Category: newborns (Page 1 of 9)

PPD & The Working Mom

PPDHeads up, this is an old post I wrote years ago when Ollie was an infant. It is no longer online so I am reposting it to help new moms. 

Hi. I’m Brandy and I have suffered from postpartum depression/anxiety…twice. I had no idea how to start this post so lets just shine light on the elephant in the room right off the bat (holy cliche sentence, Batman).

Being a mom is hard…working or not. We can all agree there. I can gladly state that the newborn phase of my children is the hardest (so far). While I don’t doubt my ability to mom or how good a mom I am, I know I have struggled with both Landon and Oliver as new babies. I also had great support to help me…and I know not everyone has that. As I stated in other posts, life at home isn’t for me. The colic. The crying. The long days of getting nothing done. The second time around was a little better knowing that it was a finite thing until I went back to work but still very isolating and scary at times. It wore me down.

I am willing to admit all this but I think some moms struggle with that. Sometimes that struggle is just a small nagging but sometimes it is more. Sometimes the long days with little sleep and so much frustration build and build. As hard as you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is really faint. You get angry over little things and no amount of deep breaths help. You break one day and scream at your kid and then bawl your eyes out at what you did. People telling you “it gets better” mean nothing because while you know they are right, you want it better NOW.

What made it better for me? Going back to work.

As insane as that sounds, it has done so twice. With 6 years of self reflection, I know this is because of how I am wired. I thrive on achievement, if not over-achievement, and meeting goals. I have my dream job where I get to create and discover every day. So to go from that to a shower being my biggest accomplishment for the day? SUCKS! I thrive at work. I get to do what I love…create and help people. I get to work with amazing people. And? I GET TO SIT DOWN. I get to go to the bathroom without someone crying. I don’t have to put some one to nap and then wait to see if they actually will. There is routine that HAS to happen. We have to be at work at X…so crying or not, it will happen. Once we get home, I have X amount of time until I can drink relax. Everything is calculated out and predictable(ish). Yes, I have more on my plate with a full time job but I can think about something other than sleep schedules and poop colors. It gives me balance.

A few weeks after I went back to work, I went to see my therapist. She could see the difference when I walked in the door. She was pretty amazed. I no longer needed my anxiety meds.There are still the calls from daycare you dread but it is part of the gig. The next day brings something new…not just more of the same.

This post was spurred by this post on Huffington Post that I related to instantly. Another mom who found relief in the working world. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I write this to show it is possible, as crazy as it sounds, to add more to your plate to make it better.

Have you dealt with PPD/PPA? If so, how did going back to work affect you? Better? Worse?

PSA: If you are struggling after your baby is born, even later on, please talk to your doctor. It is nothing to be ashamed of and completely normal. You may just have a case of baby blues but it could be more. Take care of yourself.  If you want to read other stores, please check out Postpartum Progress. I am also happy to answer any emails, tweets, etc if you need help. – Brandy

Formula AND Pumping, Not OR

formulaHappy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! With the celebration this year, the healthcare center at SAS asked me to participate. I went on camera and talked about my journey a little. When I was contacted about doing it, I jumped at it and asked if I could speak to a specific issue: formula and pumping. I did both with both my kids and while I don’t regret a thing, I always felt kind of alone. I felt like I was forging my own journey. There was little out there for support.  You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

So a few years ago, while I was in the throws of this for the second time, I wrote a post I am reviving below. It is still relevant for new moms struggling to figure out that magical machine in a bag. Here ya go, mama…

Read More

Baby sleep…it gets better

sleepI am going to blame SAD for the influx of traffic to my 4 month sleep regression post. It’s cold. It’s dark. New moms are stuck inside with babies who won’t nap. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, BABIES?! THIS IS PERFECT NAPPING WEATHER!” they scream…into a pillow…of tears. I get it.

Hang in there.

I didn’t have the cold but I had the blistering heat so I can tell you, you start to get creative. GET OUT OF THAT DAMN HOUSE. Strap them to you and go join the old folks for mall walking. Jostled baby to sleep, burning calories, walk up baristas and all the Werther’s candy you can stand! Don’t buy white Reebok sneakers. You’ve gone too far.

But seriously…it’s going to be ok. This sucks but you will make it. They WILL sleep again. They WILL stop screaming all the time. You are not doing anything wrong. And to prove it, even 2 years after I wrote that post, my friend Katie is right there with you. Go give her a hug, why don’t ya.

“Then, it’s 2am, and Harper woke up to practice rolling over, and was talking and then crying, and then talking some more, and then pooped. I changed it, then put her back down, and then was wide awake and so I was re-reading about Wonder Week 19 and there I saw it.

