This spring and summer is filled with lots of fun celebrations, vacations, and babies! No, not me. Lots of my friends are becoming first time mamas this spring and I'm so excited for them. I LOVED becoming a mommy and I thought it would be fun to give a few tips and review some of my favorite products. So this is for you my lovely friends:
- Enjoy every moment because they flew by!
- Do a monthly at home photo shoot because it might end up being your only picture of your little one that month.
- Find what fits for you! Trust your instinct.
- Ask lots of people about their experiences. You can see how their journey in motherhood fits with yours and take from their experiences, but it's your journey so take advice with a grain of salt.
- Enjoy the poopy diapers, midnight cuddles, and feeding time because it will be over before you know it and you'll want them to sit still just for two minutes.
So I read LOTS of books, websites, blogs and asked lots of people about their journey in person. I thought I would summarize what our first nine months looked like.
Month One through Three-Love Bug slept in a bassinet or pack n play next to our bed. It worked great for us! She was sleeping nine hour stretches very quick, but at three months a light bulb went off and she was up every two hours. At that point I knew Love Bug needed to be in her room or she would become a co-sleeper. I'm not opposed to co-sleeping, but I knew it wasn't for our family.
During the day with tried to implement the "E.A.S.Y." theory. Your baby eats first, followed by an activity (such as diaper change those early days, bath, playing, tummy time), then sleeps, and finally YOU time! It's nice to have a little predictability to your little one's time, but not a set schedule yet. We would generally repeat every two hours in those early days, but it wasn't restrictive by any means.
Month Three through Six-At this time off she went to her own room. It was a time of transition, not just an over night change. We started with night time in the crib and I would rock or bounce her to sleep (like I use to.) Then I would do the "gradual extinction" where I started with increments of "crying it out" for a few days and gave up because it wasn't working. Finally I read an amazing book, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, and we went to letting her cry it out. She cried twenty to thirty minutes the first night, ten to fifteen the second, and maybe five on night three. We were done with night time training for about a week before we went to nap time because mommy could hid in the shower during the day.
We have always done cloth diapers from day one, but we switched to Smart Bottoms at this point and LOVE them! So absorbent and easy to use. Plus they are local to where I live and made here in the USA.
Months Six to Nine-We started making our own baby food, which I highly recommend for many reasons! It's so much healthy, cheaper, saving on waste, super easy, and baby transitions to table food much easier and sooner.
We started doing baby sign language at this time too. I found a great free resource, Baby Sign Language, that is so simple and great to use! And some great baby videos, Baby Signing Time, that are life savers on long road trips. Remember it takes lots of time! Keep it fun. Take it one day at a time. The joy of your baby communicating for the first time is amazing and it's so nice to know what your baby wants. Always do the correct sign and talk while signing so language continues to develop. From my experience the first signs emerge around nine months and it takes off at around a year.
At nine months I also inadvertently started potty training. Little Love Bug almost went number two in the tub, so up she went on Bubba Gumps toilet and we haven't turned back yet. It's never forced and always fun. She has potty toys and we read books. I generally change two poopy diapers a week now out of seven to ten produced. This is a great resource to anyone potty training.
The Halo Sleepsack is the best! The wrap is adjustable so there isn't any bunching or fear of their face getting covered.
We don't go anywhere with out our Mam Pacifier! They come in newborn, two plus month, and six plus month sizes and TONS of fun designs. Monsters, Princesses, Knights, Owls, and so many more. Yes, we are sadly going to say good bye to them soon, but I just don't want to. I love buying fun new ones.
I was very blessed that Love Bug went from breast to bottle with no problems for the first five months. Once I stopped working those few days a week she didn't take a bottle, but it was no big deal because she takes a sippy cup now. We started with Playtex Airvent Wide, then went to MAM's once we picked up the pacis from them.
I had to pump for the first five to six months and was very blessed it came easy for me and someone gave me their old pump. However I could not recommend one thing more important to splurge on then a Medela Pump of any kind. It is well worth the money!
We switched to Smart Bottoms around six months and again love them! The company is a mom stared company out of our state and made in the USA as well. They a good price, super absorbent, and very trim.
My first book I started out with The Secrets Baby Whisperer. It was great for the time, but I don't think I would reread it. I just got the "E.A.S.Y." theory from it. I didn't stick with their "sleep training" theory. It was exhausting. But loved EASY!
I always refer back to the The Moms Call Guide Basic Baby Care Guide for schedule. She would get to the point where something just wasn't fitting for feeding or sleeping, so I would wipe out that book and see oh yep, time to change this or that according to their examples. Every kids is different, so I to modify the times, but it was generally the same.
I think I read Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child around three or four months and it gave me the confidence and facts to do sleep training. It took three days once I stuck to it. I think I would still do a gradual progress to the three day extinction and just follow what I feel baby and I am ready for. Over all a wonderful book! Good Sleep = Happy Baby! Love Bug sleeps FOURTEEN HOURS A NIGHT!!! At ten months old thats crazy! It's generally ten. It's seriously got better with time too. I finally resorted to trying to keep her awake, just so I could stay out until 7:30 (that's late for her) in the summer! Tack on her two naps a day totaling four to five hours of daytime sleep, I'm very blessed with a great sleeper.
I can't even imagine how many hours I've logged on Baby Center looking at other moms or doctors articles. It's a great quick resource and just fun to read about other peoples experiences.
Wholesome Baby Food was my number one resource for baby food making and any food question I had for feeding Love Bug! Keep it simple with making food and use ice cube trays and zip locks. Have fun with healthy and a variety of foods.
Again, I've stumbled on a few great resources for potty training, but don't feel pressured to do early potty training. The timing seemed right for us and it's been easy and fun. We play with toys, read books, and sing. If there are ever tears or frustration on any part...STOP! They're an infant. Enjoy the exposure and hope for early potty training is my theory. Some people highly recommend the Baby Bjorn Potty Chair, however I use on of those potty toppers, yes a boy one from her brother. I have also seen a knock off at Kmart for $7, but I can't find it online and personally prefer not cleaning up. We also love flushable wipes for quick clean up.
Hope this helped a little and makes sense. It was alot of fun to collect my thoughts and what I did for the last nine months. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Find what fits for your, but don't be afraid to adapt. Right about the time your schedule/routine works it will change again. Welcome to motherhood ladies! It's a beautiful journey.