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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 It Important To Enforce Self Care For Moms?

Why is it important to enforce self care for moms?

Self care for moms is often too easily overlooked. As a caregiver, it can be hard to feel justified about carving out space to nurture your own needs and wants. How can you afford to set time aside between juggling the schedules and responsibilities of the rest of your family and possibly a career on top of everything? While it may seem virtually impossible that self care for moms could take precedence, enforcing that time for yourself is healthy. Not only does it allow you to have a break, but it allows you to perform everyday tasks more efficiently. Without time to relax, you are more prone to become frustrated and lose energy. By default, by restoring your energy levels, you are not only doing yourself a favor, but you are helping out your whole family. After spending time alone, you will feel rejuvenated, be able to improve your concentration and unwind. Self care for moms is essential.

How to enforce self care for moms?

Our advice for new moms is not to put off self care, but to enforce it early on. This early integration sets a standard of routine and normalcy that can be expected by you and your family. Ultimately “mommy-time” becomes second nature to all. Of all the benefits associated with prioritizing self care for moms, once the practice becomes a habit, you will start to notice improvements in how you experience those little moments that might otherwise feel stressful or difficult.

Our first piece of advice for new moms is to eliminate or reduce unnecessary tasks. Cutting down the amount of time spent on daily activities can be very beneficial. For example, making a list of what needs to be done during the week and what on that list can be outsourced such as using an app for grocery shopping, or asking for help with cooking, cleaning or laundry can contribute to more valuable personal time. Being practical and reasonable about your time is just as important. Perfectionism does not exist, and rather than feeling obliged to keep the house spotless or prepare an elaborate family meal nightly, give yourself the benefit of using moderation to allow yourself more free time.

Once you have eliminated a few things from your day, it is time to schedule in self care. Don’t just think about self care, write specific times and activities down in your planner. This may seem unnecessary, but if you decide when to enforce time for yourself, it is much more likely to happen. Additionally, if you want to work with a personal trainer or spend time with a friend, schedule it in advance. By looping in another person, you create accountability for self care. You can also partner with another mother and plan your self care time together. Instead of a workout buddy, find a “self care buddy.”

What are the benefits of self care for moms?

Some benefits of self care for moms include stress release, increased clarity of thoughts and improved emotional health. These benefits lead to healthier relationships amongst your family, and by allowing your physical body to relax, you can prevent chronic stress and improve your quality of sleep. In addition, you will find yourself feeling less irritable, meaning you will be able to more thoroughly enjoy time spent with your kids.

By enforcing time for yourself, you start to build a support system. It is important for your kids to interact with a variety of different people. Try leaving the kids with their dad or a grandparent when possible while you enjoy a spa day with your girlfriends or hide away with a good book. This creates variability in your children’s lives. Self care for moms is a win-win; Your kids are happier because their momma is more joyful and present, and you are happier because you are giving yourself the gift of balance.

Next time you begin to feel guilty or uncertain about carving time for your own self care, remember that everyone benefits: you, your partner and your kids. Our best advice for new moms is to be aware that your needs are intertwined with your children’s. You can’t fully care for another unless you care for yourself. Be an example for your family and display self care.

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.

 

The Journey of a Prenatal Specific Chiropractor

When I got pregnant with my first child, I began seeing a prenatal chiropractor. Being a child gymnast, I had always seen a chiropractor to keep me balanced and on top of my sport, but I was amazed at the different approach my prenatal specific chiropractor had. Her approach was geared exclusively toward my prenatal issues and toward making sure I had an easy, natural birth process.

 

We all know that pregnancy involves physiological and endocrinological changes in the body. Some of these changes, like a more protuding abdomen, an increased back curve, pelvic adjustments and postural adaptations, can often result in a misaligned spine or joints. This can lead to a whole variety of pains and issues that not only affect an expectant mother but can critically influence the birth process too. I didn’t realize just how many prenatal health issues could be addressed through prenatal chiropractic care.

 

I remember my prenatal chiropractor telling me that all the “normal” prenatal aches and pains, reflux, foot swelling, etc. are actually not “normal” at all and that she had solutions for all of them through gentle chiropractic adjustments, pregnancy-specific massage techniques and natural home remedies. She even treated breech presentation, helping moms avoid non-elective C-sections with an 85% success rate using a gentle technique called the Webster Technique.

 

Because of my prenatal specific chiropractor, I was able to enjoy the unfolding of pregnancy and had a natural and beautiful birth. I was so inspired by how much she helped me and how much I witnessed her helping other pregnant mom’s during one of the most important times of life, that I BECAME A PRENATAL CHIROPRACTOR myself.

 

Now, years later I have a vibrantly healthy 17 year old daughter along with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree with a Fellowship in Prenatal Chiropractic Care, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve spent the past 15 years treating pregnant patients and their families in my busy little Wellness Center in Glendale. I’ve built a team of prenatal chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists, and together we deliver the same quality of care to our patients that I was so blessed to receive when I was pregnant.

 

I love the quote from one of the founders of Chiropractic BJ Palmer, “You never know how far reaching something
you Think, Say or Do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” It reminds me of how much my prenatal chiropractor changed the entire trajectory of my life, and now because of her excellence of care, passion in her craft and open hearted approach I am following in her footsteps.

 

I can only imagine that if we all look at our influence on others, especially as moms, we will see that
when we share our passions in an open hearted way and connect to others purely, we too are having a
far reaching impact. I hope this story inspires you to not only seek chiropractic care for yourselves but to
Find your Personal Passion and Share it!

 

Yours in health,
Dr Heidi Fennell DC FICPA
Chiropractor and Clinic Director at InnerMovement Wellness Center

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