Baby Update | 3 Months

Baby Three Month Statistics

Weight: 12 pounds, exactly

Height: 20 inches

This guy is THREE MONTHS already! Little boy is exactly that–a little boy! He just hit the 12 pound mark, on December 20th, and so far has barely grown in length. He’s still fitting into most 0-3 month clothes comfortably, with few exceptions. Even though he doesn’t gain weight very fast, he LOVES (I can’t emphasize this enough) LOVEShis bottle and screams when it’s empty!

His hair is still very dark, but is thinning out considerably. He looks like a little, balding old man. I LOVE IT! Those lovely little bald spots are because he’s sleeping about a 7-9 hour stretch at night, smiling like crazy, and is trying to laugh. His hands and feet are moving constantly and he’s finding his voice with little baby shrieks! 

While he is MUCH happier than he was at his last update, he still can scream and cry like no other when he’s tired, overwhelmed, or his GERD flares up. He still has spit up episodes, but they have decreased significantly and we couldn’t be happier and more excited for him!

Postpartum Update | 3 Months

Holy…I don’t even know what! This week has gotten away from me and we are less than 4 days from Christmas. Today, we’ve hit the 3 months postpartum mark and there are so many changes!

Every postpartum update is going to follow the same format as the first check-in. We’ll discuss mental health, feedings/scheduling, my weight, and exercise routine. Let’s get started because I’m writing this with less than an hour left of nap time!  

Mental health

At the end of the month I was trying to establish a routine with my cognitive behavioral therapist and was excited to get started. Unfortunately, scheduling was really tricky, I got overwhelmed and stopped trying to schedule appointments. 

I do know that I just need to commit to a day and time, but there are just so many variables. I also need to find a time where only I go because Baby is just too much of a distraction. A good distraction, but one none-the-less. 

Overall, I think I’m doing well–some days better than others with one exception. I am CRAVING some alone time. Trying to find that time where it’s just me (no housework, people, appointments, dogs, or other obligations) is damn near impossible right now. I either want to nap, clean, cook, or need to pay bills and make phone calls.

Finally, on Wednesday, I decided to take a Pilates class on a whim. I feed the baby his dinner time feeding handed him off to dad and left the house from 1830 to 2030.  It took everything in me to not fall asleep in the class, but I came back home feeling a bit out of breath and refreshed! I really think taking that time on Wednesday night made Thursday so much more enjoyable.

Feedings/Schedule

It has officially been six weeks since we stopped breastfeeding. I’m starting to feel more and more like my old self. The bottle-feeding has allowed me to get out of the house more, enjoy that time with Baby more, and sleep more. 

We are working through the Baby Wise book (it’s truly been a god-send) on a modified schedule which has helped increase his weight, sleep times, and our sanity!

We also switched from Avent Natural bottles to Dr. Brown’s Anti-colic and Reflux bottles a few weeks ago. He is SUCH a different baby. He burps easily and is spitting up less. He enjoys eating, now. He’s gaining weight. He’s, most importantly, SO happy!

Weight

When we went from breast to bottle-feeding, I continued to lose a few pounds without changing my diet. Then, the holiday parties hit (read: alcohol consumption increased). I have gained about 4 pounds back and am in desperate need to make changes. The tough thing with that, though, is that I get so discouraged and defeated.  It’s a nasty cycle that I need to put an end to.

I am, also, still pretty swollen. My feet, hands, and face are still carrying a decent amount of weight that will hopefully disappear once I really start committing to changes.

Exercise

As far as exercise goes, I haven’t even come close to meeting my minimum goals that I set for myself in the previous postpartum update. Even though I am sleeping more, I am still SO exhausted all the time. The hardest thing for me during the week, is choosing to work out instead of trying to maintain the house/household. 

Around the 8-9 week mark, I found out that my pelvic floor and muscles are VERY weak and strained. I can’t go from laying to sitting, rolling side-to-side is difficult, and squatting is IMPOSSIBLE. My doctor has referred me to a female, reproductive physical therapy specialist.  I start on December 27 and fingers crossed working with her does the trick and allows me to workout, lose weight, and gain energy!

Because I am still wanting to be held accountable, I am going to leave my goals right here, for all to see.

Weekly Minimums
Pilates class — once a week (50 minutes)
Walking at the indoor track (with baby) — once a week (30 minutes)
Beachbody workout — once a week (30 minutes) 

Miscellaneous

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I’d be uttering the following sentence. Compression wear is my best friend! I’ve been wearing compression postpartum “jeans”, compression leggings and tights, belly wraps, and compression socks. If it has the word “compression” you can bet that I’ll be buying it!

