Thursday, May 16, 2019

Can We Be Too Cautious Over Our Baby?

This post is in collaboration.

As if it's not saying the obvious, being a parent comes with its fair share of anxieties. But what does this really mean for us as parents? Does it mean that we won't ever get a good night's sleep ever again, either due to problems with our kids' sleep, or the fact that we just lay awake worrying all the time? Or is it something that calms down over time? When we have our baby, naturally, we can be protective, (after all, it is our mother instinct) but at what point are we being too cautious? And is this the downfall of our parental skills? After all, we're doing our best to look after our children, at what point does it become overkill? And are there any suitable examples during the life of a baby that highlights just how overly cautious we can be?
Knowing The Difference Between A Real Emergency And What Is Not
In the beginning, everything can seem like an emergency, like it is life or death. And while there's nothing wrong with the fact that we are worried, but we've got to weigh it up. There can be issues within the first few months that need to be brought up with a pediatrician, but on the other hand, if the baby is gassy, or spits up a lot, these aren't a cause for concern. But what we need to do is differentiate between what is a real emergency, and what can be solved with baby paracetamol. There are plenty of resources out there for us so we know what we're in for, and it's our responsibility to know the difference. It can be very concerning at the beginning because we don't know the signs, and naturally, we'd rather be overly cautious than under cautious, but we need to find that fine line. You can learn from other parents that have been through this, but they will all tell you that your baby is different. And after all, if you feel that something isn't right, then it's better to get it checked out. But there are common issues that can happen within the first 6 to 12 months that aren’t a cause for concern, but there are as many that are.
We Need To Not Overreact
Yes, it is easier said than done. But our emotions can most definitely get the better of us when in a stressful situation. When we lack in sleep, and our emotions are haywire, it's very easy for us to overreact. After all, every little thing can spark concern, and this can keep us awake at night with that worry. And unfortunately, that worry is something that doesn't really go away during the first year. But what we can do for the sake of our sanity is to learn some coping strategies. It can take a long time for your baby to get into a sleeping routine, and this is the perfect opportunity for you to practice coping strategies. While it's not easy to sit cross-legged and meditate when you've got a screaming baby, you can certainly learn how to calm yourself down in these overly stressful situations.
Think about it with a sense of perspective. If your baby is upset, but you're feeling stressed out, you may need to step away from the situation just for 5 minutes. But you're feeling particularly frazzled, just step away just so you can breathe, only as long as you know that the baby is okay. Having a coping strategy is vital. Even before the baby comes along, you will have learned how to cope with pain, and live with numerous ailments, but now the baby has come along, this sense of protection, coupled with anxiety, and the feeling that it doesn't seem to let up can be very overwhelming. It's easy to say "don't overreact" because your emotions still do a good job of obstructing your logical thoughts, but it's a very useful piece of information, especially when our babies are so delicate.
Learning What Our Over Parenting Does To Our Child
In the grand scheme of things, being overcautious can lead to over parenting. And this can have various negative effects. It's easy for us to protect our children because it's built into us, but there is a limit. There is going to be a time when your baby will want to start walking, and you will encourage this, but when they start to get more confident and start to climb over anything and everything, where their safety is compromised, this is when overly protective parent springs into action. All the parenting is something we don't feel that we're doing because it's coming from a good place. We're doing it for our children, not ourselves.
But we can run the risk of wrapping our children in cotton wool so much that they won't ever develop their own sense of resilience. As such, they will rely on us for everything, and we shouldn't be surprised when they have confidence issues, or even depression and anxiety. What has this got to do with your baby? Well, it's to do with you. This is the very perfect opportunity to practice not over parenting. What you can do with your baby is nurture, and spend quality time with them, but when they're looking to explore something, be there ready should something happen, but at least give them that opportunity to explore in the first place. It's far easier for us to say "no" or "don't" and we've got to be aware when these become the first words out of our mouths because this becomes a habit that's very difficult to break. By all means, be protective, but understand when you are getting in the way.
Give It Time (It Becomes Easier!)
Because this very delicate thing has come into the world, we feel that we have got to protect it with all our might. As such, we worry, and overly so. But there's a difference between worrying, and letting it consume us. It does become easier over time because as a new parent, you're finding your feet. And it’s natural to feel that you want to do everything right. But we all make mistakes, and what's important is that we don't beat ourselves up over this. As we learn what our baby needs from us down the line, all we can do, especially during those early couple of months, is muddle through. A pattern can take time to form, even in terms of their sleeping or eating, and as such this erratic sense of survival can feel very stressful.

