My son did not sleep for more than 4 hours at a time until he was 10 months old.
Why? Because I co-slept, rocked him to sleep and breastfed him.
I did try to put him in his crib at 7 months but the truth was, I couldn’t hear him cry. He is my first baby and I’m so insanely dedicated to him being happy all the time. I just could not bear it. Aside of being painfully exhausted, here’s when I knew it had to change.
While I was talking to the pediatrician at Richie’s 10-month well visit to the doctor, he kept throwing his pacifier on the ground to get my attention. The doctor noticed it. A little while later the conversation of sleep came up. The doctor asked me how he was doing and my answer was, “Well, he doesn’t sleep much because he is teething so when he wakes up crying, I just bring him into bed with me.” The doctor looked at me and said, “Teething isn’t going to wake them in the middle of the night. He isn’t sleeping through the night because he is playing you. He knows you will come in and get him. I see what he was doing here a few minutes ago, throwing the pacifier to get your attention. He is very smart. He can and should be sleeping through the night at this point. You need to let him cry it out.”
I was annoyed. Why is he telling me to do this? How can I let him cry? My mother had told me to do the same thing. Why was everyone telling me this? It seemed totally inhumane but the more I evaluated the situation and thought about it; the more I realized that the doctor was right. I would rock Richie to sleep when he woke up in the middle of the night and if that didn’t work I’d just quit and bring him to bed with me. I was doing all the wrong things. But I still couldn’t understand how in the world I could let him cry it out.
So, I called my Mom and she said that being a mother isn’t just about the sweet, loving and easy moments but also about the hard, challenging and tough ones. Which was exactly what this was. It was going to be harder for me than it was for him. It was my job to do this even though I didn’t like it.
I had to understand that Richie was very aware of what was going on. He was crying because he knew I would come in to get him, not because something was wrong. He was fed, his diaper was dry and he was healthy. He was crying because he was mad that I was leaving him in the crib to go back to sleep on his own. It was important that he learn to put himself back to sleep and although hearing him cry was SO super hard for me, I had to realize that part of my job as a mother is to be uncomfortable sometimes and to teach him to do things on his own so he can be independent in ways that are important. Like, SLEEP. We all wake up throughout the night but we learn how to put ourselves back and that’s exactly what he needed to learn. By letting him cry, I was teaching him that he needed to learn to self soothe. It was the HARDEST thing in the world to hear my baby cry but I also knew he was physically and emotionally ready for it. It wasn’t something I could have done at just four months.
I started with his nap and on the first day, he cried for three hours straight. I cried with him – kid you not. As I watched him on the monitor, my heart broke, I felt terrible but I knew he was exhausted. He was going to do this! I couldn’t give up! He stood up in crib, cried, sat down, stopped crying, cried again and did this over and over until he eventually feel asleep on his own. That night, he cried for an hour and each day, it got easier and easier. It took a solid week for him to just lay in the crib quietly until he fell asleep alone. And guess what? He now sleeps 12 hours straight. We do our nightly routine, lay him in the crib and he falls asleep on his own.
The hardest thing I had to do ended being the best thing because my husband and I have the bed to our selves, have time to spend with one another before we get real rest – finally.
Quick, Easy & Healthy Bites to Make your Life Easier
In addition to three meals a day, most toddlers have two snacks and its important that you offer them a broad variety of food that will help them get the vitamins and minerals they need. Plus, the transition from purees to finger foods - and ones that are easy to eat - can be a ton of work so we've listed some quick, easy and healthy snacks to make your life easier.
There is nothing better than fresh fruit. Its packed with vitamins, minerals and full of fiber. Most young toddlers, like my son Richie, can't use a fork or spoon just yet but want to hold food themselves so that they have control. Richie loves when I hand him a banana to chow down on. A thin slice of watermelon on the rind is another one of his favorites. It's even great for his gums when he is teething so I always serve it cold.
These vegetable rice rusks are seriously a genius invention. They dissolve quickly so you don't have to worry about choking and the biscuits are long so that they can hold them to eat. They also help with teething gums. Not only are they easy to unwrap and serve, they are made with all-natural ingredients and are non-GMO. They contain no wheat, dairy, milk, nuts or eggs. They are made with fantastic ingredients that are packed with nutrition. Richie's favorite mum-mum is made with kale, carrot, spinach and cabbage.
We love Dreaming Cow yogurt because it is made with highest quality grass-fed milk. Richie loves the vanilla agave flavor which is lightly sweetened with organic agave nectar and pure vanilla extract. It's also loaded with all the healthy gut bacteria and live active cultures such as S.Thermophilus, L.Bulgaricus, L.Acidophilus and Bifidus.
Outshine Yogurt Bars
Dairy is so important for young toddlers that why we love yogurt. Another amazing yogurt snack we love is Outshine's Frozen Yogurt Bars. Richie not only loves the way they taste but also how they feel on his sore/growing gums (because toddlers teeth, what seems like forever!). We've included all the benefits of these bars here
Plum Organic's Teeny's Fruits
These tiny soft bites contain a full serving of fruit, are non-GMO and organic. They are packed in tiny little bags that are BPA free and can easily be thrown in your diaper bag.
HappyBaby Superfood Puffs
These fruit, veggie and grain puffs are packed with vitamins C, E, B12 and are made with whole grains. They also have 20mg of Choline to support brain and eye health. They are USDA organic, non-GMO, and the packing is BPA free. They come in many healthy flavors. Richie's favorites are Purple Carrot & Blueberry as well as Sweet Potato & Carrot.
