Tricks for soothing a crying newborn

Monday, August 22, 2016

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

Savoring our slow summer

Friday, August 19, 2016

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!

Getting around with a baby and a toddler

Monday, August 15, 2016

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!  

Life Lately

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ahhh life. It can get pretty crazy sometimes. Mine has certainly been a whirlwind as of late, what with the new baby coming, school starting soon, and a slew of various medical maladies plaguing multiple members of my household (myself included- more on all that later). Add to that a crazy, hormonal mama wanting to get into nesting mode and you've got a pretty stressful situation. On top of everything already going on and keeping me up at night I've been trying to quietly deal with some unfortunate family drama. When it rains it pours, right?

Let's start with the baby update first, shall we? I'm currently 35 1/2 weeks pregnant with exactly one month to go until my due date. I'm feeling OK most days, just really tired and feeling like I'm running out of room for this little guy in my belly. He's been kicking the crap out of my hips and is pressing on my ribs pretty much constantly now, which makes things like breathing and peeing fun. My kidney problem is still bothering me- it's pretty consistently painful on a daily basis, but not enough for me to want to go to the hospital again (because that's seriously not fun at all). Plus, with 3 kids and not many options for anyone to watch them, it's kind of more of a pain in the butt than anything.

Even with a pretty sizeable belly and a good waddle going on we've managed to still have some fun this summer. We hit up our local family aquatics center a handful of times, been going to the YMCA to swim and play once or twice a week, and we finally made it to the lake for the first time this summer. Of course our lake day was interrupted by a freak thunder and lightning storm though- that was an interesting adventure! Thankfully it came and went quickly, so we hunkered down under a nearby gazebo, ate our picnic lunch, and watched the light show while it poured rain and thunder boomed. The kids thought it was pretty cool.

Last week we had quite a scare with Lily. She'd been complaining of a stomach ache for a few days, and finally by Tuesday evening she was on the couch moaning and pointing to the right side of her belly. Uh oh. My husband Shayne had to have his appendix out just a couple of years ago and said he thought we needed to take her to the ER to get checked out, even though she didn't have any other symptoms or a fever. It was already 8pm by then, so I stayed home with Harper and Ayden while he took Lily to the local children's hospital. After a urinalysis and some scans the doctor came back with a diagnosis of appendicitis and said she'd be needing surgery first thing in the morning. They started an IV on her right away to get some antibiotics and fluids going while Shayne called me to fill me in. We decided that he'd come home and stay with the kids so that I could go be with Lily (who wanted me) for her surgery. Well, that plan changed pretty quickly because as soon as he hung with me Lily threw up, which made the doctors decide that she couldn't wait for surgery in the morning and they were going to do it right away (by this time it was nearly midnight). Shayne stayed there while they prepped her for surgery, put her under anesthesia, and took her back, and then he raced home so that I could switch with him and be there before she came out of surgery. Thankfully, we only live about 10 minutes away so I was able to get there before she was awake!

Sitting in the children's hospital waiting room at 1am was one of the scariest moments of my life. I know it probably sounds dramatic since we were there for a pretty routine surgery, not a brain tumor or heart transplant or something, but I was terrified. None of my kids had ever had surgery before. Heck, they've never even had a broken bone or stitches. So the thought of IVs, anesthesia, and surgery on one of my babies worried the crap out of me. Even though it was just an appendix, there are risks. My mind was racing as I sat there on a really uncomfortable couch next to the fish tank in the waiting room. What if she didn't wake up? Could she bleed out? Maybe there were complications? Post-op infection? Lots of pain? They finally came out and told me she was done and resting in recovery, and I had to try really hard not to burst into tears when I saw her laying in the hospital bed, still completely under anesthesia and hooked up to about a million machines and monitors. She looked so tiny and frail. Sometimes I forget she's only 8 because she's so mature and grown up already. They told me she'd wake up on her own shortly, so I sat in a rocking chair next to her bed and held her little hand while the doctor came out and explained everything to me and answered all of my questions. After about 15 more minutes she finally woke up- the first thing she did was give me a huge smile and said "Is it over? I don't even remember when they put the mask on my face." I laughed, she drifted in and out of sleep a few more times, and we got moved to a private room on another floor at the hospital. We ended up only staying for about 24 hours total and went home the next night after dinner.

