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baby gear, round II {what’s the same + what will be different}

as we continue to prepare to welcome Baby Boy no. 2 into our lives in just six and a half weeks (!!), i thought i’d share with you what we will continue to do/use with Baby Boy that we did with L, and what’s new this go-around. so, here goes!

Baby-Toes

what we’ll still do:

swaddle. as i mentioned here when L was still a squishly little baby, we LOVED the velcro swaddle blankets by SwaddleMe, and sure enough, i’ve already ordered four sets of swaddles for Baby Boy. what’s new this time, however, is that we’re also trying out a new swaddle {still by SwaddleMe} that is made just for newborns – it is quite small in profile and has a zipper closure instead of velcro. i only purchased one pack of these newborn swaddles, but i can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about! as a reminder, the book that taught us all about the value of the swaddle {as well as the other four S’s – side/stomach hold, shushing, swinging and sucking} was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.

breastfeed. as long as Baby Boy {and, ahem, my body} both cooperate, nursing is something that i am so looking forward to with Baby Boy. breastfeeding L helped me so much to bond and to feel close to him, and i am anxious to experience that closeness again with Baby Boy. one thing about breastfeeding is changing, however…see below!

bouncy seat and swing. we’ve brought out our trusty Fisher Price swing and our vibrating bouncy seat for Baby Boy, and L has had a blast placing his baby doll {which is a boy, of course} in the seats and practicing his “sssh, sssh, sssh.” of course, he then grabs the baby doll by the head and flings him across the living room, but what’s important to note is that he’s practicing, ladies and gentlemen. he’s PRACTICING. {hopefully he figures it out by the time that Baby Boy arrives…}

cloth diaper. that’s right – this past weekend, i resized all of L’s Fuzzibunz One-Size Elite cloth diapers down to itty-bitty for Baby Boy, and i can’t wait to diaper his cute little bum in all the colors of the rainbow. of course, until Baby Boy is big enough to fit in to the one-size diapers {L was around X months old}, we’ll use disposable diapers. as i mentioned here, we’d still like to add 12-18 BumGenius cloth diapers to our stash, to try out that brand, but that’s a to-be-determined cost that our budget isn’t ready to tackle yet. so, stay tuned!

and now, for what we’re doing differently this time.

what’s new:

Moses basket. as i’ve shared multiple times, my Mom gifted us a gently used Moses basket and rocking stand for Baby Boy no. 2. while we coslept with L when he was a baby, we wanted to try out a different sleeping plan this time around for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is selfish, admittedly – we want our bed to ourselves, thank-you-very-much! plus, with L transitioning into his own big-boy bed {which is happening this upcoming weekend!!}, we wanted to keep his sleep schedule as uninterrupted as possible while still allowing ourselves to be in close proximity with both the baby {who will live in our bedroom for a time} and L {whose bedroom – which he will eventually share with Baby Boy – is located across the hall from our bedroom}.

infant car seat. while we sang the praises of a convertible car seat when L was a youngster {and we still very much love it!}, i wanted to have a little bit more mobility this time around, now that we’ll have two little ones. i also was {am} nervous about having a winter baby {L was born in June} and keeping his little body cozy and warm, so we’re on Camp Infant Car Seat for Baby Boy no. 2. after a bunch of research {including lifting many a car seat in the store!} and asking many trusted mamas what they used for their kiddos, we went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 {we chose the Snapdragon colors so that it matches with L’s convertible car seat; yes, i am that anal}. i’m psyched to see what i think of it, especially for the daily drop-off and pick-up routine at daycare!

double-electric breast pump. when we had L, i was just finishing up my master’s studies in English literature, so i was able to stay home with L for 15 wonderful {albeit stressful at times} months. because i didn’t pump very often, i didn’t understand the need to spend a large sum of money on an electric breast pump, so i purchased an inexpensive Avent manual pump that got the job done when it needed to. however, with this pregnancy, i will be returning to my full-time teaching position at a local technical college when Baby Boy is two{ish} weeks shy of four months old. therefore, i see the need this time to invest in a double-electric breast pump. what’s great is that in the time between when L was born and when Baby Boy will join our family, we’ve switched insurance plans because of my job, and my insurance now covers a Medela double-electric breast pump! i’m a bit anxious about how the pumping experience will go once i return to work, but i feel relieved that i have almost four months to figure it out!

what did you do differently between kiddos? i’d love to hear your perspective!

