Raising A Baby In The Age Of Tech

This is a conversation I have a lot with moms. They wonder how much of things like the iPad and other gadgets are good for their babies, and if it’s even possible to keep your little one away from technology altogether. There are those that fear exposing their baby’s still growing mind to tech early, could in some way hinder their growth, while other’s worry that keeping their baby away from technology will have their child dropping behind.

I mean, I personally know two-year-olds that can turn phone’s from ringing to silent, know how to unlock iPads and navigate the apps with little effort, and for some parents who see how much technological skills it takes to progress in the world nowadays, it is a glowing talking point for them.

My view on this is, anything in moderation is okay. I think those who push too much, either way, don’t realize how hard it is for some moms. We don’t know everyone’s situation, and for a lot of moms, they are battling more than just motherhood. There are those working and struggling to deal with all the stress that goes along with that, there are those that are battling emotional and mental hurdles. For a lot of parents, the idea of just ten undisturbed minutes is a dream, and one worth faltering when it comes to those ideals.

Apple products seem to be taking over. There isn’t an infant of a grandma who isn’t carrying around an iPad to check The Facebook or watch YouTube videos. Naturally, when I got pregnant I looked at my husband and had the audacity to tell him that there was absolutely no way our child would be one of those kids addicted to the iPad.

Alright, guys, I am going to admit something big to you here. My daughter (gasps audibly, touches the back of her hand to her forehead and throws herself back dramatically) has iPad time. Now, what does that mean? She is 8 months old. How could she possibly be using the iPad?

Well, in the mornings when I am wishing I had more sleep, wondering how my boob fell out of my bra during the night, wiping crusts out of the corner of my eye, and zombie-walking towards the coffee maker, I open up the Amazon Prime app on my iPad and put on a Super Simple Song episode for her. What is that? I’ll tell you what it is. It’s about 45 minutes of Nursery Rhymes, Shapes, Colours, Alphabet, and Number songs that keep her busy long enough for me to at least attempt at getting my shit together in the morning.

For all those people gasping and pointing a for shame finger in my direction, I have a finger I can point at you as well, so let’s not get nasty.

I have said this once, and I will probably say this a million more times in my life; Parenting is hard! Sometimes we need just a little bit of time to ourselves, and for those people out there who think it’s simple to put a baby in front of a toy or activity and have them stay put without wailing, then they obviously aren’t parents.

My daughter and I have constant play time. We spend hours on the floor together with her toys and her books, we do lots of things to try and keep her engaged and work her mind. However, parenting constantly with no breaks to be a human being is extremely taxing on your mind and if you do that every single day without any time for yourself, you are barrelling towards a mental breakdown.

So, despite all I said when I was pregnant, my daughter watched the iPad when I need a moment to myself at home, or in the car (I have prayed to deities I don’t even believe in for a moment’s peace in the car while I am stuck in traffic and my daughter is screaming at the top of her lungs because apparently, the car seat is her nemesis).

Now, I do think that if you constantly hand your child the iPad during the day instead of attempting other ways to engage them and that time on devices is steadily piling up, that you should consider unplugging. I think an hour or two a day on any device is plenty and you shouldn’t constantly co-parent with technology. That being said, moderation is key.

I would also look into certain products or put devices out of reach if you have a little one that isn’t old enough to operate the technology on their own. I learned this the hard way when I was stuck in traffic, put the iPad in the back seat so she could watch The Greatest Showman and calm down a bit, only to get home and check my email. It was then I realized that, while touching the iPad the way she always does, she purchased over $50 in iBooks.

I am currently reading a bunch of them because the helpline is not as helpful as you would have hoped and I am now stuck with all these books.

Personally I would start taking devices away when you can see it’s becoming a problem for your child, and try to keep them off of YouTube as it seems like every kid that goes on there becomes a zombie unable to function while their videos are playing. Put some games on there that can help with their problem solving and development, reading or colouring apps are great for helping their focus.

If your child doesn’t give you clear responses when you are speaking to them and they are on the iPad, don’t just laugh it off. It’s not cute and you are allowing them to develop bad habits that will only get worse over time. Make sure their attention whenever you are speaking to them is completely on you, whether they are watching TV, on the iPad or even just playing.

Limit the amount of time they use devices and use other activities as a first priority before any electronics.

It’s good for your child to unplug several hours before bedtime to give them an opportunity to wind down. I’ve read several articles about the blue light in device screens disrupting their sleep patterns if they are used too close to bedtime.

So yes, it’s completely possible to raise your kids with technology, just so long as you keep in mind that all technology connects to the internet these days, and anything that connects to the internet, in regards to your child, should always be closely monitored and used in moderation.

Like anything in parenting, find your balance and do what’s best for your family. There is no cookie-cutter solution.

