Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sprucing Up!

If you are a stay-at-home Mom like myself, then some days you may not have the opportunity to shower. I try to shower daily, but there are some days where I do not get the chance. Now, if I set my alarm for 5:00, and took a shower before the boys started waking up, then I guess I could shower every day, but who wants to get up that early? Actually, ever since daylight savings happened, Miles has been waking up at 5:00, so there really is no time for me to shower before he wakes up. There is NO way I am getting up at 4:30 AM just to shower!

I always take my shower when Miles goes down for his first nap. What do I do with my 2 year old you might be wondering? I do what any good parent would do...set up the portable DVD player in my room and hand him a big bowl of goldfish. This keeps Eli busy for quite some time and I can fully trust that he will not get into anything while I'm in the shower. He's been taught right from wrong, and not that he doesn't make wrong choices, but he knows exactly what he is allowed to touch and what he isn't allowed to touch. Here is a photo I snapped the other day of his set up. I never hear a peep out of him!


My sister sent me a text the other day saying I should do a post on my blog about how much better you feel when you do shower in the morning and this is true. I realized this quickly when I started staying at home. Even though there are days where I do not leave the house and nobody sees me, I still feel ten times better when I take a shower, put on a little makeup, fix my hair, and get dressed. It always boosts my mood and anytime I see my reflection for the rest of the day, I smile, instead of thinking to myself, "Ewww....comb your hair! What's that on my face? Nice circles under the eyes!" 

I'm pretty sure Ryan also appreciates when I shower and put on something other than my pajamas for when he walks in the door. I'm not talking anything fancy here...just a pair of jeans and simple shirt. But, I know when he walks in the door from a long day at work, his day is made a little better when he sees his wife has showered and closely resembles the girl that he married. (pre-baby)   :-)

There are still days where I might stay in my sweats all day simply because I am tired and do not feel like going through all the work of drying my hair, etc...but they are happening less and less. I really do feel like a new person after getting myself ready for the day. I always seem to have more energy and feel better about myself. (Probably like exercising...but let's just focus on one thing at a time!) ;-)

If you are one that does not take the time to get yourself ready in the mornings...then give it a try! I'm giving you a 5 day challenge of showering daily and putting something on besides sweats or your pajamas. Let me know how you feel at the end of the week! I promise, you won't regret it! 

Anyone out there?

Hello there!!

Wanted to let you know that I am still around, just have been a bit busy since my last post! Miles' big party is this weekend so I've been working my little tail feathers on all the details for that. I also have a sick husband, and if your husband is like mine, then I need not to explain any further. :-)

I promise I will be up next week with a new blog post.

Also...if you are a new mom or an expectant Mom, what topics would you like to see on here? If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby Boot Camp

I'm not sure how I came across the blog called "Sunny Side Up", but I did, and wanted to share for any new Mom's out there or Mom's to be. I have no idea who this woman is, but I agree with her 100% on the topic of training your baby to sleep. I've said it a million times on here (okay...maybe not a million), but babies are not born with the knowledge of how to put themselves to sleep. They have to be trained, and some are harder than others. Eli=Easy, Miles=Difficult! It took me a lot longer to train Miles than it did with Eli, but it was well worth it, as Miles is an awesome sleeper. 

It's never too late to start baby boot camp!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The end of the Road

My sweet baby boy, Miles, is just a few weeks from turning the big 1! (tear, tear) I thought the first year went fast with Eli, but that was nothing compared to how fast the first year has gone with Miles. It is so hard for me to even remember him as a newborn. I spent a lot of time yesterday going through his pictures from birth for his upcoming birthday bash, and I found myself holding back the tears. Miles is such a little snuggler and has the sweetest disposition. I hope that he doesn't grow out of our nightly snuggles for a while! Not sure I could take it!

Since Miles is approaching 1, my nursing days are coming to an end. I never thought that I would ever say these words, but I am. I am a little sad to be quitting breast feeding. (I know that some women go beyond 1 year, and that's great...but personally, I think 1 is the perfect age for me to wean.)

Don't get me wrong, there are many reasons I am happy to be moving on', but there are still several reasons it is a little sad! Let me sum it up like this:

Reasons to rejoice at the end of breast-feeding: 

  • Wearing a normal bra
  • Not having to lift up my shirt 3/4 times a day
  • Saying good-bye to the pump! 
  • Being able to wear any shirt/dress I want to and not having to think to myself about how I can get easy access to my chest for Miles
  • Being able to get up and go running first thing in the morning (not having to pump first or feed)
  • Saying good-bye to breast pads!
  • When out in public, not having to scope out a place that is hidden so I can feed Miles
  • Rushing back home when out (on the rare occasion) so that I can feed Miles

Reasons that I'm a bit sad at the end of breast-feeding:

  • I love the bond that it has created between the two of us. I love that he knows me by my smell and knows that I provide most of his nutrition.
  • I love our last feeding of the day. I take him upstairs and sit in the dark on the guest bed while he nurses. He holds onto my fingers while I gently rub his sweet head and kiss his lovable cheeks. He falls asleep in my arms and I just hold him there for several minutes before gently moving him to his crib.
  • Knowing the my chest will deflate BIG time! (hello...push up bra!) 
  • Burning the extra calories every day. Looks like it is time to start exercising again. Maybe I'll have to stop eating ice cream every night as well. (haha...who am I kidding?)
If you've been reading my blog since the beginning, you know my struggles I encountered at the beginning of breast feeding both my boys. I've been talking to my sister-in-law a lot lately, who has a 2 week old, and am reminded of how exhausting those beginning weeks are, both physically and mentally. As much as I love babies and being a Mom, right now I have no desire to start all over again on the breast feeding journey. When I hear her talk about the lack of sleep and latch difficulties, it makes me happy to be where I am on my breast feeding adventure. Saying that, I am a little sad to be ending the journey as it means another baby has gotten bigger and needs his Mama a little less. As the months went on, breast feeding became so easy. Miles was finished feeding within 10 minutes and we'd move on about our day. I have loved this experience with breast feeding, and do look forward to the next one whenever we decide to have baby 3. 

I will probably continue nursing Miles right up to his birthday and then start to wean him in the coming weeks. I have a lot of my milk saved in the freezer so I will use that to help in the weaning process. I hope he tolerates milk since he had some issues in the beginning months with dairy. We shall soon find out. 

If you are a new Mom reading this and having your own struggles with breast-feeding, do not give up! It is worth every second of those sleepless nights and stressful moments of figuring out why they won't latch, etc. If you need help, CALL someone! Call a lactation consultant and take your baby in so they can watch you nurse. I never thought that I would actually enjoy breast-feeding, but it ends up that I did! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Enjoy the moments!

I had my Mom's group meeting this morning, and walked away bawling like a baby. I know I was not the only one as I looked around the room and saw everyone wiping away their tears as well. The meeting started off with a meaningful devotional from the book: One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp. We watched a short clip afterwards from the Author, and I wanted to share it with you.

As retailers and consumers skip Thanksgiving to start the Christmas rush, this short clip reminded me to be "thankful" for the moments...even the smallest of moments. Watch this and you'll see what I mean: 


There are days where I have to remind myself that the laundry can wait, but my children will not stay this small forever. Nobody will care if my floors are scrubbed or toilets cleaned, but Eli will remember if I read him books or sing him songs. Life is about moments. Cherish them! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Maternity Fashion

Hi everyone!  This is Ashley over at flats to flip flops.  I am "momma" to two sweet, and at times, crazy kids!  A boy, age 3, and a girl, age 1.  Needless to say, things are pretty crazy around our house, but in my spare time I write a blog about fashion for moms on the go and their kiddos!  Lots of fashion ideas/deals for the whole family, so if you have a sec go ahead and check it out!
Thanks to Sarah for asking me to guest post today on Moms2B!  


Today I wanted to talk about my top 5 maternity musts!


Maternity Musts


Maternity Musts by flatstoflipflops featuring old navy maternity

1.  Oversized Sweaters & Tees(Plum top-topshop.com, Gray Tee-aritzia.com):  The best thing about purchasing maternity clothes these days is that you don't necessarily have to shop at a maternity store.  Oversized shirts are everywhere this season and they are not only great for a growing belly, but a great transition piece after your bundle of joy has arrived!


2.  Leggings(houseoffraser.co.uk):  These are a pregnant woman's dream!  Comfy and cozy are definitely two words you want to be when you're pregnant and leggings do just the trick.  Worn with boots or with flats, leggings are great for any season.  A side note:  Leggings can go wrong real fast!  I like to make sure that whatever top I wear with my leggings is long enough that I feel comfortable and more importantly covers my backside!  Keep it classy!


3.   Maternity Jeans(oldnavy.gap.com):  It's always a good idea to have a good pair of maternity jeans in your closet.  Personally I love the over the belly style, it doesn't seem to slip, slide, and bend like the under the belly style does.