{picture of L’s adorable baby toes by Creative Kindling, who will also be taking Baby Boy no. 2’s newborn photos!}

{mood board} a haven for baby in our bedroom.

as i mentioned here, Baby Boy will be spending the first part of his life in our master bedroom, for a variety of reasons, the main one being that we don’t want to disturb L’s sleeping patterns {we’ll try as hard as possible to avoid doing so, anyway}. i also will be breastfeeding {click here and here to read more about my experience nursing L}, so having Baby Boy close by during the night will certainly ease that process. while we bed-shared with L, we wanted to try to avoid doing that this time, since our bed is SO much more comfortable with just two of us in it {a well-rested parent = nirvana}.

so, with all of that in mind, i started planning a little “haven” in our master bedroom for Baby Boy. after my mom gifted us a Moses basket and stand, the design process became much more clear. here’s a taste of the little space that we’re hoping to create for Baby Boy in the next seven-and-a-half {!!} weeks:

Baby's-Haven-Master-Bedroom

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

1. This adorable snail pillow is already in my possession, and I chose a kelly green color with a natural background – it’s so adorable! i’ve ordered twice from this shop, and all of my goodies have been delightful!

2. This photo, as well as item no. 6 at the bottom of the inspiration board, are the first images that i came across when looking for a “haven” in Mama and Daddy’s room. i love how different they are, and i love how each of the spaces are full of personality, which, to me, is what a baby/kiddo space should be!

3. i mentioned here that i had finally decided on a piece of movable, non-permanent storage for baby items in our room. without further ado, i’d like to introduce…the IKEA Raskog! many a blogger are professed fans of this utility cart {just one Pinterest search will reveal this}, and i can’t wait to put this puppy to use in our bedroom. picture it full of adorable cloth diapers {more on that in a little bit} and other baby necessities!

4. i originally purchased this rug for the boys’ shared bedroom, but after arranging the furniture in their room, i didn’t feel as though it would pack as much punch in their small space. so, to our bedroom it goes! i can’t wait to see it paired up with our bedding and the moody indigo color of our walls!

5. this fabric is not pink. I REPEAT: THIS FABRIC IS NOT PINK. it’s actually a white fabric base with ivory arrow head pattern on top, and this is what Baby Boy’s bedding for the Moses basket will be made of. my Mom is sewing a liner and a few sheets for the basket, and she’s also sewing a changing pad cover out of this fabric. i chose this because it’s neutral {meaning that it fits with our decor in our master bedroom – i didn’t want anything that would compete with the patterns that we already have going on in the room} and because it’s geometric, but subtle, which is a look that i’m really, really digging lately.

6. as i said above when discussing photo no. 2, i love, love, LOVE the personal touches of this little baby nook! i hope to echo some of that in our baby’s haven as well.

7. i couldn’t resist showcasing a picture of a Fuzzibunz cloth diaper, of which we have many in our stash. we hope to add some BumGenius cloth diapers to our collection as well in the near future, but aren’t these so adorable?! we loved them with L until he was about 18 months old {then he became a heavy wetter}, so we’re hoping that they work for Baby Boy for quite some time, too.

8. like the photo above, the Moses basket that my Mom gave to us is natural in color, and she is repainting the stand white {specifically in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, my favorite white/cream}. the baby’s bedding will not be elephant-themed, as shown in the photo, but will feature the fabric pictured above {see no. 5}. again, i promise: the fabric is NOT pink – the picture is misleading!

*one feature of the nook that isn’t pictured is an adorable canvas sign {which hails from Hobby Lobby} that says “i love you to the moon and back,” which you’ve seen before in this photo of yore from our master bedroom {and uffda, we owe you an updated tour of our bedroom – i’ll get on that!}:

Master-Bedroom-Dresser-Close-Up

we plan to bring that canvas back in and hang it above where the Moses basket will sit {most of the time, at least}.

apart from the items pictured above, i can’t wait to add some personal touches {such as some Lionel art and possibly a few framed baby photos of Jord and i, of L, and of Baby Boy himself, after he’s born} that will remain a surprise until we do the big reveal. once we finish up the last remaining to-do’s on the boys’ shared bedroom, we’ll get started on the baby’s haven – i can’t wait! you know i’ll keep you posted :)

adios, bed-sharing.

as you might recall, I became a big, vocal supporter of bed-sharing (or cosleeping) when L was just two months old {read more about that here}. it was so much easier for me, as a breastfeeding mama who believed (and i still do!) wholeheartedly in nursing on demand, to have L right in bed with me during the night. i woke more rested, as did L, and i grew more and more confident in my approach to mothering with each night of close snuggles and relaxed nursing. the closeness was intoxicating and beneficial for our bond as mother and son – i feel that in my bones.

