What I Wasn’t Prepared For When I Had A Second Child

WAM Second Child

I was never afraid of having two children. A two and a half year old is pretty independent and a newborn sleeps a lot, so I was ready to juggle two kids.  We had prepared ourselves for crazy situations that we knew would happen. For example, the first time we were driving somewhere with both boys screaming and crying from the backseat, Josh and I just turned to each other and laughed. And we did the same thing the first time both boys were peacefully sound asleep as we drove down the road as a family of four.

But as the weeks went by of having both of these little boys, I realized that there was something huge happening that no one prepared me for.

Their relationship with each other.

The bond they share and the complete adoration they have for each other brings me to tears every time. (It really helps remind me that women can be hormonal crazy people for at least a year postpartum.)

But seriously. The way a baby who is only a few months old can look at his big brother in such genuine awe is remarkable. The way a toddler turns into the most gentle little helper makes you so proud.

Every time I watch my boys together, my heart grows two sizes and I well up with a feeling that I can’t even describe. I know they’ll bicker, tease, and fight with each other as they grow. C’mon, they are boys after all! I can only imagine how many times I’ll say, “Stop hitting your brother!” But amidst all the craziness, I hope they will look out for each other, stand up for each other, and cherish each other and the bond they’ll always have as brothers.

P.S. I also wasn’t ready for potty training! So. Much. Pee.

What’s something you weren’t ready for when you had kids?

Favorite Things Friday #2

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Here’s a few of my current favorite things. Round 2!

  1. High Fitness– This is an intense workout class that is so much fun! You are moving and dancing around the whole time, listening to great music, and pushing yourself to really feel the burn! You can check out if there’s any classes near you by going to their website at highfitness.com. I am seriously addicted!
  2. Keep Collective Brushed Silver Pendant– I recently became a designer for Keep Collective- a sister company under Stella and Dot.  One of my favorite pieces is this pendant necklace. I have the silver, but the gold and rose gold are gorgeous too! You can choose whatever keys (charms) you want to put on your pendant to fit your personality. I have the script word “love” on mine and every time I look at it, I love it even more. You can check out all the Keep Collective jewelry by clicking here to go to the website!
  3. The Dunkin Donuts app– Dunkin Donuts has proven they are here to push Starbucks around a little bit. If you like coffee and still don’t have their app, you are missing out! They offer a free medium hot or iced coffee the day after our Arizona Cardinals win, and last week I saw that they also give app members a free coffee the day after the Diamondbacks win at home! The app is FREE, you just have to add at least $2.50 to your account when signing up. I’ve also received free coffee coupons for filling out surveys. They are awesome and know how to keep you coming back. My favorite drink choice is the medium iced decaf mocha coconut with cream and one Splenda.  (I know, decaf!? But since I’m still nursing I try to cut back on the caffeine when I can.)
  4. Vans Classic Slip-On baby socks– We originally bought these when M was born three years ago and he wore them all the time. Now H is wearing them and they’re just as cute as ever! Everyone comments on them about how awesome they look. At $28 for six pairs, they are a great little splurge for something fun for your little one or a way cool baby shower gift for a friend. You can buy them online here.
  5. Once Upon a Time– Are you watching this show!? We finally decided to give it a try and we are so glad we did. The fourth season just premiered last week, but we just started watching from the beginning a couple weeks ago. Fairytale characters, great story lines, it’s so much fun to watch. We just began season 2, so don’t give anything away! But really, if you haven’t watched, you can start now and then we can talk about it! It’s on Netflix so get started right away. 😉

I hope you’ll try some of my favorite things, and as always, share some of your favorite things with me!  Maybe I’ll see you at a High Fitness class!

Modern Wrap- Nursing Cover

 

WAM ModernWrap

You guys. I am so in love with my new nursing cover and have to tell you about it.

Let’s go back to a little over a month ago…we were at the bowling alley using our POGO PASSes to bowl our free game for the week (if you’re interested in the POGO PASS and want more info on how to get yours for 60% off, you can read that post here) and I saw a woman with an amazingly simple, yet perfectly designed, nursing cover. I asked her where she had gotten it and she told me Modern Wrap.

I knew I was hooked and I hadn’t even looked at their site yet!

I headed to the Modern Wrap site and saw that each nursing cover was $58. That’s a pretty good chunk of change. Since we’re a one income family and I am trying really hard to live on a budget, I was trying to be strong and not make any frivolous purchases. But…I have very little willpower and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much I needed that nursing cover! I rationalized with important points such as “I’ve still got months and months left of breastfeeding, I should get it now before too much time passes!” and “It doubles as a carseat cover too, so it’s really double duty!” Both are true and so I ordered one.

