The Shock and Awe of Baby #4

This is guest post from Kayla at SimplyBurch.com. Be sure to check out her blog after reading her post!

I was feeling nauseous when I woke up from a mid-day nap. With three rambunctious children I don’t normally have that luxury but this day I couldn’t fight it, I was exhausted. I woke up with the thought, I am pregnant. But I couldn’t be, could I? We were done, I was on birth control and life was already crazy.

You know those times when you just stare off into nothingness and every thought and fear you have ever had flash right before your eyes? Yeah, I had that the day I saw that big fat positive. We were now expecting baby #4. FOUR…..that is one more than three, one more mouth to feed, one more little tiny human wrecking ball. How was I going to do it? I do not have enough hands or energy.

I was full of so many emotions and it was absolutely overwhelming. I have always wanted four children but I had given up on that dream with health issues and a hysterectomy in my near future. My scheduled appointment with my OBGYN to get the surgery on the books would actually turn into my first prenatal appointment. Talk about a  shock.

As soon as I saw the positive sign, I went straight outside to tell my husband. There was no time for a cutesy announcement, I needed to know his reaction and I needed to know now.  Was he going to be just as shocked as I was? Would we share the same fears?

I tell him, he responds with a smile and “Maybe it will be another girl.”

Wait? Another girl………oh man, what if it is another girl? A sweet little baby girl wrapped in pink, that newborn smell, her precious little head resting on my chest, her innocence as she discovers the world around her and the unbreakable bond she will have with her older brothers and sister. “What if it is another girl?”

A new rush of emotions came over me. The thought of our new and changing future didn’t seem so scary. The emotions were still overwhelming but not near as knee shaking. We were going to have another baby. I honestly didn’t think I would ever say those words again.

My nerves instantly turned to gratitude. I almost lost my husband in a line of duty accident two years ago. Through that time and in his recovery I could have never dreamed we would be adding one more member to our family. I am internally grateful for the gift of his life and the gift of this new life growing inside of me.

My family has been given the gift of life in so many ways and not a day goes by that I will take that for granted. This doesn’t mean that I don’t carry fears around. I still question my ability to care for four children, I still worry I won’t be enough for them but I am steady in the thankfulness to prove myself wrong. I know this growing love in my heart will be enough to sustain my fears.

It doesn’t matter what emotions you have when you find out, don’t feel guilty about it. I went from being shaken from shock to standing in awe in a matter of minutes. Even if it takes you hours, days, or months don’t worry, you got this. You are going to rock on this new journey of motherhood. Sometimes our greatest blessings come when we expect it the least.

Oh, and baby is a girl in case you were wondering. Our little family is looking forward to meeting Miss Maebri in June.


The Difference Between Postpartum Depression and The Baby Blues

Postpartum Depression vs. Baby Blues. Know the Difference.

This is a guest post by HealthyPregnancy.com. Read more about them at the end of this post.

For many new mothers, a striking change of mood in the weeks following a birth can be a bit unnerving, especially after months of hectic schedules and major life changes. Indeed, a sense of sadness, loss of energy and bouts of crying can be an unwelcome series of events when a mother is already trying to adjust to a new life with a baby. However, a sudden change in mood is a regular part of having a child, with up to 80 percent of new mothers experiencing a period of “baby blues.”

When Sadness Becomes a Concern

It is when this sense of sadness and lethargy does not go away in a reasonable amount of time that a case of “baby blues” may start to become what is known as postpartum depression. While everyone goes through periods of sadness every once in a while, particularly when a person has experienced a big change in life, prolonged periods in this state may be a cause of concern and a sign that a person should consult their physician. Here are just a few differences between a brief case of the baby blues and postpartum depression.

When Feelings of Tiredness and Sadness Don’t Go Away

The period following the birth of a child is a time of great happiness for a new mother. However, it is also a time when the body must naturally readjust itself to a new form of care for a baby. As the body naturally adapts to feeding and taking care of a newborn, the brain’s response can often be to go into a state of clinical depression.

Knowing the Signs of Postpartum Depression

When this state of depression persists for longer than two weeks, it may be a sign that additional help is needed for a new mother to get back to a normal emotional level. While the following is by no means a complete list, consulting a physician should be a priority for mothers who experience any of the following symptoms for over two straight weeks:

  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Feelings of hopelessness or anxiety
  • Loss of interest in passions
  • Inability to sleep or extensive oversleeping

What Can Be Done to Combat Postpartum Depression

Fortunately, physicians can do much to aid new mothers in overcoming a case of postpartum depression. Discussing options for treatments with a physician such as counseling or a program of anti-depressant medication can do much to make healing manageable. (It is especially important to discuss a plan for anti-depressant medication with a doctor, as anti-depressants can affect what chemicals a child receives through breastfeeding.) For these reasons, knowing how a case of the baby blues can tip over into a spell of postpartum depression can significantly help new mothers to be prepared after the birth of a child. After all, a new birth is a time for celebration and happiness and no one wants to spoil a bonding period with their child with the added difficulties of low mood and energy. Fortunately, there is much hope for mothers who want help for postpartum depression and a wealth of professionals and natural remedies to assist them.