4.  Comfy Shoes(toms.com):  If you are like me when preggo, your feet get a lot of the wear and tear.  A good pair of shoes is a must!  I love TOMS because they are not only comfy, but super cute too!


5. Accessories(doulashop.com): Don't be afraid to make a statement with your accessories!  I LOVE this piece of jewelry because it is made specifically for pregnant women.  You probably have noticed, but it is in the shape of a pregnant women's body.  There are lots of similar pieces out there, and what a special way to remember those 9 months! 


Happy Maternity Shopping! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Final Days

I know so many girls who are just weeks away from giving birth so this post is in honor of them!

My sister-in-law, Allie and her husband Kevin, are about to have their second child, Oliver. I cannot wait to meet our new nephew and am so excited for them. I have been keeping my phone on by the bed at night just incase we get "the call" and we need to head to Louisville. I hope it's not in the middle of the night so that we can make it, but don't be surprised if I leave my husband and 2 boys behind and head to Louisville by myself. Heck...Allie's first delivery was so fast, I could probably make it there and back by the time they wake up. :-)

Thinking about those last weeks before the baby arrives made me think of writing a post about it. Every pregnancy is different, but most women I know are ready for it to be over by the time they reach the last month and I know I was one of them! Here is what I wish someone had told me when I was at the end of my pregnancy....

Uncomfortable in every way
With both of my pregnancies I started to swell the last month, had lower back pain, up all night going to the bathroom, and just all around uncomfortable. With my first, Eli, I was on my feet all day at school and I remember coming home and crying to Ryan about how much my feet hurt. I remember them just throbbing. With my second, Miles, I wasn't on my feet as much, but I was busy chasing around an 18 month hold and carrying him up and down the stairs. I remember it being so hard to get up off the playroom floor to play with Eli, and I yearned for the days where I could just hop right off the floor. So hang in there...you're not alone!

Enjoyment
With our first, I remember wanting the pregnancy to be over so we could find out if we were having a son or daughter. I couldn't wait to find out the surprise, and everyday, I would pray that he would make his arrival. I remember other parents telling me to not wish the days away as soon we'd be in a whole new life, and I remember it always bugging me. Now that I have 2 children of my own I find myself telling my pregnant friends the same thing. I understand how much you want to meet your child. There is nothing like it. I understand how uncomfortable you are and not being able to sleep at night. But, now I know what others meant by it never being the same. I love being a Mother more than anything, but there are days where I think about the time where it was just Ryan and I. If we wanted to go out and get a bite to eat at 8:00 or just go somewhere on a whim, we could. We didn't have to worry about bedtimes, diaper bags, feeding schedules, etc. The years we spent just the two of us were so special, and although I love being parents, I understand what others meant by "enjoying" the last few weeks of life without children. So if you're reading this and about to give birth...try to enjoy these last weeks you have with your spouse, just the two of you. Go to a movie...go out to eat...sleep in (if possible)...or just spend time doing your favorite things. Try to remember that you are going to be a parent in just a few weeks...this is a fact! Enjoy the time you have when you have no responsibility for other than yourself, because the funny thing is, when you do go on a date night after baby arrives, even though you're alone...you are always thinking about your baby! And if you're reading this and already have a child at home or two or three, enjoy this time with your family being how it is. I treasured those last week with just Eli and us as I knew it would never be just the 3 of us again.

Your Doctor
Nobody knows when your baby is going to make their appearance other than God up above. (well...unless you're having a c-section). Even though you have a due date, this is an "estimated due date." Your son or daughter will be the one who decides when they are finished cooking and ready to make their appearance into this world. Your doctor might say to you "any day now," or even "it doesn't look like he's ready to come out yet," but the funny thing is that not even your Doctor knows. With both of mine I remember getting so excited every time I would go to the weekly appointment. I would wonder the entire week if I had dialated any or if the baby had dropped. Then I would go to the Doctor and he'd report that I was still at 1, or with Miles' case I stayed at 2 cm for 3 weeks. With both of mine, I was told by the Doctor that the baby was still high and he didn't feel as if it would be on time. But, guess what? He was wrong. Your water can break at any moment. You can be 0 cm in the morning at the appointment and just a few hours later can start having contractions. We have NO control over this. No matter what you do, you do not have control over the date of your baby's birth. I remember walking around the neighborhood like crazy, doing jumping jacks, scooter rides, etc, just to get the baby moving on out. None of that helped. They will come when they are ready, so save all of that energy for the delivery! You're going to need it! :-)

Group B
In your 38th week, your doctor will perform a test for what is called Group B Strep or GBS. GBS is a bacteria infection and is fully treatable with antibiotics. All that will have to be done is that when you do go into labor, you will need to go in immediately and be put on an IV that will have an antibiotic running through it. The longer you are on this, the better chance you have of your baby being born perfectly healthy. My Doctor did not make a big deal about this when I tested positive (both times) so I was never worried. I have seen it talked about on shows as such as The Baby Story on TLC and they act like it is a major thing. (I am fully aware that it can lead to serious risks, but with antibiotics, it is 100% curable. ) What I'm saying is that if you test positive as well, don't freak out! I promise it is okay!
Here is some more information on GBS, if you're interested: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/groupbstrepinfection.html


Wedding Day
I kind of compare the "birth day" to your wedding day. Obviously you are not all dolled up and you're in quite of bit more pain, but the feeling of excitement, joy, love, and anticipation is still there. You plan and plan for both events and wait for the day to arrive, and when it does, you are full of so many emotions. I loved being surrounded by my close family all waiting for Baby H to make their appearance. I love meeting my nurse and building a relationship with her for the day (or two). Your nurse is VERY important. Your Dr. will only show up at the end when the baby is almost out, so it is important to love your nurse and befriend her. Get on her good side! I love the moment when all the hard work has paid off and they place that sweet baby in your arms. There is nothing in the world that compares to seeing your child for the first time and knowing that they are yours, and then before you know it, you are back home with your baby, and the delivery day is just a memory. Make sure you document the day well...even if you don't feel like it now. You will want to watch the day over and over again.



If you're under the 4 week mark, make sure you have your hospital bag packed and ready to go. You might go early and you do not want to be running around like crazy trying to remember what to take with you. If you need some help, check out my post here on what to pack.

Good luck and remember...try to enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Post on Sleep Training...

I had a reader comment on the last post and thought I'd share what she wrote:

"Good tips. I agree with A LOT of what BW says, but I think it's important for people to know there are definitely some babies who adapt to the BW technique right away and some don't. Now...having said that I think you MUST keep trying regardless but not all babies are easy peasy when it comes to sleep training. I would say (as well) for some of us working mommies who must utilize daycare and or outside childcare of whatever kind, they never do things exactly like you ask them and that throws a wrench in sleep training. In my situation (working part time) I do the best I can at home but I know when she's away from me it isn't as scheduled as it is at home and it shows on certain days when her behavior isn't predictable. I guess I say that only to let other mommies out there know that if thats you - it's ok. Do the best you can and if your baby is still waking early from naps and or waking at night - it's ok...it doens't mean you aren't doing GREAT and or that your baby is abnormal...it simply might be circumstantial but if you can't change those circumstances (staying at home vs. working)...then just do the best you can and you and your baby will be fine!"


Lindsy is totally correct! I often write my entries from a stay-at-home mom point of view as that's what I am. I don't mean to leave out the working moms and I know that taking them to daycare or having someone else watch them in your home is completely different than yourself. Please forgive me! 


Unfortunately, I have no experience in putting your baby on a schedule and working a job outside of the home. My advice for you is to do the best you can with what you have! While you are at home on maternity leave, try to get them onto some sort of schedule and definitely enforce the eat-play-sleep routine. When you do return to work, know that the daycare will try their best to follow the schedule, but they are responsible for many little ones, so they won't be able to follow it exactly, and that is OKAY! Your baby will be just fine and happy! It's all about survival! You can still set the night time routine since you will be in charge for that aspect of their day-to-day lives. Do what is best for you and your family! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Blogger! More on sleep training and schedules!

A good friend of mine from childhood had her first baby several weeks after I had Miles, and is also an avid follower of BabyWise and scheduling. She posted this entry on her blog the other day and I thought it would be great for my readers. (if there are any!) I thought it would be good to share another mom's experience with Baby Wise in addition to mine.

So thank you to Taylor for letting me post her entry on here!