Lily was seriously amazing for it all- I only saw her cry one time and it was because her IV was bugging her and I think she just really tired and wanted to go home (I don't blame her- hospitals suck and you can't rest). She hardly complained about the pain and was up walking around and going to the bathroom almost right away. The doctors and nurses all raved about what an awesome little patient she was! I'm so thankful her surgery went so smoothly and her recovery has been so fast. We had a great little network of friends who helped watch Ayden and Harper while we were at the hospital, and we even had someone stop by with dinner the day after we got home. I've never had someone do that before! It was really nice and so incredibly thoughtful, because cooking dinner was the last thing on my mind.

That nesting I was speaking of earlier? Yeah, that's totally kicked in. 30 days and counting means it's crunch time and that the baby could literally come at any moment (though I'm betting he'll be pretty close to his due date). I needed to calm some of my anxiety and feel more prepared, so I figured it was probably a good idea to wash and sort all of the baby clothes and get them all put away. The baby is going to be sort of sharing a room with Harper for now (though they won't be sleeping in there at the same time, I'm sure), so I have just one teeny, tiny closet to use for the both of them. I'm embarrassed to say that in the year we've lived here I haven't really done anything with her closet besides hang a few dresses in it and shove a bunch of crap in there. It was time to get organized and make the most of this tiny space! Two trips to Target later and I was ready to get started.

Ahhh, that feels so much better! All of the newborn and 0-3 month clothes are washed, sorted, and put away. I've got diapers and all of the essentials, so I think I'm pretty much ready for this baby now. Stress, be gone (ya know, until I give birth and then have to figure out what to do with 4 kids). 

Back to school giveaway!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hey guys! It's been a crazy week so far and back to school is just around the corner. Are you ready for it? I'm totally not. That's why some blog friends and I have teamed up for a fun little giveaway to make back to school a little easier for one lucky person! How does $50 to Starbucks, $50 to Target, & $50 to Barnes and Noble sound?!


Simply enter on the Rafflecopter widget below! Good luck :) 

My baby registry must-have + a Target giveaway!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

As a seasoned mom of three with one more on the way, I've tried my fair share of baby and toddler products. I can give you tips on where to find the best diaper deals, which rash cream works the best, teething remedies, and how to soothe a crying, colicky baby. With baby number three, I opted to go the more natural route in most cases, opting for products with less chemicals and that are generally more "green." Considering all 3 of my kiddos have very sensitive skin and minor cases of eczema, chemical free is the obvious choice for their skin. 

Show of hands- have you ever read the ingredient list on a package of baby wipes? Those suckers are one of the most commonly used baby items in my house and they are full of chemicals that I can't even begin to pronounce. Do you really want to slather your baby's bum, face, and hands with them? New moms and seasoned moms alike: if you're looking for a better, safer, gentler option for your little one's skin, WaterWipes are the smarter choice! 

I discovered WaterWipes on the baby & diaper aisle at my local Target about a year ago and I've never looked back. You can usually find me perusing the aisles of Target with coffee in-hand on the weekly, scoping out the latest deals and must-have items I just have to try. I definitely hit the jackpot when I found these! The name caught my attention first because it seemed pretty smart to have a baby wipe made with just water, right? I mean, what else do you really need in a wipe? I grabbed a pack and flipped it over and read the ingredient list: 99.9% pure water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. That's it. I was sold. 

Even with no chemicals, WaterWipes still clean just as effectively as any other baby wipe I've used (and I've pretty much tried them all). They're thick and durable and are safe to use on even the most sensitive skin. Besides diaper changes, I use these babies for wiping sticky hands and faces too. I don't even have to worry when my messy toddler decides to clean out the inside of her mouth with one of these wipes either, which, let's face it, happens every time she gets her grubby little hands on a wipe. They're also great for my older kids too, like when we've got messy hands to clean up in the car or while out and about. I'm about to be a mom of four, one being a newborn and one being a toddler, so I foresee a lot of wiping in my future! 

WaterWipes are at the top of my current baby registry and I recommend them to all of my mom friends, whether they've got little ones with sensitive skin or not. You need to try these on your babies! They also make a great baby shower gift for any new mom. 

Where are my fellow Target lovers at? How does winning a $100 gift card sound?! You can use your winnings to stock up on baby items (like wipes!) or whatever your heart desires. You guys know how much I love me some Target, so if you need help spending your winnings just message me (kidding!)- I'm already jealous of the five winners!

I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

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