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, Gray  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(  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(  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(  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( 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're not alone!

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 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:

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 doens't mean you aren't doing GREAT and or that your baby is 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!!!