Healthy Pregnancy Guest Posts On Swaddles n' Bottles

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Celebrating 1 Million Page Views

 

Guys, I hope you don’t mind that this post may not be as refined as other, but I’m almost on the verge of tears with happiness and I’m just going to let it flow….

When I started Swaddles n’ Bottles, my intentions were to share information with new and soon-to-be moms. I never dreamed it would grow to what it has. It is now my full time job yet I am still able to stay home with Emmy everyday. It has been the greatest blessing I could have ever asked for. I am eternally grateful for all the support.

In early 2017, I sat down to create my  blog goals for the year. After looking through my page view stats, I realized I was going to hit ONE MILLION page views in the first half of the year. Heck, with the way February went, we may even hit it by the end of MARCH!  I am amazed, shocked, thankful… just all sorts of happy! And I want to do something BIG to celebrate!

A few weeks after realizing the big milestone was on the horizon, I stopped into  a large retail chain that specialized in baby items to pick up some supplies for my Emmy. While I was checking out, I overheard my cashier tell a manager that a woman who had been known to steal baby food for her child had returned to the store. My heart sank. All sorts of emotions washed over me in a matter of seconds. Can you imagine the battle that mother was facing? Can you imagine how it feels to be so out of options, so desperate to feed your hungry baby, that you can find no other choice but to steal food? Here I was buying silicon bibs because Emmy’s other bibs were too hard to keep clean and a woman who I had possibly passed earlier in an aisle was fighting a battle no mother should ever have to fight…

That’s when Jay and I decided that we wanted to help make a difference in the Houston area when it came to less fortunate mothers and their babies. We got in touch with Leah, the program coordinator at L.I.F.E Houston, and our mission began to flourish. I learned that in their time as a non-profit, they have provided over 2.8 million emergency meals to babies. That’s two million moments where a mother needed help and babies were hungry. When I told her of the instance I had witnessed earlier that week, she told me theft is quiet a common problem for most retailers who sell formula and baby food. I also learned that mothers who are in desperate circumstances will often water down formula to make it last longer, or provide juice or water in replacement of formula. The thought of struggling in that way makes my chest tighten right up. I knew that I wanted to commemorate the blessings that we have seen from this website by making a substantial donation to L.I.F.E Houston in hopes that we can make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate mothers in Houston.

So starting today through May 15,  I am going to be collecting donations for L.I.F.E Houston. I will match all donations, dollar for dollar, up to $2,000!!

WE HAVE A GOAL OF DONATING A TOTAL OF $4,000 TO

L.I.F.E HOUSTON!

I plan to take all the money earned and purchase the items that L.I.F.E Houston is in great need of (diapers, formula, baby food, wipes, etc). I am also in the process of reaching out to different brands to ask for assistance (either through donations or coupons) to help stretch the financial resources we collect! Come May 15, we hope to deliver a HUGE haul of supplies to L.I.F.E Houston and make a BIG difference in the life of a mother who only wants the best for her baby, just like you and I do!

So please, join me in making a difference in the life of a little one! It could be $5 or $50, no matter the amount, know that it is going to a GREAT cause! You can donate below through PayPal. All donations are tax deductible! Once you’ve made your donations, you will be taken to a new page that will allow you to enter your email address to receive updates on our fundraising goal!





If you would like to read more about L.I.F.E Houston, check out their website here! You can also  read basic information on the items they provide (the items we will be purchasing with the funds) here!

6 Secrets of a Happy Mom

This is a guest post from Talida, the creator of  Magical Mom.  She’s an international traveling mama to three and one incredible writer. We are so thankful to have the opportunity to feature her on our site! Read  more about Talida at the end of her post.

6 Secrets of a Happy Mom

“Happiness depends on ourselves.” said Aristotle, exploring the idea that happiness is a central purpose of human life. But what if you lost it somewhere in between the exhaustion and overwhelm of being a mother? Or perhaps between unreliable sleep patterns and toddler meltdowns?

In this article, we will analyze the secrets of a happy mom — simple, actionable steps and minimal habits to embrace to increase our happiness every single day.

1. YOU come first

“Put your oxygen mask first before helping others” was the key sentence of my 20s. I probably said it thousands of times in my 7-year aviation career. I never got what it meant until I became an overwhelmed mother of 3 kids under 3.

