Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why your 4 month old may not "Hate to be worn"

Ring Sling

Congrats on making it through the last 3 months with your baby!

I bet by now you were starting to cruise right along. Baby is settling into a more predictable routine, you are breathing in the smell of that delicious baby, and if you have chosen to wear your baby, I bet up until now you have been able to get more done with them snuggled to you and sleeping while being close to your body, swaying gently to the rhythm of your life.

But now it's month 4 and that baby who used to just sigh and settle their little cheek against your chest as soon as you got them into a carrier is fighting and pushing and crying and resisting what used to be the one way you could always count on to get baby to sleep or get a little time to get the dishes done or a load of laundry in. It's confusing, and frustrating... and totally normal.

At 4 months babies go through a series of developmental leaps that make this a notoriously fussy babywearing period. While before, your tiny infant seemed to be pretty much along for the ride, by month 4 babies development may impact the following categories:

Ergobaby Adapt Carrier
Increased motor skills-
During this time, babies muscle strength will start to increase as they begin to figure out how to exercise their body for rolling, sitting, and eventually standing & walking. The way that a baby practices flexing the muscles used for rolling on the ground, can feel like baby is fighting when being worn. Twisting, pushing, kicking, these are all necessary skills to enable baby to turn themselves from front to back or back to front. Since babywearing is a great way to engage babies core, they will figure out that they can exercise their body against yours by pushing against you.  Often times this exercise is mistakenly interpreted as a babies desire to want to turn around and face forward, when in reality baby is just getting ready to roll and increasing trunk strength to be able to sit. If you do chose to try this position, make sure the carrier you chose is designed to face outward, that baby fits the carrier correctly in this position, and since babies this young are still very easily overstimulated, consider limiting the amount of time spent this way.

Ergobaby 360 adjusted for Forward Facing position

Clearer vision-

By around 4 months, babies field of vision increases. When babies are born, their vision is developed enough to allow them to see clearly about as far as their caregivers face while holding them, and they are enamored with this view. But by month 4 or so, they get a better, clearer, brighter view of the world a bit further around them, and it is fascinating! They want to take it all in, and they can get really annoyed when you don't let them explore all that is now before them. A hip carry is a great way to let baby get a bit more of a view of the world, while still allowing them to be close and maintain the ability to turn in toward the safety of the wearer.


There's a reason why baby clothes change sizes after 3 months. Babies go through a pretty significant growth spurt around this time. You may find what is comfortable for baby one day is suddenly causing tears and resistance the next. This could be that baby has grown and how they fit comfortably in a carrier yesterday no longer works for them now. So, especially if you are using a sized carrier like a K'tan, or a structured carrier like an Ergo, Beco, or other buckled SSC, make sure you are checking to make sure that baby still fits the same without any adjustments being necessary. If your carrier has an infant insert like the Ergo, now might be time to check if you can switch from the whole infant insert to just using the pillow portion. You can check the manufacturer's website for your particular carrier to see what the guidelines are for switching from the newborn to infant settings.

Twins in a ring sling and a buckle carrier.
Sleeping Patterns-
It's very common that all these things mentioned above can contribute to an interruption to your baby's sleep habits. Babies who have learned new skills and talents have a harder time calming themselves physically. When you can suddenly see more of the world around you it's hard to want to close your eyes and miss out on it by taking a nap. When your body is growing and changing, your appetite increases as well, and babies may need to eat much more frequently during this time. For those who are breastfeeding, it may seem that all baby wants to do now is nurse while being worn. Sometimes putting baby on and going for a nice long walk is the only way to finally get baby to settle and rest. Plus it serves as a nice escape for a caregiver who is feeling overwhelmed with helping baby through all these new challenges.

Woven wrap in a Front Wrap Cross Carry

The good news is that all of this rarely signifies an end in your babywearing days with your child. These things taper off in a matter of weeks and most babies will go on to love being worn for possibly years longer. It's true what they say that "the only thing you can count on is change", and this is true with babies more than anywhere else. 

