Why We Decided to Sleep Train

Pre-baby, my husband and I decided you didn’t need to reply to every cry the baby produced. Theeeeen we saw his adorable face and we were instantly at his beck and call. The first few weeks, he was an amazing sleeper and I had been waking him up every 3 hrs to feed (first time mom).

After a month or so, he’d only nap if you held him, otherwise he was up in a half hour (if you held him, he’d nap for at least 2-3 hours). I started wearing him for his naps, but if I didn’t rock and walk him to sleep, he wouldn’t fall asleep.

By four months, I made it my mission to get the kid on a consistent nap schedule AND in his crib. IT WAS A FIGHT until we got a consistent nap routine. After a few weeks of diaper change, getting into nap clothes, and reading through a short book twice it took 10 mins of rocking until I could put him in his bassinet asleep. Then, in 30 mins he’d be up. EVERY TIME. I read books about the ‘no cry’ methods. Didn’t help.

By six months, he was napping in his crib. My husband was home with him for a few days while I was at a family event that we weren’t ready for the baby to fly to. Somehow I this time, my husband had gotten the baby to sleep 1-1.5 hrs for one of his naps. AMAZING! But, he grew more and more aware of being put down and would instantly wake up the moment he left your arms.

My husband grew frustrated that he wasn’t able to put the baby to sleep on his own. The baby also began waking more frequently at night. Some nights, it was every hour between 8-midnight then once more between midnight and 7am. We were exhausted. The baby was now 7 months going in 8 months old. He should be sleeping better, not worse.

So we finally did it. A modified cry it out. It was painful, but not as bad as not sleeping. I’ll write another post on our exact method, how much crying, and how long until he got with the program.

At 9 months, he maybe wakes up once during the night (I’m still breastfeeding and don’t wish to wean this night feeding yet). His naps are consistently 1-3 hrs with an occasional 30 min nap if he’s slept really well previously. We’re also able to put him in his crib easily and not go in for every cry. He still cries, but it’s usually less than 5 minutes with an occasional 10-15 minutes unless he really needs something. He knows we will come in if he is hungry, gassy, messy diaper, hurting teeth or just really can’t get back to sleep. He still has a secure attachment with me and will go off and explore with children and strangers. All my fears have proven to be unnecessary AND we’re sleeping!

What’s your best tip to get your babies sleeping??

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How I Weaned My 7 Month Old Off A Nipple Shield

I was given a nipple shield in the hospital by a nurse with no explanation on pros and cons or hints to not use it long term. Being a first time mom and not knowing anything beyond the basics of breastfeeding, I didn’t know any better. While NS can be really beneficial in helping women breastfeed, it caused us many bumps in the road. By 7 months, I was comfortable enough in my supply and felt it was time to kick the NS aside. Below are tips that helped me, but be sure you have support from a pediatrician, lactation consultant or someone knowledgeable who can help you.

1) Reintroduce Latching Without the Shield

By 4 months, my LO wouldn’t even latch without the shield. A strategy that could help is to try at night or when your LO is drowsy and may not realize there’s no shield. After a few minutes of nursing you can try with the shield to be sure LO is being fed and that your supply is being stimulated

2) Try Different Nursing Positions

Once LO is latching, a position that really helped us with many issues was when I laid down on my back (in bed or on a couch) and had LO laying belly to belly with me. In this position, gravity is pushing LOs head down for a deeper latch. Again, follow up with NS time to be sure LO is satisfied. I didn’t do this for every nursing until I was sure LO had a good latch and enough milk was being provided.

3) Following Up With A Professional

Checking in with a lactation consultant, or someone reliable who is familiar with Breastfeeding, is crucial. You want an outside opinion on if LOs is latching properly, getting a satisfying meal and gaining weight at a steady rate.

4) Increase Frequency Of Nursing Without the Shield

Once your latch has been approved, start increasing the amount of times you nurse without the NS. Do what is comfortable for you and your LO.

Good luck and be patient!

Which tip did you find most helpful or what are your reasons for trying to ditch your NS?

How I Weaned My 7 Month Old Off A Nipple Shield

I was given a nipple shield in the hospital by a nurse with no explanation on pros and cons or hints to not use it long term. Being a first time mom and not knowing anything beyond the basics of breastfeeding, I didn’t know any better. While NS can be really beneficial in helping women breastfeed, it caused us many bumps in the road. By 7 months, I was comfortable enough in my supply and felt it was time to kick the NS aside. Below are tips that helped me, but be sure you have support from a pediatrician, lactation consultant or someone knowledgeable who can help you.

