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Cribs and escaping toddlers…

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What kind of crib should you look for when your waddling around registering for all that lovely baby stuff? Keep a few points in mind. Cribs with an adjustable side rail are recalled MUCH more frequently than cribs with fixed rails. Cribs that are neutral can be used for more than one gender. Cribs that are convertible will last until your child is old enough to have an opinion about what kind of bed they want. My last critical point, cribs with three high rails and one lower side will contain your “spider monkey climbing toddler” for longer.

My daughter threw a fit the other day right before nap time. I wrestled through the pre-nap diaper change and placed her in her crib to calm down. Up went her leg, over the side rail in an attempt to not stay ANYWHERE that I wanted her. I sternly told her that there is NO CLIMBING and put her leg down. I sat in the room, in the dark, until this crazy fit had passed. Once I left the room, the crying resumed, but it was not nearly as frantic as the previous fit.

When I told my pediatrician about her new ability to climb out of her crib, he told me that it was time for toddler beds and that he didn’t want to get another call about a head fracture. (He had another patient climb out of his/her crib and break his/her head.) Yeah….. I don’t want that call either but….. I am NOT ready for toddler beds.

Toddler beds mean kids roaming around and getting into things instead of being contained in a cushy crib. When I talked to my fellow mothers these are the options we came up with:

Turn  the crib around so that the low rail is against the wall. This will keep your toddler contained for at least another inch in growth.

Put them in toddler beds. If you do this you have to make sure the room they are in is completely child proofed. I put straps around the entire dresser. I ratchet them closed when the kids are sleeping so they can’t open the drawers and use them as steps to climb WAY higher than I’d like to see them. I put all cords behind the dressers and out of their reach. All dressers should be secured to a wall. All sockets have plugs in them. The glider chair is locked so that they can’t hurt their fingers. We have a child proof door nob on the outside of the door. Unless the kids lift the door handle up (which they are not tall enough to do) they can’t get out of their room. This is just another safety barrier, like the gate at the top of the stairs. If you want your child contained in their room, don’t have a monitor, and like to keep the door open just to hear them, consider getting or building a dutch door. A dutch door is cut in half top to bottom. This way you can lock the bottom half to keep your kid in their room, but leave the top half open to hear if they call for you. You can find directions on line about how to build a dutch door.

Take the bottom out of the crib. This will put the mattress on the floor and the crib rails will be much higher. No, I didn’t bring this lovely morsel of information to life, but another twin mom did! What a great idea, right? If you use this method, make sure that the mattress fits snugly to the rails of your crib so baby can’t get suck between the bed and the rails.

There are also crib tents that are a netting that attach to your crib to keep your child from climbing out. I found one at OneStepAhead.com for $79 and one at

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What helps baby sleep?

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Our bodies have an “internal clock” working all the time. This internal clock runs hormone levels that trigger our body to digest food, run & play, sleep and much more. When baby first enters the world their clock is not yet set. A newborn doesn’t know night from day. They have just arrived from a world that is constantly dark and their “internal clock” (along with many other parts) is not yet fully developed.

As a new parent, one of our first assignments is to teach baby the difference between night and day. Teaching him or her this helps set their “timers” and get sleep hormones flowing at the right time. Night time, or dark, is an external trigger for our developed bodies. The dark triggers melatonin to release which, in turn, helps us to fall asleep.

In order to get baby to sleep more in the dark hours of the day it is important to feed them the majority of their food (milk) during the day time hours and try to keep them awake for a bit between feedings. (This teaching starts at about 6-8 weeks). In the beginning, babies are only awake for about 6 hours in a 24 hour period. If you stimulate them between feeds during the day by playing with them, then they are more likely to go back to sleep quickly after night feedings. (A gas bubble can wreak havoc on getting back to sleep quickly, so make sure baby is well burped!)

When baby gets a bit older a nap time routine helps him or her know that it is time to sleep. A dark room can be essential to this routine. I got a little ambitious when preparing the twins’ room and decided to sew a blackout curtain all by myself. It came out OK but I wound up spending more money on the materials to make it myself than I would have buying a black out curtain at the store. What was most disappointing was, after hanging the curtain, it didn’t even truly black out the room. Light seeped in all around the edges of the curtain. My husband came up with the great idea to tape together cardboard (you will have plenty of this leftover if you bought a car seat or had a baby shower) with duct or packaging tape. Outline where the edge of the window sill is and fold the cardboard right at the edge so that it fits as snug as possible into the window sill.

A sleep routine, along with the dark room and white noise machine have made bedtime and nap time much easier for us. I hope these tricks help you! To see another of my blogs on sleep click HERE.

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And the Cloth Diaper Award goes to….

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GroVia All In One with an assist from gCloth! I love this diaper and want to share. It can be really hard to find a cloth or hybrid diaper that fits well, doesn’t leak and keeps moisture away from baby’s skin. Did you think accomplishing all of these tasks was impossible? Think again!