Sleepless nights holding sweet breastfeeding babies or pink fluffy monsters scared toddlers, foggy mornings of fixing everybody’s breakfast before my own, tired TIRED days of paying attention, comforting, playing, working and trying to function. Go, go, go, until one day when we simply cannot anymore.

We start to resent our partners for not being as sleep deprived as we are. Or our kids for not being “better” sleepers, eaters, sharers, fill-in-the-blank-ers. We judge other mothers who seem to have it more together than us by picking up on what they do differently.

All of this because of something that seems to be ingrained into our DNA: us women, and even more so mothers, we tend to put the needs of the people we love ahead of our own. It comes more natural to us to care about others than to care about ourselves. It’s more intuitive to feed our kids first and then inhale whatever is left on their plates. Without ever sitting down. Or using grown-up cutlery. Or chewing.

2. Plan ahead

There are moments in my day when I am simply not equipped to make decisions. That happens when I lack the resources (emotional, mental or simple logistics). As a result, it will end up being a draggy miserable process and some unfortunate decisions on my part.

When it comes to small decisions such as what to eat, what to wear, what to read, I batch plan ahead when I know I have the mental capacity to do so.

During Saturday or Sunday afternoon quiet times, I go through my calendar, then do the meal planning for the week ahead. I don’t reinvent the wheel. I just have 3–4 weeks worth of meal planning and the respective shopping lists.

In the night, right before tucking in the kids, I lay down the next day’s clothes. I do the same for myself after I take a shower.

3. Special time

“Special time” is a dedicated block of time we spend with our kids: without complaining, being distracted by other activities or people and with sheer enthusiasm, we give our children the precious gift of undivided attention and willingness to just be with them. It worked miracles with my kids.

After my commitment to put my needs first, I decided I will offer myself special time. 15 minutes of giving myself permission to do whatever I wanted to be doing, without beating myself up for not being more productive, procrastinate less or do something for the house and the kids. I would ask myself “I’ve got 15 minutes. What do I want to do?” Some days I would nap. Others I would be on Instagram. Sometimes I would just meditate. No matter what I chose to do, I would stop the auto-pilot inner dialogue telling me that it was not ok to take this time and waste it.

Initially, I would spend the first 10 minutes worrying about the non-ending pile of other must do on my list — must put a load of laundry, must start peeling carrots, must pay this bill. In time, however, I learned to silence the lizard brain. Slowly, my mind caught up with my soul, and I valued this time more and more.

What would you do if you have 15 minutes? Put on that timer. Do it.

4. Special time with our partner

It happens in every single home after having a baby: we are so in love with the tiny human who grew in our bellies, we tend to forget all about the big human who made it together with us.

My husband Steven has an another theory about this: “we spend so much time cuddling and giving our babies love, attention, and closeness, our cup of physical contact and cuddles is full. So we no longer feel the need to cuddle with our partners as much as we used to.” If my man felt this way, you can only imagine how I felt.

When a new baby joins the family, the beginnings are rough — sleepless nights, emotional roller coaster, physical pain, animal desires to protect and care for the tiny. Nothing and nobody else matters.

While connecting with our children is vital for their development and even survival, it is sometimes done at the expense of disconnection from our partner. By the time we wake up from our foggy period of bonding-feeding-adjusting, we don’t know anymore how to reconnect with them.

In my family, I once again embraced the idea of special time. And while it is starting with just what the other person wants to do or talk about, it is a way of re-connection and becoming intimate again.

We have date nights every couple of weeks, and the rule is to talk about anything and everything except KIDS, MONEY, HOUSEHOLD. You’d be surprised to find out how little we talk about outside these topics. A bit scary and embarrassing. This is happening to you too, right?

Start the night with what is going well for you personally, or for your family. Take turns.

Continue discussing random stuff, such as “What would you rather have in your life: a pause or a rewind button?” or “If you could live inside a tv show for a week which one would you choose?”.

Listen. Try not to give advice. Put the phones away. Hold hands.

5. Special time with each child

Human beings flourish when they feel connected to each other. When we feel listened to, understood, not judged, loved for exactly who we are, we thrive. Every single person is wired for connection. It is even more important for children. Any break in connection can signal to them they are not safe. This, however, is not a one-time thing we do. It’s a nurturing mixing pot of actions, dialogues, and habits.

Before I had kids, I thought love was a grad. You love some people a little bit, some a little bit more, some none at all, and some we love so exhaustively, we can’t even imagine breathing without them. But as I grew in experience and wisdom, I realized that love is just LOVE. Love can’t be measured in quantity or quality. We either love, or we don’t. As it comes to our kids, every single mother loves her children (ALL of them) to the absolute best of her capacity. The trick comes when we have to show that love to them. It’s not enough to just love our kids. We must show it.

