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Guest blog: Rebecca from "Friffle Thoughts"

A Baby! Wait. What? This is for all the new moms and moms-to-be: welcome to the club! I got tired of hearing “it depends” to every question I asked about pregnancy, but it is true. And, it’s even more true when the anticipated bundle arrives: every story, every baby, every up and down is different for every parent. This is my story, and perspective to pass along to anyone interested – and a kudos to Sara for being a step ahead of the game asking for advice, ideas, and help from current moms long before the big day!

After waiting a week past our due date and then having a traumatic birthing experience, we were just thrilled to have our little girl, Little E, at home. For about five minutes. Sure, we had heard that parenting was the most difficult job we would ever do, and yep, we had heard that it would be particularly hard initially. Still, we were convinced we wanted multiple children and were excited to have started our family.  Little did we know how many times that opinion would change in the upcoming months.

Turns out, our “little” girl (weighing in a 9 lbs., 9 oz.) had not read all the parenting books we had consumed in the past nine months. Nor did she care that my breastfeeding skills had been honed by a plastic, non-wiggling doll of a mere 3 pounds at best.  In fact, on one uninspired feeding, she flicked me off. Most importantly, as we would later attest, she did not care what schedule we thought she was going to be on. She was, and is, fiercely independent.

My body was going through the down-shift of having a child and attempting to breastfeed. Lack of sleep, scattered meals, frayed nerves, and bouncing hormones led to breakdowns on a regular every-other-day cycle. The baby blues are real and ugly. I tried to sing Little E to sleep but the only song that popped in my head was “I Have Confidence” (which was a lie) from The Sound of Music, and I couldn’t get through it without crying. My husband was trying to get through graduate school, working, comforting a hormonal spouse, and learning to change poopy diapers. Our house had become a war-zone of burp cloths and pacifiers. It was littered with empty bottles, notes from the pediatrician, and take-out boxes. And I could see no end in sight.

Friends would come with their slightly older babies and smile knowingly. “We just have to get through the first 4-6 weeks, right,” I asked hopefully. Perhaps they knew my fragile state couldn’t handle reality so they responded with a diplomatic “Something like that, but everyone’s different.”  At 8-weeks I was crying on the phone to my mother, “Why isn’t it getting any better? I thought I had reached the tipping point! What is going on?” I got a bit closer to the truth when my mom responded “I don’t know any other way to say this except that the first three months can be horrible (okay, she used another h-word, but let’s keep it G for the kiddos people).”

There. I had it. Three months. I started reading more and it seemed true – somewhere between three and four months it would get a lot better. It was enough time for Little E to be comfortable in her new post-utero environment and for us to become familiar with our new reality.

Sure enough, we got through it, and now I even miss parts of it. Our secret? We never once assumed we would be in this alone – in fact, we were eager for assistance, advice, and friends. A friend who had joined the Mommy Club a month or so before I had, sent me a FB message with an encouraging note: her timing was perfect and gave me the energy I needed to get through the day. Friends brought meals and news from the outside world. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles took turns changing diapers, feeding bottles, cleaning the bathroom, making meals, and holding the newest family addition.

Even better, right about the time Little E’s muscle memory started kicking in and fun things started happening, her parents’ brain muscle memory started forgetting the trauma of the first three months. All we remembered were the positives and the amazing – her smiling, sleeping (a lot of sleeping in retrospect), putting on a show for whoever stopped by, her falling asleep with me on the couch, so many new outfits, and happy, happy family.  Nine months later, I can almost sing “Besides what you see, I have con-fi-dence…in….MEEEEEE” without choking up.

If you need a refresher, here’s the song sans video – better yet, rent a copy and watch a classic!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ7E7kJlZMI]

All that to say, take any help you can get if you are about to have a little one, or be as available as you can to help in any way if you know someone about to have a little one (but send a text or email – don’t call and interrupt precious sleep time!).

Congrats Z and Sara – welcome to the world Keelin – you’re gonna love it!

ABOUT THE BLOGGER!

Hi, I'm Rebecca, Z’s cousin, so that makes Sara and I... cousins-in-law? I joined the Mommy Club {oh, it’s real} in March 2011 and have loved whipping out my playing skills for a new audience ever since {yes, I do voices}. I took a break from a career in international education to be a stay-at-home-mom and have found writing to be a great outlet for adult conversation. When I gets a few free minutes of “Rebecca time” I like to…wait for it…write. And also, read, walk, travel {ok, that’s usually with baby in tow, but it counts}, volunteer at our church, and take pictures. When the hubby and I get a babysitter we enjoy biking, going to the movies, trying out new experiences, visiting local attractions, and eating dinner using both hands.

