Ten New Mommy Must-Haves

Little Levi at 7 weeks in his Fisher Price Deluxe Bouncer 

There are so many products out there geared towards babies and parents that as a first time mom it can be downright overwhelming to figure out what you actually need. I’m so happy I asked around and got opinions from as many moms as possible regarding what I should buy. That said, every mom and baby will differ and new products are constantly coming out making it hard to keep up. Below are ten items that have worked for our family and that I would highly recommend.

1. The Dock-a-Tot

We were fortunate enough to be gifted the SNOO, i.e. the fancy pants smart sleeper bassinet that’s all the rage. While it’s brilliantly designed, we haven’t found Levi sleeps better in it than in the simple Dock-a-Tot ($175). The dock is essentially a super cozy baby lounger with no legs that babies can use to sleep virtually anywhere. We’ve been using it mostly in our bed but Levi has slept in it on the couch and even once on the dining room table during a family dinner. It’s very portable making it ideal for moving around the house or for travel. It was originally designed for co-sleeping and is especially great for moms recovering from a C-section who struggle to get in and out of bed initially.

These last two months Levi has been sleeping in our bedroom because I find it more convenient given his frequent night feedings and because he’s still so little I want to keep him close. However, now that he’s eight weeks I’m going to try to move him to his room so he can get used to sleeping in his crib. I would say get the dock in lieu of a bassinet to keep in your room if you like the idea of sharing a bed, or if you don’t, I suggest getting an inexpensive bassinet to keep in your room as well as the dock for its convenient portability.

Side note: the Dock-a-tot cover is annoying to wash so we just put a blanket over ours and wash that when/if it gets wet/dirty.

2. Comotomo Baby Bottles

I’m breastfeeding, but since Levi turned three weeks he’s been taking one bottle of expressed milk per day. David usually gives it to him so I can get some rest. Or if I need to go out whoever is babysitting can give it to him too. The lactation consultants tell you to wait a couple weeks to offer the bottle so that breast feeding is well established. I was nervous as to how it would go but Levi liked the bottle right away. I’ve been using the pretty Comotomo bottles and their design makes it super easy to feed him. The wide shape of the bottle also makes them a breeze to clean which is another key element. For newborns start with the smaller, slow flow bottles.

3. Doona car seat stroller in one

Nowadays car seats can clip onto strollers for a complete “travel system”. This means if your baby falls asleep in the car seat (which they often do) you don’t have to take them out of the car seat and put them into a stroller — you just clip the car seat onto the stroller. That being said, you still need to have your stroller in the car with you for this to work. With the Doona, however, it’s a car seat and stroller all in one piece so you don’t even need to pack your stroller in your car! I’ve never put my stroller in my car with this and the only time I  will is if I’m taking Levi on a long outing where I know he will be more comfortable in a bigger stroller, or if we’re going somewhere where he will be sleeping for a while in which case I’ll pack the bassinet stroller attachment so he can be flat on his back. The Doona is expensive at $499, but incredible convenience always comes at a price.

4. Fisher Price Deluxe Bouncer

Babies love to be carried and held, but for those times when parents need to actually get stuff done (or just need a break) you need places to park your little one. Levi has daily chill sessions in his bouncy chair while I eat breakfast, apply makeup, read him a book, etc. It vibrates and plays music and the best part is I can move it all around the house depending on where I need to be. We also bought the Fisher Price cradle ‘n’ swing which is a great product and Levi has had some good naps in there when he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. However, I’m not listing it in my top ten because it’s super bulky (read: unattractive) and can’t be moved easily thus making it less convenient than the chair. If you have the space and funds consider getting both (you can sell them later or use for subsequent babies) but if you’re just going to buy one I suggest the bouncer.

5. Zippered footed pajamas

Newborns, especially boys pee through their diapers and clothes frequently meaning there are many diaper and outfit changes throughout the day. I love footed pajamas because socks are annoying and they’re the easiest to put on (no need to put anything over baby’s head). I especially like zippered footed pajamas because they’re even faster to put on than ones with snaps and make outfit changes less of a hassle — especially in the middle of the night when you’re half asleep. I stocked up on ones from Old Navy.

6. Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad

I decided to buy a smart changing pad from Hatch Baby because for about $100 more than a regular changing pad you get a product that doubles as a scale. As a first time mom who is breast feeding this helps reassure me the baby is gaining enough weight. For more superficial reasons, I like the sleek look of the Hatch Baby Grow and the fact you can easily clean it with a wipe rather than having to wash countless changing pad covers (anything to do less laundry!). Plus, the accompanying app is amazing and lets me time and keep track of Levi’s feedings, sleep duration, and even pumping sessions.

7. Lots of Burp clothes

Babies spit up all the time so it’s wise to have many burp clothes scattered throughout the house. I put them on my shoulder to burp him and give them to anyone who wants to hold him. I  also use them to pat his bum dry. I  use the Gerber cloth diapers as burp clothes.

8. Hands free pumping bra

If you’re going to be pumping breast milk, a hands free pumping bra or tank top is bound to be your best friend. I pump from both breasts and with my free hands I can blog, shop online, or check my emails. I never would’ve thought my 15 minute daily pumping session would turn out to be one of the most productive parts of my day!

9. Disposable changing pads

Did I  mention that babies pee a lot? Yup, even through their clothes. I have a changing pad in Levi’s room but I  bought disposable diaper pads to set up a changing station in our bedroom. I also always put one down in his stroller’s bassinet attachment because washing the bassinet’s mattress cover is a pain. It takes time and it has to air dry, however, when a diaper pad gets wet I can simply toss it. These are also practical to have in your diaper bag.

10. Puj Flyte Compact infant bathtub

The Puj compact infant tub was created for traveling but I’ve been using it as our regular bathtub since Levi graduated from sponge bathing to real baths (after his circumcision and belly button healed). It fits perfectly in our under mount sink so we can bathe him without any uncomfortable kneeling. It has good grip and there’s a line that indicates how much you should fill it. The tub also has a convenient hole, so once we’re done I simply hang it to dry in our shower. It’s only good till they’re six months, after which I’ll  be using the Boon Soak infant tub in our adult bathtub. I’ll definitely have to get a pad for my knees.

Other products  I like:

Uppa Baby Cruz stroller with bassinet attachment

Kiinde bottle warmer

Water Wipes

Aquaphor healing diaper ointment

Corn starch for diaper area

CeraVe baby shampoo/body wash and baby lotion

MZ Wallace backpack (to use as a diaper bag)

Bamboobies nursing pillows and reusable nursing pads

Halo sleep sacks

Target nursing camis by Gilligan O’Malley

Motherhood Monday: Levi’s Birth Story and Other Musings From a New Mom

Levi Alden Lease’s second photo (the first is very bloody). 


I cannot believe my baby is six weeks old today! Time definitely flies when you’re busy with a newborn. For those of you who don’t know, our son, Levi Alden Lease was born on November 6 at 3:09 p.m, weighing six pounds and six ounces. I could’ve sworn we were having a girl but I’m so excited to be raising this delicious little man. He’s named for David’s maternal grandmother, Leatrice, and my paternal grandfather Leonid, while his middle name is in honor of David’s maternal grandfather, Albert.

Levi was born via an unplanned C-section because at the last moment the doctors saw he was breech. I pleaded with them to do a vaginal birth (I’ve heard some really bad C-section recovery stories) but they told me because I was 5cm dilated and had already received an epidural — there was no other option. FYI: once the contractions startedthey were so painful I begged for the epidural even though before I went into labour I thought maybe, just maybe I could do without it (I couldn’t).

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House Update Part 6

Our family room couch and coffee table are both from Restoration Hardware, while the rug is from West Elm.

I’ve been so preoccupied blogging about my pregnancy and babies that I haven’t done a home design post in months (excluding my most recent post on the nursery). That said, if you’re wondering what we’ve been up to in terms of our house the answer is A WHOLE LOT. We’ve been trying to get as much done as possible before Baby Lease arrives (any day now!), and I’m proud to say with the exception of our joint office and living room bar we are virtually done. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been a real team effort and we’re both very pleased with the results.

Let’s start with the entryway:

Entryway table and moss wall.

