Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a fun weekend! We spent this weekend getting stuff checked off of our to do list. We have a big weekend coming up this weekend, so we spent the last few days trying to be as productive as possible. Now it's back to the daily grind of the week!
So just because I'm done with the whole pregnancy part with Kai, doesn't mean I want to just stop writing about it and offering advice to you all who might be looking for it. It is such a significant time and I truly loved being pregnant. I actually really really miss it! It's almost been a year since I found out I was pregnant with Kai, and I've been getting nostalgic about it. So today I wanted to list out a few things I personally did to help prepare me for labor that I feel like really helped me prep for what was to come during that intense day! I was going in to the whole thing blind as a bat since I am a first time mom, an only child, and really the first of my close friends who has had a baby. I had no idea what to expect and how to prepare for the most intense day of your life, but after doing some research and reaching out to a couple other new moms, here is what I came up with that helped significantly!
1. Pack Your Hospital Bag at 34 Weeks
Start packing your hospital bag at around 34 weeks. Caleb wanted to pack them sooner (around 30 weeks ha!), and I personally felt that was way too early. I knew that if I started packing it earlier than necessary I would start to get really anxious and stressed. Also the key to this is START, not fully pack. There's some stuff you still need on a daily basis and don't want to be living out of a bag for the next 6 weeks. So put anything in there that you specifically bought for your hospital stay and make a checklist of everything you will need to add once labor begins. It really doesn't take that long to pack the rest! Don't forget to pack a bag for baby, too!
2. Make Padsicles
I put up my Padsicle recipe in this post. Having these made and ready to go for when you come home from the hospital is so nice. They take about a day to freeze and you'll want them right away. So have a bag already done in your freezer waiting for your arrival home!
3. Do Perineal Massages
Use some coconut oil and give yourself a perienal massage. I know it sounds weird and it's not really the most comfortable thing in the world to do but this will hopefully help you to tear less during delivery. I still tore (forceps + big baby head but oh well), but honestly I think it would have been worse if I hadn't kept up with this. I started doing them at 30 weeks about once a week. Then I upped the amount as I got closer to my due date and got more comfortable with them. By 37 weeks I was trying to do it about 3 times per week.
4. Do Prenatal Yoga
Even if you haven't done any prenatal yoga this far, it's never too late to start. The breathing technique and poses are things you may want to do during labor to help manage the pain. I used my yoga breathing technique during all my contractions prior to getting my epidural. I was able to tolerate them so well because of my breathing. Cat cow pose also really helps with back pain! I struggled with a lot of nerve pain early in my 3rd trimester too but noticed whenever I would do yoga I would help Kai move away from areas that were hurting me and I would be so much more comfortable.
5. Take a Birth Class
We wanted to take a birth class at our hospital but because my due date was in January there wasn't much available in December due to the holidays. We ended up doing the online Lamaze class. This ended up working out better for us because we could do it at our own pace in the comfort of our home. We also got access to all their online information via their app, and I was able to reference it while at the hospital by looking at it on my phone. It's not the most informative class in the world but at least it helps you understand the stages of labor more; like the difference between active labor and transition.
6. Write Out Your Birth Plan
If you want to make a birth plan, start writing it around 30 weeks. That way you can get any questions you have answered by your doctor before you go in to labor and have time to do any research that might be necessary. There are so many options when it comes to giving birth, so it is best to figure out what you want and what your most comfortable with early on. For me, my only plan was the to give birth to a healthy baby, so this was an easy one for me!
7. Read at Least One Parenting Book
I've had a lot of new moms come to me and ask what parenting books I read prior to giving birth because they were in a panic about not knowing what to do when the baby is finally born. We get so focused on pregnancy and how to keep the baby safe while they are inside us that sometimes we forget we also need to figure out what to do with them when they are finally here! For me personally, it was nice to having my reading done well before it was time for Kai to be born so that we had a plan from day one. I wanted to try to avoid switching things up too much once he was born because I know consistency is key for setting a good foundation. If you want my recommendations on great books to read before the big day comes they are Babywise, Bringing Up Bebe, and The Danish Way of Parenting. I wrote book reviews on all 3 of these books here, here, and here.
