Rage Cleaning

The other day I was overwhelmed by all the chores and cleaning that needed to be done. Specifically, I really needed the carpets vacuumed. It was time for my son’s nap because he was super grumpy and getting upset about everything. He doesn’t talk, but here’s what he was saying, “Put me in the Jumperoo,” “Take me out of the Jumperoo!” “Put me in the Jumperoo!!” “Give me my toy!” “Why is it on the floor? Put it in my hand!” “I’m tired” “I’m hungry” “Get me out of the Jumperoo!!!” All the while I’m thinking “that carpet is SO dirty. Look at those stains! Let me PLEASE just clean the carpet today!”

sigh

So I decided it was time to for a nap (for us both, but he’s the only one who gets any sleep around here). I took him to his room and started the nap time routine. Let me tell you…he wasn’t having any of it. After he ate it was back to playing! I suddenly realized it was prime time to vacuum the living room rug! I took him back to the Jumperoo, got the vacuum out and rage cleaned that mofo! It felt so good I decided to vacuum the stairs. Baby N. seemed like he was having a party, so I moved on to the basement carpet. It.felt.so.good.to.clean!! Vacuuming never felt so marvelous.

I came back upstairs to see Baby N. playing in his Jumperoo. However, once he saw me he started fussing. I put the vacuum in the closet and went to pick him up, but he had fallen fast asleep!! I laid him in his crib and he slept for two hours…..

and that’s how you rage clean.

The Silence

Ah! My son and the girl I nanny are currently sleeping. Yes, it took a good 45 minutes to get them both to sleep, but I did it! I ran downstairs and walked towards the remote, then the kitchen, then my computer, then my book….what to do, what to do? The responsible thing would be to write a blogpost or check email, but I REALLY want to read this book and finish the Nurse Jackie episode I started two days ago! hm….could I turn on the episode while drinking coffee and writing a blogpost? Heck yes! Damn it..I can’t concentrate. This post is taking me 15 minutes to write so far and I only have a paragraph. I turned the TV off and set down my coffee.

The silence in this house is wonderful!

I just heard something in the monitor…it better not be a baby…or anyone outside making too much noise!

As I was saying…the silence in this house is wonderful! Do you hear that? It’s the sound of my keys typing away and my cat snoring next to me. Even if I have a hard time getting anything done due to my overwhelming urge to multitask like Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, I love this time to myself. I have done several things during this sacred time. I planned a vacation to Mexico, wrote several blogposts, read a little, watched an episode of my favorite show (sometimes I can watch more than one, but don’t tell anyone), practiced flute and piano, started crafts, done laundry, washed the dishes, swept the floors, dusted, vacuumed the basement, picked up toys, ate a lot, and sat outside in the sun (something you can’t do with a baby because they’re supposed to sit in the shade).

On the other hand it’s a little stressful. I rarely get to finish anything I start. I have close to ten drafts waiting for me to finish, my flute has been sitting out for a week (it’s been three, but don’t tell my old flute instructor), I have crafts sitting out in the basement for months, I empty the dish washer but don’t have time to put the dirty dishes in it, and the list goes on.

This silence can really drive a parent mad. You don’t know what to do and when you figure it out it’s time to pick up a child who’s waking from a nap. I am determined to finish this blog post. At least I’ll have accomplished one thing in one sitting this week and as a parent, you know that’s huge!

How about you? What do you do with your silent moments? Do you even have any silent moments? Some households don’t and that’s okay. Would you call it “downtime” instead?

 

Sensory Bags

Sensory bags are amazing for several reasons…. well, maybe there’s only one person:

  1. To keep babies occupied

Well, that is my goal at least. They are great for babies who don’t enjoy tummy time, children who need a quiet time activity, or babies who need-a-new-toy-but-you-don’t-feel-like-buying-one-so-you-use-items-from-around-your-house-to-keep-them-occupied.

