at-home newborn photos

getting pictures of your newborn isn’t an easy task – especially when you have a certain time scheduled with a photographer

here’s some tips and tricks on how to do newborn photos at home – make sure baby is well fed and has a clean diaper

set a basket near a window and fill it with a chunky knit blanket. i linked a few options below. click on the picture to follow the link.

Set your iPhone on portrait mode an snap away 📸

download Lightroom on your iPhone to edit the photo – I used 123presets.com and downloaded the “Bright & Airy” preset pack – I applied v3 for the photo above

postpartum wardrobe

finding flattering clothing postpartum is hard – especially when you need breastfeeding friendly options – I put together a list of my favorite finds on amazon (click on the photo to follow the link)

Breastfeeding friendly rompers

runs true to size
order a size up

Comfy pj set

Belly support band

Buttery soft joggers

hospital bag essentials

Before I get to the nitty gritty details of my labor story (totally unplanned – with my water breaking at 36 weeks at 3AM) – I want to share my hospital bag because I definitely didn’t have much packed. Luckily, my husband was able to leave and come back to the hospital with all the things I forgot to pack. I’m only listing the things I actually used and I am also going to list what you DONT need.

Hospital bag essentials:

Matching robe and outfit for the baby

Honestly, you don’t even need the robe – I only put it on for pictures and took it right back off because I’d rather wear the hospital gowns and get them dirty rather than ruining mine) I got my matching robe and outfit at Caden lane – I also suggest getting a personalized swaddle blanket with baby’s name on it for announcement pictures.

Click on the photo for the link to the website

Phone charger with a long cord

Make sure you get a phone charger with a long cord so you can keep your phone charging next to you

Polaroid camera for pictures

I didn’t think I’d actually use this but it was the first thing my husband pulled out after she was here and I’m so happy we captured those moments

Snacks and drinks

I had my husband go out and get all the snacks and drinks that I was craving after labor. It included Dr. Pepper, Gatorade, waters, Doritos, pretzels, popcorn and starbursts. Because of Covid – only nurses could fill your water so it was nice to have my own stash in the room

Vitamins and medicine

Don’t forget to pack all your vitamins and medicine. If you’re breastfeeding it’s important to continue taking your prenatals. The hospital ended up prescribing me some prenatals the first day because I forgot mine at home.

Swaddles

This is something that we did not have but wish we did. The hospital I was at provided Halo swaddles (the tank top ones) and we ended up having to swaddle her arms down with the hospital blanket and she kept breaking out of it.

Bathroom/shower supplies

Be sure to pack body wash, toothbrush and toothpaste, face wash, lotion, etc. everything you think you’ll need to wash up on day 2.

Cheap slippers

These were so nice to have to walk around in. Don’t bring anything fancy, though. You can pick up germs in the hospital and may want to just throw them out after delivery.

Going home outfit

Remember, you’ll be in a diaper so bring something oversized and comfy. You’re literally just walking from the hospital to your car so no need to get anything fancy. I wore a large oversized T-shirt dress and it worked perfectly! I usually wear a small but got a large in this and it fit perfect and was only $12!

Breast pump

If you’re planning on breast feeding – be sure to bring your pump! The lactation consultant should come visit you every day and help you with how to use it. I went with the Spectra S1 and I love it! I did end up buying the Freemie cups after getting home because I want to be able to pump discretely. I haven’t gotten them yet so I can’t give an honest review but I can say that I’m very excited and heard great things! They’re compatible with all the following pumps AND HSA eligible!

  • Freemie Liberty and Independence
  • Ameda Purely Yours, Ameda Finesse
  • ARDO Calypso
  • BellaBaby Duo Pocket, Bellababy Duo Rechargeable
  • Evenflo Deluxe Advanced
  • Lucina Melodi Prime
  • Motif Luna
  • Philips Avent
  • Spectra M1, S1, S2, S1 Plus, S2 Plus, 9 Plus

Again, click on the pictures to follow the link to order!