In one respect, you can look at it very simply. If they are hungry, feed them; if they've had an accident, you change them. But even at the very beginning, this can feel like a mammoth task. But we have to remember that our baby’s needs are simple at the beginning, it's only when they get older that it becomes more complex. The first couple of months are difficult, but they are also incredibly exciting. This little thing that you hold in your arms, despite the fact you've barely slept, makes life feel worthwhile. And this precious little baby becomes something we would give everything for. At the very beginning, it makes sense to focus on the simple things, because they won't get any simpler.
And in this respect, why should we be too anxious? We can be overly cautious, but if we do enough background reading, but also trust our instincts, this provides a very strong combination. This is something that we can all greatly underestimate, trusting our instincts. After all, it is your child. If something feels wrong, do something about it.

Friday, May 03, 2019

The Scoop on Sleep

Prefacing this by saying this is MY experience and what worked for US.  Sometimes it didn't work which is why I'm writing this post to begin with.  My choices for sleep may not be something that everyone agrees with and that is fine, please keep any judgement to yourself if you have any.  I have turned off commenting to this post (not because of judgment but because of an influx of spammy comments) so if you have any questions or comments please email them directly to me at

Babies and's a mystery, it's one of those topics that is always highly discussed, one that people wish there was a magic solution to, one that gets criticized quite a bit, and one that can be a major struggle.

I'll give you a little background.  I was one of those people who swore they'd never cosleep or bedshare.  I bought a Halo bassinet which I loved and was so excited to use.  I assembled it well before Georgia's arrival and had it set up in our bedroom just waiting for her to come.  In the hospital she slept well in the little bassinet that they left her in by my bedside as we slept.  When we got home it was a totally different story.  She HATED the bassinet, screamed those curdling newborn screams so loud there was no way anyone was getting sleep if we forced her to be in that thing.  So for the first few nights home she slept right on my chest and I didn't sleep much at all because I was a nervous wreck having her sleep on me.  I was nursing and she was eating every 2 hours so she was up quite a bit.  I was having these jolts when I would fall asleep from the residual meds that were lingering around in my body after the csection and I was so fearful that I was going to throw her across the room accidentally or roll over on her so I slept very little those first few days.

I ordered a Dockatot within just a couple days of being home and within a week of her being home she was sleeping soundly swaddled in her new little space.  We all felt safe and comfortable about how she slept and we were all getting really good sleep.  After about 8 weeks or so in her DAT between us in bed we moved her into the Halo finally.  She slept there pretty well from about 2 months to about 5 months when she got too big for it.  It was at that point she began bed sharing with us permanently.  We have a king size bed and she would sleep at the top between us, we'd spread our pillows apart and make sure that she had no blankets around her.  It worked out great for us especially since I was nursing it was so easy to feed her & get us both right back to sleep without having to leave our bed.

she was so tiny and hated this thing so much at first

Eventually it was time for her to move to her crib.  She was about 15 months and I knew that we'd be doing our next embryo transfer for baby #2 so I wanted her to be transitioned fully into her crib by the time a second baby would come.  Transitioning her to her crib was somewhat challenging.  She never seemed to sleep soundly in it and would always end up back in our bed.  I would rock her to sleep every night from when she was newborn all the way til she was close to two so once she was rocked to sleep I'd lay her down in her crib where she'd sleep for a couple hours before waking and then coming into our room.  I was always too tired to put the effort into trying to get her back down in her crib so I'd take her into our bed where it was just easier to get us both back to sleep.