It shipped quickly and on the very day I got my shipping confirmation, they posted on their Instagram that you could get 40% off your order by reposting. WHAT!? I felt like I was being punished for making an unnecessary purchase. Here’s the best part…I commented on their Instagram that my order just shipped and I couldn’t believe I missed the sale by such a small amount of time. They immediately replied and told me to email them and they would  see what they could do.

After emailing them and letting them know my situation, they happily took the 40% off my order, refunded me the difference, and I have a nursing cover that I absolutely love.

This company is wonderful and I could tell they care about their customers. They didn’t have to honor the sale for me, but they did. They wanted me to be happy so I’m spreading the word!

Now, let’s talk about the cover! It’s so soft and light weight. My little man doesn’t get too hot and sweaty underneath it and I’m not dying having to wear it in the Arizona heat. It’s stylish and keeps every part of me completely covered. And don’t forget, it’s also a cover for your carseat to keep away the sun, wind, or sweet old people from touching your baby! Modern Wrap also has other items such as baby wrap carriers and swaddle wraps. Check them out. If you make a purchase, I know you’ll love your items just as much as I love mine!

Take a look around their site: modernwrap.com

Let me know if you buy anything!

 

Breastfeeding 101

WAM Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding the second time around has been completely different than what I experienced as a newbie.  Not only did it just seem easier, but I now know what works and what I can live without.

The MOST important thing to remember when it comes to breastfeeding is that it’s OK if you can’t or don’t do it. All too often, a mom gets her heart set on breastfeeding, and then it just doesn’t work out for any number of reasons. After wanting so badly to successfully breastfeed your baby, and trying so hard, just know that the first time you give your baby formula, you will cry. You will feel defeated. You will feel like you can’t provide for your own baby. Wrong. You are providing for your baby by giving them the nutrients they need. Once you realize that it is completely alright for you to feed your baby formula, you will begin to feel much better. Whether it be breastmilk or formula, you are feeding your baby in the best way you can and you have to do what will work for you.