She is not starving, she is just distracted, and all of this dumbness is related to this big developmental leap…[keep reading]”


Did you land here from researching ALL THE BABY SLEEP THINGS?! Welcome to motherhood…the insanity never ends. Here are some more of my sleep resources from over the years. God speed.

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps – and other saying that make me wanna punch kittens

Wonder Week 19 aka 4 Month Sleep Regression – the motherload

A Journey in Sleep Training – how we faired with Oliver

First Daze and Nightzzz: A Sleep Coach Interview – a look into the life of a sleep coach

Newborn Tip of the Week {Sleep Tip}

The Holy Grail of Sleep – why I value sleep so much

Sleep sacks – Why we had our kids in sleep sacks until over 2

Bringing Home Baby to Your Baby – This we did when we added a kid

CTFD – learn to calm down about parenting or it will make you crazy

I Am Not A Baby Person – how I don’t like babies…and that’s ok

The Mental Health of Motherhood – take care of yourself


Bringing Home Baby to Your Baby

2012-07-29_1343594928This was a post requested by the lovely Katie Krongard. She is preggo with #2 and wanted to know about bringing home that second kid. I also have 3 of my 4 bridesmaids pregnant with their firsts so I figured there are some general nuggets of info they would like to know as well about coming home in general.

Speak Up

Bringing home a baby is a form of mental Olympics whether it is 1 or 4 babies. There needs to be adjustment. You have to find a new routine…it’s a challenge for all. But this is where I say you gotta speak up. Don’t over do it. If you feel awful, tell someone. Most people will move mountains to help. Your job is to heal and feed a baby. Everything else is gravy but you have to put on your big girl panties (you know the mesh ones from the hospital? those.) and speak up. You would like a sandwich. You would like your mother to do the laundry. You want to run the errand to get hemorrhoid cream to get out of the house for 10 minutes. Say what you mean. This isn’t a time to pussy foot around. You usually have an army of friends and family asking to help. LET THEM HELP but decide what level you are comfortable.

If you want to hold the baby all the time and let them do other stuff, tell them that. If you want to get outside, tell them that. Tell dad to take the big kid grocery shopping. It’s hard to read our minds on a good day but now slam that full of wacky hormones and people don’t know what you want. This is like your free pass to be bossy as hell…use it. That army isn’t gonna be waiting around forever.

“Kristi from Facebook: Say yes to any help offered regardless of who it comes from and no drastic changes to #1’s routine.”

Less Attention for Everyone

child eczemaMost moms are really worried about the fact that their precious snowflake won’t be  getting as much attention. Well they aren’t. Can’t lie there BUT my piece of advice is STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT. It isn’t something that you can perfect and make better with more planning…nope. It is sheer amount of minutes you have now has to be divided. Make that mental jump and come with me. It’s ok. Big kids don’t need your undivided attention all the time…I see that as unhealthy and going to lead you to a mental break down at some point. I already make the case for independent play no matter if you are bringing home more kids or not. I know that comes from being a working mom and knowing he is sharing and playing with other kids the majority of his day…he needs down time. It’s fun to watch their imagination blossom and independent play is ground zero for that.

And let them watch TV(ya know…if you do that). Stop feeling guilty about it. When you have had 3 hours of sleep and a sleeping baby on your chest, SCREW PLAY DOUGH AND PAINTING. This is TV time. It won’t be like this forever. Promise. Right now, you survive. I can’t stress enough to let the guilt drip off. You will feel guilty about other crap in the moment…you don’t need this part. It’s a phase. Life will resume.

Take Care of You

Some of your already have a problem with this with just the 1 kid. Just because you birth babies doesn’t mean you aren’t still a person. You have needs and wants. Denying yourself things “for the good of the family” often backfires. You get touched out. You get short with the people you love.

It’s ok to be selfish.

I_need_a_nap_time_playlist._What_would_you_put_on_yourIn a world where EVERYONE needs you, you need you. I have to speak generally here since I don’t know YOUR situation but if you have a partner, they need to help out. Just as I noted above, don’t beat around the bush about what you want. Be up front. “I think we need a date night.” “I would really appreciate it if you could take both kids out for a few hours so I can take a nap” “Can you be on night duty?”. For 1 or 10 babies, you need to think about yourself. Some spouses are going to take this differently, so be proactive. Start talking BEFORE the kid comes home. They are gonna have to put on their big boy/girl pants.

