beet&baguette

food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

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11 Tips for Traveling Overseas with an Infant

So you’re thinking of taking your little one on a grand adventure. Across the pond, perhaps? I know the scene, you’re frantically Googling airport luggage restrictions, packing tutorials, car rental information, and international formula brands. If you’re extra-crazy (like me), you’re even watching YouTube videos of mamas showing you the easiest ways to get baby through airport security with minimal tears. I know it’s daunting, but trust me, you got this! Here’s what I learned during our trip from North Carolina to London when Colin was 5.5 months old.

1. Wear your baby.

Embrace babywearing. At least for the airport. Most airports will allow mama and baby to go through security together this way. (Not Heathrow, though, ugh.) Baby carriers are wonderful tools for busy settings such as ticketing, security, boarding and de-boarding, and even baggage claim. If you are traveling to a location with less-than-ideal terrain for a stroller, you are golden! Plus, the photo-opportunities. Come on.

Ergo

2. Invest in the car seat bag and stroller bag.

I know, I know… another item to buy. But imagine shelling out the money to buy a new stroller or car seat. Or worse, being stuck in an unfamiliar country without one because yours got damaged on the flight. Plane undercarriages are nasty (often damp) places. Protect your expensive baby gear by zipping them up. Another bonus is that most bags have shoulder straps, which makes transporting this gear in and out of the airport WAY easier. Your stroller can be checked at the gate – so baby can catch some zzz’s in the stroller while you chug some much-needed Starbucks. Another tip: Don’t rely on a car seat from a car rental company. Be safe, bring your own. You’re familiar with it and it will be one less thing to worry about. Besides, it’s checked for free at the ticket counter!

Bubnest

Nest

3. Baby’s comfort takes priority.

We have a Bubnest and I literally don’t know how parents survived before these things existed. We brought ours on the plane, and Colin was able to sleep comfortably in his nest across our laps. Passengers sitting near us on the plane were amazed at how easily Colin slept! It was the one thing that we could guarantee would “feel” like home on the plane and in our Airbnb. It saved us!

4. Accept help from everyone.

And I mean everyone. Gate attendant wants to break down your stroller for you AND put it in the bag? Thanks! Random other mom offers to hold your coffee while you put baby in the Ergo? Cheers, mama! Janitor asks if you need help carrying the car seat to your gate? Uh, okay! Thank every single person that holds the door for you, carries or holds something for you, or offers you praise on a job well done. I’m not kidding, people are genuinely fascinated when they see the immense effort that goes into traveling with a newborn. And fuck, at the end of your trip, when you have done it, you feel like SUPERWOMAN.

London

5. Board the plane last.

A crying baby on an airplane is basically everyone’s worst nightmare. (Besides snakes, right?) Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and keep your potentially cranky baby off the plane for as long as possible! International flights are LONG – and babies get very restless. You’ll thank me later. Another tip: check-in (and make friends with) the gate-attendant as early as you can, they may upgrade your seating location to give you and baby more space! Win!

6. Pack extra outfits for the flight.

For mom, dad and baby. We traveled to England with Colin when he was just shy of 6 months, and we went through 2 outfits on the way over and maybe 4 on the way back. Blowouts and vomit are just things that happen when you have a baby. I don’t know about you, but traveling already makes me feel disgusting – so be sure you don’t arrive at your destination covered in baby poop. Be prepared, mama. Be very prepared. Another tip: If you’re traveling with a little one, a diaper bag does NOT count as your carry-on item or your personal item! Woohoo! That being said, invest in one that you can wear like a backpack. Just trust me on this.

Packing

7. Breathe.

Things are going to go wrong. That I can assure you. Maybe your partner won’t stop asking questions because he or she is nervous about the logistics of travel. Maybe your baby gets sick just when you were beginning to have the most wonderful vacation. Maybe your rental car isn’t ready and you have to wait ages while trying to entertain your baby. Maybe your baby just WON’T. STOP. POOPING. Maybe you overbooked activities and baby just isn’t having it. The most important piece of advice that I have for you is to breathe. Remember that this trip is temporary and you will not always feel this stressed or exhausted. Try to be kind to your partner. You’re in this unknown territory together – the more you relax and listen and help each other, the easier things will be.

