You never knew returning to work after baby meant it would be this way.
A somewhat unique, holistic simplified and nurturing method for preparing a baby registry.
Ten years ago, I was about 7 months pregnant with my first child. With the knowledge of an upcoming baby shower, I asked my friend for help preparing my baby registry. She had a child already. I had no clue where to even begin. We went to the huge baby item superstore and it admittedly felt like Christmas morning. I joyfully aimed that scanner thing at all the cute, pink, fluffy infant items one could want. I loved the idea of trading in my purse for a diaper bag. How exciting! It felt like a rite of passage. A twinge of nerves fluttered through me as I didn’t want to jinx the baby by “counting my ducks before they hatched” so to speak. I had thoughts about how wonderful life with baby would be and also hard hitting realizations that I was about to be responsible for a little human. I had never done this before. I felt overwhelmed, over joyed and over stimulated all at once. Now, years later, I realize it could have been more simple, effective and stress free had I known a few things. Most importantly, this ritual of preparation, left me no where near prepared for real life post baby.
Weeks before baby arrived my apartment was wall to wall with a huge amount of stuff. I spent weeks pre washing tiny cotton onesies with hypo allergenic detergent. I paced around waiting. At first it was exciting. Eventually, after baby arrived, all the stuff became a burden and more to clean and organize, as well as a waste of money and love. On the other hand, I suddenly had needs popping up, I never knew I would have. None of which were met. Motherhood, as we all hear often is extremely different in reality than our pre parenting expectations lead us to believe. Therefore, when you are registering for a baby, before the birth of your first child; it is difficult to know what you actually truly need. As a more practiced mom, who has been through quite a number of babyhood experiences ( I now have four children) ; take my advice below.
Ask yourself these three questions, and allow my answers to guide you.
Q: What will I need the most of after baby is born that I do not need now?
A: Sleep, Peace and Help
Before you even start thinking about baby gear, start off thinking about you. You may be thinking, this is totally backwards. Isn’t this the time of my life to be selfless, to think about the baby and put my needs aside? That is a slippery slope, I ask you not to journey along. While parenthood itself will inevitably propel you into a lifestyle that requires masses of selfless love and service; you have to keep conscious of what you need. In fact, there exists an even greater need to put yourself and your needs on the agenda, because the demands to give are so high. Trust me on this. A baby needs present, loving and joyful parents (at least mostly) The biggest factor in the transition from non-child households to parenting is the psychological and social adjustments the parents need to make. Not solely the gear one needs to buy. Many societies are aware and supportive of this time period. While we do not have a social system that recognizes and supports this chapter, you can individually pay attention to that which is needed proactively. Having a child greatly effects marriage and individuals. In fact, according to recent demographic studies, more than 40 percent of children born to two parents can expect to live in a single-parent family by the time they are 18.(psychologytoday.com)
To incorporate this into a baby registry, take the initiative and ask for contributions to several funds that are designed to increase your chances of a smooth and effective transition. You can do this on sites such as www.plumfund.com
1-Couples Coaching: statistic insert about how new baby effects couples http://www.designingmotherhood.com/design-options-new/
4-Yoga Classes/Gym Memberships
5-New Mom Circles/Support Groups
Q: What will the baby need before 6 months of age?
A: to eat, sleep, pee, poop and be transported
Anything that doesn’t fit into these categories isn’t necessary. Focus on the type of quality of each item and register for one you really will love for each item then avoid repeats. Ie; one place to put the baby during the day other than the crib such as a swing, but not a swing and an infant seat and a play yard, and a bassinet etc. Whether you go with a doc-a-tot or a rock-n-play (both are items parents swear by) you only need one.
One quality set of bottles and a sterilizer
Breast feeding cover, pads and bottles/pump only if you plan to leave the baby with others
Diapers and Wipes (you don’t even need a changing table) I used the floor, couch and bed on a towel or changing pad most of the time.
A safe carseat and a stroller you love. Having a good stroller is a big deal. It will motivate you to go out and make it easy when you do. Look for one that you can fold up and open with one hand easily, that turns easily and rides smoothly and baby will be comfortable in. This is one item worth spending more on. If you are active a jogging stroller or mini jogging stroller will enable you to easily make or keep a regular walk or run in your routine.
An awesome wrap or carrier that is comfortable, has pockets for your keys, cell, cash and a diaper.
A doc-a-tot, rock n play or similar item for baby to nap in during the day
Q. What will the baby need after 6 months of age.
A. One rookie mistake is only registering for infant/newborn items. Think ahead to the period from 6 months to a year. You don’t want to suddenly need to purchase a large amount of clothes and items as the baby gets older.
