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Don’t Panic! Hints to Help You Survive a Colicky Baby

Guest Written By: Jess Procter 
Instagram: @north_west_jess
Blog: www.northwestjess.com

Don’t Panic! Hints to Help You Survive a Colicky Baby

Pregnancy can feel like an eternity and by the end of it we feel large, tired and impatient to meet the baby that we know will change our lives – and sleep schedules – forever. It’s so disheartening to bring home a new baby expecting sleepy cuddles and to get hours of inconsolable crying instead; but you’re not alone! So many of us are experiencing or have survived a colicky baby. There isn’t much that makes it easier but there are a few things I learned in my months as a “Colic Mama”. I hope some of them can help you survive, too. 

Adjust Your Expectations

This is number one for most mamas of severely fussy babies. The hardest thing can be to separate your reality from what you thought your Fourth Trimester was going to look like – or what it looks like for your friends or the social media moms you follow. No one expects life with a newborn to be easy but not many mamas expect colic, either. Comparison is truly the thief of joy for parents of a fussy kid, so let go of what you thought would happen and deal, to the best of your ability, with what is happening. Every phase passes.

Lean On Your Village

If you’re not the type to easily accept help this can be a lot easier said than done, but if someone close to you offers help of any kind, take it! Give explicit instructions and don’t be shy – maybe you need your laundry done or a delivery of groceries picked up. Maybe you’d appreciate someone coming over just to hold your screaming child so you can shower. Maybe you want a friend to leave a pizza and a bottle of wine on your doorstep. Accept what you feel comfortable accepting and politely decline what you don’t. 

Give Yourself the Grace to Try and Figure it Out

Even if you don’t have a particularly fussy baby it can take a few months to find out what a newborn likes and doesn’t like. Even veteran moms with five kids have to figure it out with every new babe. A certain type of white noise, that one movement that helps them fall asleep, a baby carrier, a stroller or car ride. It might take a long time to find the thing that works but when you find it and gain some semblance of peace for even half an hour you feel like you just might be able to get through that newborn stage after all! Then again, if you’ve experienced a truly colicky baby you know that sometimes nothing works, no matter how many well-meaning moms swear it worked for their own fussy babe. In that case, just survive. It gets better. Promise. In the meantime, try the gas drops. Try bouncing on a yoga ball. You just never know. 

Be Selfish

This is a time of survival. Don’t feel obligated to cater to others or do things you don’t want to do because you feel like you “should;” there’ll be plenty of time for that later! For now stay home, turn down invitations that make you feel overwhelmed, and don’t worry about putting your life on hold as long as you need to. Everyone will understand. 

Find Like-Minded Parents

We experienced severe colic with my firstborn that lasted for four months and didn’t dissipate completely until she was about six months old. Many of my close friends and family members were having their own babies at that time and I felt so isolated seeing how easily they seemed to manage their lives. Finally I found a Facebook group for parents of spirited and high-needs children and instantly felt understood. Knowing that others were going through something similar didn’t make the days or nights any easier for us but it definitely helped me understand that my child wasn’t fussy because of anything I was doing, she was just having a (much) harder time adjusting to life outside of the womb. Having someone to text in the middle of the night can be bolstering, too.

It’s Okay to Put the Baby Down

There are times when it will be crucial for you to get a break from a screaming baby but circumstances may not permit one. Maybe your partner works long hours, you don’t have a partner, or no friends are available to help out. If your baby has been crying for a very long time and you need to take a few minutes to collect yourself and give your weary arms a break, don’t feel guilty about needing to put the baby down! If she has been fed and changed and is still crying, put her in her crib or another safe place and make yourself a coffee or a quick lunch. As mothers we often feel guilty if we don’t tend to our fussing child every second of the day but she will learn to settle herself eventually and a few minutes here and there is a great start toward her own independence, especially if it saves your own sanity. 

Make Time for Yourself

Obviously during the Fourth Trimester it’s hard enough to find time to sleep, let alone engaging in all of your pre-baby hobbies. But even if you only get fifteen minutes a day you can always find small ways to indulge in a little self care (sometimes very small ways). Short trips to a corner coffee shop for a latte. A few minutes writing in your journal. A phone call to someone who provides a listening ear or a little perspective. A quick bath. One episode of a favorite TV show or podcast while nursing. Invest in a super soft robe or blanket to make those middle-of-the-night feeds feel like less of an obligation and more of an opportunity for comfort.

