how to get shit done while contact napping (toddler+baby edition)

Okay so we’re back with our contact naps! I’m writing this just on the cusp of my baby turning 6 months old with a toddler just over 2.5! And guess what? I’ve done 99% of naps with the baby in a carrier.. it just works for us!

I mean, would it be nice sometimes to just lay him down and walk away while I play with my toddler or clean something up in peace? Sure, absolutely. But that day will come, I know that. For now, wearing him makes it easy for me to keep him sleeping longer and tend to my toddler’s needs.

The biggest adjustment has probably been from my toddler who still hasn’t quite gotten the fact that she can’t yell while he’s sleeping. Truthfully, I get frustrated with her sometimes and end up walking away. I always try to set her up with some sort of toy or sensory play item before the nap, but it doesn’t always keep her occupied for as long as I’m hoping. Yes, that’s where screentime comes in.

My baby is also very distracted still with his feeds (though it’s getting better!!) so I have to make sure I’m in a quiet place when I feed him, again cue screentime… eek

I really do my best to not have any screens going whenever I can- it usually ends up averaging around 1 hour a day at this point, broken up between naps/feeding times. When my husband and I are both home, we aim to never have screens on and focus on outdoor and open-ended play!

Anywho, we have successfully (mostly) managed these naps pretty well with the toddler’s nap still being the main struggle of the day- but I’ve also been able to let that go sometimes! Sometimes she falls asleep where she wants when she wants, sometimes she falls asleep in the stroller, and sometimes we hop in the car. So far, the baby still has not easily fallen asleep in the car or the stroller, but the toddler has- so that’s what I work with!

Let’s start with a little example of my current day to day with a 5.5 month old:

6 am: Wake/Feed (he usually doesn’t feed when he wakes, but we’ll put this here for the normal babies, haha)

6:10: I get ready for the day while baby crawls around right outside the bathroom!

6:30: Usually the toddler is up around this time on weekdays, so she joins us – by this time we are usually heading into the kitchen to prep breakfast!

6:45: Eat breakfast, drink coffee (sometimes the toddler delays breakfast as she would rather play first thing, totally fine by me!) Baby plays as well. This is also usually around the time I will start unloading the dishwasher… if I don’t get it done, I will do more at my next opportunity!

7:10: the baby normally will start wanting to be held around this point as he starts to get tired! His wake windows are still around the 1.5 hr mark for the morning. I bop along while playing with them both for a few more minutes. I then begin to prep something for my daughter to play with!

7:20: Baby is in the ergo carrier (linked on Amazon). I’ll walk around, do whatever I need to do to get him to sleep while the toddler still plays!

7:30(ish): baby is asleep and napping! Toddler is generally playing- we try to make this our outside in the yard time for the morning light and because I’m not super worried if she wakes him for this nap since I have a chance the rest of the day to “recover” if he doesn’t get a long nap.

8:15: Wake, put baby on floor for independent time while I try to get something done/play more 1:1 with the toddler (even though I was probably just playing with her a little, it’s helpful for me to play with her when baby is not attached to me).

8:45: play with both baby and toddler! Brush teeth if we haven’t.. maybe prep a snack for the toddler and myself!

9:15: I’ll start to set the toddler up with something and generally the baby will start getting a little cranky by this time and want to be held. I will usually prepare the stroller at this point also (I set it up by the door ready to go)

9:45(ish): baby in the ergo! I’ve found the ergo has been better for naps at this age just to help minimize distractions since I can put the hood up!

10:00: Baby napping #2 — this is where things get tricky!! If baby naps for a long time- I’ll try to start the walk around 11 AM to get the toddler to sleep, maybe earlier. BUT let’s say baby only naps for 30 mins this day (this is, unfortunately, more likely for him…)

10:30: Wake, play (baby on the floor— he is currently army drawing everywhere which has made his wake windows a little shorter than the “average” 5.5 month old). Get something done that needs to for 15 mins! I make sure to really connect with the toddler here so she won’t fight her nap as much (hopefully). I play 1:1 with her if I can while baby explores, talk about the stroller walk coming up, etc. I also turn on all sound machines in the house and make sure the camera to my daughter’s bedroom is facing the hallway!

12:10(ish): Baby in Ergo since he had 2 shorter naps! Begin the stroller walk!

12:20: Both baby and toddler are usually napping after about a 10-15 min walk! I don’t watch toddler wake windows anymore- everything kind of goes around when the baby needs a nap. At this point, I pull the stroller into the house (I watch for the toddler’s body twitching to know we’re in a deeper sleep), I pull her right outside of her room in the hallway (this is why I turn the camera). I then put a portable white noise (already on) on the other side of the hallway to mask my footsteps if I need to run out to the kitchen. Baby is still asleep.

