How We Successfully Weaned Our Baby off the Pacifier

Motherhood

If you’re here, it’s most likely because you too have a pacifier-obsessed child and no clue how or when to break the habit. Like everything else about parenting, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of different opinions when it comes to ending pacifier use. We were able to successfully get rid of pacifiers after just 3 days! So I figured I would share information on what we did, in case you were needing to hear another success story 😉

1. Make the decision to quit

This is important! We chose to get rid of the pacifier when our daughter turned a year old, as was recommended by her dentist. Whenever it is you decide, stick with your decision! If you try to take it away and then later regret it and give the pacifier back, it will only make it harder when you decide to take it away again. Breathe through the crying and remind yourself that this is just a phase that will pass.

2. Reduce pacifier use

As a newborn, we pretty much let London have her pacifier whenever. As she got older however, we started to minimize the use to just naps and bedtime. This was really really helpful, as it let her slowly get used to the idea of not having that security. If she got fussy during the day, we would distract her by singing her favorite songs or pulling out a toy. It was surprising to see how she really didn’t need the pacifier during the day as much as we were giving it to her.

3. Eliminate use and replace

Once she was down to only using the pacifier for naps and bedtime, we hid the wubbanub and decided to see how she would do without it completely. This was the harder part of the process. She cried whenever we tried to put her down for the first three days. On the bright side, the length of time she spent crying did go down each day. Reality is, your baby will cry that first nap or two (or day or two), but rest assured that they are capable of falling asleep without the paci. They just need to realize that themselves 😊

4. Be patient

I don’t regret introducing the pacifier, as I do believe it has its benefits (like reducing the risk of SIDS). So I just accepted that breaking the habit was going to be one of those things that you dread and then look back on and laugh once it’s all passed. For most babies, it will be a rough transition. But you and your baby will make it through and be happier in the end 😊

I hope this information is helpful to at least one other parent out there. If it was, leave a note in the comments! I would love to hear how the process went for you!

Tips for Traveling with a Baby

Motherhood

At this point, London is kind of in between the baby stage and toddler stage. But she is definitely a pro in traveling, having gone on 8 flights in her first year of life! My family lives in Florida, so we try to make a trip every other month or so. While it definitely brings its challenges, flying with a baby is do-able and shouldn’t stop you from taking part in these experiences. I thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve figured out along the way, in case you have a trip coming up yourself!

1. Have a designated “travel stroller”

This will definitely come in handy while you’re navigating the airport. (If your baby is small enough to wear in a carrier, even better!) Most airlines will allow you to bring a stroller all the way to the gate, and then they’ll check it for you before take-off. As soon as you get off the flight, the stroller will be waiting for you outside the plane. I can’t tell you how much easier this makes my life when my arms are tired from juggling my child, carry on bag, and 10,000 snacks. Side note: if you can, get a cheap stroller that you wouldn’t mind getting a little beat up. It will be checked at the bottom of the plane, along with everyone’s luggage. And most airlines will tell you they aren’t responsible for any damage that might be done.

2. Bring something for their ears

This can be a pacifier, bottle, sippy cup, or even the boob if they’re still nursing! The changes in the air pressure will affect them the same way it does to you, but they’re a little less tolerant. I recommend having one of the above ready during take-off and landing, so that they will be as comfortable as possible.

3. Late flights are easier

If you can snag that red-eye, do it! Not only will you save a few bucks, but I’ve found that babies will generally sleep the entire flight, if it happens to be after their bed time. As long as you bring a blanket to keep them comfortable, this will be the easiest flight to manage. Side note: these flights tend to be less crowded, so ask the flight attendant if there is an empty row you can move to. The extra room will be helpful!

4. Keep them busy

If the red-eye doesn’t work for you and your baby will be awake during your flight, bring enough things to keep them entertained. For us, this is lots of snacks, books, small toys that don’t make a lot of noise, etc. Keep them in your bag and pull them out when your little one starts to get fussy. They’ll be intrigued and you’ll feel like Mary Poppins!

5. Always carry sanitizing wipes

I know, this sounds like common sense. But airports are filled with so many germs and having a sick baby is worse than having a baby that cries on a plane. I keep a pack of Lysol wipes with me and wipe everything down I know London will be touching, from the seat to the folding tray. Yes, I know germs are helpful in building immunity, but we can do that after we get have successfully made it through this flight. One challenge at a time.

