Baby Sleep Advice (from a sleep expert)

The most common theme throughout motherhood seems to be sleep. When you are pregnant people tell you to sleep now while you can. When you have a newborn people are obsessed with asking if they sleep through the night. As a new mom you always get asked if you are sleeping okay or if you are getting enough sleep (ask again in 20 years right?!?). As a new mom you hear about swaddling, sleep training, sleep methods, co-sleeping etc, etc, etc. You get the idea… sleep is a hot topic when you have kids!
In an effort to help you new moms (and dads) out, I have asked certified sleep consultant, Susie Parker, to answer a few burning questions for us about your little one’s sleep! After all, we know that baby sleeping means you can sleep. If you feel that you need help getting your little one to bed then Susie offers consultations and assistance to sleep deprived moms and dads. Check out her site Sleep Baby Love for more info!
Here were my 5 questions to Susie and her answers:
1.  There seems to be an endless discussion about whether or not to let babies cry-it-out. What do you think about this method, and do you know if it really causes any trauma/negative effects?
“CIO is only one component of sleep training and is not necessarily the only method out there… so parents need to become informed which would work best for them and feel confident in their decisions.  There is a great study out there that shows that babies that were sleep trained were not any different from their non-sleep trained peers at 5 years old and just using common sense of those that you know that are sleep trained, there is no long lasting harm or effect.
If you’re even going to consider sleep training, I suggest taking a look at this article first, since it breaks down everything you need to know.”
2. What would you suggest to transition away from nursing to sleep, and teach baby to self-soothe? Especially when the baby does not take any item for comfort (pacifier, blanket, etc.) except mom.
“Until you’re ready to dive right into sleep training, for a baby who doesn’t know how to fall asleep independently, you just have to think of everything as practice.  So, keep working with your baby to fall asleep independently.  The biggest misconception that I had is that my baby shouldn’t ever cry… and I took that literally.  So every time she squeaked, I went in to soothe her.  If you give your baby a little space (even if it’s a minute or two), the act of self settling becomes a little easier.  The pick up/put down method is also a great way that you can start gently giving your child independent skills.”
3.  Is there anything that can be done to help with sleep regressions, most notably the dreaded 4 month sleep regression?
“There will always be set backs with sleep, even for the best sleepers!  The 4 month sleep regression is so substantial because it’s due to developmental changes in your baby, most notably your baby becoming more aware.  So if you’re nursing or rocking your baby to sleep you may find that it takes much longer to get into that deep sleep.  So now is a great time to keep working on independent skills and having your baby sleep in their own room.  I have other great advice (and don’t forget to download your survival guide).”
4. What is your favorite piece of advice you love to give (about sleep) that most people don’t know?
“Sleep challenges don’t end with babies!  For many parents (even though they had the best sleeper), there are many reasons that sleep can take a nosedive once they become a toddler and preschooler.  The same techniques that I use for sleep training can be used, but you have to incorporate your child into the plans that you make for the best success.  For example, you can create a great bedtime routine that your child has some say in to make sleep fun.  Always keep the positive spin on sleep.  Make sure to get your preschooler sleep made easy checklist.”
5. What is the one thing you get asked about most, and what is your response?

“There are many questions about sleep!!!  But, I think that regardless what the answer is – I always say do what works for you.  If sleeping with your child is working for your family, no worries.  If getting up many times throughout the night works, don’t worry about it!  It’s when it stops working and people ask for advice, they don’t always like the answers I give (since it involves some type of sleep training and people don’t realize that there are gentler methods out there).  Regardless, as a parent you should never do something because a sleep consultant, friend or family told you to do something.  Do it because you believe it’s the best way to make your family happier and healthier.”

 

I hope that Susie’s Q&A helped some of you! If you feel like you still have burning questions or really need some one on one help, visit her website Sleep Baby Love, she will be so glad to hear from you! You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

Sweet dreams tonight everyone…

30 Day “Me Time” Challenge For Burned Out Moms

Are you a burned out mom? Then I challenge you!

As a new parent it is understandable that your time is now dedicated to taking care of your precious new baby. Maybe WAY MORE time than you could have imagined… It is so easy to put yourself last with a new baby (or any aged child really), but it is so important to dedicate some “me time” for yourself now more than ever!