And to point out Ryan’s tweet above, let Dad have alone time too. Let him play video games while holding the baby. The baby will be fine and he releases some tension. You go for a walk. Openly discuss ability to “go out”. An hour to have dinner with a few friends can recharge anyone. Be gentle with one another when you can. Tensions are high a lot…build in some cushion.

I also found making a goal for myself to be helpful. “This weekend I am going to go to Target alone.” or “I would like to run/walk for 30 minutes.” You can’t really plan girls nights and such with a fresh baby so make little goals. It gives you something to look forward to when times get overwhelming. Sometimes that is just waiting for your husband to get home. It worked for me some days..even if that was “wait until there is another adult in the house so you can drink”.

Practical Ideas

Now I can say these overarching themes but until you bring that sucker home, you can only theorize and remember those. Some of you are just as type A as me and you want SOMETHING I CAN DO NOW. I get it.  So here are a few:

  • Buy a freezer, I asked the internetz what they thought and freezer meals was priority #1. Now you may be saying what I was saying when people told me that “Um I don’t have room to store that”. If you have the space, I highly recommend getting a small chest freezer. They can be pretty small. We cleared a spot in the garage and put ours. BEST DECISION EVER. We actually got ours after Ollie was born so we didn’t use for meals as much as breastmilk. This was crucial when my friend gave me 900oz of hers. That freezer is still awesome now. I now can buy extra meat on sale and keep it. I can keep 14 bags of broccoli because my children are broccoli monsters.
  • Put meals in the freezer. Now you have a freezer, stock that shit. Make casseroles. Buy quick TJ meals. Get everything easy you can. Then, if you have awesome friends like me, they will want to bring you food. to go along with my Speak Up section above, tell them what you do and don’t want. If you want casseroles to freeze, tell them that. Some of my friends would bring one hot meal and one freezer. I had everything from lasagna to vacuum sealed pulled pork. Stock up. You won’t want to cook…or if you do, make it easy. Those quick Trader Joes things made me feel like I was still providing for the whole family even if it was easy. Bonus with them, they heat up quicker than a whole lasagna.

  • Don’t Over Schedule Yourself – It’s hard not to see maternity leave as a little bit of freedom for working moms. I think it was almost more important to remember this with #2. I KNEW what it was like and I wanted to maximize my time at home. I think I did well and did what I wanted when I wanted but don’t start making play dates and such without knowing how to be UBER flexible. Some days it will be too much to get out of the house. Don’t schedule people to come over unless you REALLY want them. Don’t feel guilty calling and saying “today isn’t great”. Once again, be selfish.`{Thanks to Molly, for that one}
  • web2012OliverHospital14Get the big one a “gift” from the baby – So when Landon met Ollie the first time, it didn’t go as storybook as one would hope. He was shy and timid. Could have just been off time or whatever but he just didn’t care. Womp. The next day he came to the hospital, Kevin’s cousin had brought Landon a stuffed Lightening McQueen. Instead of saying it was from her, on the spur of the moment we said it was from Ollie. He LIT up. “Oh Ollie! Thank you!” He immediately started talking to him and giving him kisses. He told everyone his little brother got him a present. He was 3…he didn’t understand to question that concept. Older kids might have a harder time with that.
  • Don’t make it tit for tat – Now with the above suggestion I also caution everyone bringing something for both kids. Kevin and I are strong in the opinion that everything doesn’t have to be equal. Just because one kid gets something doesn’t mean the other has to by proxy. At this young it isn’t a big thing but that can spiral out of control in a few years. Landon doesn’t get presents at Ollie’s birthday and vice versa. They are individuals…not always a set.

  • Take a shower and “get ready”  everyday
    – It’s not gonna be easy but do it. Arrange your day to allow it to feel better. Feel human. For me, it was just getting up when K got up before the kids and do it then. “Getting ready” would be slapping on concealer under my eyes and maybe some mascara. We are not talking the full deal but I felt tons better just having accomplish that every day. I even did this in the hospital with Ollie (because my recovery was so much easier..pace yourself). I showered within hours after he was born. It wouldn’t have been possible with Landon but know that you have a team of people to help in there…USE IT. {Thanks to Lindsey for reiterating this one}
  • Don’t listen to Mary Sunshine – “Isn’t it a blessing?” “Isn’t it the best?” “Sleep when the baby sleeps” All those made me STAB STAB STAB. You just pushed a human from your vagina. You might feel AWFUL and it’s ok to say “nope! This is kinda terrible. I mean the baby is awesome but I feel like shit”. DO NOT LET THESE PEOPLE GET INTO YOUR BRAIN. This can start some PPD. People mean well…I totally get it but if your frame of mind can’t take that right now, it’s like a poison.  So many people have made it to my blog because I told this side of motherhood. The part only some talk about. I have heard too many times “I thought something was wrong with me”. Know what is normal and not feeling like mary fucking poppins after birth is one. That shit ain’t the norm, yo.
  • And while this is a list for other people to get you, take a look. Menus from local takeout places, gift cards to drive thrus….this is about as practical as it gets.

