Life With Baby 42
The time will eventually come when you must exit your newborn bubble and leave the house again. There is a good chance that the second (or third, fourth, etc) time around will be even sooner than it was with your first as you have another little person to attend to. For some, taking both children out together for the first time can be a very daunting task. My first born is already four so I didn’t worry as much as I can
bribe reason with her and manage her behaviour easier than if she was a tinier terror. Adjusting to carrying out tasks with twice the occupancy does take some time and practice but with a few tips and a lot of wine patience, you will be a pro in no time.
Snacks. All the snacks.
Boredom= Hunger so if you are at the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment or on a walk longer than 30 seconds, children become ravenous. Having a snack bag on hand helps keep the hangry at bay and also keep them occupied. Bonus points for healthy snacks and triple word score if it is something that takes a really long time to eat!
A seat for each rider
When you are doing anything with small children it is always helpful to have them each in a seat that allows them to be both comfortable and also contained. Your double stroller is amazing if age appropriate but a ride on board that keeps your older child on board also works well. The invention of a double seat in grocery carts should win a nobel prize in my opinion as children free to roam the store will surely knock over at least one display of stacked coconuts. Plus, children forced to walk for any length of time when it is not to an activity of their choosing are ripe for a meltdown, and nobody wants to carry a screaming toddler home from anywhere.
Remember that you’re not an octopus.
Since you don’t have eight hands to satisfy each child’s every whim and demand, free up the two you do have and go hands free when possible and necessary. If you are taking a trip to the park, a baby carrier is the perfect place for baby to relax while simultaneously allowing you to push swings, open water bottles and carry rocks and dandelion bouquets. Backpack style diaper bags are also great for going handsfree but also being prepared with your on the go essentials. For destinations in your stroller, an organizer will free you up from holding on to your phone/water/keys/coffee and allow you to push freely.
You’re on the clock
Consider your children’s ages and how much time they can handle doing any one activity. If your baby naps every 90 minutes then capping your trip at one hour will leave you with enough time to be home for a nap and not wear your babe out. Similarly, in the blazing summer heat, extended trips to the park will result in a sweaty meltdown if you are not careful about limiting your stay. Plan your trip and stick to your timeline and you will set yourself up for success.
It’s ok to be a quitter
If, in spite of your best preparations and planning, the wheels fall off and the trip becomes an absolute disaster, don’t be afraid to abort the mission and call it a day. We all have bad days and there will be some days that are just better spent at home than battling the terrible twos, teething and traffic.
Whether your first trip out with your twosome is a fantastic success or a giant failure, remember to enjoy the journey and the destination. They won’t always be little, they won’t always hate the car seat and they won’t always fit in the grocery cart. Some of my most favourite times with my children are when we are out adventuring, even if the adventure is just deciding what we will have for dinner tonight while browsing aisle four. Setting the expectation that outings- whether fun or functional- are a part of every day life will make them just that and your kids will likely settle in and enjoy the side by side, reclined ride.
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
With all the learning and new discoveries happening in the first year of your child’s life (for both you and baby), the best thing you can do is find the greatest time savers, parenting hacks and pro-tips to make things just a little easier on yourself. Mealtimes can be stressful as it is without having to worry about the dietary restrictions of an infant, so finding the best time and sanity savers for feeding baby was high on my priority list.
As someone who generally likes to cook and try new recipes as well as control all of the ingredients that my children are eating, I enjoy making my own baby food. With my first child I learned to steam or roast different ingredients and then pour them all into a small, low powered blender to grind them up into a medium suitable for my toothless infant. This worked for me and I began to enjoy coming up with new combinations and seeing what flavour profiles she took to. Four years and another child later, I still enjoy cooking but I find that I have become more of a short order cook and less of a gourmet chef. Balancing the dietary
demands preferences of my toddler along with the meals for both my husband and I and now a solid eating baby was becoming overwhelming and resulted in lots of dishes. And then I was introduced to the Beaba Babycook and mealtimes are forever changed.
One machine that both steams and purees food in the same container, this workhorse has been awarded a permanent spot on my countertop. With the ability to steam fruits, vegetables, meat or fish from raw to fully cooked in 15 minutes while locking in the nutrients and vitamins, my mealtimes have added variety but newfound simplicity. The Babycook model I have is equipped with two large capacity bowls so I am able to cook two completely different meals at one time and then puree them (if I so desire) to the consistency I need. For breakfast I am able to make myself a smoothie on one side while I steam fruits or veggies to mix infant cereal on the other side. I can make plain chicken for my toddler at dinner while I make a three veg puree for my son on the other side. And I am never cleaning more than 4 dishes to prepare it all.