That about covers it aside from all the fun things you've been doing during your nesting phase of actually getting ready for you baby to be here! Is there anything else you've been wondering about with labor? If so, leave me a comment below or shoot me an e-mail! Trust me, there's no secrets or weirdness when it comes to labor once you've been through it so please just ask away! I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!
Hi there friends! I hope you're having a wonderful week. I started back at work this week and it's really good to be back. I love my job so much and it's nice to get out of the house a little bit more, but man do I miss my baby while I'm away! It's definitely been a big change, but I know it is for the best. Are any of you working mamas? Does it get easier as time goes on!?
Our little one is three months old now! I can't believe how fast time is going. This last month has been FUN. Really really fun! Here are all the awesome highlights from the past month...
Weight: 15.6 lbs
Height: 24 in
Have I mentioned how fun you are!? Well I'm not even sorry, but you are incredible and I just have to tell you one more time...you are the most fun baby in the world. You smile so big all the time and you're so close to that full belly laugh. I can feel it! You cackle and squeal all the time now. I love when I go to wake you up in the mornings how you stretch and when you open your eyes and see me, you smile so big. You truly melt my heart. You love to talk now, too. We have conversations all the time now. Your favorite thing to say is "oh well!" I say it to you all the time and you will try your hardest to say it back. You also love saying "yeahhhh" and "hello!" You have the cutest little voice, and I love your grunts, too. You like to make spit bubbles and just drool all over the place. You think you're so funny...and you know what, you really are!
You've successfully been sleeping through the night this whole month. You even stopped taking your late night feeding a few weeks ago and are getting about 10 hours of sleep at night now! You also LOVE to eat. You're growing so much right before our eyes and it is truly incredible. You eat between 25-30 oz per day! I'm so glad you love to eat and are growing so big and strong.
We've finally been able to start going out on adventures! The weather is getting nicer and you love going for walks in your stroller. We try to go for one every day with Wrigley. You also love going for car rides. You had your first brunch in the city a couple weeks ago at Bistrot Zinc and you were such an angel. You smiled the whole time we were there! We also took you to your first Cubs game. A camera man thought you were so darling that he videoed you and you got up on the big screen during the 6th inning of the game for the Sights at Wrigley video montage! Then after the game, we were shopping for some more Cubs gear for you and a bunch of people recognized you and were so excited to see the baby that was up on the screen! After the game we took you to Jeni's Ice Cream for the first time. We had the best day and can't wait to take you to more games.
You've really loved starting to play now, too. You enjoy laying on your play mat and touching the little toys that hang from it, you hold your baby rattle, and you've even started enjoying tummy time! The other day you rolled over from your tummy to your back, too! We love swing time and listening to music as well as reading our books. For the last couple weeks we read The Little Prince and I could just tell you loved it so much from all your smiles.
We celebrated Easter this past month, too, and you got to meet some more family! You met your great aunts, uncles, and great grandma. They were all so excited to finally see you and hold you and I could tell you really enjoyed meeting all of them, too. You also have a new nanny! She is our very own Mary Poppins and you already love spending time with her. She is going to be such an important and great person to have as a part of our family! We also introduced you to everyone at work, too! Mama took you in to both mine and Dad's offices where we spent some time meeting everyone that we work with. I can't wait for bring your child to work day and Halloween parties when I get to bring you in again.
You make every day the best day ever, my little one. I miss you even when you're sleeping in my arms. Every day I can't wait to go in to your room and wake you up in the morning to start our day. I love you infinity times infinity, Kai Bear.
Kai is now 12 weeks old! I can't believe how fast this time has flown by. My maternity leave officially ended yesterday, but I've decided to just finish out the week with some vacation time! I will truly be cherishing these last few days of not having to work with my little bub, but I'm trying my best to keep a positive attitude about next week. It's another great step of getting back to some more normalcy in life.