Eventually we realized that she might be better off in a full size bed because she'd sleep great when she was in our bed but terribly in the crib.  We had already had a baby gate at her door and her room is right across from ours so we decided one weekend to make the switch.  She was 22 months at the time.  It was a very rough adjustment, a couple of weeks it took for her to really transition and not think that she just had a giant trampoline in her room to jump on and roll around on.  It was a very hard 3/4 weeks and none of us were sleeping.  Joe and I basically tag teamed it on sleep until she finally got through it and began sleeping soundly in her new floor bed.  You can read all the details here

Over the last few months since transitioning and even when she was in a crib it's become very clear that I am Georgia's crutch for sleep and have been all along.  I have to be in the room with her in order for her to fall asleep.  If I leave her when she's awake she calls for me, cries, gets out of bed, etc. until I come in and lay down with her.  Once she's asleep I sneak out and wait for her to wake up in the middle of the night calling for me or coming into our room and getting in our bed.  She has no idea how to self soothe and bed time is very stressful and frustrating most nights.  Her room is darkened with blackout curtains, we use white noise all the way turned up, and I diffuse oils in her room to help calm her (Gentle Baby is our favorite) but none of those things matter if I am not there with her.  

It's been very frustrating most nights.  Of course there are nights when she goes down just fine without any issues, but some nights we fight because she doesn't want to go to sleep, some nights it takes her over an hour to fall asleep and I can't get anything done.  I have just gotten to the point where I feel as though something needs to change before I lose my sanity.  I am constantly going to bed angry and frustrated & those are the last two things I want to be feeling right before bed.  

One day on the good ol' 'gram I noticed I had a like on one of my photos from an account called Slumberland Solutions.  I instantly checked out her page and gave her a follow when I saw in her bio that she was a pediatric sleep consultant.  Within a week or two I was messaging her and had a consultation set up.  We had our first call which lasted about 15 minutes.  She gave me a few tips like moving bed time earlier and taking away screen time before bed.  We tried both of those things right off the bat and they seemed to help so I got back with her that week and we set up our next consultation.  I gave her a bunch of information about Georgia's sleep habits including wake time, nap time, and bed time along with her routine for the rest of the day such as meals.  Carla told me that over the next few days she'd come up with a plan for us to follow. 

A few days later we followed up with a facetime phone call.  She sent me 17 pages of a plan to put into place with Georgia.  Our ultimate goal being that Georgia puts herself to sleep and soothes herself back to sleep if/when she wakes in the middle of the night.  The biggest challenge for me is not putting her into our bed when she comes in the middle of the night.  The biggest challenge for her is laying down without me right next to her.  The basics of the very detailed plan are getting out of her bed, being consistent, only letting her cry for very short periods of time (2 minutes to start), and not putting her into our bed.  Some of the challenges for us are that she is already on a floor bed so she isn't contained and that it's very light in her room even with black out curtains.

Some of Carla's suggestions were a toddler sleep sack, a weighted blanket, a toddler alarm clock, and a bed rail.  I also want to get these black out blinds for her room to go behind the black out curtains so that it's much darker in her room.  She has a west facing window and her curtain although are "black out" are actually white so they don't offer much darkness and I think that makes it a lot harder for her to associate the time of night with bed time.  For now we put tin foil over the window (suggested by another mama) and it worked perfect!

Another thing that Carla pointed out is the importance of her nap.  We're lucky that at daycare she goes down on her own and always has.  At my parents however, they have always been like me and rocked or held her to sleep.  They have even been putting her in the car and driving her around to get her to sleep so they are having to change their routine with her as well.  At their house she has a twin mattress on the floor and they have blackout curtains for her as well.  They successfully got her down with our new plan on Saturday without any issues so we are hopeful that will continue.  It's a big adjustment for all of us.  Routine and consistency are the biggest keys to success with this.

A few other tips Carla suggested is that binky is only for sleep time (which is good because we are ready for her to get rid of it), no clutter in her bed (we do a fitted sheet, pillow, and a small blanket for her), bath and a full belly before sleep times, and to remember that the first few days are the hardest!  So far she is totally right!  We have had success but it hasn't come easy and without challenges but I am 100% committed to doing this as hard as it has been.  On top of this Joe was sick and Georgia was also slightly sick so the timing wasn't ideal but I know it's something that we ultimately all need to make our lives a little easier and less stressful.  Night one and two were very challenging and lots of tears were shed by both her and I, night three was a totally different story.  Within about 7 minutes she was asleep with no tears or fights at all.  I couldn't believe it!