***Warning: if you are not a mom yet or don't plan on dealing with babies anytime soon, this is probably going to be an extremely painful and tedious read.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

I am a firm believer that the number one way to have a happy baby is to make sure that they have plenty of sleep.  I've been wanting to write about this for a while, but there are so many different views on this topic and I have so many thoughts running around in my head that I wasn't sure I could organize them into practical tips for any other moms.  But a sweet reader emailed me about this, specifically asking for clarification about a sleep schedule for her baby boy, so hopefully this will help her in some way!  Actually, I'm still not sure I will be completely clear, but PLEASE just let me know if anyone needs clarification about something.  First of all, I am definitely not an expert on this by any means.  I only have one baby, and I know all babies are different.  Second, your views may be completely different than mine and I'm okay with that.  I in no way believe choosing a parent-led vs. a baby-led approach makes a better parent or a more well-behaved baby.  This is what works for me and for our family, and I can only speak for our little unit.

That being said, I basically only read one baby book while I was pregnant (besides "What to Expect While You're Expecting).  My copy of "On Becoming Baby Wise" was underlined and had writing in the margins long before Jonah was ever born.  I knew from several friends of mine who were already mothers that this approach would be best for my personality.  "Baby Wise" takes a parent-led approach to parenting, meaning that the parents try to establish patterns of eating, playing, and sleeping for their baby every day, instead of the baby directing the parents and the parents going with the flow, so to speak.  I AM A PLANNER.  I have never been, nor will I ever be, a spontaneous person.  It sounds like a very romantic way to live life, but I don't think I'll ever get there.  This quality about myself was actually difficult for me to get past when Jonah was first born.

Just days after we were home from the hospital, I was stressing out about getting Jonah on a schedule the way BW talks about.  I wanted to give myself an imaginary A+ for being the best mom ever. I wanted Jonah to be an over-achieving BW baby, all the way.  After a couple of weeks of defeat, I finally picked BW up off of the coffee table and put it in the closet, realizing that it didn't matter if I memorized every chapter... Jonah had never read it!  He didn't know he was "supposed to be" on a sleeping schedule!  From then on, I decided to cut myself some slack and embrace that this was a gradual process.  I tried to change my mindset enough to see the information as goals to work toward, instead of laws that I had to follow.

In the first 6 weeks, the only achievable goal is to get your baby on a routine of eating, playing, and then sleeping.  That means that starting when Jonah woke up in the morning, I would nurse him, then he would stay awake for a certain time, and then he would take a nap (then wake up and do it all over again- sounds thrilling, right???).  For us, this was a 3-hour cycle from beginning to end.  Jonah is now 9 months old and we still follow the eat/play/sleep cycle, it is just a longer (4-hour) cycle now.  I believe sleeping is the most important part of any child's day.  Jonah is completely and utterly dependent on his naps, even now.

Don't worry about what time it is during the first 6 weeks of the baby's life.  Your baby may wake up at different times each morning, but you just assess what time it is and start your day from there.  I don't think any baby should be awake longer than an hour at a time during this newborn stage.  I recently had a friend call me asking for help with her 8-week-old baby being fussy (wailing and wailing) for hours at a time.  I went to her house around 1:00, and asked when he had his last nap.  She told me that he hadn't had any nap yet that day.  I immediately said that I was sure he was exhausted!  She finally said, "We don't have any sort of schedule and I feel helpless to help him."  I didn't want to force anything on her, but she asked for help.  Later that night, I brought over BW and sat down to help her establish some sort of schedule to work toward.  I told her it would take a few days, but it would get better.  Sure enough, a couple of days later, I called her and she said laughingly, "I thought we had a bad baby but it turns out he just had bad parents!"  She said he was sleeping wonderfully during the day and had stopped fussing almost completely.  She was rested and calm.

When Jonah was about 6 weeks old, I wrote down on a notepad what I would LIKE our day to look like.  It said something like this:

8:00     Wake up, nurse
8:30     Play
9:00     Nap time
11:00   Wake up, nurse
11:30   Play
12:00   Nap time
2:00     Wake up, nurse
2:30     Play
3:00     Nap time
5:00    Wake up, nurse
5:30    Play
6:00    Nap time
7:00    Wake up, play
8:00    Nurse, go to bed for the night  (and then wake up to nurse once or twice during the night)

Now keep in mind, these were GOALS.  It's not like I posted this on the fridge and then it just happened (as much as I hoped and prayed it would).  Here are some things to keep in mind:

-This had to be adjusted over and over again as Jonah got older.  His play times gradually lengthened to an hour, and then an hour and a half, and now he stays awake for two hours at a time.  At around 6 months, he started nursing every four hours and only taking a morning nap and an afternoon nap.  But regardless of his age, by about 12 weeks old, I could schedule my day around his naps with no problem.  I love knowing that yes, I can meet you for lunch at 12:30 (or whenever) because I know that Jonah will be awake.  Or knowing that even if we have to be out during a nap time, Jonah will be okay because he's so used to that nap time that he will fall asleep just like he would at home.

-Don't feel guilty about putting them in their crib for their naps.  I had this irrational guilt complex at the beginning that if I put Jonah down for a nap in his room (instead of the swing or on top of me, etc.), that I was somehow not being a good mom.  Now, I think it's actually the opposite.  Being put in his crib has taught Jonah that this is where he sleeps.  When I lay him down now in his crib, he looks up at me and smiles, then immediately closes his eyes and begins sucking on his fingers.  He associates his crib with sleep.
-Babies need to sleep longer than half an hour at a time.  If they wake up early, LEAVE THEM THERE.  They will go back to sleep.  A long nap (at least an hour) will help them be rested.  When he was a few months old, it was so hard to leave Jonah in his crib when he was crying.  But if I had gone in to get him every time he cried, he would realize, "Oh I get it.  Just cry and Mommy will come and then I don't have to sleep."  And if he didn't sleep, he would be a very unhappy baby.  BE STRONG!  The only way for them to learn to nap is for you to teach them.

-In the first few months, swaddle, swaddle, SWADDLE.  And swaddle tightly.  Jonah slept so much longer once we started putting him in his swaddle.

-I don't think Jonah would have somehow figured out a schedule on his own.  And like I said before, that may be perfectly fine for some people, but not for this Type-A girl.  MUST. HAVE. ROUTINE.

Some of you may have read this and now think I am neurotic psycho.  And that is fine.  I might be, but I am a crazy person with a happy, well-rested baby.  Ha ha- just kidding!  (Sort of.)  Please let me know if I need to clarify something or if there's any way I could help with anything else.  We're all on this crazy ride together!



She had some questions from a blogger after this post and answered them here:


The blog reader with sleep questions that launched the longest blog post ever (see yesterday's entry) immediately had more questions about these tricky naps, and I don't blame her!  I spent hours upon hours trying to finagle (love that word) every nuance having to do with sleep, just praying that at some point I would figure out the magic combination that would release the "sleeping like a baby" quality that I knew was somewhere inside that cute boy!  So let's do it:

1. "Once you really started [sleep training] in earnest, how long did it take to get Jonah to really stick to a schedule with some consistency?"
     Looking back, I'm pretty sure that it took about 3 weeks of hard-core training (probably from 6 or 7 weeks old until 10 weeks) before I was really comfortable with our schedule.  That said, those three weeks were HARD.  I would have to put Jonah down and then go outside on the porch to escape the crying.  I would always take the video monitor out there with me, but I ALWAYS turned the volume all the way down and then I would just check on the screen every 5 minutes or so until he fell asleep.  And then once he fell asleep, I would go back inside and make myself turn the monitor off until it got to be around the time I expected him to wake up.  If you have a video monitor, you know that it is the best baby device ever, but you can also become obsessed with it (ahem... MOM) and want to look at it 24/7, and that's when it becomes a torture device.

2.  "If Jonah is still asleep at feeding time, do you wake him up?"
     NO!  Do not wake up a sleeping baby.  I'm sure others disagree, but unless you have to wake him up to go somewhere, I would leave him alone up to an hour past his usual wake up time.  He might need some extra sleep that day!  (The only exception for us was Jonah's last nap of the day... I would wake him up so that he would have some play time before he went down for good, or else he wouldn't be tired enough at bed time.)

3.  "Did you ever have issues with Jonah refusing to nap/waking up early from a nap (where letting him cry it out or crying himself back to sleep didn't work)?"
    This definitely happened about once a week for about a month for us.  I hated those days.  I would leave him for about 30 minutes to cry, and then I would go in and rock him for a few minutes, patting his back.  Jonah really struggled with needing to burp badly but not being able to get it out.  Once I realized that, I would always pat his back while I rocked him/walked around/etc. hoping that he would burp.  I did not rock him long enough to rock him to sleep.  I always make a habit of putting him down in his crib awake.  He would almost always settle down after he burped.  Every so often when he would have a particularly difficult time, I would wait 30 minutes, go in to check on him (make sure there's no dirty diaper!), wait another 30 minutes, and if he was still crying, I would usually call it quits and go get him, hoping for a better result at the next nap time.  This might sound weird, but a few times that this happened, I picked him up and laid on the couch with him and he would fall asleep on top of me.  I never wanted to make a habit of that, but it was precious hours were so sweet.