I tried many things to make all my children feel loved: I listened to what they asked for (more mama), I gave them things they asked for (more mama, more treats, more books at bedtime, more time playing, one more of …). However, they were always asking for MORE. And in time, their demands for more only made me feel stretched too thin.

When a child is misbehaving, many adults say “She’s just asking for attention, ” but they rarely take that literally. She’s asking for attention because she needs it. Giving attention to our kids will not spoil them.

Every single child needs individual connection — maybe not constant, not at the expense of a sibling and certainly not used as a currency, but they do need it.

I used to reconnect with my older daughter when the babies were sleeping. Nothing fancy, just sitting down next to her on the carpet and telling her I have some time and would like to spend it with her. I did whatever she asked. I pretended to be Elsa, or the pink pony, or her base for acro yoga. And when that timer went off, we were both happier in our respective roles.

With the twins, I take one at a time after the bath to read a story and do some rough play (my boy has different connection needs).

After these times, each one of the kids feels special, loved and cared for. Individually. Every day. It should be in our calendars.

6. Prioritize sleep

After the kids go to sleep, there are a million other things to do: clean the kitchen, prepare the lunch boxes, take a shower, read, talk to our partners, catch up with social media, friends or family members, iron, laundry or exercise.

For many years, I convinced myself I was a night owl. I would stay up really late, and binge-watch “Sex and the City” or “Friends.” Unfortunately for my inner owl, my kids didn’t seem to function the same way — they wake up at 6:30 am without fail, and none of us can function past 7 pm. Not to mention that school starts early and all the classes during summer break are in the morning.

It was easier to breathe through the initial tiredness and celebrate the fact that my portion of the day was just starting after the kids went to sleep, but I was deeply regretting it the next day. If we allow it to continue (as I did), chronic tiredness will become the new norm. I will not announce here all the downfalls of sleep deprivation, but the one that kicked me back to reality was my inability to cope with early morning demands.

I shifted my entire perspective, and instead of having my portion of the day at night, I swapped it for the first part of the day. I go to bed ridiculously early, and I wake up even more ridiculously earlier. I’m an introvert fueling on solitude. My current settings (3 kids under 4, one louder than the other) doesn’t promote this kind of environment. So I start my day early, fuel my needs first, and then I can proceed to attend to the needs of the ones around me. It’s a very simple shift and just a decision to put my phone down at 8. In another room. I then take a book and read in bed until my eyes almost close. I have a silent alarm on my wrist at 5:15. I wake up and meditate, exercise, drink my tea and write before anybody else moves. I love the silence of the house. I love the sun rising. I love the peace. Even more than that, I love that when my kids are finally awake, I can be present, engaged and generous with my attention. You can sustain that only by taking care of yourself FIRST.


February Giveaway + Review: Finn + Emma Unisex Clothing Line

I have become obsessed with gender neutral baby items! I’m not sure if it is my thoughts that future baby #2 could be a boy? Or maybe I’m just starting to transition away from all things pink? Either way, I have been purchasing all items in gender neutral colors lately! I was beyond excited to find that Finn+ Emma had an entire unisex clothing line! Emmy is rockin’ this elephant romper with matching wrap and I just can’t get enough of it! I love what Finn + Emma stands for when it comes to their products! Organic, eco- friendly, non-toxic, fair trade materials. When I first opened the package I thought the fabric was sooo soft. That was before I washed it. It seriously felt even softer after a run through the machine! Finn + Emma also has some of the most adorable knit toys I’ve ever seen! Here are a few of my favorites.  I just can’t get enough of this brand!

Want a Emma + Finn romper for your little one? Well, lucky you! We have teamed up with Finn + Emma and are giving one away this month! Details below on how to enter and WIN!

p.s.- I’ve got about a gazillion other items in the works for giveaways in 2017. I’m aiming to do one a MONTH, if not MORE! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!

 

Sanity Saving Tips for New Moms- from a Twin Mom

This is a guest post written by Robin Lloyd, mom to adorable twins, from The Mama Playbook. Read more about Robin at the end of this article.

Motherhood will teach you many things, in fact, in my experience it has been the greatest learning curve of my life. Having twins smashed my preconceived notion of being prepared for this motherhood gig. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve changed my opinion on parenting tactics…never say never truly applies to being a twin mom! (Or a mom at all for that matter).

One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is to compromise on things in order to preserve my own sanity, because let’s face it…a sane, (or at least somewhat sane) mother is always a better mother than one who has completely lost all semblance of sanity. And frankly, I do still have those pretty insane days, but I do try to remember what is important and what is not, and hold on to what’s left of my brain that way. So, here’s a list of a few tips I want to share on how I stay (mostly) sane being a twin mom!

Prioritize prioritize prioritize!