So there we go. A round of knowledge I am pulling from 20 months ago (YOU GUYS MY BABY IS 20 MONTHS!!!!) so help fill in what I am missing, seasoned mamas.

The Mental Health of Motherhood

PostpartumLast week I was able to attend the Listen To Your Mother show for Raleigh/Durham put on by my good friend Keanne. It was beautiful and hearing all the women’s stories was so special. They were funny, caring, sarcastic and REAL. Motherhood isn’t all newborn snuggles and bake sales. It’s gritty and puts you up against some of the hardest decisions of your life {beyond nursery colors and to breast feed or not}. And while I truly enjoyed every performance, even the one about the potty training doll, I really latched on to the story from Ronnie Bower about her postpartum depression. I mean that isn’t really a shocking statement since I have a special place in my heart to help new moms battle such a terrible thing but her exact words slapped me in the face.

You see, that was like hearing my own voice. Really…read this. I have always been a positive, bubbly person and then to face the reality that a joyous event {birth} and just feel overwhelmed and some times just plain hate it, felt foreign and bizarre. I loved my baby but the world of sleep deprivation and hormones seemed like some ring of hell. Ring being the perfect word because you just kept going around in circles doing the same things every day. Rocking, shushing, jiggling…over and over and over. Slap on top of that the sentiments that “this is the best thing, being a mother” and “be sure to treasure these moments because they will be gone”, and the guilt pushed me further down. I made it out and lived to talk about it. Then it creeped back with Oliver but I knew the signs and got help ASAP. My new job here is to reduce the stigma and help more moms get the help they need. To make it ok for then to say they are having a hard time. A safe place, if you will.

So for all the new followers I have gotten lately, at home with your 4 month old babies who aren’t sleeping, I want you to know it’s ok if you aren’t happy right now. You aren’t a bad mom…at all. It’s ok to admit it. I know it’s hard…really really hard. To let go of the control and admit you need some help or just to say “THIS FUCKING SUCKS”. The mommy club will welcome you with fistbumps and a glass of wine because we FEEL you {oh how we feel you}. And admitting it isn’t rainbows and kittens only makes you a better mom. You might be thinking “I’m not sad. I’m not crying all the time” but that isn’t everything, you see. Postpartum depression and anxiety take tons of forms. Jill learned that with her second when her anxiety became crippling. Reading her realization she needed help is empowering and I encourage every one to take a look. Then just on Sunday, my friend Jen opened up about the same type of issues with her second and how the real education process needed is for EVERYONE to learn about it so there is less of a stigma for those new moms. I high recommend sending this to any families expecting a baby in the near future. The moms, the dads, the grandparents, siblings…ALL OF THEM need to read it. And there are tons of more stories at Postpartum Progress along with other resources to help you {really help you}. The internet is huge and filled with some crazy shit but it is also full of some of the best community you have ever seen. I’ve seen it work miracles over and over and it is there to help you if you will let it and know where to look.

If you want to talk about it, email me. I will respond as quickly as I can, I promise. You don’t have to feel alone…there is village waiting for you.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.

I honestly was going to write about something silly today but noticed it was Mental Health Blog Day and thought I would join in. You can too.

The Angel the Internet Gave Me

Ever wish you had a medical professional on speed dial 24/7 while parenting? You know when you suspect an ear infection…10 minutes after the pediatrician closes. Or the question that isn’t worth copay but you know they would just say “you should bring him in”? Would you pay sweet cash to have a lactation consultant at you call when you can’t figure out a pain at 6 am on a Tuesday?

Well, my friends, I would like you to meet the new mommy guardian angel: Nancy Holtzman. Vice President and cofounder of Isis Parenting, Nancy answers new mom question on twitter…all day long. She has an entire thriving business dedicated to just that..helping new families. Sleep training, feeding, and every day life of babies and children. She covers it all. She is there to answer questions about poop that you are embarrassed to ask. But I would like to point an incident that happened yesterday afternoon. I picked up Ollie from daycare to take him to the nursing room and be puked all over me, the couch, the floor, the stool…you get the picture. We packed him up, covered him in a blanket and headed home. Halfway home? More puke. So I tweeted…and within SECONDS, Nancy responded with a post about keeping hydrated and how to she care of baby and yourself. See? My guardian angel. She then chatted back and forth with me about things to try with him to help him all evening. PRICELESS!


