• Category Archives: baby

    Baby Gear & Baby Tech Gamechangers

     

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Stuff You Need for Baby 2016

    Before Quincy was born this year, I thought I knew all there was to know about baby gear. He’s only 18 months younger than my middle child, so I assumed not much had changed. Then I discovered all the new stuff out there — baby gear and tech products that are absolute game changers. So even though I didn’t plan to add many new things to our list of essentials the third time around, I couldn’t resist picking up some of the innovative, cool baby gear that’s really been life changing with baby #3.

    And here’s the thing: These baby gear game changers will come in handy for new moms, as well as those that (like me) think they already have everything they need. Because when something makes your life easier as a mom, it doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran momma or a first timer. From something as simple as a $15 gas reliever to a jogging stroller that is the first of it’s kind, these are the baby gear game changers that every parent needs to know about.

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Owlet Baby Heart Rate and Oxygen Monitor

     

    This smart sock is designed to alert you if your baby stops breathing. Using pulse oximetry, the same technology that hospitals use, the smart sock monitors baby’s breathing and oxygen levels while they sleep, so you can rest worry-free. I think nervous first-time parents will especially love this! You can read more about it here and get $25 discount through this link just for my readers (no code required).

     

    UPPAbaby G-Link Double Umbrella Stroller

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Having two under two is a special kind of challenging, and a double stroller is essential. The UPPAbaby G-Link is perfect for on-the-go — I keep this in our minivan and use it when we do school drop-off and pick-up for my oldest, quick errands, and zoo and museum visits. It’s super light and easy to fold and store, and my oldest can even help push. The best part is each seat can recline separate of the other, so one can nap or both can. And the seat has an insert allowing it to work starting at birth.

    Fridababy FeverFrida the iThermometer

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    From the genius minds behind the NoseFrida, the FeverFrida is a wearable device that constantly monitors your baby or child’s temperature and syncs it to an app on your smartphone. I recently used this with my oldest as he was suffering from ear infections and fever and it was a lifesaver since he hates getting his temp taken. I rested easier knowing if his fever spiked I would get an alert and could go check on him.

    DockATot

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Designed to offer a safe, snug, and soothing environment for baby to sleep in and totally breathable — this product is a great option to put inside baby’s crib or to use if you co-sleep. And it helps baby transition to new sleeping environments, like co-sleeping to crib or crib to bed and works as a travel bed, too. I’ve used this with Quincy from an early age and he seems to love the cozy feeling and falls asleep easily.

    Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Shopping with baby just became that much easier thanks to this cool product. Solved is the “my infant carrier takes up the whole shopping cart” problem — Binxy Baby lets you put baby directly into the hammock or secure your infant seat safely into it, leaving the cart beneath baby free to fill with groceries or all that stuff at Target you don’t need.

    Hatch Smart Pad

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    This changing pad is probably my favorite new thing in baby gear. It is a changing pad and a scale in one, helping you keep track of baby’s weight, feedings, sleep, and more. It syncs to an app on your phone so you can have access to the info anytime and anywhere. It’s especially helpful if you’re a breastfeeding mom and need to check your baby’s weight between doctor’s visits. I have one and I love it! It has been a lifesaver with Quincy’s reflux management since his med dosage depends on his weight.

    FridaBaby NailFrida

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Two things on this list should be on every registry and in every baby gift, regardless of whether you’re having your first baby or your 5th. So simple, so affordable, and so helpful, the NailFrida are nail clippers for baby that have a safety window so you can see the nail where you are clipping. It also has a curved blade similar to baby scissors — making it almost impossible to clip baby’s skin when you are trimming their nails. This thing is worth its weight in gold times 100.

    Ergobaby Adapt

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    I’ve been vocal about my love of baby wearing and Ergobaby carriers here on my blog and also on my instagram feed. The only downside was that you can’t really use the carrier with newborns without an insert. It is sort of a pain in the ass to always have to do the insert, remember to take it places, etc. Well, Ergobaby fixed all of that with their new Adapt 3 position carrier. You can use it starting at birth and without an insert and until your child is 45 pounds (which is way longer than any of my kids every wanted to be worn).

