Product Review: Motherhood Tummy Sleeve revisited

The Tummy Sleeve By Motherhood
I stopped wearing my Motherhood Maternity tummy sleeves weeks ago when I could no longer squeeze into non-maternity bottoms and graduated to full-panel maternity pants. But I have now rediscovered how lifesaving they can still be as the heavier fabrics of fall have my maternity pants constantly slipping down my body. (Seriously, how do some people walk around with the crotch of their pants between their knees? SO uncomfortable!)

These days, I'm wearing the full-panel Secret Fit Belly boot-cut maternity jeans ($25) with the panel pulled up all the way to my ribs and also have the tummy sleeve folded in half around my hips, just below my belly button. My two sleeves are definitely raggedy from too much washing in unforgiving laundromat machines (I recommend hand-washing them), but no one sees them and they save me from the saggy-ass syndrome and let me get away with not having to buy more expensive maternity jeans. I'm sure that the designer jeans stay up a bit better, but this mama is not paying $300 for pants I can't wear after baby is born.

Just a quick, hopefully money-saving, tip!

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Recipe Review: Quick & Delicious Pork Chops w/ Apples & Onions from Rachael Ray

I must admit, I am a horrible cook. I over-salt my salads, am always substituting ingredients that I don't have to the food's detriment, and my pork chops are always either too raw or too tough to chew. Last night, however, I tried a great Rachael Ray recipe off of TheFoodNetwork.com and succeeded in making the juicy, flavorful pork chops of my--and my husband's--dreams!

HERE is the link.

Rachael's secret to cooking a quick, juicy pork chop is to cook the chops on medium high heat for 6 minutes on one-side, flip, and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes with a loose tent of tin foil covering the chops. The tented foil keeps the pork chops juicy and the accompanying cider gravy and sauteed apples and onions make the dish heavenly.

Kids will especially like the apples and onions which my husband described as "dessert for dinner." Yum.

True to my nature, of course, I didn't have any apple cider for the gravy, so I substituted a tiny bit of lemon juice and the dish still came out great. I also went with Betty Crocker mashed sweet potatoes in a box which were delicious and didn't require any strenuous mashing on the part of this tired mama.

Oh, and I still over-salted the salad. Enjoy!

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Product Review: Element Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga DVD

Element: Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga
At my last appointment, my OB told me I was gaining a bit too much weight (35 lbs in 7 mo!), so I decided to try my hand at prenatal yoga. I really never liked yoga--I was really into Pilates before getting pregnant--but with the intense, lying-flat-on-yourback ab exercises of Pilates a no-no these days, I thought I'd give it another shot.

I picked up Element's Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga DVD for $9.99 at Best Buy and its actually not that bad at all. The prenatal program is challenging and a tad long if, like me, you haven't worked out for awhile, but I just paused the DVD when I felt winded and still got a good workout. And while the voice over seemed a bit silly to me sometimes ("breathe in and send your love and hopes to your baby"), the breathing exercises that precede and follow the workout are super relaxing. Who doesn't need to relax these days?

There are, however, a few exercises that I skipped being further along in my pregnancy and not having done any ab-strengthening exercises over the last few months. While doing Pilates, the on-hands-and-toes plank position was a favorite of mine, but at 7 months pregnant, I felt like the pressure of the baby was going to tear my stomach muscles. Likewise for the reverse plank except that the pressure of the baby was put on my back and vena cava.

Bottom line: While not perfect, this is a pretty good prenatal DVD for the price. And, it has the added benefit of including a postnatal routine too--although I will probably go back to my beloved Pilates! In any case, my next OB appointment is next week so only time will tell if yoga is helping me curb the weight gain. I'll keep you posted!

*P.S. I am not a doctor and cannot recommend this DVD medically. Also, no one should attempt a new exercise program without contacting her/his doctor first. Don't hurt yourself!

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NYC Sample Sale: Bonpoint Couture Children's Clothing

For those of you looking for some discounted designer duds for your wee ones (from newborn to preteen), French children's couture house, Bonpoint, will be having a sample sale next Wednesday and Thursday starting at 8am.

Bonpoint has some pretty beautiful stuff--Suri Cruise and the Obamas are fans--and it looks like the discounts will be substantial. The skinny:

Bonpoint Fall/Winter Sample Sale
October 28-29
W 8-7 Th 8-3
The Metropolitan Pavilion
123 West 18 Street
(6-7 Avenues) 5 Floor
New York, NY
www.Bonpoint.com

They will be accepting AMEX, Visa, and MasterCards. Go forth and shop!

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Pediatrician Search: Dr. Tatyana Ledovsky in Ridgewood

I found another candidate for our pediatrician! (That was quick, huh?) Dr. Tatyana Ledovsky is located in Ridgewood, has 20+ years of experience, and is Board Certified. She is also in the office Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with a covering doctor on Thursday--sweet!

