Monday, August 31, 2015

How to: Sleep When Baby Sleeps

1. Go to Bed Early
When you get baby down for the night, don't jump up thinking, "Now is my chance to do everything I wasn't able to get done today!" Instead, take it as time for bed for yourself, too. When baby is young, there's absolutely no shame in following her schedule. You just carried her for nine months inside your body, and now you've spent the entire day carrying her outside your body--allow yourself to get some rest when she gives it to you!

I will be the first to admit I was asleep by 8 or 9 p.m. most nights in Edie's first few months. I'd start nursing/dancing her to sleep around 7 or 7:30 (which we still do) and when she drifted off, I took that as my cue to lie down and get comfy. Lots of nights I'd turn on Netflix thinking, "I can't go to sleep before 8 o'clock! That's lame!" and find myself dozing before finishing a 20 minute episode of The Office. I often ended up deciding to give in because I knew she'd be awake in a couple of hours to nurse and I'd be wishing I'd gotten a little rest.

2. Say No to Technology
Which brings me to my next point ^.  Turn off your phone, the T.V., and your brain. You've been ON all day long and you'll be asked to be on again soon when baby wakes to eat--turn everything off when you can and close your eyes. And if you just aren't tired, I've found reading (a real book, not a phone or ipad!) helps make my eyes heavy at the end of a long day.

I'll be honest, a couple of months ago I actually moved the T.V. out of the bedroom and started keeping my phone downstairs or turning it off when I carried Edie up to bed. I started to realize I was wasting a lot of time scrolling through my phone after Edie had dozed off. Those Instagram photos and Facebook posts will still be there tomorrow, and if I'm meant to see them, I will.

3. Make Up for the Naps You Didn't Take in Preschool
Baby's down for a nap? Lie down with her! Some of my most restful sleep has been on the rare days Edie takes a three hour nap and I end up falling asleep on accident while nursing her down because I wasn't TRYING to fall asleep (I sometimes struggle to shut off and relax at night)--it just came upon me out of sheer exhaustion. If you're tired enough to nap, do it!

4. Let the Laundry Wait
Seriously, it'll still be there when you get up. Or tomorrow. Or this weekend. Being a mama is a 24/7 job and you have to take breaks when they're given to you. Taking a nap or going to bed early with baby is no reason to feel guilty--make your rest a priority. Make self care a priority.

5. And the Ever-Controversial...Co-Sleep
This is one of the topics I've learned we're not really supposed to talk about in the parenting public, especially if we're of those who practice co-sleeping. But I can honestly tell you co-sleeping is by far the biggest reason I've gotten the sleep I've gotten since Edie was born. She falls asleep better with me and stays asleep longer (I know this because the naps/nights I get up while she's sleeping, she's awake within minutes), I'm far more relaxed when she's with me (not feeling the need to get up and check that she's breathing, etc.), and she has easy access to nursing whenever she pleases. That's the main thing, I think--when she wakes in the middle of the night to nurse, since my breasts are right there, she doesn't actually fully wake up and cry to where I have to settle her, then feed her. She just latches right on and nurses back to sleep. I also appreciate not having to roll out of bed, stand up and walk across the house to get her out of her crib, which would require me to fully wake up as well.

And co-sleeping during naps has forced me to slow down, at least lie with her as she nurses down, and relax/nap to recharge for the rest of the day. I'm a very type A/get things done kind of girl, but I love that sharing a bed with my baby makes me be still more often (and gives me the sweetest snuggles and opportunities to just stare at my babe's pretty eyelashes. I know these moments are fleeting!).


There are days I feel tired, for sure, but I can honestly say I haven't felt full-on sleep deprived in my ten months of motherhood, even though she still nurses throughout the night. To sum up my infant sleep philosophy, I'm a big believer in following your baby's signals. When she says, "It's nap time, Mama!" drop what you're doing and cuddle her. She'll be too big and too cool for it soon enough.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Visit from Our Best Girl

Our bestie drove over for the weekend, and we've been loving our girl time! Nat is such a treasure of a friend to me (and has been since we were itty bitty!) and such a wonderful aunt to Edie--they've been spending lots of time playing on the floor with blocks :) Love you, Nat!