If you need help figuring out how to use different positions in your carrier, want to check how baby is fitting or possibly try out something that might fit your growing baby better, or learn how to feed baby while they are being worn, a local babywearing group can be a great resource for this. You can get hands on help from volunteer educators who can hopefully give you some tips for making it through this particular time because most of us have been there ourselves.

Don't know where to find your local babywearing group, check out this link.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Guided Meditations for Sleep

I couldn't decide what to title this entry. Maybe something like, "Suck it, Bedtime", or "Go the F$*%" to Sleep", or "How much Benadryl is too much for kids?"

See in the not so recent past I dreaded putting my kids to sleep. I would go into it thinking about all the things I could be getting done if I didn't have to be there with them until they fell asleep.
We coslept for a long time and it worked for us until it didn't. Then we got bunk beds for the kids and they love them, but they still like having someone there until they fall asleep, and I'm okay with that for now. 

It's cute, until it's 11 pm and they've been at it for hours. 

So one night when I was laying in the dark repeating, "Ok, it's quiet time now, no playing, go to sleep" for about the sixtieth time while they giggled and rolled and shifted and whined, I remembered being pregnant with Sofia and suffering from insomnia and finally looking up meditations on You Tube to help my wandering mind focus and sleep. 

I searched for guided meditations for kids and chose one at random, entitled "Hot Air Balloon Ride: A Guided Meditation for Kids, Children's Visualization for Sleep." I started the video and put my phone face down beside me. Both kids became quite while they listened. They were both asleep before the 14 minute and 48 second video was over. It was amazing. We tried it again the next night and the same thing happened. Sofia, being less than 2 at the time, would take longer to settle since she didn't really follow along with the story as easily as Diego did, but I could definitely notice the difference in how long it took her to physically settle down.

It's been months now and the kids actually look forward to and ask for meditations at night, and Sofia will ask for them at naps too now. Diego's nightmares have all but disappeared. I realized if I set a goal to meditate for 15 minutes a day it would likely never happen, now it does. The kids respond so much now to the music and the voice of our favorite videos that it calms them as soon as it starts to play. It has really changed the way we do bedtime, and helped me enjoy that time with them before the day ends, instead of resenting it.

There are tons of meditations available, but our favorites by far are those by Jason Stephenson.
 The Hot Air Balloon is still a favorite, as are the Fairy & Leprechaun, and the Space Adventure. We have also moved outside of just the Children's meditations, and will sometimes do longer meditations for sleep, or as Diego explains them, "The ones that don't just tell the story, but tell me how to make my body fall asleep."

This is the one that started it all for us: Hot Air Balloon Ride: A Guided Meditation for Kids

There is a playlist of more meditations, including ones by Jason here: Sleep Ezy Tonight on You Tube

You can download a few here if you would rather burn them to CD or play them off a different device: Relax Me Online

For those who use Pinterest, there are many videos linked here as well: Relax Me on Pinterest

I hope you find the same success we have had with this. If you do, feel free to leave a comment about how it has worked for you, I love hearing them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sofia's Birth Story

When I became pregnant for the second time I was determined to “rewrite” Diego’s traumatic birth story. It had taken years for me to be able to talk about it without fighting back tears. I had felt so out of control during the experience because I had unfortunately placed all my faith in modern medicine to keep me from experiencing pain and had given up on myself and my body’s ability to do something it was specifically designed to do. I had decided that the next time I would place my trust in myself, and my body, and listen to its rhythms and cues in order to have the positive birth experience I had been unable to have the first time. This is the story of how I got nothing and everything I wanted with Sofia’s birth.
I woke up on the morning of Tuesday, September 3 (6 days after my due date) with the kind of headache that makes you certain you slept wrong. It tapered off through the morning but I was still feeling a little “off” and was taking it easy. Diego watched entirely too much television while I lay on the couch, trying to rest as much as possible with a giant belly and a rambunctious three year old.
Mike came home from the office to check on us around 5:00, just as I was getting Diego and I popsicles. After he left I stood in the kitchen and ate my popsicle. As I was eating it, I thought to myself, “I bet this will get Sofia moving in there.” Only the more I waited, the more I realized I couldn’t specifically remember the last time I had felt her move at all.

