Posts Tagged ‘babies’

Nature vs. Nurture – A Shocking Discovery

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, HEALTH, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

Nature vs Nurture- A shocking Discovery

I was at the airport in Vegas getting reading to board the plane to fly back home to Florida….

I was in the hurry at the time, with the gates literally closing within 5 minutes, but I knew that my husband was running behind after having to drop off the rental car, so I wouldn’t get on the plane without him anyways. I had Lexi in a my Emotion stroller ( which is by the way ridiculously awesome for airplane travel) and 3 carry-ons with me, but I was determined to get some water and reading materials for the flight. After browsing their magazine stand and not finding anything that would interest me, I made my way to the book area and after skipping all the romance novels, I saw this book, called “How Children Succeed” and I thought the title was good enough for me to make it an entertaining and at the same time educational read while Alexis sleeps on the plane.

Little did I know that that book would become the kind of parenting science/child psychology/biology book that you devour and then recommend to all your friends and blog about.

So here I am, so impressed with it, that I am writing this post while riding in the car from Orlando.

Let me start with a piece of advice for everyone reading this:

Go on Amazon.com ( or wherever it is you buy books) and order this book immediately! It does not matter whether you are 16 years old, 50 years old, or childless. It is seriously that impressive and interesting to anyone who has ever been interested in why people turn out they way they do and what makes some people successful and well rounded individuals while others seem to struggle at everything they do, how much parenting really influences us and our children. This book has insights,  parts of which I have read in numerous parenting and psychology books I have gone through over the year, yet no one book has ever summed everything up and traced it from the beginning to the end, rather than rely on us trusting its conclusions.

“Mommy’s Free Time” aka Toddler Activities That Entertain For Longer Periods of Time

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, Best for Baby, FOR MOMS, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, Parenting, TODDLER

7 Toddler Activities that Keep their attention for Longer and Give mommy her free time back

7 Toddler Activities that Keep their attention for Longer and Give mommy her free time back

Up until recently there were very few things that Alexis would do without requiring my attention or involvement, which made it very difficult to do anything. She is finally at that age (18 months) when certain activities are of enough interest and keep her entertained for longer, as well as do not always require my full involvement.  This has been a welcome change to our routines and has given me a few minutes of freedom to be able to finally get things done around the house even if it’s 15-20 minutes at a time.

What made a big difference is being able to put her in a “special chair” that she cannot get out of and is not used as an eating chair.

We have our amazing Svan Signet chair that I will be writing about later and it has been invaluable due to its ability to be used without the tray. All I do is pull Lexi up to a desk in the kitchen and voila she sits there working on different activities for 30-90 minutes, giving each activity good 15-20 minutes before moving on while I am free to make food or clean up after a meal. Before that, we tried the same thing at the kid’s table and in her armchair, but she would always get up and run to do something else simply because she could and let’s face it, she is an active toddler.

So given that she does all these activities in her special chair, here they are:

How to survive a late night event with a baby

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in BABY, FUN TIMES, New Mom Experience

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When I was a naive pregnant girl, I dreamed of the time when I would put my newborn in a sling and go to events in a beautiful dress with my baby peacefully sleeping next to my chest and only waking up to breastfeed {what? celebrities do it!}  In the back of my mind, I knew that chances were  good that I wouldn’t get the kind of baby that just sleeps anywhere you take her, but I was dreaming of the best case scenario- what else did I have to do? When Alexis came along, of course, she was the compelete opposite of a baby who would EVER fall asleep or do anything except on her own terms. And that is fine, I like me a strong baby. However, that meant that we had to learn, adjust, figure out ways of how to lead our life while “bowing down to the princess” and most importantly just WAIT for her to grow a little bit.

I am sure some of you have been in this situation: a great evening adult event (kids are allowed) that you really really really want to go to, a 3-6 months old baby that goes to sleep at 7-8pm, no babysitter or not willing or don’t want to use a babysitter yet. What are the parents to do? Skip it? Go and hope the best?

Well, after a successful 4th of July party with Alexis (along with a few other events none of which were late night ones), I feel more confident in her ability to handle outings and parties. But at the same time, there is a lot of things we, as parents need to do, to ensure a smooth event.

Andrew and I are of the mind that there is no need to deprive a baby of anything, or make it uncomfortable for her/him if you can avoid it. So all our outings are mostly focused on making sure Alexis is good and happy and trying to prevent any meltdowns. I also don’t believe in segregating baby-less friends and friends with babies, nor in getting a non-family babysitter until Alexis can walk. So that leaves us attending parties (even late night ones) with Lexi in tow. And the first such party, after Alexis became more manageable outside of home, happened to be the 4th of July party. It was a great opportunity for us to experience what it is like, as well as see if it’s even feasible to bring Lexi along to social events. It was a true success! We kept her out a bit longer than I was comfortable with, but our friends wouldn’t let us go since we hadn’t seen them much in the last year. So we ended up leaving the house at 7pm for the party and getting back home at 12 am. I will write all about the amazing event with lots of colorful beautiful photos in a few days, but for now I’d like to address the act of taking a baby to such events.