Larger size diapers
Larger size clothes
Teething soothers-Sophie the Giraffe is by far the best one!
A car seat that converts as baby grows (not solely and infant car seat)
Safety items for a crawling baby like socket covers/baby gates and door locks
A food puree machine and storage cups
Yes, you will need a small amount of absolutely necessary items for your new baby. But, keep in mind and in your agenda that this is a huge life transition. While it may not be handed to you to also prepare for the mental and emotional needs that go along with this life change, baby registries and showers are a big part of our tradition. Thankfully, you can tailor it to suit the deeper needs as well. This will enable you to fully prepare to bring baby home with gratitude and ease.
Olivia Treubig ©
These are the best ever real life tips that no one told you about cooking with an infant (or children).
Remember those days you were hungry and a good meal was a phone call away, just dial up an order of drippy cheesy pizza, or indulge in some pork lo mein right? Or, remember when you and your Significant Other were dating, you strapped on that cute apron, slaved away with your pretty pots, in your spotless apartment for hours, surprising him with a 5 course home cooked meal? I bet you both held expectations of all of this wonderfulness carrying over into your marriage while you leisurely sipped your pre dinner cocktails; just add in a few kids eating peacefully, with cute spaghetti covered faces to the table and viola, happy family meal. Uh, yeah right.
I mean, it’s pretty pathetic that we have nearly no idea what real marriage and life with kids looks like. In fact, I know there is still a popular Glamour article circulating that has a recipe for Engagement Roasted Chicken and Hook him Apple Pie. By the way, I confess I have cooked this chicken and hoped for the promised promise, in the way-to-his heart-is-his-belly-so-he will-see-what-life-with-you-will-be-like meal! By the way, it worked. The chicken was delish! And he did eventually propose. Though, I would like to believe it had to do with way more than that meal! But, here is my point. Our expectations and our society’s portrait of life after marriage and kids is so incredibly misleading, and then damaging.
Because, once we land in this world and are slapped with the reality of the exact opposite, it hurts. Thankfully, there are a ton of resources and professionals working hard to turn this ship around. Until then, let’s go back to that moment we started with.
So there you are, its 5pm you and all the children are hungry and hangry (hungry plus angry and yes this is a real thing) You need a solution that is easy and healthy and fast including clean up. So, here you go. These are the best ever tips that no one told you about cooking with an infant (or children).
12 Tips for cooking with a Newborn and Kids
1. Keep it Simple
This is not the time for gourmet, calorie counting, designer meal, pinterest worthy meals. Lower your expectations way, way down, and then a bit more. Get your mindset in survival mode. You are pretending you are in the Amazon and your children need food to survive. A protein, a veg, a fruit and grain and go! Take it from there and add flair only as time and opportunity allow.
2. One Pot Meals are Your Friend
Crock Pots, Big Pots of Soup, Stews and Pasta/Rice Bakes are seriously life savers when you have a baby. Okay, I know I’m referring to the dreaded ‘casserole’ here. But seriously, make one big one when you have 30 minutes and eat out of it all week, on the days you have zero energy for anything, on the nights you need a break. Best part, you might even grow to love this meal. There are some really fantastic and easy recipes out there.
3. Cook the Main Dish- Buy the Sides
This is probably the best, most overlooked tip. You absolutely do not lose brownie points for not being superwoman here. This tip gets you back down to one pot to sauté your chicken, or veggie burger patties or whatever your Main Dish is that night, and that’s it- you are done! Warm up or dole out premade sides and enjoy the freedom of ease.
4. Stick to Recipes with Five Ingredients
This goes back to keeping it simple. You really can do amazing things with only 5 ingredients. The kids are young and their palette prefers simple tastes as well. This is actually scientifically proven. So this tip carries over to the table where you eliminate (or reduce) food battles. Less ingredients makes it easy to puree food for the baby too. Since you are sticking to nutritious basics and that’s what you will want to feed an infant.
5. Trader Joes/Adams is your friend
These guys are amazing resource’s when you are looking for those store bought sides, they provide recipe cards and meal ideas, healthy and organic pre-made frozen foods and precooked soups, chickens and other meals. In some locations you can order your meats and actually have them marinated or cooked while you shop for no extra charge, yet most people do not even know that!
6. Cash in on screen time or dinner time toys
If you wait until you are cooking to hand your older ones some screen time, or keep a box of mealtime toys (I use playdough) in your kitchen pantry that ONLY (this is the KEY to this trick) comes out while mommy is cooking, you are freeing yourself up to cook while they play happily with the coveted “new” goodies.
