Monday, August 22, 2016

Tricks for soothing a crying newborn

I don't know about you, but the sound of a crying baby is like nails on a chalkboard to me. This is unfortunate because I'm a soon-to-be mom of four and both of my girls were screamers when they were infants. They legitimately screamed for hours on end and it kind of made me want to rip my hair out. I eventually took them to their doctor to find out what in the world was going on with all of the crying, and that's when I learned about colic, which is when a healthy baby excessively cries for more than 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for over 3 weeks. Yep- that definitely sounded like my girls! 

Thankfully, after a few weeks of persistent crying, I started to see a pattern and I found a few things that worked to help shorten the length of crying time. Here's a few things that helped for us find our formula for happiness

Establish a routine. As tough as it is in those early days, try to get a routine going as soon as you can. Babies love routine, and if you know when to expect the crying fits (ours was always in the evening) you can better prepare your baby and yourself for it. 

Swaddle your baby. My last baby loved to be swaddled and it helped soothe her to sleep!

Wear your baby. Using a wrap or carrier to wear your baby is a great way to help them feel secure and keep them close to you. 

Burp, burp, and burp some more. I'm not sure why, but colicky babies seem to be gassier too, so extra burping is a must! As much as Harper hated it, I'd have to interrupt her eating to burp her very frequently. There was always a little burp that would come out! Sometimes she'd be crying and crying and I'd put her up on my shoulder and start patting her...even after 10 minutes or so a little burp would come out! So burp your colicky baby a lot.

Try a change of scenery. If possible, get out of the house and try a change of scenery if your baby just won't calm down. Sometimes a walk around the block in the stroller or a carrier helps, or go for a ride in the car (and maybe swing through a drive thru and grab yourself a coffee or something). 

Offer a pacifier. All of my kids loved their binkies! I don't care what anyone says- pacifiers are a great way to help them soothe.

Swing. Colicky babies love movement, so a nice swing is a great investment. Our favorite one offered front to back and side to side motion, which Harper loved. She took a lot of naps in her swing in the early days! Sometimes we'd even double up and swaddle her in her swing. 

Try a probiotic. GERBER® Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops contain L. reuteri, which is a probiotic that is safe for infants and is naturally found in breast milk. Research indicates that the type of bacteria in an infant's intestine may determine whether a child is colicky, and probiotics can support a balance of good bacteria in their digestive tract. While it's not intended to cure or treat any disease, it has been clinically shown to reduce crying time in colicky breastfed infants! I received a free sample of GERBER® Soothe probiotic Colic Drops from Gerber. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Switch formulas. If you're a formula feeding parent, Gerber also offers their GERBER® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula, which also contains L. reuteri, and is specially designed to ease excessive crying, colic, and fussiness while providing complete nutrition. 

Have you had a colicky baby before? What's your formula for happiness? Just know that you are not alone, and that there is hope out there! Try some of these methods and see if they help, and consider a probiotic like GERBER® Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops or GERBER® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula. Gerber also has some great experts available (registered dietitians, certified lactation consultants, and certified baby sleep consultants) to answer any of your questions! You can find out more about excessive crying, colic, and fussiness here

Friday, August 19, 2016

Savoring our slow summer

Well, summer seemed to fly by, didn't it? I'm not sure if it was due to the fact that it started late (the kids were in school until June 18th!) and that I'm now 9 months pregnant and just a couple of weeks away from my due date, but it feels like summer just got started around here. I mean, we just started getting some really nice weather after quite a few weeks of just so-so, warmish, not quite hot enough for swimming weather. Don't get me wrong- the extreme heat lately has been slightly unbearable for me in my huge state, but I kind of feel like my kids got ripped off with their summer break this year and we've had to cram it all in the last month or so. Next week is their last full week before they head back to school on August 30th, so we've been savoring these last few fun little outings together!

Yesterday we packed up the minivan (did I mention I love this thing?!) and headed across the border to Idaho to hit up a nice little lake. After spending quite a few days at the crowded aquatics center, the YMCA pool, parks, splash pads, and one trip to the big amusement park, I was ready for some peace and quiet by the lake. My sister in law actually clued me in on this place. I'd been there before as a kid but I hadn't been back as an adult, and I kind of forgot it existed. Normally when we want to go to the lake we go to a different one that is super popular and crowded, so rediscovering this little secluded one tucked away in the beautiful mountains of Idaho was a real treat! We arrived by 10:30am and the place was deserted. There was one lone fisherman on the dock (who I'm sure was thrilled with my loud, crazy kids jumping in right away) and an older couple launching their kayaks with their dog, and that was it. We had the whole beach to ourselves for over an hour and it was glorious! 