Mama-L-Cosleeping

while i enjoyed my endless snuggles with L each and every night, Jord certainly took the brunt of the difficulties of a family bed; while i was the recipient of endless snuggles and closeness with our boy, Jord was always the one who was kicked, shoved to the edge of the bed, and alienated from both his wife and his son during the night. in short, while Jord understood and supported the benefits of cosleeping while i was nursing on demand, he had (very valid) concerns and objections.

thus, Jord and i have always had an ongoing dialogue about the benefits and struggles of bed-sharing as L has grown over the past nearly two (!!) years. at times, we have even made various attempts to transition L to his crib, using various tactics like cry-it-out, waiting for him to fall asleep in my arms and then laying him in the crib, utilizing a bedtime routine religiously, rocking him to sleep, and more. while our attempts to transition L into his crib worked with moderate success each time, no matter the time or the approach, moving L out of our bed always ended in failure.

Mama-L-Cosleeping

now that i have some distance from the last time we attempted a transition (it’s been since the holidays), i can look back without a lot of self-judgment and think: why did our plans to move L to his crib continuously fail? here’s my answer (albeit difficult to swallow): quite frankly, i was never quite ready to stop cosleeping, so at the earliest sign of struggle, i’d relent and bring L back into my arms at night.

until now, that is. L has officially been sleeping in “Lionel’s bed” since march 28 with resounding success.

L-Crib

so, what gives? why is the transition working now?

as L has grown bigger and longer over the past three months in particular, i have slowly grown more and more comfortable with the idea of L sleeping alone. he grew big enough to require his own pillow in our bed, which was a wake-up call for me; the crook of my elbow was no longer comfortable for him or for me. and, eventually, as he weaned from nursing and as he grew even more, he began to pull away a bit from his reliance on Mama to fall asleep. in turn, he developed an attachment to comfort items like his Sesame Street pillow, his green stuffed monkey named Gus, and his blanket.

while this was difficult for me at first, i began to understand his new-found attachment to items like Gus the monkey was just another sign of his independence, which had permeated every single part of his daily life and his daily activities since he took off walking – our boy has always been very independent. his trust in his own way of doing things was finally taking root in his sleeping habits, too. this made me feel proud, and helped me to feel, again, like we were doing something right with this whole family bed thing, because we waited until he was ready to transition out of our bed.

L-Baby-Crib

to put it more simply: i am convinced that waiting until L was ready to be on his own is what made me ready, too.

i feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to cosleep with L for so long, and to have a husband who, despite his extremely valid concerns for his own capacity for restful sleep, was consistently supportive of my need to be close to our child, both while nursing and after i started my “big-girl job.”

fast-forward to today: after just a short period of time, L’s transition has been quite painless. sure, we have had a few setbacks, particularly a spring storm that stirred up some loud and quite robust winds, but nothing can take away L’s pride in himself when he wakes up in the morning and says “Lionel’s bed!” as we pick him up out of his crib.

L-Park

one last thing: would i do it all again? knowing all i do, would i cosleep with L, or a future child, again? in my heart, i know the answer is yes, because for me, the benefits far outweighed the struggles. Jord might have a different answer, however, so i anticipate more and more discussions, should we ever find ourselves in that situation again. :)

have you ever coslept or bed-shared with your children? do you think you will? why or why not? did you have a difficult transition from a family bed to a crib/bed?

pssst: earlier in march, our family watched our nephew, Jaxsen, who is four months older than L, for a few days. Jaxsen is a devoted crib sleeper and goes to bed without a fuss, so we’re wondering if watching Jaxsen go to bed “like a big boy” (which is how we phrased it) influenced L to make his own transition. do you think there’s any truth to this idea?

Nights and Mornings

Last night, I squeezed your little toesies into your red, white and blue Fourth of July pajamas for the last time. As I zipped up your footie pajamas to your adorable chin, I told your Daddy so, and he said to me, “You’re retiring these pajamas?” And I responded, “Yes, his feet don’t fit well in them anymore.”

But, the real truth is, baby boy…

…all of you doesn’t fit too well in these little pajamas anymore.

**

You’ll be four months old next week, and it’s like someone whispered that fact to you in the middle of the night, when our house is quiet, when all that can be heard from our little corner of life here are sighs and deep breaths and rustling covers and, a few times during the night, tiny, barely-audible baby gulps as you nurse. But at nightime, when the dream fairies dance in our heads and create magical dreams of milk and Mama (for you), of soccer and competition (for your Daddy), of doggie bones and never-ending games of fetch (for Wyatt the Dog), and of Barney Stinson from “How I Met Your Mother” (for Mama), I’m convinced that one little fairy sneaks her way into our bedroom each night and whispers in your ear. Grow, little boy, she says. Don’t you know that you’re almost four months old? It’s time to retire those little baby clothes. Just keep growing big and strong. And when we all wake up in the morning, we look into your deep green-hazel-brown-blue-we-aren’t-sure-yet pools for eyes, and we swear that you grew two inches overnight. We swear that you grow when we look away, for seconds at at time.