With that said, here’s what I’ve learned about boob to baby feeding…

  1. It hurts at first. I’ve had a few people tell me that it never once hurt for them. Ok. Just not the case for me, so this is worth sharing. For about the first month, every single time your baby latches on, you’ll think, “OW, OW, OW, OW, OW!” And then after about five seconds, baby is suckling nicely with a deep latch and everything is great. But those first few seconds, man…painful! Think of it as an intense workout for your nipples. You’ll be sore, but the more you do it, the more in shape they become.
  2. Drinking a ton of water makes an unbelievable difference in your milk production! The first time around, I was working all day and never made myself drink enough water. Like, not even close. The end of the day would roll around and I wouldn’t have even finished half of my water cup. NOT OK! If you drink a ton of water throughout the day and especially before bed, you will definitely increase your milk supply. Getting good rest helps production too, but let’s be real, who is getting good rest with a newborn!?
  3. If you’re a working mom, PUMP, PUMP, PUMP! With my first little guy I was still teaching. The school day isn’t all that long, so I assumed I could pump once before lunch and that would be enough. WRONG! I would feed Mason before we left the house, then pump in the late morning, and then I would feed him again when I picked him up around 4 or 5pm. I was thinking, “He can go 4 hours between feedings, so I really only need to pump once during the day. If your baby is not eating from you, you should pump more like every three hours. Every time your nipples get that stimulation to get the milk flowing, it encourages more milk production. After a few months, I would only get 2 ounces when I would pump. That’s not nearly enough to cover a feeding, not to mention wanting to build up a freezer supply. It began to feel like it wasn’t even worth it to go through the process to get so little. *Enter: supplementing with formula and the tears that came along with it. I should have been pumping WAY more to ensure my milk supply stayed where I needed it to be. Whether working or not, I highly recommend pumping every morning, about 30 minutes after you feed your baby. This is what I am doing now and I have created a great freezer supply! Or as I like to call it, “liquid freedom.”
  4. Get a GOOD pump. I’ve had numerous friends tell me they had problems with maintaining a good milk supply because their pump just wasn’t doing what it should have. Saving the extra money isn’t worth it. Just think how much you’ll save by not buying formula! Check into what your insurance covers too. After doing research and asking friends, my top choice for a quality breast pump is Medela. The Pump In Style Advanced (see photo below) comes with everything you need in a handy black tote bag or backpack. I could discreetly grab my backpack and no one questioned a thing. Check into them. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.Backpack_Front_500x500
  5. There’s plenty of great items out there to help with sore nipples. My favorite is the Medela Tender Care Lanolin. I use it a lot at the beginning, after every feeding, but then I gradually move to just putting it on before bed. However, the BEST, and when I say best, I mean THE BEST thing you can put on your nipples to soothe them is your breastmilk! At first it’s a little bit like, “um,what?” But it’s sooooo nice. I would keep a small little container of expressed breastmilk in the fridge and after a feeding, just dip your finger in and apply it to your sore nipples. It’s cold, you don’t have to rub it in, and it heals them and helps soothe so much quicker than the other stuff. Oh, and it’s free!
  6. There’s no hunger like breastfeeding hunger! Or thirst for that matter. Before you sit down to feed your baby, get a nice big cup of water. I’m a lover of Tervis cups (if you aren’t familiar, please google them. They’re amazing!) so with my first round of breastfeeding, when I was at home I would have this cup filled with ice water by my side at all times. As soon as your baby latches on, it’s as if your boobs are directly linked to your thirst indicator and the light goes off. It’s nuts, but happens every time. Also, do yourself a favor and get some healthy little snacks you can keep handy such as almonds, yogurt, granola bars, peanut butter. When you wake up in the middle of then night to feed, the hunger that sneaks up on you can be crazy! Keep those snacks by your bed or wherever you do nighttime feedings. You’ll be much happier to be awake at 3am with your bundle of joy if you’re munching away on something delicious and sipping nice cool water.
  7. I never found nursing pillows to be convenient or comfortable. They never fit on my lap the way they should. They were often too thick and made my baby too high up. Both times, I preferred to use a regular standard pillow. It’s big enough that it can lay across your entire lap and support your baby’s whole body, even when they begin to grow. You can go to Target or Walmart and get a couple of pillows for just a few bucks. Grab some cute pillowcases while you’re there and you’re set! You just saved a ton of money. Plus, when your baby spits up or poops on the pillow, (because it WILL happen) you can grab a new pillow or pillowcase easily.
  8. Try feeding your baby in different positions. When you find the ones that work for you, stick with them! When baby seems fussy, try a different one. It sounds simple, but when a baby is crying and not latching on, it can be easy to forget this. Turn them every which way until they seem comfortable and can get a good latch. And try to be patient.
  9. The last thing I’ll say is that breastfeeding is not for wimps! A breastfeeding mom makes many sacrifices and it takes a lot of discipline to do everything involved. The pain, the pumping, getting up early, staying up late to wash and sanitize all your pump things, engorged boobies, mastitis, and the list goes on. So why do people do it? Because it can be so rewarding. The extra snuggle and bonding time, the fact that it’s FREE, the nutrients you pass to your growing baby, the fact that it helps you drop baby weight quicker!, and many more.

I could go on and on. I’ll plan on another post soon about nursing covers and tips for nursing in public.

I’d love to hear any tips you have about breastfeeding.  Also, are there any questions you have about it? Leave a comment and ask! I’d love to chat about it!

Favorite Apps for Kids

WAMAppsforkids

As much as I’d like to be the mom whose children don’t spend more than a few minutes a day watching TV or staring at an iPad, it’s just not always how it is.  Sometimes, as a mom, dad, or care giver, you just need some quiet, down time. Time to yourself, time to get dinner started, time to feed the baby, etc. and allowing my {almost} three year old to watch shows and play games on his iPad (yes, he has his own, go ahead and judge me) is easy. There are some days when “easy” is the best you can do.  Mason uses his iPad to practice his letters, numbers, fine motor skills, colors, shapes, to learn songs, animals,…a ton of great things. So when he watches Paw Patrol or Curious George, I have to know that’s OK too.

We go outside, we play with toys, we build forts, we get creative with art supplies, and we watch TV. It’s just part of what we do.

So, I decided to put together a list of our favorite apps for babies, toddlers, and children. Many are free, and some are not. I know these are all on the AppStore, but I can’t say if they’re on Android as well. You’ll have to let me know if you’re an Android user.

endless-reader-1-l-280x2801. and 2.  Endless Numbers and Endless Reader– These apps are great. Endless numbers works on number recognition, counting, fine motor skills as you child “catches” the number and drags it to where it belongs. It also incorporates addition. Endless Reader is the same format, but children become familiar with words and the letters that make up each word. They also incorporate sentence structure, not just isolated words. If I remember correctly, you can start off with a small amount of numbers for free, but then you have to purchase additional numbers. Definitely worth it though.