Full-fat dairy is important for all toddlers under the age of two and cheese is a fantastic way to get a serving of it. We love Land O' Lakes individually wrapped cheese sticks because they are super small and easy for Richie to hold and eat while we are on the go.
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I'm a fanatic about cleaning and organizing my home. Many think it is impossible to keep your house in order with a toddler but I'm here to tell you it is completely possible. One great way to do this, is to get your kids involved. For example, Richie loves to take things in and out of containers so I will play a game with him to put them back if he has taken them all out. Sometimes, I have to start the process myself by putting them back while he watches then coax him to join but shortly after, he does, then while he is busy putting them away, I can clean something else.
Like all toddlers, Richie is always under my feet wanting to do what I do so another example is that when I'm mopping, I have him join in. I've listed a few other ways to get your toddler involved in cleaning but first, let me tell you about this great mop we discovered.
The Wonder Mop has microfiber grip strips that lift up to 20% more dirt and work 'wonders' (pun intended) on my tile and wood floors. It also has a power wringer so that you are able to remove more water from the mop head allowing your floors to dry faster so you can be back on them sooner. This is especially helpful with a young toddler like Richie since he is just learning to walk. Another plus is that you can wash the mop head up to 50 times. I can't tell you how often I throw out mops because of built up bacteria. Same thing with sponges. I'm constantly switching them out, so the fact that I don't have to constantly buy a new mop is a huge bonus for me. I just throw it in the washing machine and boom, I can use it again without the worry of old grime.
We bought our Libman Wonder Mop at Walgreens but they are also available at Lowes, Walmart and Home Depot.
You can get a $3 coupon just by signing up for The Libman Company's newsletter.
The brand is also hosting a Back to School Pinterest Giveaway. To participate, just pin your must-have cleaning products and enter to win a Libman prize pack.
Tips for Cleaning with a Toddler
Start Them Young
Richie is just about 13 months old but I have already started to teach him to clean up after himself and to help me around the house. Toddlers catch on quickly so you can teach them that they are an important part of making the household run smoothly and neatly by setting these expectations early.
Set a Limit on Toys
Cleaning up is easier when there is less clutter. We keep the toys under control by only having a set amount out for Richie to play with. For his birthday, he got a ton of new toys but we only opened a few and the rest got stored away. In a month or so, we will take a new one out and continue to do this when we think he wants something new to play with. However, one toy will come out and an old one that he is bored with will go away.
Make it Fun
We put the music on when we clean so we can dance and sing while we do it. Or I tickle him along the way. Anything to make it less mundane. When he gets older, we will most likely need to incorporate a game or chore list that we can check off but the idea is to make it feel less like a chore and more fun.
Praise Them for a Job Well Done
Be encouraging and thank them for their effort in helping. We say good job over and over while Richie is putting away his toys so he knows he is doing a good thing. This will resonate with them and they will want to continue to help. Soon they will even feel pride in their accomplishments.
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When it comes to food, the transition from baby to toddler is a big one. Breastmilk or formula and purees turns into a full on schedule that includes bottles of milk, snacks, sippy cups and meals. Meals become finger foods, not purees, and ones that are easy for them to chew. Safety is really important which can make the process a little stressful. It is also a ton of work. I admit that it was rough in the beginning and my creative juices definitely weren't flowing. But now that I have put some time into the transition, I've got a nice schedule and database of recipes, snacks and on-the-go ideas.
I'm also very picky about what I give Richie to eat. 90 percent of what I feed him is organic, all-natural and always dense with nutrition. I read labels like its my job. If I don't recognize an ingredient and if it has too many, I don't purchase it. So, discovering a new snack that is healthy and easy is more exciting to me than finding an amazing fall jacket, ah #momlife!
Recently, we discovered Outshine's Simply Yogurt Bars. Here's why they are our new obsession:
Outshine Simply Yogurt Bars come in many flavors but our favorite is strawberry.
You can purchase these bars with 75 cent coupon at Stop & Shop, Martin's Food, and Giant Food Landover.
We purchased them at Stop and Shop. You can find a coupon for the bars here.
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My husband bought me a great camera just after the babe was born because he knew how much I enjoyed taking photos and capturing our memories together. It is one of the best gifts I've ever received so for Richie's first birthday, I really wanted to take his Cake Smash photos myself. It is such a big milestone and leading up to it I was a mess - very emotional that he wasn't going to be a little baby anymore - so this was a great way to distract myself. Plus, I want Richie to have these when he is older and know that they were a gift from me.
Here's the step by step process of how I did it.
Pick your theme
I, personally, think your theme should have meaning and represent something nostalgic. It makes it all the more special. I decided to go with a nautical theme because Richie was born in August, we live near the beach and its one of our favorite places to go as a family, and his birthday party was hosted at my in-laws which is on the water. We spend a lot of time at their home as well so the theme was an organic choice.
Pick an outfit to match your theme
I decided to put Richie in a bow tie, diaper cover, and a birthday hat. There were plenty of beautiful options for first birthday outfits on Etsy but I knew he would wear it once and that it would get ruined from the cake so I decided to go the less expensive route. I ordered the matching bow tie and diaper cover on Amazon. The hat I purchase for like 2 bucks at Party City. I'm all for an amazing outfit to photograph your babe in but since he would be mostly bare, I didn't feel it was worth spending the money.
Get a photography backdrop
I went with vinyl for Richie's backdrop but some prefer muslin or paper. The most important thing to look out for is one that not only has a backdrop for the wall but also flooring. That way, you can sit the baby on top of it as well. These backdrops range anywhere from $30 -$100. The one I purchased was $40.
