5 Things The Baby Blogs Do Not Tell You About Life With A Newborn

Real Talk: A lot’s about to change and fast.  

You’re pregnant with your first child and counting down the days before their arrival. You can’t help but click on any and all articles about those early days of parenthood. You want to be prepared. You want to minimize surprises. No one wants to be blindsided, especially with a baby. Those articles you’re reading might be helpful but one glaring truth remains: there were some big omissions I noticed too late (i.e. after I had my baby). Have no fear. Compiled below are the top five things I would have liked to know and you’ll be glad you heard from me before your newborn arrives.

 

1) Breast milk will get everywhere

 

If you’re using formula, you can substitute the headline, but I’m certain the same truth holds up. Between my breasts having some quite literal growing pains in the early weeks and months following childbirth, and the need for pumping between feeds, breast milk had taken over my life. It will take over yours too. Plan for it, don’t be surprised by it, embrace it.

Also, embrace the white splotches and blotches all over the place. Seriously, just the other day, I stared at my tile wondering what could possibly be the cause of the faint but definitely creamy dried splatter trailing down the hall. Didn’t take long to remember a week or so before, I had to run upstairs mid-pump session to get my baby because he woke up from his ten minute nap. Where else have I found remnants of my liquid gold? The inside of my overnight duffle bag (no idea how it got there). In the fridge. Around the fridge. All over my clothes. The bathroom mirror. Kitchen countertop. A cutting board. Our mattress and bed frame. The nightstand. My cell phone. The steering wheel. You get the idea right?

And, if you’re like me, and cleaning takes a backseat during this time of constant learning, little sleep, and bonding, you’ll get used to these spots, splats, and splotches becoming permanent fixtures in your home. At least for an unforeseeable length of time.

2) TV will become your (new) best friend

Maybe you already know each other. You spend time together at the end of the night after a long day’s work, or you enjoy binge watching five seasons of your favorite show in one weekend together. Your television or cell phone, iPad, computer screen is not necessarily something new to you.

What will be new is your dependence on it and the frequency of your get-togethers after your baby arrives.

I don’t know why this was such a shock to me, but I distinctly remember, within the first week or two of motherhood getting really upset. NO ONE TOLD ME that I wouldn’t have the use of my free hands anymore. Before I had my baby, I remember thinking I would spend my maternity leave reading lots of books, sleeping when the baby slept, and knitting, or writing, or drawing, or painting. I would have so much free time, I told myself.

Expectation soon met reality. Holding my cell phone with one hand was sometimes virtually impossible with a newborn. My story of postpartum mommydom included breastfeeding challenges to include nipple shields, SNS tubes, pumping between feeds, and all the other stuff you have to do with a baby too. So, most of my days involved holding a baby with one hand and eating with the other, or holding a syringe in my mouth, squeezing my boob with one hand and cradling my newborn as he attempted to latch with the other. My life revolved around the two hour required feedings, feedings that averaged a half hour a piece, and his naps meant it was time for me to pump. Whatever version of motherhood you may be blessed with, you will probably sit for an inordinate amount of time doing some combo of any of the above. You will need to turn to something for company, and that something will be your TV because your baby is really a pretty boring, albeit very cute and squishy, blob right now.

Stock up on some shows and movies you’re excited to watch because that will be your life. 24 hours of the day. Okay, maybe minus the two hours you get to sleep. I’m serious. During this time, I had Netflix and Hulu and ABC apps downloaded to my phone even, because night feedings and night pumping meant that I had to stay awake and focused on very little sleep in the dark next to my peacefully sleeping husband. You need some real exciting entertainment for that to even be remotely possible.

3) You should learn how to go to the restroom one-handed

Picture this: you’re in the middle of a grocery run with your baby in tow when your bladder starts sending you distress signals. You head over to the restroom and are reminded that your cart and all the unpurchased items are not allowed inside. You grab your baby, head to the nearest stall, lock the door, and what happens next is a not-so-fun game of Choose Your Own Adventure.

Don’t believe me? Try unbuttoning your bottoms, shimmying them down, doing your business, hoisting them back up, and re-buttoning gracefully one-handed all while holding your baby with the other arm. Not so easy, huh?

