“Sleep like a baby”

As a mom, I will tell you that “Sleep like a baby” is one of the most misleading phrases I have ever heard.  I don’t know about your baby, but our “baby” still doesn’t consistently sleep through the night at 3.5-years-old!  Sleep is a topic that is often fraught with strong opinions, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, hope, breath-holding, and tiptoeing.  My hope is to allay some of your fears and anxiety and encourage you to be creative. Before our son arrived our doula did a wonderful job of trying to help us understand the intricacies of infant sleep.  She talked to us about co-sleeping and room-sharing.  Even after those discussions and reading The Baby Sleep Book: The Complete Guide to a Good Night’s Rest for the Whole Family (Sears Parenting Library) we still naively thought that our baby wouldn’t “sleep like a baby”.  We thought he would sleep like an adult. We were in for a rude awakening.  The first night in the hospital was pretty perfect.  I stayed awake all night holding him (much to the nurse’s stern disapproval – she told me I would spoil him), nursing him, and gazing at his perfect little body.  After 5 years of patience very few things could have pried him from my arms.  He dozed and nursed all night.  The second night was fairly similar, and then we went home. We found out that it is that third night that often takes parents by surprise.  This is when babies really start waking more frequently and wanting to nurse more often.  Somewhere in there they also find their lungs and make use of them during those middle of the night diaper changes and feedings that don’t happen fast enough.  None of that bothered me.  I was so in love and thrilled that our baby was finally here that it was an absolute pleasure to be awake all night.  As we learned how to breastfeed, pump, and master diaper changes we continued on that sleepless path and we were content (thank goodness for those good mama hormones!). I got a lot of smiles and hugs in those early weeks.  Everyone expects a new mom and dad to be exhausted, but almost everyone assured me that sleep got MUCH better around 6 months.  Our baby had dairy sensitivities so from about 6 weeks until 12 months we were up all night every night...
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Eradicating excess (or at least making an effort)

I am participating in an online book club that my friend and colleague, Julia, facilitates at A Little Bit of All of It.  I have to admit that I didn’t read August’s book (the first for the newly formed book club) because I couldn’t get it in a Kindle or Nook version.  I really only get to read when I nurse during nap and bedtime, which makes an e-version of the book important.  So when it came time to vote for September’s book I checked to make sure there was an e-version of the book before voting for my choice.  The final book choice was 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (affiliate link).  I purchased the Kindle version immediately and read half of the book in two days of nursing sessions. How did I feel halfway through the book?  Guilty. Let me back up and tell you a little about the book without giving away the really good parts.  Jen, through a series of events and variety of catalysts, decided that there was too much excess in her life.  She made a plan to limit several areas of her life.  She focused on one area each month for 7 months in hopes of growing closer to God, her family, and learning to live with less excess (which will help with her relationship with God and her family).  The 7 areas she chose to focus her efforts on were: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress.  Her book is set up with daily (not every day is included) blog entries about her experiences, thoughts, struggles, etc.  She doesn’t do this alone though.  Her husband, a pastor, participates with her and she has a circle of girlfriends (The Council) who help guide her, support her, participate in some cases, and give her “exemptions” from the rules when needed.  This book is a recounting of her journey through the 7 months. Back to the feeling of guilt.  After telling Julia one night, as we were chatting on Facebook, that I was halfway through the book she asked what I thought.  Here was the very first thing that came to mind, Easy to read. Makes me feel guilty in a good way; I think. We have been struggling this summer with excess and the book brings it home even more. Ever since I became certified in L.E.A.N. our family...
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Pedometer Challenge