GroVia (formerly GroBaby) has made this momma happy. I have great things to say about gDiapers but I couldn’t find a combo with my G’s that made it through most nights on my SON (boys are much harder to diaper) without a leak. GroVia changed that – but not without some help from gCloth!

GroVia’s AIO (all in one) diaper is made from great soft fabric. It has super stretchy side tabs which make for a comfortable fit. It is a one size diaper that grows from infant to toddler with three different snaps on the front to change the rise, along with snaps on the side tabs for waist size. The entire inside (except the waist tabs) is lined with organic cotton. It has one soaker sewn into the back of the diaper only. This allows you to use a second soaker (which comes with the diaper) by snapping it to the bottom of the first soaker. Greater absorption for bigger babies. Why not just sew all the soakers together? By keeping the soakers free to detach except in one spot, GroVia created a AIO diaper that is completely dry in one dryer cycle. That is pretty much unheard of. Yet again, creating a diaper that is better for the environment by consuming less energy to dry it. Cheers to you GroVia! (I understand that it takes NO energy to line dry but many of us can’t wait for our diapers to air dry! Twins people! I’m still blazing through 12-16 diapers a day).

Where does the assist from gCloth come in you ask? Do I ever do things the way the manufacturers might like? No. I have to add my own little twist. I found GroVia’s AIO to be lacking in only one department. When changing a diaper I found my kids skin to feel wet where ever the cloth was wet. Not cool. The double fleece top layer of my gCloth inserts kept them feeling nice and dry so I just added a gCloth as a top layer to my GroVia AIOs. Presto! Fabulous diaper plus a stay dry layer and a little added absorption to top it off (the double layer of hemp on the bottom of gCloth). I do have to make sure the gCloth is tucked in at the legs so that it doesn’t wick moisture out.

Did I mention that my kids sleep 7:30PM until 7:30 AM? I’m not rubbing that in the faces of those mothers out there who are still attempting to sleep train. I’m letting you know that my kids sleep 12 HOURS in ONE diaper! Wohoo!

I also use GroVia’s AI2 (all in two) diaper during the day – yes with my personal modifications… of course. In a previous post HERE I detailed my use of prefolds under a gCloth in the GroVia AI2 shell. More recently I found that if I use the GroVia booster (instead of a prefold) under the gCloth I get enough absorbency and a trimmer fit. It can be really difficult to find a pair of pants to fit an 18 month old with too much junk in the trunk. I’m just sayin’….

P.S. I got all my GroVia diapers on sale. They have great sales and just came out with a whole line of new prints! I also bought the shells alone at a cheaper price since I already had a stock of inserts from other brands.

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Breast Feeding

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Where do I start? This is a HUGE topic with lots of feelings and beliefs attached to it. Let me start by saying that I do not judge anyone for their choices, especially when it comes to such a personal decision like breast feeding.

If you are going to be a mom, or already are, you will need to sacrifice to do a good job. If you were able to conceive and carry a baby, you have already started that process. You have decided whether it was worth eating this or that to prevent heartburn. You took the extra time it requires to make all those extra bathroom breaks. You may have undergone procedures to maintain a healthy pregnancy or been on bed rest. This is all the beginning. It teaches you that baby is going to be the priority for a while. What he or she needs comes before most everything else.

What’s the big deal with breast feeding? Well, this is why being a mom is so demanding and so rewarding at the same time. As a breast feeding mom you are your baby’s life source. Daddy can change diapers, help burp, and help put baby to sleep, but there is an around the clock demand to be fed which requires mom to be there at all times. This, paired with the sleep you lose, is where all those “I’m totally overwhelmed” feelings come from. Oh, wait, I forgot all the hormones…. Well you get the point. I’m starting off this way so that you will know it is a challenge. You may think bottle feeding is easier. It isn’t. I have done both. There is a lot of extra time (time that takes away from the time you could be catching up on sleeping) consumed by prepping formula, pumping, warming bottles and washing bottles. If you can get over the learning curve, breastfeeding is much easier…… sometimes.

Baby Center has a great article on the benefits of breast feeding. I know that many of you know how good breast milk is for our babies. Breast milk is unique in that it changes to suit your baby for their age and need. The contents of breast milk even change during a feed! There is a foremilk and a hindmilk. This is why it is so important to empty the breast with each feed. Not to mention that it helps to prevent clogged milk ducts.

Milk is produced on demand. We start this demand by putting baby to the breast when they are born. During the first couple/few days what they get is mostly colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk produced. Read all about colostrum here. (This great article also talks about why such small feedings are enough for your newborn). When you are breast feeding it is important to make sure that you are taking in enough water and food. That is the only way your body has what it needs to produce milk for baby! Every time I sat down to nurse my twins I brought a pint of water with me. I would drink this while I fed them to make sure I was hydrated. So, the more your baby drinks, the more your breast will produce for the next feed.

Sleep is another key factor in milk production. My milk didn’t come in until the third day at the hospital when my husband and I finally got a 4 hour nap. Then, BAM, more boob than I knew what to do with. Schedule your visitors so that you have time to take a break and sleep during the day. You need it!