Most importantly: It’s not you, it’s the baby! It’s nearly impossible not to internalize blame when you experience your newborn seemingly rejecting every attempt to soothe her cries, but it truly isn’t anything that you did or did not do. Colic is awful and it can feel never-ending but it really is such a short time in the scheme of you and your baby’s relationship. As every parent knows, everything is a phase and this one will pass just as all the others do. Soon you’ll find you’re enjoying parenthood a little more every day, and maybe even one day doing the unthinkable – entertaining the idea of having another one! For now, just take a deep breath and go easy on yourself. Good luck!

Why Is Touch So Important To Babies?

Why Is Touch So Important To Babies?

As your newborn begins to move and grow, learning from the sense of touch is incredibly important. Parents and caregivers will often introduce a host of different textures during “touch time” or other times of play. But why is this sense of touch so important for babies?

The role of touch

Infants are particularly sensitive to touch. As their minds grow, differentiating between textures and surfaces is essential to their development and awareness. After all, it’s estimated that your baby’s brain will more than double in size within the first year. As such, parents will introduce their babies to a number of different objects to feel. Many caregivers will play with their baby on a host of different surfaces as well.

Touch also extends to your child’s palate as well. Introducing new textures of food is often difficult for new parents, but interesting textures are necessary for the growth and development of your child. On top of that, physical closeness is important in growing the bond between parent and child. The sense of touch is a startlingly important sense for babies for a host of reasons.

Skin sensitivity

For better or worse, babies also have incredibly sensitive skin. There’s no better feeling than squishing a baby’s soft leg only to feel the skin bounce back with vitality.

Unfortunately, this perfect skin is still in the early stages of its development. As such, your baby might experience a number of rashes, irritations, and dryness during their first few years of life. While this is no cause for alarm, it’s something to be aware of as a new mother. They’re also more sensitive to the sun, inclement weather, and the cold. The need for protection in these early years is vital to your baby’s health.

Tips for touch

Protecting your baby’s skin is essential. As such, you should always wash new clothing, cashmere baby gifts, and baby blankets you receive as gifts for first-time mothers. On top of that, you should ensure your own clothing is baby-friendly. That includes any breastfeeding wraps or breastfeeding covers that may come into contact with your baby’s sensitive skin.

When you introduce new materials and textures to your baby, ensure you don’t give them items that are easy to swallow and choke on. Monitoring touch time is essential when you want to ensure the safety and comfort of your child. You should give them a mix of hard items, rough items, and especially soft items, like the plush comfort of a cashmere baby blanket.

Cashmere baby gifts are the perfect present babies and mothers alike. Not only do babies love the feeling of a soft cashmere baby wrap, but they will be able to enjoy them for years to come. For the best premium cashmere baby gifts for the new mother, think 10 To 12 Baby Lounge today!

5 Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

5 Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

A new addition to your little family is a big deal. It may seem less daunting than your first, but your second baby comes with his or her own little basket of new adjustments. While you may not be as worried about the nighttime feedings and learning how to change a diaper, there are many reasons why bringing new life into the world for the second time will likely still feel unknown and unchartered. It’s important to keep in mind that you have to prepare your firstborn for their new little sibling as well. Here are 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby.

Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

 

1.) Plan educational activities

Before your newest addition arrives, play pretend with your toddler. Grab a babydoll and ask them to pretend that it’s the new baby! Guide your firstborn on how to softly touch, hold, and kiss the babydoll and explain that being gentle is very important for little babies. Try to play pretend in this way several times before the new baby arrives. You can even ask your toddler to go grab diapers and wipes in preparation. They will love feeling like part of the action. Don’t forget to give lots of extra love and encouragement when your toddler helps out. This is just 1 of 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby.

Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

 

2.) Try to refrain from using the word “play”

Child psychologists have suggested that mom-to-be should try not to use the word play when telling their firstborns about the new baby. By saying “you’ll have a new little sister to play with” the toddler will think that they can play with the baby the way they do with children their age. Then, when the new baby comes, they will be confused when you scream no when they try to play catch with your newborn. Instead take an approach like, “when your baby sister is here, you will love hugging and kissing her!”. Try to incorporate that your firstborn should be as gentle as possible with the baby, because they aren’t as big and strong as their big brother/sister! By instilling a more “caring” attitude in your toddler before you give birth, you will have less teaching moments when the baby gets here.

 

3.) Cater your language

When the new baby comes, it will be hard to focus on anything else for a while. Be sure instead of saying “be quiet, baby’s sleeping” or “We’ll go after baby’s nap” or “I can’t help you right now I’m changing baby’s diaper” try to say “let’s use inside voices” or “we can go after lunch” or “just one minute”. By shifting the blame away from the baby, your toddler will feel much better towards the time devoted to the baby.