I'm sorry if any of this seems harsh.  I love and adore this baby with every cell of my being, and I believe that this is all out of love.  I feel like sleep training is one of the first ways we can guide and direct our children.  Jonah now knows without a doubt how to fall asleep on his own, that the crib is for sleeping, and that Mommy will come and get him when nap time is over.  That being said, these are all just my opinions.  Bottom line is that BABIES NEED SLEEP AND LOTS OF IT!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Car Seat Safety

I'm a big advocate for car seat safety. BIG! It makes me cringe when I pass a car on the interstate and see a child who is not properly restrained or even see a photo of a child on facebook who should not be in a booster, but is. You can call me what you want, but car seat safety is important!

As parents, our job is to protect our children as best we can. One of the easiest ways we can do this when traveling is to have them properly restrained. The law states that a child should be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 1, but the AAP recommends that they stay rear facing until the age of 2. My Pediatrician said this to us at our 1 year check-up when we were talking about keeping Eli rear facing longer, even though he had such long legs: "Would you rather him break a leg or have a spinal injury?" Well...that was easy.

Car seats are not cheap, but they are important. Car accidents happen all the time and children are killed everyday because their parents did not have them in the proper seat. Do your research before buying a car seat as it is an important decision. We love Britax, because they are known for their safety and have built-in side cushions, but of course it doesn't have to be that brand. Just because it says something on the box does not mean it is true. DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!

I also see so many 3 and 4 year olds whose parents have them riding in a booster seat using the adult lap belt. It makes me cringe just typing that. Let me show you two videos where parents believed their child was ready for a booster seat, but clearly were not.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azgBhZfcqaQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPBSEQ4xbTw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I know that car seats are a pain, especially if you are transferring them from one car to the other. But, this is your child's life we are talking about. Putting your child in a seat that does not have a 5 point harness system is a danger to their life. No parents wants to hear from the police officer that if the child had been a 5 point harness, then they wouldn't have flown out of the car.  Just because it says on the box "This seat is for 3 year olds and 40 inches" does not mean you should go ahead and put your child in there.

Also, just because you have a nice seat, does not mean that it is properly installed. Check in your city for places you can take the seat to be checked by a certified individual.

Lastly, you should never buy a used car seat unless you know 100% that it has not been in an accident. Do not buy a car seat at a consignment store or yard sale because there is no way to tell if they have been in an accident, and once a seat has been in an accident, it should no longer be used.

You will be saving your child's life!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting Out!

I'm not the most social person. I'll admit it. If I'm around a group of people I know and feel comfortable with then I am myself and will talk away, but if I'm around a group that I do not know, I will remain pretty quiet and shy. I've always wished I was more outgoing in that department and that I wasn't so worried about what others think of me. After 2 years of being at home, I decided it was time to step out of the box and join a mom's group. This was a big deal for me. This is a big deal for me. I'm not the type who will join a group without knowing anyone at all, but I knew it was something I was going to have to do in order to start making friends.

Finding a Mom's group is harder than you think. I googled 'mom's group' several times over the last two years and found some pages, but none seemed like a good fit. When I was up nursing Miles in the middle of the night I started reading blogs using my iphone. One night I was reading a blog of someone I knew from high school and clicked on another blog link on the side. The family picture at the top of the blog looked so familiar to me and after some reading, I realized that we attended the same church. As I read past entries I couldn't help but notice how much she referred to her "mom's group," and really wanted to know where I could find a similar group. Our church is small, so even though we might not know everyone by name, we pretty much know faces. I had seen Lindsy several times around church, but had never spoken with her and was unsure of how to approach her. I didn't want her to think I was some stalker...haha. So one night I commented on one of her posts, introducing myself and explaining how I landed on her blog, and asked her about her Mom's group. I was lucky because Lindsy turned out to be one of the sweetest women I've met. She is very outgoing and knows how to make you feel welcomed. She gave me all the info on the mom's group and even the e-mail of the woman in charge. I sent my registration form in and waited anxiously until September, when our first meeting would be. 

Last night I went to bed feeling the same way that you do on your first day of school. Not only was I worried if anyone would talk to me, but I was even more concerned about how the boys would do. I knew Miles would be okay, but Eli has a hard time in large groups and strangers. When we take him to the nursery at church he just cries his heart out. It pulls on your heart as a parent and the whole time I'm at church I'm thinking about poor Eli and if he is okay. I hate that feeling. I woke up extra early this morning to get myself ready and then the boys as we had to be in the car by 8:15. The whole way in I talked to Eli about how he was going to "school" and was going to play with his friends. After locating the right parking lot and building, we found our way to the childcare rooms and dropped off Miles. Eli wrapped his arms tightly around my legs and started to whimper. I was already dreading dropping him off. Miles was happy as can be and I knew I didn't have to worry about him. Eli was ecstatic when we walked out of the room without Miles...thinking he was home free! Next we found Eli's room and after signing him in I showed him all the fun toys. He found a guitar right away and I quickly dashed out of the room. I ended up running into a guy that I graduated HS with and chatted for a few minutes in the hall thinking for sure I'd hear Eli start to cry. To my surprise, I didn't hear anything. I ran down the stairs before things changed (and my guilt took over) and walked into the meeting room. I found the table with my group leader and started chatting away with complete strangers. 

I made sure to introduce myself to everyone who sat down even if they didn't say a word first. I added my thoughts to conversations, and even asked questions to start new ones. We laughed a lot and ate a lot. :-) The women in my group were super nice and we had a lot to talk about since we're all mom's. The 2 hours went quickly and before I knew it, it was time to pick up the boys. When I peeked in on Eli, he was dancing like a money and laughing. He looked so grown up that I almost started to cry. I was so relieved to see him having so much fun and no signs of crying the entire time (like at church). We picked up Miles next and the workers said that he was the happiest baby they'd ever seen. 

I left feeling happy and renewed. It was so nice to have a few hours to myself talking to other women and laughing. I'm excited for the year ahead and know I will be making a lot of new friends. I'm so happy that I stepped outside of my comfort zone as I feel it is crucial in being a successful parent. We spend so much time taking care of others that sometimes we forget it's okay to take some time out for ourselves. 

So if you're like me and a little more shy, suck it up and get out there! Look around on the internet for groups in your area and ask around. Most towns have a MOP's group if nothing else.  Find a group that you will fit into and enjoy. You won't regret it! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some truths from a SAHM

Let me start off this post by saying I love my job as a stay-at-home mom. I am so thankful for the opportunity to stay home and watch every moment of their little lives. I thank God each and every day for allowing me this opportunity as I know how quickly children grow.

Ever since I can remember there were two things I knew I wanted to do in life. The first was to be a teacher, and the second was to be a mother. I am the youngest of seven children and from a very traditional family. We were fortunate enough to have our mom at home with us and I can’t imagine growing up any other way.

When Ryan and I learned that we were expecting our first child, Eli, there wasn’t really any question whether or not I would stay home or return to teaching. We both agreed it was important to have a parent at home, and we knew that financially we’d be okay.  I could not wait to have Eli and to stay home with him. I could not wait to stay in my pjs all day if I wanted to, wake up at a decent time rather than 5 AM, run to the mall whenever I wanted, no meetings, no long commutes, exercise when I wanted, etc, etc. In all my daydreaming, I never thought how hard it would be to stay-at-home. Don’t misunderstand me, I knew very well that being a Mom was the hardest job in the world, but what possibly could be hard about staying home all day and doing whatever and whenever you want to.  

Again, please don’t interpret this post as me complaining or being ungrateful. I LOVE my current job and would not have it any other way. BUT….there are things I never realized I would feel as a SAHM and thought I’d share.