A backdrop won't be enough for the shoot. You'll also need decorations for the set up. The different accessories add layers and more depth to the photo. I purchased most of the accessories on Amazon, a few from Wayfair and Homegoods. The decor elements I purchased went with my theme. These included seashells, anchors and a fishing net. I also bought a ONE banner with a nautical theme from Party City to hang across the top of the backdrop. I repurposed these items for his birthday bash a week later so they didn't go to waste.
Most bakeries are savvy and know all about cake smash photos but in case they do not, let your bakery know that you need a miniature option and the cake should match your theme. For Richie's, we had it customized with an anchor and chose blue tones to symbolize the ocean.
You'll also want a cake topper, not candles for obvious reasons - they are dangerous and you don't want to risk your babe getting a mouthful of wax.
You should have everything laid out the morning or night before so you can play around with the set up. You also don't want to be doing it last minute. Make sure the set up is complete so you can put the baby down just before you start the shoot. You'll also want to set your camera on the tripod with the frame and settings in line with the shot. That way, you just have to click.
Get your baby at the best time of day
You want your babe to be in a good mood for the photos so pick a time of day that he or she is most happy, not when they are tired or hungry. Richie is a little more sleepy after his first nap and much more smily and active after his second so that's when we decided to do it. He also had a belly full of breakfast and lunch so dumping all that sugar into his system wasn't as aggressive as if it were empty.
Perfect example, here is Richie tired and over the cake smash at the end of the session.
Have someone help you for the execution
You'll need help executing the photo. I had my sister, brother-in-law and husband help me. My husband and brother-in-law stood behind me to get Richie's attention for the camera and my sister was there to protect the cake and make sure he didn't knock it over before I got some pictures. And thank goodness she was there because he did knock it over and she caught it just before it was ruined. My suggestion would be to do the same. Have someone close by to help then a person or two behind you so you can get a few shots of the baby looking at the camera.
Good luck, friends. Drop a line below if you have any questions.
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We've discovered a new service that is both convenient and affordable: two of our favorite things. It's called Crate Space and we are obsessed.
Crate Space is the first-ever fixed price shopping platform that allows you to choose 5 household items for $29.99 (+ free shipping) each time you shop, no matter what items you choose. The site offers more than 500 items and features everything from cleaning and bath & body products to baby essentials and medicine.
We tried it out and saved a whopping 52% on Gillette razors for my husband and myself, Pampers baby wipes (a package of 3), an 18 ounce Aveeno body wash for the babe and Dove deodorant. These are pretty big ticket items that would cost double in the store. Our order arrived the next day, another great perk of signing up for this service.
The box our items arrived in were neatly packaged and the baby wash had a protective sticker over it so that nothing would leak out. Richie is obsessed with opening up packages so allowing him to do so with this one was completely safe.
There is no fine print, subscription hooks or delivery minimums - you just order and save. Simple and straightforward, just the way we like it.
For more shopping platforms that make life a little easier, check out Five Postpartum Services That will Save you Time.
We are giving away a free package from Crate Space on our Instagram page. Click here to enter: @babiesandbackbends
Beach season is upon us and we've pulled together a list of our favorite gear for your baby's first trip to the ocean as well as some of our family favorites. From cozy beach tents and wind proof cabanas to the best accessories and UV sun protective swimwear, think of this list before you plant your toes in the sand. My family and I are, after all, big time beach bums so you can trust that we've got you covered.
This cabana is made from cotton poly canvas and provides 50+ UV protection. The set-up is quick, it's wind resistant and lightweight, making it easy to carry.
Cool Cabanas, $119
We love this pop up baby tent because it's portable, lightweight, and there is a mini pool inside of it. The ocean is off limits for a baby but on very hot summer days, its important to cool your little one down. This tent takes less than 3 minutes to assemble and has 50+ UV protection, an essential in our book.
MonoBeach Pop up Baby Beach Tent, $35.99
Keep your little one cool and comfortable with a portable fan. We clamp our cool-breeze stroller fan to Richie's beach tent while he is napping and it works wonders in keeping him comfortable. Not to worry, the fan features a protective blade cover to keep your baby safe.
Zobo Cool-Breeze Stroller Fan, $19.99
My poor husband has always had to lug all of our beach gear but this purchase has made his life so much easier. It fits all of our stuff and is super easy to pull even through the sand. The trick is to buy bungee cords to keep your stuff in place to avoid it becoming lopsided and tumbling over. The wagon folds up nicely so that you can store it in your trunk without taking up to much space, another plus!
Beachcomber All-Terrain Wagon, $99.99
Swimwear with Sun Protection
It's not only essential to put 50+ SPF on your baby but to dress them in clothing that has sun protection. We put Richie in a rash guard and hat with 50+ sun protection every time we head to the beach. Plus, he looks so darn cute in it.
iplay Sun Protection Swim Hat, $11.99
A Great Cooler
I'll admit, we don't have this cooler yet but it is on our Christmas list. We have a few regular coolers that we have purchased throughout the years and they work just fine but we've heard some great things about this one. Yes, it's pricey but from what we hear, its worth the hefty price tag.
Yeti Hopper Flip 12 Portable Cooler, $245
Come August, the sand gets super hot and it is impossible to walk on without shoes. These infant water shoes work to keep your little one's feet protected, plus they are super adorable.
SUIEK Unisex Baby Infant Swim Shoes, $15.99
Baby's skin can easily get irritated with the sand and salt water so we prefer cloth swim diapers to the throw away ones. These reusable diapers have 100 percent nylon mesh for easy clean up and offer comfort against baby's sensitive skin. This brand features one size for baby's 6-28 pounds. They are easily adjustable with the front snaps.