By our front door there are two dark wood columns, so when I saw this Crate & Barrel entryway table I told David I thought it would tie in nicely with our exterior. Our door is see-through and this table is the first thing to catch your eye. Our floors are also very light and I liked the contrast of the dark wood and steel black legs.

My original idea was to hang a mirror or a piece of art above the entryway table and call it a day, but David had other plans: installing a moss wall. He’s a big fan of plants and greenery inside the home and there’s a company in Miami called Plant the Future that designs beautiful arrangements and installations using dried plants and moss. The moss you see here is real but preserved and it’s nailed to the wall via a wood backing. It requires no maintenance, because if it did — believe me I would’ve resisted this idea. Two months later there’s still a bit of an odor from the moss, however, I have to admit the wall does a great job of adding color, dimension, and a hint of wow factor to our entrance.

Family room:

Family room custom built-in wall unit.

Custom built-ins cost a fortune, but we decided to splurge on a wall unit for our family room to hide our media equipment and complete the large open space. I looked at images on Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration and we made sure to get at least three different quotes from cabinet and mill working shops. We worked with Viking Kabinets in South Miami on this wood piece which took about a month to build once the design was approved. The hardware is from Restoration Hardware, and the built-ins are painted the exact same color as our walls (Benjamin Moore White Heron).

West Elm lamp from our condo.

The fun part was styling the shelves by combining books, picture frames, and decorative objects of varying heights and sizes. David had certain pieces he absolutely wanted displayed like a deer skull he had found and spray painted neon green; a Wallstreet themed chess set, a train with his name written on it in graffiti, and a robot sculpture. Meanwhile I wanted to put out these two Rodin-esque sitting men sculptures I had bought a while ago,  plus some pretty cookbooks, and family photos. We also had an alphabetized classic book set from Penguin in a neon color palette which my mother-in-law had purchased, as well as an antique bronze clock. I knew I wanted a cohesive color palette, and somehow without trying all that hard it worked out to be bronze (to go with the hardware), silver, and whatever color books we could find (the brighter the better to pop against the white). Any objects that didn’t fall into either category got nixed. The cost didn’t make this an easy decision, but I have to say the wall unit makes the entire house feel so much warmer, put-together, and to be honest with you — grown up.

Living room: 

Our living room. We’re planning on building a custom bar where the bar cart currently resides.

Our living room is right off our entrance and is quite long so we were really unsure how to decorate it. Fortunately, we had hired Montreal-based designer Scott Yetman to help us create a furniture layout plan  for part of the house. Getting professional design help is expensive, but if you can afford it it’s often totally worth it, particularly when it comes to conceptualizing the layout of challenging spaces. Because the room is long and rectangular, Scott suggested creating a sitting area around a circular coffee table and rounded swivel arm chairs and we loved the idea.

Living room sitting area.

A friend of ours told us about the brand Room & Board and while in New York this summer we went to their store and tested out their Otis swivel chair that I had spotted online. Chairs are one of the most expensive furniture items so it’s important to try them out before buying. We picked up a bunch of fabric swatches and brought them back to Miami with us, ultimately deciding on “Vashon ink”.

Two of my favorite furniture brands are West Elm and CB2 because their products are stylish and fairly priced. We ended up ordering the Darbuka black coffee table from CB2 for our living room and I think the sleek, steel piece pairs nicely with the plush chairs, as well as our entryway table.

A daybed by the window = perfect reading nook.

Our living room layout plan included a daybed style sofa so as not to block the window while simulatneously creating another sitting area in the rectangular space. What’s more, our family room is right off the living room and since we were putting a traditional sofa there across from the TV, we needed another type of couch for this particular spot.

I discovered  the American furniture brand Joybird via Instagram’s targeted advertising and liked their designs and direct-to-consumer concept. The Hughes daybed was just what we were looking for so ordered a swatch kit and David picked this charcoal color in the Bennet fabric. The couch is right by the window and makes for an ideal reading nook.

A few months ago I thought we’d never be done furnishing our house because we had to wait almost two months for nearly everything and that’s only after we actually agreed on what to get in the first place. Fast forward to today and I can’t believe all that remains to be done in the living room is installing a custom bar where the bar cart currently resides. It’s definitely not a priority and I actually think the bar cart looks pretty good for the time being. Besides, with baby arriving any day now it may be a little while before we’re hosting an open bar night.