    Orbit Baby O2 Jogging Stroller

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Love to jog? This stroller is for you. It works with baby in either the parent- or forward-facing directions and with either the infant seat or toddler seat attached; it’s the first jogging stroller of its kind to do so. It also makes for a great urban stroller when you aren’t exercising.

    The 4Moms Highchair

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    After two babies I still had not found a highchair I loved. Until I met the new one from 4Moms (I have not found a product yet that they make that I don’t love!) This highchair is super easy to put together, even easier to clean (the most important feature of any highchair in my opinion), is lightweight, and doesn’t take up a ton of space. But the really cool feature of the chair is that it has a magnetic tray, which is how the tray locks into place (making it dummy-proof). And it is compatible with special magnetic dishes (the chair comes with one bowl and you can buy more here) that are designed to stay put on the tray.

    The FridaBaby Windi
    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    The Fridababy Windi is so simple and so brilliant! All infants suffer from gas from time to time, and if you have a baby with colic (like I do) the suffering is much more frequent. This little tool helps relieve baby’s discomfort quickly and easily. It seems a little weird at first, but I’m telling you IT WORKS MIRACLES. Buy a few so you don’t run out when you need them.

    New Baby Gear & Tech That Will Make Your Life as a Parent Easier | Oh Lovely Day

    Now let’s be honest for a sec: do you NEED all of these? No, you don’t need ALL of them. But you are going to want them all, and for good reason. I would say you do need the FridaBaby products for sure. If you are a first time parent, I think the Owlet is an essential. If you have multiple kids, the G-Link and Binxy Baby make life way more convenient. And the Hatch Pad is a game changer for breastfeeding moms. Every single one of these products will add a bit more convenience to your life, and as a mom of 3 (especially two under two) convenience is gold.

    Do you have any of these? Share your thoughts, or any other new(ish) products that are game changers for you.

     

    This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something by clicking one of these links, I may make a small commission, which helps me to continue to bring you helpful content here on this blog. Thanks for the support.

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    Favorite Gift Ideas For Baby Girls + A Giveaway

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    You’ve heard the phrase “always a bridesmaid” — well, I’m the boy mom version of that. Always a boy mom, never a girl. And I’m ok with that, really I am (maybe 10% of me still dreams of a baby girl…) But as a blogger who gets to work with and learn about so many great brands, makers, and products I know what I’m missing in the cute girl stuff department. My best friend recently had a baby girl (after having two boys as well. Actually, I have TWO besties who had two boys and then had a baby girl!) so I revisited my favorite cute little things for baby girls list to send her. Then I thought, why don’t I share a whole baby girl gift guide on the blog and just get it out of my system 🙂 So, here ya go!

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    I love both of these brands for my boys and they wear them both often. But this hot pink hamburger onesie from Mamacase Prints is quite possibly my favorite ever. And the hair accessories, swing dresses, rompers, tights, and bubble gum pink striped blanket from June & January make my ovaries ache.

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    Yes, boys can wear Freshly Picked moccs. And my boys do. But they can’t (well, I guess they could, but it wouldn’t be the same…) wear the pink and gold heirloom moccs! Or any of the other super girly colors or prints that are all my favorites. I mean, aren’t these just the cutest!?

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    I use the onesie stickers and the memory book from Lucy Darling for my boys. But I have ALL the heart eyes for the girl versions! The pastels and the gold and the florals — they make this girly mama happy. A must have for any baby girl for sure.

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    I’ve been obsessed with the swaddle scarves from Coveted Things for, like ever. But this diamond stunner is perfect for a baby girl! Diamond swaddles are a baby girl’s best friend, you know?

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    One of my favorite baby gifts to give any baby are personalized wooden state rattles from Bannor Toys — I super love that you can include birth details to make for a wonderful keepsake. But my inner childhood princess is a little obsessed with their star wand.

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    Every time new baby products come out from the Oh Joy for Target line (from one of my favorite design blogger mommas, Joy Cho), it makes me wish I had a girl to buy it all for. Sure, there are baby boy things too and they are really cute also — Quincy has quite a lot of it. But the girl versions — the neon polka dots and patterns on the swaddles and clothes, and this flamingo lovey — are darling! Cutest lovey award winner in my book (the hedgie that Quincy has is adorable too and may just be in my baby boy gift guide coming next mont, hint hint!)