I drank some cold juice, and felt nothing. I went into the bedroom to lie on the bed and felt nothing. I moved onto my side, nothing. I tried to annoy her by pushing on where I knew her bottom was in my belly…nothing. This continued for the next 45 minutes with me becoming increasingly alarmed and in tears, constantly repeating out loud, “come on little girl, just let me know you’re okay.” Even though he would be off work in ten minutes, at 5:50 I texted Mike and told him he needed to come home right then. I’ve never been more appreciative that his office is right outside our front door.
When he got home I told him what I was feeling and that I thought we needed to go get her checked because something was wrong. We tried calling our OB/GYN in Santa Barbara where we were planning on delivering but the office was already closed. I didn’t feel comfortable making the 30 minute drive to Cottage Hospital and decided we needed to go to the closest ER.

When we got to the Labor and Delivery wing they hooked me up to the monitor and I held my breath waiting to hear her heartbeat. On the third try we heard it, loud and rhythmic. The nurse said, “It’s okay, you can cry.” But the tears of relief had already overtaken both of us.
After a few minutes on the monitor it was clear that I was having some contractions, only I had assumed that they were brought on by the stress of the situation. The nurse checked my cervix and pointed out that I was barely dilated but it was beginning to soften. The question of whether we were going to be able to leave and go to Santa Barbara if this was early labor hung in the air as the nurse began asking me to roll to my side, then the other. She pointed out that the baby didn’t seem to like it, but her tone didn’t seem super concerned.

The on call OB came in and told me that it seemed that I may be in labor, but that the baby might be in distress since her heart rate had dropped significantly when I had moved to my side. While Diego sat in a chair watching videos on my Nook, Mike began calling his family in Santa Barbara to see about getting Diego picked up in case we were staying. The OB continued that they would continue to monitor me but if she at any point felt like the baby was really in distress she would need to get her out as soon as possible and so she would need to get my consent now on a few things in case there wasn’t time for it later. There were IV’s inserted, lab work drawn, and I told Mike we should consider calling someone closer to come get Diego as the nurse asked me again to roll to one side, then the other. Before I could finish rolling back to center the door opened and the OB told us, “That’s it, I’m done, we need to go now and get her out.”
The next few minutes were a terrifying blur as they began wheeling me out to prep for surgery. The nurse told Mike after our neighbors met him and Diego in the lobby he could come back up and they would let him know where I was. It felt like less than an hour from when I had texted Mike to come home and I was about to go alone to be cut open by a stranger. My body shook uncontrollably and my eyes were filled with tears as they wheeled me into the operating room and moved me onto the table. The only relief I got was when, just before starting, the OB told them they could let Mike in, and he came to sit beside me. Mike was allowed to stand and watch them pull her out and everyone started commenting on how big she was…and the hair. I could only concentrate on the fact that I had not heard her cry. (Why wasn’t she crying, why is no one talking about the fact that she’s not crying?) Then I heard it, and again the tears fell as minutes later they brought her over and I saw her for the first time.

We held her for a moment and then Mike went with her to the NICU so they could continue to monitor her. I lay on the table, once again alone, regardless of the room bustling with people. I thought to myself how different this was from everything I had imagined for her birth. I thought about the Birth Wishes I had put so much care and thought into which were sitting in the hospital bag in the car. None of this was on that paper. I wanted to deliver her naturally, being present and aware of the experience. I wanted the time she entered the world to be intimate for Mike and I, having her brought immediately to my chest, where we could lie skin to skin and bond while we waited for the placenta to be delivered and cord to stop pulsing so that Mike could cut the cord… not the hurried chance he had been given to cut off what remained before they were whisked out of the room.
While I was in the recovery room, and until they brought her back to me in our post-partum room after 1:00 am, Birth Wish after Wish continued to be sacrificed: They performed every standard newborn procedure we had wished to delay, fed her formula, and gave her a first bath. By the time she came to me, I had no idea what to expect, and was solely clinging to the one thing left that I had been unsuccessful with the last time and wanted more than anything else, to breastfeed my baby. I remember Mike telling me as he handed her to me in the bed, “she’s hungry.” It was exactly what I needed to hear and I immediately brought her to my chest. When she eagerly latched on and began to drink I was overwhelmed with the realization that everything that had happened that day had brought us to that very moment and was therefore exactly what we needed.  She was my ultimate Birth Wish.

