Thursday, July 26, 2012

Toddler Feelings

With my newborn baby having colic, I am typing this post with one hand and rocking her with the other.  So needless to say, not a lot gets done around here and my 2 year old child would be the first to tell you that!  She knows my full attention can't be on her as much anymore but luckily she has realized that baby crying=no fun and is quick to hand me a paci.

But my toddler is also in that oh-so-fun stage we studied in Child Development 101: Piaget's Pre-operational Stage.  Which basically means she is egocentric.  Yes, at this age they can't yet grasp empathy.  So they have no idea what others may be feeling, they are only about what they are feeling.  Yep, it's all about them right now.  Hence the term 'egocentric.'

My daughter has some great examples of this: "mine!"  or " mmiiiine!" and "no!"  or "no mommy".

When she plays with others her age, she wants whatever someone else has or refuses to share.  Which I might add right here that it is completely normal at this age/stage, but it just makes it harder on us as parents!  They are not quite there yet on learning to share.  So that means it's up to me as her parent to model it for her.

In fact, just this morning my daughter was hogging the triangle musical instrument in her Kindermusik class and it took me several times of asking her to share and she finally gave it to another boy.  So I praised her and hugged her for it and did the whole positive reinforcement stuff.  And that is all we can do at this point, model, model, and when they follow through, encourage (praise) them for it.

But they are able to start understanding feelings now.  I have used the Kimochi dolls that I talked about here and show her the basic 3: sad, mad, and happy.  And I point out any feeling faces in her story books we read.  So now when she sees a tear, she points and says, "sad" and when she sees happy faces she says, "happy!!"

Recently I came across some new fun feelings toys for kids and thought I'd pass them along.  Here is one fun matching game by Alex Toys called Moody Monsters and you can order it on Amazon here: Alex Toys Moody Monsters Memory Game, Alex Little Hands Series
It says the feeling word at the bottom of each square, and if your child is as into matching games as mine is, it will be a sure hit!

Also new are the Moomin Feelings Flash Cards that come with 20 different feelings on them and are super cute!  And a great price of 10$ too!

There is also a new app called the itouchilearn app on your iPhone that has feeling games on it.  Check it out on

So can anyone else out there relate to the non-sharing stage? Don't worry, it's just a short phase that can actually be kind of cute to see how into themselves they are at times :)
Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Baby Parenting Style Are You?

Now that I have my second child, I am determined to do 'right' what all new parents struggle with- infants sleeping and eating.  The first time around I read a few books like Dr. Sears' Baby Book, remembered what veteran moms had told me, and went with the flow.

Yep, I basically winged it.  And when I say winged it, I mean that when I had been up for 2 hours with my newborn at 3am, I brought her into bed with me since it was the only way she would fall back asleep, and told myself to worry about it all later.  And so she learned to only sleep next to me for the next 6 months, which meant I didn't sleep for 6 months.  Sleep deprived mommy= cranky and tired mommy. I always slept with 1 eye open, afraid I would crush my child or she would end up rolled onto her face and not able to breath.

And I winged her eating habits too.  I would breastfeed her whenever she seemed cranky, which varied and would be every 30 minutes to every 2 hours.  I guess you could say I did 'on demand' feedings but I also ended up getting mastitis twice from that method!  I went to La Leche Meetings and read books, but I still wasn't quite sure what the heck I was doing.

So what to do this time around?  With all the parenting books out there and theories on raising newborns, there are lots of parenting styles to choose from.  From Attachment Parenting to Babywise to the strict schedules, Dr. Spock, Healthy Sleep Habits and Dr. Ferber.

I decided to sit down and re-read some of these books and figure out what to do this time around. I think it's pretty funny that each style has a lot of research to back-up their method. I don't remember Attachment Parenting back in my nanny and daycare days.  Those moms all swore by Babywise and if their child was not sleeping through the night they did the Ferber method.

But after reading them all, I still feel like taking a little here and there from each one and doing my own thing.

I love the Baby Book by Dr. Sears and still use the useful medical information for my toddler.

He's a huge co-sleeping fan, and I think if you want to co-sleep with your child, then so be it.  If that is how you get the best night's rest, and your child does too, then great.  Or if you want to bring home your newborn and have them sleep in a separate room in their crib the first night and that works for your family, then that's great too.  I think you have to do whatever works best for you and your child.

For me, co-sleeping did not work so great. I still sometimes nurse my baby to sleep next to me and there have been many nights so far where my newborn ends up in bed next to me because she falls asleep so easily there.  BUT, I am determined to not do it if I can. I have been working hard at getting her to sleep all night in her nap nanny and so far it's been going better than I expected, 6-7 hour sleep stretches and I have been able to nurse her and put her right back in the nap nanny next to me in bed, yay!

Dr. Sears is also a fan of baby wearing and on-demand feeding.  I for one never 'wore' my first child much, but this time it's become a necessity so I can get things done around the house.  AND double bonus is that it calms her down!  My second baby is colicky, which is a whole other issue I'll save for another post, but the sling actually works.  The minute I put her in it, she is calm and sometimes falls asleep.  I don't want to do it all the time and have her depend on it, but for a couple of hours a day, it's been a real life saver!

Babywise is another big baby raising book:A lot of people think it's a 'schedule' type book, but it's really not.  It makes recommendations but tells you that you don't have to follow it so strictly.  And the advice they give makes sense: to try to feed your baby, then play with them for an 'awake' period and then fall asleep.  Sleep, eat, play.  Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, but I've noticed that my newborn follows this pattern on her own.  I think it's a good idea to try not to have your baby learn to fall asleep while being fed, because then in a few months when you are trying to get them to learn to fall asleep on their own, it will come back and bite you. But yes, sometimes I do nurse her to sleep when I'm desperate, but I'm working on it.