 

4.) Be understanding

This is the biggest change that your toddler has ever faced. Be patient with them. While before, they got to have all of Mom-to-be and Dad’s attention, they suddenly have to be placed on the back-burner while their new sibling gets a bigger share of the attention. Try to carve out a few hours in advance for after the delivery to focus on your firstborn and explain to them what is happening. Don’t worry about using concepts and language they’ll understand, kids are much brighter than we give them credit for. The more calmly and confidently you explain the situation and WHY this is all happening, the more assured your toddler will feel.

Expert Ways to Help your Firstborn Adjust to New Baby

 

5.) Lots of Praise

Finally, 5 out of 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby. Whenever older sibling does something kind or helpful, make a big deal out of it. Tell the family over dinner, bring it up the next day. Any acting up or attitude after the new baby arrives is normal and can be soothed with some extra love and attention.

 

We hope that these 5 expert ways to help your firstborn adjust to new baby were educational and helpful for you!

The Art Of Gift Wrapping

The Art Of Gift Wrapping

If you’re planning on giving the new mommy in your life a luxury gift, the presentation must be just as beautiful as the gift inside. This can be especially difficult if you’re struggling to wrap plush cashmere baby gifts or a soft baby blanket set. 

Here are some essential tips to make your gift wrapping — almost — as good as the present inside.

Choose great wrapping paper

Your premium baby gifts deserve the best wrapping paper on the market. Thin wrapping paper is prone to creasing or wrinkling in unexpected places, or even tearing. This often ruins the entire presentation of your gift. 

Thick wrapping paper with a beautiful design is the best option to present your baby blanket gift. It’s easier to control creases during the wrapping process and won’t tear like other flimsy gift wraps. On top of that, the thick paper will feel rich and luxurious to the touch when she opens her present. Just be sure to place your baby blanket gift on the paper before you cut — this will give you the perfect amount of paper to cover the present. Using too much wrapping paper is a common beginner’s mistake.

When in doubt, use a box

If you’re wrapping a difficult object like a cashmere wrap for babies or a breastfeeding cover, you might want to put it in a box before you wrap it. Loose gifts made from cashmere are more prone to tearing and puncturing the wrapping paper. This can be a huge detriment to both the overall look of your gift and the surprise gift inside!

Avoid the potential for punctures by placing flexible or fragile items in a rigid box. Not only will this give you a clean crease when you wrap your present, but it will also be easier to transport if you have to travel for the holidays.

If wrapping a box is still beyond your gift wrapping capabilities, then use the Internet to your advantage. Video sharing sites like Youtube have thousands of video tutorials with easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions.

…Or use a bag!

Bags are a wonderful gift option because you can play with different colors and patterns. They’re easy to carry and you can fill a bag with just about anything. This makes them a great option for last-minute gifts or multiple items for twins. While twins only occur in four out of every 1,000 live births, this is still a great option for any new mom. Try experimenting with different paper tissue to create a fun look for the holidays.

The new mom in your life will love it when she opens her new premium baby gifts. When you have trouble with the art of gift wrapping, try these tips to improve your presentation.

For the Love of Books: Benefits of Taking Baby to the Library

Before we talk about the benefits of taking baby to the library, can I just take a moment to confess something? I LOVE the smell of the library! (And bowling alleys, but that’s a story for another day). There’s something about it that really gets to me. The musty smell of old books; all that knowledge and adventure and imagination sitting on the shelves. A value that only comes to be realized with age. When I step through those doors, I am hit with a very specific sense of joy and nostalgia; as if I am being transported to my first memories of being in the library. I’m a pre-teen all over again, browsing the young adult section for my next literary escape! How many hours have I spent in those aisles? Looking for something specific, or looking for nothing in particular at all? That’s what’s so great about the library, there’s no limit to how long you can walk the aisles (well, unless of course they are closing) and there’s no obligation to take anything home, or to take just one thing home. I never met a library I didn’t like!   

 

Taking Baby to the Library

Now that I got that out of my system, let’s talk about the benefits of taking baby to the library. As you may have figured out by now, I’m a bit of a fan of public libraries. So, of course, I want to be able to instill that same sense of love for books and the buildings that house them in my sweet baby boy.

Books and reading have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. So much so, that I have had a box of my favorite children’s books that has moved with me to every new home I’ve had since I first left mom & dad’s house all those years ago. My husband and I even started collecting our favorite children’s books and young adult novels long before we started trying to get pregnant!

So, when our baby boy was born, I couldn’t wait to take him to the library for the first time. Lucky for us, we have a public library within walking distance from our house! Sure, we have a lot of books at home, and we got some wonderful ones as gifts before baby arrived. But going to the library is a whole different experience that is just as valuable as the reading of the books themselves.