How to Get your Baby to Sleep through the Night

Motherhood

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This is the topic I get the most questions on when talking to other mamas. I don’t consider myself an expert in sleep training, but since London has been sleeping through the night since she was 5 months old, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade. 

1. Get your baby on a consistent schedule

This is helpful for life in general. When you have a routine, even if it’s just a morning and bedtime routine, your baby knows what’s coming and responds more positively because it’s familiar to them. I read Babywise, and while I didn’t follow it completely, I used it as a backbone to creating my schedule with London. (If you’re interested in what that looks like, keep an eye out for a new post coming!) And if you’re the type B person that hates planning everything out, no worries. At least create a short bedtime routine that you can commit to doing with your baby on a nightly basis. It can be as short as singing a song and tucking them in. Anything that will let them know it’s time for bed. 

2. Move your baby to their room

This is my biggest tip for getting your baby to sleep through the night. You’ve gotta cut the cord, mama. It wasn’t until we listened to our pediatrician and moved london to her room that we finally got a good night’s rest. And we were amazed because she did too! It’ll feel weird at first and you’ll probably be awake staring at the monitor the entire first night. But once you get through that initial sad moment, you’ll be happier to get some sleep. 

3. If you don’t want them to cry, don’t let them cry

I think this is a common misconception when it comes to sleep training. People think sleep training means you have to let your baby “cry it out”. This isn’t true, however! If you’re totally against the cry it out method, you can definitely still sleep train, it will just take a little longer. This is what we chose to do, because I couldn’t handle hearing London cry for hours! The key is to put your baby down to bed when they’re drowsy, but still awake. I would wait until she was dozing off in my arms, then gently put her down and leave the room. If they start to cry, gently soothe them, and repeat as often as needed. It may take a while, but the crying should become shorter and shorter until they eventually fall asleep. By the third night, she was going to sleep without crying at all!

4. Experiment with bedtimes

You know the saying- every baby is different. Some people will tell you you’re crazy if your baby is awake past 7:00pm, while others will insist you should keep them up until 11:00pm. As with everything, you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you and your babe.

For me personally, I like to have some time to myself in the morning to clean, make phone calls, etc. So I knew I didn’t want London to wake up at the crack of dawn. We started with a 9:30pm bedtime and she would sleep through the night until about 8:30am. This worked great for us! As she got a little older, we had to make a few adjustments because we noticed her getting sleepy earlier. So now she goes to bed at 8:30pm and wakes at about 8am. It’s all about paying attention to your child’s needs and what seems to make them happy, then going from there.

On that same note, before you try to sleep train your little one, make sure they’re ready for that step. If your baby is under 4 months and still needing those nighttime feedings, definitely wait until they are no longer dependent on that. I know it feels like those 3am nursing sessions will never end, but they will. Don’t rush it, mama! I hope these tips help when the time is right.

Starting Solids

Motherhood

Who knew that 6 months was going to be such a big game-changer in the life of a new parent? You finally feel like you’re getting the hang of things. Your baby’s personality is starting to really show. Annnnddd just to keep you on your toes, now you have to learn how to feed them solids for the first time in their lives! It can be overwhelming. So of course, I’ve compiled a few tips that I think can be helpful for the new parent (or anyone!).

1. Do your Research and Choose a Method

Baby led weaning vs. purées. Organic vs. homemade. There are sooo many options out there and you will find a lot of opinions about what is “best” for your baby. But remember, only you can decide that for yourself. Be sure to consider the commitment as well. As wonderful as the idea of making a purée from scratch every day sounds, I knew it was a big time commitment that would end up making me feel stressed. Remember that you’ll be the best mama for your babe when you’re feeling your best too.

2. Be Flexible

We all know that babies are not programmed computers and they don’t always do what we want, when we want. Don’t be surprised if your little one decides to do something totally different than what you expected when starting solids.

From the time I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to try baby led weaning instead of the traditional route of purées. I watched videos of other babies picking up their fruits and veggies and chomping away. I couldn’t wait to watch London discover her favorite foods! It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I was kind of disappointed when we realized she just wasn’t into feeding herself at 6 months. We decided to follow her lead and spoon-feed until she shows more interest in her dinner. The key to not totally losing your mind when it comes to any new stage is to stay flexible and ride the waves as they come. You and baby will figure things out soon enough!