One thing that I'm so relieved about with Kai though is he's been sleeping through the night successfully every night for the last 4 weeks. I am one well rested mama and really hoping this habit sticks with me going back to work. I definitely need my sleep to make it through the work day! Whenever I tell people though that he sleeps through the night already they tell me how lucky I am. While yes I am lucky that I get 7 hours of sleep every night, we didn't just get lucky with him doing this though. It took A LOT of hard work to get to this point. When he was 1 month old we were delirious with lack of sleep like any other parents to a newborn. However, we've been implementing a feed, wake, sleep schedule for him from day one and we started really repping the rewards of this hard work by 2 months. The first two months are incredibly hard. I'm not going to hide that fact, but if you put in an effort to get your baby on to a good routine it can get so much easier! I realize not all parents are fans of schedules with their babes but it is what works best for us. We are both working parents who are organized and love their sleep. Most importantly though, we feel that it is very important for Kai's cognitive development that he gets enough sleep in order to properly develop cognitively and physically. We're personally able to achieve this for him by having him on a schedule. We knew we wanted to have some schedule for our baby even before he was born. Caleb and I both read the book On Becoming Baby Wise, and discussed how much we liked it and agreed with the philosophy behind it. It was both how we were wanting to go about a feed and sleep schedule plus we both liked the idea of our baby potentially sleeping through the night by 8 to 12 weeks. Well my friends it works, it really really works. We think it’s pure magic. So today I am going to share our daily schedule with all of you as of today (12 weeks). At the end of the post I'll touch upon weeks 1-2, 3-7, and 7-10, too just in case your babe is a little younger than Kai and you're wondering what we did during those phases.
Kai's Daily Schedule
7:00 AM - Wake Kai up with lots of kisses and smiles and change his diaper
7:05 AM - Feed
7:30 AM - Pump extra milk while Kai lays in his bassinet. We typically "chat" during this time and he checks out his hands and feet.
8:00 AM - Read to Kai while he's in his baby wrap
8:30 AM - Nap time in baby wrap
9:30 AM - Feed
10:15 AM - Diaper change, get him ready for the day, swing time
11:00 AM - Nap time in crib
12:30 PM - Feed
1:15 PM - Diaper change, play mat time
2:00 PM - Nap w/ mom or in Moses basket
3:30 PM - Feed
4:15 PM - Diaper change, tummy time, walk, play w/ toys
5:00 PM - Nap time in crib
6:00 PM - Feed
6:30 PM - Diaper change, rocker or play mat time
7:30 PM - Nap time w/ mom
8:30 PM - Feed
9:00 PM - Bath (every 3rd night), diaper change, put PJs on, read a story, say our prayers, bed time in crib
11:00 PM - Pump for stimulation and supply purposes
We do this same exact routine every single day to the best of our ability. We of course go out and run errands or go visit Grandma and Grandpa, but even then we typically try to stick to this schedule. Consistency is key. Kai seems to know and understand what is coming next and it's also helpful for us as parents. We know when we can schedule appointments, when we'll have time to get stuff done around the house, or simply the best time to run errands because he's so predictable. Obviously every day isn't perfect and he can be fussy but normally he is one happy baby!
As you can see, we are on a feed, wake, sleep cycle. This is called parent directed feeding per Baby Wise. We like this kind of routine because then it doesn't get Kai dependent on food to fall asleep. A well rested baby eats well. A well fed baby sleeps well. Kai is always so happy and alert and I can say with confidence it's because he sleeps and eats so good. Because he's well rested he is able to get full feedings every time so he's happy during wake time and is able to take a full nap before it's time to eat again. If he wakes up really early from a nap we can using narrow it down to gas because since he gets full feedings it isn't because he's hungry again. After we burp him or soothe him a bit he usually will fall right to sleep and sleep all the way till his next nap time.