Whitby

Silly

8. Bring (powdered) formula.

In my opinion, bring it even if you’re breastfeeding. Your milk supply can take a major hit in times of stress and exhaustion. It’s best to be prepared for any situation, and the formula brands that you are likely familiar with in the United States typically aren’t sold in other countries. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, if you are able to, boil the water wherever it is that you’re staying. Boil it, let it cool, bottle it, and use it for mixing baby formula. In England, we assumed that Colin would be fine with normal bottled mineral water from the grocery store – he ended up with diarrhea (and a terrible subsequent diaper rash) that lasted almost a week. BOIL IT.

Stairs

9. Go easy on the toys.

Bring a few – especially if your baby has a favorite or a snuggly little thing that is absolutely necessary at naptime or bedtime. But for the most part, babies are like cats in that they will play with just about anything. A plastic cup, a water bottle, an empty tissue box, a sock, the list goes on. Just make sure it’s safe for baby to play with!

10. Say no to some of your plans.

Especially if you’re venturing overseas to visit family, it can be really easy to get swept up in the excitement of taking your little one everywhere! Of course, you’ll want to do your best to make the most of your time there, but remember that it’s okay to ask people to come to you, too. Staying in a hotel? Great! Hotel lobbies, bars, or restaurants are great for mingling and there is plenty of action to keep baby people-watching and occupied. Staying in an Airbnb? Even better! You may even have your own living room or backyard – perfect for catching up with family. Have them bring some takeout! Staying with family? That makes things a bit easier, but be sure to set boundaries about too many outings – especially if your little one could use some rest. Remember, this is a big adventure for them and their needs come first!

More Whitby

11. Time it right (if you can).

I realize that not every trip is going to be for pleasure. Family things happen, and you may be forced to travel with your little one before you are ready to. But if you have any control over it, I recommend traveling when your baby is roughly six months old. It’s unlikely that they are very mobile, which makes the flight way more manageable. Also, they are probably still in the infant car seat, which means you can easily tote them in and out of the car without having to unbuckle and remove them from the car seat with each stop. Six-month-olds are developing little personalities, too! It’s a fun age because they are recognizing familiar faces, smiling, and giggling! One downside: Colin wasn’t really able to sit comfortably in a high chair at a restaurant, but some babies will.

Most of all, have fun. Your little one is a globetrotter! Oh, and take millions of photos.

xo Cassie

8 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Having a Baby

Hooray, motherhood! Right?

Let’s get one thing out in the open: there’s a good chance that I’m not saying anything you haven’t heard before. With that in mind, here is a smorgasbord of tips / experiences / lessons / tricks / hacks / musings all related to new-motherhood.

1. Don’t have a birth plan.

Okay, before you get all WELL I’M HAVING A WATER BIRTH IN MY LIVING ROOM SURROUNDED BY LAVENDER DIFFUSERS AND A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY, let me explain. I’m not saying you shouldn’t at least have a general idea of how / where you’d like to give birth. Do you plan on having a home birth? Great. Cesarean? Awesome. No pain medications? Perfect. However, if this is your first baby, you are likely completely mystified when it comes to labor and delivery. AND THAT IS OKAY. I wanted an unmedicated hospital birth and had a drugged-out-of-my-mind emergency C-section. And you know what, I’m fine with that. When I say “don’t have a birth plan”, what I mean is that I want you to feel okay about whatever happens, because guess what – the most important thing is that you and that little baby are safe and healthy.

2. Utilize the hospital nursery.

For goodness’ sake, DO NOT listen to anyone who says, “Don’t send your baby to the nursery when you’re in the hospital because that is when he needs to bond with you.” Trust me, when you are so physically and emotionally wrecked and exhausted, you need AND FULLY DESERVE the nursery. Those nurses are there to help YOU and BABY. You are not a bad parent for asking a nurse to take your baby for an hour or two so that you can sleep. You are of absolutely no help to your baby if you are not well-rested and alert. In the days after Colin was born, there was a point during which Richard and I were so deliriously tired that we couldn’t keep our eyes open — the nursery service saved us.

3. There will be days where all you want to do is cry.

We all have them. They suck. Do you want to know why we all have them? It’s because when it comes to parenting, no one knows what the fuck they are doing. Everyone pretends. We all make it look like we have our shit together, because that mom over there definitely seems to have her shit together. Ask for help. Friends, neighbors, family members — anyone that you trust. Just know that you will have days where you feel like a failure. You’re not.

*If you are experiencing extreme mood swings, crying spells, insomnia, or feelings of depression or anxiety, ASK FOR HELP. Postpartum Depression is real, but there is a world of help out there.