Her info:

Dr. Tatyana Ledovsky
64 15 Fresh Pond Rd
Ridgewood, NY 11385
(718) 381-9500

We'll be going in for an interview with Dr. Ledovsky in the next week or two, so I will be sure to post an update afterwards. Some key things to ask a pediatrician include:
  1. Who can I call in the event of an after-hours emergency?
  2. If my child is sick, can we come into the office that same day?
  3. Is the pediatrician available by phone for non-urgent questions?
  4. Does the office have separate sick patient and a well patient rooms?
  5. What are the pediatrician's vaccination policies/beliefs? Do they jive with your own?
The Bump actually has a great list of questions to ask HERE.

More on the doctor search soon!

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The Pediatrician Search Begins and Dr. Joel E. Hershey is no longer in Queens

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According to my Bump pregnancy checklist, its time to start the search for a pediatrician. A great place to start is asking friends for recommendations or you can hop onto your health insurance's website and check out the different options in your area.

Dr. Joel E. Hershey popped up as one of the most promising choices on our insurance website. He has been practicing for 30+ years, is affiliated with LIJ's Schneider Children's hospital, and, best of all, was supposedly within walking distance of our place in Glendale. After a quick call to the office, however, it turns out that the online information for Dr. Hershey is out-of-date and he practices only in Happauge now--that's a good hour away folks!

Its back to the drawing board, then. Aside from great credentials and a welcoming office environment, location is a really important factor for us as we are a one-car family and I'd like the office to be nearby in case of emergency.

I'll be sure to post our hits and misses as we go through the process--I hope my findings will be helpful to you!

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Cute Purchase Alert & Website Review: O.R.E. Originals Splat Mat

I just made my first purchase from MamaBargains.com! I just couldn't pass up this O.R.E. originals splat mat in their Yeehaw cowboy theme (click the image for the O.R.E. website):



Originally $30, MamaBargains has them on-sale for $13 for a limited time only. The mat is machine washable and perfect for mealtime or messy play. Now I just have to resist buying all of the other adorable cowboy items on the O.R.E. site, such as:



Hooray for (affordable) cute boy stuff! You should check out the rest of the O.R.E. site too. Their Sugarbooger kids line is adorable and surprisingly affordable, with super trendy diaper bags, nursery organizers, and gift sets.



Happy shopping, mamas!

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Passed My 1-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test!

I just got off the phone with Dr. Charnes' office and I passed by 1-hour glucose tolerance test--hooray!

Taking the test was actually not bad at all. I didn't need to fast for the 1-hour test and the Quest location near me served the sweet orange glucose drink nice and cold (and delicious!) After drinking that down in a minute or two, I spent an hour hanging out in the lobby reading Good Housekeeping until it was time to have my blood drawn. That's it. Test is done.

If you're nervous about whether or not you'll be able to tolerate the glucose drink, you might want to call up your lab and ask if they normally refrigerate or can refrigerate the drink for you. I've heard that drinking down a warm glucose drink is rough!

Just a note: Dr. Charnes' office does not call you with the test results if they come back normal. I didn't know this, so I gave them a call this afternoon. No harm done, but the receptionist did sound the teeniest bit annoyed with me. Whoops!

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Website Review: MamaBargains.com

Have you heard about mamabargains.com? A couple times a day the site posts various, really hip, baby/children's products at deep (50%-80%) discounts. I love it!

You have to be sure to check the site a few times a day as quantities are limited, but that makes the shopping all the more fun! Continuously updated bars on the side of the page let you know when a product is running low. Check it out!

Update: Follow Mama Bargains on Twitter HERE and you'll be updated when new products go on sale. :)

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Store Review Part Deux: Woodbury Common

Mamas, Woodbury Common was a nightmare yesterday! The grounds were crowded, there were wars over the seats in the food court, there were 40-min-long lines to get into the top stores (Coach, Ugg, Burberry, etc.) and it took us almost 2 hours to get out of the parking lot due to poor (meaning "no") traffic control.

If you are pregnant or have small children, you are really going to want to stay away from Woodbury on a holiday or other high-volume shopping weekend. I ended up really nauseous by the time I got home because I had been unable to eat anything other than a corn dog, bratwurst, and french fries on the go the entire trip. (It would have been smart of me to bring snacks, but hindsight is 20/20 of course.)

People are also just ridiculously rude--New York City morning subway rush rude--on sale days at Woodbury. They push you, don't watch their children who run smack into you, let doors slam in your face/on your stroller, and, worst of all, a woman came up to a friend of ours and her baby and complained that she shouldn't have her child out amongst the germs. Seriously? We're already cranky, lady. Don't make us crankier.

