Posts Tagged ‘new baby’

It’s OK to Feel Burned Out at the Holidays

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

it's ok to feel burned out at the holidaysIt’s that time again. The time when Santa Claus, Elf on the Shelf, and candy canes are at every department store. The time when bell ringers and carol singers fill the streets. The time when children’s eyes light up with magic that it’s Christmas. But, here you sit. You feel burned out, exhausted, and just not into everything. It’s okay, mom. I am right there with you.

It’s November, and I recently had my third baby. While my children dance around excited for the holidays, all I can do is dream of sleep and a day when someone else is around to hold my screaming newborn. Sometimes, we all feel a little burned out in our motherhood.

While I don’t have the magical answer to how to survive the holidays with a smile, I do know it’s okay to admit that we can all go through seasons where we are just not that into this gift of motherhood. We still love our littles and are thankful, but we just need a recharge.

Of course, we need to be careful and address postpartum depression. For me, this is something I am keeping a close eye on this go around.

Get Support
Burned-out moms can happen for many reasons. Do you have a supportive spouse and help around your home? For me, I have a fantastic husband who works crazy hours, sometimes seven days a week. We recently moved to a new state where we know, well, no one. Moms need support. Get some. I need it. You need it. I joined a local MOPS group here in Arkansas where other moms meet a few times a month for a craft, breakfast, speakers, and just encouragement. Did I mention the free childcare? Find a group at local church to help you stay focused and positive. Reach out to other moms you see at the park, grocery store, or even schools. For me, a lot of my support is from my family back home so I have to have my cell phone handy each day for daily talks with my Grammy.

Acknowledge Your Feelings
Don’t try to hide how you feel. If you feel burned out, tell someone. Tell your spouse and take a couple hours to yourself. Take a bubble bath or even drink some relaxing hot tea when the kids go to bed. If you’re still burned out, go to the spa or take a shopping trip while kids are napping and you have a trusted babysitter. You will feel refreshed and be a better mom for it. Remember being burned out is a temporary feeling. You won’t always feel this way. If you still feel down and out, talk to a professional therapist or someone who can help.

Focus on the Positive
The holidays are full of joy, but sometimes it is hard to see it all when you feel overworked or overtired. Make a list of all of the positive things in your life and see how blessed you are. I have been doing this weekly. This week, I am thankful for the baby snuggles of my sweet newborn. I know they won’t last forever and someday she will be running from me when I try to hug her. Consider volunteering to help out the less fortunate with groups like the Salvation Army or just spend some time in nature reflecting on what good there is in the holidays and in your own little bubble.

So remember, momma, when the Christmas commercials start and the songs change to jolly tunes, it’s okay to feel burned out. It’s amazing what a nap and a good cup of coffee alone can do for your attitude. Hang in there and try to survive the holidays with a smile and hug for your little ones.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Arkansas where she feels super burned out today, but gummy bears and a movie are helping. 

Incorporating a New Baby into Your Daily Life

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Incorporating a New Baby into Your Daily LifeI sit here typing this blog at 39 weeks pregnant. I have a recently turned 4-year-old daughter and a newly 2-year-old son. I am either eating, cleaning, or worrying these days about my life with three little ones. So, how do you incorporate a new baby into your daily life? How do you still make sure you take care of everyone’s needs, including your own? Here are some ideas I have on how to make the transition easy for all involved.

Remember, you are supermom. I had a friend tell me that once, and it has never left my mind. Don’t let yourself get hung up on unrealistic expectations. There will be days when no one has real clothes on and you don’t shower. There may be days when your kids watch too much television so you can take care of a sick infant. All of this is okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. You can handle it all with grace and a smile. Celebrate small victories. If all you do today is feed your kids supper and snuggle, that’s a victory.

It’s okay to accept help. With a new baby comes new responsibility. Let your husband or friend help as needed. If you have children in school, allow someone to help you get them there. If you have a child that needs more attention, invite family or friends to come babysit. I am awful at accepting help, but I am learning as I age that I need it more often. If friends or family want to bring you meals after baby arrives, take them and show your gratitude. If you have older children, allow them to help in small ways. My daughter is a big help when I need to shower currently.

Start slowly and take small steps. It will be a transition for everyone in your household to have a new baby. Expect some chaos. When my son was born, my daughter wasn’t quite 2. She regressed with potty training, and I was convinced she hated me. Let siblings help with baby duties, such as getting diapers or wipes. If you are bottle feeding, allow your older children to help with feedings. My daughter already loves my nursing pillow, so I plan on having her get it for me when I need to feed the baby. Don’t expect the transition to go perfectly or quickly.