4. The bathroom will become your sanctuary.

Seriously. Even if you’re just peeing. You are in there, sitting, sans-baby. It’s wonderful. Brushing your teeth? That’s a luxurious self-care experience at this point, mama. If your partner is home with the baby, you’re golden. Just sit in there as long as you want. Bring your phone. Reply to texts, delete junk emails, watch Instagram stories, you name it! Oh, you know how sometimes you put toothpaste on your toothbrush, but the toothbrush flips over and the toothpaste falls onto the edge of the sink? You wipe the glob of toothpaste up with a tissue and throw it away and start over, right? WRONG. New MOM YOU will just use your toothbrush to scoop the toothpaste up and proceed to brushing your teeth. Why? For one, time. You literally don’t have time to start over, because your baby is crying up a storm because you WALKED OUT OF VIEW. Another reason is that you just don’t care anymore. Most days, I only have time to brush my teeth once. Yep, go ahead. Call me disgusting. Just you wait.

5. Your body will never be the same.

When I was pregnant, people told me this. I pretended to understand, but I really didn’t. I planned on working my ass off to get back to my pre-pregnancy self. But now I get it. Thanks to hormones on the fritz, my skin changed (acne, ugh) and my hair is thinner. My breasts (even though I only breastfed for a couple of months) will never be the same, ha. The muscles that I worked sooo hard to have are weak. Getting back in shape is not a walk in the park, my friends. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll likely be too tired to do much working out anyways? While I’m not there yet, I’m making strides. I am just now getting back into running (thank you, cool weather!) and I’m wiped out and in bed by 9pm almost every night.

6. Make mom friends.

And do your very best to stay close with your non-mom friends. You will need them all. You might think you are too good for “mom friends”. Trust me on this one, you need them. And you most certainly need your non-mom friends to keep you sane. There will be days where literally ALL YOU WANT is to have a conversation with another adult about ANYTHING but babies. Let your friends know how much you still need them around.

7. Get used to what your face looks like without makeup.

Because you won’t have the time. Nor will you really care (that’s a plus, I guess). I’m not at all ashamed to say that I started using Proactiv a couple of months ago because my post-baby skin was terrible. I was embarrassed to leave the house without concealer or makeup, but I didn’t have time, so I decided to give Proactiv a whirl and it has been my lifesaver. Really, I’m not getting paid to write about this. It’s worked wonders for me. Also, because I don’t wear makeup every day now, it’s really fun to play around with it when I actually have the time to enjoy it!

8. Don’t let anyone tell you that you take too many photos of your baby.

When I look through photos of Colin that we’ve taken over the last four and a half months, he looks like 5 different babies. That’s how much babies change. You will want to look back at every single little stage that your baby went through. You know why? Because you won’t remember. You will be so tired and drained that you won’t actually truly remember those early weeks. You will want to look at those 1,496 photos to prove to yourself that you did it. You raised and loved and kept alive that sweet and squishy little newborn baby.

So cheers to you, mama.

xo Cassie

Colin Patrick Marshall

It’s about time I shared an update with my readers, few as they may be! 🙂

Our sweet boy Colin Patrick Marshall was born on April 29th at 6:43pm weighing 7lbs 15oz and measuring 20in long.

Although my labor and delivery experience was not AT ALL what I had envisioned / planned / desired, he’s here and he’s healthy and we’re obsessed with him — and that’s what matters.

I’m sharing my labor and delivery story at the very end of this post, so if you’re not interested in reading that sort of thing, just watch for the disclaimer.

Love

It’s been a little over 2 weeks, and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am, indeed, someone’s mom.

And wow, what a special gift it was to have little Colin arrive in time for me to celebrate my first-ever Mother’s Day! Richard and Colin sure spoiled me by letting me sleep in (woo!), surprising me with a card and beautiful tulips, and making English pancakes and coffee for breakfast. What a treat!

Tulips

Richard returned to work this morning, so today marks my first official day as a stay-at-home mom.

Here’s how my day is going so far: I changed 5 diapers before 9am.

The nights have been long and taxing, but we’ve managed. Richard has been incredible with Colin. I can’t even watch the two of them interact without tearing up. Well, to be fair, most things are making me tear up lately. The hormones! And I’m just so damn happy! Gah!

So, without further ado, meet baby Colin.

He’s got strawberry blonde hair, his daddy’s eyes, his mommy’s lips, and he’s gaining more baby rolls by the day.