1) Reintroduce Latching Without the Shield

By 4 months, my LO wouldn’t even latch without the shield. A strategy that could help is to try at night or when your LO is drowsy and may not realize there’s no shield. After a few minutes of nursing you can try with the shield to be sure LO is being fed and that your supply is being stimulated

2) Try Different Nursing Positions

Once LO is latching, a position that really helped us with many issues was when I laid down on my back (in bed or on a couch) and had LO laying belly to belly with me. In this position, gravity is pushing LOs head down for a deeper latch. Again, follow up with NS time to be sure LO is satisfied. I didn’t do this for every nursing until I was sure LO had a good latch and enough milk was being provided.

3) Following Up With A Professional

Checking in with a lactation consultant, or someone reliable who is familiar with Breastfeeding, is crucial. You want an outside opinion on if LOs is latching properly, getting a satisfying meal and gaining weight at a steady rate.

4) Increase Frequency Of Nursing Without the Shield

Once your latch has been approved, start increasing the amount of times you nurse without the NS. Do what is comfortable for you and your LO.

Good luck and be patient!

Which tip did you find most helpful or what are your reasons for trying to ditch your NS?

Help Getting Your Infant on a Schedule

So you’re thinking about or currently trying to get your babe on a schedule, CONGRATS! When I started making that decision, it ended up being one of the best choices I made parenting wise. It’s hard knowing where to start to setting up a schedule unless you’re following an already set up system. The link below has helped me for many months!

Sample Schedules

In the above link, you choose the age of your baby then either bed time or desired wake time. At the very bottom you can even find a few helpful tips on what your baby is going through at this age. However, keep in mind all babies are different and your babe won’t fall in perfect line. My babe, for instance, has better naps when they’re spaced 3 hours apart.

Write below and let me know how it’s going and what else you’re using to help your babe get on a schedule!

My Must Have Infant Apps

My little man is already 12 weeks and I have no idea where the times gone. He shook the rattle on his own for the first time today! But where’s my little baby who could barely lift his head?!

In the last 12 weeks, here are the apps I’ve lived for!

1) Owlet

There’s mixed reviews for this monitor but I’ve had a positive experience with it. The monitor and base is $299 and the app is free unless you want to track the data. I basically just use the app to alert me if LM’s heart rate or oxygen levels fall outside the normal range or how much of a deep sleep he’s in. After watching his heart rate the last few months, I know he’s in a deep sleep once he’s around 110-125 bmp. I use this when I’m rocking him to sleep and put him in his co sleeper when he gets in that range. I can even turn the base on and off with my phone. Some people report trouble with false alerts and the monitor falling off the baby’s foot but I haven’t experienced any of that. **the connected care app is now free! It tracks heart rate, sleep and oxygen levels for you to view later**

2) Baby Tracker

SO HELPFUL FOR TRACKING EVERYTHING YOUR DR ASKS YOU ABOUT! Seriously. Download this rn. It times and tracks feedings (breast, formula and a mix of both), diaper changes, sleep and miscellaneous. There’s also a spot for notes. So simple and keeps everything in one place.

3) Rest

This connects to the Hatch light and sound machine. I’ll post later about light and sound machine settings. However, from the app you can turn it on/off, adjust the light and sound and set programs by the day.

4) 4moms

This is connected to my mommaroo swing. I can adjust the settings w/o walking over to the swing, lazy right?! It works for a number of their products.

5) OviaParenting

There’s also Baby Center, so that’s a preference. It’s just good to have some source of information that lets you know what your baby is currently going through.

6) BabySparks

This app gives you different exercises you can work on with your little to help them build the right muscles for their upcoming milestones. If your baby is working on rolling, crawling, walking, etc. some are free and there is the option to get more for a price.

7) The Wonder Weeks

YOU NEED THIS ONE! It uses your baby’s due date to identify fussy periods and when they’re going through ‘leaps,’ period of time when your baby will be exploring new concepts which might lead to fussiness/less sleep/clingiest/ etc. It’s been pretty spot on and helps with planning to go out if we’ll need more comfort items.

8) Sanity and Self

This has different exercises, physical and mental, to help get us mommas back to feeling like ourselves. You pick how long the exercises are, because we all know time is valuable. Some are free and some you have to pay for

9) 1 Second Everyday

This app wasn’t free but it’s so cute to have a compiled video of moments throughout your babies growth. Reflect on how much they’re changed in a week, month, year!