Until more businesses take this issue seriously and install these in their restroom stalls, you’re going to find yourself in this predicament more often than you realize. Changing tables aren’t safe enough to step that far away from your baby, and even though there are times that your stroller comes in clutch with the baby-holding assist, you can’t always rely on your handy dandy baby carrier on wheels. One day you will need to purchase more items than a stroller can carry, or you’ll just be running in for a quick trip and don’t want to lug around that heavy stroller, or you forgot it, or your child is going through an anti-stroller phase. You might even be in for a total treat and have a child who has decided to be stuck to you 24/7 even at home and won’t let you put them down even for a potty break. Rest assured, it will happen to you. Your time will come, it will come many times, and when it does, you’ll think back to this very moment and at least acknowledge that someone out there warned you.

Public Service Announcement: One possible solution is to wear your baby whenever possible in a baby carrier, ring sling or wrap. While the challenges outlined above won’t be completely absolved, you are granted the freedom of two working hands which makes a huge difference!

4) Your living room is really boring

Don’t take this statement personal, so is mine. So is anyone’s once you spend multiple days in a row, hours on end in that same small space. If you have your baby in the middle of the summertime heatwave, or live somewhere that has Snow Days and give birth in the winter, then you could literally be stuck inside your home and have no choice. Even in your unique situation, there is a good chance you have more than one room in the house. Staring at the same walls, the same furniture, the same decor, looking out the same windows, will start to get to you.

For your sake, and for your baby’s sake, rotate rooms throughout the day. Spend your first couple hours in the bedroom, move to the living room, spend some time in your kitchen, the patio, your guest room, the office, the nursery. Use the space you have and hang in each corner. Changing the scenery will work wonders for your mental state.

When you feel up to it, get outside, explore your neighborhood, drive around, and breathe in some fresh air at least once or twice in the day. You have to be intentional about it. If you’re not, you may find yourself realizing it’s been a couple days since you’ve ventured outdoors (I see you; checking the mail doesn’t count).

5) Making your bed every morning might be all you accomplish in a day

It goes without saying that caring for a human being is an accomplishment in and of itself, but in case you’re striving to get more done every 24 hour cycle, it’s time to face a hard truth. Here it goes: You can’t do it all, so don’t even try. I don’t care who you are or how wonderful you are because I thought I was a pretty close at making doing it all look easy. I prided myself on cooking all meals at home, working long hours, keeping my house clean, and still had a social life. Any semblance of that changed real quick after giving birth. Don’t get me wrong, things are still pretty tidy, and I found a way to still cook here and there after a few weeks to recover, but gone is the unnecessary burden of a do it all lifestyle.

Almost a year in and I’m finally coming to a sense of acceptance over what I can do and can’t. I can be present for my baby but I can’t if I insist on having laundry, dishes, and everything clean each day. So, I choose baby more times than not. I’ve learned to have some non-negotables that help me feel accomplished no matter what I get done or don’t get done in the day: make the bed and brush my teeth. I do this right after I put down my son for his nap (because I can’t control how long he will sleep, but I can count on at least 20 minutes even on a bad day). Sometimes I even shower, get work done, make a phone call too. But I don’t count on those things and that helps set my mind at ease and shape my perspective.

There are advocates who swear making the bed each day is the key to success. But, honestly, if it isn’t important to you, choose two things that are and stick with them, no matter what, each day.

 

Viral Photo: Paper Plate

Birth has gone viral! In the past year, videos and photos about the realities of birth and life postpartum have dominated social media and headlines. Earlier this year, we shared with you the viral video on contractions! Today, we’re passing along another viral moment – this time it’s a photograph of a paper plate used to illustrate the physical “wound” inside a woman’s uterus following the delivery of the placenta.

By now you may have already seen it, but if you haven’t here’s the low down. Back in March, a mom and birth advocate, Laura Fry, posted a photo of a paper plate with a measuring tape across it on her Facebook page Labor of Love. The measuring tape in the picture shows that the plate is approximately 8.5 inches across, which happens to be also be the average diameter of a placenta. Fry’s caption explains the significance in full:

As with most things related to pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood, there are many different opinions out there regarding what is best for women, and the fact that all it took was one photograph of a paper plate to garner so much attention is a great thing.

Various outlets have used this photograph to advocate for longer maternity leave. On a more simple scale, however, it really just serves as a reminder to take it easy, while opening up the debate about what “take it easy” really means.

Following the initial post, it appears that Fry had to add multiple edits and addendums to clarify her comments, but the intent and overall purpose of the post shouldn’t get lost in the muddle: moms need time to recover after childbirth.