Coincidentally, I did an interview with her yesterday for Liberating Working Moms.

This time around with Oliver, I found a saving grace on the internets in Isis Parenting. A group based out of the North East to serve new families. They have classes (online and in person), provide online resources, research baby products and are there to answer the questions new moms and dads have. I think their mission statement sums it up:

At Isis, we love babies and the people who come with them. We are committed to providing innovative programs and a highly edited selection of products for expecting and new parents…all under one roof. We nurture a thriving community of families who learn as much about the transition to parenthood from each other as they do from the experts on our team. Isis makes navigating childbirth and parenting easier, less stressful and more joyful.

I fell in love with them on Twitter. Not only do they have a main company account to promote their business, but Vice President and co-founderNancy Holtzman is online to answer folks’ questions…[keep reading]

Now go follow Nancy and Isis Parenting. You won’t regret it.

Meet Conor

The Mann clan grew by one in the last few weeks. Meet Conor. Son to Kevin’s cousin Sarah. Kevin and Sarah were born 6 days apart and have grown up practically brother and sister. Conor is the closest we are to being Aunt and Uncle. He was born almost 6 months to the day after Oliver. He came into this world with a stubborn start but is doing beautifully. I headed over to the new family’s place on Sunday to get a few shots of the little bugger. He is too cute and I can’t wait for he, Oliver and Landon to spend their summers together on the river shore like Sarah and Kevin did.
conornewbornwm-2 conornewbornwm-6 conornewbornwm-9 conornewbornwm-12conornewbornwm-15conornewbornwm-5conornewbornwm-4conornewbornwm-3

And this is my favorite. The nursing hand. SWOONconornewbornwm-14

Another Breastfeeding Soapbox Rant

breastfeeding rant I awoke on the other morning to this article in my Twitter timeline. “Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Mothers?”. As expected, I jumped right into reading while my shower was warming. It gave me some good brain candy to chew as I washed.

Breastfeeding is one “thing” that gets me up on the soapbox. For one, I love it and two, I had to put in a lot of effort. Some might say too much for something that should “just happen”. While it is beautifully natural, it isn’t something you just get used to right off the bat. No volume of deep breathes and happy thoughts can prepare you for that on your nips.  Even the second time.

If I find out someone is pregnant, I start throwing breastfeeding tips and suggestions at them (if they plan to). I hate to be “that girl” about it but I feel like the pregnancy world (and the medical one, according to the article) are failing new moms. There is so much emphasis on birth. Birth classes, books, breathing techniques, what kind of tennis balls to pack in your bag, your birth plan, etc. You spend so much time worrying and preparing for something that will happen…one way or another. Yes, you should be prepared for problems to arise. You should know about pitocin, drug options, c sections, positions and the like. You shouldn’t go in blind but with all this energy spent researching one bodily function, another is often completely forgotten.

You may read a little bit in a book about how breast is best. You might have some friends who breastfeed. You might see some information about engorgement in the first few days and maybe a little anatomy. Some folks go to a class to just hear them tell you WHY breastfeeding is best. They don’t examine you, show you positions or even talk about pumping usually. An entire WORLD of information you are not privy to until it is 3 am as you are in tears googling on your phone why your nipples are on fire. It is a travesty. And then there is the big “if it hurts, you are doing it wrong” bullshit. If there was ever a line to make you feel like shit, it would be that one. Even with the stack of knowledge I had, when Landon was put on me in that first hour, I remembered that line and asked “I thought it wasn’t supposed to hurt?”.

So my first beef with the medical community is lack of education.  I personally think OBs should have an appointment or more devoted to breastfeeding.  What about a once a month seminar as part of your package? I know they are willing to answer questions but you don’t know what you don’t know. But until my dream comes true, self education is all you got. With that said, here are some tips I recommend to new moms-to-be:

  • Pregtastic Podcasts – Talked about them many times before. Great resource for all things pregnancy and new mom related. Tons of tips on breastfeeding from all different perspectives.
  • La Leche League meetings – Now I know this is scary for some. I recommend looking into lunch and learn type meetings. There are many in the Triangle area once a week. It is usually in a small shop where you can just drop in, chat, ask questions. I went while I was pregnant with Landon. BEST DECISION. I just went in and said “what advice do you have?” They were MORE than happy to load me up. Then I visited a few more times to just be there. Watch people feed their kids. Hear their struggles. I even got to see a new mom come in needing help with a 5 day old. I never felt like they were judging me or being extra hippy. Just normal women. Also know these women are there to HELP. Don’t be shy. It was nice to know I had that in my back pocket.
  • Isis Parenting webinars – Granted I didn’t know of these until like last week but HOLY HELL, BATMAN! What a great resource. They cover all kinds of issues and even have a live chat every Thursday at noon EST. I can’t wait to delve into them more!
  • Talk with your OB – Ask about what they recommend you do to prepare. You never know what they might have to help you. It may just be a brochure for a support group or a lactation consultant but it is SOMETHING.
  • Know you lactation consultant options – And now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you have access to free consults. Check out Mom in A Million’s post about that. Just know the number you might be calling in those first few days. Once again, they are there to help.