 

 

6 Months A Mommy

It’s crazy to sit back and think that all of these changes to my life have happened in a mere 6 months. 6 months is nothing, it can fly past in the blink of an eye. It is hard to fathom that I transformed, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly (a very messy, usually un-shower and under-rested butterfly, but a butterfly none the less) in 6 months.

For anyone who has been a part of my blogging journey from the very beginning, you all know that pregnancy was rough for me. I would turn my nose up at any woman who talks about being pregnant as a joy, and I would throw fists and anyone who dare mention the pregnancy glow. There was no glow, there was no joy. There was survival. I was trying to survive while my body grew and stretched, while the things I used to take joy in slipped away from me because I was either unable to do them due to lack of energy or just unable to do them with my growing belly in the way. Nausea was a ghost that constantly haunted me, taunting me with a heightened sense of smells.

Not that I want to get into the whole pregnancy thing in this blog post, although I could write a book on my experience that is sure to contradict a lot of the other books out there.

Maybe one day.

This blog entry is to celebrate my beautiful 6-month-old daughter.

Gosh, 6 months.

In that time there have been sleepless nights, sore muscles, days I forgot to eat, days I forgot myself. There has been laughter, tears, frustration, anxiety. Coaching and cheering, negotiating, tossing and turning. There have been hundreds of cute outfits. There have been doctors appointments, vaccinations, ears being pierced, more tears, more tears and more tears. Milestones I thought she would meet but didn’t, and milestones I thought she wasn’t even close to reaching but have been met.

Being a parent is this crazy thing. It’s like being tossed in a tornado and you are reaching out for anything and everything trying to steady yourself. When you’re finally back on the ground you are exhausted, you are worn and you don’t even remember how you got there most of the time. But you are face to face with this adorable little person, who looks up at you with eyes that hold your whole universe in them. That one look, that one little grin or giggle, makes everything else in your hectic world worthwhile.

Being a parent is an adventure, and sometimes instead of trying to control it, you just have to surrender to it. Let yourself be taken, float along with the stream.

As I type this out, my daughter is screaming Da-Da from the other room while she watches Paw Patrol (yes, I let my 6-month-old watch TV when I feel like I want a few minutes to myself). The clothes I am wearing are the same ones I have been wearing all week aside from my underwear, my hair is a grease trap, my face still hasn’t been washed since last night and as I run my tongue along my teeth, I let out a small sigh of relief once I realized I remembered to brush them this morning.

It’s been 6 months of this, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

(I would tweak it a bit to include more showers, more overall grace and style and being able to pee by myself… but I try not to hope for the unattainable :P) 

 

 

Playing Catch Up

When I got pregnant, I had this glorious idea. I told myself that I would have 12 months off, which would mean, of course, I would have all this free time. What better way to spend my free time, than to use it to catch up on creative writing projects, and to start a parenting blog for parents just like me; blissfully unaware of the challenges coming up, but adult enough to know we would have to go fake our way through it all.

What a silly dreamer I was. How foolish to believe that being a stay at home mom would mean I would have free time.

What were meant to be weekly entries, occasionally multiple entries a week have turned into bi-weekly, or sporadic monthly entries at best. Sometimes a few weeks will pass before I pull myself out if the chaos enough to vaguely remember I am supposed to be blogging. Somewhere between the spit-up, constant feedings and changing, and what I’ve started to call flash naps (mine, not hers), there is probably a moment or two where I could string enough sentences together to come up with a blog post.

Unfortunately, what tends to happen is I use that moment to blink and suddenly, hours have passed, my shirt is wet, and I have the subtle taste of cookies in my mouth but no recollection of eating any.

Parenting is very similar to being in a car wreck some days. You start your trip with a plan, good intentions, and the best mood. You’re singing along to a song on the radio you don’t love, but it’s catchy so you don’t change it. Then suddenly you hit a bad patch in the road, the car is doing donuts, and you are spiralling towards a ditch.

You wake up maybe moments, hours, or days later. Your hair is a mess, your clothes are stained and torn, the song you were okay with is still playing on loop and is now completely intolerable, and you crawl out of the wreckage wondering what the hell happened and how you got here.

That, in a nutshell, is parenting.

Sure, there are days when the journey goes almost as planned. There are a few roadblocks and re-routing but you still get there mostly in one piece but don’t count on having too many of those days in the beginning.

There are a lot more blowouts than you plan for, a lot of those cute little onesies when covered completely in slimy baby poop, go right from your baby to the trashcan, never to see the washer or dryer. Bath time becomes less of a fun, playful bonding time the third time around in a single day, and turns into a quick dunk and scrub in the sink.