It seems so commonplace to say. Of course, women need to recover. Of course, there are physical changes to the body after childbirth.

But maybe Fry was tapping into something that we also know: moms can so easily fall into the habit of focusing on everyone else before themselves. Being a new mom is no different. Plus, if you factor in all the outside pressures and the perfection social media users often portray, it can be very difficult to hold back, take it easy, and lie low, when you want to show the world how great you feel.

There is no right or wrong here. All women are different. All bodies heal differently. This is true. But what is also true is that regardless of how you think you feel in the moment, your body is still healing. Sometimes, you just don’t realize it until you’ve maxed out and by then, you might be looking at a more arduous recovery from complications versus the natural progression of things.

If it feels good to go to the store a week after childbirth, by all means, do it. If going on a walk will help you feel more like yourself, no one is stopping you.

But also keep in mind that women don’t always have someone reminding them to take it easy either. Women don’t always have someone telling them its okay to stay in bed or stay at home for the first few weeks without judgment. When baby arrives, women may no longer be the focus of the attention, care and concern of others.

For these women, and for any woman, it is important to keep this in mind too. Advocate for yourself. Really consider what it is that is driving you to do more in those early weeks. Is it for you? Then by all means go at your own pace. If it is for others or outside pressure, give yourself some grace. Remember what you’ve put your body and mind through. Remember the paper plate.

We hear so often about savoring the precious time you have in the early days with your baby, but the message should also be: protect yourself, armor up, heal, strengthen, and sustain.

We’ve all heard about how important it is for couples to focus on the marriage instead of the wedding. The same should go for motherhood. We focus so much on the birth that we forget that after birth, and even after the early postpartum period, comes motherhood, which is a lifelong commitment and lifestyle change.

The early months and years of parenting are a rollercoaster that involve reduced sleep, a surge in increased responsibility, added worry and anxiety, and a steep learning curve. The reason we and women like Laura Fry encourage and advocate for rest and healing is not to add limitations or judgment on women after childbirth. Quite the opposite, its to ensure that women are able to continue living the lives they lived before and for years to come as they transition into motherhood. While you’re in the throws of those early days and weeks, it can be difficult to allow that time for grace and rest, but remind yourself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Remember the paper plate.

Do the Techno Baby Balance

Finding a balance with technology in this new age of baby can be challenging. We’re here to help.

For generations, the fundamentals of parenting probably haven’t changed too much. In fact, in recent years, there seems to be momentum toward returning to those simpler times we’ve heard about from our grandparents. At the same time, we love all the options we have now. These options may make things more difficult and warrant more decision-making, but at least we get to choose what we want!

It’s a balancing act, right? The need for simplicity, while wanting to still enjoy life’s perks. In most recent years, a lot of these tempting “perks” have to do with technology. We love our screens: cell phones, television, and computers.

Now that you’re a parent, your relationship with technology might feel a little more complicated. You keep hearing about the need to be a present parent, reduce screen time, and raise your little ones the Montessori way. Before you give in and break up with all your tech gadgets in the name of good parenting, consider making some of the minor adjustments below to help bring more balance to your techno/baby life.

Social Media

To post or not to post? That is the question. It’s possible that, prior to becoming a parent, you had an account on one or more social media platform.

Maybe the old you posted daily photos and tweeted without pause — the open book type of person. Sharing your social media accounts with someone was as normal as exchanging business cards.

It’s also possible that you could have been the relationships person, who was intentional about the people you allowed to see your feed and took advantage of privacy settings to ensure your life was only public to your friends and family. You still shared your daily adventures and highlighted life’s milestones, just not to the whole world.

Could it be that you are neither of these? That, while you do have a social media account or two, you’re likely to retweet an interesting article or post a picture of your meal at a hip restaurant over sharing intimate details of your life on the web.

Regardless of which “type” you used to fit into, once you become a parent, you will inevitably feel some sort of conflict, externally or internally, regarding what you share with others about your newest family member. You may be feeling pressure from family and friends who don’t live nearby. They want to see your precious littles, who seem to grow and change each minute. Updates are much needed and appreciated, and it can get overwhelming remembering to keep so many people in the loop individually.