Does this sound familiar; you are tired from getting up all night, you have not showered in a few days, wearing an oversized T-shirt and pajama bottoms, and have your greasy hair pulled back in a ponytail? Yes, I may be describing myself at the present moment, but I know that there are too many other moms who can say the same (please tell me I’m not the only one!!!). So in my own efforts to regain some sanity, I have created a 30 day “me time” challenge for burned out moms to help promote self-care and let you recharge your batteries. After all, you can’t take care of a baby if you haven’t taken care of yourself first and foremost.

As a full-time mom or dad (especially of an infant or a high needs baby) we really don’t get a lot of free time during the day. At 9 months, my little man really does demand a lot of my time because he does not want to be left alone for more than about 5 minutes; and when he was really little he did not want to be put down at all… I recently found myself waking up every one or two hours at night with him thanks to one of his lovely sleep regressions, but it seemed to last for many many weeks (thankfully he is sleeping better than ever- blog post about our sleep training success to follow). I was exhausted during the day and was giving up the time in the evening I took for myself in order to get in bed asap before he woke up again.

If this sounds like you, and you are needing to focus on some self-care, then I challenge you to join me in my 30 Day “Me Time” Challenge for Burned Out Moms! (your sanity and your spouse will thank you)

Here’s how it works:

I have created a list of “me time” activities/ideas; very simple ways to put yourself first during the day in hopes to help you recharge your batteries. Complete one task each day, do them in any order you want, until they are all complete. If one of the activities isn’t up your alley then substitute it for your own idea, because it is not so much the specific activity that’s important but the fact that doing it will bring you happiness and make you feel good!

Each day, along with doing one activity, you should also take a few minutes to journal. Give a different answer to each of the following questions every day: 1. write something you are thankful for, 2. something that makes you happy, 3. something positive about yourself, and 4. what you did for yourself that day. This part of the challenge will help you appreciate what you have in your life, help you focus on the positive, and remind you of things that bring you joy.

Next, make sure when you start you tell your husband/spouse/significant other. This is important for two reasons. First, it will ensure they understand what you are trying to accomplish and can help you! Second, telling someone a goal will drastically improve your likelihood that you will follow through and accomplish it.

Last but not least, I want to hear what you are doing for your “me time”! Leave me a comment below, or find me on social media (links on main menu) and share with me any thoughts/feelings/feedback throughout your challenge or pics of you enjoying your time! Tag me in your post or use the hashtag #30DayMeTimeChallenge. I will also be sharing my journey through the 30 day challenge on social media so be sure to follow me on twitter/facebook/instagram to hear about it.

It takes at least 21 days to make something a habit. My hope for you at the end of this challenge is that it will become a habit for you to think of yourself during the day, and to focus on the positive in your life!

Without further ado…

Here are your daily “Me Time” challenges:

  1. Go outside in the sunshine. Get out of the house!!! Don’t become a hermit; take a walk, have a picnic, and soak up some vitamin D.
  2. Read a book or magazine; take an extra-long bathroom break with a magazine, read for 15 minutes before bed, or read while baby naps.
  3. Call a friend on the phone/video chat. Remember to stay connected to the outside world and to have adult conversations with people who can talk back .
  4. Do something creative; color a page from an adult coloring book, color a mandala, do a zen doodle.
  5. Take a nap (without baby). Usually my little man has to nap on me and sometimes I will doze off too, but take a nap without baby so you can sleep properly and uninterrupted.
  6. Sleep in; let daddy take baby in the morning.
  7. Take a long shower or bubble bath; wash/condition your hair, shave, pull out all the stops that you usually skimp on because baby is waiting for you.
  8. Have a date night with hubby while someone else watches the baby. It doesn’t have to be a long outing- go to a movie, grab some dinner, or even stay in if you’re not comfortable leaving home without baby yet (but at least go in another part of the house from your sitter)!
  9. Treat yourself to a favorite dessert or sweet treat.
  10. Get a haircut, or style your hair for the day. Nothing makes you feel refreshed quite like getting a fresh hairdo.
  11. Have hubby give you a massage or go get one at a spa. Holding a baby all day can be quite a work out so let someone relax you.
  12. Eat a special meal; take the time to make something you love (not something that has to be defrosted, reheated, or delivered) or splurge and grab a bite to eat out.
  13. Try to take an afternoon or even a day “off”; someone takes baby as often as they can between feedings if breastfeeding, or when baby really needs you.
  14. Take a picture of yourself that makes you feel beautiful so you can look back at this time and feel good about yourself.
  15. Make sure the house is clean and organized so you don’t feel overwhelmed in a mess; peaceful surroundings makes for a peaceful mind. I know what you’re thinking, cleaning is not your idea of “me time”, but it is about the effects of having a clean house that will bring you joy rather than the task of cleaning. You can even hire someone to come in and clean for you 😉
  16. Paint your nails/get a manicure so you feel pampered.
  17. Write a letter to your baby to give them when they are grown, and write your birth story down so you don’t forget it.
  18. Write down any worries/fears/frustrations/anxieties and then destroy the paper (*please be very careful if you burn it, I am not advocating any action that will be dangerous, and for goodness sake don’t do anything like this with baby close by)
  19. Find a mom group to join, and/or reach out to another mom to make a mom friend. You can find lots of groups on facebook or meetup that have regular outings and play dates to join.
  20. Treat yourself to something you want, not need. It does not have to be something huge or expensive, but something just for you.
  21. Do something to make your bedroom more peaceful and comfortable; you are not getting much sleep so the sleep you do get should be enjoyable! You could treat yourself to new sheets for your bed, a new pillow, or comfy blanket. You could use aromatherapy like lavender to create a tranquil space; you can buy lavender sachets or lavender pillow spray. Also, just cleaning your room and putting out things that you enjoy (pictures, trinkets, fluffy pillows) can go a long way in creating a restful space, as well as rearranging your room so that it feels different and new.
  22. Enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee.
  23. Put on your favorite music, sing out loud and dance no matter how silly you may feel.
  24. Buy yourself fresh flowers for the house.
  25. Write yourself love notes/words of encouragement/inspirational quotes, and leave them around the house for you to see through the day.
  26. Meditate.
  27. Work out.
  28. Find a park near you and take baby for a walk.
  29. Unplug for an entire day; forget social media, just have a day where you focus on you and your baby.
  30. Take a day trip out as a family; you don’t have to go far but just get out of the house and find something fun to do together.

If you have chosen to take the challenge and I am so excited and hope it helps give you a little more time to yourself! Can’t wait to hear from you on your journey, and feel free to share with any other burned out moms you know 😉

As a thank you, here is a FREE Printable to easily keep track of your challenge.

To My Husband On Your First Father’s Day

This year is the first time you will get to celebrate father’s day as a daddy. I know that little man is too tiny to really tell you how he feels, but I know that he is beyond lucky to have you as his papa. Even though he can’t say it, he can show it. I can see it in the way he looks at you, in the way he lights up when you come home from work, in the way that you make him laugh like no one else can, in the way that he just wants to be in your arms because he missed you while you were away. We don’t need father’s day to let you know how special you are, but I am going to take the opportunity to make sure you know.

You have been my only love, but you have also given me my greatest little love. It fills my heart with joy to see my boys together. Watching you become a dad has been such a special gift and I love you even more now if that is possible. I knew you would be an amazing dad long before we had a baby, and you stepped up to the role so effortlessly and with such ease. It was so natural for you to be a dad; not because you had so many younger brothers and sisters and were used to babies, but because this was your son and it was meant to be that you were his daddy, like he was just an extension of who you were.

In some ways he is an extension of you (of both of us), because he is part of you. I see you in his appearance; he has your nose, your toes, and the pointed spot behind your ears. But I also see you in his heart all the time. I see you in the way he laughs, in the way he smiles a goofy grin when being silly, in his constant high energy and happy spirits, and in his gentle soul. He is definitely his father’s son.

Little man and I are so lucky that you love us. Thank you for being such an amazing father. You do so much for our little family and it definitely is noticed and appreciated (even if I don’t always say it). Thank you for working so hard to provide us with a home and allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom. Thank you for always making time for us after coming home from a 10 or 12 hour work day. Thank you for taking the lead after little man was born; for letting me rest and heal, for changing ALL the diapers the first few weeks, for finding the perfect ways to calm him down when he was fussy. Thank you for always being excited to play and for literally running and jumping through the house to entertain him. Thank you for all that you do for our new family.

We love you, happy father’s day!

Liebster Award

I was nominated for a Liebster Award! Vanessa from Surviving Chaos was kind enough to give me this honor. She blogs about being a mom and I love that she describes herself as a “chewy” mom. Check out her blog to find out what that means and more about her, I know sure she would love it!

The Liebster Award is a peer nominated award given to newer bloggers by other bloggers. It asks you to answer some questions about yourself so that we can get to know one another a little bit better, as well as nominate other bloggers. So, here are some things about me!

