Moving to a Crib

How do they get so big so fast?! Why must they leave us and go into their own independent room? I’m always so sad when this transition happens…but also so relieved once it’s done.

As you know, we decided to move Rafe to his own room much sooner than I had anticipated. We didn’t move Parker into her own room until she was 6 months and didn’t sleep train her until she was 7 months (mostly due to a crazy travel schedule). However, Rafe just wasn’t sleeping well at all. He would wake up multiple times during the night and want to feed back to sleep. He had to be bounced all the way down and if he woke up from a night feeding, he had to again be bounced back down. It was a lot for me and his dad to take on…he’s a big boy and for how much he eats during the day, he should’ve been sleeping more through the nights.

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This is when we decided he needed to probably be sleep trained at 5 months. In order to do this though, we would need to move him into his own room. We didn’t want to start the training in our room just to move him to a different room in a month or two. This was extremely hard for me, I definitely cried! I loved having him right next to my side of the bed where I could see him and check on him throughout the night. Yes, it’s always frustrating to have to be quieter and tip toe around your room…but I personally love having them in there.

At first my husband wanted to do sleep training RIGHT when we moved him into his crib, but I was not on board with that. I felt we needed to get him used to his own room/crib, waking up and learning he wasn’t in a strange place. That was what we did with Parker. We started her off with naps in her room, then moved to naps and bedtime. After she was settled with that, we began the process of sleep training her. In the end, we decided to transition him into his crib before sleep training.

First, we just started putting him in his crib while he was awake. We would play with him, talk to him, sing to him…basically just get him used to being in there. He loved it! He would roll around in there, smile and play with his toys. After that, we started putting him in there at night. We would bounce him all the way down like usual and then just place him in there. It was really tough in the beginning though. Not only were we moving him to a crib, but we also took away the dockatot (Derek wanted him to learn to be without it). When we would lay him down, he had a tendency to wake up because he was used to the cuddle support of the dockatot walls. We did try putting just the arched cushion under the fitted sheet, but his weight didn’t end up sinking it down, he actually ended up being lifted off the bed! So, after 2 nights of dealing with this, we thought we would try something different. He was so used to sleeping on us (for naps), that we thought maybe he would be more comfortable on his stomach. At this point, he was already rolling and could lift himself up, so we felt safe doing this. We would bounce him down and then lay him on his stomach. We also decided to start putting his paci in when he was laid down. He was funny in the fact that he would keep a paci in his mouth if he was asleep but not when he was awake (thankfully that changed…otherwise self-soothing would’ve been a nightmare!).

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Finally, it worked! We were able to get him down in his crib for bedtime. He still woke up 2 times a night for night feeds, but he was sleeping well in his bed. Our main issue became naps. He wanted to nap on us. Even before we moved him to his crib, we had a rough time getting him put down for naps in his dockatot in the pack and play. To be honest, this didn’t really get better until we started the sleep training.

Keep an eye out! The fourth and final blog in my sleep series will be about sleep training!

Transitioning Out of a Swaddle

Your baby has begun to roll over and now it’s time to transition out of your swaddle. It sounds like such an easy concept, right? Well, not for us!

With Parker, she NEVER took to a swaddle. She went from sleeping with nothing in our arms to a sleep sack. So, when it came to getting Rafe out of his swaddle, I just don’t think we thought the process all the way through. It had taken us so long to get him to like his Ollie swaddle, we should’ve assumed it would take some getting used to when switching to something new.

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Many people recommend the Merlin Sleep Suit as a great transitional piece for babies. It’s a nice cushy sleep suit that is supposed to help keep your baby’s startle reflex to a minimum. Once we got it, we put him directly into it. The first sleep seems to go okay but it all went downhill after that. Unfortunately, it did not stem his startle reflex. I’m unsure if he was just strong enough or had long enough arms to power through the thickness of the suit or if I just overestimated the strength of the suit in stopping arm movements. We tried to keep this up for a few nights and naps, but it just wasn’t working at all. He would wake up within 10 minutes of putting him down because he would start sucking on his fingers. At this point, he really wasn’t taking a pacifier and he isn’t a thumb sucker.