There’s also the likelihood that you are struggling to contain your excitement too. MY BABY IS SOO CUTE. I HAVE TO SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD! Am I right? It is so hard to keep all these proud parent moments to yourself, especially when there’s a sure-fire way you can share that gets all sorts of love and comments and attention.

But, there’s something that’s nagging a few of you. We are in uncharted territory. We cannot seek advice from our parents, who never had to worry about what it might be like to have a digital catalogue of images throughout your life out there for the public to see. We don’t know the long-term ramifications of what that may do to our children. We don’t even know if we’re making a big deal out of nothing. This could very well be the new normal.

Maybe, you’re just not ready to go there yet. Maybe you don’t want to become “that mom” and post all the hundreds of photos you want to because it’s too hard to choose. Maybe the recent Facebook drama about our private information being compromised makes you even more wary. Maybe you wish there was another option.

There is. Or, rather, there are. If you’re uneasy about the limitations of social media but still want to publically share your new family’s precious moments with your loved ones near and far, the tech world has thought of you. That’s right. There are multiple apps and websites out there with just what you’re looking for.

Search “baby photo sharing” on your App Store and you’ll see that there are many to choose from: Notabli, 23snaps, Family Album Mitene and Tinybeans, just to name a few. These apps are free and allow you to upload all the photographs and videos you could possibly want. They may have some different features that set them apart, but ultimately, they all work the same way. You invite people to have access to your “album” and they are able to download, like, and comment on them, just like on social media. Another great feature of these apps is that they offer album printing, so you can regularly make photo books using your favorite photographs with ease. If you’re worried about your family members that do not use apps, you are in luck. All of the apps mentioned above have websites that people can use to access your albums the same way they would on a phone app.

Photography

Cell phones make it so easy to snap away throughout the day. We usually have our phones on us at all times, They are lightweight, they don’t require an extra cord to share the photos with others, and the quality of the shots improves with each new phone upgrade. Also, filters!

Still, once you get around to printing your first set of cell phone photographs, you’ll find that you’ve been disappointingly made aware of a big drawback to using this device for preserving your memories. The photo quality, even on the latest and greatest of phones, doesn’t translate to the standard 4×6 print, let alone enlargements.

There’s a reason for this: digital screens such as phones, cameras and computer screens can display up to 17 million colors! A printer can only produce between 2,000 and 4,000. This explains why you can visibly see a difference between what a picture looks like on your phone and a printed copy.

Before you go and shed some tears scrolling through your thousands of milestones and toothless grins you captured with new parent naïveté, consider a proactive approach moving forward. By all means continue using your cell phone for easy, on-the-go, and in the moment photos that can’t afford to wait. But in addition to that, plan one day each week to spend part of the day snapping photos of your little one(s) with your digital camera. Don’t have one? There is a wide array of cameras available now for any budget, but still are higher quality than your phone camera. Take some advice from Pink and don’t forget to have people take pictures sometime so you can be in the photos as well! Otherwise, you’ll have to explain to your confused children years from now why you aren’t in any of their baby photos with them, but you swear you were there!

Even though we’ve offered a solution for you moving forward, that still doesn’t solve the problem of all the photos you have that have been deemed “not worthy.” Never fear, there are things you can do to help convert the color discrepancies that exist between cell photos and printers.  

Photo printing companies like Artifact Uprising have come up with ways to help convert your photographs from screen to print in a way that is the most simplified and high quality possible. The solution lies in making sure your images are in the sRGB color profile. Here’s a how-to guide for converting your images before sending them to print: Changing the Color Profile.

Another option is avoiding glossy prints! Matte prints do not call attention to the color discrepancies as loudly as gloss can. Matte prints also give your photographs a more authentic, old-timey feel that can help your memories feel timeless when looking through them for years to come.

Screen Time

A few years back, you probably heard that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended NO screens for children under two. This suggestion was probably easier said than done when you consider that meant that playing with Snapchat filters with your baby and streaming Netflix to stay sane when alone with one or more children under two all day both fell into that restricted category.

It’s quite possible that we’re being too extreme about screen time after all. The AAP stepped back from that suggested ban back in 2016, but in some ways, the “damage” was already done. We’ve heard the founders and CEOs of some of tech’s biggest entities such as Apple and Facebook admit that they restrict their own children from internet and phone usage. We surely know the parent or two who laments ever letting their child use their cell phone to play a game. Hell, maybe we are that parent. Maybe you side-eyed the family that has their children obediently watching a movie on an iPad while at a restaurant – then, maybe you wondered if that too would be you one day. The #parentguilt is real and maybe it’s all because of this now outdated No Screen Under Two guideline.

