My Pregnancy: Postpartum Week 2

postpartum week 2Our first full week at home came went smoothly enough. I think with each child, generally speaking, the additional challenges and juggling come with more experience to help guide you. For this reason I have not found this postpartum experience to take more effort or provide more stress. Hubby took three weeks off of work and that proved essential to us easing back into our new normal. He focused mostly on our two preschoolers and me so I could focus on the challenges of breastfeeding this third time around (next week’s blog) and C-section recovery.

I camped out on our couch for about a month for each pregnancy. Lying down and getting up took extra effort and I wanted to avoid straining myself much in those first crucial weeks of healing. Hubby said his job was to defend the borders of Baby Central Station.

My central station includes a variety of essentials to make it through:

  • Blanket and pillow, big enough for sleeping but small enough to not get in the way. Also great for propping up legs, elbows, etc. for ideal comfort during feeding
  • Nursing pillow for both nursing or when we’ve had to bottle feed from time to time
  • Big insulated cup (32 ounces) with lid and straw. No sweating for cold drinks, lid for protection from other kids and random incidents
  • Remote controls
  • Phone
  • Wipes, wet bag, and diapers (I eventually moved the wet bag to the bathroom once able to walk more easily)
  • Camera and cord to connect it to my…
  • Laptop
  • Safe space for baby to sleep (co-sleeper for us)
  • A few changes of clothes for baby, extra sheet for co-sleeper, and an extra shirt for me
  • Burp cloths
  • Nipple cream, nursing pads, lip balm, lotion

I was camped out at the station most of my day during those first weeks getting up to bathe, use the restroom, and other small simple tasks. Recovery does involve moving around to help foster healing. Aside from having hubby and family around to help in key ways, I also found a few things eased my first couple of weeks at home:

  • Drop the act of independence. Take a deep breath and gracefully ask for help. Say thank you but don’t feel indebted. You are doing indispensable work “just” sitting with baby. Include children, if any, in simple tasks to assist you. My boys would grab a diaper or take my plate to the counter and enjoyed the opportunity to be included.
  • When possible (I know, you’re tired), set up your space for the next feed. Your future self will thank you. If you wait, baby will be waking and fussy, not sleepy and content. Fill up that cup of water, grab more burp cloths, or whatever else you need.
  • Get away from your spot from time to time. We packed up the kids and hubby drove us (since I couldn’t at first) just to get a drink or small treat from the drive thru. This helped ward off some cabin fever for me while staying relatively simple. It also allowed me to slowly gain confidence in my healing. Very short walks outside for a few minutes also gave me space to sustain the stresses of the first weeks.
  • Let go of expectations around dishes, clothes, clean floors, and messes in general. Sometimes I was too slow-moving to get to my toddler before he wrote on the walls with crayon. Other times I sat nursing as I watched my preschooler make a mess with play-dough or his bowl of popcorn. With most things you can always get to cleaning/fixing/asking someone else to deal with it later.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four, and now a newborn gal. She is taking in every moment of every day because, let’s be honest, she’s not getting much sleep. 

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Exercising with Toddlers

exercising with toddlers“I exercise.  Just kidding, I chase toddlers all day.” I saw this quote on a coffee mug and it fits me perfectly. It’s true, chasing toddlers and keeping up with them can sometimes be all that I have in me, but I do strive to get formal exercise into my days a few times a week. I’m not going to claim that it is easy, but it can happen.

I have learned that putting on a workout video in my house does not work. Why? Because, the second I turn on the television for something like that, the kids start shouting out requests of their favorite television shows or characters. Maybe I need to look for workout videos that include these characters. After the kids go to sleep, I’m usually ready to do the same or at least relax. It is very rare that I get to escape by myself to hit up the gym or an exercise class. So, I’ve learned to work with what I’ve got for now.

Here are some of the things that seem to work well for me and my toddlers:

  • Dance Parties.  We dance a lot.  They love to listen to music and dance and I take advantage of that when I need to get my heart rate up, break a sweat, and have some fun.

  • Jogging.  I put the kids in the jogging stroller and head out for a run around the park near our house. They are only good for about one mile before they want to get out or start pinching each other.

  • Twist and shout.  In the middle of playtime, you can find me and my kids doing side bends, leg lifts, or other stretches while we shout out numbers or the alphabet to count our movements.

  • Walks. When I am looking to get some fresh air and take an adventure in nature, we go for walks to keep us moving.

Sarah Cole is a writer and a stay at home mom to her two busy toddlers.  The more they move the more she moves.

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Being More Relaxed After Your First Baby

IMG_2165Motherhood is a funny thing. You have your first baby and you worry about everything. Milestones, boo-boos, parenting advice, nursing, when to wean, etc. The list goes on and on. Then, you have your second baby and things are not as serious. Sure, you still meet your baby’s needs and do everything you can to take care of them, but your level of anxiety is different. This has been true at least, for me. Here are some ways I’ve become more relaxed after my first baby.