1:05: Baby wakes up (he’s still on 4 naps). This is the time that I shower and do my own little “self-care” quickly while baby plays. Sometimes I put lotion on, sometimes I shave my legs, sometimes I only do a body shower- just depends on the day!

1:50: Toddler wakes up— usually she will sleep 1-1.5 hours in the stroller! Sometimes she will want to go back to sleep and I’ll hold her or sit next to her on my bed or her bed.. just depends on the day!

2:00: Get toddler a wake up snack/mini meal!

2:45: Baby back in ergo. He tends to take longer naps in the afternoon, so this is definitely when I break out some screen time since my husband still usually doesn’t get home until 4-5ish!

3:00: Last baby nap of the day

4:30: Baby wakes up! I get dinner ready/warmed up for everyone, maybe put a few things away- baby and toddler play!

5:00: Baby bathtime routine! Then we play for some time. Usually my husband will get home around this time and/or I will have a telehealth call or get some work done for about 30 minutes if possible!

6:45: Begin baby bedtime — for us, this changes regularly. Sometimes it’s nursing to sleep, other times it’s walking around in a sling.

7:00-7:30: Our days fluctuate greatly still but this is about the time he would fall asleep on this day!! Meanwhile, my husband will be with my toddler. Sometimes I sneak out to be with them, sometimes I go right to sleep when the baby does! I know I need a lot of sleep these days and it’s just so important for me to get that to manage our days.

While my husband is with my toddler, they will play, get things done with the cats, clean up a little, and generally run the dishwasher! He also preps the coffee for us in the morning. We aren’t doing anything crazy these days and trying to minimize the need to “go go go” – this is what works for us! Focusing on the simple moments and loving our babies through that.

So – what questions do you have? Does this look like a day you could enjoy without the stresses of having to put baby in the crib and hope they sleep for awhile?!

In regards to the baby’s wake windows, I do watch them but I also watch his cues! If you are interested in naps, I have a mini course which just one of the modules from my BIG course –All About Naps! You can purchase it HERE! Or you can check out all my other various consults and courses that I have available.

As always, feel free to reach out via email (thesleepdpt@gmail.com) or via Instagram. And be sure to check out some of my other blogs on Normal Infant Sleep and Night Weaning that could be especially helpful for those in the newborn stage or in the toddler-weaning stage!

Have a wonderful day,

Jen

*I may receive a commission through links you click. This is at no cost to you.

My Experience with Lactation Lab

If you have tuned into my recent posts, you may have seen that I recently tested my breast milk with the standard breast milk kit from Lactation Lab! Overall, it was a very easy and smooth experience, which I felt like made everything even better – especially trying to collect and transfer breast milk with two little ones!

*Of note, there may be affiliate links to Lactation Lab as well as to Amazon in this post. This is at no cost to you.

So first off, I started with using milk from a day that I worked, since I already had pumped that morning. I then used the haakaa to collect a little more throughout the rest of the day to give a more comprehensive sample. I transferred everything into the little tube that was provided and put that in the freezer along with the ice pack to freeze overnight! Once the morning rolled around, I put it in the little orange envelope they provided and sent it away in my own mailbox – how easy!!

While it said to wait about 7-10 days for results, I had my results in 5 days! In the standard kit, they tested the following: total calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin b12. The results were very easy to read and it gave me a good idea of some things I needed to focus on to optimize my milk! I loved that it was never about “deficiencies” in my milk, but just an overall picture of things I could focus on eating more.

As this is my second child and I am certainly in the nitty gritty of parenthood right now, I know my nutrition has kind of been.. well.. not a priority as compared to my kids. The thing is though, it NEEDS to be! I am making breast milk for my child and while it’s amazing no matter what I eat, I want it to be better – and that starts with ME and my diet, I know that, and this emphasized it more.. I need to EAT! (Don’t forget it’s already recommended you add on 500 calories per day when you’re breastfeeding!!).

What I found most interesting, while all my numbers fell into the “normal” category, is how foods that I craved often were the ones I was on the lower end of normal in – it’s like my body is trying to tell me something, duh! I’m all onboard with intuitive eating and this really just hit home and reassured me that it’s so great to just LISTEN to your body and what you need!

I was on the lower end in iron and Vitamin B12, which, yeah – I only eat meat once a day for dinner (usually), so I know I need to up that, or at least add in some eggs or an additional supplement if I feel like I can’t meet those nutritional needs. I was also a little low on Vitamin C – which I tell ya, I’m always craving orange juice – so odd (but cool), right!?