After owning this machine for just a few weeks I have already made dozens of different meals- from simple steamed carrot puree to a three food group mashup, and surprisingly all have been a success. I have found myself getting more adventurous in the kitchen again to explore new tastes and combinations. In case you are looking to try something new, here is one of my favourites that I have made to date.
I heard of a famous NYC chef that would whip roasted bananas into his mashed potatoes to create a side dish that people raved about all over the country. I used this as inspiration for this simple recipe.
Roasted Banana and Sweet Potato Mash
3 bananas in the peel
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place bananas on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a non stick backing mat. Cook bananas for 20-25 minutes, until skins turn brown and some of the sticky juices begin to leak out. Allow bananas to cool slightly.
While bananas are cooking in the oven, place chopped sweet potatoes in the Babycook steamer basket. Fill water reservoir to a level 3, close the lid and press the steam button to begin cooking. After 15 minutes or so, the timer will sound and the potatoes are ready. Use the Babycook spatula to tip the steamer basket over into the remaining cooking liquid and puree the potatoes until they are lump free. Peel the cooked bananas open and dump the mushy insides into the sweet potato puree. Stir with the spatula and then blend until both ingredients are smooth and combined. This makes around 6 servings so pour the remainder in an air tight container and store in the fridge, or use the Beaba Multiportions to freeze the leftovers.
Watch as baby delights in this sweet but nutritious treat.
My son loves this combination and I don’t mind sneaking in a few bites myself. The best part is that once it is made, I can reheat the leftovers in the Babycook on another night and not worry about dirtying another pot, inconsistent microwave heating or burning it on the stove. The MultiPortions make it easy to heat one serving at a time and it pops out easily from the silicone tray, meaning I don’t have to thaw it in advance.
The Babycook has certainly changed the way I make food for my children and has made mealtimes much easier and truthfully, a bit more exciting. Using the cooking guidelines in the included recipe book and instruction manual allows you to create your own combinations and when you are feeling less creative you can find a ton of recipes on the Beaba website and around the internet. As your child grows, you can continue to use this to prepare different stage foods and I am looking forward to trying those out in the near future. Finding a time saving gadget that is healthy, is not quickly outgrown and is easy to use is an all around win in my books!
Everyone with a baby has had someone tell them to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” But when you have a toddler that no longer naps or is on a different schedule than your baby, that is pretty much impossible advice to take. And I have discovered that the first communication among siblings is to send secret signals at night to one another to take turns waking up their parents in 30 minute intervals. This gives you juuuuust enough time to fall asleep before the next one startles you awake and you forget that REM sleep ever existed.
With my first child I never wanted to sleep train. I figured rocking her to sleep was temporary and I was all about the extra cuddles even if sleep was hard to come by. And eventually by eight months old she figured it out on her own and started sleeping through the night (with the help of a good environment and routine) and has been a good sleeper for the most part since then. Once baby #2 arrived, the topic of sleep became an entirely different conversation. I couldn’t rock him to sleep endlessly as I had another child waiting to be put to bed. If he screamed for a two hour witching period, it would wake up his sister. I could get him to sleep after a feed and then his sister would call out wanting a drink at 2 am and there would go my break in between feedings. My husband was convinced that he would be like his sister and just learn to do it on his own, but I was sure of only two things:
- There are no guarantees with babies – the second one seems to do things completely different from the first.
- 1 toddler + 1 baby + 0 sleep = very little patience
The four month sleep regression hit us hard and naps were extremely short, night wakings were frequent and I was willing to sell my soul for a good snooze. So, this time around I began to explore my options beyond reading books about healthy sleep and gentle methods of sleep training. I am a pro at putting all the right tools in place (consistent environment, dark, white noise, cool temperature, sleep sacks, on their back, etc) but I needed help with a plan. So, when my son was five months old I went to see the best in the biz, Alanna McGinn of Goodnight Sleep Site. She runs a free sleep clinic the first Wednesday of every month at the Nestled store in Burlington and the first step was to check in with her there and seek out some tips. I found solidarity at this clinic as there were at least ten other families with the same issues with naps and sleep. Alanna provided some great advice about timing of his naps and sleep and I went home feeling more confident and ready to try.