Really, this is the MOST important tip of all. Hardly a moment goes by that I don’t have to decide which task to accomplish and which to let go. Let’s just say I run the vacuum a lot less these days because my family wants to eat so making food takes priority (I know, the nerve of them right) and sometimes/oftentimes food is a far simpler offering than I would prefer (nachos and baked potatoes as a diet staple anyone?) but at least our tummies are full…mostly.

Say no and don’t feel guilty

Or really really try to not feel guilty. I am a work at home mom to fourteen month old twins. I full-time ‘mom’, teach piano, sell books and handmade baby items, and blog. My life is nuts, it just is. While a play date sounds fun, and in theory is only a scheduled hour, quite honestly I often don’t have the time, let alone the energy. I feel bad saying no to people who truly care about me and just want to see me, but the facts are, despite my best efforts, I am not Super Woman. My energies are not a limitless resource and I’ve learned the hard way that saying no is far easier than picking up the shattered pieces of my babies, my schedule, and myself because I caved out of guilt and said yes. As much as I would love to do so, I just cannot do a lot for other people right now. I would love to be able to take my niece and nephew out for the day, or drop a surprise dinner off at a sick friends. One day my twins will grow up.  Then I will once again have time to make homemade cookies for the mailman and surprise a friend with coffee. However, today is not that day my friends. And as my mom says, those who love you WILL understand.

Shower

No really, shower! This doesn’t happen every day and often I have a baby or two in there with me, but when my husband is home I have him watch both babies (even if that means letting them watch a Veggietales or Little Einsteins so no one is screaming and ruining my peaceful vibe), shut the bathroom door and actually take the time to really wash my hair. Sprinkle some lavender in your tub, light a candle, own that fifteen to twenty minutes and make it YOURS. It’s amazing how drastically that small slot of time can change your perspective and recharge you.

Don’t try to do it all

Return phone calls in a timely manner? Ha. Maybe next year. Be on time every time? Right, maybe when my kids stop pooping. Organize the kitchen? Ok… now that’s really funny. A dear friend who also has twins recently said her motto is ‘ain’t nobody got time for that,’ and is she right. Before kids, I was that person who had thank you cards stamped and in the mail practically before the gift had been placed in my hands. Want to know the last thank you card I sent? Let’s just say… it’s been a while. I care just as much as I did before kids but it is REALLY hard to write a thank you with babies squirming all over you let alone make it to the post office. As every mom knows, babies love to eat paper and thank you cards are tempting treats (hopefully that’s not just my offspring…). So I try to send a text, or an email (because talking on the phone is actually just as hard most days) and I don’t even always get that done in a reasonable amount of time. And yes, I still feel bad about it. But mamas, literally, ain’t nobody got time for that. At least not right now.

Accept help

Even when you cannot reciprocate (just make certain it’s not from someone who is going to make you feel bad when you can’t!). If you have someone offering no strings attached help (and it’s actually really helpful), say thank you, accept, and move on with your life. This is really the hardest one for me: I’m fiercely independent and I’ll admit quite the control freak so allowing others to do things for me really gets my goat. But as I mentioned before, being a twin mama has made me realize, I cannot do it all. To my disappointment, I am not omnipotent and all-powerful. And being a mama, it’s not all about me. I cannot force my babies to poop BEFORE we leave the house or expect them to go hungry waiting for lunch because getting somewhere five minutes early was more important than their needs. And that’s ok. I am a mom now. It’s ok to not be perfect at everything or… anything. Remember, you’re doing your best. And nobody (including yourself) should ever make you feel bad about that.


How We Avoided the Baby Helmet and Fixed Our Baby’s Flat Head

How we corrected our babys flat head without a helmet

Big disclaimer for our story: I am not a doctor and cannot suggest you use any of the methods or products listed in this post. Information shared is not intended as medical advice.  If you are concerned with your child’s head shape, consult with a physician.

I’ll never forget the moment that the scan of my child’s head popped up on the screen. HOW had I not noticed how flat it was? And it wasn’t only flat, it was kind of crooked. The mom guilt started to wash over me instantly. The pediatric therapist who had taken the images of Emmy’s head asked if I had noticed her favoring one side of her head while sleeping. Um, no? Well maybe? I couldn’t be sure.  I mean I had watched her sleep so many nights, how had I not noticed something like this? Turns out that Emmy had a tightness in her neck that caused her to favor facing her left side while snoozing. This caused her brain to grow through the path of least resistance, resulting in a sort of bulge on the right side of her head. The photo below compares a normal babies head shape to Emmy’s head. It also shows that I have one chuuuuuunky baby 🙂

How We Avoided The Baby Helmet And Fixed Our Baby's Flat Head

The pictures spoke for themselves. Something had to be done to help our sweet girl. It was recommended that Emmy be placed in a Doc Band, aka, a baby helmet. The band would be worn for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 3 months. We contacted our insurance company to see what our out of pocket cost would be… a whopping $2,800! The good news was the cost would go towards our deductible. Bad news- there was only a month and a half-ish left in the year! While we were willing to do what we needed to for Emmy, we also didn’t want to be rash with our spending. We consulted with the PT and asked if waiting until the first of the year to start Emmy in her band would be a bad idea. He advised us that an additional time would not cause great harm, but he suggested we do some exercises to help Emmy in the mean time. I left the doctor’s office that day with a list of instructions on how to help Emmy get straightened out. I was a mama on a mission!