Check out this screenshot of the levels of iron in my breastmilk! It’s so easy to read, right?!

Personally, I feel fairly knowledgeable (enough) to use these results to help add things into my diet, but if you’re not really sure where to start, you could absolutely take these to your next visit with your doctor, request to see a dietitian, etc! Lactation lab also actually offers Telehealth services with functional medicine doctors and dietitians if you wanted to reach out to them directly!

One other thing they offer, which I have not had to use this time around, is mastitis test strips! You can dip them directly in your breast milk to determine if you have mastitis and if you need antibiotics. As someone who did get mastitis with my first child (it was AWFUL) – this would have been so helpful. I had no idea where to turn, if I could get rid of it myself, or if I needed further medication. Being a first time breastfeeding mom is hard work and there’s not much guidance on these day to day things that can just pop up! I happened to get mastitis from a clogged duct (that I thought was a sore muscle… first time mom probs, am I right).. likely from inefficient pump parts and a strapless pumping bra that was too small *sigh* .. it was a rough few days getting over that and I would do anything to prevent it again!

One of the greatest parts of all these test kits is that they are FSA/HSA eligible! The Telehealth services are as well – it’s really such a great idea and program that can really help promote a longer, happier breastfeeding journey. I know so many moms who are fearful that they aren’t giving their baby the right nutrients or have been told to eat more of xyz.. without ever knowing fully what the contents of their breast milk really are! I think it could give SO many moms such peace of mind!

Anywho, this kit was gifted to me and I’m so thankful they chose me to try it! You can try it too for 15% off with the code THESLEEPDPT on their website (all kits are 15% off!) or, if you have an Amazon gift card you want to use up, you can also purchase it on Amazon!

As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions – I’m truly an open book and I’ll give it to ya straight!

And don’t forget – I’m also always here if you need some help with understanding your baby’s sleep 😉 and figuring out if something is normal or not. If you have an infant and are a first time mom, be sure to check out my “normal infant sleep” blog. If you have an older baby or toddler and are feeling ready to night wean, check that blog out here too! Otherwise, send me an email (thesleepdpt@gmail.com), check out my courses, or connect with me on Instagram to see if I can help you!

Have a wonderful day!

Jen

Back to Work Transition

So.. you’re a mom of a new baby. Maybe this is your first child, maybe this is your third.. the back to work transition is always daunting but never a fully “easy” one as you are left with so many choices!

Note: There may be a small commission associated with links you click! This is at no cost to you.

Should you wean and begin formula feeding? Should you choose a daycare center or a nanny? Should you go back part-time or full-time? Are you on the hunt for a new career altogether?!

While some mothers NEED to work, other mothers WANT to work, and some mothers don’t have to work at all – there are SO many combinations and it’s important for you to do what’s best for you and your family. Keep in mind these needs will fluctuate over the weeks, months, and years and that is OKAY.

One of the biggest concerns when returning to work is the inevitable mom guilt that comes with the inability of being present with your child to comfort them, help them, teach them, and of course watch them grow. It’s hard being away from your kids, BUT it’s also nice to feel productive in something outside of being a mom – because we were all our own individuals before we became moms!

Before I became a mom, I imagined I would go right back to working full-time. I likely assumed this because that was all I knew growing up. My mom was always working, and kind of still is — we’re a workaholic family, that’s for sure. My parents were divorced from a young age, so naturally my mom had to make ends meet somehow to raise 3 kids (who were very active in extra-curriculars…).

Once I became a mom, after about 4 months, I started really “falling into motherhood” and embracing the biological development of children, the more natural, instinctual part of parenting.. I fell in love with the attachment parenting style before I even knew there was a name for it! While I know this is not always the case for folks, I was able to go back to work 30 hours a week, instead of 40, and then later drop to a “per diem” status where I only worked a few days a month outside of the home.

Again, please try not to compare yourself to other families – every family, mother, and child has their own set of unique needs. I do want to give you a few basic tips to help with this transition:

PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE. Going back to work means less time to get things done at home, like cooking meals, cleaning, etc on top of of course, less time with your child and family. When preparing for this transition, it is so important to not only physically prepare (bottles, thawing out breastmilk, pump parts), but also mentally prepare for this transition. You may not be that giving-it-her-all employee anymore (for now). You might just be the mediocre employee who is getting through the day in order to get back home and feed her baby… It might sound drastic, but it also very much could be you. Just remember, it’s all temporary – this is a phase!

Breast Milk or Formula? If you are breastfeeding and decide to wean, make sure you are talking to your pediatrician about what type of formula your child may thrive on and how many ounces you will need per day.