House Update Part 5: Nursery Reveal


Less than two weeks to go till Baby Lease’s official due date and I wanted to share our nursery design with you. As previously mentioned, we wanted the room to feel like an extension of the rest of our home and to be a happy and cozy space for our little boy or girl. It’s why we opted for a white and grey color palette with the addition of light wood tones to compliment the maple floors in the room.

Once we got the color story down, I used the online design service Havenly to help me with the layout because I wasn’t sure where the best place for each piece of furniture would be. Plus, this way I could see a 3D rendering of the layout before making any purchases and would feel more confident going forward.


We had set a budget and after some extensive research I decided I wanted to get the crib and dresser from Babyletto. I felt their designs and price points were right on and I had seen their pieces featured on several design blogs I admire. I showed David different crib/dresser combos and we picked the Hudson crib in white with natural railings (to coordinate with our light wood floors) and the all-white Hudson six drawer double dresser.

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Boy or Girl? Some Thoughts on Gender

How adorable is my husband David and his younger sister Ariel? 

I can’t believe that in about three weeks we will finally meet our baby! As you know we have decided not to find out the gender until the big day. People often ask me if this has been challenging, but it honestly hasn’t been.

I would’ve decorated the nursery the exact same way because I’m not a big fan of anything too girly and because I want the room to feel like an extension of the rest of our home. I also like to plan ahead, and, depending on when we have a second child (we definitely know we want to have at least two kids) there’s a big chance our second baby will be using most of the same furniture, or taking over the room entirely. And while some moms-to-be can’t wait to buy gender specific baby clothes, I for one love white and grey outfits on tiny tots and had no problem buying a few items now, and waiting to get the rest after baby’s arrival.

But decor and clothing aside, David and I couldn’t be more excited for the big gender reveal, and above all — to meet our (pray to god) healthy baby. That said, I do have some thoughts on having a boy versus having a girl. Since we may have two kids total, I think it would be an ideal scenerio to have one of each and then close up shop. However, I love having an older sister, and I think the bond shared between two siblings of the same sex is so special (provided they can push sibling rivalry aside). Conversely, my husband is a big brother who has always looked out for his younger sister, and so the thought of having a boy and then a girl melts my heart (I’m very emotional these days mind you). FYI: a boy first followed by a girl is his personal preference.

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Motherhood Resolutions

This is #35weeks


I always like to reflect on the year that passed and make resolutions for the year ahead around the time of the Jewish New Year. It’s usually celebrated in September or October and coincides with the start of the scholastic year. It just makes  more sense to me to do it around this time rather than in late December/January.

Given I’m 35 weeks pregnant (holy sh*t!) pretty much most of my thoughts are centered around pregnancy, labor/delivery, and motherhood. I’m not sleeping much  due to a combination of heartburn, muscle spasms, side pains, and having to pee every hour on the hour (oh how I love being pregnant!) so I’ve had even more time to ruminate. Lucky me. Needless to say, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what kind of woman I want to be as I prepare to add mother to my resume, and below are some of my new year’s “resolutions” if you will.

  1. During baby’s first couple of months, I will NOT, I repeat, I will NOT put pressure on myself to get much done other than keeping baby alive and relatively happy.
  2. I will not let my pride prevent me from asking for help if and when I need it.
  3. I will not Text/Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat while nursing (at least until I get the hang of it and even then only on rare occasions).
  4. I will not post more than one Instagram story per day of me cooing at my adorable baby.

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Do This With Your Partner Before Baby

Headed to a wedding at #29weeks

Hola from Orlando. I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant and we’re  in Orlando with our family in an effort to hide from Hurricane Irma. I’m feeling grateful my due date is two months away and praying for the health and safety of my family and friends.

Week 29 marked a turning point in my pregnancy. My heartburn got more fierce, and I started to experience pain in my pelvic region. I described it to my husband as feeling like someone punched me in the crotch and left me all bruised up. TMI? Consequently, I listened to my body and stopped going to my beloved dance cardio classes because it’s too much jumping and too high intensity for me to handle right now. Last week even prenatal yoga felt like too much, however, this week I was able to handle a barre class and I’ve started swimming which I should’ve done a long time ago because it’s so wonderful while pregnant.