    Favorite Gift Ideas for Baby Girls | Oh Lovely Day

    The best part is I’m giving a bundle of these away to one lucky reader. One of you will win:

    You know what else I love about these goodies? They are all made by momma entrepreneurs! How amazing is that!?

    The giveaway runs from 8/1/16 through 8/6/16 and a randomly selected winner will be chosen and displayed in the entry widget below on 8/7/16. Enter below and good luck!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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    7 Tips for Dealing with Infant Acid Reflux and Our Experience with Reflux and Colic

    Tips for dealing for infant reflux and colic from a mom who has been there - SO helpful. Lifesaving tips to get you through those really hard months of screaming and give both you and your baby much needed relief and sleep! a must pin!!

    If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Instagram, you are probably well aware of our struggle with infant acid reflux with our third baby. It has been so so hard and I know that when I was in the thick of it I spent so much time online looking for answers. So I thought that if I shared our experience, the signs and symptoms that Quincy showed early on, and what ended up working for us that maybe I’ll help another exhausted momma out there googling for answers on her phone while she’s nursing like I did.

    Looking back, Quincy showed some signs of reflux right away, while we were still in the hospital (we had to stay an extra week due to some delivery complications and an infection.) I remember the nurse coming in to give Quincy medicine and he would make this sound like he couldn’t breathe – like he was gasping for air. The nurse and I both made mention of it like it didn’t seem normal, but he was fine otherwise. The gasping got worse later on and I realized that basically anytime I gave him medicine or when he would nurse that often happened and I think it was because stuff was coming up due to reflux, and it made him feel like he was choking when we were trying to get something else down.

    tips for dealing with infant reflux 2

    By two weeks old, Quincy had full-on colic. Like screaming for hours, not sleeping, writhing in pain colic. It was horrible. We went to the pediatrician and heard “sounds like colic. He’ll grow out of it eventually.” But since this was my third baby and not my first my gut told me it was more than that. I just knew something was causing the colic — it was a symptom of something bigger, not the main issue. I now strongly believe that colic is usually a symptom of severe gas, reflux, food sensitivities or allergies, or a combination. Seriously, if you think your baby has colic or if he or she is showing colic-like symptoms (prolonged and pained crying for hours, multiple times a week, for at least a week) I would try the tips below and see if there is any improvement. Your baby (and you) do not have to suffer and just “wait for him to grow out of it.”

    The first thing I did after doing some research online and talking with some mom friends was cut dairy. I should mention that Quincy was (and still currently is) exclusively breastfed (if you formula feed, there is dairy in regular formula as well, so switching to soy or a more hypoallergenic formula like Nutramigen or Alimentum may help (and I’ve heard buying it on Amazon is way cheaper – ask your pediatrician she thinks it is right for your baby.) I also started trying out some products to help him with his gas pain (you can see a full post on that and other colic helpers here.)

    tips for dealing with infant reflux

    After about a week of cutting dairy, I saw a drastic improvement in Quincy. While he still had colic-like fussy periods (especially in the evening or if we tried to go somewhere and he was in the infant seat) he wasn’t screaming inconsolably for hours on end anymore. He never showed signs of a full dairy allergy (no blood in his diaper, for example) but I do think he had a sensitivity and it was exacerbating the reflux that we didn’t yet know he had.

    After cutting dairy and using things like the Windi, Gerber Soothe drops, and an all-natural colic tonic for a couple of weeks, Quincy was good more often than not. But he was spitting up a ton, would still scream if he was laid down within an hour of eating (he really couldn’t be laid flat ever), and absolutely hated being in his infant seat or anything that put him in a curled position. He also would wake himself up with hiccups or spitting up about two hours after feedings. While he spit up breastmilk during and after feedings, he spit up a lot of clear fluid a couple hours after feedings, which is even more indicative of reflux.