And they also recommend feeding your child every 2.5-3 hours.  It's not a strict recommendation though, so they say if you feel like your baby is hungry after 1 hour, then go ahead and feed her.  They say that babies are usually happier when they go longer stretches.  I've been trying this out and my child seems to be going every 2 hours on her own, sometimes 1 hour but mostly 2, and it's good to know when she'll be hungry again instead of playing a guessing game.

And a friend of mine (thanks Jenni!) recommended this book:

I just started reading it and it has a lot of good information in there! It gives good feeding advice and advice on colicky babies.  I like the way it's divided up by age, starting at newborn and going week by week.  And so far I agree with the advice on putting your child to bed earlier to get them to sleep longer, and how so many kids are sleep deprived by not getting the recommended amount of sleep.  I'll keep you posted on his recommendations and if they work or not.

And then there is the infamous Dr. Ferber book!  It's not really a parenting style, but more of a 'sleep style.'

And let me just say a side note here. I so did not want to let my child cry it out.  I thought to myself, 'if my child is crying, and I don't answer her cries, then she's going to learn that her mommy isn't there for her and not trust us.'  So I tried everything else out there, even that No-Cry method book.  But nothing was working.  We would rock our baby to sleep and it would take 15-20 minutes, then if she was not completely asleep when we put her in her crib, she would wake up and we'd have to start all over again.  She would also wake up all the time in the middle of the night and we'd have to do the same thing again!

So I finally gave in at 9 months of age, but I found the softer version, The Sleep Easy Solution book,

This book saved our lives! Instead of being strict on waiting 5 minutes, then 10 then 20 like Ferber's it recommended laying her down almost asleep but only let her cry 1 minute, then go back in and sooth her and then let her cry another 2 minutes and go back in, etc. and after 12 minutes of this, she was asleep and NEVER woke up again for 8 hours.  It worked amazingly well and we wondered why the heck we didn't try this sooner.  And this was written by 2 moms who are counselors, so I felt like I could relate a lot more to it.

My parents swore by Dr. Spock, but they also put us to sleep on our tummies, didn't have pumps to breastfeed, and worked on strict feeding schedules too.  But I guess we all turned out okay ;)

My next book on my list to read is the Baby Whisperer, anyone out there read that one?  What style of parenting are you and what works best for your family??


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Baby Gear for Two

Having 2 babies under the age of 3 is making me super busy, and constantly having to hold my newborn makes it difficult to type blog posts, so this is going to be a quick one.  My life lately has been about making it as easy as possible and now that I am able to take my newborn out, making it easy means having a double stroller and a bigger diaper bag.  When I was pregnant with my second, I researched and test drove several double strollers and tried out several diaper bags.

Which stroller won?

The Baby Jogger City Select!  After having a cheaper single stroller- the Chicco, I was happy to have saved money on it, but hated that it was constantly falling apart. So I told myself I would try hard to get a nicer double stroller when the time came.

I fell in love with the Select and was lucky enough to find it as a double at a consignment sale for half off!  The stroller isn't cheap. If you buy it as a single it's around 400$ but adding the double seats and the accessories, it can get up to around 800$ for the whole thing. (Now if only the company would have sent me one to review and give away, oh well, maybe next year :)

I love how it doesn't drive like a stretch limo and you can maneuver around tight spaces pretty well.

Check out the 16 different positions you can have, yep, I said 16!!

The stroller also has a standing accessory option that you can add the the back when your older child is wanting to stand and can ride around.

The only Cons are that it is heavy and you have to take the second seat off to collapse it.  It's not a big deal but it is definitely not as light as my first single stroller.

Here is our first outing at the mall.  They're all pretty happy in it :)

I loved the City Mini double as well- it's a side by side version. I think it's a personal preference on whether you want to go with a side by side or the vertical ones, but I would definitely recommend going to test drive any of them before you buy- and take your older child with you to test it out.

And which diaper bag won my approval?

The Ju Ju Be BFF (165$).  I shopped, shopped and shopped for a bigger diaper bag. I LOVE Petunia Pickle Bottom and wanted a bigger version of their boxy backpack and tested out their larger one called the Abundance.  But it is super super huge. I mean it's like a suitcase on your back.  My husband laughed at me when I put it on.

So I kept looking for another bag.  And I really wanted a backpack style.  With 2 kids, a shoulder strap is hard to carry as it can slip off and fall down if you bend over.  I needed something that I could have hands free.  So after reading other reviews on websites, I decided to try out the Ju Ju Be BFF backpack and so glad I did!  It doesn't look roomy on the outside, but it really holds a ton and it has the backpack feature too.

There is a front 'mommy' pocket that I love since you have just your stuff in there.  Then the separate baby zipper that opens wide and has a ton of room in it.  It also has 2 bottle pockets that are wide with an elastic rim.  There's also a shoulder strap, backpack straps and a handle at the top to carry it.   It has a memory foam changing pad that you store in the back pocket, and the inside material is made of AgION Antimicrobial Lining- it kills germs, mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria.  Oh and it has a crumb hole to help escape all of the little crumbs that gather at the bottom!  It comes in a bunch of cute patterns too.

Okay, since my time is short, I decided to just do a 'What's in My Bag' review via video style on You Tube to show it to you.  That way I can just talk and not type and you can see what's inside.  Oh and excuse me being super hurried in the video and a little disorganized- I'm a little sleep deprived  awh the joys of mommyhood :)

Do any of you have a favorite diaper bag or double stroller you love?