7. Activity Placemats
Another lifesaver for waiting time. One of the most difficult parts of cooking and serving dinner is that you cannot simultaneously entertain. Activity placemats keep the kids sitting and focused for a few precious minutes while you finish up cooking and get it all on the table. You can even make you own printables and have them laminated at a local copy store, give the kids a dry erase marker and switch them up periodically (pumpkin maze in October, wish list in December) to keep things interesting.
8. Whipped Cream and Jello (its not what you think)
Okay this is for you brave souls who will bare a little extra mess and you strong mamma’s that have kids (every toddler) who need sensory stimulation. Sit them at the table and clean off the surface really well, or use a big clean tray. Cover it with whipped crème and sprinkle various color jello packets (before its made)into it. Give them a few wooden spoons and just let them use their fingers to swirl it all around, make shapes, write letters, whatever keeps them happy! This is an awesome sensory game and if they happen to taste along the way, no harm.
9. Involve your children
When your kids are a little older allowing them to “help” by sorting chopped veggies into bowls by color or shape, or just stir something for you while you do the rest goes a long way. After all, most “ off behavior” is just a cry for attention and this way they feel empowered and included.
10. Timing is Everything
This one took me four kids to learn. The actual BEST time to cook dinner, is NOT dinnertime. Shocker, by when you have babies this is a total game changer. I now cook dinner in the morning whenever possible- when my kids and I are both still fresh and energetic and able to function with joy. Nap time is also golden (I know your really want to rest too and on those day-rest) As I said, whenever possible. Life with infants by definition is changeable by the second and highly unpredictable. Do your best.
11. Prep Every Possible Thing During a Better Time
So, this tip is another game changer. Take some time during naps or while the little ones are otherwise content, when your husband is home, when you have another adult around to help-to prep anything and everything. Do this in small chunks. Take 10 minutes to chop your veggies. Take 15 to grill your chicken and leave it in the fridge for later. Make and freeze things like broth, stews and casseroles to use another day when you have larger chunks of time
All in all, the main takeaway here is this. Dinner with an infant or young kid’s aint’ easy. It’s not going to be pretty or perfect and your main goal is to just try your best and get it on the table. And take care of you. Listen to music or sip a little chamomile tea or white wine while you cook and allow yourself to relax into the chaos. Believe it or not, it’s the best way to turn the mayhem into a tiny bit of joy.
Bon Appetite Mamma
You just gave birth! Along with the brand new life you are now eternally grateful for, and equally terrified of; your own body has become a brand new form of the former you. You might hear a lot of talk about self-love and self-care. And if you are like most mamma’s, you shrug it off with a small ping of guilt for even considering such an atrocity. But, here is a case for it. And here is a specific way to get it done. Whether or not you want to believe YOU MATTER; You. Matter. A therapist once said to me, if you care for your children more than life itself, what do you think of their mother? That one sunk in. Resonating because, if we go around believing that we are doing our children even an iota of goodness by ignoring ourselves, we are ignoring THEIR primary care taker, THEIR number one source of love, affection, safety, care and life. Is that okay?
We gave them life. We recently allowed them to cultivate and grow inside of our very own bodies. That body is now very different. Pregnancy changes your body, mind, hormones, your spirit, your emotions. It’s a transformative process. That body, that soul and that mental state needs TLC. I might even dare to say, every day! Post Natal Yoga, doing yoga after you have your baby is a 1,2 punch that takes care of Mamma in every way.
Mind: Yoga is meditative, therapeutic and focused. Nowhere else in the busy day of wiping, enrapturing and coddling do you get a second to breathe with intention? Not just to breathe, but to catch the moments in between breathes. To exhale slooowwly and send the negativity to the universe. To mindfully inhale while drawing your focus to your stretching arms, your intentions, your heart.
Body: This is a no brainer right? Here is the thing about Post Natal Yoga, it’s not just any workout. It is DESIGNED for a mother’s body after delivering a baby. For example, consider a few things your body might be experiencing right now.
-Weakened pelvic floor; caused by pregnancy and birth; resulting in urine leakage, loss of sexual desire, even organ prolapse in serious cases. This can be resolved through yoga moves such as Kegal Exercises.
-Neck and shoulder pain; caused by hours bending forward nursing or bottle feeding and/or carrying around baby.
-Weakened core and abs; your abdominal muscles are no doubt stretched and weaker, all for a good cause; but nevertheless a consequence. After getting physician clearance, many poses focus on core strength and abdominal work.
-Limited endurance; You’ve spent at least 9 months, if not more by now slowing down, exercising less yet at the same time creating life. You will adore easy to master poses that bring you almost instant feelings of strength and stamina in as little as 5 breaths.