    He also showed the following signs/symptoms:

    • raspy/gurgling breathing
    • coughing/choking, especially when put down or after eating
    • smacking his mouth and grimacing
    • sounded like he was congested but wasn’t sick
    • would often rub at his nose/mouth area like something was bothering him
    • could not be put down or laid flat without crying/screaming within a few minutes
    • would sometimes have milk come out of his nose when nursing and/or choking when nursing
    • arching back and stiffening neck
    • lots of spitting up, trouble burping (you’d really have to burp him for a while and if you put him down before he was able to burp things would get worse), hiccups

    Reflux babies are also often underweight, but Quincy was the opposite. He would nurse more frequently because it helped soothe the burning, but then that would also make the reflux worse. Some babies don’t want to nurse because they realize that is causing them pain. But he was gaining weight well. So don’t think yours can’t have reflux just because they aren’t having trouble gaining.

    tips for dealing with infant reflux 4

    I also realized that the reason Quincy screamed anytime I tried to put him in the stroller or car was because his infant seat curled him into a position that made his reflux even more uncomfortable. I thought it would be ok, because he was in a position that kept his head elevated, but it made him worse. And I tried a couple different infant seats — the brand didn’t make a difference because they are all basically designed to have baby in the same position, which unfortunately puts pressure on their tummies.

    So if this sounds like your baby, then here are the things that I did that worked for us. Maybe some of these tips or products will work for you too.

    1. Cut dairy. I also limited (ate but in small quantities or infrequently) soy, citrus, caffeine (I was having one cup of coffee in the morning and maybe one later in the day if necessary), chocolate, and eggs. A few of my favorite non-dairy substitutes or dairy free things are (aside from the obvious fruit and veggies): Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chunks, Earth Balance non-dairy butter, Back to Nature Peanut Butter Creme Cookies, Oat Mama Peanut Butter and Chocolate bars, Silk Almond Milk Creamer, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars.
    2. Elevate baby when sleeping. Quincy slept swaddled in our Rock-n-Play until he was 4 months old. It was a lifesaver. I highly recommend it to anyone with a baby, but especially to those who have babies with reflux or who are happy spitters (lots of spitting up but otherwise a happy baby — my first son Charlie was one of these.) If you would prefer to have your baby in a crib you can buy a wedge like this and a sleep positioner like this to keep baby from rolling or sliding down when elevated. I’ve also heard a lot of great things about this product for helping baby sleep elevated, but I’ve never tried it. It would be a challenge for night sleep since you can’t strap baby in if he is swaddled but could be great for daytime.
    3. Elevate baby when eating. If you nurse, try to elevate baby on the feeding side. I use this nursing pillow and propped it higher on the feeding side. This meant I mostly nursed sitting up, as sidelying or similar positions kept Quincy too flat. If you bottle feed, pick a slow flow anti-colic bottle like these (my favorite when I’ve had to supplement with my first two babies – Quincy is exclusively breastfed so far.)
    4. Hold baby upright for at least 30 minutes after a feeding. I actually had to keep Quincy upright for 30-60 minutes after a feeding. This makes nursing to sleep and night feeds challenging. If he fell asleep while nursing I would just hold him upright on my shoulder, burping him off and on until I got a few good ones. And then when I did lay him down he was still elevated. Also, baby wearing helps a ton with this. I used both my Solly Baby Wrap and my Ergobaby 360 carrier, but now Ergobaby has a new carrier called the Adapt which you can use from the newborn stage without an insert. If you can only get one carrier that you want to work from birth to toddler, that one is the one to have.
    5. Give baby a probiotic. I tried pretty much everything from natural and homeopathic remedies, visiting a chiropractor (which didn’t work for us — per our chiro Quincy was perfectly aligned — but I hear chiropractors or osteopaths can really help), pediatrician visits, medication, etc. I was recommended different probiotics (fancier ones that you have to refrigerate and drugstore brands) and the one that I found that helped us the most was the one my pediatrician recommended: Gerber Soothe. It is targeted to help with both colic symptoms and food sensitivities.
    6. Limit their time spent in things that make them uncomfortable (like the infant seat) and use seats or bouncers that position then comfortably. For us, the two things that worked best for keeping Quincy comfortable but letting me have some hands-free time were the Baby Bjorn Bouncer and the 4Moms mamaRoo (at it’s highest position setting). Other rockers, swings, bouncers that we had from my first two babies didn’t work well for Quincy. He could tolerate them for maybe 5 minutes but then he would start with the choking sounds, spitting up, and getting fussy. Oh, and he HATED getting sink baths (similar positioning as the infant car seat) but loved baths in this bath seat in the tub (which I have had since my oldest was a baby). It made bath time so much more enjoyable for both of us.
    7. See your pediatrician and discuss whether medication could help your baby. I would prefer not to medicate a baby so young, but I also prefer for my baby to not suffer unnecessarily. After seeing how much pain Quincy was in and talking to his doctor, I decided that medication was right for us to try. We started on Zantac (a liquid form compounded at our pharmacy) and noticed an immediate improvement. But after a couple of weeks that went away (which is normal). So after a month on Zantac we decided to switch to Prevacid (a PPI). PPIs can take at least two weeks to start working, so we continued with our Zantac until it ran out, which was a little over two weeks on the Prevacid. I noticed more improvement with Prevacid (again the liquid compounded form). However, Quincy was rapidly gaining weight, so about every two weeks (when we would need a new dose, as the compounded form of Prevacid only lasts two weeks) he would start to regress a bit and we realized that he had gained weight and needed a higher dose. (I should mention that having the Hatch Smart Changing Pad was a lifesaver for me in dealing with the reflux too because I could track Quincy’s weight myself without having to go in to the pediatrician for a weight check before I could have his medication dosage adjusted. It’s also brilliant for breastfed babies so you know how much they are eating, especially in those early days before your supply is well established.) Finally, when he was around 4 months old we reached a good dose that has been working for us for a month. He gets 2 doses of Prevacid, one first thing in the morning and one at night before he nurses and goes to bed. It is important to keep in mind that for the compounded Prevacid you need to wait 2 hours after a feeding to give it, or wait 30 minutes after a dose for a feeding.