Milestones

With my daughter, I was always worried about her being on time and reaching every important milestone. She couldn’t lift her head during tummy time when she should have been able to according to my pediatrician and family members. This put me in a state of worry. She seemed to be behind on her speech. Worried momma set in again. We had her speech evaluated. She was right where she should be and didn’t qualify for speech services. Guess what? She eventually could lift her head just fine after some more practice. With my son, I wasn’t concerned about milestones. I knew he would reach them when he should and wasn’t worried unless something seemed super late or off.

Crying

As a first-time mom who had suffered from anxiety in the past, I was always a mess when my daughter cried. I felt like I needed to stop her crying and when I couldn’t, I was hopeless. I rushed to her side when she cried in the night. If she was unhappy as a toddler, I was right there to fix everything. Fast-forward to my son, and things have been different. I realized babies just cry. If his needs were met and I had done all I could, it didn’t make me a hot mess to hear him cry a little. I actually let him fuss a little because I can’t always be right there when he needs me if I am taking care of his sister. Now don’t get me wrong, I still meet his needs and I don’t like to hear him upset. Mommy always wants to make things better, but I have learned to loosen up and not take it so personally.

Cleanliness

With my daughter, I never wanted her to be dirty. The slightest amount of slobber or spit-up, and we did a whole new outfit. She always had a bib on. For my son, I usually had a clean burp cloth handy, but I didn’t let his slobber or spit-up cause me to do a whole new load of laundry. I have learned that my house can’t stay pristine and perfect, and that’s okay. I hated for my daughter to crawl on dirty floors or ever pick-up lost Cheerios. Sometimes I catch my daughter feeding my son off the floor and I just let it go. Germs can’t all be bad, right? I still strive to keep my house very clean and always respond to messes when needed, but I am not as uptight as I once was.

So now that I’m having my third baby, I can’t help but wonder if I will be more relaxed. I love being my kids’ mom and I will do anything to take care of them and love them unconditionally. I’ve just realized that sometimes I need to chill out and take care of me, too.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she cleans, snuggles, and writes blogs.

Monday, May 23, 2016
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Positive Affirmations for Toddlers

ve affirmationsYou’ve probably heard about positive affirmations before, but if you haven’t given it a chance yet you might not know just how powerful they are. I’ve had plenty of books filled with affirmations lying around the house for years but it wasn’t until my four-year-old daughter started having terrible separation anxiety when going to preschool that they really became a part of my life.

The dialogue that we have with ourselves on a daily basis has a powerful impact on how we feel about ourselves. If you look in the mirror and find yourself complaining about a pimple on your face, the width of your hips or how you always fail at anything you start, then that is what your body will start believing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not–if YOU think it’s true then your body will think it’s true.

The beauty of positive affirmations is that you can turn your thoughts around. Every day we have the opportunity to shift our mindset to a positive one. One positive thought in the morning will set an intention that will help shape the rest of the day.

Our attitudes, beliefs and intentions can help shape our experiences as they do our thoughts, actions and perceptions. Taking a few minutes to reflect on how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish goes a long way in creating a positive attitude for the day.

There are lots of different ways to make affirmations a part of your life. The secret to making it a habit is to find the way that works the best for you. One way to start is to grab a journal and write down some things you want to have a more positive attitude about such as “I finish everything I start,” “I am loveable and fully supported by the universe.” Take some time to think about it and then look at it every morning or write them on sticky notes and put them on your front door to grab on your way out or on your bathroom mirror to look at and repeat to yourself while you’re getting ready for the day.

If you can’t come up with anything on your own I suggest buying a pack of affirmation cards by Louise Hay. It’s like a deck of cards, which makes it fun for the kids to pick out a new affirmation every day too. Starting your day off with a positive affirmation will put you in the right mindset for a fabulous day!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

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Toddler Teething

toddler teethingTeething has disrupted countless hours of sleep in my house. I often get resentful knowing that those tiny teeth that give my little ones so much trouble coming in are just going to fall out in a few years anyway. Toddler teething can be intense and tricky in my experience.

Not only does teething wake my toddler up in the middle of the night numerous times from pain, but the way she reacts to the pain is different than when she was an infant. She is much more destructive. I know a tooth is coming when she bites my shoulder when I am holding her. There are also the bites on my legs that I get when she runs up to my legs and hugs them. With only a couple teeth left to come in, those bites are painful since there is almost a mouthful of teeth chomping down on me. The top of her crib now looks like she shares her bed with a beaver. Even though I have teething crib protectors, she finds a way to pull them up and over and bite the wood to relieve the pressure in her mouth.

The solutions for helping her relieve pain from teething has changed from when she was an infant, too. Teething rings and frozen wash cloths are no longer of interest to her. There are a few tricks that I try in order to deter her from biting people or wooden objects like her bed. Instead of frozen washcloths, she now enjoys frozen food.  Frozen mangos, cherries, blueberries, waffles and peas are some of her favorites. I also give her fruit popsicles as a treat.  She also enjoys chewing on her toothbrush.

I feel like I am starting to see the light at the end of the toddler teething tunnel. I start counting down how many teeth are left to come in. It is tricky feeling around for teeth, but I find ways to peek in my daughter’s mouth when she is laughing or eating or if I am dipping her while we are dancing.

Sarah Cole is a writer and a stay at mom of two busy toddlers.  She is looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep sometime in the near future.

 

Thursday, May 19, 2016
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