 

A Perfect Mommy & Baby Outing

One of the first benefits of taking baby to the library, is that it’s just a fun way to get out of the house! Our first trip to the library happened when my son was 8 weeks old; I know this because I snapped a pic on my phone to document the event. At this point in my maternity leave, I was feeling stronger and well-rested (my newborn was sleeping 8 hours at night…it didn’t last very long) but I was also starting to feel a bit stir-crazy. It felt so good to get some fresh air, take a walk, and end up in one of my favorite places with my little guy. Wearing him in a sling, we walked up and down the aisles. I read him the titles and combed through the pages. At this stage, you don’t even need to be in the kid’s section because he’s too young to have an opinion and it’s more about the time spent together and engaging his curiosity about language. He is learning about the world around him, so any experience can be a worthy experience, which just begins to touch on the many benefits of taking baby to the library. For the record, I was in the kid’s section because I was just too excited for him to fall in love with stories! We did this every week those first few months, each time checking out a handful of books to take home with us. Our first books were high contrast sensory books for baby. One of our favorite baby books : Look Look! By Peter Linenthal.

 

Borrow Before you Buy

Another great advantage to being a library patron is having a chance to explore a lot of books before you pick out your favorite baby books. You and baby can pull as many books off the shelf as your heart desires, thumb through the pages, take a few home, read them together in your most comfy chair, and then decide which ones you just can’t live without. Sure, we’d all love to have floor to ceiling bookshelves in every room of the house for our extensive book collections (or maybe that’s just me) but the reality is that’s just not very practical. By checking them out at the library first, you can really hone baby’s and your taste. Once you find a keeper, you can then buy it at your favorite local bookshop or online retailer. You’ll end up with a priceless collection of your favorite baby books, instead of a mountain of books you could never find room for or that get left on the shelf untouched for years. Our favorite library find to date : Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld about a little cloud who believed she was meant for something big!

 

Storytime at the Library

Visiting the local public library doesn’t always have to be just about mommy & baby either. One of the greatest things about your local public library is that it probably has a storytime schedule; a time during the week where local kiddos can gather round and listen to some of their favorite children’s books read out loud by a friendly library volunteer. What’s great about storytime is that baby can enjoy it now, and continue to grow and find new joy in it is as he gets older. The things that excite him now have evolved from even a month ago, and will continue to do so for years to come. Sure, at this exact point in time, he may seem more interested in standing and cruising along the bookshelves than sitting and listening to Mr. Jeffries read a story; but I know that he is hearing the words dance around the air around him and absorbing so much from the experience.

Among the benefits of taking baby to the library, storytime is also a great chance to meet other neighborhood local mommies and babies who are in this great adventure with you. If you’re anything like me, you may find it a challenge to make new mommy friends. You know, the kind of mommy friends that aren’t related to you. So storytime at the public library could be a good way to get your feet wet! They probably live nearby, and they probably have a similar schedule since you are there at the same time. Plus, you know that you share the same value of books and learning. Maybe on the first day, you just smile and make friendly conversation. As you start to see each other more regularly, you become more comfortable with each other and may find common interests or experiences. Before you know it, you’ve found a new friend for you and a playdate for your little one. Remember, babies need socialization too! Even if you only ever see each other at the library, it can be meaningful for both of you to make those connections.

 

Take Care of Your Body in Your Fourth Trimester

How to Plan Ahead, Make it Easy, and Postpartum Nutrition

We do a lot while we are pregnant to make sure that we are keeping ourselves and the baby growing inside our belly nice and healthy. We take a lot of extra care about the foods we eat and how much we eat, we monitor how much physical activity we participate in and are careful not to overexert ourselves, and we make note of every single little change our body is going through (for better or for worse). And because we have a very noticeable reminder of our state of being residing in our midsection, others take extra special care of us as well.

 

So, why is it so hard to remember to take care of your body after baby has arrived? Some of the biggest challenges for balancing mind and body for a new momma can arrive in this “fourth trimester,” months 10 to 12 right after baby is born. Mostly because there is a helpless little human relying on you for life (and distracting your loved ones from your own needs with their cuteness). Also, you’re too tired to be held responsible for anything more than keeping said tiny human alive.

 

But here’s the kicker, keeping that tiny human alive and well means that YOU need to be well. So you MUST take care of your body.