It’s messy, it’s wonderful, it’s overwhelming…

And it’s also why I haven’t posted as much as I would have liked.

Thanks to any of my followers who keep following me despite my lack of consistency. Thank you for your support. I do see you and appreciate every like, comment, and follow.

As a new parent, I am trying my best and hopefully, I will somehow find my stride. Until then, I’m still pretending I know what I am doing as I walk away from the wreckage.

Five Months A Mommy

Five months.

158 days, 2 hours, and 21 minutes.

How time is ticking away.

I can still vividly remember the numbness in my legs, the way my toes felt as fat as sausages and had the tingle of pins and needles, only dull, and more lifeless. I can see the nurse standing below me, the blur of the doctor I barely saw during my delivery standing below me stitching me up as he spoke to the nurse. All of that just background noise as I looked down at the wee little baby they had just handed to me, the most beautiful baby I have ever seen in my life.

She was so quiet, not at all like how they show you in the movies. There was no high pitched wail, no screaming that tugged at your heart. She barely had a moment to look around at the new world I had brought her into before she was placed on my chest, nestled close, and seeking my breast.

She was so content, so beautifully perfect.

In some ways, it feels like yesterday, in other ways, it feels like years have passed. She was this little bundle that loved to cuddle, loved to sleep and you would just spend all your time looking at her. Now she is this little personality. She has things she likes, things she loves, and things you better not even try.

Thinking about how fast she is growing almost makes me teary eyed. It won’t be long now until I am back to work, until she is off to school. You really do blink and find yourself wondering where all the time is going.

She is rolling over, has yet to sit up on her own while I am watching her, but if I sit her unattended, she will surely sit straight up if it will help her get to what she wants. She is pure energy in the morning that fades into dramatic misery come early evening.

For any new parents, frustrated and weary, just remember before you know it they will be grown and you will be wishing you had a few more moments with your little one in your arms. You’ll wish you had hugged them a little tighter, held them a little closer, loved them a little harder, all while you had the chance.

Whenever fatigue has you weary, and your patience has all been spent, just imagine your baby living in an apartment all their own in their 20s. They’ve got their own lives now, lives you are barely a part of. And their calls are less and less frequent as they become their own people, carving out their own place in the world.

A few moments of these thoughts is enough to round all up that patience you thought was spent, smooth out some of the wrinkles of fatigue and may even help you enjoy the tough times a little bit.

I know I do.

The Hustle And Bustle Of The Holidays

My daughter recently turned 3 months, and it seems she is becoming more and more fussy over time. In the last few weeks, she has shown a strong distaste for her car seat. Whenever I start walking towards it, she freaks out and starts to cry. There are some days when I think to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, she is actually not making a peep. Perhaps this time will be different.’

Then sure enough, she opens those pipes up and lets me hear it. Usually the first ten minutes in the car are an excruciating test of my patience and willpower. In a way, hearing her wail like that breaks my heart, but another part of me has my eye twitching because I need to go out and get things done, especially now.

For all those people thinking ‘We’ll, why don’t you get another car seat? Maybe it is just the seat she doesn’t like.’ Thank you for the suggestion, but I have taken her to Babies R Us and out her in every seat they have to offer and it makes absolutely no difference. She wants to be sitting completely upright, and she is still too young to transition to that style of seat. *insert dramatic crying face here*

Now, with Christmas a mere day away and the two of us struggling to come up with an agreement for her to mellow out just a tad so I can get more done, I have put a lot of what I had to get done down to the very last minute.

Having a 3 month old around the holidays can either put you in Christmas overdrive and turn you into Will Ferrel in Elf,

Or it can turn you into the Grinch like me.

This year with all the growth spurts, the constant mood changes and just good ole fashioned fussiness, I haven’t had any of the Christmas spirit rubbing off on me.

For any parents that are also going through this phase with their babies and wondering how in the heck they are going to be able to get out and get things done without having a screaming, unconsolable baby in tow I will say that having a forward facing carrier where my daughter can see out has been a life saver.

I have ditched the stroller (which is actually great because I can use a cart in store) and strapped my fussy Rain Cloud who is usually my Sunshine to my chest and she is loving every moment of it. My husband and I always say she is a nosed girl (curious) and boy, were we right.

Once she is able to see everything that is going on, it has completely quieted her down and mellowed her out. Getting her back in the car in a headache and a half, but I guess I can’t have everything.

Yesterday I went out and finished up what little shopping I had left to do. It was a great feeling to have it done but it was miserable out and my daughter wasn’t adding any sunshine to my day with her soggy attitude.

I was talking to a friend about her son who is two months older than my daughter. I said to her “Why didn’t you ever tell me there were patches that were this rough? Was your son just constantly an angel, or what?”