Or maybe you only want to do formula during the day and continue breastfeeding at night? Remember, your supply will drop if you decide not to pump at work. Reaching out to an IBCLC can help if you decide to combination feed.

If you are continuing to breastfeed, make sure you know how to set up your pump, use it, where to store it at work, and where you can clean and store your supplies! Will there be a refrigerator close by to keep your breastmilk in or should you have a cooler? Will you have time to clean your pump parts between sessions or will you use the “fridge hack?” Don’t forget to make sure you have the proper flange size and get new pump parts as needed!

Daycare or Nanny? When choosing any provider, you want to make sure they are aligning with your needs and wants to the best of your ability. Remember, childcare is generally more expensive in general for children under the age of 3 (because they become more independent at this age), so, while finances are of course a big factor, like diapers, this is only temporary! If you can swing the better daycare or the in-home nanny temporarily, do it!

Things you want to discuss with your care provider:
– Your type of parenting style. Make sure this aligns with the care provider so they understand how you respond to your child and that you’re not okay with letting them cry alone. If they’re not willing to work with you on this, I personally would suggest finding a new care provider.

Sleep associations. Ask what can be used to help your child to sleep. Can they go on a stroller walk or use a baby carrier if they aren’t able to rock them to sleep? Many people refer to these as “sleep crutches” because that’s what the internet tells us! But truly, these are just things that help someone get to sleep- just like you may need a warm cup of tea, a certain pair of socks (or no socks!), and a weighted blanket before you can fall asleep! Feel free to make your care provider aware of their own sleep associations too, for comparison 😉

How many naps will be offered and around what times? This can be really key in helping you understand your bedtime and nighttime routines. If it seems to be less naps than normal, it may be best to assume you will try to get a cat nap on the way home in the car, or a quick walk around the neighborhood just to relieve some of that sleep pressure. This can help if bedtime seems to be too early and you are having split nights

Following wake windows vs sleepy cues: This is so tough for any care provider with multiple children in one room, especially if they’re all needing to get to sleep at once. Some naps are just inevitably going to be delayed or missed, unfortunately. BUT – if the care provider can get into a rhythm and understand all of the different wake windows and sleepy cues by getting attuned to your child, it will hopefully become much easier to figure out which babies need to sleep around what times. If the care provider is only willing to do one nap a day, this is something you will have to roll with and adjust to at home if you are unable to change care providers.

Safe sleep spaces. Please make sure they are using a safe sleep space! Provide them with information if needed, whether that be from the AAP or the Safe Sleep 7 (or both!).

Things you can do to help with this transition:
1) For the first few weeks, I recommend not planning any big extracurricular activities while you all adjust to this new routine! If needed, use the weekend to catch up on sleep (for everyone). Sneak in an extra nap for your little one if they seem extra tired! Lay low for a little – you’re already under enough stress!
2) Change your personal patterns at home? NOPE. Your baby will learn the difference between you, their care provider, their different sleep spaces. You can keep contact napping at home, nursing to sleep at home, doing whatever you want at home! Don’t feel pressured to change what works for you, you don’t need to do that! Of course, if you want to- you certainly can as well!
3) Pack whatever will help your baby adjust – do they use white noise at home? Find a travel one and pack it. Do they have a favorite toy? Pack it. Do they have a sleep sack? Pack it! Want them to have a picture of you? Pack it!

Again, remember, your care provider will have their own sleep associations, their own rhythm, their own routine with your child! It’s important to help them understand and facilitate an appropriate routine that is guided by you (meaning, you know they love motion so a certain type of motion may help..etc). That being said, because they are different, YOU do not need to change your patterns for at home. If you’re nursing to sleep and love it, keep doing it! The care provider is not you just as your partner is not you – you will all have different patterns!

I go into more detail with all of the above as well as transitioning to pumping at work in my mini course for Working Moms! You can find it below!

And if you’re reading this post, consider yourself lucky and use the code “BACK2WORK” to get 50% off my Working Mom course + 1 personalized question in an email for your situation- ideal for breastfeeding moms transitioning back to work! Or check out my other course and consult offerings (recently added a 30 minute consult for only $20!)

As always, reach out via email (thesleepdpt@gmail.com) or via Instagram if you have any questions!

GOOD LUCK!

How to get shit done while contact napping

I know you’ve heard it.. you get “you time” and time to get things done while the baby sleeps. This is why you’re supposed to be able to put them down, right? Drowsy but awake, of course that works for every baby… HA!