P.S. You still have a day to enter this GIVEAWAY, mamas!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

What Happens in Labor Stays in Labor

...Unless you're me, who feels the need to share these little gems with you with the hope you'll feel okay being absolutely insane right before you meet your little one! :)

Six Things You Might Hear Yourself Say During Labor

Midwife: We know you aren't quite there yet because you're still in good spirits and there haven't been any curse words yelled at us.

Daniel: I don't think that's going to happen--Jordan doesn't curse. That would be pretty hilarious.

Me: Yeah my plan is to try to stay calm and relaxed through this whole thing.

(...a few hours later...)

Me: Cut this baby out of me! I don't care! Cut her out! I know I said no C-section in my birth plan but F*** THE BIRTH PLAN!

Midwife: There it is! (Laughter) Now we're getting somewhere.


Me: I think I'm pooping! I pooped! I pooped, didn't I?

Midwife: No, you didn't poop, Jordan. Keep pushing.


(After a very long push during which I guess I held a low Tarzan-sounding note the whole time...)

Daniel: Wow. She could be the "GOOOOOOOOOOAL" guy for men's soccer.


Me: That time I definitely pooped! I pooped, right?

Midwife: Nope, still no poop. 


Me: Oh no! She's coming out of my butt! Something is wrong--she took a wrong turn somewhere!


(I'm squatting beside the bed pushing Edie to crown...)

Midwife: Do you want something to support your knees? That sounds painful...
(something about hitting my shins on the wooden bedframe between pushes...)

Me: What? No, shut up. I don't know what you're saying. I don't feel anything.
(I start pushing again. I did have bruises the next day.)


Sigh. Isn't birth beautiful? :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mama Bear Tee Giveaway

Because so many of you have reached out with encouraging words lately, I'm in the mood to give you something! And what better than a super soft t-shirt? Seriously, I'm in love with my Mama Bear tee--I wear it as soon as it's clean (laundry doesn't always happen super efficiently around here...haha).

To enter, just leave a little comment on this blog post with a short bit about what makes you (or someone you know--you can enter to win for your mom friend, too!) a mama bear. Make sure to include your email so I can contact you for size and address info if you win!

Giveaway will be open until Sunday, August 30th at 11:59 p.m. central time.

Thank you, friends. You're the best!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

You Might Be Lonely, Mama, But You're Not Alone

Hey, Mama. Look over here--I'm talking to you. You might not believe it because it's 4 p.m. and you haven't heard another adult's voice all day and by this point you're wondering if you annoy your baby as much as you annoy yourself as you narrate every little move you make, "I'm changing your diaper," "I'm feeding the doggie," "I'm eating an apple and almond butter for lunch...again."  Does your baby understand anything you're saying? I don't know that, but I do know that I do. I hear you, and I understand. You want your baby to grow into a smart, capable child.

And you also want someone to talk to.

Your husband tries, but he comes home late sometimes and has his own list of stresses from his own work. But he has coworkers to hash them out with and business calls to the world outside of his office.  To whom can you turn when you need to furrow your brow into a look that says, "This is so hard?"  Who can assess your performance and assure you you're doing an adequate job? Who can you call when you just need to remember there is life outside of the walls of your messy, poopy-diaper-smelling home? Who is willing to hang on when the baby starts screaming? Who isn't too busy with their own lives/jobs/families to acknowledge you exist?

I remember when my husband left to head back to work a week after Edie was born. I stayed in bed and looked down at her tiny body in my lap and said, "Looks like it's just you and me, honey." I had no idea how heavy that statement would grow to feel as the days dragged forward and I rapidly cut out the majority of my to-do list. Shower first thing in the morning? Nope, baby hates her swing. Housework? Nope, baby only naps on my chest. Exercise? Nope, baby wants to nurse for three straight hours. Write/read/work? Nope, baby is screaming again.

Daniel would come home and I'd realize I had nothing to show for my day except more dirty dishes and clothes stacked on top of the existing piles. What did we even do today? Did I do anything to make the world a better place? Did I impact anyone? Did I even love my baby enough?

