Archive for the ‘Sarah Cole’ Category

When Should I Start Reading to My Baby?

Friday, November 25th, 2016

When should I start reading to my baby?When should I start reading to my baby?  Today.

It is never too early to read to your baby.  In fact, I started reading to my babies as soon as I found out I was pregnant.  Reading was my way to connect with my baby from the start.  I went to the library on a weekly basis to keep it interesting for us.

What books are best for infants? In my opinion, the content doesn’t matter. You could read a picture book, the newspaper, or this blog to your baby. Babies love to hear the sound of your voice. They love the special time and attention that is shared with them while they listen to you read.

Tips for reading to infants:

  • Choose books that you enjoy.  How about a book that you loved when you were a child?  Show your baby that reading is a fun and pleasant thing to do.  They will learn this by your tone and excitement for books.
  • Point to pictures and talk about them.  Your audience will be paying attention whether they interact with you or not. They are always learning.
  • Pay attention to your baby’s cues of what they enjoy.  They may enjoy rhyming, pictures, or certain authors or illustrations.
  • Use your local library as a resource and you will have an endless supply of books and reading materials to choose from.
  • Read the same books regularly. It is amazing to see babies recognize books that they remember and enjoy. I rotate through books and love to see what my children remember about them when they are reunited with a book they haven’t seen in a while. Many times, they do the reading.
  • Have babies help you turn pages. This is a part of teaching them how to read. You may want to use board books when you first start out.

There are so many benefits of reading to infants. Reading helps babies develop listening skills, learn about words and pictures, stimulate their imagination as they get older, and so much more.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers.  She enjoys spending time reading to her kids and loves watching her children’s relationship with books and reading grow.

Getting Over the Fear of Not Making Enough Milk While Breastfeeding

Monday, November 21st, 2016
getting over the fear that you aren't making enough milk

“When a baby is hungry, he tends to clench his fists tightly and bring them toward his face. If he falls asleep hungry, his fists usually stay clenched. But when he gets milk, he relaxes starting with his face. Then his shoulders relax, and finally those fists unclench. Eventually they’re as limp as the rest of him. Thing of his hands as a built-in fuel gauge.” p.120 Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

When my son was first born, we had a difficult time figuring out breastfeeding. It was challenging and stressful for both of us. In the very beginning, he lost weight instead of gaining and was extremely fussy. I contacted my acupuncturist and told her I thought my milk supply had decreased significantly. I didn’t think that I was making the amount that my baby needed and didn’t know what to do because my goal was to breastfeed until he was 12 months old. She had me come right in and she worked her magic with her needles to help get the milk flowing again, if it was true that I was having issues with my milk supply.

The amount of milk that a baby consumes while breastfeeding can be such a mystery, especially if they are exclusively breastfed like both of my children who refused bottles. It can be nerve-wracking wondering if an extra fussy baby means that they are actually starving because they are not getting enough milk. Since it was my first experience with breastfeeding, I was always seeking proof that my body was making the correct amount of milk that my baby needed.  These are some ways that eventually helped me feel confident that body was doing the job that it was supposed to, so I could get over my fear that I was not producing enough milk:

  • At breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants weighed my baby right before I breastfed him and then immediately after.  The number of ounces that he gained was proof that he was consuming a good amount.
  • Regular wet diapers proved to me that the process was working.
  • Appropriate weight gaining was on track and was proven at regular doctor check-ups.
  • Pumping milk into baby bottles to maintain a back-up supply showed me the number of ounces that my body was producing.

With my second baby, I learned to trust the process and reminded myself regularly that my body knew how to do it and would get the job done.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers.  She nursed both of her babies until they were almost 2 years-old.  Now, she wonders if her picky eaters are getting enough food at each meal.

Bedtime Routines for Babies

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

bedtime routines for babiesSleeping at night is a game that we need to teach our babies how to play. A bedtime routine is their cue that their job to go to sleep for hopefully many hours through the night is quickly approaching.

My babies weren’t quick to get the memo that they should sleep during the night. So, we worked very hard (and still do) to make sure they got the message loud and clear by establishing consistent bedtime routines.

Here are some things that you can try to put into your baby’s bedtime routine to let them know it’s time to go to bed:

  • Bath
  • Lotion
  • Massage
  • Nursing or a bottle
  • Singing songs
  • Reading books
  • Putting baby in their bed while they are drowsy but still awake

Our first baby, who is now 3 years old, loves his routine so much that it is still pretty much the same as it was when he was 3 months old. Every night, after getting his pajamas on, he gets three books of his choice read to him, the song “Operator” by Jim Croce is sung to him in his chair and then he hops into bed and gets his back rubbed with one last serenade of “Operator.”