Tummy time

Before the suggestion to put Emmy in a helmet, we did about 20 minutes of tummy time a day. I had assumed this was enough. When I asked her doctor how much we should be doing moving forward he responded with “25 hours a day is too much”. So from there on out, almost every minute that Emmy was not sleeping or nursing was spent on her tummy. Like alot of babies, Emmy was not a fan of just plain old tummy time on the floor. Her PT had advised that any position where Emmy’s head was going against gravity would be beneficial to her. So any time at home was spent rotating between a few different “tummy stations”. I would set her up on the boppy pillow with a books and toys close by.  When that got boring I would move her to where she was laying on her tummy on top of my chest and we would make silly faces at each other. I would also cross my legs and lay her across them while we read a book. I would carry her around the house superman style.  We were constantly moving from room to room to keep things interesting. Tummy time outside on a blanket was a huge hit and she could usually do that for 20 minutes straight! We also started using a water mat which was just fascinating for Emmers. Emmy never spent another minute in her baby swing. We had previously been using a travel system for her stroller but switched to one that she could sit up in if we were on the go versus laying in her car seat.  We made an effort to make sure every minute was beneficial to her head.  Her muscles did need a break every now and then and that is when we would move to neck stretches. But besides that, it was tummy time all day, every day.

Tummy Time On Vacation in Florida

Tummy Time On Crossed Legs

Tummy Time Outside

Neck Stretches

The tightness in Emmy’s neck the caused her to favor one side needed to be loosened. Luckily for Emmy, this was easily done during play time or by mom and dad holding her. The play time stretch: I would lay Emmy on her back and place her favorite toy on the right side of her body. I would sit on her right side too to keep her neck stretched in that direction. We would play like this for 15 minutes or so before rolling over and going back to tummy time. This was done multiple times a day.

The Football Hold:We were able to hold Emmy a certain way that would really get her neck muscles stretched out. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of me doing this with Emmy, but I do have this wonderful example photo the doctor provided me with. I will say that this one takes practice. Jay and I would take turns holding Emmy while the other one looked at this picture to make sure it was being done correctly. We would do this one a few times a day, but it was the least performed exercise over the month and a half.

How We Corrected Our Baby's Head Shape Without a Hemlet

Crib Adjustments

I did alot of research in the days after seeing Emmy’s scan on products we could purchase to help her. I read countless reviews and looked through a ton of before and after photos. We ended up purchasing a Merry Shop Head Shaping Pillow. Now before anyone freaks out that I put a pillow in my child’s bed, let me give you some facts. Emmy was 5 months old when we began using this product. She has yet to roll over and she hardly even moves once she hits the mattress. If she was a busy body type sleeper, I would probably have decided against this product. Second, the pillow is made from a heavy memory foam type material that caused it to stay put pretty well.  We took the pillow with us on long car rides, on vacations, basically every where that Emmy would be sleeping. An alternative that Emmy’s pediatrician recommended was taking a roll of foam like this one and cutting a small area to go under her crib sheet where she lays her head. He suggested to put the bumpy side down and this would help correct her flatness. Here is a picture of the product in Emmy’s crib.

How we avoided the baby helmet and fixed our baby's flat head

As soon as the New Year began, we scheduled a follow up appointment for Emmy. The doctor  took one look at her head and told us a helmet was not necessary. I almost cried tears to joy! He advised us that her head still had a mild flat spot, but nowhere near severe enough to need correction through the Doc Band. He advised we continue our efforts we had been making over the past month in order to make sure we stayed on the path towards a round little baby head.

Is a helmet right for your child?