I implemented some of my new tips and saw an improvement right away. It wasn’t perfect but it was better and I started to feel a glimmer of hope that maybe I would one day sleep again. We worked on naps some more and tried a bit of sleep training at night. Though we saw success, I was wavering. Should I be cuddling more? Should I go in and check on him more often? Should I let him cry it out? Am I damaging his brain? Am I teaching him not to trust me by not going to him immediately when he cries? The thing is, there are all sorts of methods to teach your child to sleep and learn to soothe themselves. You have to find what is right for you and your family and then STICK TO IT. This was the issue I was having. I had some of the tips, I knew I wanted to do it and move towards much better sleep, but I just couldn’t stop second guessing my methods or wondering what to do when it didn’t work. This is when I knew I needed more help and support.
So, I booked a consultation with Alanna to work on a full plan for our situation and our needs that we would be comfortable with. After our very first phone conversation I immediately felt better. I had a plan and I was ready to stick to it. It was detailed and involved a schedule, and I thrive on both of those (turns out, babies do too when you do it right). The difference this time around was that I had advice from a certified expert, it was one set plan, and I could have confidence that it has worked for hundreds of other families and that I could reach out to Alanna to troubleshoot and give me the push I needed to continue. Learning to sleep train from articles on the internet is similar to diagnosing your medical problems on webMD- there are real and possible solutions there but you don’t have anyone to provide the support you need to confirm your diagnosis and take you through the treatment. Alanna told me right away that the plan itself is really only about 10% of the service. The support of the consultant is where the other 90% comes in and is the real reward and pay off lies. For me, this was 100% true. I had so many questions about what to do if my first solution didn’t work and in times when I was ready to waver, she was there to guide me and talk me off the ledge, knowing that if I stuck to the plan, it would work out.
And the results? I have a 6.5 month old baby who is currently sleeping through the night and taking naps that are 1-2 hours long every single day. (Here is the part where I pray and cross everything that I have not jinxed myself by publicly saying this). The training was hard, I won’t lie about that. There was guilt involved and some tears from us all. But I don’t regret it and we are all much happier now. I am proud to have a baby who has learned to fall asleep on his own. I love that he wakes up cooing in the morning instead of crying. I have taken back some “me” time in the evening and can’t believe how good that feels. And I have resumed my own love affair with sleep. I do miss some of the extra cuddles though so I am taking those in the day when and while I can!
The bottom line with sleep and your baby is, you have to do what works for you. You love to co-sleep? Awesome, enjoy the snuggles! You bond over breast or bottle feeding to sleep? Perfect, eat up, baby! Your rocking routine is the most peaceful time of day? Amazing, rock on! I will never judge anyone for their sleep strategies because I know as well as anyone else, you do what gets you through. And the only thing worse than being extremely tired is feeling like you are being a bad mom/parent on top of it all. For me, sleep training worked to ease my anxious, slightly depressed, overtired, growling, guilt ridden self. I am a disaster without sleep and regaining it has turned things around for me. And though it was hard to do, especially when I was so against it the first time around, I am thankful I did.
So, to all of you struggling with sleep and the guilt/sleep deprivation of second baby syndrome, let me be the first to tell you, whatever you decide, you will get through. Do what makes you all happy and rested and, if you can, take some time out for yourself. When your baby is eighteen he likely won’t be sleeping in your bed or asking to be rocked to sleep so know that it isn’t forever. The love you have with your pillow and your bed is unconditional, it will welcome you back to solid sleep whenever you are ready, even if it is just in time to send baby off to college!
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
With the changing regulations and costs for baggage on most airlines these days, it is hard to pack a single bag for one person, let alone an entire family. Since our child count has doubled we have to be even more strategic about packing and planning our travel arrangements. We travelled a considerable amount with our daughter, including a trip to Europe when she was eight months old, so we already had an idea of what infant travel was like and knew that we could do it. We put travelling with two to the test this past February as we booked a trip to Orlando. Here are ten tips that allowed us to remain in good spirits while travelling by air, with two children, to the Happiest Place on Earth:
1. Be Real– Set yourself up with realistic expectations before you begin planning your trip. Think about the stages your children are at and what they can realistically handle in terms of a travel itinerary and destination. If your 18 month old can’t sit still for longer than 5 minutes, it is likely not a great idea to plan a ten hour cross continental flight. Determine what they truly can handle and plan accordingly. Now that I have two children I know that everything takes longer and is more involved so I also have to be realistic about what I can handle too when travelling with both.
2. Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail– The more information you can have about your destination and navigating it, the better. This applies to all aspects of the trip, including your baggage allowance, the ride to the airport (what terminal are we at again?!), your seat assignments on the plane, the expected weather conditions, estimated driving times for car travel, location of rental car terminal within the airport (don’t book at an “off airport” location. Yes they have shuttles but you will also be shuttling all your humans and their stuff), restaurants that are kid friendly, etc. Take full advantage of online check in, early check in, GPS technology, and travel review sites to plan the most efficient journey which will also be less stressful.
3. Baggage Claim– When packing your bags, know your limit and stay within it! I have found it is easier to bring two larger bags for the four of us than four smaller bags. Having each adult share a bag with a child means there is room for some larger clothes and some itty bitty clothes. Planning complete outfits for each person and each day is also helpful so that you avoid bringing a whole bunch of random items to piece together during your trip. For children’s clothes I pack the complete outfit (along with any accessories) in a small ziplock bag and that way I have an outfit ready in a moment’s time and it also packs down much smaller. I have back ups where necessary but have definitely found that this eliminates most of my unnecessary items that I would otherwise throw in “just in case”.
4. Hands Free– I’m not talking technology here, I’m kicking it old school with the original hands free invention- carrying straps! I have a strict policy now that anything that does not get checked upon arrival to the airport must be able to be carried without using my hands. Backpacks are key here, and, if you have older children they can carry their own small backpack and be responsible for hauling their activities, snacks and treasures that will get them through this leg of the journey. My daughter loves this backpack for travel and it is just the right size, while I carry this backpack style diaper bag and it is perfect for all of the baby’s necessities and a few of my own. Once I check my stroller at the gate and sit with my infant on my lap, I still want to be hands free. This is where a baby carrier comes in handy both for the airport and also for use at your destination. We love the BabyBjorn Carrier One Outdoors as it works well for both my husband and I, wicks away sweat so we aren’t a dripping puddle upon arrival, and can be used as a back or front carry depending on the age of your child. This was a life saver at Walt Disney World where the sun was out in full force and we needed to let our son nap on the go. Being hands free of baggage allows you to open snacks, wipe faces, lift up children, push a stroller and hold small hands instead.
5. Homestyle– With the increasing popularity of AirBnB and private home rentals, small hotel rooms are no longer your only option. Forcing your entire family to stay in one room for the duration of your stay can be difficult as once bedtime arrives for the littles, the adults are stuck in a dark room, trying to be quiet. Booking a house with multiple rooms allows you the flexibility to put your children down for a nap or bedtime while you still have space to relax and enjoy yourself. There is also more room for kids to play, to store all that carefully packed baggage and these homes often come equipped with many of the supplies needed for children (like cribs, playpens, high chairs) so you don’t have to haul that with you. Bonus points for a location with laundry facilities so that you can bring less clothes and not panic when your infant blows out four outfits in one day (not that I’m speaking from experience…).
6. Made for life on the road– If your destination does not come equipped with infant cribs/playpens/gear, it may be smart to invest in a few travel specific products. The most useful item I have ever purchased for traveling with small children is a travel crib. With the ability to fold down small, weigh less than your child and fit in an overhead compartment on a plane, this gives you the security of knowing your little one has a safe place to sleep and bringing it won’t weigh you down too much. Runner up in the “most useful travel gear” awards is a car seat travel bag. Though it is possible to rent car seats with your rental car company or other gear rental services, safety is always a huge concern for me and there is little history or information about what this seat has been through or where it has been. I prefer to take my own seats and these travel bags make hauling them so much easier. An added bonus is that airlines are legally required to check your car seat for free so I have been known to stash a few bulky items in with my car seat to save me luggage space. #protip. This bag is my favourite and is worth every penny in protection, ease of carrying and space for a few extras
7. Hitch a Ride– In almost any travel situation, having a stroller on hand makes traveling with two so much easier. Even if you won’t use it at your destination, navigating just the airport becomes a much easier feat with a mode of transportation for the littlest members of your party. Where possible, have a seat for each child- there are so many great double stroller options available. In our case, our daughter has mostly outgrown a stroller but we knew that without an option to be pushed we would be forced to carry her, which is really no option at all when adding in a second child and all of our bags. If your first child is too big or unwilling to ride in a stroller, a ride on board is a duo dream come true. We could push the baby in the stroller while our toddler could hitch a ride on the board to give her tired feet a rest. This also allowed us to walk at a much faster pace and keep her contained in the airport and at Disney World- winning all around. With gate check right before we boarded the plane, we had our travel system and it’s occupants on hand for the entire airport rush and also used it extensively once we arrived to our destination.