    I know that was a long post, but I wanted to try to include any information I thought might be helpful. If you have a specific question, feel free to comment below or email me and I’ll do my best to respond! Good luck and just know that it is temporary and things will get better 🙂

    This post includes some affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and purchase the item, I may receive a small commission. You can also bypass that link if you would like.

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    A Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

    Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

    Ah, sleep. That precious thing you totally take for granted before you have kids and then spend so much time focused on once you do. Getting the baby to fall asleep, bedtime routines, helping them sleep through the night — and once you finally get them sleeping you hope to catch some zzzz’s yourself. But nerves, anxiety, and worry plague most new parents at night, keeping some of us up when we could be resting. I remember often wishing I had a clone of myself that could keep vigil over my new baby to make sure he was ok during the night so I could have peace of mind and get some much needed sleep. Enter the Owlet Baby Monitor – it is an infant heart rate and oxygen monitor that watches over your baby at night giving you peace of mind and the ability to rest (finally!).

    Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

    The Owlet baby monitor is a smart sock you slip onto your baby (it comes in three sizes), that uses a technology called pulse oximetry that doctors have used for decades. It is connected via bluetooth to a dock station that will alert you if the oxygen or heart rate levels are off with both light and sound alarms. I can’t tell you how much I would have loved this as a new parent! But even now, with my third baby, I find it so helpful. Quincy had colic and reflux and doesn’t sleep as well at night. Because of his struggles in the beginning I always jumped up at the first noises he made, which is bad for both of us because it doesn’t give him a chance to learn to self soothe and it means I’m up constantly as well. But with the Owlet I know he’s fine and worry less, sleeping through his minor noises and only waking up if he cries to be fed, or if the alarm should go off (which it never has).

    Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

    You might wonder how I know it works if the alarm has never gone off for me. Head to the Owlet site and read the stories of other mothers who have used this product and did get an alert. Their testimonials are amazing! It’s one of those products that, once you have and use it, you’ll be wondering what you ever did without it — even if it isn’t your first baby. I’d highly recommend adding this to your registry (which you can do with sites like Babylist). Quincy doesn’t even notice he’s wearing it and I just swaddle him over top of the sock like I would otherwise.

    Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor Gamechanger for Parent Sleep & Peace of Mind: The Owlet Baby Monitor

    And exciting news for android users – they just released an android app today, so now iPhone and android users can both get alerts to their phones as well as the dock (great for when you’re getting a long overdue night out!) I really don’t think you can put a price tag on peace of mind and safety of your baby, or on sleep for that matter. But saving a little money never hurt either, am I right? So I’ve arranged for you to get $25 off your Owlet by clicking here. No coupon code needed — the link takes you to the Oh Lovely Day reader special automatically. You can thank me for all that extra sleep later 🙂

    This post is sponsored by Owlet but the opinions are my own.

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    Adjusting As A Family of Five

    Thoughts on our first weeks as a family of 5 | Oh Lovely Day

    Now that we’re about 15 weeks into this whole ‘party of five’ thing, I thought I would share a little bit about how it’s going and how we’re all still alive and mostly smiling. If you follow me on instagram you know it hasn’t been easy — our newest member has had colic and pretty bad reflux. There was a lot of screaming and crying those first couple of weeks at home and since it has been a journey to figure out how to make him more comfortable and relieve his pain the best I can. I’ve had to change my diet (which is no easy feat when you are sleep deprived, early postpartum, breastfeeding, and have two other kids to care for.) I haven’t had dairy for over 3 months — you’d think I’d at least be losing the baby weight as a result but nope! I just replaced it with sugar and carbs to survive. UGH. But back to Quincy… It took a long time to figure out when he could be put down, in what, at what angle, how long after a feeding, etc. I’ve had to hold him and wear him a majority of the time and can count on two hands the number of times in almost 4 months that he has laid flat on his playmat. Night sleep is a struggle, as he’s still waking up 2-3 times a night due to discomfort and needing to nurse back to sleep. That means I’ve been struggling to get enough sleep. My sleep deprivation and early weeks of a screaming baby led to a bout of postpartum depression and anxiety, only made worse by the fact that his reflux made him too miserable to sit in his infant seat for very long, so anytime I tried to take him somewhere (either in the car or stroller) he would end up screaming. So I stopped trying to take him places and we became shut ins, which doesn’t help PPD one bit. But neither does the screaming.

    These days, the reflux is mostly managed — although he seems to need tweaks with his medication as he grows and has little setbacks because of it — and his colic symptoms are mostly gone. He tolerates the car and stroller better but now isn’t used to being out and about and gets a little freaked out by noises or a lot of activity. So we’re easing him in with daily walks outside in the Ergo or Solly wrap. And since he isn’t sleeping through the night, we both need naps during the day. Luckily he seems to be a pretty good napper. Actually, he’s a great napper. He typically takes a 2-3 hour nap every morning, and a 2 hour nap in the afternoon. Not always, but most days. I’m not sure if this is because he’s tired from his night sleep not being as great as he needs it to be or if he’s just a good napper. I’m grateful for the naps, but that also tends to confine us to home. Add to that the fact that Calvin (the toddler) takes a 2-3 hour nap in the middle of the day, I’m basically homebound all day everyday as a slave to the naps. But I’d rather that than my kids not nap well at all.

    Thoughts on our first weeks as a family of 5 | Oh Lovely Day

    A few things have definitely helped us all to survive these first weeks/months as a family of five, so I thought I would share those for anyone else adjusting or preparing for a new family member.

    1. Keep your expectations low – be realistic.

    Don’t think that you can do it all. You can’t. No one can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept help that is offered. And don’t think that you should be getting out as a family. Aside from getting to Charlie’s tee ball games and one time early on that was a total disaster, it took us three months for all five of us to successfully get out and do something together.

    2. Saying no is ok – know your limits.

    You can’t attend that birthday party with all of your kids in tow. You don’t want your in-laws staying in your home right after baby is born. You can’t bring the juice boxes to preschool for the class party, because you can’t even get to the grocery store for food for your own family. It is ok to say no to things. In fact, it should be expected. Don’t feel bad about it. My husband is taking our two oldest to visit family in a couple of weeks and Quincy and I are staying home. I just wasn’t mentally ready to tackle flying with three kids, or a baby with reflux that has barely left the house. So we aren’t going. And I think it is the best decision for all of us.