11 Random Things About Me

  1. I don’t have my ears pierced. I never cared to and never will.
  2. I married my first love and soulmate. He is an amazing husband and father.
  3. I love interior decorating and design. I had a blast decorating my son’s nursery recently!
  4. I graduated cum laude from Salem College, a women’s college, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Studio Art. Currently using it as a stay at home mom.
  5. I don’t eat anything from the sea.
  6. I have a major sweet tooth! I love anything chocolate (especially mint chocolate), ice cream (I personally believe that the Haagen Dazs pints are single serve cups), and am always looking for the perfectly gooey chocolate chip cookie (so far my high school cafeteria is the one to beat believe it or not).
  7. I am half Italian on my dad’s side, and on my mom’s side they have apparently been able to trace our heritage to William Bradford (the captain of the Mayflower- the ship that came over from England with the first pilgrims).
  8. I have the opposite of a green thumb; I can’t keep plants alive. I even killed a cactus in college.
  9. Thank goodness that I married a chef because I don’t cook well. If it weren’t for him and pizza delivery then I think I would starve.
  10. I love writing with a great pen, preferably a thin tip ink/gel pen. I think that the computer is great and saves so much time, but I always enjoy writing with pen and paper (I secretly used to love taking notes in school- I was a bit of a geek if you didn’t guess from #4).
  11. I have mad skills at the stuffed animal claw machine! I can always get one out 😉

Answers to Vanessa’s questions

In Vanessa’s nomination she asked me 11 questions about myself and here are my answers!

What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I knew I wanted to have a blog about parenting and becoming a new mom. Frankly picking a blog name was very difficult and I was playing around with a lot of ideas before finding my name. I had always heard the expression “two is company, three is a crowd”. But after becoming a mom I thought about this from another perspective, because three is when you become a family! When it was just me and my husband we were just a married couple (that were more well-rested I’ll give you that), but once we got pregnant then it wasn’t just about us anymore. We were now starting a family. Three makes a family…

 

When did you start blogging?

I launched my blog in April of 2016. This is still a very new venture for me so I am learning a lot! I have enjoyed getting to know other bloggers and my readers. I love to hear from you and get your feedback! Don’t be shy to reach out to me, comment on my blog posts, and share them with your friends and family if you like it!

 

What are your top blogs that you like to read?

I am finding new blogs all the time, and still exploring which ones to follow. Since starting my blog I have been reading a lot more blogs than I ever have. Really I love to read any that are for parenting, pregnancy, families, and babies. The first blog I really loved to follow was The Pregnant Chicken which I found while I was pregnant with my son.

 

Do you prefer the country or the city? Why? 

I have lived in both and I prefer the suburbs country feel (not too country- I need civilization close by). It is so much more laid back and peaceful. Not to mention more beautiful natural surroundings. I can’t stand living in a large city for too long; the traffic and congestion are too much to handle!

 

If you could travel anywhere where would you go?

I would want to travel to lots of places! I love going somewhere I have never been and experiencing a new culture. The one place that I haven’t been and want to go to is Italy; I would love to see where my great grandparents came from.

 

What is the one thing you can’t live without? (Not including people)

Photos. I love to capture all of my family moments and beautiful imagery. They are precious memories to look back on fondly. I am a bit obsessed with putting them all into photo books as well.

 

What is your current favorite song?

Besides the CD of French children’s songs that are played every day??? This is a really hard question because I have lots of favorite songs. If I had to pick I would say right now my favorite song is “Faster” by Matt Nathanson.

 

If you were on a deserted island what 3 things would you take with you?

One part of me always wants to answer this practically by saying a satellite cell phone to call for help, a lighter to start fires, and one of those big survival knives that have a bunch of different uses. The other part of me would say that I would bring a good book series to read, my favorite music to listen to, and a huge journal to write a book since I would have so much free time.

 

If you were to invite five celebrities to your home for dinner, who would they be?

Ellen DeGeneres, Matt Nathanson, Emma Watson, Johnny Depp, and Cameron Diaz

 

What are your talents?

I am very artistic and love to draw, paint, and craft. I danced all throughout elementary and middle school. And I have awesome organizational skills (like sometimes I wonder if I could do it professionally).

 

What is a piece of advice you would like to share?

First, always remember to be positive. It is a choice; one that will bring you happiness and peace. Life is more pleasant when the cup you’re sipping from is half full.