What you DONT need:

– Perineal care: the hospital will provide ice packs, witch hazel wipes, dermaplast, diapers, pads and a squirt water bottle for cleaning down there. Be sure to ask for extras before you leave so you don’t have to run to the store right after getting discharged.

– Formula and bottles: the hospital will provide any formula, bottles, pacifiers that you may need

– Baby care: the hospital will provide diapers, wipes, clothes, hats, blankets, everything you need for the baby. We also asked to take a blanket home for the dogs and they let us do that

Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback below! This is an open forum and I welcome any other suggestions.

pregnancy skin care

I’ve been focused on clean skin care for a few years now so to be completely honest, not much has changed for me besides the inclusion of some bio oil & stretch mark lotion but I want to share it with y’all. As always, if you have specific questions consult a doctor but, in my case, all of these products have been cleared by my dermatologist office & OBGYN.

my routine:

Face wash: epionce gentle foaming cleanser

Toner: epionce balancing toner

Deodorant: crystal *UNSCENTED* – this is my holy grail natural deodorant and be sure to get the unscented version – adding scents basically eliminates the “all natural” disclaimer

Body lotion: I alternate between the epionce medical barrier cream and Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion (to be honest, I only alternate to make my medical barrier cream last longer because it’s kinda pricey)

Facial lotion: epionce enriched firming lotion – I have super dry sensitive skin so I use a small pea-sized drop of this every morning and it’s UH-mazing

Stretch mark prevention: I use the Palmer’s stretch mark lotion in the morning and Bio Oil in the evening. The Bio Oil can leave residue on your clothes so I save this for bed time.

Perfume: in my opinion, you should ditch all perfume period… especially while pregnant! I stick solely to Ambre Blends Solace and sometimes I switch up the scent to Ambre but this is all-natural essential oil safe for pregnancy!

car seat & strollers

As a first-time mom – car seat and stroller decisions can be overwhelming. They’re so many options, so many considerations and so much information that it makes it hard to focus. Also, one thing that I learned is that you HAVE to get an infant carseat if you want it to latch it into a stroller. Convertible carseats do not latch into strollers so you’d have to get the baby in and out of the car seat every time you want to transfer him/her into a stroller… and who wants to do that? Also, another thing to consider… if you plan on having kids back to back – I would suggest a system that accommodates two kids. The Evenflo Pivot Travel System I mention at the end of this post has a great double stroller option!

A few things i knew FOR SURE that I wanted was:

1.) a bassinet stroller so i can push baby girl around the neighborhood without strapping her in

2.) an EASY, lightweight, travel-friendly and SAFE infant carseat/stroller combo to use up to approx. 1 year that I don’t have to buckle her in and out of every time we get out of the car

3.) not spend an absurd amount of money

With these things in mind – I started my search.

What we decided on – the Doona AND the Graco Modes Bassinet stroller. These two options together cost $700 and they’re the best of both worlds.

I chose the Doona stroller mainly because of the safety ratings and convenience it provides with travel. Not to mention that you DO NOT need a base for this carseat, therefore you can travel without a base, and grandparents don’t need a base either if they need to take the baby somewhere. The wheels are already attached so you don’t need to connect the carseat to a stroller and you can basically avoid waking the baby when getting him/her in and out of the car. Only downside to these is that if you want storage, you have to buy a storage bag, we also bought the 360 Protection cover to extend the shade because its rather small. See below for more information:

https://www.shopdoona.com/products/doona-car-seat-stroller?variant=16385811546163

We also chose the Graco Modes Bassinet Stroller so that I could easily take her on walks around the neighborhood without having to buckle her in and out of it. This also turns into a toddler stroller so it will last a long time and if we want an extra carseat we can buy a rather cheap Graco model to snap in. You can purchase on amazon for $199: https://www.amazon.com/Graco-Modes-Bassinet-Stroller-Cutler/dp/B07N3CK9GW/ref=sr_1_2?crid=305TGP62P7UOX&dchild=1&keywords=graco+modes+bassinet+stroller&qid=1593450115&s=baby-products&sprefix=graco+modes+bassin%2Cbaby-products%2C174&sr=1-2