    3. Wear the baby.

    Whether you’re super into baby wearing or not (and I am and highly recommend it) or whether your wore your first child, baby wearing is a lifesaver when you have other children or if your baby is high maintenance like Quincy. Calvin lived in my Solly Baby Wrap for the first couple of months and then spent a ton of time in my Ergobaby 360. Both have been lifesavers again with Quincy, giving me hands-free time to cook, clean, hold my older sons’ hands, and so much more. Start early and do it often.

    4. It’s ok to use the TV and iPad as a babysitter for a while.

    Listen, unless you are lucky enough to have family nearby that you trust to help with your children (I don’t) or unless your older children are in school full-time (only one of mine is, and the other is a no-fear crazy toddler) there are times when you will have NO idea how you could possibly nurse a baby, feed an older child, put both down for naps, change a diaper, wipe a toddler butt, and maybe get to pee or brush your own teeth – all on your own. I’ll tell ya how you do it – you break out the iPad or put Mickey on the TV. At first Calvin wouldn’t watch anything and I discovered a 10 minute garbage truck show on YouTube Kids that he loves. If I have to nurse Quincy and Calvin is awake, he has to be restrained or he’s getting himself into dangerous situations. So I put on a show, put him in our 4moms Breeze playard, and nurse. The show distracts him from the fact that he is confined, which he HATES more than anything else. In the early days when Calvin was born and nursed 24/7 and Charlie wasn’t in school full time, we had to have some movie marathons. We all survived and our brains are all still working just fine (or theirs are, at least).

    5. A helpful husband is KEY. But they still don’t “get it.”

    It doesn’t matter how hands-on your husband is as a dad, how much he is around, how helpful he tries to be, and how much he does – he can never and will never understand what having one, two, or three children is like for you as the mother. It isn’t his fault. He’s just wired differently. He doesn’t have the hormones, the motherly instincts, the boobs, the uterus, the giving birth experience, the connection, or the brain that a mother has. He can go to the bathroom for 20 minutes and not feel guilty. He will probably get a shower everyday. He can somehow find time to exercise most days. It doesn’t cause him to physically hurt when the baby cries. He isn’t on a short invisible leash to the children like you are. He will tell you to relax and fully believe that saying that is not only possible, but helpful to you (when we know better). It will be hard not to resent him. And that’s not your fault. But just remember that the best dads and husbands often feel like a shitty husband for a while after you have a baby. He really isn’t a shitty husband – he just can’t understand what you are going through. And also, hormones are a bitch and make you crazy and not very understandable sometimes. Just remember that what you’re going through is normal, it will pass, and you will like each other again. And try to go out for a date night alone if you can, even for only an hour or two.

    Also, ask him for help. Be specific (and try to be nice about it) because they really aren’t mind readers and they really don’t just see what needs to be done like we do. I am SO lucky that this time around my husband is home with us. He works in the entertainment industry here in LA and is between projects (although he’ll be back to work this summer and I’ll have all of the kiddos to manage by my lonesome and I have NO idea how I’m going to manage it!) so he has been home to help with so much. He gets up with the two older kids in the morning, feeds them breakfast, makes Charlie’s lunch, packs his backpack, gets him ready for school, and takes Calvin with him to drop Charlie off. Then he and Calvin usually go on some sort of adventure for the morning, leaving Quincy and I home to sleep, nurse, and do whatever else we need to do. Given Quincy’s challenges, this has been a lifesaver for me mentally. Not only is my husband a tremendous help, but he’s completely capable of taking care of what needs done without my help. I don’t have to worry about it. He’s probably the better parent and doing the harder job these days, to be honest. I’m pretty lucky.