Lastly, and one of my most annoying issues to deal with is my hair loss and nails breaking. I am losing SO MUCH hair and now have a lovely balding spot at the top left side of my head. (YAY!) It’s actually getting to the point that I’ve contemplated getting Rogaine for Women. We’ll see what I decide to do with that. Then, there are those pesky nails. They will grow quickly and then snap right off or spilt down the middle. I miss my pregnancy nail growth! 

It is now time for me to end this post. The baby is waking up and I still have to make his bottle! But, hey, I wrote this in under 45 minutes!

How has your postpartum time been? What’s been really easy and what’s been incredibly difficult?? Let’s talk in the comments!

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

Holiday Preparation | Christmas Decorations

Oh, the holidays! What a hectic, overwhelming, yet wonderful time!

All of the sudden, we are days away from Christmas. This post is almost 2 weeks late. The tree was just assembled. There are no holiday cookies. It’s the most relaxed holiday season we’ve had. It’s great!

This post is all about the interior decorations! Let’s get started!

Entry Way

The floral arrangement is all from Hobby Lobby. The multi-color light tree we got last year at the Post Exchange. The ornaments are the clay ornaments from the kiosk in the mall. We get one every year to represent the last 12 months. Everything else has been a gift.

Living and Dining Area

Our tree is a seven-and-a-half foot, Virginia Slim lit tree, from Target. The ornaments and placemats are all from Target, too. Santa, stockings, candies, and the table center piece are from King Soopers.  Accent pillows are from Amazon.

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In keeping with the Fall Decor, we keep it pretty simple here. Its cute and the cleanup/transition to the next season is very easy. What do your decorated areas look like?

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Update | Postpartum

Oh man! This postpartum thing is NO joke and not at all what I was anticipating. In some ways it was better than I thought and in other ways it has been so complicated and hard.

Mental Health

Starting off, I was very on edge. With baby being in the NICU, having complications, breastfeeding, and lack of sleep, I don’t think it would have been any different for anyone else.

After a few weeks of crazy emotions, everything started to settle just a little bit and that anxiety was slowly subsiding. There have been a few flare ups (mainly around his feeding),  but overall much better than I was anticipating. It’s amazing what a small little pill named Zoloft has done to help me.

I’m starting to get back into my cognitive behavioral therapy and will be working on stopping thoughts before they manifest into anxiety, panic attacks, and uncontrollable worry.

Breastfeeding

When Michael was first born, we had to feed him multiple times and ways within one feeding session. Breast to pumped bottle to formula bottle. Moving out of the hospital and into week 2 of his life, we moved to a breastfeeding session and a formula bottle within one single feeding. It would take almost 90 minutes to complete a full feeding and was exhausting!

Then he developed GERD and a milk protein allergy. We had to find new feeding positions for both breast and bottle, change formula, and I had to come off of ALL diary. I was off dairy for 4 weeks. I went from being able to pump 5 ounces in 15-20 minutes to getting less than an ounce in a 30 minute session. The baby was starving, which explained why he was requiring more formula, and I was starving, exhausted, and feeling sick all the time. The day we hit 6 weeks, I decided to stop nursing. It was hands-down THE hardest and best decision I have made.

I’m glad I tried it, but I’m happier it’s over. Feedings went from 90 minutes to 20-30 minutes (we are still dealing with GERD).  We are getting out more, I’m feeling better,  we are both sleeping better. Again, hands-down the best decision!

Weight

This has been the hardest thing about the pregnancy and postpartum journey. I gained A LOT of weight. The day I was induced, I weighed 218 pounds. I gained 65 pounds in the 10 months being pregnant. That number doesn’t count the 18 pounds that I had gained while we we trying to conceive (medications) and going through the miscarriages.

My weight has always been an issue, and source of anxiety, for me. Growing up, I couldn’t maintain a steady weight until I hit college. I started to gain weight during our first pregnancy and kept the few pounds that I had gained. It was great! Then our pregnancy journey started, and because of the medications, bedrest, and inability to exercise I started to gain weight and struggled to get it off.

As of yesterday (Tuesday for me), I was 192 pounds. That’s a 26 pound loss in 10 weeks. Twenty-five of which I lost in the first 5 weeks. I’ve bounced between 188 and 192 in the last 4 weeks, so the hard work of losing the weight is starting! My goal is to lose as much as I can of the 65 pounds by March/April. The six month mark. It’s such a daunting number, those 39 pounds, but I’m determined to get it off.

