How Do I Handle My Emotions as a Mom?

How Do I Handle My Emotions as a Mom? Today was the first day of Kindergarten. I cried when I saw that my little kindergartner was the first up in our family and had her uniform on before the crack of dawn — her jumper twisted over her shoulder, with one blouse collar up and one collar down. One was sock pulled high, and one sock barely on. I cried when her teacher simply greeted me in the morning. I cried when my baby got in line to go to class, with her big brave eyes and a wave goodbye. She was fine. I was a wet mess. I did feel better when my friend, Jessica, admitted that she shed a tear when her baby ate her first bit of solid food this week. Sigh. This is what we do. As moms, we cry. We deeply sense every transition, and we feel it somewhere deep in our heart, our spirit. This is how we are made. In fact, this lovely, awful pang is what makes us so able to connect with our kids, with our friends, with our own moms. And, however emotional it is...however heart-wrenching and beautiful it is to navigate...

How do You Teach a Toddler to be Gentle with a Baby?

How do You Teach a Toddler to be Gentle with a Baby? The first few days I watched my 17-month-old son interact with his new sister I realized that nothing is more precious than the newborn-toddler combination. It really is magical! On the other hand, one of my primary roles immediately became keeping my enthusiastic toddler from killing his sister by mistake! So. How do you teach a toddler to be gentle with a baby? I’m going to share a roleplaying method that works really well for me not only for teaching a toddler to be gentle with a baby but also for teaching a toddler not to pull the books out of the bookshelf or do other amazing feats such as how to whisper. Empathy The first step is to think for a minute about where your child is in the process of developing empathy and use this information as you go through your roleplaying session. In my case my oldest was young enough that his empathy skills simply had not developed very much yet. In other words, neurologically it was not possible for him to understand the concept that what he was doing hurt or might hurt the baby. For

How Do You Teach a Newborn the Difference Between Day and Night?

How do you teach a newborn the difference between day and night? My baby girl was born thinking night time was from about 4pm-2am. How could I tell? She would  sleep “hard” when she napped during these hours. You know the cute, limp-baby, happy sleep? Then right at 2am she would open those pretty eyes as if she were a baby owl and look around like it was the middle of the day. She would not be sleepy again till 4:30am! By then I was so exhausted it hurt. Moms of newborns know this feeling! If you are in a similar situation, here are the basic steps to teaching a newborn to sleep at night instead of all day. The overarching goal is to teach your newborn that days are for eating, playing, and napping while nights are for sleeping and quiet snacking. 1. Lights On During the Day and Lights Out at Night This goal of this first step is to make night and day feel very different to your newborn. Keep the lights on during the day even when your newborn is napping. At night, keep the lights low and sound levels down. If you watch TV during night feedings

How Do You Workout With Kids at Home? 6 Practical Ideas

How do you workout with kids at home? As a starting disclaimer. I have modest mommy-fitness goals: jog a few miles without dying, strengthen my core, hike in the mountains. You get the idea!  Marathons are not among my life goals, at least not yet! I’ve just passed the six-week postpartum mark which means I’m getting back into the workout routine. Here are six practical mommy-workout ideas.    1. Go on a Walk If the weather is good, put the little ones in the stroller and go for a brisk walk. Once you work up to it, you can jog this way as well. It’s helpful to have a jogging stroller, but not absolutely essential. Older kids can ride their bikes beside you. This method tends to get challenging if you have more than two kids under four because the older ones can’t go fast enough on their bikes yet. You may have to invest in a double stroller or do what one of our contributors, Aimee did. She would put her baby in the stroller and have her toddler sit facing toward her, arms linked on the sturdy stroller handlebar. This was a perfect solution for those brisk walks, but certainly

How Do I Help My Toddler Adjust to a New Sibling?

This morning my 18 month old woke up and immediately looked for his baby sister. He looked first at her and then gave me a focused look using his mouth to imitate the sucking motion she makes when she eats. Evidently he was convinced she was hungry! He also proudly showed me her tiny toes and nose, and this brought such joy to my heart! His baby sister was born four weeks ago. True, at first he wasn’t a big fan, but here we are a few weeks later. Two months ago I was asking myself, “How do I help my toddler adjust to a new sibling?”. Today, here is the list of the top ideas I have collected for a smooth transition. A huge thank you to our contributor moms who contributed substantially to this list!   Talk Ahead of Time Before my daughter was born I taught my son the word “baby”. He didn’t learn to say it, but at least he was used to me pointing out babies and saying the word. Once his sister was born, he was saying “baby” within two days. My son was only 18 months old. In preparing for a baby, talking with big

How Do I Cure My Child of a Bad Habit?