  • ·      Some days I get lonely…very lonely. I have an amazing husband, family, friends, and two beautiful sons, but during the day it is just myself with the boys. From 8 AM until 5:30-6 PM, I am the only adult in the house.  I am the only one who can change dirty diapers, wipe noses, pick up toys, hand out snacks, feed meals, stop tantrums, tie shoes, say “no”, etc, etc. There isn’t anyone telling me “Great job, Sarah with that wipe up” or “Wow…you really handed that situation well!” Sure, I talk to Ryan, my mom, sisters during the day, but for the majority of my day, there is nobody to have a conversation with. (sorry Eli…I do love our talks about trucks and soccer balls!)
  • ·      There are no breaks. Yes, the boys take a good 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon, but this is the time I use to do all the boring stuff around the house. There is always laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, floors to clean, dinner to prepare, etc. I always make time for lunch during this time and sometimes a blog post, but for the most part I do not sit down. This is partially my fault. I chose to do all of this myself. I feel that if Ryan is the one who is going out and making money everyday, the least I can do is do the dishes and fold the clothes. If I asked him to help, he would, but I try not to. After naps I’m back on duty until bed time, which can be as late as 9:00. It’s a long day!
  • ·      I miss learning and challenging myself. Sure, raising a 2 year old is challenging, but more of a challenge with my patience rather than my mind. I miss having the challenge of teaching fractions to 20+ nine year olds or the challenge of getting ESL students to write a personal narrative. I miss learning about the latest research on best practices or figuring out how to reach a student who just doesn’t understand. I miss stretching my mind each and everyday to decide what’s the best plan to teach what’s on the agenda for the day. I even miss the dreaded drop-in observations from the principal, which kept me on my toes.
  • ·         Some days you just don’t feel like being the mom. Very rarely, I wake up not feeling like myself and would like to call in sick. Some days I would like to use a “personal day,” but this is not an option. Some mornings I think “if I can just sleep another 30 minutes, I’ll be good to go!” But then I keep hearing “MAMA…MAMA!!” and know that I have to get up NOW.
  • ·      There is no “clocking out!” Just because they go to sleep, doesn’t always mean they’re down for the count. Often times, there is a bad dream or tummy ache that requires middle of the night attention.
  • ·      I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been to the mall. Children do not enjoy shopping, so those images of me running to the mall whenever I wanted to are out the window. And for that matter…it’s not really about what I want to do at all. My day revolves around what they want to do.
  • ·      I actually miss dressing up for work. I never thought I’d say that, but I do.



There. It’s out. 

There are very few days that I feel like I want to return to the ‘workforce’, but they do happen. Most days though are spent laughing with my boys and enjoying every second. I do not regret for one second that my days are all about them. 

Eli and Miles make my heart melt. 
They make my heart smile. 
They make me proud to be their mom.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Anybody out there?

Are there any mom's out there that are actually reading this?? (other than my family and known followers) If you actually enjoy reading these posts and are not a current follower, I'd love to hear from you. Please comment below and let me know if I should keep posting.

Thanks!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Diaper Bag

Making sure you have everything you might need when out and about is crucial to the success of your outing. I find it easier to leave the diaper bag in the car at all times (unless I bring it in to restock it). That way if you decide last minute to run somewhere, you don't have to run around the house for 10 minutes looking for all the things you might need for your little one. Here is what I always have in our diaper bag. (Note: I have a 2 year old and a 8 month old)

Contents of diaper bag:

About 5 diapers for each boy (diapers take up a lot of space so I put them in a gallon size ziplock bag to keep them nice and flat)
Wipes
Desitin
An extra outfit for baby (I don't carry one for Eli these days)
Burp cloth(s)
Bibs
Tylenol
Pacifiers (mine never liked them, but if they did, I would keep multiple in my bag!) 
Snacks
**special treat that Eli normally would not have (such as candy) for those emergency situations** (aka bribery!) 
I nurse Miles, but with Eli, I would keep one of those containers where you can store the formula

If I know we are going to be out for awhile I will put in extra things for Eli that will keep him entertained. I always find it helpful to get everything ready as far in advance as possible, so you aren't rushed when it comes time to leave. Last week we went to the pool for a few hours with some friends and I made sure I had everything ready the night before. It was a lot of stuff to take and would have caused me to be late (which I hate) if I hadn't gotten everything organized ahead of time. 

It sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. I hate having a heavy diaper bag (Miles is heavy enough) so I really try not to cram a lot in there. Only the necessities.  When I see that I'm running low on something I will bring the bag inside, fill it back up, and take it back out to the car before I forget! 

Obviously it takes more time to get out the door with a baby, but if you plan ahead of time, you can still get to places on time with no problem! It just takes a little organization! 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Baby Wise Depicted

If you've been following my blog since the beginning, then you know that I am a fan of Baby Wise. If you want your baby to sleep through the night at an early age...READ it!! I get so tired of hearing people say "you're so lucky" in reference to how much my children sleep. Believe me...it took A LOT of work!!

I thought I'd go through some of Baby Wise's main principals and give my two-cents. I will go through the book over the next couple of weeks.

**Did you know that parents have the greatest influence on their children's ability to sleep?? Babies have to be TAUGHT how to sleep. YOU are their teacher!! (Ezzo, 43) Ezzo states that there are several facts that will help you to obtain this.**

  • (1) You MUST follow the eat, play, sleep pattern. If you take nothing else out of this book or this entry, do this step!! It is so important that your baby associates eating with waking up and not falling asleep. If your baby is not wide awake when taking in a feeding, they will take in less and wake up more. It's your responsibility to instill this patten into their little bodies. 
  • (2) When your baby is fed according to a schedule, (more later) their hunger pattern will stabilize. (Ezzo, 48) Their body will establish a hunger metabolism that is stable and predictable. They will build their sleep around these times. If you feed your baby whenever they want to, they will become confused and will not develop a routine at all. NOTE: It does not state anywhere in the book to starve your baby. If you are trying to work on a routine, but your baby is starving an hour earlier, then feed him/her. You should never not feed your baby, but babies learn quickly, and if they are given the option to eat every time they cry, they will take advantage of that.  If your baby cries before the 3 hour mark, test all your options before offering him milk first. Will he be smoothed by a pacifier? What about your finger? What about walking him around or just talking to him? If nothing else works and you know he is truly hungry, then by all means FEED him!! 
Eli was an easy baby from day 1. He never cried and pretty much set his own schedule. He was a huge sleeper without me having to train him. Miles came along and started off amazing, but then developed a sensitivity to dairy and all heck broke loose. He was only sleeping for 45 minutes and then would wake up screaming mad. I knew he was still tired as he could barely keep his eyes open when I'd get him out of bed and he'd fall back to sleep in my arms for an hour. It took several weeks to get him trained. It was exhausting, both physically and mentally, but I knew that he had to learn. He went from sleeping 45 minutes and waking up screaming mad, to sleeping 2-3 hours and waking up as happy as can be. He started sleeping longer at night as well. He is on a 4 hour schedule and wakes up almost on the dot to eat. He knows that when he wakes up, he eats. (except for his last feeding of the night in which he goes straight to bed). I don't believe that some babies just aren't sleepers. Believe me, if you were around when Miles was about 3/4 weeks old, you would never believe that he is the sleeper he is now. It takes time and patience. Be strong... you can do it!  You will be thrilled when your child is sleeping 8+ hours at 8 weeks! It is possible!! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Birth Plan

What kind of birthing experience do you want? Do you plan on giving birth at a birthing center with a doula and midwife? Do you plan on giving birth at home? Do you want to deliver at a hospital? Do you want an epidural or do you plan on a drug free birth?  What about a water birth? Who do you want in the delivery room with you? These are all important questions you need to think about before giving birth.

If you already have an OBGYN then you will most likely have to go where they deliver. If you would like to use a midwife or doula, ask around in your community for what your options are. Not every city has a birthing center, but you can have your midwife or doula with you at the hospital.

There are a lot of options out there and it is important that you are well educated on all of them.  This is YOUR birth…not your doctors. Just because your doctor tells you something, does not always mean you have to do it that way. Ask questions. Find answers. Have a plan!

As important as it is to have a birth plan, it is equally important to remember that there can be unforeseen complications, and the birth plan you put so much thought and work into, can go out the window in seconds!!

Let me share my birth experiences:

With Eli I knew that we would give birth at a hospital and that I wanted an epidural.  I consider myself a pretty strong and tough person, but I was fully aware that giving birth to a child was going to hurt. My personal opinion was why go through all of that pain when the doctors can relieve some of it without affecting the baby?  So when my water broke and we arrived at the hospital and the nurse asked, “Do you plan on getting an epidural? “ I did not hesitate to say YES! The epidural did not hurt at all. The anesthesiologist described it as a bee sting, which is exactly what it felt like. It did not take long at all and was not a big deal. Was I nervous? You better believe it, but I knew that it was going to help BIG time, and that it did!! People who haven't had a baby or who have gone natural always ask "did it hurt?" And I always say that getting the epidural was by far the easiest part of the whole process! 