The last full day in the hospital Mike drove to Santa Barbara and picked up Diego so he could come meet his sister. We had been worried and Mike felt so guilty about the way he had left him there in the lobby with our friends and then his Tia had taken him home with them with very little explanation of what was happening. Of course neither of us will ever forget the joy on his face coming into the room to meet his sister for the very first time. 

That night Mike took Diego home and Sofia and I spent our last night in the hospital together. We were lucky and the floor was busy so for the most part we were left alone by the nurses. With everything that has happened this year I had a hard time feeling like I had bonded with her while being pregnant. It’s hard to focus on the life growing inside you when everything around you seems like it’s falling apart. I couldn’t picture what she would look like without realizing that the image I had of her in the arms of her Nana might never be the same, so instead I remained distant from any image of her. But that night in the darkened room, as we snuggled and she nursed and she looked in my eyes I fell in love. It was exactly what I needed.

The OB told us that her cord had been wrapped tightly twice around her ankle, and it was likely that her blood supply was being cut off every time I lay on my side. With an initial APGAR score of only a four, and the amount of meconium in the uterus it was assumed that she had been in distress for quite some time. If I had not acted on my feeling and had instead went to bed she probably would not have made it through the night.

My goal for Sofia’s birth had been to trust myself and my body and that is exactly what I did.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Teal and Navy

Yesterday the Baby Bear was wearing this little hooded one-piece from Baby Gap.

I bought the 18-24 month knowing full well my little man wears a 2T. I can't help myself, I am smitten. Even though my husband makes fun of me, I can't help how much I love it on my Baby Bear (even though it barely covers his ankles and wrists).

I realized that what made me buy it and what makes me unable to put it in the "too small" bin is that the color combination is perfection to me, and the "feel" of it sums up what I crave design wise for our home. The soft brushed teal paired with the crisp navy stripes. The casual comfort of the one piece, perfect for throwing on after a day at the beach or pool. The slight nautical detail in the trimmed lettering.

As usual, I went to Pinterest with the intention of finding some inspiration pictures to go along with this "newfound" realization.

Turns out I already knew what I wanted...

Below are images that I found spread across my inspiration boards:

Grace's lovely kitchen


a little red accent never hurt anyone...

Apparently I already had a matching outfit picked out for myself too:

Now the fun part will be taking this inspiration and incorporating it into what we already have. Or maybe shopping for something else for the Baby Bear to wear home from the beach.

Note: These images are from my boards on Pinterest. I try to do my best to have my pins link back to the original image, so if you would like a source you can probably find it there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Yummy Cookies

So, we had a pretty rainy weekend here. Baby Bear and I made some cookies on Sunday from a recipe I saw on The Pleated Poppy blog. I wouldn't bother re-writing the recipe, but hers was a tad confusing to me, so I will attempt to fix a couple things here. I think the cookie base is super yummy. The oats really add a heft to the cookies that keep them thick and I personally like the crunchiness that they maintain even the next day. You could experiment with many different yummy add-ins with this recipe. I went with some Dark Chocolate Chips for ours, and Guittard Mint and Semisweet Mini Chips for the ones I took to work (I wanted a little green for St. Patricks Day).