3. Remember That Milk is Most Important!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” Especially with the first child, we get so excited watching them learn new things that we just want to rush them along. But until their first birthday, remember that breast milk/formula should always take priority over any type of solids. Your baby will slowly take less milk the more they learn to eat and swallow foods, but let them be the judge of when that’ll be. And of course, always consult with your pediatrician about any recommendations.

4. Choose Products with Clean-up in Mind

I wish someone had given me this advice when I was shopping for a high chair. I ended up buying a chair with a fabric seat, which is not the easiest to clean up. And no matter which way you feed your baby solids, it WILL be messy.

One of my favorite products that I discovered is the EZPZ mini mat. It’s an all-in-one placemat + plate that suctions to the table. I love that it is divided into portion sizes, which encourages a well-balanced meal for your little one. And it’s dishwasher safe, so makes for an easy clean up!

You can check out the rest of their products here! : https://www.ezpzfun.com

 

Product Review: Moss & Marsh

Motherhood

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As we approach London turning 6 months old this week, she is full force into the teething (and drooling) phase. I’ve had a lot of mom friends recommend using bandana bibs to keep baby dry, so I decided to try them out for myself. That’s when I found out about Moss & Marsh. They focus on making functional, unique products that help make the parenting life easier! And because the creator is a mom herself, she has brilliant ideas that she takes right to the sewing machine to make come to life.

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This bib (along with all of their products) is handmade right in Savannah, GA. It’s made of 100% Kona and Terry Cotton and has two adjustable snaps to fit different neck sizes. Each bib is backed with terry cloth for extra absorbency and has a removable pacifier attachment. They come in different print and color options, and can even be personalized with your baby’s name.

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It’s made the last couple of weeks much easier to be able to protect London’s clothes and skin from the extra moisture and I can’t wait to try more of their products!

 

 

This post was in collaboration with Moss & Marsh, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

Tips for Sensitive Skin

Motherhood

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Before I had London, I already knew she was probably going to inherit my super sensitive skin. And of course, about a month after she was born, we were left dealing with all of the baby rashes in the book: baby acne, eczema, cradle cap…the list went on. I was so worried that the beautiful skin she was born with was gonna be gone forever.

We visited the pediatrician and dermatologist religiously to make sure we were doing everything we could to heal her skin. I know that’s not possible for all the busy mamas out there, so I wanted to share the tips I learned, in case it might be able to help your sensitive baby too.

Daily Bath

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This came as a surprise to me, because everything I read said that giving your baby a bath too often would dry out their skin. But this advice was given to us by London’s dermatologist and amazed me by how much it helped! We accumulate so much dead skin cells and bacteria on a daily basis that bathing once a day is recommended for everyone, and babies are no different. Just make sure to use warm (not hot) water and moisturize right after.

 

Lotion Twice a Day

Speaking of moisturizing, this is probably the best thing you can do for your baby’s skin. Find a good, hydrating lotion and apply once in the morning and once after bathtime.Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Our favorite has been the Aveno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. It’s active ingredient is colloidal oatmeal, which is much healthier for the skin than other products. It’s moisturizing and absorbs into the skin, but isn’t heavy or greasy, which is always a plus. And it’s fragrance and paraben-free, so I feel safe using it even on her gentle skin.

 

Olive Oil for Cradle Cap

I don’t know if this is common knowledge or not. I honestly can’t even remember who suggested that we try this remedy. But if your little one is dealing with cradle cap, this is definitely something worth trying. About 10 minutes before giving your baby a bath, apply olive oil all over the scalp and rub it in. Wash and rinse as normal. After drying with a towel, go through their hair with a comb. You will notice the flakes coming off as you comb through. Do this once a week until it’s gone.

 

Find a Good Soap (and stick with it)

I myself have dealt with sensitive skin since I was a little girl. One of the first things that I figured out was that changing soaps/body washes always irritated my skin more. I would go through the cycle whenever I tried to switch up the products I used. Knowing that, I set out on a mission to find a good product that I can keep using on London’s skin for years to come.

I prefer a hair and body wash so that I can use the same thing all over and whenever possible, I try to buy things with natural ingredients. I recently tried out Tubby Todd’s 100% Natural Hair and Body Wash and I am in love! It’s a hypoallergenic wash with natural extracts and plant-based ingredients. And just a little goes a long way so at the price of $15, you’re getting a pretty good deal.