Second, be confident in your own skin and be proud of it! Easier said than done I know, but never feel ashamed of who you are. Never tell someone not to take that picture, or decide not to swim because you don’t want to be seen in a swimsuit, or contradict someone when they give you a compliment, just say thank you.

 

My Nominations

Now that you know a little bit more about me, here are my Liebster Award nominations! All these ladies are fabulous and I have enjoyed reading their blogs, you should definitely check them out.

  • Sarah at Real Simple Mama. She is a stay at home mom blogging about motherhood and attachment parenting. I love reading her positive and love-filled tweets.
  • Whitney at We’re Only Hsuman. She is a supermom to three beautiful babies (and a fellow Salem grad) blogging about a mother’s musings on family, faith, and fun! Don’t miss her Tuesday posts to hear the funny things her toddlers say.
  • Suzi at Start A Mom Blog. She has amazing resources for moms who want to blog, and a great list of mom blogs if you want to find some great new ones! Her site is an awesome find for any mom blogger.
  • Alyse at The Hodgepodge Mommy. She is a nurse turned stay at home mom, lover of coffee, cooking, crafting and Disney. She writes about a little bit of everything that all moms can enjoy!
  • Naimah at This Beautiful Life Of Ours. She lives in Georgia and blogs about motherhood, homeschooling and books/games. Her blog was just named one of the top 20 mommy blogs in India!
Ok ladies, now that you have been nominated, here are the rules for your Liebster Award:
  • Thank the blogger that nominated you in your post and link back to their site.
  • Display the Liebster Award Logo on your blog.
  • Answer 11 questions from the blogger that nominated you.
  • Tell your readers 11 random facts about you.
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers with less than 1,000 followers for the Liebster Awards.
  • Ask your nominees to answer 11 questions.
And here are your 11 questions!
  1. What inspired you to start a blog
  2. What are you passionate about
  3. What talents/strengths do you have
  4. What is your favorite movie, tv show, or book
  5. What is your greatest fear
  6. What is one wish or goal you have
  7. Who is someone you look up to or admire and why
  8. What is your favorite thing about being a mom
  9. What do you enjoy doing for fun
  10. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be
  11. What is one of your favorite childhood memories

Please leave the links to your articles in the comments to this post so I can read them ladies! I would love to hear your answers.

A Mom Still Needs Her Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to you all! I am so excited because this year I get to celebrate my first Mother’s Day as a new mama! There is something so special about the holiday now that I am a mom. I always loved Mother’s Day so I could celebrate my mom (and still do), but it takes on a brand new dimension this year. There is now a whole little person who is in this world that wasn’t last year. He has changed me in so many ways already, and has bestowed upon me the title and privileges of “mom”.

I am still very new at motherhood (just 6 months now), but I feel like I have already learned quite a bit. As a new parent you feel like you end up figuring things out as you go; you try to plan, research, and prepare, but nothing can fully equip you for parenting until you are in the trenches yourself. The one thing that you will always have to help you navigate the mine field is your mom. Even though I am a mom now and there is a baby who relies on me, I will always still rely on my mom.

I think that now more than ever, our relationship means so much to me. As I got older it was a nice change to transition from her being an authoritative figure, to that of a peer and friend. It has again changed as I watch her become a grandma (or nana as she is called). I can rely on her experience as I learn what to do with my own baby. After all, she was the one who raised me so I feel completely comfortable to rely on her.

When I gave birth to my son, I was living across the country from her. She flew out for the birth and stayed two weeks after. It was so nice having her there. I felt in some ways like a little girl again, I absolutely needed my mom! Of course, I had my amazing, wonderful, super supportive husband who is my rock and my everything. But there is no one that can replace your mom to provide you with that unconditional loving support that you so desperately need in your sleep deprived and vulnerable state after having a baby. When you come home from the hospital and are trying to figure out how to care for this little baby, it is beyond comforting to know you have your mom there to help take care of you.

So for Mother’s Day this year I want to say thank you to my mom! Thank you for always supporting me, caring for me, driving two hours to see me almost every weekend (ok, I know you really want to see your grandson), for worrying about my baby as I would, for always making sure I am okay, and for being an awesome Nana now. On this mother’s day especially, now that I am also a mom, I want you to know how much I love you, and how much I appreciate all that you have done for me and all I know you will continue to do for me and your grandson.

Love you mom…