One of my favorite pieces of advice is, “don’t do anything while the baby is asleep that you could do while awake.” It’s true. Your baby doesn’t need to be asleep in order for you to take a shower, or cook, or clean. You may need your baby to be asleep to appropriately respond to a work email though…

So how do you get these things done AND soak up the cuddles of a baby (or toddler) that won’t let you put them down to sleep? First off, let’s take a big ole breath knowing that your child is NORMAL for wanting to be held.

Second, I want to let you know that these tips are for contact naps with ONE child. But don’t worry- I’ll have one up soon about contact naps with two children!!

Third, I’m providing a few sample schedules here but, as always, I recommend following more of a routine than a set schedule! Follow your baby’s cues and follow your instincts! See the original posts from Instagram below!

Let’s get to the routines…

Since newborn life is a bit hectic, I’m just going to give a few tips for those contact naps.

– Don’t do anything while baby is asleep that you can do while they’re awake! This is such great advice. You don’t need to shower or eat only when your child is sleeping, you can do that while they’re awake too. Will it be a quick few bites and/or a quick shower sometimes? Yes. But sometimes you’ll get longer! Bring baby into the bathroom and let him chill and play on the floor! This can also help you to develop a little bit of a routine for independent play, allowing your child to be curious about their surroundings and how to interact with various toys/things in different environments.

– Get things done immediately after they wake up and nurse/feed. This is when they will likely be happiest and most content, aka most willing to be on the floor for a few minutes without you!

– Figure out what you CAN get done while contact napping. In these early days, I always encourage rest and sleep if possible, but if not, what can you get done? Make a grocery list? Order food? Type up an email? Listen to a course? Make sure you have whatever you need BEFORE you sit down! And don’t forget to pee before then too 😉

3-5ish months: approximately 4 naps a day, some days more, some days less- depending on your baby! I’m just going to do 1.5 and 2 hour wake windows for purpose of ease. Adjust to your baby! And please, please, PLEASE feed on demand (not based on this schedule!!).

6:30: Wake, Feed
6:45: Get yourself ready for the day while baby plays on the ground next to you!
7:00: Breakfast/Coffee + 5 minutes of whatever you can get done — Usually the dishwasher takes only a few minutes to load/unload. Most likely after this (or even during), baby will start getting fussy and want you to hold them. Make sure you change positions a little while they’re on the ground. Having a blanket and play area set up in every room will help!
8:00: Nap (maybe feed here if nursing to sleep-totally okay!)
9:00: Wake, Feed
9:15: Spend 5-10 minutes getting something done – can you finish those dishes? Can you throw in or switch over some laundry (I always recommend doing laundry first thing in the day if you can since it takes just a few minutes and can run in the background). Do anything that is not in reach when you have baby, prep for the next nap! If baby wearing – set up snacks and your computer if needed nearby. If contact napping on a couch or bed, bring snacks, a book, etc. to your area!
10:30: Nap (+feed?) – During the nap, answer emails/texts on your phone, drink some water or eat a snack. Read a book, watch some Netflix (with headphones).
11:30: Wake, feed
11:45: Take 5-10 minutes again getting things done while baby plays independently. Then play with baby!
1:00: Nap (+feed?) — if you want to get outside for a walk, do it! Grab your baby carrier or stroller (if little one is okay sleeping in those) and grab the nap there! Get yourself some exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D! Want to stay inside and baby wear but still want some exercise? Many bodyweight exercises can be easily done while you have the baby in a supportive carrier.
2:00: Wake, Feed
2:15: Again, take 5-10 minutes to prep something. Need to throw in dinner? I always recommend baking and cooking multiple things at once, and as early in the day as possible! That way you have the whole day to clean up vs 10 mins before bed. Yes, I know it won’t be “fresh” for dinner, but you can have those fancy meals on another day when you have more help!
3:45: Nap, (+feed?). If you’re going to use the bathroom when baby wearing, be sure to do it after about 5-10 minutes of baby being asleep – and – don’t wear leggings, they’re too hard to pull down!
5:00: Wake, Feed
5:15: Get things done again for a few minutes! Make sure one of those things is eating dinner 🙂
6:00: Begin bedtime routine.
7:00: Bedtime + feed! Nurse to sleep if you want! When you want to change sleep associations, you can 😉

I’m posting some old posts below to give you an example of a day with 3 and 2 naps as well! As always, adjust these routines to YOUR baby and YOU. Rigid schedules are no fun for anyone but you CAN get things done even while contact napping with your baby. I just typed this blog while contact napping with mine 😉

Good luck, friends! This time will pass and I promise you will miss those snuggles 🙂

My Tandem Nursing Journey

Some of you may or may not know that I am currently “tandem nursing” my 2 year old and my newborn! It was something I absolutely never considered I would be doing but, truthfully, I think it has helped my daughter with the transition to adding a sibling to the family!