Here are some frequently asked questions we get asked all the time about our schedule and how we feed Kai that I wanted to address for you all!
Do you wake Kai up from his naps to eat?
Yes we do. The only time we let him go past a feed time with a nap is if we are off schedule or if he just wouldn't go down for a nap at his usual time. We usually don't let him go more than 30 minutes past a normal feed time though because if we do then that messes up the rest of the day.
Has your supply gone down with him not eating in the middle of the night?
Not that I can tell. He eats a lot at 7am and I still have to pump after he's done eating. The rest of the day he seems to always be satisfied after his feedings and when I pump I still get the normal amount of 2-3 oz per pump session.
How do you feed Kai?
I nurse Kai at 7am, 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 3:30 pm and Caleb bottle feeds him pumped breastmilk at 6pm and 8:30pm.
Do you supplement with formula?
Yes, if we need to. Since Kai no longer eats at 11pm I've started to get a small supply of breastmilk that we can give to him. However, if he depletes the stocked breastmilk we do give him formula if he wants it. Like I said, we feed him till he's full. So if he wants more than the breastmilk we have available by bottle, then formula it is! We give him Similac Advanced Pro formula if you're looking for a recommendation.
How do you know how much Kai is getting when he nurses? And how much do you feed him from a bottle?
We feed him until he's full. It honestly varies at every feeding every day. Sometimes it's 1.5 oz sometimes it's 8 oz. It's whatever he wants. When I nurse him, he eat's until he pulls away or just won't suck anymore. It's usually around 15 minutes per side. Sometimes it's 10, sometimes it's 20. I know that can be frustrating to hear when you're trying to figure out what to do but I promise you will learn what your baby needs! Throughout the whole day though he gets around 24 oz total.
How do you get Kai to not fall asleep on the breast?
Kai was such a sleepy baby at first when it came to breastfeeding...sometimes he still is if he didn't get a good nap in. If he keeps dosing off I try blowing in his face, running my finger lightly over his cheek, patting him on the shoulder, and tickling his feet. I also talk to him a bunch. If he doesn't respond to any of those things then that is a sure fire way that I know he is done on that side.
Do you nurse Kai on both sides?
Yes, always. He's never not done both sides. The best advice I can give on this is if your baby is going longer than 20 minutes on one side and doesn't want to do the other side, try pulling them off at 2o minutes and switch them. 20 minutes should be enough time to have emptied one side. If it keeps happening make sure you pump on the side they don't nurse on so you don't get clogged up.
Where does Kai sleep?
At night, Kai sleeps in his Dock a Tot in his crib. He also sleeps like that for is 11am nap and his 5pm nap. His other nap times I hold him or have him in his baby wrap on me. Sometimes he will nap in his Moses basket or bassinet in our room if I want to take a nap, too.
How did you get Kai to sleep through the night?
We gradually worked our way to him sleeping from 9:30pm to 7am and it's all thanks to staying on schedule. During weeks 1-2 Kai ate at these times: 7am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, 1:30am, 4am. He napped between all those times with his only wake time really being just for a diaper change or bath time. During weeks 3-7 Kai ate at these times: 7am, 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, 3am with naps between all those times and about 30 minutes of wake time before each nap. During weeks 7-10 Kai ate at these times: 7am, 9:30am, 12:30pm, 3:30pm, 6pm, 8:30pm, 11pm with nap times between each feeding and about 45 min of wake time before his naps. When we got to week 10 and we wanted to drop the 11pm feeding, we knew he was ready because he would barely wake up at 11pm and would only have an ounce or two of milk at that feeding. To help pad him though we moved his 8:30pm feeding to 9:30pm for 3 days then moved it back to 9:15pm for 3 days and then landed back at 8:30pm. He hasn't woken up before 6:30am since he was 8 weeks old.
Do you let Kai cry it out?