StoreofBaby Baby Swim Cloth Diapers, 2 pack, $12.99
Food Pouch Spoons
These are a lifesaver. We not only use them for the beach but for many of our trips out of the house. We frequently feed Richie from baby food pouches and these screw right on. No more remembering to pack a spoon or bowl and no more carrying around dirty utensils in your diaper bag. You just twist the spoon onto the tip of the baby pouch and squeeze food onto the spoon. SO easy.
Munchkin Click Lock Food Pouch Spoons, 2 pack, $4.99
Containers for Baby Snacks
We are obsessed with these snack containers because they click into one another making it easy to store in your cooler. We've tried other brands and Richie's snacks would get stale but that has never happened with these. They have both 2 and 4 ounce options and are BPA safe, lead and phthalate free.
Beaba Clip Containers, set of 6, $14.95
Richie's first Fourth of July weekend was jammed packed. We had plans every single day from Friday through Tuesday and he was a champ - - full of smiles and laughter the entire time. We wore him out so much that he slept 13 hours straight on Fourth of July. Not only was it the party animal's first Independence Day but he swam in the pool, eat watermelon and took his first shower (an outdoor one) for the FIRST time. It was truly a beautiful weekend full of 'rich' experiences.
Mother's Day is even more special now that I am one. A little reminder how bad ass mothers are. Pregnancy, childbirth and countless sleepless nights, among many other firsts and accomplishments. It was such a beautiful day honoring all we sacrifice. Motherhood is the best gift I've ever been given. Thank you sweet boy for reminding me every day how truly lucky I am.
It was a warm and sunny day which was such a blessing. We decided to take the babe to the racetrack for a picnic and to bet the horses. He was our good luck charm as always. The day was so beautiful. I'll never forget it.
We recently learned about this great gifting site called, IncrediBundles and we are obsessed. The company designs adorably chic reusable storage containers and fills them with the newest toys, books and products on the market. They even categorize their products to address a specific area of an infant’s development for the baby's first year and beyond, making your shopping experience easy.
For our first box, we created our own bundle by navigating through the site's offerings. We decided to fill our box with some great developmental toys since Richie is on the move these days and keeping him occupied is a must.
We chose the following toys to include in our Customized Bundle Box:
The Skip Hop Activity Lion is a perfect toy for multi-sensory play. Richie loves it so much that we clipped it onto his stroller so he has it every time we are out.
Richie loves his new play ball. He pushes it around the living room then crawls after it, helping to build his hand and eye coordination. He also gets a ton of exercise chasing it around which means better sleep for him (and the whole family).
He is dying to get those buckets out of the packaging but we are saving those for the beach. The company that makes these, Skip Hop, markets them for bath use but we are going to use them for the sand instead.
Richie is only 9 months and most of the beach buckets on the market are geared toward toddler use. They are too big and bulky for Richie. What we love about these is that they are small. Perfect for Richie's little hands.
Richie loves when we show him how to stack things then unstack. This really simple activity is a great learning opportunity for babies. We knew he'd love these Green Sprout Stacking Set. The cups have draining holes on the bottom that are animal shaped - perfect for the bath and beach.
Something else that is really fantastic about Incredibundles is that for every purchase made the company makes a donation to children in need. I love purchasing from companies who give back and Incredibundles has become my go to destination for gifts for new parents. They make it so easy to send a gift. You can select from book, bath, and sleep bundles. They even offer diaper bundles and a year of toys bundle.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Incredibundles. All opinions expressed are my own.
We are giving away a $50 gift certificate to IncrediBundles on our Instagram page. Click here to enter: @babiesandbackbends
Our little Easter Bunny seriously had a blast taking photos with his bunny ears. He didn't even try to take them off. I'm so loving that he is such a ham for the camera and hope it always stays this way. P.s. Can we talk about how cute this onesie is? AND I got it off AMAZON. Adorable.
On Easter Sunday, we spent the day at my husband's parents house on the water out East on Long Island. It was super warm out and we brought a little play yard for Richie to play in outside on the grass in front of the bay. He went crazy for it and LOVED all the attention he got from family. He also loved his Easter baskets. The day was nothing short of spectacular.
Richie went bananas for the play yard. I cannot wait to take him to the beach this summer since he is loving being outside so much. We are ready for SUMMER.
My heart bursts over these two. Could you die over these photos? Their bond is like no other. HEART SWOON!
Super chewy, soft pretzels put a smile on the face of even the crankiest kid, so it’s no surprise that families are flocking from Suffolk to Nassau for a freshly baked dozen of the real deal. The Pretzel Shop, located in Rockville Centre, offers hands-on pretzel making classes for families that allow you to skip the trek to find a great pretzel and learn how to make one in your own kitchen.
“Pretzels are my passion,” owner Carolyn Vella, says. “We wanted to share our love for baking with other families.” Vella's inspiration for opening the nut-free bakery was her son Michael, who has many food allergies. “Our goal was to create an environment that is safe for all children.” Vella’s history with pretzels dates back to a home her family used to have in the Poconos. “We used to go to the flea market every week to get hot pretzels from a small vendor."
The pretzel dough is freshly mixed and twisted by hand every day. In fact, when we walked into the shop, bakers were mixing dough right in front of us. Its flavor and smell upon entering the shop comes from a traditional baking method. In addition to the homemade pretzels and nuggets, the bakery offers a variety of cookies, candies and treats.