 

YOUR Fourth Trimester

As you’ve prepared for baby’s arrival, you’ve heard a lot about the fourth trimester for baby. The adjustments he’ll be making as he enters this new environment and learns how to navigate his surroundings. But don’t forget it’s your fourth trimester too! This is a hugely transitional time for both of you, and while it seems so natural to focus on the well being of that sweet baby in your arms, it is also essential that you get the care and support that you need. You just created life! You’re body is going through yet another major change, and although it seems obvious, you must remember to take care of your body.

 

This is why I think The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother should be mandatory reading for all moms-to-be and the people who love them (and you should keep reading it postpartum). This beautiful book helps remind us of ancient traditions around the world of nurturing and caring for mothers during this major transitional period, along with very practical postpartum nutrition tips. As you read, you get a sense of the sacredness of motherhood, the wisdom within some of these traditions, and the importance of treating yourself with the love and warmth you’ve earned.

 

Rest if of course so important, but that’s the part we all hear about. So much of the wisdom in “The First Forty Days”  is centered around eating and postpartum nutrition, which totally makes sense because (much like baby) most of your time in the fourth trimester will be spent sleeping and eating. Even if you don’t use a single recipe provided in the book (although you definitely should), at the very least the wisdom provided and stories shared will get you in the mindset of self love, self care, and eating well.

 

take care of your body in fourth trimester

 

What to Eat Postpartum

I’m not here to advise anyone about the dos and don’ts of postpartum nutrition. I am no expert, just a new mom who recently emerged from her fourth trimester. There are other sources and websites out there with way more qualified people on the subject (breastfeeding moms, check out the 10to12 Pinterest board on the subject).

 

What I can tell you is about my own experience, and I wanted comfort food. I craved hearty, belly warming meals I already knew that I loved. I wanted my favorite recipes from mom. I didn’t care if I ate the same thing 3 days in a row, as long as it was easy (preferably already made) and delicious. Soups, stews, casseroles, pastas….mmmmmm, I’m getting hungry just thinking about it (but also still breastfeeding at 6 months, so always hungry anyway). I didn’t want to think about meals, or to try to cook anything myself, but I wanted to be able to eat something wonderful whenever I was hungry.

 

How to Have Exactly What You Want, When You Want It

 

This requires a little planning ahead, a small army of support (or at least a mom or best friend), and/or great food delivery options.

 

Plan Ahead: If you have the time before baby arrives, make some meals ahead of time so they will be waiting for you when you get home from the hospital.

 

The week before my little man was born, I was home from work on maternity leave and nesting in a major way. I did a deep clean of the house, made all the final touches in the nursery, cleaned and sterilized all the baby bottles (even though I was planning on breastfeeding), and then went to work stocking my fridge and freezer. I shopped for things I knew would be good for a few weeks, and threw a few precooked meals in the freezer. I had some OSSO Good Bone Broth in the freezer, which I thawed to make a big pot of chicken & rice that I packed with veggies then froze in two separate containers. I also made an easy pasta dish that went directly in the freezer as well.

 

Let Others Feed You: They will offer, they want to help, and this is a very practical way to be loved and supported.

 

I have a wonderful friend who had her baby two months before I did. Despite this, she showed up a few days before I gave birth with individual containers equaling about eight total meals worth of two different soups. She had also read “The First Forty Days” and used two recipes from the book. These also went in the freezer (which was reaching capacity at this point).

 

I’m also lucky enough to have my mother nearby, so she offered to cook for us a lot during those first weeks. She knows my favorites, and there was always enough for leftovers. Keeping the fridge stocked with meals that did not require me cooking (the best kind of meals).

 

Don’t Underestimate Food Delivery: Today you can get anything delivered and now is the perfect time to take advantage.

 

Maybe you don’t have a small tribe of family and friends nearby (or maybe you don’t trust them to cook for you). Maybe baby surprised you by arriving to the party early and you didn’t have time to plan meals in advance. There’s still plenty of helpful options available to you. Just turn to your favorite food delivery app (Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, just to name a few) and don’t forget to order enough so that you will have leftovers. If you live in Los Angeles, you can get postpartum nutrition delivered to your door from Motherbees which was created by the same hearts behind “The First Forty Days”.

 

Take Care

There are lots of ways to take care of your body during your fourth trimester. Everyone will tell you to sleep (see my previous post about alternative ways to find rest postpartum). Your doctor will tell you to take it easy as you recover from birth and will give you all the details you need for your physical care, but don’t underestimate the power of a full stomach. I was so hungry my entire pregnancy, I honestly ate my way through it, and my fourth trimester was no exception. If you’re anything like me, you’ll skip a nap before you skip a meal! But with the right amount of forward thought, you just might be able to do both before the baby wakes up.

 

Signed,

A New Momma

 

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