baby

5 Things that will Help Your Toddler Embrace Becoming a Big Brother or Sister

For some toddlers the addition of a new little brother or sister can be exciting.  For others, it can feel like an intruder.  And for mom and dad it can be overwhelming to watch your time divide even further.  Here are a few tips for a smooth transition:

 

1-Gift-Giving

There are so many ways you can help your older child look forward to his new little brother or sister through small, inexpensive gifts.

Make a Big Brother or Big Sister T-shirt together to wear to the hospital.

Take big brother to Build-a-Bear Workshop to make a special bear, bunny, or other friend for his new little sister.

Have a gift at the hospital to give big sister from her new sibling.

During the end of the pregnancy give a big-kid gift to your little guy to show he is not a baby anymore.  We gave this piggy-bank that emphasized responsibility to our son when his first sister was born:

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2-Read Together

Reading is a great tradition.  When I had my second child and was still in the hospital the first night, I did a full bedtime routine including reading a story to my toddler.  We read A Bad Case of Stripes.  He picked the book and brought it to the hospital to have me read.  It helped him know he was still important and his routines weren’t going to be disrupted by this invader.

Before the baby is born check out some of the great children’s stories available that give your child a little bit more of a concrete idea about what it will be like to have a new baby in the house.  I think we’ve read Berenstain Bears’ New Baby and The New Baby from The Little Critter Series at least fifty times each.

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3-Special Plans for the First Weeks Home

For my kids, a new baby in the house has meant FUN, FUN, FUN!  In the months leading up to the birth, we lined up play-dates, grandparent fun days, pool days, library trips etc.  It was like summer camp!

4-Get Some Help

For most toddlers just a few minutes of your undivided attention will go a long way.  Get somebody who loves newborns as much as I do to hold your little bundle while you get down on the floor and build a block city or sip on some pretend tea out of a plastic cup with your older child.

5-Pray Together

I read a quote today that I loved by Alan Redpath:  “when God is at the center, self is destroyed,  and love begins to reign.”  Ultimately, we want our children not just to coexist and tolerate one another, but really love each other.  Get your little guy or girl to start praying for his new baby sister or brother.  Help him with the vocabulary to consider being a protector of the new baby, to think about how to serve you and his new baby sister or brother.  Allow your son or daughter to consider how amazing God is for creating this new being that you haven’t even met yet.  Toddlers are notorious for being selfish.  Help your son love his new sibling and that will be enough!

Congratulations on your new baby and on moving toward being outnumbered by your children!

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Stomach virus update: DON’T LICK THE GERMS!

Well my plan worked, sort of. 

The only problem was that the baby got excited about my daughter’s cup of Gatorade (a rarity in our house) and she decided to lick the germs of my daughter’s cup when we weren’t looking.  So she had a little tummy-ache a few days later.  But no one else got sick.  She was fine within 12 hours.

I guess I should have included this to the list of what to do or not do for a stomach virus:

DO NOT LICK THE GERMS OF THE SICK PERSON’S CUP.

 

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You’re welcome!

9 STEPS TO GET MORE SLEEP WITH A NEWBORN IN THE HOUSE

My method for sleeping longer stretches through the night sooner than you expect.

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It’s all about teaching sweet lemon drop the difference between night and day!

Each of my babies was different. One has turned out to be a little on the OCD-side: an early riser, full of plans, and personal expectations. The second is part fairy, part author, happy as long as we’re having fun. Number three is a little general.

Despite VERY DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES, each responded positively to this routine. (Please keep in mind, I began from the first day home from the hospital, so it could take a little practice if your baby is used to something else.)

If you are still pregnant you can begin thinking through some of this now!

1-Establish the time period you want to have the longest stretch of sleep  

In the beginning, that probably means 4 hours. If you are nursing, you don’t want to hurt your milk supply by going very long without feeding. For me that was 12a-4a. In my opinion, 12a-4a is definitely when I wanted my baby sleeping. I guess you could say for ME that is OFFICIALLY NIGHT.

So for me 12a was bedtime.

2-Designate ONE nighttime sleeping location

This could be a co-sleeper, pack-n-play, or bassinet in your room. (I do recommend keeping the baby in your room so you can respond to her cues more quickly.)

Do not put the baby in his nighttime bed until the “bedtime” you chose for any reason.

Where will the little lump sleep during the day?