I began to feel invisible because surely if anyone could see me they'd see these feelings all over my face. For a few months I shut down and took the "It's just you and me" phrase too literally because the pressure of raising a tiny human on my own not only made me feel very lonely, it made me feel determined to give her all I had if that was the way it was supposed to be. I shut out my husband, my friends, and the idea of trying to make new ones who might actually understand a bit of the cold slap of new motherhood. My cup dried out pretty quickly giving myself to her all day and night without anyone else filling me back up.

I've since learned my mama bear roar is much louder when it's part of a chorus.  No one else can raise my child for me, but other mothers can share how they're raising theirs and how they survive the loneliest moments.  I'm slowly surrounding myself with a troop of them, and as I get to know these women better, I find it comforting that I feel like I'd get dressed and go to battle for their babies, because that means they'd probably do that for my girl, too.

So instead of feeling like I might lose it when my daughter doesn't want to be put down all day or wakes to nurse nine times in one night, I try to think about the other warrior mamas up doing the same thing and what I'd say to them if I had the chance. I'd probably start off with a sleepy complaint, like, "Are you serious? I think my baby hates me." Then I'd come to my senses and let myself really experience this moment from the outside looking in. I'd watch you watch your baby with a frustrated, clenched jaw and the fire of what you think is exhausted anger but what I know to be go-to-the-ends-of-the-earth-for-you love in your eyes. And I'd say, "Look at you, Mama. You're doing it. You're doing the holiest work there is, and you're doing it for no recognition at all. But I see you. You're so beautiful and so strong. I see you, Mama."

I see you, Mama--I am one of you. I see you because I am you.
And because of that, you're not alone.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Babywearing Workout

Happy Monday, friends! I'm excited (and just SLIGHTLY tempted to feel embarrassed by showcasing my body in this way, but you know what? I pushed a baby out of my hooha--my body is AMAZING. And yours is too, mama!) to share a quick baby-friendly workout with you this morning to get your week off on a happy, sweaty foot. 

I'm wearing Edie in my beautiful Wildbird ring sling in the first half of this workout, but you could also use a wrap, something more structured like an Ergo, or just hold your baby securely if you don't babywear!  Let's get started.

1. Squats
Push your booty back like you're sitting in a chair.

2. Single Legged Squats
Same drill, on one leg! These are awesome.

3. Lunges
I like to alternate legs and do walking lunges back and forth across the room rather than standing in one spot.

4. Kick Backs
Similar to the single legged squat, only kick your leg back straight and feel it in your butt, then come back to center.

5. Glute Sits
Alternate sides. If not wearing baby, add a little hop in between for some cardio.

6. Kiss and Lift
Edie loves this one. Do enough reps to feel your arms and shoulders burn! This will depend on your strength and the weight of your babe.

7. Leg Raises
Don't let your legs rest on the floor and try to keep them straight.

8. Bike Ride with Baby
And get smacked in the face with a tiny tennis shoe.

9. Downward Facing Dog Stretch
She normally crawls under me during down dog, but this was the first time she'd seen these shoes. I was invisible by this point :)

10. Half Cat/Cow
Don't fully let your ab muscles go, try to keep them a little flexed. Post baby belly muscles are sensitive!

11. Yoga Pushups
Keep your elbows pinned to your sides for a tougher pushup.

12. Stretch It Out

...And get your hair pulled.

13. Relax (or nurse while getting jabbed in the throat, haha)

Follow this up with a nice long babywearing walk and thank yourself for how incredibly strong you are!

Hope this gives you a few new ideas on what a workout can look like with a crazy babe! You can obviously tailor the reps and such to how much time you have/your fitness level. 

Getting extra energy from exercise endorphins is SO helpful for me in being the best mama I can be for Edie. Take care of yourselves, mamas!

Friday, August 21, 2015

On Sleeping Like a Baby

"How's she sleeping?"

For some reason this is everyone's first question when they meet Edie, as if her sleep habits determine whether or not she's a good baby. Or maybe they think I look tired and grumpy and want something to pin it on, I don't know. I also don't know who coined the phrase, "sleeping like a baby," or why we use to to mean sleeping well. 

Because, well, I have a baby. And I'll let you in on a little secret--babies wake up a lot. They startle easily. They nurse throughout the night and fight naps and if you let them get overtired, OH MAN--you're in for it. 

And you know what else? That's okay. Because they're babies and they have more needs than we know. And this season is short in the grand scheme of things.