The one thing that did change from the time he was a small baby was the song that we sing. I pushed for songs like “You Are My Sunshine,” but one crazy night after many attempts of calming our screaming child, my husband sealed the deal of getting our son to sleep with the ever so popular lullaby, “Operator.” I’m sure that I have broken some kind of world record of singing “Operator” the most times in a 3-year time period. My 2-year-old daughter also requests this song every night and before naps. So, yes, I win!

Our second child has challenged bedtime routines. Just when we think that we have one set in place, she changes it on us. She has taught us to be flexible and to keep trying. Even though she is set on her favorite song, sometimes she wants books, sometimes she wants to chat, or read to her babies by herself. She’s in charge. And, yes, she still has a difficult time sleeping through the night consistently. We hope to find something that impresses and pleases her before the time she is a teenager.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers. She enjoys writing and sleeping through the night.

Nursing Through A Growth Spurt

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

nursing through a growth spurtI quickly realized my place during a growth spurt. According to my breastfed baby, I had one job. That job was to make milk, feed him, and repeat often.

Before I learned my place, thoughts like “Is this normal? When will this end? Will I survive?” ran through my mind as I sat nursing my baby in the same rocking chair for what seemed like endless hours. I was challenged to be strategic with bathroom breaks and with feeding myself.

Here are warnings that I wish that I would have received about nursing through a growth spurt:

  • You will be off your normal schedule and will not be informed about this new temporary schedule ahead of time. There will most likely not be room for things like making meals, eating meals, cleaning the house or any of that kind of productive stuff.
  • You will be starving. Eat! Your body will be working overtime to increase your milk supply to feed your baby during a growth spurt. So, keep snacks nearby and ask someone to bring you dinner on their way home because you won’t be cooking it.
  • You will need to drink a lot of water. Keep drinking it.
  • You will be tired. Even if your baby has become a decent night sleeper, they may wake often during a growth spurt for multiple snacks.
  • You will be confused. You may think that there is something wrong with your supply. A growth spurt is a baby’s way of increasing your milk supply. Don’t stop breastfeeding or start supplementing during a growth spurt because you think something is wrong.
  • This too will pass. Growth spurts often stop as suddenly as they come on. By the time it ends you may actually be worried that your baby is not eating enough! But relax. Apps like WonderWeeks are helpful for somewhat predicting these phases and can help you keep your sanity with that simple heads-up.

Good news: growth spurts only last a couple of days. And, once it is over, there’s a good chance you’ll soon need to get out some larger sized clothing for your hefty eater. Not only will a growth spurt increase your milk supply that your baby needs, but it will increase the size of your baby, too!

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. She enjoys writing, playing with her busy toddlers and watching them grow.

Reusing Receiving Blankets

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 9.26.03 AMIt is not uncommon for me to fold a receiving blanket or two on a weekly basis while doing laundry.  My children are toddlers, but we still find regular opportunities to reuse those blankets.

Receiving blankets are a safe and common baby shower gift.  Everyone needs them, right? I had a whole drawer full and never really knew what to do with them all, but I had a difficult time getting rid of them. Over the years, they have served many purposes in my home. These are ways to use all those receiving blankets!

  • As a burp cloth.

  • To clean up liquids ranging from baby spit up to toddler potty training accidents.

  • To swaddle a newborn.

  • As wash cloths.  Cut up a receiving blanket to get over 20 individual washcloths.  I kept them in my diaper bag and in my kitchen to clean little mouths and hands after meals.

  • As wipes.  When my kids had bad diaper rashes, I cleaned them with water and small pieces of a receiving blanket.

  • In an emergency.  I keep a receiving blanket in each vehicle in case we have a spill in a car, a child gets wet or muddy while we are out playing, or if someone wants a blanket during a car seat nap.

  • As a floor mat.  I notice many moms of infants who bring receiving blankets to story time at the library for their infants to lay on or sit on.

  • As wrapping paper for a baby gift.  This is a fun way to pass them on to another mom who may or may not need more receiving blankets in her life.

  • Use them for teething babies.  Cut into squares and wet a corner of the cloth and put it in the freezer.  Baby will love chewing on the cold cloth.

  • Make a quilt or a stuffed animal out of pieces of your favorite receiving blankets.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mom of two busy toddlers who actually wishes she didn’t get rid of most of her receiving blankets.