Pregnancy Week 36: Making Time for Me Before Baby Arrives

Pregnancy Week 36: Making Time for Me Before Baby ArrivesWith just four short weeks before my due date, I am trying to check off everything on my many lists. Even though this is my second child, I still feel the need to have a spotless house, clean and shampooed hair, and a nursery ready to go before my little man makes his debut. It’s important, however, to slow down a little bit and take the time for myself before this little miracle is brought into the world.

With a 22 month old in the house, time for myself is limited. Naptime is usually my time. At the beginning of my pregnancy, naptime was a time to nap. As I progressed, it was a time to sneak snacks in that she didn’t need to see me eat. Later, it became a time for me to surf the internet and look for amazing baby things and ideas for the nursery. Now, I use naptime in a variety of ways. I clean. I surf the internet. I sometimes nap.

Here are some tips on how to make time for yourself before welcoming a new member of your family. What worked for you, momma?

Nap

This seems easy, but with sleep becoming something that is hard to attain comfortably lately, it is not. A good nap will do any pregnant woman good. Try to make the time to sleep. When I do lay down, I usually aim for a 30 min. – 1 hr. nap. Any more than that, and I am ready to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Find a place that is comfortable and relaxing for you. I prefer to nap in my bed with a fort of pillows surrounding me. Play soothing music, dim the lights, relax.

Friends

It seems simple, but make time for your friends before baby arrives. Living in different places has caused me to forge friendships. I cherish the time I get to spend with my few girlfriends. Most of the time, we are chasing our toddlers, but it is a great release to have some adult conversation. Talk to your spouse and schedule a night where you can go to dinner or catch a movie with a girlfriend. Invest in these friendships now, before you are covered in spit-up and much more busy.

Date Night

My husband and I rarely ever go on dates unless we are home visiting our family. I am very excited to say, however, that we have a date planned for next weekend. (Insert loud applause!) Make the time to have some quality time with your spouse. It’s easy to forget that they are about to have their lives changed, as well. Take the time to hold hands, share your fears and dreams, and just enjoy each other. It’s nice to have a date outside of the living room sometimes.

Beautify Yourself

Many women like to get a pre-baby pedicure. While I prefer to tackle my toes myself, I do plan on getting another pregnancy massage before my little man arrives. Schedule a visit to the salon and get a new haircut or update your current one while you have the time. I am looking forward to getting my eyebrows waxed in a few weeks. It’s the little things!

Make Time for Other Children

I made a commitment to myself this summer to do as many fun activities with my 22 month old as I can since it will not be just the two of us much longer. We’ve tackled swim lessons and vacation bible school so far. Make sure your other children know they are loved and give them some extra attention when you can.

So, what did you do for yourself before baby arrived? I sometimes forget that life will still go on as usual once my son arrives. There will be time to paint my toes and take long showers, but I still love making time for me during this season.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way. She loves having a little “me time.”

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When Your Child Needs Minor Surgery

In the summer of 2011, I had my second daughter. It was hot in Texas that summer—recording-breaking hot. We lived at the pool. It was one of our many afternoons at the pool that I noticed something odd. When my two-year-old looked into the sun or across the glare of the pool, one of her eyes turned outward. I kind of blew it off, not knowing what to make of it so the observation was stored in my little mom file in the back of my brain. But as the summer progressed, I noticed it happening more often, including indoors, out of bright-light situations, when she was tired.

When Your Child Needs Minor Surgery

One of the clues–closing one eye in bright light situations.

Finally, another child at the pool asked me what was wrong with my daughter’s eye, and I knew at that point it wasn’t just me obsessing. I called the pediatrician. We were referred to a pediatric eye specialist, who recommended eye patching for an hour a day for six months. When that didn’t help, he recommended surgery.

Outpatient surgery is now increasingly used for kids for minor procedures such as tonsillectomy, long dental procedures, and what we had done, which was double-strabismus eye surgery.

The risks for our surgery were minimal: at best, it would correct the lazy-eye problem, and at worst it would do nothing and we would have another go at it when she was older.

When Your Child Needs Minor Surgery

We already know our youngest will have to have the same procedure for her eyes.