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So, we decided to backtrack a bit. We took away the sleep suit and put him back in a swaddle. The difference this time, was we kept one arm unswaddled. This worked GREAT for about 3 days and then he really started to fight to have his other arm free. We powered through anyways and he was still sleeping better than he had been in the Merlin Sleep Suit. We also started to realize that he would keep a paci in his mouth once he was asleep, so we would lay him down and hold a paci in his mouth for a minute.

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When we moved him into his own room, we wanted him out of his swaddle and in a sleep sack. We actually never went back to the sleep suit, instead we chose to get a sleep sack to move to. I had heard a lot of really great things about one called a Kyte Sleep Bag. It came in different “togs”. According to their site, TOG is a rating system that measures warmth and calculates how quickly a fabric uses heat. This means that it is dependent on the temperature your house is at while they are sleeping. They have a 0.5, 1.0 and 2.5 tog. We went with the 1.0 TOG because we keep our house around 69 degrees, and he doesn’t like to be overly warm. It is a nice bamboo material and the weight of the sleep bag is reminiscent of a Merlin Sleep Suit but thinner. He took to it pretty much right away. We did research other sacks including, but not limited to, Nesting Bean, HALO and Burt’s Bees (which is what we used for Parker). I decided to try this due to the cushion semi-thickness of the Kyte Baby material.

He absolutely LOVES this sleep bag!!! He always grabs in with one of his hands when he is falling asleep. I highly recommend it! I do also recommend the Burt’s Bees wearable blankets; they are what we used for Parker and loved them if you are looking for something a little cheaper and thin/stretchy.

Rafe now sleeps very comfortably in his Kyte Baby sleep bag, in his own crib. Stay tuned for how we got him in there!

When Your Baby Wants to be Held to Sleep

Are you trying to get your baby out of your bed? Will your baby only sleep when held? Here are a few tips and tricks that helped us along the way.

When we first brought baby home, he, like his sister, preferred to sleep in our arms. It was also an issue we had in the hospital. We tried swaddling, we tried laying him down unswaddled, he just did not want to sleep if he was not held. It seems to be the blessing and curse we had with both children. Neither one of them would sleep in the swing, Mamaroo. I would always hear stories from friends about how their babies would doze off in their swings or sleep in their bassinets. That they were able to lay them down pretty much anywhere once they were asleep and they would stay out. Not my children!

Our first step about a week after getting home, was to get him not sleeping in our arms. We finally got it to a point where SOMETIMES we’d be able to lay him down in the Dockatot, however, like most babies his startle reflex would wake him up. We then knew that we needed to get him used to being swaddled. He hated it, but just like anything, if you stick to your guns, they will get used to it. We personally loved the Ollie swaddle. Neither my husband nor I are fabulous blanket swaddlers, so it was perfect for us. It took a couple of nights, but we did get him used to the Ollie swaddle.

Next step was getting him out of our arms. This is where the Dockatot was our savior. We began with putting it between us on the bed. Now I know that this is not a recommended thing to do but it is what worked for us. We would bounce him to sleep and sit holding him for about 10 minutes. Once we knew he was asleep, we would lay him into the Dockatot with our hand on his tummy and sleep like that. After about 2 or 3 nights, we began placing him in there to sleep without our hand on him.

Now the key here, at least for us, was the Dockatot. Our thought process was that if we could get him transitioned into it, he would be used to the feel of it. The dream would’ve been that this would mean that we could lay him anywhere if he was in it…but we all know that the best laid plans rarely work when it comes to babies and kids.

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We were then able to move the Dockatot into his Halo bassinest and then eventually to the top part of the pack and play. We would bounce him down, hold him for a bit and then place him into his Dockatot . He no longer had to be held to sleep at night or be in our bed. So, the main part of our plan was a success.

I will mention that this did not work for naps. Unfortunately, he still wanted to be held for those. This meant a lot of wearing him in the Ergo, car naps and being held to nap. We never gave up trying, we always tried at least 3 times to lay him down before giving up and realizing he just needed the sleep. The effort was definitely there, so always try but do what you are comfortable with.

This is when we realized we needed to make some other changes. He needed to be switched out of his swaddle (he had begun rolling over) and it would soon be time to get him sleeping in a separate room.