There’s not a ton of research on the topic, only one real book that I know of Adventures in Tandem Nursing Book that was very comprehensive. Additionally, I turned to social media (of course) for some extra knowledge and support going into this. I loved the La Leche League tandem nursing Facebook group!

Would weaning my oldest have been easier? Maybe. I didn’t feel emotionally ready to wean her yet since I really wanted to make it to age 2 (but if she self-weaned, I understood). That being said, I also didn’t offer consistently. By about 17-18 months of age, she was mostly only nursing during the day and to sleep. She cut out falling asleep while nursing around 19-20 months (which actually made getting her to sleep a little more difficult in my opinion!).

At the beginning of finding out I was pregnant, my nipples were a little sore. This may have partially been due to my daughter trying REAL hard to get anything out (lol) but I also read it could be due to low magnesium. I did try to take this Magnesium Supplement for awhile and it might have helped, but ultimately, I stopped drinking it due to nausea.

I think around 4-5 months of pregnancy, my supply mostly dried up – as evidenced by Kinley only nursing once a day for sometimes less than a minute. There were even a few days where she wouldn’t nurse at all! It made me a little sad thinking she may self-wean, but once 32 weeks rolled around, my colostrum came in and she started nursing more again (about 3x/day).

Throughout pregnancy, I didn’t have any aversions – which I know can be common for so many! My daughter also kind of naturally night-weaned herself (I’m assuming because of the supply drop). I have also heard of many folks whose child keeps the same 6-8x/day nursing, which didn’t happen with me either.

Now that we’ve introduced our newest little human to our family, Kinley still nurses 1-3x/day with me setting some limits around this. I always make sure the newborn has fed first before her, and she is actually very patient with this! Towards the end of my pregnancy, she had started bringing her stuffed animals with her to also “get the boob” as we call it. She naturally would let them go first and then we would both yell in excitement when it was her “turn.” I usually de-latch her after a minute or so, because truthfully, she would likely keep nursing all day if she could, now that my milk is back.

So far, I have not latched both of them at the same time – and I’m not sure that I will. Only time will tell! I do think it has been helpful in transitioning to having a sibling – it gives her something consistent and something that we get to do together each day.

Overall, I’m really happy I made the choice to continue breastfeeding my oldest with my youngest! It has been a positive experience (so far) for all of us! If you have any questions about it – feel free to email me at thesleepdpt@gmail.com or reach out on Instagram!

If you have any other questions or concerns that I may be able to help with when it comes to transitioning from 1 to 2 kids – let’s set up a discovery call and figure out if a consult would be right for you! If you are looking for a time that isn’t listed – please email me so I can help 🙂

Don’t forget to share if you found this helpful 🙂

Until next time,

Jen

Note: There may be a small commission associated with links you click that direct you to Amazon! This is at no cost to you.

Kinley’s birth story

Because some of you asked… I copied and pasted Kinley’s birth story from my two IG posts I wrote it in. Did I have an emergency c-section? No. Was I fine after? Mostly, yes- I ended with a grade 2 tear which is of course common for first time moms. But- I had horrible anxiety for months and really didn’t feel like myself again until the first year was over.. a dramatic difference to what I’m feeling now. I’m talking like- I heard my cat jump down from the bed in the middle of the night and I thought Kinley fell out of the bassinet and sprinted up immediately.. lots of worry constantly, and inability to tolerate her crying for longer than a few seconds without feeling crazy, an inability to leave her for long without feeling separation anxiety, etc. For me, it was traumatic, and I know it was for my husband as well as he watched me with an inability to help. Anywho.. I hope people know that you CAN have different births and it’s okay to feel a certain way about each birth. I’m the first to admit going through pregnancy and this type of labor was definitely part of the reason I contemplated wanting another child. I didn’t want to risk it again.. but of course I did (and we’re all good now)- but it’s still scary and I still can vividly replay both births in my head like I’m sure most women can! Okay, enough rambling… 🙂