Eventually, you will need a convertible carseat but you don’t really need this until baby grows out of their infant carseat around a year old. However, we still added this to our registry so that we could have it. We decided on the Clek Fllo with the anti-rebound bar mainly because of safety ratings and reviews. This will last her a long time and isn’t overly expensive. Albee baby actually has Capri blue color on sale for $299 right now. Follow the link below:

https://www.albeebaby.com/clek-fllo-convertible-car-seat-fl19u1-capri.html

Initially, I thought I was SET on the Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System. It met ALL of our needs and for only $279 – it really can’t be beat (see below). It turns into a bassinet, has a safe carseat and then also coverts to a toddler stroller so it will last. the only downside was that the bases are REQUIRED and cost $60 for extras (therefore the grandmothers would have to spend $60 to have bases for their cars). Again, not a bad option and honestly, if you want to go for the most cost-effective – this is the best option. We tested it out in Target and it was a little difficult latching the carseat into the stroller but other than that this is a great option. Follow this link to purchase from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Modular-Travel-System-Sandstone/dp/B071VHBYX8

If you have any questions about any of the information I provided please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.

bringing up bébé

bringing up bébé

Parenting and baby books aren’t the most thrilling to read – and I LOVE to read. I just finished Bringing Up Bébé and Pamela Druckerman does a fantastic job at comparing and contrasting parenting between French and American parents. I highly suggest reading the book and especially the buying the version with “Bébé Day by Day” that includes 100 keys to French Parenting.

Below I’m sharing some of my biggest takeaways from the book. Keep in mind – I am paraphrasing and not writing word for word. These are just my interpretations of the teachings.

  • During pregnancy, French women don’t follow strict diet/eating changes – they tend to eat the same
  • Very few women in France have natural births and its not viewed differently/negatively
  • French parents do not ‘over-parent’ – they do not provide their children with near as much attention that American parents do
  • Sleep schedules:
    • In France, they focus on teaching parents more about human sleep schedules. For example, babies have 2 hour sleep cycles and therefore they may tend to wake up and fuss every two hours until they learn this pattern. Adults also have 2 hour sleep cycles but we’ve conditioned ourselves to ‘sleep through’ these cycles. French parenting suggests that we let babies fuss for a little when they’re in between their cycles to teach them not to wake up every 2 hours.
    • French parenting suggests that parents do not feed right before bed. Babies will get accustomed to feeding and sleeping and therefore can fall into a vicious cycle.
    • French parenting suggests that once a child is 2-3 months old, you do not feed them between midnight and 5am so that they learn how to sleep through the night without constant feedings.
    • At 4 months, the first time they wake throughout the night and wont get back to sleep – give them a pacifier and let them figure out how to fall back to sleep
  • Feeding
    • If breastfeeding, French parents suggests that you do not give the baby a pacifier for the first 2-3 weeks so that the baby gets comfortable with the nipple
    • Most French parents have their babies on a strict schedule by the time the baby is 4 months old. Most babies are sleeping through the night and feeding at 8am, 12pm, 4:30pm and 8pm
    • “Dr. Bitoun says that in his years of campaigning for breastfeeding, he’s found that French mothers generally aren’t won over by the health arguments involving IQ points and secretory IgA. What does persuade them to nurse, he says, is the claim that both they and the baby will enjoy it.”
    • “Many French mothers would surely like to breastfeed longer than they do. But they don’t want to do it under moral duress or flaunt it at two-year-olds’ birthdays. Powdered milk may be worse for babies, but it no doubt makes the early months of motherhood a lot more relaxing for French moms.”
    • French women breastfeed on average for 3 months and there is no shame associated with this.
    • Why do French children eat so well? (According to the Commission Menu’s in Paris)
      • “Lesson number one is that there’s no such thing as “kids’ food.””
      • “The commission’s second lesson is the importance of variety.”
      • “Another driving principle of the Commission Menus is that if at first kids don’t like something, they should try it repeatedly.”
  • French parenting is strict on teaching patience. They suggest using the ‘pause method’ and not immediately reacting to a baby fussing/crying. Let the baby fuss and cry for a little before you tend to them.
  • French philosophy for development is the ‘awakening’ – which allows young children to ‘awake’ and ‘explore’ and ‘discover’ rather than pushing young children to learn their ABC’s, etc right away. The argument is that children will learn when they’re ready and this is the only time in their life when they aren’t in school and therefore should be given grace to experience an ‘awakening’ of their own
  • Daycare is viewed very differently in France – in France, childcare is provided and almost all families put their kids in daycare starting at a young age. They are not ashamed/worried and they actually really enjoy this freedom.
  • “In America, it’s accepted that when you have kids, your time is not your own. The kids need to understand that they’re not the center of attention. They need to understand that the world does not revolve around them.”
  • “French parents mean something different than American parents do when they call themselves “strict”. They mean that they’re very strict about a few things and pretty relaxed about everything else. That’s the cadre model: a firm frame, surrounding a lot of freedom.”
    • “”We should leave the child as free as possible, without imposing useless rules on him,” Francoise Dolto says in The Major Stages of Childhood. “We should leave him only the cadre of rules that are essential for his security. And he’ll understand from experience, when he tries to transgress, that they are essential, and that we don’t do anything just to bother him.” In other words, being strict about a few things makes parents seem more reasonable and thus makes it more likely that children will obey.”
  • French women focus strictly on exercise and getting their bodies back in shape at the 3 month postpartum mark. One woman’s example of dieting postpartum is that she pays strong attention to her diet and appetite Monday-Friday (no bread) and then eats whatever she wants on the weekend.