    Quincy's Newborn Session + brother photos | Oh Lovely Day

    6. Laugh and dance as often as possible.

    Honestly, I have literally cried over spilled milk. It’s so much easier said than done, but if you try to take a breath and just laugh when things get crazy or frustrating, it makes things so much better. It isn’t that you won’t have anxiety, or want to cry — those things might happen too. But laughter really helps. Sometimes when things get rough and we’re all at each other’s throats, one of us will put on a song and we break into a family dance party instead. Because how can you have a bad day when you’re having a dance party? When Charlie gets home from school and we’re exhausted and the boys are all rev’d up and full of energy, we put on music and dance. It makes them happy, burns off energy, perks us up, and brings joy to a hard part of the day. Charlie’s favorite dance party songs currently are: Windows Down, Thriller, Uptown Funk, and Poker Face 🙂

    7. Get support. Build a village.

    If you don’t already have support from the first time around, adding a second or third kid will definitely have you needing a support system for you and your partner. For me, that is a group of women that I met in Mom’s Club when Charlie was under a year old. We have become such great friends over the last few years and many of us have had our second babies together (I’m the only crazy one with three so far). We talk about nursing issues, annoying husband habits, and our “fournagers”; we have girls’ nights out, celebrate each other’s small victories, deliver food and coffee on rough days, and compare notes on naps and non-naps. We’ve gotten each other through moves, cancer treatment of one of the kids, miscarriages, infertility, as well as celebrated pregnancies and babies, new jobs, birthdays, milestones, beating childhood cancer, and so much more. This group of friends have saved my life as a mom. Whatever village you have — friends, family, nanny, neighbors — use it and support it in return when you can.

    Also, if you are feeling overwhelmed, extremely anxious, or depressed, you need to have someone to talk to. Whether it is a friend or a professional, having a supportive outlet will make all of the difference and can be a good sounding board as to whether you might need additional assistance with something you are going through. Texting or calling a long-distance mom friend is great, and I have a couple of besties I do that with. But having some local mom friends that you can grab coffee with, have playdates with, and share tips on local classes, preschools, cleaning ladies, babysitters, etc. makes a world of difference. If you don’t have local mom friend support, I highly recommend joining your local Mom’s Club! That’s where I met my local mom crew and it’s the best thing I ever did.

    8. Self Care

    I put this one last, because that is what we moms so often do, but self-care is SO important. I never realized that you could and should give yourself permission to take a break, get out on your own, pamper yourself, or just rest until after Calvin was born. It’s been hard to do this one for me this third time around (showers and naps are my only self-care on the regular and even those aren’t as often as they should be) but if you don’t take time to nurture the nurturer, you aren’t any good to anyone else. It’s like putting on your oxygen mask first, but on a daily basis. Just do the best you can at taking care of yourself and making that a priority whenever possible. You are worth it and are a person in need of care too.

    Thoughts on our first weeks as a family of 5 | Oh Lovely Day

    I’m starting a feature soon getting real about the battles of motherhood that I have dealt with and plan to have other mommas share their experiences and tips as well. You can also follow and share your battles (and victories!) on instagram in the #battlefieldmotherhood feed. If there is a particular topic you’d like covered or momma you’d like featured, let me know in the comments below. Oh, and I’m on Snapchat now and I share lots of tips, products, and BTS realness there. It’s fun – come find me at chandrafredrick over there!

    Also, I’m linking to a few products that I’ve found tremendously helpful below. And if you have any products, tips, or advice for this momma of three, leave that below too. I’m always happy to get more help and hear what works for other mommas.

    Baby & Multiple Kiddo Lifesaving products:

    4Moms Breeze (we use this more as a safe play space for baby or a good place to confine a toddler when necessary, and we have used it every single day for the last 18 months!)

    UPPAbaby Vista with rumbleseat & piggyback board (carries all three kids!)

    UPPAbaby G-Link double umbrella stroller

    Ergobaby carrier (they have a new “Adapt” that works from birth but I haven’t tried it yet)

    Solly Baby Wrap

    4Moms rockaRoo

    Baby Bjorn Bouncer (this has been great for Quincy’s reflux)

    Fisher Price Rock-n-Play (what Quincy sleeps in due to his reflux)

    Oh, and a minivan 😉

    (family photo on bed by Jennifer Roper from our family newborn session; all photos from my instagram feed)

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