Whatever the cause, we’re navigating uncharted territory when it comes to the effects screens and technology in general have on child behavior and development. We are so used to seeking answers that maybe we’ve forgotten that, like almost every part of parenting, there is no one, true “right” way. Instead, maybe the best way to approach the decisions you will inevitably have to make regarding cell phones, Internet, television, video games, movies and more is by using the common sense and what-works-for-our-family approaches. In essence, do what makes the most sense and feels most comfortable for your family.

The running thread throughout this article is balance and screen time should be no different. Being completely prohibitory could backfire and be difficult to live up to. More and more these days, we need to check our phones regularly for work. It allows us the flexibility to sit with our kids while they play in the living room while responding to work emails. This is not necessarily a bad thing. When faced with the option to stay late in the office or come home and do that, most parents would emphatically choose to utilize their hand-held device. At the same time, an awareness of the impressions we are giving our children is important too. This is why many child experts are recommending mindful parenting practices like #DeviceFreeDinner to set a standard for quality time as a family.

Ultimately, trust your gut and be willing to adjust as technology, your parenting style and your children evolve. That said, if you’re the person who still likes to read up on all the opinions and advice there is out there, consider sites like CommonSenseMedia.org as more of a reference guide than How-To Manual.

Stroll Into Springtime (Part 2)

Your North County Guide to Stroller-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Spring, continued

Spring is here and here comes the sun! Along with that opens a seemingly endless amount of opportunities to go outdoors and enjoy our San Diego landscape. Never fear, us at Babies in Bloom have weeded through the trailheads and walking paths throughout North County and come up with a tailored list of our favorite places to soak up some Vitamin D with your little ones.

For the second part of our series, our theme is “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Our featured location features multiple trails to choose from depending on your time constraints, physical aptitude, and baby portability.

San Elijo Lagoon (Solana Beach/Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA) –  Seven Open Trails, Seven Total Miles!

Check out each individual trail for directions and address.

The San Elijo Lagoon is one of the most diverse coastal wetlands in San Diego County. Its biodiversity offers a little bit of something for everyone, from trail enthusiasts to families with small children, photographers to bird watchers. The reserve spans nearly 1,000 acres and houses seven trails to choose from (and that only includes the ones that are currently open).

Nature Center Loop – EASY: One Mile Double Loop

2710 Manchester Avenue, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
Free & Stroller & Baby Carrier-Friendly, Dog-Friendly

Looking for an easy trail to walk with a stroller or a wobbly toddler? Look no further than the Nature Center Loop. This mile-long double loop of smooth trail features up close and personal views of the San Elijo Lagoon, where you will likely see many various bird species and maybe even fish splashing in the water.

This time of year, all the native San Diego plants are in bloom and thriving, making the views while you stroll all the more captivating. Scattered along the trail are benches that you can use to rest, breastfeed, have a little snack, or just take a few deep much-needed mom breaths before you continue.

An added bonus to the Nature Center Loop is that it begins and ends with…you may have guessed, a nature center! Think of this nature center as a mini museum that is free to the public and kid-friendly. In fact, it’s exhibits are made with kids in mind. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, this center features some living animals, displays that detail the history of the reserve lands, educational tips for conservation, and more. This is a place that your children can enjoy and learn from as they continue to grow. If that’s not enough of a hard sell, the Nature Center also includes outside picnic-style tables that you can have lunch on, restrooms, and with its two levels, offer expansive ocean and coastal views.

Fun fact: the Nature Center platinum certified by LEED (U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which means that the entire two-story building is made from recycled materials and relies on solar energy, natural light and ventilation! On top of all that, the water used to irrigate the landscape is recycled!

Rios Avenue Trail – EASY: Multiple One-Way Trails (Rios to I-5: 1.16 miles, Rios to El Camino Real: 2.86 miles, Rios to Pole Road: .96 mile; Gemma Parks Trail: 1.0 loop)

Directions: I-5 to Lomas Santa Fe exit, West on Lomas Santa Fe, Right on Rios Avenue, Drive to end of Rios Avenue, with street parking available

Free & Baby-Carrier Friendly (Stroller not recommended), Dog-Friendly

The Rios Avenue Trail actually features multiple trails depending on which direction and distance you are willing to go. If you’re looking for an easy one-mile loop, just east of the beginning of the Rio trailhead is the Gemma Parks Trail. Once you finish the loop, you can choose to continue further to explore the rest of the trails, just know that you’ll have to turn around to get back to where you started versus a simple loop.