We sort of let him "cry it out." We have a 15 minute maximum. If he cries for any longer than that we go to him and attempt to soothe him. Most of the time he does fall asleep within 5-10 minutes though. We follow this same philosophy during naps, too. He tends to be a sleep crier, so he's not actually awake and he's able to resettle himself in a couple minutes to finish out his nap. The only exception to this is if he does a horrible hold his breath scream, then we go to him right away because that usually means something is wrong.
Do you wait to feed him until his scheduled feeding time if he wakes up early from his nap or do you feed him right away?
So if the 15 minutes has passed and he still hasn't stopped crying then we feed him. Hunger ALWAYS trumps the clock. If he wakes up and he's not crying or seems to be hungry we'll wait a few minutes to see if he'll go back to sleep and if he doesn't we will still feed him. We try our best not to get off the feed, wake, sleep cycle. He almost will always have a little bit to eat if we offer it to him. From that point we just try our best to get back on track with our normal schedule the rest of the day.
Do you keep Kai up till it's his scheduled nap time?
No, if he's tired before then we put him down. Those are just the latest times we allow him to stay awake before we start to put him down for a nap.
I know this was a long one but hopefully this is a good model for any of you mamas out there who are trying to get on a schedule and are looking to get some full nights of sleep. Please remember though that you need to do what is best for you and your little one. The first month is very hard. It was no where near perfect for us. We kind of just stumbled our way along and after about 4 weeks it all really started to click. The first two weeks are the hardest. You need to get a good latch down, feed almost every 2-3 hours and never go more than 4 hours, and try to get your milk to come in if you're breastfeeding. That's really hard when you're so tired and trying to heal. But it gets better before you know it! Keep at it, and just remember, you are seriously the best mom in the world! If you have any other questions about schedules, sleep, or any other mom questions in general, please leave me a comment below and I will answer the best I can!
Make sure you're following me on Twitter for some #momlife tweets!
Hi all! Back to the grind of another week, but hopefully you all had a great weekend. We didn't really do much because the weather here was brutal this weekend! We tried to run some errands on Saturday but the wind and rain made it so hard. We ended up just staying home the whole weekend having a Star Wars marathon! Kai is starting to fit in to all his 3 month clothes and one of the things I bought for him for this age was a pair of R2D2 pajamas! I have some R2D2 PJs myself (mine are from last year but here are some similar ones), so we did some major twinning and snuggling in them this weekend and watched most of the saga.
So one thing I get asked all the time is how we can afford to travel as often as we do, and the answer always is because we budget for all of our travels! Seeing the world is our biggest hobby and in order to make that hobby happen we save our money to do it! Today I want to share with you how we budget for our big annual vacations that we take every year. We have a few simple tips that really make all the difference in allowing us to take trips of a lifetime all the time!
Pick One Big Destination a Year
We always settle on one big trip per year and then fit in smaller trips like road trips or trips to go see family and friends in to our travel schedule. Figuring out where you want to go is the first step though because that's how you're going to figure out how much it is going to cost you to go on said trip. I suggest doing this as far in advance as possible. Honestly, we pick where we want to go on our big vacations each year almost a whole year in advance.
Make a Rough Price Outline
After you pick where you want to go, it's time to start figuring out how much it'll cost you. I look up flight prices and hotel prices to the destination we have picked out. I always try to look for the average price as well as good deals and land somewhere in the middle for both flights and hotels. I add those two things up and then I add in around $1,000 in spending money if we are taking a domestic trip or $2,000 for international trips. Those amounts include everything that we would be doing except for renting a car if it's necessary. So I'm talking all food, shopping, and entertainment. If we have to pre-pay for any entertainment, then it comes out of that lump sum. Examples of these kinds of things would be sporting event tickets, theater tickets, and tours.