Then there’s Hollywood. I think breastfeeding isn’t mainstream enough. So many babies are just bottle fed, which I get it, breastfeeding is hard to “act” but they could at least attempt. Show a mom in a rocking chair with a baby across her lap. A cover even. But even more than that, they make birth scary. Miranda covered that here when talking about zombie birth but she is right. Hollywood makes birth so scary and full of drama. I imagine this is why pregnant women spend so much energy worrying about birth and never seeing the ins and outs of newborn life. Even shows like Bringing Home Baby don’t really show it. They show the family coming home to family and visitors and one night. I want to see a show about 2-3 weeks in. The REAL stuff.

So while things have definitely gotten better over time, it ain’t perfect. You still need to arm yourself with knowledge. So hopefully this list will get you thinking and researching before you have a baby because trust me, you don’t want to be researching after the fact.

How was your breastfeeding experience? Did you prepare ahead of time?


Swaddling. Either families love it or hate it. We have loved it. Both boys have been happiest swaddled early on. Thanks colic! Their startle reflex was pretty bad. They never could lay flat and fall asleep unless there had been rocking to get them there and then you only got until the next cycle kicked in.

With Landon we learned the glory of the premade swaddles with velcro. We used Summer Infant ones. I never could get the hang of the Miracle blanket and doing it with a blanket took too long. He was burritoed up for every sleep early on. Then? I found out his daycare wouldn’t allow swaddling because of the loose blanket rules. CUE NEW MOM PANIC!  He will never sleep! And how will he take being swaddled at home and not at school? Clearly he will taste freedom and never want back in! MY LIFE IS OVER!

News flash: It was fine. He was allowed a sleep sack at school. This became his sleep cue for all sleeps eventually. It also helped that on his first full day of daycare he rolled to his tummy and fell asleep for 4 hours. So while this was great on the no swaddling front, we were faced with a baby who REALLY wouldn’t sleep on his back. So we had to drop the swaddle cold turkey one day. Scary stuff, folks. For whatever reason, he would only roll over at daycare to sleep. It was maddening. Trying to put his little 10 week old self to sleep unswaddled on his back. He HATED it. He would slap himself and scream. Awful. One night we called uncle and just roll him onto his belly and never looked back. He slept like a champ and had perfectly good head/neck control. He is still a tummy sleeper for the most part.

Now cue Ollie. Another colic baby who loves a tight swaddle. His daycare does allow swaddling! Hooray! They use blankets and burrito them right up. I am told he breaks free constantly but whatever…not my problem! Velcro works just fine for us. Now with Oliver, while he liked being swaddled and needed it to go to sleep, he also seemed to enjoy fighting it throughout the night. This became his soothing mechanism. He would wake up, wiggle against the swaddle and fall back asleep. He didn’t cry or really make that much noise. Just wiggle. It was fun to watch on the monitor.

But then the wiggle backfired. He would wiggle until his feet hit the side and then WAHHHHHHHH. I don’t know if he thought someone was there and not attending to him or what. It wasn’t like whacking your head or something. Just a simple graze of the bumper would send him shrieking. I began setting him like a sundial. At bedtime I would angle his feet towards the back of the crib with his head in the middle. He always scoots left so it would take him longer to hit the other side. One night I did it so well that he did a 180. EXTRA SLEEP FOR ME!

Now while being happy while swaddled, he still fought to get those hands out. And the best part is that when he would get a hand free? FREAK OUT! DUDE! That is what you were TRYING to do. Why are you pissed now? I could hear the cry and know a hand was free. Little turd.

So a few weeks ago, he was fighting pretty hard. He also developed a love for his hands while playing. Chewing on them, sucking on them, etc. I took this as a sign that it was time to start phasing out the swaddle. Since I had recently made contact with an awesome sleep coach, I emailed her and said “when do you know it’s time?”. Here is what she told me:

“The age the medical community says to stop swaddling is around 14 weeks. That’s the age many babies start rolling over. However, I have many clients who have gone well beyond that. It really depends on your child. BUT, when he does start rolling over you’ll have to wean from the swaddle.