I will continue to keep you guys updated.  If you have any sleep struggles yourself I urge you to give Carla a follow or check out her website.  She has been wonderful and I love her methods.  She does not typically include any CIO in her plan unless requested by her clients so if that is a route you're considering be sure to let her know.  As always, please email me with any questions or comments I'd love to know if you've done any sleep training with your kids!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Natural Deodorant & Making the Switch

So this post is not at all sponsored, I just wanted to give you all some of the information that I collected over the last several months of using a more natural deodorant.  I tried several and I've had varying experiences with all of them.  I'll be honest too, I'm a pretty sweaty person so I need a deodorant that works well.  I knew that I really wanted to switch out my deodorant for something cleaner because of how harmful aluminum is to us.  Traditional antiperspirants are made with aluminum which clogs our pores which traps sweat (and the aluminum) inside.  Not only does our body need to rid itself of toxins, aluminum has been linked to things like breast cancer and Alzheimer's so those are some pretty big reasons to consider switching. 

The first natural deodorant I tried was Tom's of Maine right after Georgia was born.  I was going to yoga in the mornings with my mom for about 3 weeks before I returned to work and between that and the uptick in hormones I definitely did not choose a great time to try and switch to a more natural product.  Overall I liked it, however it literally lasted for about 10 minutes into yoga and then I just smelled.  I really knew nothing about natural deodorants at that time except for the fact that this one wasn't working so I gave up on it and went back to Secret.

Fast forward another year, I knew I wanted to try again.  Deodorant just seemed like one of the easiest products to switch out.  All that aluminum in our traditional deodorants such as Secret and Dove are just plain BAD for us and there are sooo many natural options out there I knew that something would have to work for me.  

My first choice was Schmidt's although once again I was off to a rocky start because I bought it in July and it literally melted in my car so it turned into a paste that I had to apply with my fingers, however I liked it and it worked well, I figured I had ruined it so I moved on to something else pretty quickly.

My second choice was Native.  I liked the Coconut Vanilla scent and I used it for months.  I thought I had found my replacement.  I wasn't having any issues with it and it worked really well at keeping me dry and not smelling.  I went through two sticks of it before I noticed I was getting a really bad rash under my armpit.  I didn't think too much about it being caused by the deodorant because I had been using it for months with zero issues and I was also having some skin irritation on my legs so I again, I wasn't thinking the deodorant was the issue.  I kept using the Native despite my arm pits and how painful they had become.  

both of my pits were like this for months!

Eventually it got so bad I made an appointment with my dermatologist.  They gave me a prednisone prescription and some steroid cream & sent me on my way but never mentioned anything about my deodorant.  Two weeks later after the prednisone and steroid cream most of it had cleared on both my armpits and my legs but there were still some spots.  I saw a different doctor this time who mentioned the possibility of my deodorant.  He said I either had eczema (which I've never had) or contact dermatitis which is basically reaction to a product on the skin.  He also recommended I start Cetaphil lotion and wash so I went straight to CVS and picked those two things up along with a stick of Dove.  I didn't care how bad it was for me, I had never in my life had a reaction like that from it or Secret which were the two I had always used. 

Still, I really wanted to make better choices so I gave some other natural options a shot.  I realized that baking soda was the culprit in my rashes so I refused to use anything that had any baking soda in it.  I started with Crystal.  I loved the concept of it--made of salt minerals that don't clog the pores like most other deodorants, however it just didn't cut it for me.  It's a liquid that rolls on which was a very hard adjustment for me in itself, then I'd feel by the time I got to work I already needed to reapply and it didn't hold up to my smell at all.  

My next choice was Piper Wai which is an activated charcoal deodorant.  You can but it in either a jar or a stick.  I actually was given a jar of it from a friend who tried it and didn't have any luck with it.  Although it worked better than the Crystal, I hated the application and the smell.  It's a paste that you apply about a pea sized amount on your finger tip and let melt under your arm.  The stick might've been a better option, but I was pretty much over spending money on these natural deodorants that were not working and that were not cheap,  I tried Piper Wai for a couple weeks but I was starting to feel a slight irritation again with it and did not want to take the chance although it is baking soda free.

For a couple weeks I went back to Dove again.  I didn't care at this point, it was the only thing that went on comfortably, kept me smelling clean, wasn't irritating my skin, and actually worked all day.  But I did some further looking via the Think Dirty app and was able to find a deodorant called Honestly pHresh.  I went with Tropical Blossom scent and not only does it smell soo good, it hasn't given my any issues at all.  It keeps me 90% dry all day, it's baking soda free, and I feel like the price point is best at just $10.  I asked them for a discount code and they gave me FREE shipping with code phree2019!

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