Mom Talk 71
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”.
Hey Mamas – Did you know that Aleva Naturals has a Maternal Care product line just for you!
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We are happy to share all the product features with you and give you the chance to WIN one of two Aleva Naturals Maternal Care Gift Sets below.
Stretch Mark Cream – A cream specially formulated with Organic Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Natural Soy Protein, Wheat Protein and Pumpkin Seed extracts that reduces the appearance of stretchmarks and helps to improve elasticity and skin tone. This unique blend can be used on sensitive areas including breasts, hips, abdomen and upper thighs.
Alevoil Stretch Mark Oil – An intensive skin nourishing oil, beneficial for scars, stretch marks, dehydrated skin & uneven skin tone. Enriched with Sqisandryl (a plant extract from Schisandra Chinensis Fruit) and Tamanol Seed Oil, this unique blend delivers essential nourishing moisturizers that will protect skin from dryness, leaving it soft, supple and silky-smooth. . Alevoi is safe to use on the face, body and all sensitive areas
Foaming Fem Wash – A unique daily wash with a blend of Organic Witch Hazel & Natural Tea Tree Oil that gently soothes, cleanses & refreshes your intimate areas. Many washes for intimate-area are gel-like and contain synthetic perfumes and foaming agents which may cause dryness and irritation. The Foaming Fem Wash is a unique formulation that foams with the use of a pump and does not include any harsh chemicals. This is done intentionally for gentle application and easy lathering.
Bamboo Fem Wipes – These ultra-soft, unbleached wipes consists of Organic Aloe Vera, Chamomile & Natural Tea Tree Oil that gently soothes, cleanses and refreshes your intimate areas. This unique formulation is ideal for use during pregnancy, pre & post natal and when you are prone to utmost sensitivity & irritation. This gentle wipe can be used as part of your daily hygiene routine.
Just for you Moms, we are giving away two Aleva Nautrals Maternal Care Gift Sets that contain all the products mentioned above and more!
Leave a comment in this blog post that answers the question “How do you make “Mom time”?” and log in to the Rafflecopter contest below to click “I commented!”. Contest ends Monday, May 15th at 11:59 PM EST. Full contest rules can be found here.
C. S. Lewis once said, “Children are not a distraction from important work, they are the most important work”. I love this quote for many reasons, but sometimes I simply love it because it acknowledges that mothering is hard work. We mothers, regardless of our careers, our partners, or our family dynamics all work hard. Raising the next generation is no easy task! This month we want to focus on ways to make your work easier and little ways to treat yourself. You’ve earned all that and more, Mama!
Don’t Lose Yourself in Mothering
When you have a newborn, it’s easy to believe the lie that your only purpose is to feed and change your baby on repeat. Sleep deprivation can make us believe crazy things! It’s normal to be exhausted, and it’s fine to have days where you stay in your pajamas from morning till night. But find small ways to remind yourself that you are more than just a mother. You’re still a woman, you still have interests! It may be putting down that parenting book for a week and picking up something that has nothing to do with being a mother – an architecture magazine, a classic novel, a new cook book. Even in our time away from our babies, it’s easy to focus solely on our role as primary caregiver, but it’s important to allow yourself a break from your role. I so often find that as soon as my husband and I get away for a date night we are talking about the kids and I’m looking through my phone at pictures of them from the day. This isn’t bad by any means, but sometimes I need to remind myself to take off my ‘Mom Hat’ and just enjoy time with my husband, my friends, or by myself.
Make Your Job Easier
Parenting involves so much varied work, and I’m always on the lookout for ways to make life easier. If you can find a product or a service that frees you up to more readily dive in to time with your kids, it’s probably worth its weight in gold. I have a friend who swears by hiring a cleaning service after the birth of every one of her children. It’s not an expense that she can afford regularly, but as a mom of four, she understands that the house will fall apart during those newborn days, and if she can save up for the little luxury, it’s the best use of her money. Even small things like a parent console for your stroller to make trips out of the house a little bit easier, or a diaper bag that can truly double as a purse, so you’re not forever switching things between the two, can make a big difference.
Do not deny yourself a break! Rest is so crucial for moms to continue carrying out their good work, even if you need to get creative to make it possible. Do you know a reliable babysitter? Have her on speed dial! Is a babysitter not in your budget? Ask a family member to come over for a couple of hours. Don’t have local family? Exchange babysitting duties with a mom friend and take turns watching one another’s kids so you both get some ‘Me Time’. If it’s impossible for you to have someone care for your children, then treat their nap times as sacred time for yourself. Sleep if you need to. Take a bath with some post-partum soothing herbs. Make a hot cup of Mama Tea and read a book (remember, not a parenting book!).
And when your children are older and no longer napping, I strongly suggest ‘Quiet Time’ for the kids and mom! Not only is independent play fundamental in building creativity and independence for children, but it’s also a much needed time to calm down and give mom a break! Our children all stopped napping around age two, but they still enjoy one hour of ‘Quiet Time’ after lunch each day. It’s in our daily routine, so they don’t usually protest. Once we’re cleaned up from lunch I remind them that it’s ‘Quiet Time’ and ask them to choose a few books or toys that they’d like to take with them into their room for the hour. I set a timer so they know when ‘Quiet Time’ is over (and so they aren’t asking me a hundred times!). This hour is so precious! It’s when I work out, have a shower, have a look at my phone, or sneak in a nap if the night before was a rough one. Don’t be afraid to carve out rest time for yourself and your children. It’s not just mom who needs it!
I’m sure all mothers would agree that raising their children is the most important work, and likewise, no one needs to convince us that it is indeed work. It’s exhausting, patience-trying, lonely, and often thankless, and yet infinitely valuable as you love and raise your children who will one day lead our world. You are doing a great job!
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.
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”.
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