The Rios Avenue Trails to include Gemma Parks Trail is also a relatively smooth walking trail. Since there is a little bit of a bumpy slope at the start of Rios Trail as it starts at the end of a residential street, this might be a good trail to wear your little one. If you want to make it work with a stroller, you can carry your baby down to the start of the trail and have someone else carry the stroller down separately. Not recommended if you are going it alone with a small child unless you wear them (or they can walk relatively independently).  

The views and landscape of the Rios Avenue Trail will be very similar to the Nature Center Loop, but you will get more of the lagoon, and are able to enjoy the coastal lands from a different perspective. Like the Nature Center Loop, you will also find benches and shaded areas where you can stop for a bit, but no picnic tables or facilities, so plan accordingly!

Another feature of the Rios Avenue Trail, you can catch a peak of the Annie’s Canyon Trail, the most strenuous of trails San Elijo Lagoon has to offer.

Annie’s Canyon Trail – MODERATE TO STRENUOUS: One Way, From N. Rios Ave. (0.6 miles), Annie’s Canyon (0.25 miles)

Directions: I-5 to Lomas Santa Fe exit, West on Lomas Santa Fe, Right on Rios Avenue, Drive to end of Rios Avenue, with street parking available

Free & Baby-Carrier Friendly *WITH A BUDDY* (Stroller not recommended)

If you’re looking for a walk that is a little bit strenuous, a lotta bit unique, and a tad adventurous, Annie’s Canyon Trail is a must on your Wish List. It’s such a short length that you don’t need to set aside your whole day to explore, but is such a wild experience, you will feel like you are no longer in San Diego County. Take our words for it, this is a place you have to see to believe.

The location is believed to have been a spiritual place for the Kumeyaay, the original native inhabitants of San Diego County. This fact only helps add to the sense of wonder of this space. During one part of the switchbacks, you’ll get to go into a hollowed out cave that was believed to be a shelter for the Kumeyaay!

There are two ways to experience Annie’s Canyon: (1) the moderate way takes you up to a beautiful overlook and you can do it while wearing a baby easily (2) the strenuous way with narrow switchbacks. If you are claustrophobic, proceed with caution!  

We have to admit, we haven’t experimented scaling the strenuous path, with its steep and narrow incline in the canyon, with a baby carrier. If you are interested in trying this out with babes in tow, maybe bring a buddy or make it a family affair. That way, if it’s too tough, or you’re not comfortable going up with the baby, you can take turns. Just proceed slowly and cautiously. Again, since it’s such a short trailhead, you have that luxury as long as you have a couple adults on hand. We don’t want to ruin the surprise of the experience, but the sandstone walls of the canyon eventually leads up to some steep and narrow switchbacks that can be tricky to maneuver. We’ve spotted young children scaling this with glee as well as senior citizens, so do not be intimidated!

Once you reach the top of the trail, enjoy the overlook for a few minutes and get an expansive view of the lagoon and Pacific Ocean from 200-feet above sea level!  

Insider Tips:

  • Dogs are allowed on all trails except Annie’s Canyon so plan accordingly.
  • Parking at the Nature Center is limited so we recommend visiting this trail on a weekday.
  • The First Sunday of each month is Family Fun Day at the Nature Center from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.
  • Remember, this is a nature reserve which means that the land is protected! Resist the temptation to walk off trail and be sure to not disturb the plants or wildlife you may see.
  • If you have allergies, consider taking any remedies or medication beforehand to help ward off the sniffles and itchy eyes!
  • Bring plenty of water! It gets hot, ya’ll. Also be sure to wear hats, sunscreen, and anything else to protect from the sun. There are some shaded areas, but most of the trails have good stretches of direct sunlight.
  • Check out these pamphlets for information about the plants and animals that live on the reserve. Great learning resources for parents and children alike! Rios Trailhead & San Elijo Brochure
  • Notice a lot of construction around the lagoon? The San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is in the middle of a multi-phase Restoration Project, which explains the construction and closed trails. Interested in learning more? Check out this page.