Throughout the day, try baby-wearing, utilize swings, pack-n-plays, bouncers, carseats, etc. Keep baby near you with lots of light and sound so he knows it is daytime and there’s a lot going on!

3-Cluster-feed your baby before bedtime so she’s had lots of mommy-time and her belly is full.

3 hours before the bedtime, breastfeed the baby on each side (I never used bottles, but I would guess around 1-2oz). Then play with and interact with your baby, let her swing, or have some tummy-time. Keep the activity going.

Repeat 1 hour later feeding on both sides (starting with the side you left off on). You may have to wake baby by undressing and changing.

Repeat 1 hour later with the same process. This is the “last feeding of the night”.

4-Complete your bedtime routine

Change baby into “pajamas” and a fresh diaper. Next swaddle your baby. Yes sometimes they try to wiggle out, but a little perseverance is worth it. I often double-swaddled to keep my little darlings tightly wrapped.

5-Put baby to bed

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Lay baby in nighttime sleep place. It’s great for baby to go down awake, because he will learn to fall asleep on his own. At this point, you can feel fairly confident that baby is full and ready to sleep after all that eating!

6-Prepare for a calm, consistent atmosphere

Leave a very low light on so that when baby does wake in the night you don’t have to ever change the lights to check on baby. You don’t want to change the atmosphere with harsh lighting.

Keep it quiet. Its sleeping time: no talking, tv, or light, throughout the night. Only “shh” if its really needed.

7-Meet your babies feeding needs throughout the night, as quickly as possible

If you put baby down around 12a, the next feeding maybe sometime around 4 am.

If baby begins to wiggle in bed and seems to be rooting around, go ahead and feed her. It’s better to meet these needs before she is struggling and crying. You may have to spend extra time calming her if you wait until she is upset. Then immediately re-swaddle and place her back in her bed. If breast-feeding is firmly established, you may want to consider offering a pacifier.

8-Try to master the side-lying hold

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If you are able, breastfeed your baby in a safe, side-lying hold so that you can get some rest while she eats. (I will post my breast-feeding tips in a future blog) If you can’t yet no worries.  🙂

9-Stretch out the 4 hours of solid sleep to a full night

Once your baby is falling asleep at the bedtime you have picked and sleeping for 4 hours consistently, begin moving the bedtime back hour by hour. Eventually I worked all of my babies back to 7pm.

 

I am happy to report that 8 years later , all three darlings still faithfully march through their bedtime routines and are in bed reading or sleeping at 7pm.

 

Sweet dreams everybody!

DISCLAIMER: I am just a mom, not a pediatrician and I can’t possibly know your unique situation. But this method has been a healthy and successful plan for my family and many of my friends. I hope it can help some of you. I’m sure there are many other great ways to get sleep and sanity but this is the plan that worked for me. J

 

 

 

 

The waiting game

If you are around 37.5 weeks pregnant, you are probably ready to sprint to the hospital at the first sign of any contractions. I know I was! I am one of those moms who was sent home multiple times, even with my third pregnancy. You’d think I would know what labor was like by then!

I have been thinking about the long third-trimester a lot lately as I have been stalking facebook daily to check on the status of count them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 mothers-to-be! And they are all future-Florida Gator babies!! Wowee! I have to say all of the babies have come several days after their due dates. At least this spring, that seems to be pretty common.

If you are playing the waiting game, I just want to send a little bit of encouragement your way. Know that your sweet little lemon drop will eventually be in your arms. Don’t feel inadequate if you aren’t dilating or effacing or leaking or having a bloody show or any of the other “signs” quite yet.

But it is sooo hard! With my first child my belly was a cone-head

 

The cone-head belly!

(and I would soon learn that I always would carry like that) so around 7 months in I had people asking me whether I was having twins. And strangers shaking their heads and saying it’ll be any day now!

So imagine my surprise when I ended up being induced at 41+ weeks and it still took about 2 days for my son to show his darling face. Sometimes I think I would be walking around with an eight year old inside me if I had not induced.

Now, two more babies later, I can see a little more clearly that babies come when they come and then time speeds up to fast forward. If I could go back to my younger self I would say, “hold on you don’t need that induction just yet.” But my younger self would probably say, “shut up!”

So as you wait, may God bless you with a healthy baby boy or girl VERY VERY SOON!