Exercise

Pre-pregnancy and conception journey, I was working out 6 days a week. I’d leave every workout drenched and LOVED how I felt and looked. I was doing a mix of Beachbody workouts, spin classes, Barre classes, yoga classes, and interval training classes. During our conception journey, I had to scale back intensity, amount, and workout types. Then with each pregnancy, I had to stop for different lengths (depending on the pregnancy). For my successful pregnancy, I could only walk and even that was brief exercise at best.

At the 6 week mark, I was released and allowed to start working out. I still had stitches and needed to be aware of what I was doing, but starting out slow and progressing was a-ok! I was both ready to get moving and TERRIFIED to officially start.

From week 6 to 8, I walked with the baby in a stroller. We slowly increased our time and distance from a 5 minute walk around our block to a 20 minute (1 mile) walk. At the 9 week mark, I started to add in a Beachbody workout in. My goal was to do a work out twice a week. To be honest, that’s been a little more challenging to commit to because I can find a million and one things to do around the house during his naps.

This past Saturday, at the 10 week mark, I tried an Intro Into Pilates class. I ended up signing up for a 4 class package and committed to going once a week. That’s now my designated hour of me time and dad and baby get to bond alone!

So here is my plan, and I want to be held accountable! I’m writing down and committing to a minimum number for several reasons. One, I need to be realistic. Two, if I hit the goal exactly, I’ll feel accomplished. Three, if I exceed the goal (by times per week or by minutes per workout), I’ll be able to mark that progress. Lastly, and fourth, I’ll be able to slowly increase my minimums without getting crazy.

Minimums

Pilates class — once a week (50 minutes)

Walking at the indoor track (with baby) — twice a week (30 minutes)

Beachbody workout — once a week (30 minutes)

All that to say this postpartum time period is proving that my ability to control things is minimal…at best. It’s, also, teaching me (constantly) how to be kind to and how to give myself grace in this long process.

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

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Holiday Preparation | Thanksgiving Decorations

Here goes Round Two!

I published this exact post a week ago today and for some reason the whole thing was deleted. I’m not sure what happened, so if you read this already…thanks for visiting again. If you missed out last week, you’re in luck!

Points to note:

Everything I have was either gifted to me from family or purchased by me.

This has taken 5 years to accumulate.

All, but one set of pillows were purchase on sale.

I like to keep things simple. This makes decor changes and transitions fast and easy!

Let’s dive right in!

Living Room

These pillows are from a hodgepodge of stores. Home Goods. Hobby Lobby. Post Exchange (Fort Gordon, GA).

The blanket is from Arhaus.

Entryway

My entry was area is another collective sight. King Soopers. Hobby Lobby. Target.

Dining Room

This center piece was very simple to put together, but screams fall and Thanksgiving to me! King Soopers. Hobby Lobby. Target (Dollar Spot).

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The Final Performance | Labor and Delivery

And here we are! I can NOT believe that I’m finally here writing this post with a soon-to-be eight week old baby sleeping in his crib! This seemed like an impossible dream for YEARS and now, here we are…

Before we get started, you may want to go back to the Third Trimester Recap to get a better understanding/refresher of what was happening. Also, keep in mind that this post is as much for me as it is meant for you all. This is a way for me to look back in a couple of years when my memory is foggy…

This post will also be very word heavy, as I do not have many (read any) photos of this time.

Ok, ready? I hope you grabbed a cool glass of wine as we dive in!

On Monday (September 17, 2018), I went in to the doctor’s early for my 38 week appointment. Long story short, I left that appointment having scheduled my induction for Wednesday (September 19, 2018) at 1800. Induction Day came and that evening we made our way to the hospital! I was still having contractions and wasn’t feeling very good thanks to the preeclampsia. Because I continued to have contractions for months and I was feeling less than myself, I was very skeptical and hesitant as to how this whole labor process would go.

At 1845, after checking in and settling into our room, I was checked. I had not progressed anymore since the 36 week appointment–less than 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Not quite the starting point I was hoping for.

At 1930, we started our first round of Cytotec in hopes that it would thin the cervix and let labor progress. From then until Thursday (September 20, 2018) morning, I had 5–yes FIVE–rounds of Cytotec. This was the same medication that I had taken during each of my miscarriages, so I was expecting the cramping, backaches, nausea, and general discomfort. I wasn’t expecting all of the symptoms without any results. That’s right–No progression!