In other news, we attended a birthing/parenting class at our synagogue which included an hour long session entitled: from partners to parents. An amazing clinical social worker by the name of Amy Small talked to us about the inevitable transition we’d be experiencing and I thought one exercise was particularly helpful. She had the spouses sit across from one another and instructed us to take turns telling our significant other the things we expect from them as a parent. Each person got three minutes to speak (no interruptions allowed), and when they were finished the other person had to repeat everything back to them and ask if they’d missed anything.

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My Maternity Fashion Favs

25 weeks and wearing an old blouse by Cooper & Ella and Maternity Jeans (link below) by Luxe, the in house brand from a Pea in the Pod. 

I’m currently 26 weeks preggo and I’m not so pleased to report that everyday activities like getting out of bed, or bending over to put on my shoes are starting to be a bit of a nuisance. They’re not full blown problems by any means, but I can see them on the horizon. Oh the joys of being pregnant!

I finally feel like I’m carrying around a little load and I’m experiencing heartburn after virtually every meal. I’ve also had to purchase a special sciatica knee pillow to make sleeping on my side more comfortable and keep my knees from awkwardly banging against each other. I’m telling you, if my husband doesn’t bow down to me after I give birth to this child I don’t know what I’ll do. Just kidding. Sort of. Okay, not really. Mothers are GODDESSES and men just have to accept it. Got it guys?

Anyways, this is a post about maternity fashion which I must say I’ve realized is a whole other beast. There are SO many products out there it can get overwhelming trying to differentiate between what you actually need and what products just have really good marketing. I feel the same way about baby/kids products (more on this in another post). My goal throughout this pregnancy is to look and feel my best without spending a lot of money on clothes I’ll only be wearing for a few months (even taking into account a second pregnancy).

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Musings From a Nervous Mama-To-Be

And we’re off to a Dance Body Class. This is #24weeks

Okay, yes I’m super excited to welcome a baby into our lives, but guess what — I’m also scared and nervous. Our lives are about to change in a major way, and even though I’m 99.99 percent confident it will be for the better, I’m also human, and this human has her fears/worries. It also doesn’t help that I’m generally an anxious person with a fair share of OCD tendencies (perfect storm anyone?).

That being said, I have read personal accounts of peoples’ anxiety improving since  becoming parents because the experience helped them gain perspective they were previously lacking. After all, how can you worry about whether you picked the right curtains, or if your last review was poorly written when you have a tiny human life to protect??!! I certainly hope I fall into this category of folks. In my dreams I’m a zen mama, but so far I haven’t been a particularly zen mama-to-be so lets see how that goes. I like to aim high.

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We’re Having a Baby!

This is #20weeks

I had hoped 2017 would be the year I got pregnant and I’m so excited to share that Baby Lease will be arriving November of this year!

This may be oversharing, but if you’re thinking about getting pregnant you may be interested in knowing a bit about my pregnancy journey. It goes something like this: After 14 years of being on the pill I went off it in January and got my first non-pill period six weeks later. I then downloaded the Ovia fertility app and based on when I had my period it told me what days of the month would be optimal for baby making. Five weeks later I’m peeing on a stick and it’s POSITIVE! I’m sharing this story because that’s what this blog is all about, but believe me when I say we both realize how ridiculously lucky we are right now and we don’t take anything for granted.

So how do I feel? Today I’m 22 weeks and fortunately I feel mostly good. The last three weeks I’ve been suffering from daily heartburn and the occasional short-lived shooting pain up and down my side that I’ve learned is called round ligament pain. I have to pee virtually every hour, including most nights, which I tell myself is good practice for the sleepless nights ahead (hey, just trying to put a positive spin on things). Thankfully, I’ve been able to stick to my workout routine which consists of dance cardio and barre a couple times a week. This is not only good for the baby, but mama needs it to help quell the occasional holy SH*T we’re having a baby freak-outs (more on this in the next blog post).

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