8. Less is More- While it is tempting to pack as many things into a trip as possible, it is usually not as enjoyable when traveling with tiny
tantrumers children. Pick the things that you want to do and see the most, with something on the list for everyone, and try to build in rest and relaxation time and days in between. While our daughter would have loved to spend our entire trip at each of the Disney parks, we knew that it would be too hard on our infant son. So instead we chose to do one full day at Magic Kingdom and then one character breakfast at a resort separate from the park on another day. This way we got to experience more of the magic but the breakfast lasted only about two hours and left the rest of the day free to fit in naps and other play time. Where possible choose a shorter/easier alternative so that you can still experience things but in a less taxing way.
9. Creature Comforts– As much as I am preaching to pack light and only what you need, it is important to bring a few things from home that allow you and your children to function normally. A favourite stuffy or pacifier for the kids, your white noise machine or video monitor for peace of mind at bedtime and anything else that is key in your routine at home (within reason) should be accommodated. We have found that if we can set up our environment to be at least somewhat similar to home it allows our children to adjust much quicker to the change in scenery.
10. Have Fun! The bottom line is, you are making memories and among them should be fun ones. Take a deep breath, take breaks when you need them, take lots of photos, and take a moment to see sights through your children’s eyes. Experiencing all of these new things leaves a lasting impression on children and even though they won’t remember things they did as babies, you will, so do your best to enjoy it!
Your kids won’t be babies forever and traveling will likely get easier in the future. Exposing them to new and exciting places now and the means that you need to take to get there is a good way to create perfect travel companions down the road. Keeping a few of these tips in mind may help you keep your sanity and, if you are like me, may make you crazy enough to book your next trip!
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
Spring has sprung but cold and flu season still upon us. If you need to take your little one to the doctor and it’s your first time, here are a few tips for surviving the clinic waiting room with a sick baby.
While you’re packing your diaper bag for the paediatrician’s office, be sure you have your child’s Provincial health card and vaccination booklet. Even if you child isn’t getting vaccines at this appointment, it’s good to bring it as doctors like recording baby’s growth measurements there as well. If you forget the vaccine booklet, be sure to record baby’s measurements in it when you get home. It doesn’t so much matter if your child is the 50th or 70th percentile, but if growth suddenly changes, your doctor will need to know, which is why we need to keep records.
Keeping Baby Comfortable
Aside from the all important documents, make sure your ailing babe is as comfortable as possible by bringing her favourite blanket or lovey and comfortable clothing. This isn’t the day to dress to impress – dress baby in soft pajamas which will be the comfiest and easiest to put on quickly if you need to undress your baby for the appointment. As with most outings, pack an extra set of clothing just in case. Long waits in the doctor’s office are hard enough without baby being stuck in soiled clothes (I wish I didn’t know from experience, but sadly I do!).
Sleeping and Drinking
With a sick baby, it’s best to lay low and let them eat and sleep as much as possible, but that’s not always easy on the day of the doctor appointment, especially when it may be a long wait before your paediatrician can see you. With the uncertainty of the way, do the best you can to help baby drink and sleep as much as possible. Bring extra bottles, or nurse frequently. If you’re not comfortable nursing in public, bring along your nursing cover. The halogen lights and numerous new faces of the waiting room won’t make sleep easier, so leave your baby cozy in his stroller or car seat while you’re waiting to see the doctor, and safely cover them with a blanket or cover, in hopes of helping him rest.
Even after three kids and years of doctor visits, I’m still a bit overwhelmed taking in medical advice and talking prescriptions with our paediatrician, so I always take notes on my phone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s what your doctor is there for! For first time moms, I know you may feel like you should know it all, but that’s simply not true. Ask for clarification and over explain if need be. Same goes with the pharmacist if you’re picking up a prescription.
With any luck your baby’s sickness will pass quickly and you’ll be able to move on to enjoying spring, but if you do find yourself back in the waiting room of a walk-in clinic or doctor’s office, hopefully these tips will make the experience as smooth as possible.
Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city.
Posts You Might Like
- Baby Carriers
- Behind the Bump
- Brand Spotlight
- Car Seat Safety
- Cloth Diapering
- Diaper Bags
- Double Strollers
- Get the Look
- Life With Baby
- Mom Talk
- Nursery Design by Nesting Story
- Nursery Styles
- Potty Training
- Product Feature
- Product Recalls
- Product Reviews
- Save vs Splurge
- Snuggle News
- Staff Spotlight
- The Mom Files
- Tough Subjects
- Winter Gear