Part of the birth story: the scary part
.
“28 seconds! 42 seconds! 55 seconds!” Was all I heard as I fought through my last few pushes gripping tightly to Scott’s hand while gasping for air with my fancy non-rebreather mask on. .
.
Shoulder dystocia occurs in around 1% of births. Some risks include a larger baby and a smaller stature person (ding ding) in addition to age>35, beyond 42 weeks gestation, gestational diabetes, and obesity in the mother. The baby’s head is delivered but one shoulder gets stuck behind in the pelvis potentially causing neuro complications, fractures, or even death. Even though I was completely with it (obviously very fatigued), it’s all still a blur and it happened so quickly. It was an insane few seconds (?) of what felt like CPR to my uterus and people jumping on top of me grabbing my legs while I screamed in even more pain. I’m beyond thankful for the quick working staff in the room that helped to safely deliver Kinley after being stuck for 55 seconds. Like I said, it’s a blur already and not something I want to relive ever again.
.
.
Kinley was head down but decided to face my left hip instead of facing my back or front-likely part of the reason she got caught, in addition to being a larger baby for my tiny pelvis (she also had a cone head which is pretty much gone now😂). I also think maybe with me pushing on my back (because I was so exhausted after laboring through without pain meds for 17 hours.. with Pitocin 😞), it didn’t allow for my pelvis to open as well. Luckily, Kinley has shown to be healthy and strong on both sides of her body, and even luckier for her, she has a physical therapist for a mom to continually assess her developmentally 🤪😎
.
I was terrified of the medical care I may or may not receive during delivery, given my pretty horrible prenatal care, but once again I am so appreciative of the staff that we had – the nurses were amazing and the OB that delivered her was so great too. I could go on and on, but really I’m just incredibly thankful that our stubborn little warrior (Kinley means warrior) arrived safely ❤️ We love her so much.
.

Birth story continued ✨ Due to a rare genetic disorder that I have which places me at a higher risk for preeclampsia, the docs didn’t want me to be pregnant past 40 weeks. I elected to be induced on the last day they’d let me (39w6d) in hopes she’d come naturally. Obviously, I didn’t want to be induced and I just had a feeling that this was going to be a big baby and she’d come early. Clearly no matter what I tried, she wanted to stay put!
.
I had my membranes swept at 8am by my midwife in a last minute effort to get the party started, but it only helped me dilate a little more before we were admitted to the hospital. I got cytotec and the foley balloon (gonna rank the foley balloon as one of my least favorites 😆) to get everything started. Then they started the lovely Pitocin once I hit 6 cm (my natural contractions had slowed down because I honestly mostly slept during all of early labor). I wasn’t sure if I should sleep or get up and move around to progress things but honestly I’m so thankful I slept when I did!
.
Trust me, once active labor progressed, there were many times I thought to myself that I wouldn’t make it and that I’d ask for pain meds soon. I found it really helpful to say affirmations to myself and just realize the contractions were just telling me how strong my own uterus really was. I focused a ton on breathing and changing positions when I could. My nurse through the night was incredible – she encouraged me throughout and didn’t once ask if I wanted pain meds (we discussed this before and she was so onboard with my whole birth plan which was great since I’d read about some nurses harassing patients re pain meds, etc). Of course Scott was amazing too, but there’s something different and encouraging about being around someone who has been through this process a ton of times. She kept reminding me that as the contractions strengthened, each one was making a difference. For the last few hours of her shift, she didn’t leave my bedside because she knew the baby would be coming soon. ☺️ see prev post
.
Overall, even though I didn’t want to be induced, it was clearly what was meant to happen and I’m happy I could still stick with my plan🤗


.

Birth Story – Baby Keaton

✨Birth story✨

I started having contractions around 12 at 41 weeks. They gradually progressed to every 5 minutes by 4 pm. I was also scheduled for an induction the same day (which I really didn’t want to do). I called and asked if I could come in after I labored at home for a little and they agreed. We arrived at the hospital around 730, where we were greeted by 2 nurses- one of which was the night nurse when I gave birth to my daughter back in San Diego (she was amazing!)- that military life 😆.

They checked my cervix around 815 and it was 4 cm, 70% effaced! Because I arrived and immediately discussed my birth plan of not receiving an epidural and ideally not pushing on my back (I swear this contributed to my daughter getting stuck).. they switched me to the midwife instead of having the OB deliver. When she walked in, my husband said, “I’m getting good energy from her.” 😆 which is not something he normally says, haha. But it was true- I felt comfortable, too. She had previously worked in birthing centers and just was exactly the kind of person I wanted to help deliver my son. 😊

While I probably could have asked to not have any, they ended up hooking me up to a “whiff” of pitocin around 930-10. By this time, contractions had already picked up and I truthfully didn’t notice a difference with the added 2 units. I kept making sure they weren’t bumping it without me noticing and requested they not go above 4 (I remember it being up to 7 with Kinley and I also remember being in such a trance).

I started having a lot of pressure in the pelvic region. Again, I wanted my water to break on it’s own, but it was apparently very stubborn (and squishy?). I was 8cm and just about 100% effaced when they checked and asked if they should break the bag.. I waited a few more contractions before agreeing. When the midwife broke it, there was some meconium in the fluid, so of course pediatrics had to come in.