I bit my nails as a kid. Even now, when I get stressed I find myself drawn to this old habit without even thinking. Habits are such a bother! Like a dysfunctional relationship, you don’t want them around and yet you indulge them again and again. Habits with kids are another level of infuriation for the diligent Mama. You might have a thumbsucker, biter, hitter, liplicker or teeth grinder. Or, if your child is older you may be dealing with yelling, bad language, a phone addiction or blatant rude behavior. Here are some practical ideas for moms asking, how do I cure my child of a bad habit? Every Child is Unique Every single one of my babies was an avid thumbsucker. I LOVED this at first. It meant more sleep for baby, as they were self-soothing. However, once they were past that baby phase, this habit was simply no longer useful. I had to wield a variety of strategies for my kiddos. My 2nd child developed an infection because of the excessive sucking, so we had to wrap her thumb in a bandage. She was only 10 months old, and I decided to just keep wrapping that thumb and VOILA,

How Do I Wean My Toddler?

I was six months pregnant when I decided to wean my fifteen-month old. I knew the time was coming. Nursing was going wonderfully, and I loved it, but even so nursing two at a time sounded like too much for me!  Suddenly at six months pregnant, nursing started to cause me intense contractions. In a moment my intentions for a slow, gradual weaning went out the window, and I found myself weaning a toddler as fast as possible. So, for all of you moms asking the question “How do I wean my toddler?”, here is what worked for me.  Take heart, especially those of you who are first-time moms -- weaning a toddler won’t be as bad as you think! If I had know this I would have been much less emotional about weaning! Eliminate One Nursing Session at a Time Beginning with the Least Favorite Rank your baby’s nursing sessions in order starting with the one they are most emotionally attached to, often right before bed, and ending with the one that can be given up most easily. Next, eliminate the least favorite or important session. The First Key to making weaning go smoothly is to avoid having

What Do You Do When Your Newborn Only Sleeps in a Carrier or Sling?

A baby carrier or sling is a very natural place for a newborn to like to sleep. Before birth, a newborn baby is used to being inside the womb. After birth, he loves sleeping how he has been accustomed to sleep – warm and cozy, smelling Mom, feeling Mom, and listening to Mom’s heartbeat. Some newborns, however, seem to ONLY want to sleep in a sling. Interestingly, newborns can develop surprisingly strong sleep habits in just a few days! So. What do you do when your newborn only sleeps in a carrier or sling? First, there is nothing wrong with your newborn sleeping in a carrier or sling during the daytime if you are enjoying it and following basic safety precautions. It is a precious time of bonding, both for your baby and for you. So if you’re feeling guilty, feel guilty no more! In fact, the more hours you can spend in physical contact with your baby, the better. And, you simply can’t spoil a newborn. Eventually the time does come for your little on to learn to sleep on his own.  I remember the day well when it dawned on me that I needed to learn how to

Why is My Baby Suddenly Waking Up at Night Again? (Part 2)

Why is My Baby Suddenly Waking Up at Night Again? (Part 2) I am usually caught by surprise when my son suddenly starts waking up at all hours of the night again. Haven’t you ever wished you had advance notice when another round of sleep training is coming?  In part one, we discussed why is my baby suddenly waking up at night again?  In this post, we are talking about what to do when you’ve discovered there is nothing physically wrong with your baby, but he simply doesn’t want to sleep. Perhaps he has fallen out of the habit because of an illness, a vacation, a growth spurt or another reason. Below are the basic steps to follow for successful sleep training.   Establish a Bedtime and a Bedtime Routine - Pick a realistic bedtime that you will be able to stick to, and start adjusting naptime so your baby will be sleepy on time.  Create a simple bedtime routine that your baby can begin to use as his cue to settle down for bed.  The exact components are not nearly as important as the fact that they become a consistent, recognizable routine and are not energizing. Possible components include putting

Why is My Baby Suddenly Waking up at Night Again? (Part 1)

Why is My Baby Suddenly Waking up at Night Again? (Part 1)

Why is My Baby Suddenly Waking up at Night Again? (Part 1) Nothing makes you feel like a detective faster than trying to figure out why your baby is suddenly not sleeping through the night after weeks or months of sleeping peacefully. I blissfully thought that once my son was sleeping through the night the first time, I had successfully completed the sleep training step forever or at least until he was old enough for a toddler bed. Guess what? A few months later I found out that sleep training, like so many aspects of child training, is cyclical in nature. We’ve been through this cycle maybe six or seven times now over the last year and a half. Each time I have to start at the same point: Why is my baby suddenly waking up at night again? Here are five easy questions I ask myself now and some detective strategies I use to discover the answer as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to use your mommy instincts when sorting through the possibilities; they really do help! Is My Baby Hungry or Thirsty? Detective Action – This one is easy. Just pick up your little one when they cry and offer food

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