Colin hat

Family

Colin & Richard

Colin and I

Colin & Richard 2

Colin's hand

Squishy face

Burrito

I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. Now that Colin is here, I can truly say that my heart has never felt so incredibly full.

xo Cassie

Labor & Delivery:

At my 40 week appt (after being checked for three weeks in a row only to find out that I was still 1cm dilated with zero contractions), I booked an induction for Friday, 4/29 (exactly 41 weeks). My OB actually mentioned that since I hadn’t had any contractions on my own and I wasn’t dilating, I would likely benefit from a “two-part induction”. This meant that Richard and I would check into the hospital on Thursday night, and the doctor on-call would use a Foley balloon catheter to assist in dilation. If it worked, it would get me to 4cm without even feeling a true contraction. Pitocin drip would begin Friday morning. I agreed.

When we checked into Rex Hospital on Thursday night and got settled in our room (11pm), I was immediately hooked up to IV fluids. We waited for ages for the doctor to come and insert the Foley balloon… but he finally arrived. I was also given an injection (I can’t even remember what the drug was called…) to help relax me some, since it was already going on 2am and we’d need to be up around 6am to get the party started. Richard and I got a couple of hours of sleep.

At 6am, the nurse came back with a light breakfast for me (cereal, fruit, and yogurt). At 7:30am, she hooked up my Pitocin drip. She mentioned that I was having contractions (she showed us on the monitor), but I told her that I hadn’t felt any as of yet, so that was nice! (HA, nice while it lasted!) Wait for it, though… because in the hours following the Pitocin hookup, shit got really real. The Foley balloon was removed at 9:45am — it got me to 4cm, woo! Progress! Or so I thought…

By lunchtime, I was having uncomfortable contractions, but I was still able to hold a conversation with Richard. My OB suggested that I have my waters broken, since this would likely speed things up for me. She broke my waters at 11:30am. Sometime after this, she checked me — 5cm, yay! More progress! The nurses upped my Pitocin drip, and I began having severely painful, one-after-another contractions. I couldn’t get up to use the bathroom without amping myself up to do it as quickly as possible before the next contraction hit. They were coming every other minute, and lasting for 1 minute (which felt like an eternity). Eventually, I was shivering and bursting into tears with every contraction. At 2:15pm, I asked for Stadol via IV drip, which the nurse had mentioned and offered earlier in the day. It calmed me down, but I could still feel the contractions. It certainly took the edge off, though.

By 3:40pm, I needed another dose of Stadol… and an oxygen mask. Colin’s heart rate kept dipping, likely caused by the intensity of my Pitocin contractions. I was lying on my side in the bed, and the nurses kept helping me flip from one side to the other, in hopes that Colin would get more comfortable inside. Nothing seemed to be helping, though. After the second dose of Stadol wore off, I knew I couldn’t handle the intensity of the pain any longer. Going into this experience, I never wanted an epidural, but I was physically drained. Shivering and in tears, Richard knew that the look on my face was me pleading for the epidural. At 5pm, I got my epidural. I flinched and cried through the needle pain, while experiencing these insane contractions, too. It was basically my worst nightmare. All I kept thinking was, “As soon as this epidural kicks in, everything will be fine. I’ll be almost to the pushing stage. And then I can meet my baby.”

About a half-hour later (right when the epidural numbness was fully set-in), my OB came in to check me. I was so excited to see the progress that I had made while experiencing all of that pain. 5cm. You’ve got to be bleeping kidding me. After almost 6 hours of the most intense contractions (they had me on the highest Pitocin drip that they could give me), 2 doses of Stadol narcotic, and an epidural… I was still at 5cm. I burst into tears. Richard and I were drained, physically and emotionally. I wanted to give up, but obviously that’s not an option when there is a baby inside that must come out!

My OB voiced her concern about Colin’s dipping heart rate, and how it could very quickly negatively affect both he and I. She reluctantly (but firmly) suggested a Cesarean. Richard knew that I was too emotional to even discuss it, so he asked her point-blank, “Are you suggesting that she get a Cesarean right now?” Sure enough, she told us that things needed to happen quickly if we wanted Colin out safe and sound.

The rest is a blur, but in the next hour and a half (yeah, shit moves quickly when you end up needing an unplanned Cesarean), we had our baby via emergency C-section.

At 6:43pm, we heard that beautiful healthy cry from the other side of the surgery curtain. And there he was. Loud and oh-so perfect.