What are your can’t live without mom apps that I may have missed?!

Actually Useful Swaddling Advice

I recently flew back to the east coast to have my baby shower with my long time friends and family. I know, I know, we get a lot of unsolicited advice, I get it. However! My cousin recently had twins, so when I get advice from her, I really listen.

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Aside from the usual, use muslin blankets and practice, practice, practice, I actually was given some great advice.

Your baby is going to spend a lot of time swaddled, well, if your plan is anything like mine at least. With your baby swaddled so often, how will they know a “it’s time to sleep” swaddle and a “I just want to keep you comfy and secure but it’s daytime” swaddle?

I’ll wait.

Exactly.

When you swaddle your little for the night, make sure this is the time you tightly swaddle. This will help your little one feel more secure and know that it’s time to sleep through the night. During the day, keep a looser swaddle while you carry them about. They’ll be secure but they’ll learn it’s not time for a deep sleep just yet.

What’s some advice you’ve received that actually seemed helpful?

Why Over The Collar Bandanas Are My New Favorite

When I first started my Etsy shop, Juniper Leaves, I only had tie on bandanas. As I started gaining more followers on my shop’s Instagram, I realized many of my followers had their pups in over the collar bandanas. I was pretty stuck in my ways that tie on ways better, but started making over the collar options for customers. In doing this, we ended up with a few in our apartment. Soon, they became the only kind I make and buy for my pup now, here’s why:

1. It helps his CCD (Dog OCD)
My pup had developed Canine Compulsive Disorder where he will chase lights until he’s incredibly worked up (I’ll write more about this in another post). His CCD and his metal tags on his collar don’t mesh well. While he is microchipped, I still don’t like him going out without his collar which means I don’t always remember to take it off. The over the collar bandanas are AWESOME at covering his tags while he wears his collar. Fashionable and functioning 😉

2. Won’t lose them, especially on hikes
As long as his collar stays on, we don’t lose the bandana. I always love taking picks of him at the dog park and on hikes, we get awesome pics for our shop! I get too nervous to just leave the tie on ones on for fear of them getting loose and falling off. Back in the tie on days, I would carry the bandana until it was time for a picture, so time consuming and missed out on many cute candids. This way, we’re always camera ready!

What’s your favorite style of bandana and why is it your favorite?

 

My Favorite Pregnancy Workout Apps

What’s ringing in the new year without some ideas on how to try and make your year better? For me, like many, it’s getting my workout routine back on! It’s been harder with being pregnant to get into a workout routine (yes – here’s my list of excuses. Feel free to skip ahead) with being more tired, getting my job work done before my maternity leave and prepping to move.

Since I’m trying to save money for my upcoming unpaid maternity leave (I know, can you believe it?! Salary job and unpaid leave, but that’s not the point of this post), here’s the apps I’ve found to help me stay healthy:

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  1. Daily Yoga
    These two routines are free! I previously had a membership for this app but I didn’t renew it this year. I’ve been trying to work on my mindfulness and flexibility last year, but yoga is also just really great to stretch out the aches and pains of pregnancy. These two programs mimic what I experienced at a prenatal yoga class I attended at my local yoga studio. While I LOVED the class and learned helpful tips from the instructor in person, this is a good runner up. I can’t commit to a membership when we’re looking to move and when trying to budget, it doesn’t make sense when I can do it at home.

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2. Prenatal

There is a free trial version but I ended up spending the couple bucks for the full app (when moving from the trial to the paid version, you do have to redo the exercises to unlock the new ones). I was really into weight lifting before getting pregnant. However, when the first trimester kicked my butt (yes, another excuse), I traded my lifting gloves for a pillow and blanket. I became super out of shape and this app has AWESOME bodyweight exercises that will help prepare your body for what it needs to sustain during pregnancy and labor. I was so surprised when my massage therapist recommended a stretch I had done a few times on the app to help with my shoulder and neck aches. Clearly, I haven’t been too into my routine, but hope to fix that. I sometimes do these exercises in my apartment’s gym with some low weights, but that should be discussed with your doctor before starting.

Both of these apps could be apart of a well rounded, low impact pregnancy workout routine. I try to accompany them with 20 mins of walking or walking on a treadmill. While the routines are low impact and designed for us preggos, if you’re new to workout, talk with your doctor first and NEVER push yourself too hard.

 

What are your New Year’s resolutions or motivators to sustain your workout routines?