Recently Mama Robin from TheMamaPlayBook.com and I had a baby play date where our goal was to make sensory bags for our babies. When she arrived the babies were all asleep, so we set out the items and were excited to get started when a baby started crying…and then another…and then another. By the end of our two hours together, Mama Robin was eager to get in the car for the twins’ second nap time, but we were determined to make those amazing sensory bags and eat some lunch! We gulped down our food while making the bags and tending to babies. It was exciting to say the least. We made the bags very quickly, but they are beautiful and our babies love them!

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Want to create your own? Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • Thick storage plastic bags. We used quart sized.
  • Duct Tape
  • Hair Gel
  • Glitter
  • Little toys such as foam pieces, beads, stickers, etc. Don’t use anything with sharp points. I put plastic stars in one of mine and it poked through the plastic.
  • Scissors

STEP ONE

Fill a plastic bag about 1/4-1/3 with hair gel.

STEP TWO

Add the fun toys and glitter. I added a lot of glitter and handfuls of things to mine, but you can stick with one bag filled with foam pieces while another is filled with beads. It’s your choice. Have fun with it!

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STEP THREE

Zip the bag up and add duct tape along the edges. Cutting the duct tape at the sides and folding it over the edge being careful not to cut the bag!

YOU’RE DONE! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

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Have you created these before or did you use these direction to create your own? Post your pictures below!!

 

 

Baby’s First Foods

Baby N. started eating solid foods at 6 months old! It’s been a fun adventure so far. I was told to wait to give him solid foods until he could sit up unassisted, was about 6 months old, and showed interest in food. He was showing an interest in food and sitting unassisted by five and a half months old. However, I didn’t want him to have solid foods yet because he wasn’t quite 6 months. One day he decided to take my freshly peeled banana and shove it in his mouth! He sucked on it and loved it. Ever since then we decided to start the solid food journey.

First we tried baby led weaning with bananas and avocado. It was cute watching him explore the tastes and textures. When he tried something new he would shake his head and make a funny face, sometimes gagging. I’ve seen him gag and spit out foods, but never choke. I didn’t know my CPR skills would come in handy so soon. One night while he was eating avocado, he started gagging. All the sudden it went from gagging to not breathing, so I started taking him out of his high chair when a very small piece of avocado came out. Never again. We have been on pureed foods ever since. I let him feel finger foods while feeding him puree. This is so he can work on his motor skills yet still eat. I also let him feed himself using the spoon. Sometimes I pour his pureed food on his tray for him to play in too. I’m too much of a wimp now for full on baby led weaning!

I know you’re probably curious about what Baby N.’s had to eat so far. Here’s a list from first to most recent foods:

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Apple
  • Sweet Potato
  • Carrot
  • Pear
  • Pea
  • Oatmeal cereal (he loves this!)
  • Prune
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Blueberry
  • Purple Carrot
  • Apricot
  • Mango
  • Orange
  • Beet

 

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Baby N. would eat one food once a day for two to three days to make sure there were no allergies. I introduced new foods in the morning. We are vegetarians, so we will not be introducing meat, but will let him make that decision when he’s older. Papa Pad has a severe nut allergy, so we will have to introduce nuts at an allergist’s office when Baby N. is two or three years old.

I want to try Kale and Lentils next. I have heard some great things about superfoods for babies. Here’s a great link to 10 Baby Superfoods and I’m sure you can find more if you search online!

My 6 Month Old’s Schedule

Have you been curious about other baby’s schedules? Are you hoping to get your kiddo on a schedule too? This blog post with guide you through a day in my 6 month-old’s basic daily schedule.

I have a baby-led schedule, which means that I follow my baby’s cues for naps, feeding, etc. I’m not going to force feed him or lay him down at a specific time unless he’s feeling tired. Believe it or not, Baby N. sleeps at about the same time every day consistently. Everything else is scheduled around those nap or bed times. See My 4 Month Old’s Schedule if you’re interested in that too.

Also, I am now a pumping and breastfeeding SAHM. Baby N. has had trouble nursing during the day – he has struggled with silent reflux and now he has an aversion to daytime nursing (unless we’re in our bed with the lights off and he’s very sleepy).

Baby N. basically sleeps about every two hours for about 45-90 minutes. Some days he’ll take a two hour and 15 minute nap every three or four hours. He might be in a transition to two naps per day now, but he’s still mostly taking three.