Thursday through Sunday, the head artisan pretzel bakers teach families the ins and outs of making an authentic Philadelphia-style pretzel from scratch, including how to twist the dough into shape and create a brown crispy exterior and a fluffy doughy interior. The interactive class, which costs $15 per person, provides the techniques to mix, knead, shape and bake the quintessential pretzel. Plus, families will learn the history of the popular snack and get a tour of the behind the scenes action. At the end of class, attendees enjoy trying the fresh pretzels they made with classic toppings such as cheddar cheese, ranch, chipotle, aioli, chocolate, caramel, buttercream, and cinnamon sugar. There are also four different types of mustards offered: yellow, spicy, honey, dijon and whole grain.
The Pretzel Shop is a great destination for birthday celebrations. Its “Celebrate with a Twist” party packages include an hour and a half of pretzel making. It also includes individual sets of dough, aprons, chef hats, wood boards and dipping sauce for $18.95 per child. Pretzel nuggets and refreshments are given while children twist. Once the pretzels go into the oven, a pizza lunch is served. The birthday boy or girl gets to bake for free and for an additional fee, popcorn, cupcakes, face painting, cake, goody bags and live entertainment is offered.
The best part of the experience is that you can easily replicate the recipe at home. Cooking together can be a delicious learning experience for children and their parents. Kids can explore new foods, learn about nutrition, and develop math and reading skills as they measure and read directions. Who knows maybe a trip to The Pretzel Shop will inspire your little one to spend more time in the kitchen learning to cook?
The Pretzel Shop is located at 106 S Long Beach Rd. in Rockville Centre. You can get more information by visiting the shop’s website at www.thepretzelshop.com or calling (516) 543-5050.
Tiredness Has a New Meaning
Everyone warns you about the tiredness, oh the bone crushing tiredness that comes with being a parent. But nothing, I repeat NOTHING, can prepare you for what a sleepless night(s) feels like.
I’m a control freak and a perfectionist so this one was the hardest for me. I’ve learned to let go more. Like, a whole lot more. I’m still working on this because it’s a tough one but my house is a lot messier than it ever was, my nails don’t get done as often as they used to, I shower less…I could keep going but overall, I’m a HOT MESS and I’m learning to embrace it. It’s my new story. Motherhood is a gift and its so much better than running around in my perfect little outfit doing God knows what. I seriously cannot remember what the heck I did with all that extra time I had. WOW.
Embrace Each Phase
Most moms will tell you that it gets easier but I was lucky to have a mom friend that told me the truth. It doesn’t get easier. Why? Because once you think you’ve got it down; you’ll have to start all over again. Babies are constantly changing. I thought that feeding around the clock was hard but what I didn’t know was that the newborn phase was the easiest. I had so much free time, which is probably why I was blogging so much more than I am now. Yes, feeding the baby around the clock is hard work but it was all I did. The baby ate, slept and pooped. Once that phase was over, there’s night weaning, a tighter and more filled schedule, teething, keeping your baby occupied because they want more attention, way less time for yourself because they sleep less than they did during the day when they were just newborns, the introduction of solids (holy work), teaching them to sit up, and tummy time. Right now, I feel pretty good, like I’ve got the hang of this new phase but I know it will all change once he is mobile then we will have to START. ALL. OVER. AGAIN.
Let Your Baby Be a Baby
Doctors and other moms are always forcing you to get your baby to grow up so fast. They try to get you to teach your baby independence so early. Who’s weaned, who’s potty trained, who’s sleeping alone all through the night, who’s reading chapter books? Whoever achieves independence first wins. Why are we rushing them through babyhood? My doctor was forcing me into getting Richie into the crib at 3 months. I’m glad I didn’t listen to him. I was really rattled for a while when I thought that I was doing something wrong by co-sleeping until Richie was almost 7 months. But I wouldn’t take back co-sleeping with my sweet babe for one second. Not one. Because he won’t be a baby forever and having him close to me was so special. I was able to easily nurse him and it was peaceful knowing he was safe. He’ll sleep in his own bed now for the rest of his life. I got to snuggle him for 7, just 7 months. Don’t rush things if you don’t want to. Your baby can be a baby. It’s OK.
Give Yourself a Break
I stopped trying to put on my super skinny jeans. I stopped trying to have it all together. Ok, another one that is SO hard but I’m learning to be easier on myself. At the end of the day, try not to beat yourself up for all things you wish you had done. They will get done in their own time. When I look back on all I’ve accomplished in these short 7 months, I am amazed. Thank GOD for my insanely helpful and supportive husband, but holy crap, we kept a human alive and healthy for this long. We are amazing.
Mom Friends Are Your Sanity
I would've NEVER been able to make it through these months if I didn't have my mom friends. These moms are there to remind you that you are normal. You are amazing. And you can do it. They've been there. They've been through it. And the good ones will NEVER judge you.
You'll Have More Patience
Babies can sense when you are rushing. Babies can sense frustration. Patience is important when you are taking care of them. When I feel myself on the verge of losing it, which is easy to do when you are exhausted, I remind myself of that. I have to dig really deep. But I’ve learned to take a deep breath and let it the frustration go.
**I started writing this post when Richie turned 6 months then well, Mom Life, so I'm sharing his 6 months photos anyway. Because come on, he is so darn cute.
I was feeling very nostalgic this month. Had all the fun, warm fuzzy feels because last year on Valentine's Day, we announced we were 17 weeks pregnant with the photo below and yesterday, we got to celebrate with our sweet boy. It's incredible how much can change in just one year. We've added so much more love to our family since then. Celebrating with my two babes was so special.