The day we went in, we were instructed to bring her in her pajamas and she wasn’t allowed to have any food from midnight on. We were taken back to the waiting area, and they gave her “giggle juice,” which was a syrup that would help her relax and not remember anything while they put her under anesthesia. Our surgeon came over and talked to us about the surgery and what they were going to do. He happened to go to our church, so we prayed together and then they took her back.

The procedure only took about 20 minutes. We met her in the recovery room, where she woke up confused and crying inconsolably. Her eyes were bloodshot at the corners, but other than that you couldn’t tell anything had been done. She wept until a nurse arrived with a popsicle, which she greedily consumed and asked for another. After two popsicles, she was much better and ready to go home. The nurses let her pick out a stuffed animal, and my husband pulled the car around to pick her up. As soon as we buckled her in and began driving, she promptly threw up all over the backseat. After that, she was back to her old self.

For me, this sort of thing was hard because I was making decisions about another person without their input. My daughter didn’t have a say in what happened–she was a toddler and not able to have any part in the decision making. It wasn’t a life-threatening condition, and it didn’t affect her health.

I had an amazing doula through two of my births who gave me the BRAIN acronym to use in making medical decisions, and I love this approach for any medical situation.

B – Benefits. What are the benefits of this procedure?

R – Risks. What are the risks?

A – Alternatives. What are all my options?

I – Intuition. What is my gut feeling? What does my intuition say?

N – Nothing. What happens if we do nothing, either now or in the long term?

Although I was extremely nervous about having such a young child have a surgical procedure, I felt like we made an educated decision and in the end it was the right one for us. Since then, I have observed the same eye problems in my youngest daughter, so I anticipate having to go through the same process again.

The most important thing I learned was to pay attention to your children and observations. If something doesn’t look right to you, take a photo or video and ask your pediatrician, and then research all your options—including what happens if you do nothing—before making a decision. Only you can make the right choice for your family.

Erin Hayes Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.

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Washing Cloth Diapers

Washing Cloth DIapers

When I decided to cloth diaper one of the most intimidating parts was the wash process. What soap to use? How many times should I rinse? Should I line dry or use my dryer? Thankfully, it is not as hard as I once thought. Below are a few wash routines submitted by our bloggers:

Erin uses All Free and Clear detergent in her old, not HE, washing machine. She sets her machine to “soak” at the beginning of the day and fills with hot water.  As she gets dirty diapers she tosses them in and does a load at the end of the day. One great thing about All Free and Clear is that it is easy to get at the grocery store and you do not need to order online.

Karyn is a believer in Charlie’s Soap in her old washing machine.

I use Rockin’ Green in a top-load HE machine, though I started out with an old washing machine. I always do a pre-rinse and then a warm/cold wash followed by an extra rinse or two. I dry the inserts from my pocket diapers as well as my wet bag in the dryer and my diapers dry on a drying rack outside if the weather is nice. If the weather does not cooperate then they dry on the rack in my laundry room. If I need a dry diaper fast then I will occasionally throw a diaper in the dryer on low or medium heat. I then enjoy stuffing and folding my diapers while watching the news in the afternoon.

There are many different detergents, many different washing machines and all different types of water;


Know how much detergent to use (don’t use too much)
therefore there are many ways to wash cloth diapers.  Here are a few pointers:

  • Do not use laundry additives
  • Wash frequently (every two to three days max)
  • Line dry when possible- this makes the diapers last longer and the sun can remove stains
  • Have wash routine written down so others can help

What is your wash routine? Do you have any tips or pointers?

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two who hates doing laundry unless it is diaper laundry…diapers do not wrinkle!

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Best Breastfeeding Books for Moms

Best Breastfeeding Books for MomsIf you are like me, you constantly want to stay on top of the latest information in mommyland. I breastfed my daughter, Johanna, for 13 months. However, with the upcoming arrival of my son, I have been researching books on nursing like crazy. With my daughter, we had a rough start with nursing, and I want this time to go smoother from the start. Here are a few of the best books on breastfeeding out there, in my opinion.

3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book has several authors and is written with the support of La Leche League International, so you know it is going to have valuable information and be a good read. It is a bestseller and contains stories, advice, photos, and lots of information for moms and moms-to-be.