Thankfully, my doctor let me eat breakfast and lunch on Thursday! Unfortunately, for me, my body rejected it a short time later.

From the Cytotec, we moved to the Foley bulb. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a ballon that is inserted and attached to a catheter. It’s slowly inflated to help with dilating by applying pressure. OH MY GOD! That was incredibly painful. Almost more painful than the rest of labor. I couldn’t get out of bed, but I couldn’t stay still. I had such hard and fast contractions with almost no break in between. I couldn’t catch my breath or focus on anything. Finally, they were able to give me 2 rounds of Fentanyl. While I was hesitant to go on narcotics, it allowed me to go into a fog and relax briefly. I will forever be grateful to the nurse that suggested that option.

Finally, it was time to remove the bulb and check me again. We were now into LATE Thursday evening. At this point, I was almost at 2 cm dilated. Yeah, I moved 1 single centimeter. I lost it! I could not believe after all those contractions, all that pain, all the medications…there was no progression. I was already exhausted (physically and mentally), barely able to sleep, and I couldn’t move to get comfortable.

After removing the bulb, the doctor let me take a shower, move around, and sleep without interruption from 00:00 to 0230 Friday (September 21, 2018) morning. At 0300, we started Pitocin. We knew (really, we were desperately hoping) the Pitocin would push me over edge and we’d actually start progressing. Boy, did it! By 0500 I was 3+ cm dilated and ready for my epidural.

At this point, I had been laboring for 33 hours and was EXHAUSTED. I had gotten sick two or three times, was having horrible back labor, and was letting the medical team know that I was okay with and ready for a C-Section. In the beginning, the epidural left me itching and shivering like crazy. I broke through skin in a few places from scratching so much. After about an hour, the itchiness and shivering stopped and I was able to rest, on and off.

Sometime between the epidural and the pushing, the doctors attached internal monitors to the baby to get a more accurate reading of his stats. To this day, I still am not sure what the deciding factor(s) was.

Around 0800 I had progressed another 3 cm, leaving us at a 6+. At some point between these two times, my epidural got really low and needed to be replenished. By 1000, I had moved to a  8+  and around 1130, I was fully dilated and beyond ready to push. At 1421, after 3 hours of pushing, almost 44 hours of labor, 3 doctor shift-changes, and 4 nurse shift-changes, Michael William III arrived!

Our huge joy-filled moment quickly turned into deep dread and concern. Michael came out at 7 pounds 10 ounces, with a full head of dark hair. He also shares my maternal grandmother’s birthday, who passed away 10 years ago. He was deep blue in color, wasn’t crying, and was limp. When he finally did take a breath and let out a cry, he sounded like an exhausted, sick kitten. It’s a sound I’ll never forget.

Very quickly the NICU team swept him away and brought him to there area of the hospital to help him. He would take a breath and then would stop breathing. Apparently, it is fairly common in Colorado because of the altitude, but no one in any class or tour seemed to think that was important information to share. (Can you tell it makes me mad?!)

While that was happening, I was having complications of my own. My placenta would not detach. I was hemorrhaging like crazy, which was causing dizziness and confusion. I had a few second-degree tears that required many sutures. I needed Pitocin again, post delivery. After all that was dealt with, I was exhausted and passed right out for a few hours. 24 hours later another potential complication would arise–swelling and a potential blood clot. (Luckily(?), it was just a lot of swelling and there was no clot.)

When I woke up, the baby was still in the NICU. I was cleaned up, taken care of hygienically, and placed back in bed. My epidural was still very much in my system and I could not apply any pressure to my legs or move my toes. Apparently, there is a policy in place that does not allow the mother to enter the NICU until she can walk, assisted. After crying, having the husband and his parents go see our little baby and take photos for me, I was mad enough to fight my way into the NICU.

12 hours after giving birth, I was able to see and touch our little boy. He was hooked up to monitors and was trying to maintain his oxygen levels. 13 hours after giving birth, we were able to hold him! Oh what a feeling that was–exciting, terrifying…as much as I wanted to hold him, feel him, smell him, I wasn’t sure I could or should.

Ultimately, as we all know, everything turned out in our favor. He was discharged from the hospital 2 days later. After a large weight loss, many blue spells, high jaundice levels, and the uncertainty that came with it all, we have our baby! Home, safe, and healthy.

The doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff were great! They kept us in the loop, handled my anxiety riddled self with patience and kindness, and loved on my baby when I couldn’t.

My labor and delivery was nothing like I had imagined. I was expecting a faster delivery and birth process, doing skin-to-skin with my baby immediately, sharing our room with him…all the things everyone talks about. With that being said, nothing about our journey to baby was easy and this fit the mold with him. I would (and will) easily do that whole thing over again!

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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Labor & Delivery

  1. Getting an induction does not mean that baby will come sooner.

    I was in Labor for 44 hours and had 3 hours of pushing. If you’re interested in the Labor and Delivery Story, stay tuned it’ll be up next week!

  2. Time progresses so strangely.

    There were some periods during labor that sped by and others that dragged along. It was a mind-f for sure to have absolutely no concept of time.

  3. NICU nurses are THE BEST!

    Our son was a delayed transition baby who needed some extra help with breathing and oxygen. These nurses loved on him, helped us navigate breastfeeding and schedules, and kept us in the loop even when it was probably easier to not give us much thought.

  4. The epidural was my best friend during labor.

    During delivery, though, there is a HIGH chance that you are still going to feel every thing. I was not really prepared for feeling all the things during delivery.

  5. If you are allowed to eat during your induction, eat lightly.

    I was allowed to eat all day Thursday. I mainly ate soup and popsicles, but I did order some baked french fries from room service. Let’s just say that when labor got going, the fries didn’t stay. Mentally, for me, getting sick made labor worse. I felt physically weaker, defeated, and (for a short time) lost focus on the labor process.

  6. SLEEP!
    I don’t think I slept more than a couple of hours at a time, but those little catnaps were so helpful in making the initial stages of labels.

  7. Communicate with everyone.
    Talking with the nurses assigned to me was key in calming my fears and anxiety. They helped me get through tough parts of labor and postpartum. We had steps in place for different scenarios and I never felt that I my thoughts, concerns, etc. weren’t valid.

  8. Be flexible. It’s labor–things WILL NOT go according to plan.

    It doesn’t matter what your plan is…my birth plan consisted of “relax”, “walk around when possible”, “get epidural”, and “open to Emergency measures when necessary”. I thought I was ready to deal with everything and there were some points that I was more passionate on then I thought I was.  

  9. Use your people. They are there to help you–lean on them.

    I wanted to “stay strong” and “handle” labor and delivery. Oh boy, did I need to lean on my husband–mentally, physically, emotionally…

  10. If you can, soak in the time with your significant other/birthing partner before labor gets too crazy.

    Talk, laugh, watch tv, have fun in the last few moments before you welcome the little bundle! 

Wow, that’s it (that came out so fast as I sit here on the couch [11/6/18]! Those are the top 10 things that I wish I knew before stepping into Labor and Delivery. If you have something to add-on to any of these, let us know in the comments below! Let’s keep the conversation going!

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

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Coming Back! | Our New Schedule

I am coming back with live, up to date content on November 14, 2018! Set your alarms!

This is the last preplanned, prewritten blog post since Baby Boy has been born! The last 7 weeks of blog posts were all prewritten content–hello, preparation. This allowed me to focus on baby, while still allowing me to connect and build a relationship with all of you!

My plan is to still publish a post every Wednesday around 10:30AM and slowly start to see if I can up my writing by a post or two. For the most current information about posts, and life in general, you can follow me on Instagram.

I can’t wait to establish The Colorful Notebook’s new routine and connect in real time with you all again! Just bear with me as I’m still trying to figure out how this new-mom life and blogging fit together!

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Update | Meet the Baby | One Month | Mom and Baby

Happy Halloween!
I can’t believe we are at the end of October already!

All attention has been focused on this little babe and it has been great! Hard, but great! We’ve been getting to know each other and settling in as a new little family of 3–and introducing him to the two newest set of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles! Now, we are ready to officially introduce him to all of you!

If you are interested in, or need a quick refresher of, our journey to here, click me!
Click on the following links, if you’re interested in any of the Trimester Recaps (First, Second, or Third).
For the Labor and Delivery Story, stay tuned! That story will be published on November 14, 2018.
Until then, if you want a little more of a baby fix, come join us over on Instagram Stories!

Baby Birth Statistics

Name: Michael William, III
We aren’t sure what is nickname will be just yet. We do know that we would like to cut down on confusion as Grandpa, Dad, and he share the name and are all around each other quite frequently!