While Harper and I splashed and waded in the warm water and the big kids repeatedly jumped off the dock, showing me their mad cannonball skills and crazy spinning jumps, I couldn't help but think of how different it's going to be next summer. The kids kept saying "Next summer we have to come here like every day!" It sounds fun, but it's so much work being at the lake all day with 3 kids. The towels, the sunscreen, the cooler and food, the overloaded stroller, life jackets, sand toys, etc- it's a lot to pack up and haul around, especially while pregnant. But it really hit me- next summer I'll have another baby, an almost 3 year old, a 9 year old, and my oldest will be turning 13. Wowza. Talk about exhausting. Sure kids...we'll definitely be at the lake every day next summer, haha. 

Really though, I'm such a mixture of scared excitement right now. Our lives are going to change so much in the next few weeks or days- whenever this baby boy decides to make his grand appearance into the world and forever change our family. I'm going to be a mom of four kids- four! It still blows my mind because I had just the two for so long and I thought that's how it was going to be forever. Then Harper came along and we had three, and it's been such a change, but an amazing one. I've loved seeing her melt her big brother and how happy she's made her big sister (who always wanted to be a BIG sister). It's been so amazing and such a blessing to get to experience motherhood all over again from the start, with a little more wisdom that comes with being an older, more experienced mom this time around. Sure, it's been a challenge at times too, especially when I feel like I'm being pulled in so many directions. Now we're adding a newborn to the mix and it's going to take some time to find that balance again, but I know we'll figure it all out.

So for now, as I anxiously await my new baby boy, I'm trying to remind myself to slow down and focus on the kids right in front of me. It's hard sometimes, because I'm so over being uncomfortably pregnant and I find myself saying things like "I just want this baby out right now!" But these are our last few days of being a family of 5, and I'll never just have these three awesome kids again...there will be one more in our lake photos next summer and another year of my kids' childhood will be gone forever. I'm trying to savor these moments and remind myself not to rush time- it's already slipping away so fast!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Getting around with a baby and a toddler

This post was sponsored by Evenflo as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received the Evenflo Sibby Travel System to facilitate my review.

When you're a mom with more than a couple of kids under your belt you think you've experienced it all. With three kids and another on the way any day now, I feel like I've got this whole mom thing pretty much down to a science. So when a friend asked me recently what I was going to do about the "stroller situation" I found myself perplexed. Stroller situation? Oh, right. I'm going to have two kids that need a stroller at the same time when we run errands or go for walks- a dilemma I've actually never experienced because I've never had an age gap this small before. I've never really needed a double stroller. Well, I didn't know what I was going to do. Would a double stroller fit in my car? How practical are they? Do I really need one with a toddler and a newborn?

Thankfully, the people at Evenflo must have had me in mind when they designed their new Sibby travel system. This travel system (available at my favorite place- Target) is the perfect stroller for my growing family and features this really cool Ride-Along board. The board connects to the back of the stroller for your bigger kid to stand on and ride along at the same time, and then stows away when your bigger kid wants some freedom and decides to walk on their own. The Ride-Along board makes the Sibby the perfect little double stroller without all of the bulkiness. I can actually keep this stroller in my trunk at all times and still have room for groceries, beach gear, or whatever we need to take along with us.

The Sibby travel system also comes with a great little infant car seat for babies 4-35 pounds. This is great, because the last infant seat I used maxed out at 22 pounds, so this will allow for my new little one to get more use out of it before having to size up- an awesome added value! It comes with a convenient stay-in-the car base so you can get in and out of the car quicker with two little ones as well. The car seat also sits and locks right into the stroller to make running errands that much easier for mom and dad- no unbuckling and transferring to the stroller required. You don't even have to wake your sleeping baby. 

Harper loves riding on the Ride-Along board, and I can't wait to stroll around with her and our new baby when school starts up. With the school just being a few blocks away, I foresee us getting a lot of use out of this travel system when we walk to pick up big brother and sister every day. The Sibby is going to make my soon-to-be really hectic life a little less stressful- at least when it comes to getting around with a baby and a toddler. 

The Evenflo Sibby travel system is available exclusively at Target and comes in 4 colors. Find out more about the Sibby here

What do you think about the Ride-Along board? Doesn't it look like fun?! I totally wish I could ride on it. Know a mama who could use this? Make sure to tell her about the Sibby!  


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