Letting out a long sigh, she confessed “God no! My son was a nightmare. There were days that I would put him in his car seat and he would just cry and cry. Eventually, I would break down, take him out and sit on the couch and cry myself. It was so frustrating.” When I asked her why she never told me, she said it was because she felt guilty.

This seems to be a common theme for parents, especially mothers. We feel guilty about telling the truth and admitting how hard this all can be. We sugar coat everything to other women, other parents, and at the end of the day that is not helpful, all it does is make struggling parents who are going through the thick of it, feel worthless and like crap.

Why?

Why must we throw a cloak of deception over parenting?

It’s hard, it’s rough! There will be days when you don’t shower, there will be whole afternoons that pass where you don’t eat, nights where you don’t sleep. You will sometimes feel like a prisoner inside your own home, all you movements monitored by this demanding infant.

Being a parent isn’t always as wonderful as people sell it as, and that’s okay to admit. That doesn’t make us bad people and it sure as heck doesn’t make us bad parents.

So give yourself a gift this year, and allow yourself to be honest and human, and guilt-free!

You deserve it!

Christmas At 3 Months Old

Saying I am The Grinch would be putting it lightly. I am not, and have never been a Christmas person.

December is a stressful months for me. I have three siblings celebrating birthdays, which can be pricey, not to mention I come from a big family which in the past has required a lot of gift buying. Three years ago I put my foot down an implemented a Secret Santa within my family. We got to buy one great gift, and everyone buys for the kids. It definitely eliminated some of the stress and hurrying around.

However, I still have never been one to get into the Christmas spirit.

This year, as an exhausted new mom, it has been especially hard to summon even the smallest amount of Christmas Spirit.

My husband and I decided it wasn’t worth the added stress or hassle to exchange gifts this year, thank goodness. Knowing that has definitely taken a load off my shoulders. Instead we decided we would do a couples spa day, and have my sister watch our daughter. It will be great to relax and unwind together, and feel like a couple once again.

A common question I have been getting lately is what we got for our daughter for Christmas. To be frank, we haven’t gotten her anything.

Why?

Because we buy things she needs constantly, and stockpiling things she needs for a single day when she won’t even realize anything special is happening just didn’t make sense to us. We have bought her a lot of interactive things lately as she is growing and slowly becoming independent. Chairs where she sits upright, toys that sing and light up, activity mats, and these days none of that comes cheap.

We’ve been giving them to her as we feel we need them. On days tummy time isn’t going well but she still needs exercise the new activity mat was brought out, and a plush car for her to sit in. Life as a new parent is hard, and all these things make things seems just a little bit easier.

With that in mind, waiting to open and use them until Christmas didn’t make sense.

Yesterday I opened up this PlayGo car that sings, flashes and is perfect for her to sit in for an hour or so on the floor exercising her neck and core strength. She has been overly fussy lately, drooling a bunch, which may hint the early stages of teething are upon us. Putting her in this yesterday gave me half an hour to myself where I could sit nearby and sip some decaf coffee and just breathe.

I pushed her around on the floor in it for a bit, and parked her under the tree where she could marvel at the lights and give me a little more time to run to the bathroom. I mean, technically if it stays under the tree, it is still a gift, right?

There are so many new parents I see that pile things for the baby, perfectly wrapped, under the tree and to be perfectly honest, I don’t see the point of if. At 3 months, my daughter won’t remember this Christmas. We have our photos with Santa for the photo album, and she has everything she needs. I am sure there will be gifts for her from my siblings at my mother’s house when we got over for Christmas dinner, not to mention my mother in law always sends a care package around Christmas. She has more than she needs, and now wrapping and running from store to store shopping for her makes things easier on us.

Next year, when she is older and can actually enjoy herself, we will put in a lot more effort for the holidays. This year, we are planning on just relaxing a bit while we can.

If you are a new parent who did go a little overboard this Christmas with your new arrival, that is great! Good for you! I am not telling you to do anything differently. I am just letting you know what has worked for our family this year, and letting other parents know, that if you didn’t there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Do what works for you and your family.

Toxic Relationships and How To Improve Or Move On From Them.

A few years ago, I went through a mental spring cleaning, so to speak. My mind was full, it was clouded and I found myself slipping into negativity. I would often pause and think back to the person I was just a few years earlier. I was someone who smiled often, fell back on being silly and carefree, and had this whole ‘Glass Half Full’ outlook on life. 

I sat back and reflected on a bunch of things going on in my life. 

After a lot of reflection, I realized it was some of the friendships in my life that were altering how I viewed the world and myself. Some of my friends had this way of changing my whole mood, which changed how I viewed things and how I thought about things. 