We are coming up on a busy time of year – back to school – when parents often forget to exercise and take care of themselves.  I would like to challenge you to dig out your pedometer, or go buy an inexpensive one (approx. $10). Wear your pedometer for a couple of days and see what your average number of steps are.  Then set a goal to increase that average number by 500 in the following week.  Who wants to join me?  Comment below and check in with your average steps after you track it for a couple of days.  Let everyone know your favorite way to add steps to your day. If you are worried about posting a low number, I can tell you that recently my average has been LOW….really low.  Nowhere near 10,000 steps per day like I used to get pre-toddler, probably something like 1500-2000 steps/day. Don’t forget to drink extra water as you get more active! If you are curious which pedometer I use, here it is at Amazon: Omron HJ-720ITFFP Pocket Pedometer with Advanced Omron Health Management Software   (Disclaimer: Amazon link is an affiliate link.  If you make a purchase through an affiliate link I receive a small percentage of the purchase price with no additional cost to...
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Meditation and Calming the Mind

I have to admit, I never thought to write about this part of our fertility journey until today.  A friend I went through my Hypnobabies class with asked me what I visualized during the pressure waves.  It wasn’t something I talked about in my birth story and she was curious.  So, while this is a post about how I dealt with some of the stress and disappointment during our fertility journey, it is also a post that belongs in the birth category because I used these same techniques during our joyous birthing time. Many people who spend any amount of time in the infertility hamster wheel eventually can benefit from talking with someone about the stress they are feeling, the disappointment they are experiencing, and even the anxiety that can accompany trying to conceive.  I have always been a strong believer that there is a HUGE mind-body connection.  If the mind isn’t ok, there is no way the body will be ok and vice versa.  We were lucky that the Fertility Center of the Carolinas believes in the mind-body connection as well.  In fact, they offer a class to their fertility patients called the Mind/Body Program.  It is led by Cynthia Whitaker and Dr. Paul Miller.  When Dr. Forstein mentioned the program I was a little wary.  I just wasn’t sure about the group setting this program provided, but I needed someone to talk to who wasn’t my husband, wasn’t a friend, wasn’t family.  Someone who could be neutral and just be in my corner.  Someone who could offer me some advice.  That is how I came to know Cindy.  She was more than happy to meet with me one-on-one instead of in the group Mind-Body Program.  Going to talk to her was the best decision I could have made. She offered me a lot of suggestions for handling the stress, sadness, and pressures surrounding our fertility journey.  Two techniques in particular I still use today – the PEACE walk and meditation.  If you haven’t guessed from any of my other posts, I am the poster child for Type A – I am a perfectionist, I am driven, I am a fast-paced, no-nonsense kind of girl.  I don’t go anywhere leisurely.  At work, my colleagues always know when I am coming because I move quickly and with determination, which can be a little noisy when wearing heels 🙂  I...
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Feeling Tired and Busy?

I don’t know about you, but I have a severe case of the over-committed, over-tired mama syndrome.  I teach in my LEAN classes and my Greenville Tech college classes that it is crucial to make time for yourself, to take care of yourself.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been practicing what I preach recently.  Teaching 5 college classes, caring for our toddler full-time, and trying to schedule LEAN classes and find participants has left me drained.  Perhaps these aren’t the things on your over-committed list, but I am willing to bet that at least a few of you are shaking your heads yes to this concept. So, what now?  I still have to get everything done, we still have to eat, the emails still have to be answered, but what I am doing right now just isn’t working.  Dr. Sears talks about finding a balance in life – don’t worry about the smallies, just worry about the biggies.  So this week, I am going to go to bed when my son does – at 8:30 – at least one time, even if the kitchen isn’t clean, the laundry isn’t put away, and the emails aren’t sent.  I can’t remember the last time I went to bed before 1am.  I am going to ask my mom to watch our son for a couple of hours so that I can catch up on emails, bills, and laundry during the day rather than at 11pm.  I’m going strawberry picking with friends and I’m NOT going to worry about how my cave boy toddler may handle the situation.  I am going to expect the best and smile if the worst happens – he ends up picking all green strawberries, gets in the lake fully clothed, has a tantrum over getting back in his carseat, and cries the whole way home only to fall asleep 2 feet from the house. What are you going to do for yourself this week?  How are you going to nurture your needs so that you can continue to nurture...
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