Our little chippendale had a great first Valentine's Day. I think he knew it was a holiday because he was smiles and giggles all day long. We took tons of photos together and my husband brought home a super fancy dinner for us. My favorite gift was a letter my husband wrote from the babe to me. It was an entire card filled with the most beautiful words. It made me cry, of course. I've always been more of a love letter type gal. Gifts are fantastic but I want to hear all the gooey, yummy love stuff. I'm engraving the memory of this day in my mind so it lasts forever.
That there newborn baby sleeps through the night
When Richie was just shy of three months, I had a friend tell me her baby (who is the same age as Richie) was sleeping through the night. Which most of the time means 6-8 hours straight. I remember feeling so bad about myself. What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t my baby sleeping through the night? I was rattled. I read articles online, I tried swaddling him differently, I tried noise machines, I tried everything you could think of. I felt so down about myself. Then, the more I read and the more I spoke to other moms, I realized it wasn’t true. And if it was, it definitely only happened a few times.
Here’s why. If you are breastfeeding your baby, there is absolutely no way your baby will sleep through the night. AND they shouldn’t. Breastfed babies need to eat every 2-4 hours throughout the night and if they aren’t up to eat, you need to wake them. Once babies are no longer newborns, they don’t need to eat as often through the night but that doesn’t mean they will sleep. So, if someone tells you that their baby sleeps through the night every night, they are lying. Their baby MAY have done it a few times but I’m telling you that babies aren’t robots and there is zero way this happens every single night for them. Don’t kill yourself. You are doing an amazing job.
Feeding the baby cereal at night will make them sleep longer
Your parents, grandparents and aunts will tell you to do this. They will tell you to feed your newborn baby cereal in a bottle so that they will sleep through the night. “We did it and you are ok!” That’s what they will tell you. But guess what? There is more research today and the research says, DO NOT do this. Why? Because your baby has a very big chance of choking and there little bellies can’t handle it. There is also research that suggests it leads to obesity. Want to know the best reason? It doesn’t work! Once my son turned 4 months (recommended time to start solids), I gave him cereal and it changed nothing. It’s a myth. Don’t fall for it.
They have time to work out, get their hair done, or doing anything for themselves
Let’s be real these things are for the moms who have nannies or a lot of help from family members. If you are on your own raising your kid, these things are just not happening because when you do get a second to yourself you will use it to sleep, zen out in a quiet room or just chill. And that’s coming from me, I can be vain and always want to look my best, but after a baby, it just comes last. Taking care of your baby then yourself by getting rest so that you can take care of them takes priority.
That they don’t feel sad sometimes
Babies make you over the moon happy. They are a blessing. They bring so much joy to your life. But, motherhood can make you sad sometimes and it’s totally normal. You lose a piece of yourself when you have a baby. You miss out on things you used to do so freely. You struggle to figure who you are - a mom, a career woman, a working mom, a wife, etc. Unfortunately in this world, you need to make great money to cover daycare so being a working mother is sometimes out of the question. Then there is the guilt, anxiety, and nervousness of leaving them to go back to work. For me, there was and is, the struggle of figuring out how to have it all. How can I have a successful career, be an amazing mom and wife, get in shape, have nice things, a beautiful home…the list is endless. I still struggle to figure this out and what I remind myself is that other moms put up a front that they have it altogether. It is absolutely impossible. We aren’t superheroes. What is important is that we find the few things that make us most happy and focus on them.
You’ll forget about childbirth after you hold your baby in your arms
This one is my favorite. You will only forget the pain of childbirth if you actually ingest the drugs they offer you after the birth of your baby and then never stop taking those drugs. It’s a myth. You will never forget the pain of childbirth. But the craziest part is that it likely won’t prevent you from doing it again. I, personally, would do it 10 times over.
That they napped when their baby napped
Who are these people? If you enjoy living in squalor amid mounds of dirty diapers, go ahead and nap when the baby naps. If you don’t mind giving up your chance to jump in the shower or empty the dishwasher, go ahead and nap when the baby naps. But if you don’t have tons of help or anyone dropping off dinner, you may need to accomplish something when the baby naps. Just saying.
Richie Owen's first Christmas and the days leading up to it were nothing short of magical. Every night, he would spend time staring at the Christmas lights on the tree. He loved getting presents and all the attention that the holiday brought. Sharing some of our special captures from the holiday season including ringing in the New Year together.
Pregnancy can work wonders for your skin, hair and nails. At least for me it did, especially my HAIR. It was full of volume, shine and had amazing texture. I’ll never forget my hairdresser telling me how luscious it was. Then, she told me something that I thought was completely insane.
“You know your hair is going to fall out post pregnancy, right?”
My jaw dropped.
“Think about it,” she said. “Has there been any hair in the shower drain or in your hair brush lately?”
“No,” I thought.
And she was right. Not one strand of hair fell out when I was pregnant then boom, three months post pregnancy, and my hair was falling out like crazy.
An average woman sheds about 100 hairs a day but not all at once so you don’t notice them. During pregnancy, increased levels of estrogen prevent fewer falling out each day, so you have thicker, more luxuriant tresses. However, after you give birth, your estrogen levels take a tumble and a lot more hair follicles will shed.
“It’s perfectly normal to start shedding more hair than usual in the first few months after giving birth. The good news is you will not go bald. Your hair needs to shed since it didn’t while you were pregnant. This unusual shedding will taper off and your hair will be back to its pre-pregnancy thickness about six to 12 months after you give birth,” says Norma Romero of Vivo Salon in Island Park, NY.
Many new moms experience this. “I've had a lot of loose hair coming out regularly and like crazy in the shower, said Megan Robbins from Lakeland, FL. “I'm 4 months postpartum and I find hair in my little one’s hands all the time too, getting wrapped around her fingers.”