It’s important for a lot of people to realize that you personally define what is toxic to your mental state. I think when a lot of people think of a toxic relationship, they think about abuse or neglect. There are so many other little things you may not realize are sinking the ship of your happiness. 

I realized a lot of the friends in my life are overly dependant on me. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on or someone to lean into when times are tough. Yet, when I thought about it, for so many of my friends, times were always tough. No matter how well things were going in their lives, they always latched on to that one thing that was going poorly and looked to me to encourage them and lift them up. 

There is nothing wrong with being someone’s moral support. This can be as beneficial to you at times as it is to them, but if you look back on your relationship and realize the only time they reach out to you is when they need you to lift them out of the emotional hole they had dug themselves into, it’s important to note that maybe they view you more as a therapist than as an actual friend. 

Relationships like this can be taxing and can leave you feeling worn and used which is not good for you. 

A lot of my relationships were like this, and all I did to clear the space in my mind and my life was stop reaching out to them first to see if they really valued me as a friend or thought of me outside of their problems. Another thing I did was took a day or two off from responding to their SOS text messages. If they messaged me when their crisis was over, then I knew they were friendships worth holding onto. 

When I was pregnant, I was emotional and a lot of those sad days were brought on by the thought that I didn’t have a friendship circle. I have one real and true friend. That’s it. 

I have a few other friendships that I would consider more of an aquaintanceship. They are there, and I reach out to them on occasion, but days, weeks, or even months could pass without speaking and neither one of us really has a problem with that. 

When you become a parent you think about whether or not these types of relationships are worth it, or whether it is just better to move on and make new friends. People grow, and because of that, it’s not uncommon for people to grow apart. 

Any relationship that weighs down on you, makes you feel negative or used, or holds you back from things you hope and dream for would be a toxic relationship. 

If you are hoping to hold onto these people and continue to have them in your life, the best thing to do is to speak to them. Let them know how your relationship makes you feel and that they are important to you, but that you can’t continue on in this relationship the way it is. You need a change, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about wanting to free up some mental space and improve your mental health. 

Whether this is someone you are in a romantic relationship, a platonic relationship, or even if you are related, you have every right to want something more out of your relationship, especially if it makes you feel bad. 

Although people do grow, it is difficult for them to change. Some people may hear what you are saying but revert back to how they were after a few weeks. Don’t be afraid to pull away if that is what you need. 

Toxic relationships can really change the way you live your life, but it is still your life. Surround yourself with people that enhance your life and the way you live it. 

Diaper Blowouts: Is There Any Way To Avoid This Messy Situation?!

A newborn baby’s poop is a dark green, tar-like substance called meconium. It is sticky, icky, and takes some intense wiping to get off the skin. Despite how difficult it is to get off your loved one’s cute behind, it is quite minimal and it can fool first time parents into thinking the diaper situation may not be as bad as you thought.

In about a week, that meconium turns into liquid poop that fills a diaper faster than you thought possible.

At our baby shower, we received quite a few packs of newborn diapers. We weren’t fussy over the brands, we were just happy to have something else checked off the list, especially something we knew would be an ongoing expense.

The newborn diapers are so cute and tiny, it’s hard to think your baby is every that small to fit into them.We had five different brands of diapers to try:

The Honest Company, Parent’s Choice, Comforts, Pampers, Huggie’s Little Snugglers, and Huggie’s Little Snugglers Plus.

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A lot of things will factor in to the diapers parent’s choose. Price, ease of use, quality and quantity. I tried to take all these things into account when I purchased diapers for my daughter.

The Honest Company‘s diapers are extremely cute. They come in different designs, all the diapers in the pack varied in style from nautical with anchors and boats, farm themed with animals and barns, and other type of cute designs. As cute as these designs were, and as much as I loved seeing my daughter in them (especially since she is most comfortable in a diaper and nothing else) I had to stop myself from re-buying them for several reasons.

The first and most obvious reason was because these diapers aren’t available everywhere. I tend to do most of my shopping these days at Walmart and Costco, so if it can’t be bought there, in bulk, than I usually strike it from the list. The second reason was that although they are adorable, they don’t have the wetness indicator stripe which it a must for me. Having to peek into the diaper, or undo it to check if she needs a changing is uncomfortable for her, and usually resulted in a new diaper whether she needed one or not because of the tabs.

Parent’s Choice did have a wetness indicator strip, however I found the tabs didn’t always stay where I had fastened them. Also for whatever reason, once she peed (and she usually peed a lot) it would leak out by her legs, seeping into her clothes and wherever she was sitting. I nixed this brands pretty quick.

Comforts was a brand that was given to me for free at The Baby Show. They had a cute design with the alphabet and number blocks on them, and in all honesty they were pretty decent. I just had no idea where to buy them, so again I had to nix them from the list. Research proved that maybe they aren’t available in Canada.

