Parenting Resolutions

This was not my first New year as a parent but I spent my first one in a bit of a haze. My son was only a few days old and we were all having a rough time. That happened to also be the night we ended up in the emergency room to find out that we were having some serious trouble with feeding. Clearly, resolutions were the farthest thing from my mind.

This year I was able to actually focus and feel as though I could work towards some goals. I have a long list of them this year. I wrote them out in my 2015 Smashbook so that I could keep track and document my progress, I thought it would be a great way to stay focused. Once I had finished writing out my list I noticed that I had naturally added in goals for parenting. I have never heard of people making these kinds of resolutions; maybe they do not share them or maybe I am just too new or not privy to this whole parenting thing to have realized. Either way it is an awesome choice to consciously make goals in regard to how you parent. If you have children that are old enough to actually have a conversation with them then I would go ahead and ask them what it is you can do better and what they would like to see you do.

My list included some educational and bonding activities such as reading together everyday, spending an evening a week doing a family activity, and working on numbers, letters, colours each day. We have been doing well with the reading and my son got a lot of new books for Christmas and his birthday to help with that. We just started introducing the alphabet by singing “ABC’s”.

Oh look! There is also a YouTube  video. Check it out to find out my tips on how to achieve your goals as well as parenting resolutions!

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The Practical List of New Born Needs

My son as a new born

My son as a New Born

Having a baby come in to your life can be overwhelming, especially if you are doing it for the first time. There are thousands of products that claim that you simply cannot have a baby without them. They are a “must need” for your new bundle of joy.

What exactly does a new born baby need? I guess for much of this question the answer would be, “Well, how do you intend to parent?”

Here is my (I think practical) list of needs for a new born:

The size difference between a newborn diaper and a size 4

The size difference between a newborn diaper and a size 4

* Diapers and wipes- This is a give-in. You need to cover your baby’s behind whether in disposable (think Huggies, Pampers, etc.) or reusable (washable). The choice is yours! They both have their pros and cons. We chose disposable this time around because cloth was too expensive of an initial investment (although cheaper in the long run) and we live in a building with common washers and dryers. If we live in a house next time around, I would love to give cloth a shot, I know a few parents that do and they love to cloth diaper, it is much better for the environment as a bonus! Diaper cream is also something to keep handy, there are natural alternatives to this as well if you are interested. I have used breast milk and that has worked but the medicated stuff is useful.

* A way to feed your (always) hungry little one- For those of you planning on breastfeeding you may be wondering what could you possibly need? I would suggest a breast pump, it can be a life saver, as well as some milk storage bags. Also, some bottles in case someone else needs to feed baby. Nursing pads were really handy for me as well, I preferred the washable ones over the disposable because they were thinner and more comfortable.Some nipple cream may come in handy if they get sore and cracked and some people like to have a nursing pillow, I was going to make my own and then had one given to me. Honestly, I tried to use it and it just got in the way, I ended up using a normal pillow because that worked for us. If you plan on formula feeding consult with your baby’s doctor about what kind is appropriate and have that on hand along with some bottles and I got great use out of a bottle scrubber.

* Laundry detergent- You do not need to go out and buy the specially made for babies detergent. It is very pricey and you have a cheaper alternative! You can purchase dye and scent free detergent ( something that is Free and Clear) and it does the same thing. Babies have sensitive skin. The world is much different than the womb, they are not use to the feel of fabric or rough things, they do not understand things like clothing tags. They just know that it does not feel good.

*Gentle baby soap and soft face cloths– for the same reason you want to get free and clear detergent, baby’s skin is sensitive!

Baby wearing

Wearing my son

* Be a baby wearer!- Do it! Just kidding, you do not have to but it is a wonderful way to have both hands free and still have baby close to you. They crave the closeness and comfort, your heartbeat was all they knew for the longest time. Skin to skin and closeness encourage a baby’s growth and comforts them. It is really lovely and quite practical. I suggest starting off with a baby wearing group that has a library for you to try out. Not every baby loves every carrier and you will not either. I bought one while pregnant and my son absolutely hated it, screamed anytime I put it near him. During an outing my friend let me try hers and my son and I were in love. I ended up having to search for one online because that particular style had been discontinued. We found one and we use it often. When I take it out now my son runs over to me and asks to get up (by shoving his hands in the air while laughing). I have found a lot of use for it while taking public transportation since not all our subway stations are accessible.

my son in his crib for the first time

Testing out his crib for the first time

* Somewhere for baby to sleep- They may not want to leave your arms but they will have to. At first we used a Pack ‘n Play with the newborn insert and when he was a few months old we bought him a convertible crib. So, you do not need to start off with a crib. In our tiny one bedroom apartment this was a much easier start for us.