Because I had tested positive for group b strep (GBS), I had to go to the hospital as soon as my water broke. I would have liked to labor at home longer, but that was not possible. With GBS, you have to be put on an antibiotic right away. The longer you receive the antibiotic, the better chance your baby has of being born healthy.  I was 3 cm when I was checked in triage and dilated another cm within an hour I was there, so they admitted me (around 9:00 pm). I was progressing as normal and at 7 am was 8 cm.  When I was checked again at 10 am, I was still at 8 so they administered some pitocin. (Pitocin is a drug given though an IV to increase contractions.) Pitocin is not your best friend like the epidural is. Pitocin can bring on the contractions FAST and STRONG and H.U.R.T! After a few more hours I was at 10 cm and ready to push. This is where I wish I would have known to ask if the baby was low enough to start pushing. It wasn’t like on tv or in the movies and I was feeling a “need” to push the baby out. Just because I was finally at 10 cm, didn’t necessarily mean my body was ready to delivery the baby. (mistake #1)
The nurse raised my bed almost as high as the ceiling and explained what to do. I was ready… let’s get this baby out! After 2 hours of pushing, the baby was still not close to being delivered. My doctor was not on call and therefore I had another doctor coming in to check on me. She would check to see how things were progressing and then mumble something to the nurse and then leave. The nurse would have me start pushing all over again. I wish I would have known to ask the nurse if I could change positions. (mistake #2) Instead of being on my back, could I turn on my side? What about holding on to something to help push? I remained in the same position the entire time I pushed and I believe that I could have done better if I had been moved. Finally, my doctor arrived, and did not bring the news I wanted. I had been pushing just over 3 hours when he walked in and said that he didn’t think I was going to be able to deliver this baby on my own. It was looking like a c-section. I wish I would have known to ask more questions at this point. (mistake #3) Truthfully, I was exhausted beyond words and did not feel as if I had any strength left in my body. I said “okay” and away to the OR we went. As I was sobbing away, I kept thinking, “This was not how I imagined the birth of our first child to go at all!” In the end, a healthy baby boy was delivered, and even though he had the biggest cone head ever (for being lodged in my pelvis for 3.5 hours) he was still perfect in every way. Did I forget about the whole experience in that second? Heck, no! Would I do it all over again just to have a baby, you better believe it!

With Miles, I knew I wanted to attempt a V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I researched and researched and knew that it was a safe option because I had fully dilated with Eli.  I also asked my doctor a million questions and knew that my chance of uterine rupture was less than 1%. Many years ago, v-bacs were considered risky, but today, v-bacs are considered safer than a repeat c-section. Near the end of my pregnancy though I could sense my doctors attitude changing. Around week 38, he said he didn’t feel like my chances of having a successful vbac were very high. Why, I asked. His response was because the baby hadn’t dropped. I left that appointment very disappointed, but when I started talking to other women and researching online, the baby doesn’t usually drop until right before birth. So the next week, when he said the same thing, I asked him. He said that he feared I would be going through the same ordeal as with Eli and didn’t want me to endure the same pain. This fear made me agree to schedule a c-section. He wanted to schedule it at week 39, but I didn’t want to, so we came to a compromise. We scheduled the c-section for a few days after my due date. If the baby came before, I would labor on my own. If he didn’t then we would do the planned c-section. I prayed and prayed and thankfully, 1 day before my due date, my water broke!

With this birth, I had again tested positive for group B so we had to head to the hospital early on. When I arrived I was 5 cm and scared to death if I was going to be able to push him out. I did not want to have a repeat experience of last time!  I had to sign some consent forms and the doctor on call (in triage) did some type of test (more like questionnaire) which gave me results of having a 60% successful vbac. I had read online that if you received an epidural too early that it could stall labor, and I did not want to have a repeat of delivery #1. The nurse in triage told me that it would on stall it, if any, by 30 minutes. After I was admitted and taken to the delivery room, my contractions were getting really, really strong. I asked to walk around, but because I had the IV in me, hospital policy will not allow a laboring patient to walk around. I could hear my sister in laws voice inside saying “walk, walk, walk…get that baby moving!” I asked if I could speak with the anesthesiologist and about 20 minutes later she arrived. (Good choice #1) In speaking with her, she informed me the same thing the nurse did, in that it would only stall labor by 30 minutes, and in fact, since I was attempting a vbac, she would recommend going ahead and getting the epidural now, in case of an emergency c-section. She went ahead and administered the epidural and finally I had some relief. Next, I met the doctor on call, who later on would become my hero! I fell in love with her seconds after speaking with her, because she was so supportive of my wanting to do a vbac. She asked so many questions about my last experience and could not believe that they let me push for over 3 hours. She said that her limit was 2 hours. (insert angels singing here)

This time I dilated to 10 fairly quick and thankfully, without any pitocin. The Doctor explained that even when I got to 10 cm, she was not going to have me start pushing because she wanted the baby to naturally lower himself. (HELLO!!! THANK YOU!!) She said to me “Why would I have you do all that work and waste all of that energy, when your body can do it naturally?” (Good choice #2)  After several hours, the nurse said it was time, and she set everything up. This nurse had much more experience than my nurse with Eli and immediately had me changing positions every half hour or so. She would ask my input along the way. This time around, I was not afraid to speak up. (Good choice #3) If the position didn’t feel like it was working, I would tell her and we would find one that did. I loved her! After almost 2 hours, I was making good progress, but the baby was not on its way out. The Doctor came in and said she was going to sit with me and stretch my cervix while I pushed. (Good choice #4)

For the next 1.5 hours, this woman, who I’d never met, sat and worked with me. She never left my side and continued to encourage me along the way. Finally, the head was through my pelvis, and I knew I was going to be able to deliver him naturally. Words cannot express how happy I was. Miles was 1 pound larger than Eli. My Dr’s reasoning for me not to be able to deliver Eli was that he was too big. Well, there you go Doc! I was so thankful that I did not give in to my doctor’s wishes and go with a c-section simply because it was what he wanted to do. Sure, it would have been a whole heck of a lot easier and faster, but that wasn’t what I wanted.

I am so thankful that I listened to my body and that I stuck to my guns. I asked questions and didn’t make any quick decisions based on my emotions. I believed in myself and I did it!

I couldn’t and still can’t help but think about how differently my birth could have gone with Eli if I had only known the things I know now. That’s how life goes and I learned a lot of lessons from that experience.

The point is to have a birth plan and to remember that your plan can change within seconds. The most important thing is the end result, which is a healthy baby. If you end up getting an epidural even though you wanted to go natural, you are no less of a woman. Nobody is going to think less of you because you had one. If you end up having to have a c-section even though the thought never crossed your mind that is okay too! Again, just because you didn’t “push” him out, does not make you any less of a woman!

So, be prepared!! Be prepared for ANYTHING!! No two births are exactly the same. Your body has never done anything like this before so neither you nor the medical experts have any idea how your body will respond.  Know what you want, but be flexible. If you have to do something that wasn’t in the plan, but is required to get your baby out healthy, then do it. That’s the beginning of your life as a mom. Making sacrifices!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Schedules

I am BIG on schedules. Maybe it is the teacher in me or maybe it is my type A personality, but I whole heartily believe in having a schedule for your little one(s) and sticking to it as best you can.

With both Eli and Miles the nurses in the hospital put them on a 3 hour schedule from the get-go. They would come in every 3 hours to remind me it was time to feed so when we came home I always continued on that same schedule. Now, I should state that if my baby were to act hungry before the 3 hours I would not deprive them of food and would of course feed them, but that was rarely the case. Just because a baby cries does not automatically mean they are hungry. Sometimes Miles would get fussy around 2.5, but would be perfectly happy if I gave him the pacifier for 30 more minutes. If the pacifier didn't soothe him and he attacked my finger, then I would go ahead and feed him as I knew he really was hungry. This helps establish the clock in their little bodies. As I've mentioned before, I also did the eat-wake-sleep routine, which I also believe in. You want your little one to take in a FULL feeding and they can't do that if they are falling asleep while eating. If they just get a snack, then they are going to wake up sooner and want to eat again. They will also wake up more during the night.

Anyway.. back to the schedule. I think a schedule produces happy babies! Both my boys are so happy and a big part of this I believe is because they know what to expect and feel safe. (not to say that babies who aren't on a schedule aren't happy). Don't get me wrong...I do not follow the clock by the minute, but try to stay around the same timeframe. This is easy for me for several reasons. (1) I stay at home (2) We still haven't met a whole lot of people in Lexington so I don't have a lot of play dates lined up, etc (3) It doesn't bother me to not leave the house for an entire day (as long as it isn't for a week straight)

Here is what a typical day looks like for us:

7:00 Miles is awake and eats then has play time
7:30-8 Big brother joins us
The rest of the morning is spent playing, a little school time, snack time, outdoor time (weather permitting) running errands.
9:30 (or so) Miles will take a nap if we are home. Most days I try to be home, but if I need to run errands or want to take Eli to the park I always go in the morning. Miles will sleep in his stroller or in the car, and is perfectly happy with that
11:00 Miles wakes up and eats again...then play time
12:00 Eli eat his lunch and then we play really hard until naptime!
1:00 Both boys go down for a nap (this is when I do everything around the house that needs to be done such as laundry, cleaning, prep for dinner, blog, etc) I NEVER miss this nap!! This is their longest nap of the day and if they do not get it, then I end up with 2 VERY grouchy babies for the rest of the day and as a result, do not sleep good that night
3:00 Miles is up and eats again followed by playtime
4:00/4:30 Eli wakes up and usually has a small snack. Followed my more play time!
5:30/6:00 Daddy comes home!!!! YIPPEEE!!!
6:00 Eat dinner
7:00 Start Miles bedtime routine. Miles eats and goes right down to bed
7:30 Begin our night time routine with Eli. Bath, Book, comes back downstairs and drinks some milk while watching a show
8:00 Eli goes to bed!