The typical diaper debate usually boils down to Huggie’s vs. Pampers.

I tried both, and have had blowouts in both brands. (My daughter has managed to have a blowout in every brand mentioned above.)

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The main reason I didn’t like Pampers was because of the way their diapers are constructed.

The inside of the diapers have this mesh. It separates from the diaper when my daughter pees and seemed to get embedded in her butt or her privates which resulted in an abrasion type rash.

My daughter’s comfort is always the main reason I will buy anything, and this was the only brand that caused her to have a rash or irritability. There were days when I had to peel that netting/mesh away from her butt when I changed her. Not sure what the design is for, but I saw this as a huge flaw.

Huggies is the brand of choice in our house.

I will say that there is a Little Snugglers and a Litle Snugglers Plus and between the two, there may seem like there is little difference but we felt like the differences were enough to bump the Snugglers off the list and stick with the Plus version.

Both have this super absorbant and soft interior that put this brand above all the other’s. When you opened up the diaper, you could see the difference from all the other’s before you even touched it.

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Both also have this elastic at the back waistline that is supposed to capture any runaway poop that dare seep up the back (this is a nice thought, but one that didn’t really workout for us). They both have the wetness indicator stripe, and very cute Disney themed designs (Winnie the Pooh for the Snugglers, and Mickey Mouse for the Snugglers Plus).

What made the difference to us was two things. The Plus had the size indicator on the waistband. When you hit the orange, you know it’s time to move up.

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The fit was the other selling point. When you hold these diapers up to one another, the Plus seems smaller, even though the weight for the sizes are the same. This is because it is a slimmer design that tends to hug a little better. We found this resulted in less blowouts (it didn’t eliminate them completely).

So to answer the question of whether or not it is possible to avoid blowouts all together? The answer would be no. Unfortunately there are far too many factors. I find there is a difference depending on where my daughter is, if she is sitting or lying down when she goes, whether her back is pressed against something, or how long it has been since she went the last time.

Blowouts are going to happen, and although the diapers can minimize how many you have, we have yet to find one that keeps all her business where it should be. I would suggest always making sure the diaper is on properly and running your fingers along your baby’s legs once the diaper is on to be sure the elastics around the thighs are in the right place.

Sorry parents, blowouts are going to happen even in the best diapers. I would say as important as it is to choose what diapers feel right and fit best, it’s also important to invest in a really good stain remover/pre-treatment!

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Products I Can’t Do Without

As a new mom, bringing my daughter home was like stumbling around in the dark. I didn’t know what to expect, what she would need, how much time I would spend just existing with her in my arms.

There are a few products that have made my life infinitely easier. Ones that I didn’t think I would need so much, but know now that I can’t live without. Now, for those people reading who think I am getting paid to put all this stuff on here, no sir. These are things I have around my own house, things I had purchased for me by family or friends, or that I went out and got myself and they are things that I have used daily.

The first thing I have to put on the list because of how often I use it, is my baby carrier. The baby carrier was a super important thing for me because I am typically home by myself with my daughter all day and also have a fur baby that needs to go out on walks. Having to put her in the stroller, wait for the elevator with my dog and walk him (usually through the grass) with my stroller is not ideal. This is where having a carrier, and one you are comfortable with comes in handy.

I got the Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Carrier With Hood.

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This was a gift from my best friend that I received at my baby shower. I also had one of those wrap ones, but my number one fear was that I would wrap my baby incorrectly and she would suffocate or something else would happen to her. Would I tie it too tight and she couldn’t breathe? Would I tie it too loose and she would fall out? I just wasn’t comfortable with that style of carrier (although they are heavily praised by moms).

I love that it is sturdy, when she is strapped it I really feel like she is strapped in. I love that it is machine washable, can be worn on your front or on your back when they are larger, and the cute little hood (which can easily be removed) did come in handy when it was windy out on our walks. There is also a pouch for your hands when it’s cold, although I usually use this pouch for poop bags, my phone, or my keys.

We use this carrier three or four times a day depending on my husband’s work schedule. I also use it when she is being fussy at home and wants to be in my arms, but I have things to do like chores.

The second most important thing in our house is our Fisher-Price Woodland Friends Cradle ‘n Swing.

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$150 CAD

We got ours from Walmart and it is worth every cent.

Let’s start with what it does. It swings baby in two directions, back and forth or side to side. The overhead mirror is a fun distraction for baby and is the centre of three owls that can be set to rotate with the touch of a button. You can set the speed in which you want baby to swing. This in itself was a game-changer for me. I liked that I could set it to swing faster when I knew she was being fussy and slow it down then she fell asleep. And if that wasn’t enough for you, it also plays music.