anatomy scan during COVID-19

anatomy scan during COVID-19

I went to my anatomy scan today alone. I was greeted in the hospital by 3 nurses in masks screening everyone that came in and giving those that passed the screen a piece of paper allowing them to enter.


During the ultrasound, I recorded videos for my husband to see since he wasn’t allowed to come with me. There was a heavy energy all around yet the doctor and I tried to keep it light. We tried to talk about when I should come back but we both knew that the next appointment wasn’t guaranteed.


We talked about struggling with depression and anxiety and ways to cope during this time. She acknowledged that this is a hard time for everyone and not to be discouraged and praised me for recognizing my symptoms.
It was all so heavy.


I’m sad for my husband not being able to experience this special moment with me.


I’m sad for all the women whose fertility treatments have been cancelled or delayed.


I’m sad for all the pregnant women who have to take phone appointments in place of office visits.

I’m sad for all the pregnant women being triaged alone.

I’m sad for all the families that won’t get to experience their first grandchild being born.

I’m sad for the NICU parents who are only allowed one parent visiting at a time.

I’m sad there are no guarantees for spouses to be present during c-sections due to the lack in PPE.

I’m sad for all the dads that have to miss all the well being checkups and miss hearing the heartbeat.

I’m sad for the families and friends who can’t meet the new baby or only able meet them through a glass window.


Today hit hard and I’m sorry for all those that are struggling during this time. It’s scary, unpredictable and emotional.


Last but certainly not least, I want to thank those who are on the front lines doing the necessary work to support all of us.

Hopefully this will all be over soon and we come out of this healthier, more educated and connected than ever before. Much love 💕

endometriosis & me

endometriosis & me

In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month – I’m taking the time to teach you about endometriosis and open up about my diagnosis and struggle

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is an often painful condition where cells similar to the ones which line the uterus grow on other parts of the body, attaching itself to other pelvic and abdominal organs causing scarring, lesions, adhesions and cysts. Endometriosis growth follows the pattern of the menstrual cycle causing very painful cycles along with the following other common symptoms: severe pelvic cramping, heavy bleeding, infertility, pain during sex, painful ovulation, urination and bowel pain, constant fatigue, bleeding/pain between periods, digestive problems, periods lasting longer than 7 days and ovarian cysts.

Why is endometriosis awareness important?