Interesting Features:

  • Information about nursing post C-section or after a rough delivery with complications
  • Guidance for moms on breast health issues and other topics from daycare to medications that are safe
  • Internet references for moms who want more information and support from La Leche League

2. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers

This book is written by Jack Newman. Dr. Newman has established breastfeeding clinics all over the country, and in this book, he has provided a guide for moms to overcome any fears or worries they have while traveling through their nursing journey. This book focuses on the possibilities of succeeding in breastfeeding more than the difficulties women have with nursing.

Interesting Features:

  • Information on weaning toddlers
  • Breastfeeding help for moms who adopt or have premature babies
  • How to handle a nursing strike or if baby simply refuses the breast
  • Tons of resources for mom

1. The Better Way to Breastfeed: The Latest, Most Effective Ways to Feed and Nurture Your Baby with Comfort and Ease

I recently checked out this book by Robin Elise Weiss at my local library and I was not disappointed. It features information on any topic you can think of within the subject of  nursing. I was overwhelmed with all of the information that I could use with my upcoming arrival of my son.

Interesting Features:

  • Tips and tricks for how to nurse a needy newborn and handle older children
  • Ideas for what to wear while you are breastfeeding to make you feel comfortable in public
  • References and checklists to help you know when you need to ask for help
  • Ways to incorporate breastfeeding into your everyday lifestyle

While there are many, many books on breastfeeding out there, I think these are three of the best. Breastfeeding is an amazing way to nourish your baby and take care of yourself. As moms, we should never quit wanting to learn more and grow as mothers. Get to reading, moms!

Karyn Meyerhoff  is a mom of one and one on the way. She hopes that the first month of breastfeeding her son will be a breeze after reading up on some information she forgot about.

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Best Ways to Enjoy the Water with Baby

IMG_5449When you have a child who is too young to swim, summers can be a little harder, especially if you have older kids as well. In the summer of 2013, I had 4-year-old, 22-month-old, and 4-month old daughters. We lived in Texas, where it was really too hot to play outside after 8 am. The rest of the year, we were faithfully at the park once a day, every day. There is just nothing like going outside to wear the kids out, promote creative play, and also meet other moms and kids in your area.

So what’s a mom to do? Water play is a great way to wear kids out and kids love the water in the summer time.

Wearing Baby: Mesh slings are a great way to bathe newborns, and also great for the pool or beach. They keep baby close, but free up your hands if you need to be ready to help another child. They also provide a great sense of security for your baby, which can help eliminate fear of the water as they get older.  Plus, you always know where baby is and you can nurse effortlessly anytime.

Baby Float with a Sunshade: These do not work for babies who can’t yet sit independently, but they are a great option for 6 months and up. There are styles that are made completely of plastic like a pool float, and kinds that have a fabric outer covering. I liked the fabric kind better, since it was harder to puncture. The one I bought when my oldest child was a baby still inflated and worked well four summers later when I had my last child.  Definitely use with caution in windy places with strong wind gusts. Babies are not very heavy.

Find a beach or beach-entry pool: Beaches are great since baby can toddle into the water but not be immersed higher than they are comfortable. They enjoy the water splashing around, but can also just play in the sand if they want. Some pools also have beach entrances, and they are a great way to introduce little ones to the water without it being too scary. If you are going somewhere new, most large water recreation areas provide information about which beaches and areas are great for kids. You can also usually call ahead and ask more specific questions if needed.

I was lucky to find a small beach where we live that has a roped off area for swimming, a lifeguard, and is walled off so the kids can’t go far. It also has a playground area, so after beach play, the kids run around on the playground and by the time we get back to the car, they are dry and sand-free. Winning!

Find a splash pad near you: Splash pads have grown in popularity, and are really fun for older kids and younger kids, too, if it’s not too crowded. If your baby is not used to getting splashed in the face, they may not like it as much. They can also be slippery, so if you have a toddler, you may want to grab some water shoes just to make sure your little one has firm footing when they are running around in the water. There are also baby splash pads you can buy for your little one to play on at home.

Set up your own splash park in the yard: There are many great options for water play at your little one’s pace at home. Water tables provide water fun without having to get in. You can fill a wading pool with a few inches of water and throw in some bath toys and also some things that will sink. Or, just go old school and put on the sprinkler.

Enjoy the calming effects of water with your little one this summer. Just don’t forget to invest in a good swim diaper (or three).

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who loves going to the lake. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.

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