Remember a new baby is also a time of change for you, momma. Take care of your emotions and make sure to take time to eat, too. Don’t worry if things don’t go smoothly for a while. Find ways to make life easier. I know I plan on wearing this baby as much as possible so I can still function. Just remember it is just a stage, and don’t with the newborn days away. Before you know it, your kids and baby will all be in sync with the new routine.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost three, in Arkansas. She is ready to have this third baby…any day now.

Sibling Halloween Costume Ideas

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Sibling Halloween Costume Ideas I never had a sibling to plan my costume with since I was an only child, so I try to coordinate my children’s costumes each year. Elsa and Olaf was a big disaster last year. My 14 month old did not want anything to do with the Olaf head, which made the costume. He spent most of the time crying, so we just went with the bodysuit. And, oh, don’t get me started on how much he loved the hands!

Sibling Halloween Costume Ideas

 

 

 

Here are some fun sibling costume ideas for siblings:

Sports Fans

This one is a fall classic. If you like football, you could easily do this with a new baby and older brother. A simple football jersey for big brother and a football brown onesie for baby. You could add more details if you want, like maybe go for your favorite team. You could also do this with baseball if you’re more into the World Series this time of year.

Fairytale Friends

This is similar to what we tried to do last year. If you have an older sister and younger brother duo, try for a fairytale theme.  You could do any princess and prince, or try Red Riding Hood with the Wolf. Just remember kids don’t always love those hooded animal costumes. I am not crafty, but this could probably be a costume you put together if you are.

Sibling Halloween Costume IdeasMoms of Multiples

If you have twins or even triplets, Halloween can be so fun!  Try doing Thing 1 and Thing 2 or Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. This is by far my favorite, however–The Three Blind Mice. How adorable is this!  Find one costume and get 3 and add some sunglasses, which my kids would love. I would even be tempted to join in on the fun and dress up with my kids with these themed costumes.

Video Gamers Unite

If you have a husband or kids who like video games, try Mario and Luigi. Have another sibling? Add some characters! Add the Princess or anyone you like. Find some fake mustaches, turtlenecks, and easy outfits. These are adorable and even cuter the smaller your little ones are.

Sibling Halloween Costume IdeasLarger Families Can Still Have Fun

If you have several small children, go with a bigger theme. The Wizard of Oz characters seem to be popular. Dress up a Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow. These costumes could be made at home or bought online. You can always do another movie theme if this isn’t up your alley. Maybe have a family costume of Minions? Get creative!

You can always check out Pinterest if none of these ideas are what you or your kids want. I am leaning towards a cheerleader, football player, and football. Why not? I say dress your kids together as long as they will let you. You never know when they will want to be their own thing, and that can be a good thing, too.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2, almost 3, in Arkansas where she now wants to go shop online for costumes for her littles.

Managing Visitors After Baby

Monday, August 8th, 2016

DSCN2516I learned after having my first daughter that people will offer to help and to “help” once you and your newborn arrive home.  Those who offer to help will show up with food and ready to do a chore or two while visiting.  Those who offer to “help” will show up ready to hold the baby so you can catch up on chores.  The following tips I learned while dealing with both helpers and “helpers” after the births of my daughters.

  1. Get on the same page as your husband or partner.  He will be your biggest ally in enforcing the boundaries you and he come up with.
  2. Set an amount of time for no overnight visitors (or even visitors period) once you arrive home.  I am a crying, milk leaking mess for the first week or so once we return from the hospital.  I prefer my privacy during this time.  Both my mom and mother in law offered to stay with us as soon as we got home.  I told them no for this very reason.  Decide how long you want your privacy without overnight guests and let family and friends know well in advance of the birth.  Enlist the help of your husband or partner to enforce this boundary.  Don’t let anyone make you feel pressured or guilty about this boundary.
  3. Create a to-do list in advance of chores that people can help with.  I am not comfortable with anyone doing our laundry or cleaning our bathrooms.  However, if you do a load of dishes, swifter my floor, or make a pot of coffee, I will love you forever!  Create a list of chores that need to be done that you are not too picky about and are comfortable with others doing so you’re prepared for when visitors ask what they can do to help.  Don’t be afraid to ask a “helper” to do a chore or two from the list if they fail to offer before they hold the baby, as well.
  4. Set ground rules for visitors before they come over.  Do you want visitors to have certain vaccines, wash and sanitize their hands, not bring their children, or stay a limited amount of time? Inform people of your rules before the birth in such a way that there is no conversation or negotiations.  Have your husband or partner help enforce these rules when the visitors come over.  The baby is your newborn.  You get to decide what is best for your baby and family, no matter what others think or feel.
  5. Set aside private areas of your home.  My upstairs, purple bathroom was mine and mine only for the weeks after both of my births.  I didn’t want to have to worry about having it company clean when I was bleeding (a lot).  My bedroom was also my sanctuary to take the baby when I needed a few quiet moments, to cry, or to work on breastfeeding without an audience.  Again, have your husband or partner help enforce that these areas are private.