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It’s natural fragrance of Lavender and Rosemary is sweet with a hint of coconut. It’s pediatrician and dermatologist tested & approved. And free of toxins, parabens, & sulfates, which means it’s safe for the tiniest newborn and toddler faces, and extra-gentle for sensitive skin. It has all of the qualities I look for in a product to use for my family.

 

I definitely will have to try out some of their other products and give you my thoughts on those as well. Let me know if you try any of these tips or if you have any of your own! xx

 

 

 

*This post was in collaboration with Tubby Todd. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Surviving the Newborn Stage

Motherhood

Bringing our first child home from the hospital was probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking feeling I’ve ever felt. And now that she is 4.5 months old, I can actually say: WE DID IT. We survived. And it was harder than anyone ever told me it would be!

Not much will make it feel easy perse, but I do have some trips that might help out if you feel like you’re drowning in helplessness!

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1. People will offer help. SAY YES

You know how you normally decline help in effort to be polite? Don’t do that! Having a baby is hard in so many ways and good people that understand that want to help you. We had neighbors dropping off take out, friends taking our dog out while we were in the hospital, and of course people bringing an endless supply of diapers. It was SO nice to not have to worry about those sort of things while I was healing and bonding with our new baby. 10/10 would recommend!

2. Take turns being on baby duty

I feel like I will get some criticism for this because a lot of people believe the mom should do everything for the baby (*eye roll*). However, this worked wonders for me and Q. London would not sleep AT ALL at night for the first month and saying it was exhausting is a major understatement. We came up with a plan to split the night in half: he would stay up from 12am-4am and I would be up with her from 4am-8am. This way we would at least get 4 hours of sleep a night. Of course this only works if you are pumping or formula feeding, but I am all for giving dad some breastmilk in a bottle and giving him the chance to bond too!

3. Keep notes with any important information

I’m not sure if this applies to everyone, but our babe had some eating issues in the beginning. Every time we visited the pediatrician, we were given a ton of new information and tips on what we should try/not try. It was overwhelming trying to remember everything. I started a note on my phone and eventually put it up on the fridge, that way I didn’t have the added pressure of memorizing everything. Learning how to take care of a new baby was enough and I didn’t need the extra work.

4. Find joy in the little accomplishments

If you’re anything like me, you’re gonna want to be a natural at being a parent and expect everything to come easily. It most likely won’t (and if it does, I envy you). Don’t try to tackle on too much in one day. I remember the first time I took London out of the house by myself. I literally just walked down the street to the grocery store. But I felt so accomplished and so much more confident in my new role. So take pride in those little moments and trust that soon enough, you’ll be nursing on a plane, pumping the other side, and eating lunch all at the same time (true story. lol)

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At the end of the day, you’re going to find out what works for you and your family, despite all of the advice people will try to give you. Just smile and nod so that they can end their rant about why you should use one brand over another and keep doing you! xx

 

Raising Her.

Motherhood

 

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During my pregnancy, I read anything and everything I could get my hands on about taking care of a baby. How to change a diaper. How to recognize their different cries. How to breastfeed. The list went on. Just before we moved to Texas, Q’s pastor prayed over our family. One of the things he told us was that whatever we do and prioritize, London will learn to do the same. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I wasn’t just physically raising a child. I was going to have to spiritually raise her as well. I wouldn’t just be taking care of her body and needs of the flesh, but I’d be caring for her heart just the same. Whatever decisions we made as parents were going to shape her personality and determine the impact our daughter would have on others for the rest of her life. (Woah.)

That made me take a look at myself and analyze my choices and priorities. I can listen to songs that make references to drugs and crude language, because I know my stance and a song won’t sway my opinion. I never saw it as a problem if I skipped a day of church every once in a while because I grew up going to church every Sunday. I have a close relationship with God, so missing one day wouldn’t change that. But she didn’t have the upbringing I did. If I listen to those songs now, it’ll normalize those things for her as she grows up. If I attend church casually now, she’ll be attending church casually later. I started to realize that I needed to be what I want her to become.

I’ve said it before, I believe our children belong to God. We are just given the job of bringing them up. I kind of compare it to taking in a foster child. They are temporarily in our care and will eventually be reunited with their parents. I looked up the definition of foster and it read:

foster

VERB

[WITH OBJECT]

  • 1
    Encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable)

 

Our job is to foster a love of Christ in our children. Foster a love of people. Foster a sense of self-worth. So that they will thrive and bring glory to God until the day they come face to face with him.