8:00-10:00 Wake up, lay in bed, change diaper and clothes, play downstairs

10:00-11:00 Eat before nap, nap for 45 minutes while Mom pumps

11:00-1:00 Eat more from bottle and some pureed food, play, walk, diaper change

1:00-1:30 Bottle before nap, nap for about 90 minutes while Mom pumps

1:30-4:00 Play or run errands, diaper change

4:00-5:00 Bottle before nap, nap for about 45-90 minutes while Mom pumps

5:00-7:30 Play and eat more from bottle and some pureed food

7:30-8:00 Bedtime routine

8:00-8:00am Sleep. Baby N. wakes up every three or four hours to eat

 

What’s your schedule like? Would you like to know more details about any of this? Comment!

 

 

My 4 Month Old’s Schedule

I’m the kind of parent who prefers to follow my baby’s cues for feeding, naps, etc. If he’s tired, then he should sleep. If he’s not hungry, then he shouldn’t be fed yet. It’s called a baby-led schedule. I’m also the kind of parent who is flexible yet needs to know the schedule. I spent a good amount of time looking up schedules when Baby N. was two months old and realized that every baby is very different. He was on a schedule, but it was pretty random and constantly changing. He seemed to settle into a regular routine around four months old. I’m a breastfeeding WAHM (work at home mom) who nannies. I have had a hard time getting Baby N. down for naps, so I tried many many things and then finally decided to nurse him before and after a nap while lying in bed. This schedule was also extremely flexible because my main job was caring for baby girl. Basically, Baby N. got his diaper changed before every nap, was fed before and after naps, and slept 45 minutes every 90 minutes..so he took four naps per day.

8:00-8:30  Wake up, diaper change, get dressed.

8:30-9:00  Travel to baby girl’s home to nanny.

9:15-9:30  Diaper Change and Nurse

9:30-10:15  Nap

10:15-10:30  Nurse

10:30-11:30  Play, read, social time with baby girl, bounce in the activity center

11:30-11:45  Diaper Change and Nurse

11:45-12:30  Nap

12:30-12:45  Nurse

12:45-1:45  Play or go for a walk

1:45-2:00  Diaper Change and Nurse

2:00-2:45  Nap

2:45-3:00  Nurse

3:00-4:00  Play

4:00-4:15  Diaper Change and Nurse

4:15-5:00  Play or Nap (I tended to keep him awake as long as possible because we had to leave at 5:00)

5:00-5:45  Nap while traveling home

5:45-7:15  Play while Mom cooks dinner and eats

7:15-7:45  Nighttime routine (diaper change into nighttime diapers, massage, give meds/probiotics, change into PJs, read a book)

7:45-8:00  Nurse in bed

8:00  Asleep for the night, but wakes up every two hours to nurse or in pain from reflux…it’s a work in progress.

 

What’s your schedule like for your 4 month old baby? 

 

Baby vs. Nap Time

Have you struggled with getting your little one down for a nap? This is a battle I have fought since Baby N. was about three months old. He used to go down for a nap just fine – I would lay him in his crib all swaddled and sleeping then graduated to letting him self-soothing. Something happened around three months of life that caused him to suddenly hate nap time – specifically sleeping on his own. Now, a lot of parents choose to sleep with their little ones either by carrying them or laying next to them. Some choose to let their baby cry it out. Others are somewhere in between. I really need nap time to get things done or have some quiet time to myself. Therefore, the idea of napping in a crib really appealed to my lifestyle. We also nap on the go in the carrier, stroller, or carseat. However, the majority of naps take place at home in his crib.

 

THE SITUATION

Every time I laid Baby N. in his crib for nap time he would scream bloody murder. It would take up to an hour and a half to get him to sleep. I was bouncing, rocking, swinging, swaying, walking, shushing, swaddling, not swaddling, nursing, not nursing, and etc. Nothing seemed to work. I knew he was tired because he had been rubbing his eyes and ears. He also gets tired after being awake for an hour and a half. He usually sleeps for about 45 minutes at a time.

 

THE GOAL

To get Baby N. to sleep in his crib and eventually teach him to self soothe himself to sleep.