My child is ten months old, and while she definitely sleeps better than she did when she was younger, she still "sleeps like a baby." A real baby, not the babies of legends. She's never slept through the night, but I also haven't felt any need to "train" her into doing so. My instincts say she wakes when she needs me, as she does two to three times most nights. She nurses drowsily and drifts back off and I soon follow. She half wakes again very early to cluster feed for about an hour before we get up for the day. And by that time she's silly happy from a night of snuggling against Mama and having milk accessible to fill her belly or comfort her whenever she needed it.

I love these sleep habits because I know she won't always have them. Her need for me won't always be so physical. I don't know why I'd want to train her out of it early or send her the message that her feelings aren't valid today, because then she might grow up to think they aren't worth hearing later.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Birthday Wishlist

I turn 26 in just over a month (26? WHAT? In my mind I'm forever 22.) and although I much prefer  celebrating/making someone else feel special, there are a few things I have my eye on for myself this year. I'm in this weird place where I really haven't gotten out much since my last birthday (we were waiting on baby!) and I've hardly had any me time at all, so a new comfy shirt or pretty book might just give me a little boost to feel cute/relaxed at home in the midst of running after my soon-to-be toddler.

What I REALLY want for my birthday is crisp fall weather. Yes, please.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Play Hard, Nap Hard

Gah, I love her. This is hopefully how we'll be spending much of this rainy Wednesday.

P.S. This is my 500TH POST on NewlyWifed! Whoa. Thanks for reading, friends. I'd love to hear from you on what you'd like to read more of in the next 500 posts! Please don't hesitate to comment, email, add me on Facebook, etc. :)

P.P.S.  Hi Jenna and friend/boyfriend/husband/brother/whoever that guy was who stopped me on Sunday at Arsaga's. You two made my day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Eden Faye, 10 Months Old

Hi friends! I am 10 MONTHS OLD today!
Here's what I'm up to lately:

-I weigh 16 pounds and am about 27 inches tall.
-I'm in the 10% for weight and the 12% for height.
-I wear 6-9 month clothes and size 2/3 diapers.
-I walk everywhere now!
-I love to carry a toy, book, or blanket with me everywhere I go.
-I can say "Mama, "Dada," "yeah," "hi," and "book" (more like "boo").
-I can wave, clap, and nod my head "yes!"
-I do lots of kiss faces.
-I chew on my thumb.
-Mama thinks she can feel a tooth about to poke through. I'm still toothless!
-I love following Mama around now that I'm steady on my feet.
-I love playing peekaboo.
-I laugh at lots of things! But Penny is still the funniest.
-I laugh after I toot.
-I'm getting better at feeding myself.
-I dance (bounce up and down and nod my head) to music!
-I love reading books and turning the pages.
-My naps have gotten longer but I usually only take two a day now.
-I still sleep against Mama.
-I go to bed around 7 or 7:30 and am up for the day between 5 and 6:30
-I nurse a lot throughout the night!
-I had my first real playdate this month with my friend Lilly!
-I love being outside.
-I'm not a fan of wearing shoes. I do like chewing on them, though.
-I love to play with kitchen stuff, especially cups and big spoons.
-I tan easily like Mama.
-I still love meat best.
-I make a little noise when I want another bite if Mama is feeding me.
-Mama has started planning my first birthday party and Halloween costume!
-I get really excited when I hear Dada come in from work.
-I went out to eat for the first two times this month!
-Everyone I meet comments on my pretty dark brown eyes.
-Mama left me with Grandpa for half an hour while she ran an errand and I did great!
-I love to hear myself talk.
-I love when Mama sings "You Are My Sunshine."


Edie babe, you really are my sunshine. I can't believe how close we're getting to your first birthday, but I also can't believe I ever did life without you. You are so strong and determined in spite of your size--I think you're teaching me way more than I'm teaching you!  We play hard all day and you're always on the move-no wonder you're napping better.  I still find myself wondering if we did enough at the end of the day because I just want the very best for you, but then you wake up so happy and ready to go and I'm hoping that means you feel loved and free to explore when you're awake. You're incredibly curious and attentive, but also crazy hyper--your Daddy and I definitely see both of us in you. We love you more than we could ever say!