Here is my version of the recipe base:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup of oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp  kosher salt
1 cup butter flavored crisco
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Chocolate Chips/Nuts/Candy - use your imaginaton!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside
Beat crisco, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large mixer until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Approximately a cup at a time, add dry ingredients slowly with mixer on low.
Fold in chocolate/ white chocolate/ butterscotch chips/ etc by hand.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake for approx. 11 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for about a minute before moving to cooling rack.

These are delicious hot from the oven, and just as good later when stored in an airtight container. I doubled the recipe and even after making a bunch for work and some for us I had enough to freeze in portions to keep on hand to cook up when a craving hits! Give 'em a try.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Which season is this again??

We have been enjoying the strangest weather lately here on the West Coast. Last week we saw temps in the high 50's on a Wednesday, and the low 80's by the weekend. The forecast for the next three days looks like this:

Daylight Saving Time begins early Sunday morning (don't forget to reset your clocks before bed!) and that extra hour of daylight always makes me think of Summer, yet the first day of Spring isn't for another 11 days. So, technically it's still Winter around here. Yet it's almost 80 degrees... and I'm wearing flip flops.

But I didn't finally write another post after neglecting my blog for far too long to chat about the weather...

With the coming of Spring it seems we are experiencing another Baby Boom of sorts. Many of the Bloggers I follow are expecting little ones this year including Jeannett at Life Rearranged, the lovely Grace over at Grace Happens, Dana of House*tweaking fame, Kirsten at 6th Street Design School, and just this week Katie from Bower Power announced they are having baby #2! So excited for all of them!

With the anticipation of new babies comes another kind of anticipation too... one can only expect these ladies will put together some amazing nurseries. Grace has already posted some pictures of the beautiful space she is creating for her little girl.

From Grace Happens
One of my other favorite thing about expected babies is Baby Showers. A dear friend of ours is expecting a little boy at the end of this month, and we put together a "Dream Team" of gals to shower her with love, food, friends, and gifts recently. Here are a few details from the day.

My little so grown up Baby Bear mostly hung out with the men outside and played choo choos.

I was in charge of making the cupcakes. I made Chocolate with Mint Frosting, and Lemon with a Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting.

It was a beautiful day and memories were made that will last forever.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Something Old, Becomes Something New

Friday, November 25 marked 5 years of marriage to Poppa Bear. I will avoid getting all sappy and just say I am a very, very lucky woman.

One thing that makes me lucky is that my hubby will spend part of our anniversary (the part when the Baby Bear was napping) to paint chairs with me. Apparently the traditional anniversary gift at five years IS wood, so maybe we were on to something.

I had been wanting a round or oval pedestal table for the dining area and happened on one for about $100 on Craigslist. The table was a little smaller than I had originally been looking for, but I was smitten with the chairs and their lovely geometric swirled backs. I could see potential. Here's the semi blurry photo from the Craigslist ad (without the leaf in the table):

I decided to paint the chairs and the base white and refinish the top with a darker, less orangey stain to complement the cabinets in the adjacent kitchen. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures during the process, but we used a liquid deglosser instead of sanding down the chairs due to the intricate chair back detail. I highly recommend using the deglosser outdoors and wearing a mask, this stuff is definitely not VOC free! Then we spray painted them with Rustoleum in semi-gloss white.

I sanded down the table top by hand all by myself during naptime on Saturday. By Saturday evening I thought I would never be able to move my arms again. I really should have asked for an electric sander for an anniversary gift! I used a combination of Provincial and Jacobean stains from Minwax for a nice, rustic look since there were already some dings and scratches. A couple coats of Semi-gloss Minwax Polycrylic low VOC topcoat on everything will help protect it from wear & tear (aka Baby Bear).

I did some distressing on the chairs and pedestal to give it a more casual, cottagey feel...

...and because, well, this is gonna happen anyway.

Buzz Lightyear make an appearance to kindly request that I put down the camera and play with him.

Not really. It was more like that finger pointing at me and him saying, "No more Mama!" while trying to push the camera away from my face...
But I happily complied because, like I said above, I am a lucky woman and 5 years can go by in the blink of an eye so I'd better not take these boys for granted.