I hope this helps someone out there, I know it can be hard to stop the holding and stop the co-sleeping. If co-sleeping is what feels right for you, absolutely no judgements here! It just wasn’t something we wanted to do, so we just used it as a transitional solution. I will say for those out there, with Parker, we let her nap on us. We never even tried to force the issue since she was the only one there to worry about…but I wish we would’ve started putting her down earlier on her own. I think it would’ve made the transition to sleep training a whole lot smoother. With Rafe though, we have a toddler to think about too which means he just can’t be held 24/7 (sadly…love those baby snuggles!).

Stay tuned for the next blog, explaining coming out of a swaddle and moving him into his own crib.

Moving Baby to a Crib and Preparing for Sleep Training

Were you ready? Did you miss them being in your room? Was it a relief? When to do it? How to do it?

These are all the questions that come along with this milestone. When it came to Parker, I was mostly ready (I mean, are you ever TRULY ready with your first baby??). She was such a light sleeper back then, that coming to bed after she was asleep was a silent nightmare. We moved her at 6.5 months, maybe closer to 7 due to traveling conflicts. I know we started with our usual complete bounce down and let her get used to being in her crib, and then progressively moved to sleep training. The first night was hard but I remember being completely ready.

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This time around seems so different. I don’t know if it is because he may be my last baby or because he is younger, but I was not ready. I wasn’t ready for him to leave sleeping near me at night and I wasn’t ready to begin any form of sleep training. So, we decided to start off slowly but simply moving him into his crib in his own room. Now I can honestly say, moving him out of our room has been a welcome relief. We no longer have to worry about talking softly, making sure we have everything ready to go to sleep before getting him put down or not having any alone time. Although I will say night feeds are not as easy as when he was right next to my bed! When we transitioned Parker, she was no longer needing any night feeds. Rafe has been different though, no matter how many times I try to feed him during the day, he still wants 1-2 night/early morning feeds.

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We are now getting ready for the actual sleep training portion. This I am not looking forward to, although I’m sure when it is all said and done, it will be relieving. I honestly fought this, I felt he was too young and he’s such a snuggler. He needs that touch type of reassurance. However, he just isn’t sleeping well. It takes so long to get him down at night most nights and his naps are so incredibly short. I’m hoping that sleep training will help him. It’s so different to have a baby that doesn’t know how to self soothe. Parker was a thumb sucker, so she had an easy time soothing. Rafe doesn’t suck his thumb and only partially takes a pacifier. I have tried every pacifier I can find, but he will only take it if we are holding it in for him or unless he is out cold. So, he does soothe on it but cannot keep it in long enough on his own to fall asleep.

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Due to these things, I know sleep training is going to be difficult for us all. I mostly pray that it doesn’t affect Parker’s sleep, since I know it will affect ours for a few days. I will keep you all updated on how the full-on sleep training goes as we will be beginning this weekend. Positive thoughts and lots of prayers!

Some things that have helped us so far along this sleep journey are linked below, I hope they help you as much as they helped us!

Bedding:

Sound Machines:

Swaddles and Sleep Sacks:

We have 3 of these!

Comfort:

Teething and Pain:


Sleep Woes

We always joked about how we got lucky with Parker. We may have given in to letting her sleep on us for naps for a little too long, but she was always a fantastic sleeper. Once we figured out a sleeping situation for her (she had horrible reflux issues), she slept through the night like a champ…I would ask her doctor if I needed to wake her to feed her. We always joked saying that our next one would be a terrible sleeper…well the joke was on us.

In the beginning, we thought maybe we hit the lottery. It took us a while to get him used to a swaddle but once he was, he started sleeping super long stretches throughout the night…it was amazing! We struggled on and off with being able to put him down for naps though. We laid him down when we could and wore him when we couldn’t. Then the RSV hit, followed VERY quickly by the 4-month sleep regression. It was like a storm hit our household and took sleep right out the window.

Sweet Rafe turned into a terrible sleeper. We couldn’t put him down at all during the day without him waking almost immediately back up. Nights were rough, it’s gotten to the point that it takes us 6 tries of bouncing him all the way to sleep before he’ll do any kind of decent stretch. Then there are the multiple night wake ups. His naps are never longer than 40 minutes (and that’s if we’re lucky), even if we attempt to hold him, they don’t get any longer.