**

When you were born, we let you teach us what it meant to be parents, to be your parents. And what you taught me first, L, is how a snuggle can change a cranky moment into a time of sweet curiosity. When I hold you close, a day of gloomy clouds or too-hot temperatures morphs into the perfect hour for open windows, feeling the breeze, taking in the wonder of the weather here on the plains, from its expansive beauty and repetitive corn fields to our town’s temperatures – slightly-cool-but-with-warm-undertones.

But what I’ve learned the most from you in these past {almost} four months with you, sweet boy? You come alive in the morning. It’s like the world signals to you that the sun has piloted its way from the sky’s depths, said hello to the moon as it passes by, and is slowly creeping into position to light the day. But, dear boy, the most beautiful thing about you in the morning is what I learned from you about myself in those first few emotion-filled days of your life: a snuggle can change the tide, not just for you, but for me as well.

L-Mama-Cosleeping

You and I spend our mornings, after Daddy leaves for work, snuggled up together, your chest making friends with my belly, where you used to reside not so long ago. My arms wrap around you and pull you close enough to smell that blissful baby smell (which, in our house, smells like California Baby lotion and something else, something so fleeting, so precious that I’m convinced that the fairies must sprinkle you with sweet-smelling blessings as you dream). You take your breaths in measure to mine, two or three for every one that I take in. And when you start to fuss, I pull you to my chest so that you can hear my heartbeat, the noise that you heard for so many months before you joined our world.

It’s in this little cocoon that we exist, you and I together, for many hours in the morning. Without fail, each morning, the day’s light begins to peek through the curtains, alerting me of the advent of day. Yet that signals to me only to pull you closer, no matter if it’s nearing noon, no matter if my tummy rumbles or my throat is dry – for no one knows how many more mornings you will long for the comfort of your Mama.

Nights and mornings – and everything in between – are so sweet with you, dear child.

How I Became a (Surprised) Fan of Bed-Sharing

Mama-L-Cosleeping

In preparing myself to write this post, I found myself recalling two things: first, I thought back on all of the thinking and planning that Jord and I did for our lives as parents, both before we decided to start trying to have a baby and while I was pregnant. In terms of where our baby would sleep, we decided early on that we weren’t interested in purchasing a bassinet for the baby to sleep in our room, since we felt that a pack ‘n’ play could serve the same purpose, but also provide us with a longer period of usefulness that the bassinet simply couldn’t. Then, when we moved into our current apartment, a two-bedroom layout in which our son’s bedroom is right across the hall from our room, we decided that we would put our son to sleep for the night in his crib, and that we would use a sleep positioner to keep his little newborn body in the center of the crib.

Yet, in reflecting upon L’s sleep patterns in beginning to write this post, the second memory that came to mind was how L and I slept on our final night’s stay in the hospital. The labor & delivery wing of the hospital in Vermillion is located near the emergency wing, and on our final night’s stay, a helicopter transported a patient to the ER very late in the night. The helicopter pad was located just outside the window of our hospital room, and the loud noise of the propeller blades startled L. He was quite fussy after being awoken in such a manner, so he and I spent the night sleeping together in my hospital bed, with L lying on my chest the entire night, his body rising and falling with each breath I took. I remember telling Jord the next morning that that was the best night’s sleep that both L and I had gotten since he had been born.

After we brought L home from the hospital, we put him to bed each night in his crib, according to the plan that we developed before L was born. When he would wake during the night, I would go into his room to nurse him; I would often nurse him with the help of the Boppy pillow while I was seated in the rocking chair. Other nights, when I was simply too exhausted to sit upright in the rocking chair, I would take L out to our living room and nurse him while I was seated on the couch.

After a week or so of nursing on the couch (versus in the rocking chair) becoming routine, I found that more often than not, L would finish nursing, and he would fall asleep while perched up against my shoulder, trying to burp. Once I realized that this was happening more and more often, I began to wait for L to fall asleep on my chest after nursing before carrying him to his crib, instead of trying to rock him to sleep and then placing him in his crib. However, no matter how much I tried, or how long I waited for L to settle into sleep, either on my chest or in the rocking chair, L would wake up in his crib in short order and cry out for me, thus beginning the bedtime game of helping L to fall asleep all over again.