Endometriosis awareness is important because it is often considered the largest women’s health crisis of our time. Let me share with you some staggering statistics:

  • More than 1 in 10 women (176+ Million worldwide) are affected by endometriosis
  • 8-10 years is the average wait time for diagnosis
  • 2-3 times higher risk if a close relative has it
  • 10 hrs/week in lost productivity per women
  • $119 BILLION annual US economic loss
  • 30-50% infertility rate

Sources: The Endometriosis Foundation of America, CNBC, womenshealth.gov, endometriosis.org

My Story

Originally, back in 2012, I was diagnosed with what they thought was PCOS. PCOS is a hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. When looking at ultrasound images, PCOS and endometriosis looks nearly the same. At that moment, without a blood test to confirm whether my condition was really PCOS vs. Endometriosis, I was prescribed 1500mg of metformin to treat PCOS. But something didn’t seem right. I was feeling more fatigued, I was losing weight rapidly, I had major digestive issues and some days I felt delirious. I kept calling my doctors office to confirm my dosage of medicine to ensure that I was supposed to be on it (without monitoring my blood sugar levels) and they kept telling me yes, and explaining to me that 90% of women with PCOS are insulin resistant so I just need to continue taking my medicine as prescribed.

About a year and a half into treatment for PCOS, I had lost nearly 25 pounds, was nauseous almost every day and had severe stomach pain. Two days later, I was in the hospital with pancreatitis, a severe life-threatening condition, caused by the glumetza (brand name of metformin) and was immediately asked to discontinue my medicine.

Within two weeks of discontinuing glumetza, my white blood cell count was back to normal and I was slowly gaining weight back (something that I physically could not do before even when I tried).

I ended up switching doctors, going to see a reproductive endocrinologist who decided that an exploratory laparoscopic surgery was our best bet. With that, we discovered that I actually had endometriosis and did not have PCOS (which explains why I was so sick while on glumetza).

Struggling with infertility

One of the most unfortunate symptoms of endometriosis is infertility and something that I struggled with the past two years. After a year of trying to conceive (TTC), I followed all the correct fertility protocols, including one of the most painful procedures that I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, the hysterosalpingogram aka ‘the bubble test’. It was between this, and getting another exploratory laparoscopic surgery to make sure my fallopian tubes weren’t blocked.

An X-ray hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is the traditional method for testing a woman for fallopian tube blockage. This technique, introduces a dye into the uterus before generating an X-ray of the patient’s body.

The bubble test came up negative and I had zero blockage – which was a good thing, right? To be honest, I was a little devastated and even more confused as to why I couldn’t get pregnant. After this, my husband ended up getting tested and everything checked out okay – so why were we having so much trouble?

We eventually sought out treatment and tried a low dose of chlomid, which ended unsuccessful. We then upped the dosage of chlomid the following month, which I completely hyperstimulated and developed 24 follicles (eggs) that eventually ruptured and filled with blood. So here I was again, in the hospital with severe pain, internal bleeding with zero answers. After about 3 months of recovering from residual cysts and being put back on birth control to get rid of them, we tried femara. With femara, I had about 6 healthy follicles, but again, no luck. We continued with femara for a couple more months, adding progesterone suppositories to the mix because of my thin lining and an HCG shot to release the eggs at the correct time. Still….. no luck. At this point, I was completely devastated, still confused and had no real answers to why I couldn’t get pregnant. I was at a loss. After this, the fertility doctor wanted to try a ‘combination’ treatment and suggested that we do an IUI but honestly, I was so devastated and I needed a break.

Fertility treatment happens so fast. One month you think you’re on the right track, excited, everything is going right and then you get the phone call that your blood pregnancy test is negative. Immediately after the negative outcome, the doctor will begin talking about what is next, when to come back again, when to start the new drugs…. without really giving you time to process why the last month didn’t work. The process happens this way mainly because you typically start medical treatment on cycle day 3, giving you only 3 days to process that your miracle didn’t come and that you have a new treatment protocol starting in two days. This process was hard for me to follow. It was almost like I needed a month in between each treatment to just process the fact that it didn’t work.