Input Trip Total in to Budget
Once we've figured out roughly how much it will cost us to go on our chosen vacation, we figure out when we want to go and add that rough price in to our budget. We have a nice spreadsheet budget that we use to track all of our bills that need to be paid each month. We have it extended out by a couple years for any annual bills, big expenses like Christmas or buying a new car, or for vacations, so we can see that any expenses we have this year won't severely effect us in the future. So if we want to take a trip this upcoming December, we would put the trip total in to one our December lines on our spreadsheet under additional expenses. This way we can look and see that we won't be too low in our savings or that it won't cause any issues with having enough money to pay bills around that time. It's a nice visual representation to make sure that we aren't stretching ourselves too thin by going on vacation. If it causes any issues then we go back to the drawing board of either changing the time of year we take the trip or pick a new destination that might not cost as much money. As we get closer to needing to book our vacation, we spread out the total to where we need to pay for our flight and our hotel. So with still using December as an example, we would take out the price of the flight and hotel and move it to October since that is when we would be spending that money to book the flight and hotel. Then all that is left for the vacation in December is the spending money we would need for the trip.
*If you're interested in how we set up our budget please let me know and I can do a post on it or just answer via e-mail on an individual basis. I know budgets can be intimidating!
Look for my next travel tips post about the best way to save money on travel, so you can travel for less more often! Where is your next big vacation to? We're hoping to make it down to Savannah, GA/Charleston, SC this fall! Hope you all have a great week ahead!
Last month I only finished one book but it was a really really good one! I read The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl and seriously loved it so much. The book covers the obvious...the way Danish parents parent their children. Danish people tend to rank the highest on the world happiness scale and there must be a reason for it. In my December book review, I mentioned that I read The Little Book of Hygge and how it helped me to learn the Danish way of Hygge. I actually found out about this book thanks to The Little Book of Hygge!
The Danes have an acronym for their parenting theory, and it is PARENT. It stands for play, authenticity, reframing, empathy, no ultimatums, and togetherness. Each chapter explains the importance of each part of PARENT and how to incorporate it in to your parenting style and children's lifestyle. A short run down of it all is it is important to just let your kids play. Nothing fancy involved. Let them truly use their imagination and interact with each other. The act of authenticity is important in encouraging your kids to be comfortable in their own skin. Being true and authentic with them goes a long way for their self esteem and learning to trust you and others around them. Reframing helps kids learn how to deal with negative situations and life's disappointments. It basically is teaching them to always look on the bright side. Teaching empathy is so important early on because it really is a learned skill. In the end we all end up with kind and caring children. The no ultimatum part is essential to prevent power struggles and hopefully keep any resentment from building up between parent and child. And lastly togetherness is hygge. It is about spending time together as a family and creating a close bond between everyone in your household.
Guys, every word of this book resonated with me. I was basically nodding and saying "yep" the entire time I was reading it. I honestly agree with every single thing this book has to say with every fiber of my being. That's how much I loved it. As I've mentioned before, I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and this book is heavily based on a child's psyche. The PARENT philosophy fosters good and happy behavior in all children. Every aspect of PARENT is so important to helping our children grow in to kind, loving, and happy people. I have made a vow to myself to parent with PARENT every day. If I catch myself deviating from it, I make a mental note and reframe myself! I know I can personally work on being more empathetic and try harder to look on the bright side of things. It all starts with me as a mom and how I can be the best model for Kai. I personally feel like by parenting Kai with PARENT, I will only become a more loving and happy person myself! Now that to me is a huge win. I actually feel like it has helped me with any baby blues I was experiencing postpartum, too. Just by thinking about how I can look at the upside of something or empathize with whoever or whatever is upsetting me, I have been able to overcome a lot of difficult emotions. As Kai gets older, I'm looking forward to really incorporating PARENT in to our lives. He is already such a happy baby, and I'm so excited that I've found the tools to hopefully keep him that way forever!
You can buy The Danish Way of Parenting on Amazon.
Make sure you add me on Goodreads so we can be book buddies! I love seeing what you all are reading these days, too. I'm still currently reading Jane Eyre...give me a break, it's a long one! But I'm really enjoying it so far!
I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
Follow on Instagram