You can follow my tweets @RRVincent or have a semi adult conversation on any number of random topics at my blog Friffle Thoughts.

Until next time...

Guest Blog: Jell Jell from 'I'll Sleep When They're Grown"

Sara is kind enough to let me guest blog during her entrance into motherhood.  I go by Jell Jell or variations of that nick name on my blog called "I'll Sleep When They're Grown," which is a mommy (+ other stuff) blog.  I write about my toddler and trying to get pregnant again, and other superawesome stories about my life that I find humorous.

My daughter is 20 months old and I call her EB.  She's amazing and smart and super funny.  But we're having a problem with hitting.

When I pick her up from day care, she runs and hits other nearby kids.  When we're playing and having fun, she'll just turn and bop me or our two dogs.  When we're on a play date, she will hit over toys or snacks.  It's embarrassing and frustrating to have the hitter.  And I didn't like feeling that way about my kid because I know she's not devious or mean - she is learning to talk and express herself and can't quite get her point across.  Of course that's frustrating for her.

So what can we do about it?  I started getting advice from other mothers.  They would tell me to say "soft touch" and "gentle" and "we don't hit our friends."  But that wasn't working.  And I didn't like saying "no" all the time.  She wasn't getting it either.  I needed to figure out the cause of the hitting and not just react to her behavior.

The Hubs and I decided to take this into our own hands and go to a parenting seminar.  If you live in Austin, TX, you should check out Carrie Contey's Toddlerhood classes.  She has a bunch of offerings on various topics.  There were about 20 of us who met in her house and I felt very comfortable asking lots of questions.

I wrote about a couple of topics so far on my blog about:

How do I react if my kid is hitting?

Am I giving my kid too many bottles in the night?

So in this installment, I want to talk about parenting for the boundaries of your household.  It's really hard when I see my EB hitting one of her friends or even her cousin.  The other parent's first reaction is to tell my kid "no" to protect their own child.  That totally makes sense and I don't fault them for that.  But from what I've learned in this class and from what I know in my heart, just saying "no hitting" doesn't keep or from doing it, calm her down, or solve the inherent problem.  If she's hitting because she's overstimulated from playing, it's my job to regulate her emotions and calm her down.  So we could go outside, or take a bath, or sit in another room and read a book.  We can talk about how much I appreciated when she was playing nicely with her friends.  And that's when I can start defining the boundary for her.  I can say "we can hit the couch or our stuffed animals, but we never hit the dog.  But isn't it fun to hit this pillow?"  That way she can see what her options are.  How would you feel if you were upset and overwhelmed and someone just goes of on all the stuff you're doing wrong?  Yelling "no" at you when you really just need a hug?  Think about how you would want someone to react to you.  Kids are people, after all.

If I am only worried about how I feel about what my kid is doing, it is more authentic when I set the boundaries for EB.  If I tell her she can't get on the coffee table because I know other kids don't get on their tables, it's not really a rule set from my comfort zone.  I actually don't mind if she sits on the table.  But I do mind if she stands on it.  And amazingly, she is pretty respectful of this rule.  Every once in a while she makes sure the rule is still in place and we kind of laugh about going through it - "you can sit but please don't stand because I'm afraid of you falling and getting hurt."  She relates to it and believes me.  That doesn't mean she won't try again later because she is just figuring things out.  And it behooves me to be patient and not get mad about this.

So the hitting.  And other people's kids.  That's where it gets tricky.  Because I don't want the other parent to feel any strange emotions towards my child or me.  But that's not solving the problem.  If I step back and analyze the situation sooner, we can eventually learn to avoid the triggers that cause the hitting.  And when I talk to EB to regulate her emotions, it can be because I want her to be calm, not because I don't want the other person to judge us.  She can't relate to those feelings.  She can relate to me saying it hurts me when she hits me.  And it hurts other people, too.

So what you can take home from all of this is the following:

  • Set boundaries from what you need from your child, not what you think is expected.
  • Talk to your child calmly and try to solve the problem instead of punishing
  • Talk to your child like an adult that will understand your feelings (no baby talk).  Kids are smarter than you think.
  • Watch for warning signs early that your kid is about to hit.  Being aware of triggers like food, being tired, being over stimulated, or an upcoming nap time can help you avoid the hitting altogether.
  • Be clear about what you want and not just tell your child what you don't want.  In other words, appreciate them verbally when they're behaving or being sweet or just being a kid and having fun.  Redirect them when the behavior is not what you want to see and reiterate what do you do want to see.

