpful advice, I can't be thankful enough. And as if that wasn't enough, my wonderful family and friends threw me an absolutely beautiful baby shower during the weekend.

From the decor to the activities, to the food and the dessert, and especially the amazing company, everything was perfect Alhamdulilah. I'm amazed by how everything came together so beautifully. The shower made me forget about my cramps and back pains, which was just wonderful. Our little girl has already been showered with so much love and we're so grateful for it all Alhamdulilah. A huge thank you to my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and wonderful friends who worked together to plan my shower! I thought I'd share a few photos my friend and one of the amazing hosts, Mushira, took during the shower.

The cake was made by Scrumptious by Hira. It was absolutely beautiful and so delicious! The desserts were all made by the extremely talented hosts of the baby shower :)

The dessert table was filled with cupcakes, brownies, chocolates, fruit, tiramisu, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate covered pretzels, Oreo cake pops, Oreo cheesecake bites, and more! Such a beautiful and tasty joint effort in prepping and baking the desserts by the most talented ladies I know!

The theme was a combination of adventure, travel, and nature. I loved how they combined the themes and used my interests as the inspiration for the shower. The floral accents were so elegant and the travel themed guestbook map, favors, and activities were too cute! 

Everyone signed the map with sweet messages. I'm planning on getting the map framed, so we can cherish the thoughtful notes shared by our friends and family. There was also a "Baggage Claim" to pick up the favors, which were these beautiful boxes of chocolates covered with maps. 

The center pieces included baby photos of Afroz and me, fresh flowers, mason jars, and wood slices. I really loved how simple and chic they were.

The activities consisted of a photo booth, writing words of encouragement on diapers, decorating onesies, decorating wooden baby blocks, and creating little Play-Doh babies. They had me choose a winner for each category and the winner was given a prize (a cute little succulent from IKEA). The diapers turned out to be hilarious messages and the onesies were also pretty clever. And the wooden blocks were all so colorful and well done! Everyone was so creative with each activity, it was difficult to choose a winner!

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Some of my friends painted some really nice blocks. They really thought deeply into the design of the block and they turned out so beautifully! 

I loved the activities they chose, because they turned out to be perfect for both adults and kids. It was so much fun watching everyone make their own creations for our little girl. I'm especially excited to put on the onesies with funny messages, along with the diapers. I think it'll be a nice thing to see when we're up late changing our little girl after a long day :)

It was such a fun event and I just had to share photos from my shower here on the blog, because my lovely friends and family were so creative with planning it all! I'm beyond grateful for all of the hard work they put in to make sure everything was perfect. 

The Perfect Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

I have a complicated relationship with winter.

I see the first snowfall and immediately fall in love with the beauty of the season: the fresh snow, the refreshing air, and the site of little snowmen in front yards around the neighborhood. I forgive it for all of its flawsโ€”for getting my car stuck in the snow, for traffic, for making my skin dry, and for making me feel like I'm never prepared with the right amount of layers for the temperature. But right when I get a bad cold or get stuck with the flu, I take back all of the exceptions I made and just want winter to be over.

Both Afroz and I became sick last week. We had runny noses, really bad congestion, and sore throats. It was tough for me, since I didn't want to take any medicine while pregnant. I soon developed an intense craving for chicken noodle soup and thought it would be good for the both of us to have some hot and healthy soup. I've made chicken noodle soup in the past, but it was never remarkably tasty enough for me to want to repeat the recipe. I opened my favorite recipe app, Yummly, and searched for a recipe that looked and sounded good. Eventually, I came across this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and the soup turned out to be really delicious! The dill adds such a nice flavor to the soup and the broth tastes so good with the carrots, parsnips, celery, chicken, and noodles. I highly recommend you try this recipe for the next time you're at home sick with a cold. You won't regret getting up to make it!

I save most of my favorite recipes on Pinterest and Yummly, but the ones I use repeatedly go in my recipe journal from Moleskine.

I save most of my favorite recipes on Pinterest and Yummly, but the ones I use repeatedly go in my recipe journal from Moleskine.

I love the site of freshly cut, colorful vegetables. This was actually my first time trying parsnips!

I love the site of freshly cut, colorful vegetables. This was actually my first time trying parsnips!

Ta-da! At first, I forgot to add the dill and it tasted pretty good without it, but when I added the dill, it had so much more flavor! Don't forget the dill, folks.

Ta-da! At first, I forgot to add the dill and it tasted pretty good without it, but when I added the dill, it had so much more flavor! Don't forget the dill, folks.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-pound chicken, in parts or 3 pounds chicken pieces of your choice
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large carrot, diced (1/3-inch)
  • 1 medium parsnip, diced (1/3-inch) (optional)
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced (1/3-inch)
  • 3 ounces dried egg noodles, I prefer wide ones
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley

View the full recipe here.

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