“I clean my brush three times a day, plus the shower wall, and probably five handfuls out of my hair that are just hanging loose, not to mention the hair all over my shirt, down my pants and on my pillow. I don't see how I'm not bald,” said Nola Branch from Little River, SC.
“This happens with so many of my clients,” says Romero. “Especially women in there 30’s because their bodies change a lot more than a women in her 20’s during pregnancy. Women in there 30’s need a little more TLC.”
Romero shared 5 Tips for New Mom’s Experiencing Hair Loss:
A personal note to new moms with long hair: Strands of hair can end up tightly wrapped around your baby's tiny appendages, including his fingers, toes, wrists, ankles, and penis. This is called a hair tourniquet, and it can be quite painful for your little one so be extra mindful.
What I love about babywearing
Babywearing has been a big part of child rearing in many cultures for centuries and has become more popular in the Western culture over the past few decades. By doing a little research, you learn that there are many reasons why it is good for you and your baby. My personal favorites are:
Finding the right carrier
I was on a mission to find the most comfortable carrier for Richie and I because I have a far walk to my car garage and there are many steps up to my doorway. It didn’t and still doesn’t feel safe to carry him all that way without the support of a carrier. I also need to have free hands so that I can carry packages in when my husband isn’t home.
I tried three different types before I found the one that works best for us. Let me tell you, Babywearing can be trickier than it looks and it can seem daunting at first. Most baby carriers have a learning curve and they require practice to become comfortable with them. However, once you’ve chosen the right carrier and learned how to use it, babywearing will become second nature.
The brands we tried
It was important that I could put it on without the help of someone else because I planned to use it when my husband wasn’t home. This wasn’t possible with the Ergobaby carrier because it has a very hard to reach clip in the back in between the shoulder blades and neck. I have very flexible shoulders and arms but it was still impossible for me to clip it on my own. I also didn’t love how bulky it was. Richie never felt close enough in this carrier. In all the times I used it, he never once fell asleep in it so he was never as comfortable as I would have wanted him to be in it. This carrier was also hard to store because it’s so big. I wanted something I could throw in the diaper bag after using,
This wrap was very easy to put on but was very constricting. There are loops to put your arms through then wrap the baby in but because those loops are sown in, it’s hard to have wiggle room for when the baby grows or if you want to wrap it in a different way. It is, however, small enough to store in your diaper bag.
Solly Baby Wrap
This is the wrap we liked best because not only is it easy to put on, it doesn’t require the help from someone else. It is super comfortable too – soft, flexible and lightweight. The wrap has a lot of fabric and is super long so it allows for you to really wrap your baby up so he or she feels close and comfortable but it’s not to constricting like the Baby Kat’an. Even though there is a ton of fabric, its very easy to wrap up and store. Another plus!
Tips for getting on a carrier
Happy babywearing mamas!
We baptized our precious little man yesterday and it was super special. He was showered with so much love from friends and family but most especially from his Godparents - my sister and my husband's oldest brother.
Richie received his first Sacrament in a ceremony that was very private and intimate. The priest that baptized Richie was kind, soft spoken and had beautiful words to share. I, of course, teared up a few times. The day was just magical.
Richie slept the entire ceremony then woke up when the water was poured over his head. We cracked up because he was super shocked, trying to figure out what was going on.
Richie loved the gorgeous cross his Godmother Alexandra gave him.
Afterwards, we celebrated with our immediate family at our home. It was a small gathering – just the way we wanted it.
God Bless Richard Owen forever and always.
This post isn’t about a fancy diaper bag or some extra accessory that you may or may not need. I wanted to share with you tried and true products that have helped me survive as a first time mom. These six products have saved my life. Ha! No, but really.
I always knew I would breastfeed. I have said that on here before. It was never a question for me. The number one reason was to provide my baby with the best vitamins and nutrients. The second was to lose the baby weight. And fast!
All the experts will tell you that by breastfeeding you’ll lose the baby weight quickly. Even all the mothers that had breastfed assured me that the weight would just melt off. One of my best girlfriends described the weight loss so great that she was in her skinny jeans a few weeks later. I even remember looking at a photo of my mother a month after she gave birth to me and she was even skinnier than before she was pregnant. She blamed it on the breastfeeding.
Well, I’m here to call their bluff. It’s been three months since I had Richie and I’m still holding to more weight than I would like to share. And I’m not the only one. I have spoken with other mothers that have said that they did not completely lose the baby weight until they weaned from nursing.
I gained 30 pounds during my pregnancy and at my first doctor’s appointment a few weeks after giving birth I had dropped 15 of it. Awesome! But even with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, not a single pound has been shed since then. Not ONE!
When I stop to think about it, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t my body hold onto to fat – the quickest, most energy efficient source available? Wouldn’t it make sense for our bodies to hold onto it so that we could feed our babies even if we couldn’t get the proper nutrients?
Or maybe it’s the fact that I have zero energy to hit the gym as often as I would like because I’m feeding another human being and I’m up all night doing it. Or maybe it’s the cookies that I sneak at night because I have major cravings from these darn breastfeeding hormones. BUT aren’t those extra 500 calories that the experts assure you will burn while breastfeeding supposed to take care of that?
My point is, not everyone loses the baby weight from breastfeeding. So if you are going into it for that reason only then re-think your decision.
