best advice

As a nervous new mom, it was important to me to feel a connection with our pediatrician. I chose another woman who is a mother to young boys. I would probably ask her to be my best friend if that wasn’t completely creepy.

Thankfully, she’s an excellent doctor.

But I love that I can talk to her and that we can relate as parents. She tells me what she would do if her children were in my kids’ position.

I’ve told my breast feeding story before on this blog, so some of this won’t be anything new.

Both Hudson and Hayes were jaundiced when they came home from the hospital. We spent two weeks with each baby going to the lactation consultant and the pediatrician daily for heel pricks and weight checks. The fear that you’re starving your baby is so overwhelming and scary and watching your baby continue to lose weight is so sad.

After lots of tears (from me and my babies), I felt defeated. I looked at our pediatrician and said, “I’m so tired of doing this to them. I want them to be full and I want them to gain weight. What else can I do?”

And she said, “Let’s give him a bottle.”

I fed Hudson a bottle of formula right there in her office, and he did great. She sent me home with more formula and told me to come back the next day. She encouraged me to continue to nurse at each feeding, but to supplement to make sure they were getting something.

The next day, Hudson was back to his birth weight. And a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Her advice to just give him a bottle was so simple, but it’s like I needed her permission to do it.

Over the years she has encouraged me to follow my gut. She takes a no-nonsense approach to parenting, and I always appreciate her little bits of insight when we’re discussing a behavioral issue or how to approach teaching our boys to sleep in a big boy bed.

What’s the best advice your pediatrician has given you?


the baby carrier

When we first registered for baby items for Hudson, I didn’t register for any kind of baby carrier. You know, the kind you wear. I had a pre-conceived notion of “baby-wearers” and I just didn’t think I was a baby-wearer.

I thought that baby-wearers went hiking and cloth diapered and breastfed in public without feeling the least bit self-conscious. And, sure, some of them do. But as the months went on and I was carrying around my 18 pound three month old, I realized that baby-wearers were geniuses.

It was around the time that I went on my second flight with Hudson by myself that I realized that the whole flying with a baby thing would be a lot easier if I could be hands-free. I could wear Hudson and carry my bags and board the flight without any problems.

It just so happened that my cousin had an extra baby carrier that you wear on the front. Hudson was a little too big for my to try a wrap or a sling at that point, so I tried the baby carrier where his little legs dangled out of the bottom. We were it on the flight home and Hudson seriously slept the whole time. It was wonderful.

After that, I’d just wear it around the house if I needed to clean or cook. Especially during the witching hour! The ability to hold him while getting other things done just made life so much easier.

And he often fell asleep while we just walked around the house.

With Hayes, I bought a really nice wrap to wear. I wish I could say I liked it as much as the other carrier. But he just got so smushed in the wrap and he and I were never comfortable. If I could sit around with him in the wrap, it would have been perfect. But trying to get lots of things done while wearing the wrap was just uncomfortable to me. Although I know a lot of moms love it.

I took Hayes to Market in Atlanta and we shopped for two days. He was only 2.5 months old, but having him in the carrier was perfect. I could stop to feed him and then I’d put him back in the carrier, and he’d nap while we got all of our shopping done.

How about you? Did you use a baby carrier? Did you love it?


Baby’s First Christmas

We recently had our first little taste of fall weather. Todd and I took the boys to eat at the pancake house on a cool night, and for some reason we both immediately thought of Christmas. Pancakes, cold weather, and hot chocolate = Christmas? Sure.

But it’s true. The most wonderful time of the year is right around the corner. And with babies, it is even more wonderful. Everyone basically forgets about their own Christmas, and we all just focus on the babies.

One of the things that has always been special for us is that we spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in our own home, but we invite all of our family to us. Todd’s parents and my parents all spend Christmas with us at our house every year.

The first Christmas, we knew that everyone was so excited about having Hudson there. And while we wanted him all to ourselves, we knew how special it was for everyone to get to be with him.

For Hudson’s first Christmas, we went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee with Todd’s family and my family. We were all in a big house together for the week,  and we had a great first Christmas with our first baby. Everyone got to hold him and watch all the wonder and excitement.

Of course Hudson was too young to know any of what was going on for his first Christmas. But everyone else had high expectations because we were just so thrilled that he was there.

Hudson’s first Christmas, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

I think, in general, there are some things to keep in mind. It’s important to set expectations for family members ahead of time. Remind them that the baby will need to maintain his or her nap schedule or bedtime schedule. You may also need to establish boundaries in the beginning depending on how excited your family members may be.

Since that first Christmas, and for Hayes’s first Christmas, we opened up our home to our families. It was important to us for our kids to spend Christmas at our house. That first Christmas in Gatlinburg was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of work. And a lot of travel.

Having our kids wake up on Christmas morning in their own homes, and when we “do Santa” in our own homes, there’s a really magical feeling.

We’re very fortunate that our families celebrate Christmas together. We don’t have to drive all over the place, and our families just come to us. This takes away a lot of the pressure, especially when there’s a baby (or two) in the house.

The boys are able to nap in their own rooms and because they are comfortable and happy, the rest of us are, too.

I think compromise is the key to a happy, stress-free holiday with a baby. It’s not easy to travel with a baby, but that first Christmas we found that a big Christmas vacation was a good solution.  Since then we’ve found it to be much easier for our family to come to us. This way we’re all comfortable, and it was a low-fuss, relaxing holiday for our entire family.

And we all got to hold and cuddle our sweet new baby.

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before Hudson met Hayes

Before Hayes was born, I had this overwhelming feeling of worry. But I was worried about Hudson. I was so worried that we were going to completely rock his world, and that our relationship with him would change.

I worried that he would be sad and feel left out and jealous. And, mostly, I was worried that he would instantly grow up more than I was prepared for him to grow up. To help him prepare for the baby’s arrival, we just talked about the baby a lot. We told him Hayes’s name, and we would pray for the baby every night before bed. I think that constantly talking about it helped prevent some of the surprise when Hayes was born.

We also took Hudson to the store so he could pick out a gift to give to Hayes in the hospital. He picked out a little stuffed animal, and was excited to give it to his baby brother.

My friend, Nina, sent Hudson a book called “I’m A Big Brother” and we read it every day, multiple times a day. And we continued to read it once Hayes was born. He loved looking at the pictures and talking about his new baby brother.

The weekend before Hayes was scheduled to arrive, we had a weekend of fun just for Hudson. We took him to his favorite places and just really had a great weekend celebrating him and soaking up our time with just our little family of three. We were thrilled to be welcoming Hayes, but we were very well aware of how much life would change.

But, goodness, all that worry was for nothing. Life wasn’t a cake walk after Hayes arrived, but the amount of love that our hearts can accommodate just grew and grew. There was no reason to be worried.

And in these first couple of weeks at home with Hayes and Hudson, my mom was there with me while Todd was at work. Having her there helped us divide and conquer, so that Hudson and Hayes were both being cared for at all times. I think the adjustment went really well, and our boys are getting closer and closer to becoming the very best friends.

How did you help prepare your child for a new sibling?

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