Also, if you have a small child, you are going to want to bring all of their weather gear. It seems like the outlets are in a vortex and the wind was really rough on our friends 3-mo-old.

Despite all of this nonsense, and the fact that I didn't buy anything because the stores were too full, it was great to see my cousins. I'll probably even venture to Woodbury again, but next time I'll bring snacks and a winter coat (it was so chilly), will park right near the exit, and will go on a weekday!

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Store Review: Woodbury Common Outlets in Central Valley has no Maternity!



The Woodbury Common Outlet Center in Central Valley is a nice day trip at just under an hour and a half driving from south Queens. You can usually find some great deals at stores from the Gap to Coach, but apparently none of the stores at Woodbury carry maternity clothing!

Ugh, I'm headed there this Sunday with cousins and I really wanted to buy a pair of leggings for fall layering (a necessity to extend the life of your summer dresses) and some pantyhose for the wedding I'm going to next week. I'm certain to have fun browsing through purses, shoes and housewares, but I'm just kind of bummed I won't be able to get my stockings--and no way am I squeezing into non-maternity hose!

Sigh. Just a heads-up for you mamas heading up to Woodbury. You'll be able to get some cute accessories--and maybe even purchase some larger sizes or some empire-waisted styles to supplement your wardrobe--but you won't be able to buy anything specifically made for maternity.

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Our First Birth Preparation Class at LIJ

We attended our first Preparation for Childbirth class last night at Long Island Jewish and it was pretty much what I expected it to be--a mixture of both really great info and a really scary birth video! Our class leader, LIJ nurse Brenda, was great, though, and turned a blind eye to the many groans and giggles coming from the four couples in her class.

We started off by discussing how far along we were and our greatest birth fears. We then went over some of the discomforts of late pregnancy and what we and our partners could do to alleviate them (massages please!)

We also discussed the three things we all needed to do before we reached 36 weeks:
  1. Pack TWO hospital bags. The first should be a small bag with only the things you will need while in labor--a toothbrush and toothpaste, hair ties, a lollipop to keep your mouth from getting too dry (no tootsie roll pops allowed!), things to occupy you between contractions (an iPod, book, etc.), cell phone, your focal point for Lamaze, etc. The second bag should contain your overnight items and baby's first outfit and should be kept in your car until after delivery.
  2. Find a pediatrician. Ask your friends, OB/GYN, or insurance company for recommendations. You'll want to have a pediatrician before you go into labor so that you can take the baby in for his first checkup soon after.
  3. Get a car seat and learn how to install it properly. LIJ hosts free car seat check-up events. Click HERE for more info. The next sessions are 10/17, 11/8, and 11/14. You can also call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 888-327-4236 or visit their website HERE to find a certified car seat technician nearby who can help you out.
Following a quick snack and restroom break, we headed back into the classroom to watch the first 20 minutes of a video about childbirth, which scared the pants off of everybody! Our instructor then discussed the signs of labor and had us finish up the class with some deep breathing on our floor mats (you should bring a mat and two pillows).

Next Wed, we are going to take a tour of the maternity ward, which I'm really looking forward to. All of the labor and delievery rooms are private, but the recovery rooms have 2 to 5 beds (unless you want to pay $565 out of pocket per night for a private suite!) You do get to stay in the L&D for at least an hour after birth, though. Also, your baby stays with you 24/7 at LIJ, unless you want to send him to the nursery. I am very pleased about this!

Next week we'll also watch more of that darling video and discuss medical interventions (epidural, c-sections, etc.)

While the class costs a pricey $190 for 3 sessions and a breastfeeding class, I would definitely recommend it if you can't find something cheaper in your area. We had a good experience and while my husband may be a bit more nervous, I"m feeling a bit more at ease! :)

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Got My Flu Shot at Walgreens

After my monthly checkup with Dr. Charnes, who did not believe my lame excuse that I wasn't getting too fat, I just had heavier clothes on, I received an email message from work--the hospital we are using ran out of flu vaccines already!! This sent me into a little bit of a panic because, my primary care doctor doesn't know when she's getting any in and a lot of the in-store pharmacies won't have their doses until mid-October. Eek!

So, I called up Walgreens on Eliot Avenue in Middle Village because I've been seeing the TV ads. They too had run out of the normal flu shots, BUT when I explained (calmly--a first for me!) that I was pregnant and frustrated that I couldn't find a shot even though I was considered "high risk," they said they DO have some preservative-free shots left over for pregnant ladies and to come right in!

Queen's mamas, if you are in the same predicament as me, rush on over to Walgreens at 8001 Eliot Ave! The pharmacist tells me that he has about 5 preservative-free vaccines left.

You can also try other Walgreens locations nearby, but be sure call first to make sure they have the vaccine. Click HERE for the store locator.

Good luck and be well!

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