Do you have a hitter?  How did you handle it?  If you are having trouble is other behaviors, ask in the comments.  And thanks for letting me have this guest blog slot!  Good luck with that new baby, Sara!  It goes by so so quickly.

Jell Jell

ABOUT THE BLOGGER... The best way to learn more about Jell Jell is to check out her fantastic blog: I'll Sleep When They're Grown!

Guest blog: Lauren the cloth diaper slinging super-mom!

Before I had my son, Connor, I laughed at people who use cloth diapers. I guess I just had this attitude of “that’s really freaking disgusting,” and most people I talk to have that attitude as well. Whenever I tell someone that I use cloth diapers, I get the same look. I’m telling you this because I don’t want to sound like I’m a cloth diaper guru, even though I totally am. When Connor was born, I had lots of disposables! Or so I thought. My mom sent us diapers all the time, but I knew eventually that supply would run out, and I’m constantly looking for ways to save money. That was my main reason for switching to cloths, and then I did my research. Cloth diapers are easy, they are WAY better for the environment, and they save you money. Bingo. The easy part of it caught my attention. I didn’t think it would be easy, but it really is.

I have bumGenius 4.0 cloth diapers. There are a lot of different cloth diapers out there, so it’s always good to do your research and decide which is best for you. The bumGenius diapers are amazzzzing, though. I recommend them to everyone I know. I have 22 right now, which I have gotten over time. You can collect them throughout your pregnancy, or in my case, just get 6 and go from there. I started when Connor was 4 months old, so I had to slowly collect. I ordered 6, loved them, and then my amazing mother ordered me 6 more!

So, I have 22 diapers now, and I can go at least every other day without washing. With newborns, you probably need to wash every day. Connor probably goes through between 6-8 diapers a day, and about half of those are poop! Yeah, it seems gross, but it isn’t. The way the diapers are made, make it a lot easier to clean. I rinse the diapers out, put them in the diaper pail, and voila. Transitioning from disposable to cloth wasn’t difficult for me. My husband even helps out! He’s cleaned plenty of poopy diapers. In fact, one day in church I told Adam that Connor had pooped, so he took Connor into the bathroom and changed his cloth diaper. I love telling people that story because they are amazed.  See, if my husband can do it IN PUBLIC, you know they’re good!  I did a review of them on my blog that you are welcome to check out!

About the blogger:

My name is Lauren Hill, I’m 23, originally from VA, but now I’m in the Lonestar state. My husband is a Marine, and home is wherever the Marine Corps takes us! I have an 8 month old little boy, Connor (wow, I can’t believe how fast time flies).

For now, I am a stay at home momma and wife, and I looove it!

Guest blog: Emily from The Waiting

All Hail Emily, Queen of the Muffin Top: Originally posted Sept. 14, 2011 It was bound to happen eventually. I am nearing the end of my first trimester, after all. I have known that at some point I would have to part with my normal, cute wardrobe. And I dreaded it, not out of a fear of pregnant corpulence but because I like my clothes.

But it’s started: I have a giant muffin top. It’s only going to morph into a cake and then a watermelon. We’ve reached the point of no return, folks.

Let’s get this straight; I have always carried my junk in the front. I have by no means a small waist and that’s OK by me, as long as I can get jeans that make me look like I give a damn, which I have always been able to do. The rest of me is not skinny but healthy, and that’s all that matters, really.

Yesterday my #1 Jeans (you know them, that one pair of jeans that always makes you look great no matter what you pair them with, that have the uncanny ability to turn a borderline bad day into a somewhat pleasant day) were in the laundry, so I had to resort to #2 Jeans in my arsenal of awesomeness. The instant I put them on I had a craving for coffee to go with the giant muffin I was rocking.

Granted, I should have seen it coming since I really haven’t worn these jeans in several weeks and they do tend to be a little snug on bloaty days, but after zipping and buttoning them, I felt like an impostor.

“Silly girl,” the jeans said, “you’re pregnant now. You can’t wear me unless you want to pair me with that orange tunic your mother gave you two years ago and we all know you hate.”

“But jeans, I love you! You’re supposed to have stretch! See, right there in your label you say STRETCH really big. And you’ve always been so understanding in the  past!”

“There’s only so much I can do for you. Sorry.”

“But think about the good times! Please recall how I bought you in Korea, the lonely size 8 in the store. You would’ve had to stay among the 0′s and 2′s indefinitely had I not come around. Remember when your belt loop broke but I still loved you and sewed you up? What about the time in Paris when you were my trusty companion. You’ve seen the world, and now you say there’s nothing you can do?!”

“I don’t do muffins, and I don’t do babies.”