Because of these devastating months of pins, needles, drugs, scans, etc. I needed a break. My husband and I decided to spend the next few months focusing on our health both mentally and physically. We decided to try a vegetarian diet and within two months of this new diet – WE WERE PREGNANT!!!!! (I’m not claiming that going vegetarian will work for you and it could not have had anything to do with our situation – we will never know – but it happened) We seriously couldn’t believe it. We found out mid-week on a trip to Jamaica and were completely shocked. And I was equally as bummed that I could no longer partake in unlimited boozing, haha.

All of this news was so exciting but, if you know me you wont be surprised that I immediately got scared and worried that my progesterone levels were too low because of my past struggles and knew that low progesterone levels would most likely result in a miscarriage so I called my OBGYN asking for a blood progesterone test to make sure my levels were okay. My levels were at a 12 and they like them to be at 16 so I was put on 200mg of oral progesterone per day for the first trimester and every day I prayed that things would follow through.

During this pregnancy, I struggled with random spotting, which is absolutely terrifying, but after week 15 it seemed to subside and everything was fine every time I frantically ran to the hospital for a scan. (THANK GOD)

Today I am 17 weeks and 4 days with a healthy baby girl 🕊

Moral of my story is – against all odds – don’t give up. Stay strong through your struggles, remember that we all have a fighting chance and it’s okay to step back and give yourself some time both mentally and physically to recover from the tough months. Everyone’s story is unique and it’s okay to give yourself time to process your situation before quickly moving into something you’re not sure of.

my first blog post

my first blog post

Who Am I?

The question of who I am seems to be the simplest one can answer. However, when you take the time to really figure out who you are, it takes time and a lot of critical thinking. In general, the answer to this question is that i’m a regular person who loves spending quality time with myself and others that I appreciate. I’m a stereotypical type A personality who loves focusing on tasks and goals and I dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur. However, there are so many other things that make me who I am and I will spend most of my time on this blog opening up to you and sharing with you intimate details about who I am.

Why am I blogging?

I am taking the first step to becoming an entrepreneur by sharing my story of leaving my project manager job in corporate America, starting my own brand, while also becoming a first time mother (baby girl due in August 2020). I’ve always been afraid of failure, afraid of starting something new and getting out of my comfort zone but I’ve finally built up enough courage to go after this new journey of mine.

What is this blog focused on?

To be completely candid – I have the mind of a squirrel – always jumping around to whatever is the flavor of the day. I want this blog to have the flexibility that I need to share with you random information but I also want to primarily focus on becoming a stay at home mother working vigorously to create a life that I love while pursuing my dreams to be a successful brand owner.

How to follow me?

To follow me and all my topics – subscribe below by entering your email address. You will be notified of each post. I can’t wait for you to follow me along this journey!

welcome to the mommyist

Welcome to the launch of my new blog – the mommyist – and my first blog post! My name is Danielle Bonaventura, located in Carmel, IN. I initially created this blog because I am beginning my journey as a stay at home mom and want to share every detail of it with you! I want to start by first telling you why I created this blog, what you will be seeing more of in my posts, and my overall experience of becoming a mother!

why I started my blog

  • I’ve been a healthcare focused project manager living in the corporate world for over 6 years and now couldn’t be a more perfect time to shift my focus to something more creative, fun and out of my element!
  • I want to share my journey becoming a stay at home blogger mom with you and offer advice, insight and coping mechanisms on how to fight your fears of starting your own business
  • I want this blog to be a judgement free zone where new moms can share their feelings, stories, struggles and excitement

what you will be seeing more of in my posts

Transitioning out of corporate America and my journey into motherhood will be the primary focus of my blog, but get ready because you will be seeing more of the face behind The Mommyist, and a mixture of lifestyle including my favorite finds, products and tips and tricks for staying focused as a blogger and a soon-to-be mother. Writing has never been a strong suit of mine and I will tell you, I am no expert on any of this. I figure this will be a lot of trial and error, patience and persistence so please bear with me and always share your advice and communicate with me along the way! And last but certainly not least, I hope to inspire you because truthfully, you all inspire me and I am very much looking forward to bringing you along on this journey.