If your baby has been recommended for a Doc Band or another form of baby helmet, know that so many other moms are in your same position! in 1994, the Back Is Best campaign was launched by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the US National Institutes of Health. Before this time, it was common for mothers to place babies on their stomach to sleep in order to prevent choking on spit up. Since the campaign, there has been a HUGE increase in the baby helmets. There is still alot of debate on the subject and whether or they are completely necessary. Some argue that it is strictly cosmetic, while the doctors who prescribe the bands usually cite scary issues such as jaw and nasal complications as the child grows. I know many people whose children have been in or are currently in a Doc Band. I also know many mothers who were told it was needed and went completely against the decision and their kids are still cute as can be. That’s the hard part about being a mom. The decision is yours to make for your family. We decided we would do the helmet but at a time that made sense financially for our family. In the mean time we did what the doctors suggested and the results were more than we could have ever imagined! So if you are here searching for an answer on what do to about fixin’ your kids flat, I don’t have one for you. Know that I, like many other mother in this situation, spent many nights lying awake wondering what to do. The decision you make for your child will be the right one.

I’d love to hear from you in regards to the baby helmet discussion! Please feel free to comment below or email me at [email protected]

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Hey New Moms: Here’s 18 Signs Your #MomLife Has Officially Commenced

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  1. It is no longer a shock to find a small section of your hair is somewhat crusty from some unkown baby substance. No biggie though… just run a baby wipe through it, that will clean it right up.
  2. Speaking of baby wipes, you have a new found love having them around all the time. You are constantly finding new uses for them. Small spill? Baby wipe. Poop on your shirt? Baby wipe. Forgot to put on deodorant? Yep, baby wipe.
  3. You tell yourself “okay, now I’m going to shower” at least 14 times every morning, but it still doesn’t happen until noon. Maybe later. Or maybe just the next day.
  4. Speaking of hygiene, “did I brush my teeth this morning?” is a legitimate question you ask yourself at least once twice a week.
  5. Wearing the clothes you slept in the night before until noon the next day is now acceptable. The only reason so change out of perfectly clean clothes is if your baby pukes all over them. or if you manage to finally get that shower in.
  6. Baby gas has become a huge part of your life. Helping your baby get a fart out is something you now consider a great accomplishment.
  7. You and your baby daddy have at least 4 conversations a day revolving around who the baby looks like. She may have his nose, but she definitely has your ears.
  8. You have a new found skill of being able to eat with one hand while holding baby and find yourself selecting what you will eat based on one-hand eating ease.
  9. You find yourself openly discussing the status of your nipples with your significant other. Or you mom. And your best friend.
  10. No matter how bad said nipples are, you secretly love how awesome your boobs look now that your milk has come in. Will they stay this plump and luscious forever?! (sorry…no.)
  11. Google is your best friend.  You search history probably contains the phrases “When will my baby…” or “What does it mean when my baby…” at least a dozen times.
  12. In that google search history is “breastfeeding and wine?” because you just spent 9 months without it… when can mama get a glass?
  13. There is literally nothing in this world that equates to the feeling of your baby sleeping on your chest. It is complete euphoria.
  14. The only thing that rivals it is the sight of your baby sleeping on your hubbys chest. Gah they are just too cute together.
  15. You spend at least 15 minutes throughout the day staring at your baby’s nails and toes wondering how on earth they are so small.  And you usually say that phrase out loud. Even if no one is around.
  16. The question “is this clean?” is now answered by the sniff test. No one is better at the sniff test than a mom. Burp clothes, baby bottoms, your baby’s neck… just a quick wiff.
  17.  Your camera roll now is nothing but pictures of your little one. To a stranger they all look the same. But not to you. All 168 of him wearing that cute baby bow tie are unique and adorbs.
  18. You can’t image how you life was anything before they came along. Cue more baby kisses.

Have something to add to the list? Comment and share your signs that #MomLife has begun.

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The Mom-Shaming Moment That Almost Made Me Stop Blogging

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In the short time that I have been blogging since having my daughter, it has grown into a huge passion. Blogging has created an opportunity for me to connect with a ton of other new moms all over the country and that has been super rewarding. I also have also come to love all it takes to build and maintain a website. You can ask any of my close family members and they will tell you that I talk about my blog ALL. THE. TIME.

I woke up one beautiful Monday morning with motivation flowing out of my ears to write some amazing blog content and have a great week! I sat down at my computer and the first thing I saw on my webpage was a notification that I had received an email through my website. THIS IS EXCITING! Right? No. I must have re-read the email like 6 times. Was this for real? My heart kind of hurt…

Based on the content of the email I’m sure the sender is now a subscriber and avid reader (please pick up on the sarcasm there), so I’m not going to paste it word for word. Here’s the gist of it. A very kind woman, we will call her Debra, had come across my post on how to increase your breast milk in 48 hours. If you haven’t read it, you should, it is by far my most popular post with about 1,000 page views per day. I love that post because it is almost like a journal entry of what I did for 2 days to get my production up and flowin’ again for a weekend trip away from baby with Jay. Well Debra was basically appalled by the things I suggested other mom’s do. She really schooled me as to why telling a mother to drink Gatorade was basically like telling them to pass poison onto their babies. And didn’t I know that a drink like that will make a baby have ADHD?! Especially the RED (duh?). She was sure to point out that she knew this and much more because she was a holistic nutritionist and a Doula. Debra the Doula.