My son in his car seat

Snuggled up safe and warm in his car seat!

* Weather appropriate clothing and Sleepers- This one is self explanatory. I do suggest you invest in full sleepers with zippers instead of snaps. The buttons are difficult to do, especially when baby gets older and more wiggly. The sleepers are easy and comfortable for them. They also do not need extras like socks when they are wearing them. My son always hated socks. I still cannot keep them on him. Also, hats.

Big Stroller

Our big stroller

* Stroller and Car seat- Again pretty self explanatory. I would also suggest that you have a car seat canopy as well as a cover for the stroller to keep the wind, rain, and snow away from the little one. We started off with a big stroller that has big tires with a tread (because we live in Canada and the snow is an issue) I think it is actually a jogging stroller. It is wonderful but it is huge. It would not fit in a trunk properly and we had a lot of appointments right after my son was born. My grandma ended up getting us a Snap-N-Go by Baby Trend. It is basically a small base with a tiny basket and wheels that you strap the infant seat in to. It was a life saver. It was only practical until he could not use that car seat anymore but we still have it and it is awesome.

Car seat canopy my Aunt hand made

Car seat canopy my Aunt hand made

* Diaper bag- You are a Mom now; look the part. Babies need a lot of stuff, you need something to carry it all in. You do not have to use something big or even a conventional diaper bag. I used a small one that Nestle sent me ( I still do) but I have also used my big TNA gym bag purse thing, as well as a back pack. I find the back pack useful when I am going to be out for a while and I am wearing my son.

Receiving blanket

Always using those receiving blankets!

* Receiving blankets- They are super useful. I used them to swaddle my son as well as for burp cloths and whatever else I could think of. Really, they were great. They are nice and thin and soft, perfect for baby. My son often played with one in his car seat while we were out because I would always have one with us.

* A CAMERA- No matter what you have for your new baby, you are going to want to document those tiny little toes! They grow entirely too fast, try to enjoy every second of it that you can!

This seems like an exhaustive list but babies need a lot of stuff and they are not cheap. I paired this down as best I could to give new parents a starting list of things I found essential. Two things I did not mention in there because I thought they would be more optional for some people are: A swing ( babies love these things and sometimes you need a minute without a baby in your hands) and books ( I found that reading to my son was a great way to bond from the start, they just like hearing your voice).

My son enjoying his swing

My son enjoying his swing!

I hope this was helpful! I want to hear what your list of necessities for a new baby are down below!

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Ten little fingers meet ten little toes

toes

 

My son discovered his feet a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, he has not stopped playing with them since. Have you ever looked in to a baby’s eyes the moment they discover something new? There is a spark, a light, in their eyes that was not there before. You can almost see them learning. If you have not experienced this, I hope that one day you are able to. I have been lucky enough to see those exact moments twice now. The first time he realized he had hands and the second, his feet. You know that feeling you get when you come to a realization? It just washes over you. I imagine that is how babies feel when they figure out that those funny little wiggly toes belong to them.

It is so simple, so natural, and so perfect. I am not sure what will come next. I imagine getting up on his hands and knees since he already rolls all over the place and scoot around on his stomach. The days go by so fast, although they can seem so long.

I admire him often, it has been rewarding and enlightening to watch him grow every day.  I try to take it all in and adapt some of that lost child like magic in my life- like, when ten little fingers meet ten little toes and there is nothing more needed in the world.

 

DIY: Monthly Pictures

 

Noah - One Month

Noah – One Month

You may have noticed people taking cute monthly pictures of their new babies for the first year of life. If you haven’t you might want to come out from under your rock, they are everywhere. It is a great way to watch your child grow in such a crucial fast paced part of life. Some pictures are super cute and others… not so much. Either way I decided to give it a shot and share my tips on how to get  super cute monthly pictures to cherish as your little one grows. If you have not already guessed it, this is a DIY because who has the money or time to get professional pictures done every month?