-Fatigue; Maybe this should be number one. Fatigue rocks you and knock you after having a baby. Sleepless nights, hormonal changes, new worries and more all lead new mammas to feel over tired. Certain Yoga poses truly help bring back some energy. For example (from Yogajournal.com) Viparita Karani ( Legs-Up-The Wall Pose) helps to open your chest and deepen your breathing, leading to rejuvenation.
Soul: you do not need to ascribe to any certain religion to understand that Yoga and Meditation is good for you on a spiritual level. Yoga helps you to sift through your thoughts, beyond your limitations and pushes through your own boundaries. It literally brings you into new positions, stretches you to feel, to pause, to find your breath. Yoga creates an open space within you, where you can become mindful and still. Yoga leaves you with calm feelings and a sense of stability, strength and self.
Need more motivation for Yoga Post Baby, spend a little time over at http://rachelbrathen.com/ find an amazing resource from an honest and inspirational mom, YogaGirl. She has 87970 followers for a reason. See for yourself!
Olivia Treubig © www.mrandmrswrite.net
The plethora of information available to today’s parent is abundant. This is a double edged sword. On the one hand, we can quickly google, Siri or echo just about any request. On the other hand, sometimes it can be difficult and too vast to easily receive and decode. This does not include the endless advice streamed into our consciousness through social media, hovering in our sub conscious plane through magazines and marketing and drawing in our attention; from playground hearsay to a well-intentioned MIL.
Within Infancy and childhood, the majority of issues parents find themselves floundering with, are health related. The majority of concerns entail physical, behavioral, emotional health. In these cases, it is advisable to turn to experts for advice, facts and even opinions. Although, having a pediatrician waiting with a hot cup of coffee at our kitchen table sounds nice, each time we have a question; it is not exactly practical. So, what is a viable alternative? The American Academy of Pediatrics is a very trust-worthy resource.
The mission of the American Academy of Pediatrics is to attain optimal physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents and young adults. To accomplish this, AAP shall support the professional needs of its members. (AAP.org)
The AAP is a professional organization, yet also provides amble knowledge directly to parents. It is a very viable go-to source for parents in-the-know. They provide professional opinions on breaking news, like the recent events in Manchester to the newest recommendations and research on drinking fruit juice. They break information down into searchable stages from infancy to young adult. You can search for a pediatrician in your area. You can find CPR training information and many community based initiatives. They have a great feature that allows you to register your own Family Health Center on your homepage and receive important information precisely for your family. If you are interested in the latest on Immunizations, or prenatal health issues, such as preparing sibling for a new baby, you will find it all and considerably more here or look for publications by the AAP the next time you are looking for a new parenting book.
According to Wikipedia, the academy was founded in 1930 by 35 pediatricians to address pediatric healthcare standards. It has 64,000 members in primary care and sub-specialist areas.
The academy has approximately 390 employees, and it runs continuing medical education programs for pediatricians and sub-specialists. The academy is divided into 14 departments and 26 divisions that assist with carrying out its mission.
It has the largest pediatric publishing program in the world, with more than 300 titles for consumers and over 500 titles for physicians and other health-care professionals. These publications include electronic products, professional references/textbooks, practice management publications, patient education materials and parenting books.
Further resources for AAP
Olivia Treubig © www.mrandmrswrite.net
Tips to Make Your Infant’s First Doctor Exam Easy
As a parent to two young girls (ages four and one) I am all too familiar with the stresses of parenthood. The sleepless nights, the juggling of scheduls and childcare, the constant awareness of safety, and the dreams of a bottomless supply of patience, I am LIVING it! The struggles are more than worth it and the joy that these two little people have added to my life is immeasurable, but there are days when it can be really tough.
As a licensed acupuncturist and board certified Chinese herbalist with a busy part-time practice in downtown Stamford, CT, I am constantly reminding my patients that self-care is NOT a luxury, it is a necessity. One of my resolutions this year was to commit to following my own advice.
What I love so much about Chinese Medicine is that it takes all of the systems of the body into consideration- from digestion to sleep to mood-and allows us to look at the interconnectivity of it all. Using acupuncture, herbal formulas, dietary and lifestyle modifications, we work towards restoring the balance of qi (loosely translated as energy or function) in the body. From a biomedical perspective, this is the balance of the physiological processes of all of our organ systems called homeostasis. Amazing research in the last decade has proven that acupuncture helps to regulate the body by accessing neuro-hormonal pathways by stimulation our bodies’ powerful self-healing mechanisms and by promoting production of neurotransmitters and natural painkilling substances, and can help to gently pull us out of the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system mode and back into the “rest and digest” parasympathetic mode- where our body does all it’s healing.