Whew!!

As I mentioned, the times listed are estimated.

There are nights that Eli is not always in bed at 8 and now that he is older, he can go without a nap and be okay. But because I am home with them ALL DAY long, I need those few hours at night to myself. I love to sit on the couch with a good book or snuggled up to Ryan watching our favorite shows. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to stay at home, but it isn't easy. There are days when I get so tired of cleaning up spills, changing diapers, folding laundry, cooking dinner, etc... so I need those few hours without being "mommy!" If I didn't have that downtime each night then I'm not sure I could make it through the days. So, having early bed times is a must have for me!

Do what works for you. I know that not everyone has the luxury of staying at home so you are not able to stick to a schedule. If that is your situation then I would at least stick to a nigh time schedule when you are in control.

Some of you might have more of a social life than we do (haha) so you are not home to give naps. That is fine as well, but I would suggest having one time during the day that you are home and can give naps

Having a nigh time routine is very important to start from the beginning. (well...I usually start once they are a few months). By doing the same thing every night (such as bath, bottle, book) your baby will know what is about to take place and will go to sleep easier and nothing is better than a baby who goes to sleep easily and stays asleep!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Follow me!!

Hello there...

I hope you are enjoying the blog so far and would LOVE for you to become a follower! To do this, simply click on the 'follow' in the upper left hand corner of your page.

Thanks so much!!

Sarah

Inside the womb!

Did you know that inside your womb the noise level reaches 90 decibels? To give a better picture of what 90 decibels sounds like:


Imagine...
  • the level of background noise in an apartment next to an elevated train
  • a motorcycle 25 ft away
  • subway train
  • heavy traffic
  • back hoe
Because of this reason I have found that using a sound machine can really help a newborn feel as though they are still nice and comfy in your womb. Newborn babies are not used to a completely silent room, therefore the more you make their sleeping space like the womb, the better they are going to sleep (in my personal opinion). This is why babies also love to be swaddled in the beginning months as well!

Here is the sound machine that I use with both of my boys. Our neighborhood is still under construction so there is construction equipment going by all day long and can be pretty loud. The noise machine really blocks out all of that noise. I have loved these and have not had any issues with them. It even has a picture projector. I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon, but Target sells this exact one as well. 



Monday, June 27, 2011

Making your own baby food

Have you ever read the ingredients that make up a jar of baby food? It's quite disgusting and because of this fact I decided with Eli that I would try to make my own (as much as possible.) When we would travel or were going out to eat, I would just bring a jar of pre-made, but I would only buy organic. You have to really read the label because even some of the organic have some strange ingredients, so I would only buy Earth's Best. If you read the label for their food it has very few ingredients and are all organic. It's of course a little more pricy (okay...maybe a lot more), but to me I feel better knowing exactly what I'm putting in my baby's mouth.

Making your own baby food is EASY! Yes, it takes a little more time, but if you do it all on one day, such as the weekend, you are set for the week! With Eli I purchased the Beaba food maker, which I LOVE, but you can easily use a food processor. I saved my birthday money to buy mine. (funny how things change once you have a child!)



Miles has just started eating solids and I thought I'd show you how I made some fresh peach puree. It took maybe 15 minutes total and we are set for the week. I always look for fruit and veggies that are on sale and stock up. When they get older, around 9 months, you can add meat as well. You can do a mixture of fruit/veggies or just keep it single.

First I started with some peaches:


Next I peeled them and diced them:



The next step is to steam the fruit. The beaba cooker does this for me, but if you were using a food processor then you would have to do this step yourself on the stove.

While I steam...we play!



After steaming, I then puree the fruit to make it to my desired thickness. I make it really thin at first and then thicker as they get older.


I also have the Beaba storing trays which I love. I just pour the puree into the cubes and then pop one out at a time when I want it. Ice cube trays work as well and also canning containers (just make sure they are BPA free)

The finished product looks like this:



There's also a great website with recipes:
http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/

Let me know how it goes if you try it! I forgot to mention how much money it saves as well! Always a bonus!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shop before you buy!

I have come across two websites that have amazing prices on baby items and have not been able to find lower prices anywhere. When looking for a high chair I really wanted a specific brand because I knew it would hold up and last through multiple children. In the stores such as Babys R Us and Buy Buy Baby they sell for well over $200, but on Albeebaby I purchased one for $179 with free shipping. We also purchased Eli's big car seats from these sites. For example, I just purchased a Britax Frontier 85 which sells for $300 in stores, and I bought it on Elite Car Seats for $197! (same exact model)

So....when shopping for large baby items (that you have to purchase yourself) make sure you look around. Both of the websites below have free shipping and I guarantee you won't find any lower prices. You can use the actual stores to go in and look at all the car seats and test your child out in them, but I would then purchase from one of these sites.

The websites:
Albee Baby
Elite Car Seats

Monday, June 13, 2011

Packing for the hospital

I remember calling my sister up before Eli's due date asking what the heck I was suppose to pack for the hospital. I knew it wasn't like going on a vacation, that's for sure, so I really had no earthly idea what to bring.

Now that I've been through 2 births here is what I would recommend packing: (in no particular order)

For yourself and partner: (I always pack 1 bag just for the delivery and another larger bag for our 2 day stay)

  • Drivers License, insurance card (try to pre-register a few weeks before if your hospital allows it)
  • Birthplan (if you have one!) 
  • Your pillow (let's face it...the hospital beds are not the most comfortable. I put an older pillow case on just because I didn't want my nice one to get dirty)
  • Socks for your feet during delivery and after. I went and bought some cheap cute socks at Target to wear during delivery. You go from burning up to freezing cold (at least I did) so sometimes you might want them on, and other times you might not want anything on your toes. BUT, I would buy a CHEAP pair because they can get dirty and you probably will want to throw them away ASAP. I know I did!) 
  • Load your Ipod with your favorite songs so you can listen to it during labor. This might help you and it might not, but it's a good idea to have it just in case! 
  • CAMERA!!! 
  • Video Camera! 
  • Flip flops (Again I bought a cheap pair at Target and then threw them away before leaving the hospital. They are nice to wear in the shower and around your room while you stay)
  • Chargers for your phone, computer (if you bring one)
  • Snacks for the hubby! Unfortunately, you won't be able to eat anything than ice chips during L&D, but your husband can and if he is like mine, he gets HUNGRY. I had a big ziplock bag packed full of his favorite things. I also ate some of the items during the 2 day stay as sometimes the hospital meals just weren't satisfying. (imagine that!) 
  • A robe
  • Comfy clothes! I'd suggest leaving your jeans at home girls. If you don't have any comfy pants, then go out and buy some. I like to get out of the ugly hospital gown ASAP so I always bring some comfy, light weight pants and shirts. 
  • If you plan to nurse buy yourself some nice tank tops with support. That way you can either unbutton the top layer you are wearing or simply lift the top layer up to feed the baby. I would recommend waiting on buying a nursing bra until you know what size you are going to be. (believe me... they can GROW!) 
  • Clothes for your husband as well as his toothbrush, shaver, etc. (whatever he uses on a daily basis)
  • I always like to take a shower as soon as I feel up to it and dry my hair and put on makeup. You might not care what you look like, but I always feel so much better when I look halfway like myself. So pack your hair dryer, flat iron, whatever you use.... along with your makeup, face wash, etc.
  • The hospital will have your bathroom stock full of pads for the bleeding that takes place after delivery. They can be pretty big so if you prefer your own, then pack some of those. You might have a lot of bleeding or you might not. It's whichever you prefer. 
  • Some ugly underwear you don't care to ruin and throw away! Again, I went to Target and bought a pack of 5 or 7 cheap underwear to wear during those first few weeks when you have the post-partum bleeding. Leave your thongs at home! Comfort is the key here!! 
  • A notepad/pencil: I read a blog where the mother of the woman giving birth kept a record of how the day progressed. It was so neat to read and I wish I would have had someone to do that with mine. They kept track of how many cms dilated she was at what time, what the doctor would say, the nurses, visitors, etc. What a great keepsake! 
  • If you want your baby's first foot prints in their baby book, then bring that and have the nurse stamp them in there when they are doing the same thing for the birth certificate, etc. 
  • Possible some light reading (I never did, but if you are a big reader and won't have a lot of visitors, then go ahead and throw something in!) 