Without further ado here are my tips:

1. Pick a theme: Without consistency how can the pictures be a series?  The theme can be anything. You could use the same theme you used for the nursery. For example I used “owls” as our theme.

2.Consistency: With that being said, stick with something once you have done it. For example, do not use a theme in two pictures and not in the rest.

3. Choose how to list the month: You can buy stickers you can stick on your baby’s clothing or whatever you want to stick it on that says the number of month.  You can also use blocks or a chalk board, whatever you like. I have seen some cute pictures where people have typed the text in on the picture and included milestones, likes and dislikes, etc.  If you are up to it you can even make your own sign or sticker to customize it to your theme.

4. Start at 0: Start taking the photos when they are first-born. I had not decided to do them until he was a month old so, I do not have a new-born picture. I regret that because he grew so much within the first month.   It is so amazing to see where they started at the very beginning.

5.  A happy baby is cute: Take the pictures during a time of day your baby is happy. Make sure to have baby fed and satisfied.  Who wants to try to pose or deal with a grumpy baby? Not me.

6. Keep it simple: The more complicated you make it or the more time-consuming it is the more likely you are to have a baby that is not going to cooperate. I took a total of 15 minutes setting up and taking the pictures.

7. Take multiple: I snapped quite a few pictures to ensure I could pick the cutest one.  I wanted to keep him happy and smiling during the shoot so, I played with him. At the time he was not interested in playing for very long which ensured I acted fast.

8.  Something to compare: I found it useful to have some sort of object by him to be able to see how big he is in comparison. We used a stuffed owl that we bought at the hospital for him. You could really use anything to do this, the owl just matched our theme and was a cute addition. It can also show milestones. He cannot hold it just yet in his first photo ( or first couple if you took the 0 month one) but as he gets older he will be able to interact with it.

9.  Photoshop is your friend: If you happen to have this or a similar photo editing software it can be really helpful. I used it to add in the month sticker, correct the picture, add in a border, and add text.  Who says photoshop is only good for air brushing those evil skinny models?

10. Have fun: Have fun and go with it! This can be an awesome time to make some cute memories. When you look back at the pictures they will have an added sentiment. These moments are beyond precious, soak in and enjoy every second that you can! You never get them back.

Remember, you do not need any fancy equipment to do any of this. I used my cell phone, a stuffed owl, a blanket my Grandmother made, and photoshop.

Let me know how they go! Be sure to share them with me when they are done!

Super Mom

Supermom

Feeling a little like Super Mom the last couple of weeks. I cannot believe I am now to the point where I can actually manage to get things done that do not have to do with the baby. My little guy is a month old now and it seems like a few days ago I was a walking zombie that could not even manage to go to the bathroom without some sort of help.  While I still do not get to pee as much as I would like, it is nice to have little moments to do other things for my own sanity. I never thought I would be happy to do the dishes. Sure, I could still use the million hours of sleep I must have lost and the new mom bags under my eyes prove that but you have to pick your battles.

I guess it gets easier as time goes on, you live and you learn like everything else in life. Every moment is worth it though. I might not be super productive or productive at all in a day but my life has never been more fulfilled.

Perfect Chaos

 

My son, Noah, and I

My son, Noah, and I

My entire pregnancy I spent my time preparing in any way that I could. Making a birth plan is an important way lots of soon to be moms spend their time preparing, I was no different. I intended on having a natural, medication free, with the least possible amount of medical interventions birthing experience.  As usual, nothing went as planned and shit hit the fan even before my day came. What I ended up with was being pumped full of drugs and using quite a few interventions.  That is one thing I have learned in my three short weeks being a Mom. Actually, it is probably the first thing I learned in my new role; nothing goes as planned. You know what? It sucks. I am the kind of person that needs control of situations and that definitely does not happen in my life any longer.  I would not change it for the world though.

As I type this I am sitting here looking over at my beautiful three week old son who is currently napping in his swing. He is perfect and I have never been more happy than at this point. This little guy is pure chaos in my life but it is just so right. Being a Mom is crazy and we are crazy to go through everything we do to be parents.  I totally get it now though, these moments are so precious and are gone entirely too fast. I intend to enjoy every single moment of chaos, as hard as it might be sometimes.