I am in no way ready for him to leave our room at 5 months old or to begin a sleep training routine, however I know we must do what is best for our baby and for us. None of us can continue to survive on such little sleep. Parker isn’t getting as much attention because of his poor naps and mom and dad are basically surviving on caffeine and adrenaline. Rafe has been so fussy with being overtired and overstimulated from lack of sleep. So, we have decided to move him into his own room and to begin sleep training. My stress and anxiety levels have gotten so high that I’ve actually made myself inadvertently sick.

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I just want to be real with you guys! These are the sides of parenting that you rarely hear about or see on social media. I try to be honest with you all, show you all the sides. I’m sure you’ve seen my Instagram stories about what we are going through right now. We are 2 days into sleep training, and it is definitely not going as smoothly as Parker’s did. This is going to be a rough transition and we are honestly considering seeking outside help with a sleep consultant.

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I just want everyone to know that parenting is not always easy. I’m so thankful for an amazing husband to help tag team life together and a wonderful support team of mama friends who understand and to go through this journey with. I will continue to let you know how this journey is going…for now, the struggle is real.

Toddler Activities to Keep Them Busy

We’ve been struggling in our house to find activities that will keep our toddler entertained for more than 2.5 seconds. She, like most children, is very bright and constantly on the move. I’m always looking for different ways to keep her happily interested. Whether it be times when I must be holding her baby brother or times when it is just the two of us and we want to do something fun together. Pinterest has been my BEST friend! We have found so many activities to have fun doing together. I wanted to share a few with you.

Fizzing Colors:

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You’ll need:

Baking Soda, Food Coloring and White Vinegar (I also HIGHLY recommend getting pipettes or medicine droppers…we had to use an old medicine dropper that I cleaned out because this mama wasn’t quite prepared ha)

It’s very simple. First place a layer of baking soda on a baking sheet, I would make sure it’s about half an inch deep. Then in different bowls, mix the vinegar with different food colors. Once they are mixed, you use the pipettes to draw up the liquid and place it on the baking soda. This will cause colorful fizzing bubbles for your toddler to ooh and ahh over!

Rain Cloud in a Jar:

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You’ll need:

A glass jar, shaving cream and blue food coloring.

Simply fill the jar ¾ full of water, place a small layer of shaving cream on top and then place drops of blue coloring around the shaving cream. Then blue will seep down and slowly cloud into the water. Parker wanted to do this again and again!

We also enjoy doing daily activities of painting (I may do a post about how we keep this activity as un-messy as possible, so that it doesn’t have to be done on a shower day), Play Doh, stickers and our activity book. By no means do these things fill up our days and I have many more scientific activities to try with her. I will say though that even though some of them involve a good amount of clean up, they are so worth it to see the excitement on her face! Let me know if you enjoy trying any of these and please stop by on my latest Instagram post to fill me in on any experiments your toddlers have loved to do!

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to the Mommy and Parker Show everyone! I’d like to start this reintroduction sharing the reason I took a break from blogging and that is; we went from a family of 3 to a family of four! Due to a difficult pregnancy and a rambunctious toddler, it was difficult for me to find the time to truly focus on my blog and Instagram posts. Even though being a mommy to a baby and a, still, rambunctious toddler is a lot of work, this is something near and dear to me. Because of that, I would like to work hard to find the time to get it back in full swing.

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In full transparency, I am slightly nervous to start this adventure again. I know how tough it is to get a following and how much work people put into these. For some, it is a full-time career, to others it is just a hobby. I am unsure which end of the spectrum I am aiming for, but either was it is something I enjoy and something that I find fulfillment with.

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Like I’ve said in the past, even if one of my posts or blogs helps even one person, it would be worth it to me. I am also currently trying to determine which path I’d like this to take. Do I want to continue to post things about just the kids? Post things for moms? Share products that I like? To be honest, I think I will shoot for all of the above. If one ends up being more popular than the other, I will veer in that direction. Until then, I’d like to just see where the wind takes us. I hope I can find some of you to take this journey with me, I’d love to share it with you.

Enjoy your weekend and you’ll hear from me soon! XOXO

Health Issues for Mom’s (and Dad’s)

Any health issue can be jarring…but I’ve come to realize it’s so much scarier when you have children. I decided recently to open up on my Facebook page a little about the face that I have been going through some health concerns lately; I went back and forth on whether I wanted to share this publicly but decided someone out there might benefit from hearing someone else talk about it.

Continue reading “Health Issues for Mom’s (and Dad’s)”