For the baby:

  • going home outfit
  • blanket
  • hats (if you want him or her to wear one other than the hospital one)
  • outfits for the 2 days if you'd like, or they can just stay in the onesie from the hospital. It's fun to dress them up of course, but they are also perfectly fine in their onesie all swaddled up. 
  • have the car seat installed in your car and ready to go a few weeks before your due date. That way it is in the car already and is one less item you have to worry about. The hospital will not let you leave without one. 
  • You DO NOT need diapers. The hospital will have the baby's cart stocked full of diapers and you will take any you do not use home with you. 


I'm sure I forgot some things and will add back later if I think of any.

If you are reading this and have already experienced giving birth, what would you recommend bringing?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eating for 2

When you become pregnant you will most likely hear people say, "Oh, you can have another piece of ______, you're eating for 2 now!"

You might have a late night craving for a blizzard or an afternoon craving for chocolate cake. 

But, did you know that when you are pregnant, you only need an extra 100-300 calories a day? (depending on your BMI) I was very surprised to find that this was all the extra amount I needed with my first pregnancy and a little disappointed as well. I was thinking that pregnancy was a good excuse to let me eat whatever and whenever I wanted. 

I've always been a healthy eater (well...except for my love of ice cream), but I became an even healthier eater when I started dating Ryan. He was a BIG health nut and not into sweets like I was. This is a very good thing because if he loved dessert as much as I do then I'm fairly certain I'd be twice the size I am now. He was very good during the pregnancy keeping me in check. 

During my pregnancies I tried very hard to eat just as I normally do. To help on days when I was super hungry and really wanted to eat whatever was in front of my face, I would eat a protein bar. I love the Luna bars which can be found at both Wal-Mart and Target. These are much healthier and last much longer than cookies, candy, cake, etc. I would also eat unsalted almonds and nuts to keep me satisfied. I admit these are not very exciting, but you need to remember that whatever you eat, your baby is eating too. Do you really want to feed your baby all that sugar and high fat? I'm not saying that you shouldn't ever indulge in something that is bad for you. I would have ice cream every now and then, just not every night. 

The truth is that after the baby is delivered and you return home you are more than ready to get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. The sad thing is that you probably won't be able to get those skinny jeans on  your post-pregnancy legs. It no longer feels cute to look pregnant when you're holding your baby in your arms. The more weight you gain, the harder and longer it will be afterwards to get off and believe me, you will want to get the extra weight OFF!! 

With Eli the weight came off pretty quickly. Not as fast as I would have liked it, but it came off. I think I gained about 30 pounds. With Miles the weight stuck around a little longer. I gained probably about 35 pounds and even though I was eating the same things I normally ate, the weight seemed to be going straight to my legs. I remember thinking "I'm not even eating anything bad!! Where are the pounds coming from?" 

So, as you continue on this 9 month journey, try to stay focused on eating healthy. Not only for the baby, but for yourself as well. Believe me, you will be so happy you did after your bundle of joy returns!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do we or don't we?

To find out the sex or not to find out, that is the question!

I have experienced both ways so I thought I’d share my feelings on both!

With our first child we did not find out the sex of the baby. My husband (Ryan) did not have an opinion either way. He was perfectly fine with us being surprised, and he was perfectly fine with us finding out. He left it up to me.

I had always known (or thought) that when we had children I wanted to be surprised. My oldest sister, Julie, was surprised with all 3 of hers and it never once bothered her not knowing during the 9 months. My other sister, Karen, who has four girls did not find out with their oldest, but did with the other 3. With both of their first births (my nieces) I remember how exciting it was being in the waiting room and not knowing. There were other families who were waiting  in the same room for their own arrival and knew the sex, and sure they were excited when the father came out to announce the baby had arrived, but they weren’t surprised. I specifically remember how emotional it was for my brother in-laws to come out to where we were sitting and saying “It’s a GIRL!” I remember jumping up and screaming along with my sister, Heather, and jumping up and down like we were 5. Todd and Jason (brother in-laws) both had tears in their eyes and were already beaming fathers. Heather and I immediately got on our cell phones and started calling family members, shouting, “It’s a GIRL!!” before the caller could even say “hello!” These are priceless memories! Sure, we were excited at all the other niece/nephews births, but the surprise element was missing.

So after talking, Ryan and I decided that we would not find out. I was excited that Ryan would have that moment for himself…to be the one to tell the family what the newest member was. I figured it was only fair, as I was getting to experience everything else about the pregnancy. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t easy at the beginning. As the 20 week ultrasound started getting closer and the thought of knowing if we were going to have a son or daughter became more real, I started to question if we should wait or not. I had several other friends pregnant at the same time and they were finding out, so that made things harder as well. But, we stuck to our guns and at the ultrasound did not find out. (Luckilly, I mentioned to the tech that we didn’t want to know the sex, or else she would have just said it out loud!)

The next big thing with not finding out is everyone always saying, “Oh, I couldn’t do that. I’m too much of a control freak.” Well… I hate to tell them, SO AM I! You can EASILY set up an adorable nursery without knowing the gender!  You can ask my husband how much of an organized, neat freak, control freak, person I am.  I am not to the point of OCD, but I like to keep a neat, clean, and orderly house. I love to have everything in its own place and I get excited about organizing. I am also not a procrastinator in any way. I had to have the entire nursery finished before he arrived (even though we didn’t use it until month 4). It was not hard at all to complete a gender-neutral nursery!

So was I prepared for Eli’s arrival even though I didn’t know he was a boy? Yes! I was beyond prepared! I had everything we needed, including more than enough clothes to keep his little bootie warm.

Back to the birth… so if you had asked me at any point during the pregnancy what we were having I would have told you “boy!” If I were a betting person, I would have bet a lot of money on this fact! I think it was because I wanted a girl so bad that I felt like I would get the opposite.  (And I’m glad that I did, as I love my boys!)

On May 12th, Eli finally decided to make his appearance and my water broke early that morning. All during my labor, everyone was placing bets whether it was a boy or girl. It was fun to not know and the anticipation was building by the second! Even the nurses were placing bets.  Unfortunately, after 3.5 hours of pushing and 16 hours of labor, I had to have a c-section. I had never been more exhausted in my life and at this point was just ready to get the baby out so I could rest. I had almost forgotten about finding out the sex. I was so sad that I wouldn’t get to hold the baby immediately afterwards and that I’d have a longer recovery that I couldn’t stop crying, even during the surgery. Ryan was able to announce the sex and like I said, truthfully, I was not all that surprised. I was more excited that he had arrived and was healthy. Ryan was so worried about my health (as he had peaked over the curtain and saw what was on the other side) that he didn’t know whether to go with the baby or stay with me. He said that he too, was just relieved to have a healthy baby and now wanted to make sure his wife was going to be all right, that he didn’t even think about the surprise of the sex.  He was able to take Eli out into the waiting room where our families were, but they too were exhausted from being up all night and were just excited to finally see a baby! My father-in-law was beginning to think I’d never give birth!

So, was it the biggest surprise ever? No. Was I a little disappointed? Yes. But, I think if I had been able to have a vaginal birth without any complications, the surprise would have been much more enjoyable and a fun experience! Am I still glad we waited? Yes, because for the entire 9 months of the pregnancy we were always guessing and loved knowing we had such a big surprise ahead!

With our second child, we did find out. Again, Ryan was fine either way and this time around, for some reason, I just couldn’t take waiting 9 long months. Again I was pretty darn sure it was another boy and because I wanted a girl so bad, I decided I would go ahead and find out ahead.  On the day of the ultrasound we were so excited and everyone was making their guesses. It was fun to know that at only 20 weeks we were already going to know if we had a son or daughter. I guess I thought the tech would announce it in a bigger way or even alert us that she was going to tell us, but within a few seconds she just said, “if that’s what I think it is, then looks like you’re having another boy.” Again, we were just happy to have a healthy child and were just as excited to know the sex as we were on the day of the birth.

I did have fun picking out blue things for the nursery, but again, it was just as fun to do Eli’s, not knowing.

On the day of his birth, it was just as exciting as with Eli, not knowing the sex. Nothing about the day was boring just because we knew what we were having. In fact, with this birth I was going for a v-bac, so the big question was “will I be able to do it or have to have another c-section?” I was able to have a successful v-bac and loved being able to hold Miles immediately afterwards. It was an entirely different experience.

I think either way, you will be just as surprised. Knowing the sex or not knowing the sex, you are just overjoyed to have a baby! The miracle of birth, especially your own child, cannot come close to anything else you’ve ever experienced. So, whether you know if it’s a girl or boy, it is still a breathtaking experience, one you will never forget!

What about your experience? Did you find out the sex? Were you glad you waited? Share your experience below!