Many people know about the proven benefits that acupuncture has for general wellness, illness prevention, pain management, fertility support, insomnia, anxiety, digestion… the list goes on (and if you are curious- please ask!) But acupuncture as parenting tool? That’s probably a new one! In my clinical experience as an acupuncturist AND as a regular patient, I can confidently say that regular treatments can make a huge difference in managing all the stresses of modern parenting. I know that I am a better, happier, more energetic, patient and calm parent in the days following an acupuncture treatment. I sleep better and am better able to handle the curveballs that life throws when I am more rested. It is easier to keep my irritability in check when my body is producing proper endorphins (our feel good hormones) . I am happier and more energetic when my digestion is moving properly. I bounce back WAY quicker from the inevitable bugs that my little buddies bring home from daycare when my immune system is functioning at its best. And most importantly, I just feel great and that rubs off on my family.
I feel so fortunate to be one of the people who LOVES their work. I am so passionate about Chinese medicine and I love introducing people to a new way to look at their health. Nothing makes me happier than the emails I receive from new patients exclaiming things like “I slept like a baby every night this week!” or “I prepared myself for my normal painful menstrual cramps- but they never came!” or “I can’t believe it but my hands and feet are definitely not as cold.” (And that’s just a few I’ve received this week alone.)
Acupuncture is being covered by more and more health insurance plans now, and is very affordable when compared to conventional medical interventions and medications. The idea of being stuck full of needles may not sound relaxing, but it really is- most people say it’s the most zen they have ever felt. And while many people come to me as a “last resort” when their other treatments haven’t helped, I like to teach my patients about the strength of acupuncture as a preventative tool, to keep you healthy and strong. If you’d like to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-658-7850.
Sarah Swanberg, M.S. L.Ac. Dipl. O.M, a board certified diplomate in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology through the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is licensed to practice in CT. She holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in NYC. Sarah is passionate about using the time-honored traditions of Chinese Medicine to help people of all ages, from infancy through adulthood, regain and maintain optimal health. She holds advanced certificates in Pediatrics, Pain Management, Fertility, and Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture. Sarah lives in North Stamford with her husband and two daughters.
Fairfield Family Acupuncture, LLC
I have seen and heard the subject of infant stomach sleeping popup online, in personal conversations and even in yoga class recently. Looking through online threads, researching and as part of real life conversations it is clear there is no "answer." I often wonder when an infants rolls over in their sleep if it is a sort of early instinct to protect the most vulnerable part of their bodies? Infant stomach sleeping became a big no no in the early 90s and since that time we have seen a drop in SIDS. However, there is no direct scientific explanation only that stomach sleeping can be a factor in SIDS.
According to babycenter.com, Babies between 1 and 4 months old are most at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and 90 percent of cases occur in babies under the age of 6 months. By definition, SIDS doesn't happen after a child's first birthday. ... Another cause of sleep-related deaths in babies is accidental suffocation.
What are parents to do? It looks like a quiet questioning and revolt to the stomach sleeping guidelines has been happening since the early 2000s. Often parents make choices based somewhere between science, knowing their baby and myth. Ultimately it comes down to doing your research, talking to pediatrician and having sleepless nights.
Late in pregnancy my googling changed from wanting to know what the gestation of my baby looked like to the health and safety queries. Upon asking around we found a certified CPR trainer who came to our home. I gathered my husband and our pending nanny/babysitter in our living room for CPR and Heimlich training. Time moved along, my newborn became a healthy baby, we moved cautiously to solids and followed the latest recommendations on peanut allergies. My brother, a nurse, offered to give me a AHA family and friends refresher and I would sort of shrug it off, thinking we got this. It was late winter/early spring of 2016 I came across an article regarding a toddler chocking. It terrified me. Then life went on... one day I cut some cheese up to feed to my daughter. The next thing I knew- the Huffington Post article is flashing across my mind as I am trying to preform Heimlich on my daughter and thinking I am going to have call 911. Nothing short of a miracle the cheese popped out. My daughter hugged and pinched me (fair enough). It was in the moments after I calmed, I realized I never wanted another parent to be unprepared on how to give Infant and child CPR & Heimlich again. At first I did not teach classes I had a certified instructor come to my home and teach small private American Heart Association Heart Saver certification -CPR & Heimlich. Gathering training experience I learned not only did I want to become a certified CPR & BLS instructor, but I learned the importance of knowing CPR for adults as well as Infant and children. Through Design Motherhood we are able to offer private and group American Heart Association certification. Certification on your schedule in a setting you are comfortable with.