After about three weeks of this seemingly never-ending routine, needless to say, I was absolutely spent. I did the math and found that I was spending more time awake at night then I was asleep. To attempt to remedy this problem, L slept at night in his bouncy seat on our bedroom floor for a few weeks. The reasoning for this change was twofold: first, I felt that L didn’t feel comfortable waking up alone in his crib, and secondly, I noticed during daily naptimes that the vibration of the bouncy seat helped him to sleep. When we used the bouncy seat at night, L began to sleep for five, six, or even seven hour stretches for a few nights in July. However, by the end of July, I began to wonder if L’s sleep habits were regressing with this change; I noticed that L was back to his “normal” bedtime routine of sleeping in four-hour stretches after just a short time of using the bouncy seat at bedtime, which meant that he was waking around 2AM and 6AM for feedings.

While I maintain that I feel so, so blessed to have a child who, since birth, has slept in four-hour stretches and thus, has only awakened two times per night on average, the effort that it took for me to put L back to sleep in the middle of the night was rendering me absolutely exhausted. Despite my best efforts to make a change that was better for L and for me (the vibration of the bouncy seat helped him to fall asleep faster after feedings, thus allowing me to get more sleep), eventually, the utility of the bouncy seat (and the power of the vibration) wore off for L.

Desperate for a solution to help me to get more rest, at the beginning of August, I moved L’s pack ‘n’ play into our bedroom to see if he would sleep in there. I surmised that perhaps what soothed him more than the vibration of the bouncy seat was the sound of his parents breathing; I felt strongly that when L would awaken in his crib, he would realize that he was alone, and he would cry out not because he was hungry or wet, but for comfort and cuddling. I felt that using the pack ‘n’ play was a way to offer him the natural sounds of us sleeping while also allowing him his own space in which to sleep.

However, despite the intelligence behind why this system should work (because it would allow L to be comforted by the sounds of his parents sleeping), L absolutely hated sleeping in the pack ‘n’ play. I can recall one blissful four-hour stretch just a week or so ago, during which L slept soundly in the pack ‘n’ play, but that’s it. His restless sleeping behavior, which originated in the crib and was (for a short time) pacified by the bouncy seat, had begun to repeat itself.

So, one restless night, I brought L into our bed to nurse (I had finally figured out how to nurse while lying down!). As he finished nursing, I noticed his heavy eyes and the calm look on his face as he laid next to me. On that night, I decided to try something new: I swaddled L up (he always sleeps swaddled), and I brought him into the crook of my arm to cuddle with me for the rest of the night. And sure enough, something amazing happened, just like that final night’s stay in the hospital: L and I both had one of the most restful nights of sleep since he was born. He awoke one or two more times that night to nurse, and with just a little soothing, he fell back asleep in record time, positioned in the crook of my arm.

Initially, Jord and I were reluctant to bring L into our bed because we had read all about the dangers of co-sleeping or bed-sharing, specifically in regards to the danger of a soft mattress and loose bedding, as well as the danger of suffocation of the child. But, after just one night of bed-sharing with my son, I found that bed-sharing not only allows me to prioritize L’s needs, which I believe stem largely from his preference for skin-to-skin contact (a need that he has had since he was born), but also allows me to get a more restful night’s sleep than with any of our previous attempts at finding a sleep solution for L.

Ever since that night in mid-August, L has slept with Jord and I in our bed. He sleeps in the crook of my arm for the duration of the night, and when I reposition my body during the night to sleep (as a side sleeper, I often switch sides in the middle of the night), I also move him to make sure that he is always safe in our bed. Our mattress is one of the firmest models sold at our local mattress factory, and I make sure to keep all bedding far away from L (I’m not one to sleep with bedding tucked under my chin; I feel suffocated!). I’m obsessed with making sure that our son is safe in our bed, and even the deepest of slumbers does not allow me to “forget” that L is in bed with us. His safety is my first and most important priority.

I’m still a reluctant bed-sharer; despite my best efforts to ensure that L is safe in our bed, at times, I miss cuddling with my husband, and I feel badly that our dog, Wyatt, is relegated to the end of the bed (that is, when he doesn’t attempt to cuddle with Jord during the night; he largely keeps his distance from L and I). However, I know firstly that our decision to bed-share was made with L’s best interests in mind. Secondly, I take comfort in the fact that bed-sharing does not have to be our bedtime routine for the long-term; as of now, I plan to continue to bed-share with L until he demonstrates his readiness to sleep through the night on his own, which I assume will happen around the time that he begins to eat solid foods. In the meantime, however, I am committed to providing a safe, calm and restful haven for L to sleep in, no matter any hesitancy that I may have had initially.