The midwife didn’t leave, and for good reason. I think within maybe 10 more contractions (maybe less), Keaton was here! I pushed on my side this time (though the midwife said- “whatever feels best, I’m flexible!”)- Through about 5 contractions of focusing on breathing, pushing with my uterus, relaxing my pelvic floor, and.. let’s be honest-screaming 😆 while gripping Scott for dear life, little Keaton appeared!

While he didn’t have the cone shaped head that Kinley had, thanks to the shorter ring of fire experience, he was taken, suctioned, and had chest PT all before I could hold him. I was definitely a little sad not getting to have skin to skin and breastfeed initially, but instead doing it 3 hours later in the NICU observation area..but I’m thankful for the quick medical care to make sure he was okay! He then joined us in our room about an hour after we got there.

Overall, though I am sad we didn’t have that initial golden hour together, I felt way less traumatized by this birth. I haven’t felt the crippling anxiety I felt after giving birth to my daughter- it truly is a world of difference. I’m not sure fully what to attribute that to, but I’m not complaining! I have such a different outlook this time around, and I can’t wait to watch my kids grow up together!

Did you have a traumatic birth? Something different than what you expected or desired? Did it follow your birth plan? Tell me here or tag me on Instagram as you tell your story.. I would love to hear!!

Travel, Routines, and Your Child

Planning your next adventure can be SO much fun and EEK! a bit stressful, especially if it’s your first trip with a new child! Vacations might look a little different than what you’re used to, but you can still enjoy your time away from home!

As someone who has now traveled via Campervan with a 9 month old, AirBnB with and without a full kitchen, and recently to across the country with a then-very-active-18 month old, staying in a different place almost every night – I think I can speak a little bit to how to make this trip as easy as possible for everyone.

Tip #1) Plan for your baby to sleep in the car. Try to time it so you drive for a nap. This will make it the most peaceful if you have a child who doesn’t sit long in the car (it me).

Tip #2) Have an idea of stops you might need to take. Print out an old-fashioned map and mark a few spots that you could stop to play, stretch your legs, eat, etc. The goal of the stop is ideally to get some wiggles out- not to sit somewhere the whole time (a restaurant). The best spots are parks! Hang out in the grass, soak up a new sensory experience, eat a meal with a new view (in a safe travel high chair!). You might need to spend a few hours here so make sure you’re prepared! Once your child seems tired enough, hop back in the car and get on your way!

Tip #3) Pack a cooler and pre-made food so when you arrive at your destination, you have a meal prepared and don’t have to stress about another thing as you adjust to your new home away from home. Or of course if you want to order out – that works too!

Tip #4) Pack early!! Try packing at least 24 hours in advance and ALWAYS bring more diapers than you think you will need. I have a free checklist to help you get started with your packing and make it even less stressful for you!

Tip #5) Don’t plan TOO much. It can be so tempting to want to do all the things you did before parenthood, but running around all day during your trip can make everyone feel frazzled AND can impact nighttime sleep. Ideally pick one main thing to do each day and try to work around naps (whether that means in the car, baby carrier, or waiting until they finish waking up at your temporary residence). Having a rest day in between can also help keep everyone consistent with their routines.

Tip #6) Practice with the baby carrier beforehand. You don’t want to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out what hook goes where- test it out before you pack it!

Tip #7) Relax – if you miss a nap or have an off day, it is what it is. Just do your best to get back on track tomorrow!

Tip #8) Bring things from home to help acclimate your baby to their new temporary sleep environment. Using the pack ‘n play? You can try practicing for a few nights before to help ease the transition. Planning on bedsharing? Make sure your surface is firm and Safe Sleep 7 approved. Winging it? Make sure you at least KNOW the safe sleep 7 if your child doesn’t want to sleep in the pack n play – don’t worry, you can adjust back to the crib when you’re home. 🙂 Make sure to bring any white noise if you use it, a sleep sack (again, if you use it) – whatever you can to make sleep as similar to home!

Did I miss anything?? Let me know if you have any other travel tips by commenting below, sending a DM, or sending me an email! Good luck traveling and don’t forget to snag my free Travel With A Baby Checklist and take a peep at my list of a few travel items you might need for your journey!

Good luck! You got this!!

– Jen

Note: There may be a small commission associated with links you click! This is at no cost to you.

Free Handouts for Pregnancy and Postpartum

These FREE handouts are provided to help ensure you receive the best care while pregnant and postpartum. Print them out and take them to your physician OR get ideas to help you ask for the appropriate help for you.

More handouts coming soon!