Right now I have the tray off the front as my daughter is only 7 weeks old. She has no use for it just yet and it just gets in the way of me taking her in and out, which depending on her mood may need to be done quickly. When your baby is a little older, that tray will be great, as you can use the beads there to distract them when the mobile isn’t enough, or you can even use it for snacks when the swing isn’t in motion.

The seat can be set to three different points depending on baby’s age. It can be used up until 9 months I believe… not sure about the weight limit.

Another thing that made this swing a done deal for my husband and I was the fact that it can just be plugged into the wall as opposed to needing batteries. This just made sense to us because we don’t often have D batteries lying around the house and the idea of our swing dying mid-use when baby is fussy and you are home alone and just need a moment had me grinding my teeth.

The reviews for this weren’t the best, and honestly, I have no idea why. This swing has saved me from meltdowns when I have been walking the halls trying to soothe my daughter when she has gas and I have to pee or haven’t eaten.

The other reason why I love this swing is because she is off the floor. When I need to run to the bathroom, I like that she is out of reach from our fur baby. When she is fussy, his kisses don’t help as much as he thinks.

When we were visiting my in-laws on the East Coast, there wasn’t a single room that didn’t have a rocker or glider of some kind. My daughter got so used to being rocked, everyone would joke that we would be in trouble when we got home to our rocker-less apartment. Boy, I can’t tell you how right they were.

Unfortunately, some rockers can cost upwards of $1000, and I just couldn’t justify spending that much knowing how much my daughter will need. So away to Walmart we went.

There we found Graco’s Glider and Ottoman.

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$199.97 CAD

It is only available in the one colour. The wood is a darker espresso than pictured and the cushions are a lighter beige colour.

I can’t tell you how quickly we rushed out after arriving back home to pick this chair up. Our daughter told us all too quickly that she was no longer happy sitting on the couch with me anymore, she wanted to be in motion, and she wanted it now!

All the cushions are removable. The armrests and back cushion can be thrown right in the washing machine and the seat cushion can be spot cleaned. The cushion on the ottoman can’t be removed at all so I would suggest with the light cover, putting something over it or scotch-guarding it.

The pouches on the sides are great too to throw your phone or the TV remote in for the moments where baby is sleeping and you can’t move from where you are sitting without waking them.

I don’t want to overwhelm you guys with products, so I have one other thing that for us was a must.

SkipHop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight

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$40 CAD

This little elephant is a bedtime helper. My daughter, much like my husband and I, is a night owl. Usually when she lies down in bed she is hesitant to drift off to sleep, especially if I want to go down before 11:00pm.

This little elephant plays music and has a number of other noises like rainforest, ocean waves, and even a heartbeat soundtrack that makes her think she is still in my tummy. Aside from that, it is a nightlight, the whole underbelly glowing softly which helps me during those late-night diaper changes or maneuvering her so I can breastfeed.

The trunk works as a projector and projects a stars and moons on the ceiling. This is the feature I am most thankful for. My daughter stares at them, and it tends to keep her quiet when she rouses in the night or when she refuses to go down to sleep right away. Before I was using it she would fuss and cry right away, but there have been several times a night when I look at her and she is bright-eyed, wide awake just staring at those stars.

This has definitely helped me get more sleep than I would without it.

I would say a lot of the other baby items we have accumulated in this short time we could easily do without, but these are ones I simply can’t get through the day without using and they have made our lives so much easier.

The other lifesaver has been my breast pump but I am going to do a seperate post just about breast pumps for those of you that aren’t sure which one is right for you.

These are just products that worked for me and my family. Every family is different and every baby likes different things. In terms of swings, I would maybe try out a few, see if you can borrow from friends to see which baby likes best. Knowing that my daughter tends to be a little picky with what she will calmly sit in, I bought from Walmart because you can return absolutely anything with a receipt, no questions asked. I figured if the swing didn’t work, I could always bring it back (however I did try another gliding type chair by fisher price as well as a vibrating one that didn’t work as well, and we knew she loved the motion of a swing from the rockers and gliders).

Finding the right products to make your life easier will definitely help keep you from feeling overwhelmed and help you get a few moments to yourself which is great for a new mom and her mental health.

 

Taking Baby Home

In the hospital, our daughter was quiet. She whined a little bit and cried when we would lie her down to change her, but other than that she mostly liked to be cuddled up to my husband and I, skin to skin, catching some major Zs.

Once we got her home, we noticed a change in her personality.

She was fussy. She didn’t like the bassinet we had in the room, because, as we would discover later, she didn’t like lying flat on her back. She didn’t like a lot of the little gadgets and gear we had gotten in hopes of her getting a good night’s sleep (and a nice sleep for my husband and I as well.)