I like weaning with one arm out, then sleep sack. You can cold turkey it, too. Start at nap time then switch to night time. Either way, it takes time for your little one to settle in to sleeping without the swaddle.”

The day I emailed? Oliver turned 14 weeks old. He still hasn’t rolled over or really shown many signs. So that evening I swaddled him with 1 arm out for his dinner time nap. He sucked on his hands for awhile and then fell right asleep. I decided we should go for it and did the same at bed time. The night was just about like all the others. No more wakings than usual and he put himself to sleep a good number of times. WIN! He still seemed to wiggle trying to free the other hand so the next night, I put him to bed both arms out. FAIL. He tried for about 30 minutes to go to sleep but couldn’t do it. Reswaddled with 1 arm and he was out. Lesson learned.

So for now he is rocking one hand out. It seems to give him something to soothe with and still keep him snug. I am wondering when we take the next leap but a little nervous. Once you get a taste of sleep you don’t want to challenge that.

So what has your swaddle experience been? How did you wean off of it?


Newborn Survival Guide

Newborn Survival Guide

Newborn Survival GuideAfter Landon, I compiled a list of must have items I used with him (3 years to the day actually!). I recently saw it was getting some hits and decided I should update from my experience since then and with Oliver.

So here was a quick list from that post and my thoughts since then about them.

Top 10 From Round One: Revised

  1. Target nursing tanks – still love. Sadly, the quality of the Target ones went down hill in 3 years. I still have my old ones and much prefer them. They would adjust more than the new ones. I have to buy the bigger size for the cup size but the straps are too long. Womp. I also bought 2 “nicer” ones this go round to wear out and about because it was so hot. I would actually wear a nursing bra under them for added support but still accessible. I am now wearing them under my sweaters and such to keep my belly warm when I am nursing and pumping. I usually wear them on top of a nursing bra again for more support. I then usually sleep in the same one from the day. I pretty much always have one on.
  2. Snap shirts – We didn’t use these as much this time. Oliver was kind of indifferent to being dressed. He either hated it in all forms or didn’t care. I passed over the snap shirts more often this time in favor of just a onesie.
  3. Swaddles – Still crucial. Oliver is still in one now. He didn’t roll early so he is still being burritoed.  I even tried the Miracle blanket but I don’t like it really. It never could get tight enough the way I did it.
  4. Cradle SwingCradle swing -YES! We even bought a second one in a bit of impulse buying at 10 one night when he wouldn’t sleep any other way. We had it in our room and then in his. I was great for when it just wanted to be walked to sleep. Also helped extend cat naps. If he woke up after 20 min, I just moved him there and he would sleep another hour or more.
  5. Water bottle – Still used all the time. THe Nalgene is still my favorite one for portability and being able to operate one handed.
  6. Angelcare Monitor – We haven’t really used this time but he isn’t belly sleeping yet. It will be on when that starts, I presume.  I do know we won’t use it for as long. Near the 1 year mark with Landon, I wanted to throw it out the window. He was moving too much and it would go off. Someone ::ahem:: (not me) was still terrified and insisted on using it.
  7. Cloth diapers – Still valid. This is all Oliver’s daycare uses for burp clothes. THOUSANDS of them. They have the best soak up for spit up.
  8. Baby carrier – This was even more crucial this time. Going out with Landon to the park, playdate, parade, walks, etc. I also knew that he would always sleep this way so he slept for meals, walks, me blogging and jiggling. Some say their babies hated carriers and I weep for them. I would have lost sanity long ago without one.
  9. White noise machine – Landon still uses his to this day. We actually have 4 going in the house at night. We have a ipod dock in the bathroom between them (pocket doors) to cut down on waking each other up. Oliver has a iPod dock in his room and then a small white noise machine in the corner of the crib with the heart beat. I don’t think he really needs that one but it does provide a nice night light!
  10. iTunes track of vacuum cleaner – Once again, I listened to hours of this bit I found a white noise app to be better this time around. I could switch the sound a bit when I was going nutty over the high pitch vacuum. It was also nice to put in the swing with him on the iPhone speaker.