icon180x1803. Pretty much all of the Fisher Price apps – These are all free and awesome for babies and toddlers. They have storybook ones that include nursery rhymes such as Pat a Cake, Hickory Dickory Dock, The Animal Fair, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Buckle My Shoe, and Itsy Bitsy Spider. They also have a counting one called “Let’s Count” that incorporate animals and their sounds as they cover the numbers 1-10. All of these apps also have fun bright colors and sounds to engage and peak the interest of babies and toddlers.

the-wheels-on-the-bus-100-l-280x2804. The Wheels On The Bus – This app has grown with us. You can listen to and sign along with the song, play a memory matching game, drive the bus on a racing type game, and more. At first I thought it was cheesy, but Mason has always enjoyed it and the fact that theres multiple things to do within it.

88x88xICON_Disney.png.pagespeed.ic.YiuVVfaRS85. Disney Junior Appisodes – This app is free, but you have to purchase any “appisodes” that you want to actually play. They have Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc McStuffins, etc. You are watching an episode, but it becomes interactive and your child gets to help the characters, click on stuff, and play little games as part of the episode. You can get the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally Appisode for free. Honestly, I think they’re too expensive, but they are fun. I have purchased one or two for Mason after we got iTunes gift cards, but they’re not something we purchase often.

These are just a few of our favorite apps, in addition to the regulars like Netflix and NickJr. Mason also watches anything that involves big trucks, buses, firetrucks, and trains. If you have boys and want to know more about our favorite truck apps and shows, just let me know.

Maybe the next time you’re stuck in the car or doctor’s office and your kiddos are trying really hard to be good, you’ll give one of these apps a try.  Share your favorites too! I’d love to hear what apps your children are loving right now!

*These opinions are entirely my own and were not sponsored in any way. 

Tips for the Perfect Swaddle

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You know how burritos are wonderful? Just ask my two year old what he wants for dinner any day of the week. Well, swaddling is like making a terrific little baby burrito!

We swaddled Mason for way longer than most babies allow.  He just loved it. It definitely helped him sleep longer at night, which allows you to get more sleep, which is so important for feeling normal.

When you first start out swaddling a newborn it’s easy to use a blanket. I love using the old school pink and blue striped ones that you get from the hospital. They’re durable and really allow you to get those tiny little legs pulled up. Also, when most people do a traditional swaddle, they put the baby on a corner of the blanket.  If you put the baby on one of the straight sides you are left with more fabric on the sides to wrap around and behind, and your swaddle becomes tighter and less likely to come apart as your baby moves during sleep.

WAM swaddle

 

You can probably use this up until your baby is about one month old, depending on how big they are getting.  As your baby gets a little bigger, you will probably need to get a little bit larger of a blanket such as one of the Aden + Anais kinds. They are light weight, durable, and they are the perfect size for growing babies who kick out of other swaddles. I also use them to cover Hudson in his carseat while we’re out and about, and I often use them as a nursing cover because they are just so lightweight in this hot Arizona weather. If you don’t have any of these blankets, you should think about looking into them. They have ridiculously cute patterns and usually come in a pack of four, which is perfect because you’ll need two of them to do the Cadillac of all swaddles…THE DOUBLE SWADDLE!

I don’t even remember how I found out about this but I am so glad I did! It was like I stumbled upon pure gold! Hudson started breaking out of his swaddles early, like by a month old. I wasn’t ready to give up those stretches of sleep time, and then, the double swaddle came into my life!

I’m sure there are plenty of Youtube videos about it, but you can click here to watch the one I did from NoDietsAllowed.

You use one blanket to magically wrap the baby’s arms first, and then you do another swaddle over that for complete swaddle comfort!  It’s life changing. We had been good swaddlers before, but now…nothing can stop us!

The amazing double swaddle lasted us for probably a good month until we switched to the Summer SwaddleMe velcro swaddlers. As good as an old fashioned blanket swaddle is, as babies get older, the blankets just don’t hold a squirming babe as well as the velcro ones. You can find them easily at most baby stores.

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As babies get even bigger, they’ll often need their arms to soothe themselves and they’ll need them for motor development even as they sleep. You can still swaddle them,  just leave their arms out. It keeps them covered safely and comforts them with the right amount of pressure. The next time you have a baby or need a baby shower gift, consider a velcro swaddler. I love them!

There you have it.  You can wow your friends and family with the amazing double swaddle!

Do you have any swaddle tips and tricks? Let’s hear them!

*The opinions and products promoted in this post are entirely my own and were not sponsored in any way.