Instead of the typical bassinet that she would grow out of in just a few months, we went with a playpen with the bassinet and change table attachment on top. Not only did she not like the bassinet, but she also didn’t like the changing table. We ended up having to bring her into the nursery to use the larger changing table.

Of the things she did like, she liked this Fisher Price rocking chair thingy. I couldn’t tell you exactly what it is called because my brother handed it down to us. It has a base that is supposed to move the seat back and forth, but when we got it, the base didn’t work. However, the legs on the seat itself when you take it off the base are like little rocking chair legs, and she liked the way her body sunk into the seat and how her own movements could make the seat move.

Our thought for bedtime was to remove the bassinet and changing table attachments from the playpen and just sit that little chair in there. That way she was up where I could see her from the bed (and my dog wouldn’t fuss with her being on the floor), and she was secure in the frame of the playpen.

Genius! Or at least I thought.

Nope. As it so happens, the chair was all fine and good during the day, but absolutely unacceptable for bedtime.

She would lie in there for a few minutes before she would wake up and cry. Okay…

Now, all the articles and doctors will tell you that co-sleeping with your baby is dangerous. It increases the risk of SIDS and really should just be avoided all around. Trust me, I have read all the articles, I understand the risk and trauma of rolling over onto your new baby or having your baby tangled up in the sheets. When I was pregnant, I read through those articles and thought to myself ‘What in the world are these people thinking? Just have your baby in a bassinet beside your bed.’

When you actually become a parent, you realize just how ridiculous it is to think things are that simple.

When you are running on empty, and all you want is a mere thirty minutes of uninterrupted sleep, you will put your baby on your chest the way you know they like and doze off completely, forgetting all about those articles.

I am an extremely light sleeper, always have been. I used to wake up when my dog would wake up and move around the room before I was pregnant. Every little coo or deep breath my daughter takes I am aware of, even if I am sleeping. I am also the kind of person who has always slept on my back and doesn’t toss and turn. So the idea of letting her sleep on my chest for an hour while I caught a little bit of shut eye was not even something I thought of as dangerous.

It just made sense.

Over the past eleven days of having my daughter at home, I have noticed things that make her sleep routine easier.

My daughter does not like to wear anything but a diaper when she sleeps. It’s important to test the waters with a new baby, especially when it comes to their sleeping attire. So long as you keep your room a comfortable temperature for baby, there is no reason why they have to wear clothes to bed. If my daughter has so much as socks on her feet when she goes to bed, she will fuss until she gets them off.

My daughter can’t sleep in silence. I think we forget just how noisy it is for babies inside the womb. We assume they will want quiet when they sleep, but in our tummies they hear the constant beating of our hearts, every breath we take, not to mention some of the noises from out in the world are amplified for them in there. They have spent nine months with this constant soundtrack of sound, if you strip away all the noise for them on that first night home, it will be hard for them to settle.

My daughter can’t sleep in complete darkness. I am the kind of person that liked the room pitch black, black out blinds and silence (unless I was listening to my rainstorm sleep sounds). The first night we brought our daughter home, I crawled into bed in the dark and revelled in the silence after spending the past few days in the hospital with no sleep. My daughter however, was not as comfortable as me. She was up constantly, whining and searching for us. The womb is not completely dark either, so most babies do like a small amount of light while they sleep. We decided to go for some dim string lights behind the frame of our bed so it wasn’t so bright for mom and dad but was enough to make our daughter feel comfortable.

My daughter craves skin to skin. Skin to skin is so important to build a bond between you and baby in the first few months they are here. My daughter would curl into my husband and I at the hospital like a cat in the sun and go right to sleep. When she is being overly fussy at night, I take my shirt off and lay her on my chest and she is asleep in mere moments. I noticed she couldn’t initially fall asleep at bedtime without some cuddling. For now, this is okay, but it is something I am going to have to ween her off of as she gets older.

There is no spot in our whole house my daughter loves more than our bed. It has been 11 days since we took her home from the hospital and we have had just as many nights to try and find what works best for her and for us. At the end of the day, there is no spot that puts her to sleep more soundly, than a spot on our bed.

Look, I am not a doctor. I am not telling any new moms out there to co-sleep with their babies. I know the risks, trust me, I do! I am merely being honest with you guys and telling you what works for us.

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Regardless of what you decide is best for you, it is going to take some trial and error. If you do decide to co-sleep, make sure to give you baby enough space away from you to be sure you don’t accidentally roll onto your bundle of joy. Also, remove all the blankets from around baby (this above photo was taken before I did all of that). If you have the space on your bed, co-sleeping could work. If you are still too nervous, than maybe you will be successful where I wasn’t.

Good luck either way!

Feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how you are doing with your new baby!