Regardless of the weight loss, breastfeeding has been super rewarding for me. I genuinely love the bond it provides me with Richie. I love that fact that I’m able to feed him such great nutrients. I feel proud when I look at his little rolls and at every doctor’s visit when I learn how big he is getting and how healthy he is. So for now, I will hold onto this breastfeeding weight and with pride. I’m feeding another human being and if my body needs to hold onto this weight so be it.
Once the baby has weaned, I will get back in shape. Right now, it’s just not about me. It’s about providing my baby with what he needs.
Friday night, the hubby and I went out on a date for the first time since the baby. Our dinner was fantastic but all we did was talk about Richie Jr. We wondered how he was doing and talked about all the funny things he does. It made us realize that we love being with him and while having our time together is important, its not completely necessary right now. We love spending time with the babe. Our priorities have changed and going out to a bar or to a fancy dinner is just not in our cards right now. Don't get me wrong, we totally enjoyed it but at the same time, all we did was think and talk about the babe. Maybe when he gets older, it will be different but he is so little now and he is such a good kid that we don't want to be away from him. We went out as a celebration for my hubby's birthday so we made the best of it.
The next day, on my hubby's actual birthday, we went to Belmont Racetrack for a picnic and to bet on the horses. The weather was fantastic for October so we spent most of the time outside. It was such a fun day. We won two races. Richie Jr. had to be our good luck charm. It was a perfect day.
I’ve always loved makeup. When I was a little girl I used to sit in the bathroom and watch my Mom apply hers. She actually found me going through her purse and apply makeup to my face when I was 5 years old. I'd beg her to wear it to kindergarden. I was born a girl girly what can I say.
My beauty routines have generally been the same since I started wearing makeup at the age of 13 except for a few product swaps like anti-aging lotions and different shades of makeup. As a new Mom, I quickly realized my makeup routine would need to change big time. First and foremost, I have less time. Secondly, the dark circles are insane from the lack of sleep and constantly being ON! I needed a makeup routine that would help keep me looking refreshed and awake. Here are a few of my essentials.
Since I'm short on sleep, looking refreshed and awake makes me feel better. My favorite concealer for hiding my hideous, dark circles is Nars. I add a little extra to the corner of my eyes to act as a highlighter which also helps disguise the circles.
Eye Brow Pencil
Another great way to look awake, define your eyebrows! It helps bring attention to the arch of your brow instead of the bags or dark circle under your eyes. Anastasia’s Brow Wiz glides perfectly and comes in many different shades.
Apply any color you chose in the crease of your lid then swoop the eye shadow up towards your brow. It will instantly lift the eye making it look more awake. Urban Decay's Naked 2 Eye Shadow palette has a slew of different shades to chose from. Everything from dark colors for the evening to softer pinks and golds for day.
I always had long nails but it's just impossible to keep them when you have a baby since you want to avoid scratching them. I’ve included my favorite soft shade of pink, Pink-ing of You by OPI. Perfect shade for a clean, simple manicure.
If I could only chose one product to carry around with me, it would be blush. I love how a little bit of color can really brighten up your face. My favorite blush is from MAC.
I never wear perfume around the baby. It can irritate them especially if you are nursing. I keep a small pulse pen of my favorite perfume, Prada’s Candy, for date nights and parties. It has a really soft, sweet smell.
You don’t have to be a cat eye expert to use eyeliner, adding just a little line across your lids will do the trick. MAC’s liner lasts long and is easy to glide.
Lip Stain & Gloss
You can’t beat the all-day wear of a lip stain. Glide some lip gloss over the stain for shine. A nice moistened and bold lip is a sure way to stand out. If you wear nothing else, a sure way to look 'put together' is a bold lip. I love Stila's lips stain and Vince Longo's gloss.
Lastly, I throw some business cards in the pocket of my makeup bag since I always have it with me. You never know when you might need to hand one out. It happens on the playground more often then you think!
Many people have asked me how I get Richie Owen to pose for photos. Yes, the fact that he is a total ham makes it easy but there are a few things tips I can share for capturing the best photo.
A Shiny or Glittery Phone Cover
Richie always stares at the back of mine so it’s easy to get a straight on photo of him. If you don’t have one, then I would suggest a small toy that you know they like and will focus on.
Photograph them when they are in the best mood. For Richie, that’s 20 minutes after he has eaten.
Set up the picture beforehand. I usually get an idea and start to set it up while he is napping. That’s if it requires a set-up.
The craziest, funniest, silliest noises you could ever make to help get them to smile. Seriously, like no one is listening! Richie cracks up over my craziness and that’s how we score the best photos of him.
Natural Light is Best
I try to take photos in the day versus at night. If I’m taking the photo inside, I open up all the curtains.
Make sure the room is nice and warm. This is most important for a newborn. They should always be bundled up and they usually aren’t for photos.
Richie isn’t sitting yet so I use props like pillows and blankets when I want to capture him in an upright position.
There are so many fun things to do on Long Island, NY. Aside from the beautiful beaches and summer fun, there are plenty of fun filled family activities in the fall. Our favorites are wine tasting, pumpkin picking, visiting our favorite farms and taking trips to our in-laws house out east. That is exactly what we did this weekend.
We visited W&K Farms, Harbes and Hanks to pick pumpkins, purchase some fresh veggies and nosh on roasted corn & apple cider donuts.
Sunflowers are my absolute favorite flower. We made sure to load up on a bunch.
Saturday was raining but we were able to make it out to Bedell Cellars. The winery we got married at. It was so special to take our little man there for the first time.
After a day visiting the farms, we headed to my in laws who live on the bay in Center Moriches. Love these family photos we were able to capture by the water.
natalie ferro aurigema
Sharing all the things that make me happy through this blog.
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