So of course, a feeling of self consciousness washed over me. I mean, my baby was only 3 months old, who was I to be putting information out there about pumping and breastfeeding?! 1,000 page views a day, that’s alot of future kids with ADHD! What was I thinking starting a blog about something I obviously knew nothing about? Right?

No. No. No. The sense finally started knocking into me about an hour later. I wasn’t going to let someone rain on my mom parade. Not today, Debra, not today. I am a good mom. I was on a mission to provide breast milk for my baby.   I, just like every other mom out there, am doing the best that I can. I am making the best decisions that I know to for me and my family. Debra’s method to motherhood was different than mine, but neither of them are wrong. Some may prefer natural child birth and vegan diets for their families. That’s great. I had an epidural and will feed my children goldfish, mostly so I have an excuse to eat them too. And that’s great too.  If you are raising your children in the best way you know how and teaching them to be kind and compassionate people, you are doing it right. Anyone who tells you otherwise needs a time-out. Or maybe we can talk about it using “I feel like” statements if that’s your mom-type. Whatever floats your mom boat.

The point of my rant… mom shaming ain’t cool. I know as a mom-blogger I am putting my opinion out there and I need to be prepared that there will be people who disagree. That’s okay. We have different methods., but we are all great moms.  I’ll respect yours all day, every day. One love.

But if you keep sending me emails Debra I’m going to block your IP address.

 

 

 

 

What In The World Is A “Crunchy Mom”?

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A what? Crunchy mom? Like she cooks a lot of crunchy food? When I first heard the term, that’s exactly what went through my head. So I googled it. The next 15 minutes were consumed with a mixture of laughter from what I read and moments of complete awe that clothe diapers were a thing. Gross. Here’s what i learned from my professional research:

Urban dictionary informed me that a crunchy mom is  “A member of an increasingly growing group of moms who are neo-hippies. Here’s a SHORT list of some of the characteristics of a mom with some crunch:

“Supports homebirth,  exculusivly breastfeeding (#EBF for social media purposes), baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc.  One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods”

It was very apparent from reading that I was no where near a crunchy mom. Sure I still breast feed, but I’m no #ebf’er. I delivered my baby in a hospital and made sure to get that epidural as soon as the offer was on the table. I use pampers and will probably feed my kid Mac n’ cheese at least once twice a week. I admire any woman who makes sound decisions for her family, but these are not ones I made for mine. So if I’m not a crunchy, then what am I? A soggy mom? A deep fried Oreo mom? Well when you put it that way, maybe I want to be more crunch? Can I be 50/50?

Well, turns out you can be! As my research continued, I discovered two new labels of mom life.

A silk mama is “Modern mother who prefers medicated hospital birth, bottle feeding/part time breastfeeding, disposable diapers, crib sleeping, etc.  One who follows the advice of established medical authority; often tend to be working moms who rely on modern products for convenience and time management.”

A Scrunchy mama is “A mom that is a mixture of both a silky and crunchy mom.  One who may formula feed, and vaccinate as well as hospital birth but may use cloth diapers and make their own baby food”
As ridiculous as it seems, over the next few days I just couldn’t get the question out of my head. What kind of mom as I? I was having flash backs of all the “bad things” I had done so far that would probably make a crunchy mom cringe. I used gas drops at one point for my baby for crying out loud. If you aren’t crunch, then are you lesser of a mom?  What’s wrong with my disposable diapers? Should I google it? I never thought of making my own baby food- I could probably do that! The whole topic swirled around every decision I made for the next week.

Then I remembered a sermon I heard last Mother’s Day that seemed to really put my mom-worries at ease. Do you know the single word that is the most similar across the most languages in the world? Mom. Mom in Croatian- mama. Bengali- mā. Italian- mamma. Filipino- mom. I know this because I speak all those languages. Take that crunch moms. Shout out to google translate.

Anyways, my point I’m trying to make is being a mom has a universal understanding. You’re the person your kid is going to run to if they fall and scrape their knee. And to be honest they won’t care if you soothe it was 100% pure organic, animal cruelty free coconut oil or good ol’ fashioned neosporin. You are their caretaker. I can almost 100% guarantee you that you occupy just as much of their heart whether you store their food in glass containers or plastic. And just for the record, if your kid is still pooping themselves, they won’t know the difference if it’s happening in a clothe or store bought diaper. So you’re a crunch mom- is that a good mom? YES. You’re not a crunch mom? Wonderful. You’re the best version of a mom that you can be and that’s all your kids need from you. So keep mommin’ on. It ain’t easy but you’re doing a great job.