Do not be afraid to set strict boundaries and speak up about them.  This is your recovery and bonding time.  You are in charge of this precious time.  You want to be able to look back fondly on it, not have memories of people hogging your baby, disrespecting your wishes, and otherwise stomping on your postpartum time.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom from Denver, CO to two girls, 3 years and 11 months old, who enjoys cooking, running, and hiking.

A Newborn Diapers Primer

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

newborn diapersIn addition to adding a new baby to the routine, many parents consider adding cloth diapers to the mix from the very first days after birth. Here are a few things to think about as you begin to cloth diaper your newborn:

Baby’s size.
If you absolutely know you’ll have a smaller child (planning a delivery earlier rather than later, for example) you might want to invest more in newborn cloth. Many more established brands have newborn-specific diapers. Some go down to four pounds. If you are like my extended family where no baby was ever born smaller than 8 pounds then investing in extra small cloth may look a little different. Consider 2-size systems like Apple Cheeks, Blueberry, Bummis, and Thirsties that offer a 7ish to 18ish pound size range. You’ll get the more trim fit of a newborn diaper but with the longevity up to 18 pounds.

Comfort.
If the cloth diaper lingo is overwhelming, join a cloth diaper group that can aid and support you in your many questions along the way. They may even become online friends in those early morning hours while you are up, yet again, bleary-eyed and feeling alone. If you are really nervous about all the possibilities consider something simple like an all-in-one diaper or prefolds with covers. Pocket diapers are fairly simple as well with only stuffing required. If you’re very comfortable and open then the possibilities are endless. I began with mostly pockets but now have a variety and love flats just as much now.

Caregiver.
Consider parents, grandparents, daycare, and anyone else who will change your babe’s diaper. If already ambivalent then Velcro/aplix diaper closures might work best. Snaps have a minor learning curve for the willing but may be intimidating for those less excited about cloth. Also, while trying a wide variety of diapers can help you find what you like best, sticking with one or two specific diapers (same brand, same style) can help. Within each style (all-in-one, pocket, covers, etc.) every brand tweaks the diaper in small ways. Snaps may be placed slightly differently, the cut of each brands diaper may vary from one to the next, and so on. This can be confusing to someone unfamiliar or less interested in cloth diapering.

Timing.
If you begin from day one with cloth you may need to address meconium, the umbilical cord, or circumcision.  Meconium, your baby’s first stool passings, is dark and sticky and tarlike. If you’re concerned with staining you can use a liner. I have not found it to be an issue. For the umbilical cord some brands offer a snap down or cut the diaper to give space for the umbilical cord. I’ve found that some diapers can simply be tucked under in order to give way for the umbilical cord.

Washing expectations.
If you can only wash every 3 days you’ll need to have more diapers than if you’re willing to wash every 1-2 days. If you want the diapers to last through multiple children you may need a larger stash (though newborn diapers are used for a shorter period of time so they may last several children even if used daily). A newborn goes through 8-12 diapers per day, so 16-24 diapers for two days, and 24-36 diapers for three days’ worth of washing.

Budget.
Flats or prefolds and covers are generally the biggest bang for your buck. They also wash very easily and can grow with baby. A newborn prefold can become a toddler doubler down the road. You can also use them as burp cloths or wash/cleaning rags one day down the road. A YouTube search can offer you many demonstrations on a variety of fancy folds (origami is our favorite) but almost anyone can master a simple pad fold. Consider used cloth diapers if you really want diapers you can’t afford. Often people sell nearly new diapers for deeply discounted prices on B/S/T (buy/sell/trade) Facebook groups. You can also vary the size of your stash to accommodate your preferences and budget. If you really want the more expensive diaper brand then buy fewer of them and wash more often.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 3 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.