I learned to feed the babies in a football hold position and then made the switch to a lying position after getting a spinal headache. Check out this video for the three most commonly used positions. The first couple days I fed the babies one at a time while learning and then got the lactation consultant to show me how to tandem feed them in a football hold. It is crucial for you to see a lactation consultant! She will give you proper instruction on how to latch baby and will make feeding baby much easier.

After going home I kept in touch with my lactation consultant and went to a couple breast feeding support meetings that were led by the hospital lactation consultant. I had several issues personally. I had problems with painful feedings and fussy babies. I tried many changes to my diet to decrease their gassiness but nothing helped much. After 6-8 weeks of painful feeds, I tried wearing nipple shields to help with the pain. I’m not sure how much they helped or if they did. The bummer was that my problem wasn’t with position. I had the lactation consultant inspect both baby’s latching and she complimented what a great job I was doing. Too bad it still hurt.

I made it to 4 months and had a talk with our pediatrician. He reassured me that he understood my desire to continue breastfeeding but also wanted to let me know that if I was miserable while doing it, this would effect the babies as well. At that point I decided to pump and supplement with formula. So, I pumped, and pumped, and pumped. Did I mention I pumped? In order to even attempt to keep your milk supply up to your baby’s demands you need to pump with every feed. So I fed, put them down for nap and somehow ate while I pumped. The pumping was never ending BUT by pumping, I got another 2 months of healthy, antibody infused breast milk into my babies! At six months the decision to stop pumping was partially made FOR me, due to the fact that my migraines were kicking in again and my neurologist wanted me back on a preventive medication. I WISH I could have breast fed for the entire first year.

Try to remember not to judge others for the choices they make. There are all kinds of reasons why moms don’t breast feed. I do believe that all women should breast feed because that is the most nutritious food for baby! I also know that this isn’t realistic. Many of us have to take medication that our babies can’t get. Some women have body image issues which prevent them from ever being comfortable with feeding their baby. Sometimes the body just says NO and dries mom’s milk right up. If any of you are on the fence and don’t have a physical reason why you can’t breast feed, I urge you to breast feed. By breast feeding, you will always know what your baby is eating – and it’s first ingredient won’t be corn syrup! If you breast feed, you will never have to worry about a recall. If you breast feed you will have many hours of precious one on one time (or one on two) with your baby. Even though I had pain with most feedings, I will cherish the hours I fed our babies. I hope you will too!

I had to share this amazing twin breast feeding pillow with this post! This is much like the one I bought but the completely suped up version. I found the add in TWINS magazine. They sale at DoubleBlessings.com for the same price as my plain old one which came in a faux denim, minus the privacy cover. Happy feeding!

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The Super Swaddle AKA The Rebecca Wrap

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Having read a lot while I was on bed rest, I knew how important swaddling was in keeping a baby happy. As a maternity nurse we are taught a generic swaddle. With experience, each maternity nurse perfects and personalizes their swaddle. I had my way of wrapping up those newborns. I thought I had pretty good technique. It was one of the tasks of motherhood that I was not worried about. After having my babies we got to see each of our nurse’s own swaddles. The mother baby unit (nurses that care for you after baby is born) were exceptionally good at swaddling babies. They did it all the time, of course they were good at it!

The nurse that we had most of the nights (or was it days? It’s all a blur!) while we were hospitalized was Rebecca. Rebecca showed us this double wrap technique which really prevented the babies from “breaking out” of their swaddle. Why worry about swaddling? Because baby has been in tight quarters for their entire development, they feel much more secure being all snugly wrapped. It helps them sleep longer and also helps to calm them when they get all worked up.

Anyways…. Rebecca was the only one to have this special technique so we dubbed it “The Rebecca Wrap”, which she appreciated. I’d love to share it here with you.

Step one: get two blankets. A receiving blanket should always work for the under wrap. When the babies got bigger I folded it on the diagonal like a bandanna. It should be folded like a very wide seatbelt. Lay baby on one end. Wrap it around babies front, while baby’s arms are at their side, and tuck flatly all the way around to baby’s back. It should overlap the other end.

Step two: Lay baby on the second blanket with his/her head at one corner. This corner should be folded slightly down. The blankets we found to work best were slightly stretchy (but not as stretchy as a crocheted blanket) and were made from light fabric. Our favorite swaddling blankets were about 1 1/2 times larger than the typical receiving blanket. Take the right corner across the front of baby (under the chin) and tuck it flatly under the opposite shoulder.

Step three: Take the bottom corner, bring it up, and tuck it under that same shoulder. Going over the shoulder helps keep it in place.

Step four: Take the last corner and fold over baby and around him/her. Pull snug and tuck the end in a fold in the front. Enjoy your snuggled baby! PS When baby is on his/her back they sometimes feel like they are falling. Keeping them on their side a bit helps to prevent this feeling. :-)

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