I realize now that it’s not going to be long until #1 Jeans falls prey to the MT and will have to be retired for maternity wear, but I am going to savor them until that day arrives, even if that means that they won’t be washed for weeks on end. Love makes you do strange things.

I now have a craving for muffins. Off I go!

ABOUT THE BLOGGER:

Emily smirks about pregnancy and life over at The Waiting. She now has way  more than a muffin top and her pre-preggo jeans have been traded in for maternity pants. We tried to contact her former jeans to comment on what Emily said about them, but they did not return our calls.  Emily said, “Good riddance. My new maternity pants rule beyond belief.”

Bebe is expected to arrive in April, 2012.

Until next time...

Guest blog: Kristen from The Campbell Family

Top 5 Things for a NEW MOM! OK! So while Sara is prepping for {or possibly already enjoying} that beautiful baby girl Keelin, I wanted to do a guest blog for her on the top 5 things for a new mom. Since I am going to be a new mom right around February 8th, I felt that this would be appropriate. Keep in mind that this is my personal opinion! I know that there are hundreds on wonderful things out there for new moms and babies alike! These are just a few things that I think are WONDERFUL!!!

Ok! So here we go! Starting us off at Number 5: Moby Wrap

This is a great piece for any new mom to have because it's so versatile! Unlike other carriers, it distributes the weight to all of your back and front instead of the small straps that just pull on your bag like some of the other carriers have. It's also great for newborns to keep them snugly against your chest and can hold them up until they are 45 pounds! It can go on your front, back or side making it ultra versatile for you and your little one!!!

Number 4: Car Seat Mat

This mat doesn’t seem like a great thing, however I think that it’s a definite registry must have! I have seen so many times the divots left in seats from car seats and the yuck that lies beneath! As the baby grows, they will have snacks and drinks and other yucky items that will be coming from their car seat! This little mat will do the job to protect the seat and all that lies under it! Also, the mat works for rear and front facing car seats. So as your baby grows, no need to purchase another mat! This one will do the trick. :)

Number 3: Fisher Price Rock N Play Sleeper

So I have to say that a few months ago, this would have never made my list of top five! Only because it just didn’t seem like a GRAND thing to have or need. However, the more I started at looking for space in our bedroom for a bassinet and the less space we have, this seemed like a good idea! I have also talked to a few other friends that have this and LOVE LOVE it! It has an angled back so if your baby has acid reflux, it will help with that. It is also portable, so you can fold up and carry to living room, kitchen, grandmas house or even on a road trip! Also, it's very reasonable in price compared to a lot of other bassinets out there! So this now seems like a win-win situation for the little one and for Momma!

Number 2: Baby Bullet

So let me introduce to you to the Baby Bullet! I received this at a shower last weekend and after digging out all of the parts and pieces, I was AMAZED at all of the wonderful things that this can do!!! Not only does it come with everything that you need to make and store your baby food, but it also has this amazing cookbook that you can learn how to make anything from just veggies to full-out meals for your growing baby! And it's so user-friendly! This is a sure-fire way to save money and cook healthy for your little one!

Number 1: Diaper Sprayer to go with BumGenius Diapers! 

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

HAHA! Can you hear me singing? I think that this is the coolest thing since microwave popcorn! No really! I know that so many people are fans of BumGenius, me included. In fact, I already have my full stock for when Colton arrives! And I know that Sara is using them for Keelin, so I found this to be an appropriate Numero Uno! This little guy attaches directly to your toilet! (Think sprayer for a sink, but on the toilet!) And once its attached, you can spray off the dirty diapers right into the toilet! No more leaving messy yucky pails of water in the bathroom for dunking dirty diapers. Just spray and flush! Wahoo!!! This will be a need-to-have piece of hardware for the bathroom to use with those super cute BumGenius cloth diapers!

Well thanks for letting me share those top 5 New Mom Items! Like I said, these are only MY opinion as I know that there are MILLIONS of things that we are fortunate to have at our disposal to make having babies easier than ever! And thanks to Sara for posting this today!!!

ABOUT THE BLOGGER:

Hi! I'm Kristin and I live in Midlothian, Virginia! I am married to my highschool sweetheart, Aaron and we have a 4-legged furry child, Ruger! We also have a new baby boy, Colton, due the first week of February! I currently work as a paralegal but will be enjoying my new job as a stay at home mom! I also sell Pampered Chef and love helping people make inexpensive recipes for their families! I am so excited to be a new mom and cannot wait for all of the love, fun & craziness that comes with it! Thanks for reading! *Visit Kristin's blog at the link above and check in on her own baby adventure!

Until next time...

Do you have your own TOP 5 list for new moms? Share some of your favorite new mommy MUST HAVES!