Birth Date and Time: September 21, 2018 at 1431

Weight: 7 pounds 10 oz

Height: 19 3/4 inches

Baby One Month Statistics

Weight: 8 pounds 6.6 oz

Height: 20 inches

At his one month date, he was still wearing newborn sized clothing and has TONS of dark hair! His eyes have gone from having hazel color to a deep blue.  He’s in between the newborn and size 1 diapers and squawks like a little dinosaur.

At the five and a half week mark, he is moving into 0-3 month clothing. They are still a bit big, but little boy is gaining weight!

This little guy has had a rough little start in his first month. A NICU stay because he was not breathing and could not keep his oxygen levels stable at birth. Then we had to go through jaundice therapy, blue spells, struggling to keep his weight up, GERD, and a milk protein intolerance/allergy. He’s a tough little guy who enjoys the baby sling, puppy kisses, stroller walks, the occasional swaddle, and being held upright!

Mom Postpartum Update

Weight: I struggle to admit it, but I weighed 218 pounds the morning I was induced. I was swollen, experiencing pre-eclampsia, and sick. Within 24 hours of giving birth, the swelling increased and (I assume) my weight did, too.

At the 2 week mark, I weighed 193.2 during the morning. At the 4 week mark, at the doctor’s office that afternoon, I weighed in at 194.4. I can NOT believe that within a month I lost almost 25 pounds. I especially can’t believe I’ve lost that without thinking about caloric intake or working out! I can’t wait to see what happens when I’m cleared for exercise.

Diet/Exercise: I have not done any exercising with the exception of a few family walks through the neighborhood. I have been using compression, postpartum jeans and leggings. When I’m not wearing them, I’m wearing the BellyBandit Original Belly Wrap at the recommendation of my doctor. I’m still getting used to wearing it and moving around, but am slowly starting to see results.

I have had to give up dairy, which is exceptionally hard, because we’re trying to rule out a milk protein allergy. I’m REALLY hoping that it doesn’t affect my supply too much and that we can continue on this journey.

Breastfeeding: I think I always assumed that I would produce enough for Baby to be satisfied and that it would be easy. During the day, we do just fine and he seems to be getting full. At night, however, I have to supplement the 2-3 feedings with a couple of ounces of formula. It’s a little discouraging, but him not going hungry is top priority!

I have also had to use a nipple shield almost from the get-go because of his bottle use during his NICU stay. This has been SO incredibly helpful!

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

If you came over from Instagram (hello!), let me know in the comments below!

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Baby Preparation | Maintaining Freezer Meal Organization | Part 4

One of the most challenging things I find is maintaining a system. Cleaning, cooking, starting a new habit…it doesn’t matter what it is, finding a practical way to maintain anything can be HARD!

It took a bit of trial and error, but I finally came up with a system that works for maintaining our pre-made freezer meals.

FM4

If you have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to this Freezer Meal prep work, you can go and get caught up with these two posts–Freezer Meals Part 1 and Freezer Meals Part 2.

I had a few guidelines that I was hoping to follow. This system needed to be simple, SUPER easy to use, and easy to find the items. With parents/family visiting, I want them to be able to utilize the system with very little (or no) guidance.

The first maintenance step actually started during the cooking and bagging process. I labeled every bag/container with the following:

Meal name
Ingredient/add-in instructions
Cooking instructions.

Each bag was then placed in the freezer with a bit of order. Going from left to right, and top to bottom we have

  • Breakfast muffins, egg scrambles, fried potatoes, waffles, English muffins
  • Lasagnas, chicken bakes
  • Cookie dough
  • Kung Pao chicken, stir fry kits, teriyaki salmon
  • Chili, Chicken soup kits, chicken soap broths
  • (In the basket) Taco, pizza, and fajita kits
  • Miscellaneous extras–bread, bacon, veggies, chicken breasts, etc.

Knowing what I had and the number of containers, I set about looking for an easy maintenance system.

After some trial and error, I came up with this simple, easy to use system.

A check-off list!

Every item is accounted for and each vertical line represents a bag or container. These lists are broken up into 3 sections.

Breakfast

Meals

Miscellaneous

It’s pretty simple. These lists sit taped to the top of the freezer, in a sheet protector. A dry erase marker sits near the lists to check things off as they are removed from the freezer and brought into the house. If you want a FREE printable version click here!

It isn’t a new state of the art system, but it’s simplicity and functionality work for this chaotic time!