Rich in scrubs

Post-op

The day may have been terrifyingly miserable and grueling, but I would do it all over again for Colin in a heartbeat. My baby is here, and I’m so in love.

A Nursery Tour

As baby boy will be crashing in mommy and daddy’s room for a while, his nursery isn’t exactly complete, but it’s close! Without further ado, here’s a little tour of what I like to call the “woodland chic” nursery!

Panoramic

Crib side

Fox print

Crib

Closet

Blanket

Dresser

Changing corner

Owl

Orange fox

Shelf

Cozy corner

Shelves

Crib and mobile

Flags

Nursery Details

Crib: Babyletto “Modo” (Amazon)

Crib quilt: “Nature Trail” Baby Quilt (Land of Nod)

Crib bedding: Circo “Clouds” fitted crib sheet (Target)

Changing dresser: DaVinci “Perse” Changer (Amazon) // For the record, we do NOT recommend this product as it’s very cheaply made and a complete PAIN to put together. It certainly looks nice, but looks can be deceiving… We’ll see how long it lasts.

Chair: Hudson “Swoop” Arm Chair (Target)

Lamp: Small Metallic Gold-Plated Ceramic Base (Target)

Mirror: Square “Antique Coffee” finish (Target)

Rug: Safavieh Trellis Shag (Amazon)

Swing: Fisher Price “Rainforest Friends” (Amazon)

Bookshelves: Wall-mounted picture ledge (Target)

Adventure sign: Etsy Shop WoodenThatBeSomethin

Crib mobile: Etsy Shop PalomaEsono

Fox and botanical prints: Etsy Shop EvaJuliet

Tibetan-style flags: Handcrafted in college by yours truly 🙂

My favorite piece is definitely the precious fox and owl mobile — handmade in Toulouse, France! One can find some real gems on Etsy. I really love the pops of green and orange in this room, too. We didn’t want to paint the walls, since the light grey is such a nice neutral, so we’re using bits of color here and there to brighten up the room and make it feel cozy and welcoming.

What do you think? 🙂

xo Cassie

39 Weeks!

Well, here we are. I’m 39 weeks (and 3 days, but who’s counting?) and we’re more than ready to meet our little baby. Richard actually has a big work project starting tomorrow, so perhaps little man can help his Daddy get out of it by deciding to grace us with his presence soon?!

We had a lovely weekend. The weather was gorgeous, so Richard was able to tackle a few yard projects. You know, things that we won’t have time for when baby IS here. Yesterday, we spent the day out and about in Raleigh. We visited the North Carolina Museum of Art where we ran into my high school art teacher, Mrs. Harrell — what a nice surprise! We also wandered around the museum park, snapped a few photos, and even witnessed a sweet couple’s engagement!

Bump

Richard and I

From the museum, we headed to Hillsborough Street to pick up some summertime brews from Red Line Beer & Wine, an awesome new bottle shop. And we ended up at Irregardless Cafe (no surprise there) for a delicious vegetarian dinner paired with live music.

Here’s what’s been going on this week in my pregnancy, as well as some snaps of baby’s setup in our master bedroom. I’ll be sharing nursery photos tomorrow, too!

39 Weeks

Weeks: 39 (due date is Friday!)

Maternity clothes: Nothing new, as I’m now looking at nursing tops and dresses.

Sleep: It’s been hit or miss lately. I’m getting up to pee anywhere from 2-5 times each night now, which can really ruin even a seemingly great night’s sleep. Sooo yeah.

Bedroom

Miss anything? I miss being able to tie my own shoelaces without doing crazy contortionist moves.

Movement: Still hiccuping, rolling, and stretching!

Food cravings: Peanut butter and chocolate anything.

Symptoms: Bladder pressure like woah, backaches, and minor heartburn.

Cozy corner

Belly button: Super shallow innie!

Emotions: I haven’t gotten overly-emotional once during this entire pregnancy, but Richard says that’s just not really in my nature anyways. I know I’m in for a hormonal roller coaster when this baby arrives, though!

Master bedroom

Best moment this week: Spending time at the art museum park on Sunday. It was just such a pretty day, and I loved being able to get some exploring / walking in with Richard.

Looking forward to: HOPEFULLY having this baby soon! I’d love for this to be my final “weekly” update… but I have a feeling this little man is going to be late. I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

Have a beautiful week!

xo Cassie

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