 

THE PROCESS

Laying Baby N. in a swing was the most effective, but my goal was to try to get him to sleep in his crib. Therefore, bouncing on a yoga ball was the most effective. He would fall asleep in 10-15 minutes without crying, then I would lay him in the crib once he was asleep. However, I started nannying and couldn’t afford this kind of time. I needed him to fall asleep quicker. After doing some research I learned that some parents nurse their babies to sleep while laying next to them, so I tried this one afternoon. Baby N. nursed very well for about 10 minutes, I burped him, and then layer next to him on the bed….he passed out in ONE MINUTE. Eventually he learned this was the routine and didn’t need the close body contact to fall asleep. After the nurse and burp, he would focus his attention on a teddy bear or pillow falling asleep on his own. I realized that I might be able to escape after the nurse and burp. I was wrong, he still needed me there. This was our routine for about two months.

This was my process. Some days I feel guilty doing number 4, so I tend to do #2 or #3 depending on the day. Also, if #4 doesn’t work, then I’ll take Baby N. out of the crib to bounce on the yoga ball until he’s asleep.

  1. Nurse, burp, bounce on yoga ball, lay in crib asleep. (20-30 minutes)
  2. Nurse, burp, lay next to him on a bed. (10-15 minutes)
  3. Nurse, burp, bounce on the yoga ball, lay in crib awake (5-15 minutes)
  4. Nurse, burp, lay in crib awake (5 minutes for me and 5-15 for Baby N. to fall asleep)

 

THE RESULT

I can now leave Baby N. after nursing and burping to fall asleep on his own in the crib! He will sleep 45-90 minutes at a time. It actually happened by accident one evening when I had laid him in bed after our bedtime routine. I was in a hurry to go out for the night, so I was doing my hair in the bathroom. I didn’t hear one peep from Baby N., so I went to check on him and he was sound asleep!

Most naps he is able to fall asleep if I lay him in his crib, but there are still times when he needs me to lay next to him in a bed or bounce him on the yoga ball. However, 80% of the time he is self soothing himself to sleep! Success! I’m sure we have a ways to go from here, but I hope he has learned to like nap time at least.

As a mom, you just need to follow your intuition – you know what to do…you just have to do it. Do your own research and find some ideas to try. If it sort of works and you feel like you’re making progress then stick to it – even if it means trying it out for a month or more!

Do you have any suggestions or advice to add?

 

Photo courtesy of Sweetie Photo.

Why I Chose a Birth Center

Have you been curious about birth centers? What are they and why would you choose one instead of a hospital or home birth?

About three or four years ago the hot topic among my friends was pregnancy and childbirth. Naturally, I became curious about my options. One of my friends suggested I watch The Business of Being Born and consider a free-standing birth center here in Colorado called Mountain Midwifery Center. At the time it was the only free-standing birth center and is currently run by CNM (certified nurse midwives) and nurses. It took many years of waiting and researching to decide we were finally ready for a baby. Although Baby N. was born in a hospital, I received all of my prenatal care at the birth center from 9-41 weeks. I’m not an expert, so this is just my opinion on the topic of birth centers vs. hospitals vs. home birth (know that I support all venues for birth, but this is an argument for birth centers. I’m sure I’ll create arguments for home birth and hospitals too). The following are my top reasons for choosing a birth center:

  • It has the benefits of a hospital birth combined with the feel and freedom of a home birth.
  • Birth centers typically have ultrasound machines and other medical equipment.
  • They are typically situated near a hospital.
  • Avoid medical interventions such as epidurals.
  • Avoid being hooked up to fetal monitoring machines.
  • You’re more likely to get the birth experience you’ve requested such as delayed cord clamping.
  • You’re able to eat and drink during labor.
  • Birth is natural and shouldn’t be thought of as an illness.
  • Ability to have a water birth.
  • Less risk of a cesarean birth. The risk of a c-section for low-risk pregnant moms at a birth center is 6% compared to the U.S. national average of 27%. 
  • Can have as many or little people present at your birth as you choose. Of course the midwife and a nurse will probably be present off and on.
  • CNM are trained to know when you need to transfer to a hospital and can catch any major signs early.
  • It’s less expensive. The birth center we chose would have been around $3000 while a vaginally deliver in a hospital typically costs more than double that. In 2010, a vaginal delivery with no complications, on average, cost $9749.