A New Top 10 12

  1. Additional pumping parts – It seems pricey to buy a second set of everything but TOTALLY WORTH IT. Especially now with more meals at home and even more dishes  to wash, sometimes I want to be lazy. Also this allowed me to keep a set in the fridge at home and then a set to go to work without having to wash the second I got home. I would say register for multiple sets but you don’t know what size flange you need until you use one…so find that out and then order.
  2. A simple stand up mobile/gym. I stumbled onto this later than 3 months with Landon but ended up finding one at Walmart on clearance. Nothing fancy and be sure you can change out the objects in it. Our’s has 3 hooks that we rotate toys out of with the help of the little plastic rings. I liked this SO much more than the expensive play mats. For one, we don’t have a lot of room. Both boys have spent many hours on the padded ottoman in the living room. With this mobile, you could just place it over them when needed and then set off somewhere else. It wasn’t a big contraption. Save the money.
  3. A nice travel mug – or get used to cold coffee. I would make some and sip here and there when I had a free second. It was also nice so you weren’t risking spilling coffee on a feeding baby. I recommend the double walled metal ones from Starbucks. They are expensive but totally worth it. We are talking HOURS of hot coffee. Be sure to get one with a lid you can operate with one hand.
  4. Feeted pants – Baby socks are annoying. I do have some we like but feeted pants and sleepers are the way to go by far.
  5. Ear plugs – It took me years to get this with Landon. I had severe sleep anxiety. Even if he slept, I would lie awake waiting for him to wake up. Every toss and turn would wake me up. It sucked. This also was a result of a husband that wanted the monitor turned up. So I started wearing ear plugs. I can still hear if he baby cries but I just don’t hear all the rest of the grunting and moving around. Also helpful when you need to take a nap and remove yourself from chaos.
  6. Pumping bra – Hands free at it’s finest. I can’t even remember how I did it without it now. I have to recommend this one. I have a fancier one but it is too thick and complicated. Great gift for a mom that will pump in any capacity.
  7. A smart phone – One for ERRBODY. I needed it while nursing for entertainment. I needed it for white noise in a variety of places (car, swing, stroller). I needed one for the toddler to keep him entertained when playing zone defense. I needed it to look up crap all the time. Not sure how I would survive without it.
  8. Black out curtains – Both my boys were searching out light in the nursery to fight sleep. It was so aggrevating. Blackout curtains to the rescue. It also helps keep them asleep a little longer :).
  9. Lorex MonitorVideo monitor – I have talked about this before. Great for seeing what is going on without interrupting. I can see when he wakes up happy. I can see if he is free from the swaddle. I can see his face if he is going back to sleep or up for good. I wish we would have had it with Landon…I think he would have been sleeping through the night early if so.
  10. Netflix/Hulu Plus – We don’t have cable. We have AppleTV with both of these accounts. I could watch, pause, startover anything. I watched 3 seasons of That 70’s show while just nursing on maternity leave! When Kevin was home, we watched Scrubs. Glorious. It is also nice to have on demand watching for when you need to brainwash your toddler while you nurse the baby!
  11. Nice bottle bag – We have to take a bottle bag with Oliver to daycare. I used the same one with Landon. Trick is to buy a tall bag for when the bottles get bigger. This also applies to the bottle bag you take to work to pump. I need mine to hold 2 small bottles to pump into and then one large for collecting. Then I put the horns in the bag too to save on washing.
  12. Nice drying rack – Even with a baby who only takes usually 2 bottles a day, we still have lots to wash with pump parts and such. Get a nice rack. Soon it will be bottles and little food containers. Get one that takes up less space and still has a lot of spots. Think vertical.


Hopefully this helps someone out. I know there are a million of these suckers on the web. This was just our take on it.

Now a break down of helpful previous posts about newborns!

Welcome Oliver Daniel: A Birth Story

Welcome Landon Thomas!



Newborn Tip of the Week #3 {Babywearing}

Review: Brica Infant Comfort Canopy Car Seat Cover

New Mom Gifts

Baby Noises

Things I Love – Amazon Subscribe and Save


Things I Love – Pregtastic Podcasts

Things I love – Lorex Baby Monitor



Newborn Tip of the Week {Sleep Tip}

Infant Sleep

First Daze and Nightzzz: A Sleep Coach Interview

Tellin it like it is: CIO

Infant Nighttime Routine Win




When Breastfeeding Hits a Snag

Oliver Feeding Update

Newborn Tip of the Week #1

Newborn Tip of the Week #2 {Pumping}

Newborn Tip of the Week {Pumping Storage}

Pumping and the Working Mom


Let’s talk about boobs

Let’s hear it for the num nums!

Nipple Sandwiches


Babies are hard:

Mental Leap 1

Wonder Week 12: Transitions

Landon 2.0

I hate

Transitioning to Work

A little more than the blues

Let’s talk PPD {Part 1 of 2}

Let’s Talk PPD {Part 2 of 2}

Therapy writing

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