Having this perspective has changed everything about the way I view parenting.  It’s a much bigger job than I realized initially. And while I’ll never be a perfect parent, I want to do better than just buying her fun toys and dressing her in cute outfits (even though I do love those things). On days when it’s hard, I can ask God to help me do the job he’s called me to do. And as important as it is to learn about how to swaddle a baby, it’s more important to be an example of the person I want her to grow to be.

 

5 Things That Happen When You Become a Parent

Motherhood

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Just like with pregnancy, there are a lot of changes that happen when you become a parent that no one really prepares you for. You leave the hospital with a tiny human and quickly realize your world is now completely about them. But there’s more. 

1. You’re now a “mom driver”.

B6B192AD-0895-4CC9-977F-9F02872F200C.gifEvery other car on the freeway becomes your enemy and you purposely drive in front of the worst ones so they can see your “baby on board” sticker. 

 

2. “Sleeping in” is waking up anytime after 5am.

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Even on nights when you’re baby-free, your body just isn’t used to sleeping until noon anymore.

 

3. Your kid is usually dressed better than you.

6119D10C-840F-4140-8EDE-B021482A86FA.gifThere just isn’t enough time in the mornings for both of us to look our best, so I take one for the team.

 

4. You talk about your kids nonstop.

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Every conversation starts with “we’re new parents” or “do you have kids?”

 

5. Going out just isn’t the same anymore.

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You get a babysitter and decide to take on the town, but quickly realize that you’d much rather be at home, snuggled with your little one, singing the itsy bitsy spider 99,000 times. And I guess that’s parenthood 🤷🏽‍♀️

Our Birth Story: 6/15/2018

Motherhood

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If you follow along here, first of all, THANK YOU! Second of all, you’ve probably been wondering where the third trimester bumpdate went and why I have been MIA for a while. Well, surprise! Our little girl decided to join us early, so I never even got the chance to post my last update! We have been taking some time away from technology and social media to enjoy our daughter and adjust to the parent life. And boy oh boy, do I have some stuff to say about that adjustment, but that’s for another post!

In this post, I wanted to share about our birth story. It was nothing like I had planned or envisioned, but I know that it was exactly how God had ordained in His plan. As usual, skip to the end if you want to avoid some TMI-type details.

On Wednesday, June 13, I went to the bathroom and noticed that I had lost my mucous plug (gross, I know). I didn’t freak out, since I had read that it could still be weeks before you go into labor once losing your plug. So I came back to the living room to continue binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy with Quinton and non-chalantly shared the news. He freaked out and asked if we should be driving to the hospital! I laughed and reassured him that we probably weren’t going into labor “anytime soon”.

On Thursday, June 14, I woke up and noticed my underwear was wet. I wasn’t sure if this was another weird pregnancy symptom, or if it could maybe possibly be my water?! We decided to get checked at the hospital after consulting with the 24-hour nurse line. Per Q’s decision, we did not bring the hospital bag, because now he was convinced we weren’t having this baby, lol.

After waiting in triage for over an hour, I was told my water had broken, I was 3cm dilated, and I was having contractions 4-5 minutes apart. All of this was a surprise to me, because I was hardly feeling any pain! I waited 8 hours before getting the epidural, which I was so grateful for by that point.

Around 5:30 AM on June 15th, it was time to push. Within 20 minutes of pushing, London was born. Unfortunately, she had aspirated some fluid during the delivery and had to be sent to NICU before we had even gotten to hold her. While she was rushed out of the room, the doctors pumped me full of medications, due to losing more blood than expected. They “massaged” my uterus, to help it contract, but it felt nothing like a massage. I’m pretty sure that pain was worse than the birth itself! While I’m so eternally grateful for the doctors who provided her care, it was not at all what I had imagined for our first few days of being parents. Due to baby girl staying in the NICU, we weren’t able to hold her for the first 24 hours. I wasn’t able to do skin-to-skin or to breastfeed. Everything I had requested on my birth plan was denied to me. While I completely understood the situation, it didn’t make it easier to experience and I had to spend some time learning to accept  it all.

London was finally able to come home five days after her birth. It was the happiest and most nerve-wrecking feeling to bring her home after having around the clock care for so long! The days that followed were a challenge, but I was happy to be able to take it on with my husband by my side. Through everything that went wrong, he was such a source of support and strength. I now feel like there isn’t much we can’t get through together.