I risked out of the birth center I chose at 41 weeks of pregnancy due to Oligohydramnios. My midwife caught it before I was in labor, prepared my paperwork, asked me to choose a hospital, and off we went to be induced! The hospital I chose for my cesarean birth was extremely accommodating. Some hospitals will allow or provide the preferences listed above upon request. If you’re in Denver, CO, then I highly recommend Denver Health!🙂

If you chose a birth center – why did you choose it?

 

7 Items to Have on Your Nightstand During the Newborn Stage

Once your baby is born, what should you have on your nightstand? I sure didn’t want to get out of bed during the night. It was easier having everything I needed on my nightstand. I bed share and breastfeed, so this list is based on my experience only. I want to make life easier for you, mama, so I decided to compile a list of things that were/are commonly found on my nightstand when Baby N. was born:

  1. Tissues. Baby N. spit up or I leaked and there’s no way I wanted to interrupt my sleep or Baby N.’s sleep too much by getting out of bed. I also didn’t feel like doing more laundry than I had to after a C-Section. Therefore, tissues.
  2. Nipple Balm/Cream. I put this on after every feeding. I actually had a tube of it at every site that I fed Baby N. at: Bedroom, nursery, and the living room. I used Lanolin, but many mamas prefer coconut oil or any natural oil. I never had cracked or bleeding nipples.🙂
  3. Nightlight. I had a nightlight on in the bedroom for the first three months since Baby N. had trouble with the latch for a while.
  4. Water. Nursing mamas know what I’m talking about…you need that water!
  5. Phone and Charger. Sometimes I needed a brighter light, so it was helpful to have my phone next to me since it has a flashlight. I also used my phone at night when I was wide awake with Baby N. (I know you’re not supposed to look at screens at night because it provides bad sleep, but it was worth it. Cured the loneliness.) I was also grateful to have a camera nearby.🙂
  6. Chapstick. Maybe it’s a Denver thing, but my lips get so chapped during the night. However, Lanolin/coconut oil/whatever can be used as chapstick too.
  7. Diapers and wipes in a wipe warmer (optional). I didn’t do this since Baby N. only occasionally woke up from a soiled diaper during the night. However, I can see it being a huge help!

Is there anything you’d add to this list? Comment!

How to use a Pacifier with a Breastfed Baby

I know there are a lot of debates about whether to use a pacifier, when to use a pacifier, should a pacifier be used, and etc. etc. So let’s just bypass all of those issues and assume you want to use a pacifier AND you’re breastfeeding. I used a pacifier because Baby N was very discontent in the car (screaming and crying). Many moms use a pacifier because their baby enjoys comfort nursing around the clock. I’m sure you have your reasons.

Here are some tips on how to introduce a pacifier and when to use one while breastfeeding.

  1. Wait to introduce the pacifier as late as possible in order to establish a good latch with baby. Many professionals suggest introducing a pacifier at 3-4 weeks once breastfeeding is well established while others suggest 6-8 weeks once mother’s milk supply is regulated.
  2. Use the pacifier at nap time and in the car for comfort.
  3. Never use a pacifier in place of feedings or to try to hold him/her off longer from a feeding.
  4. Baby will mostly just play with it and get used to the pacifier being in his/her mouth in the beginning. Baby N spit his out all of the time – especially in the car – and then he’d cry because he lost it.
  5. Avoid a pacifier if you’re having problems with sore nipples, nipple confusion, difficulty nursing, baby’s weight gain, milk supply, thrush, and etc. Consult a lactation consultant or doctor for any nursing or medical issues.
  6. I have tried many pacifiers with Baby N, but he prefers MAM, which seem to be pretty popular with babies.

I hope this is helpful. I’m happy to write more about it, but wanted to keep it short and simple. Here are some pictures of my Baby N. He obviously prefers his MAM because he thought it was crazy having the other ones in his mouth.🙂

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