{Our second adult outing happened last weekend, when we took Alexis on a boat. She was up from 7:30am till 12pm, when she fell asleep in her carseat. It was also a success and I am now getting more and more confident and her ability to handle being out and about}

We’ve only done this a few times and we still have a lot to learn and thing, as usual, will be changing at the speed of light (hopefully for the better), but here are a few things I learned from our first LATE night “party” with Alexis. (most of these will probably be obvious to everyone with older kids}

  • Make sure your baby naps well and long all throughout the day. {If that means rocking him/her multiple times back to sleep to get that magic 1.5-2 hours nap, then do it. While I believe having a baby nap well doesn’t ensure that they can stay up better or longer towards the end of the day, it will at least ensure that they are not LACKING day time sleep and are too fussy because of that.}
  • Pack everything you’ll need hours before you have to leave. {It’s better to pack the night before or that morning, so that you could just grab the baby and go right as she wakes up.}
  • Plan a nap 1-1.5 hrs before you have to leave and attempt to make it last 1-1.5hrs. {A baby’s sleep cycle lasts about 40 minutes, but according to E. Pantley, in order for them to truly rest and receive ALL the benefits of a nap, it has to last somewhere around 1.5 hours.}
  • Try to be ready to run out of the door the second your baby is up. {Easier said than done, I know! In fact, in our case, even though we tried SO HARD to follow this rule, we still only managed to get out of the house an hour after she woke up.}

The reason for the few last ones is because later at night babies are on a short fuse and get tired faster. If you can concentrate on not wasting that valuable awake time on running around the house packing things or getting ready,you’ll have more luck. If your baby falls asleep easily in the car and everywhere else, then you don’t even need to read this, since your outings probably resemble this: out and awake, tired and asleep- rinse and repeat}

  • I am a big believer in being prepared. I don’t always know WHAT to be prepared for or with and learn by mistakes, but if there is a chance I will need something, I go for it. So for me it’s essential to bring any favorite toy or item imaginable with us when it comes to late night outings because I NEVER know when Alexis is going to have a problem and/or what will cheer her up. So my advice is bring everything you can think of, at least for the first few outings while you’re just trying to figure out what works for your baby. For any other trip that happens during the day, it’s a bit more manageable without a multitute of things, but for the first late night trips, you just don’t know how the baby will react to being up past their bedtime.
  • Try to recreate your bedtime routine when you are away. I brought her naptime books. A few times that we were out, it really helped to read her (back then from memory) naptime books before putting her to sleep. Again, that’s for babies who resist napping/sleeping outside of home.
  • If a baby is interested and stimulated (not OVER stimulated), she can go for many more hours being awake and happy than she would at home in a boring familiar environment. I can now rely on Alexis being ok for about 3-4 hours when we are out, without a meltdown. She would be tired, but if she’s seeing things she’s interested in and people she is interested in, she will stay awake without so much as a peep. That being said all babies are different and other babies might get too overwhelmed by the stimulation when they are tired. Do test your baby’s temperament when opportunity presents, so that way you’ll know your baby’s threshold.
  • Speaking of thresholds,they are constantly changing. Remember the failed Easter trip 2 months ago? Alexis would react very differently to it now.
  • Do plan where you’ll be changing the baby and if there is a quiet place for you two to retreat to, if need be.
  • BRING A CARRIER. While Alexis enjoys being in our arms more, being in a carrier once she was really tired, kept people away from her and not overstimulating.
  • Don’t wait for her to cry to get a clue. Once she starts getting fussy despite the attention and new sights and sounds, it’s time to go or to put her to sleep there. She won’t fuss if she’s interested in what’s going on, despite of tiredness. Fussiness is probably a sign that she’s beyond the point of no return {or bored}. Retreat!
  • Make sure that she is comfortable otherwise. That she is not too hot, not too cold, that her clothes aren’t irritating, feed her on demand (OBVIOUSLY!). This is the time to make sure your baby is completely comfortable, because if she is bothered by anything ( a scratchy tag, temperature, hunger) she will also be more likely to break down.
  • Finally, and I consider this probably one of the most important points: invest in a comfortable cool car seat. I cannot tell you the difference it made having her in a better carseat. The fact that she WILL fall asleep in it, if the car is running and she is sufficiently tired means that we can go to a party and leave for home expecting her to sleep in the car. I realize most people don’t have the same problem of babies not sleeping in their carseat, but it was a real thing for us before we switched to a cool roomy convertible one. She would have horrible meltdowns in her old carseat if she was tired.  At the end of  4th of July party she wouldn’t fall asleep no matter what I did: rocked her in a rocking chair in a quiet dark room, nursed her, sang to her. But when we were ready to go home, I got her drowsy with some nursing and rocking and then put her into the car seat and she was out the whole ride back. Marvelous!
Once again, all this will probably fit a baby who is a bit more like Alexis: curious, alert, one that doesn’t fall asleep easily, possibly one with a later bedtime like her. I am sure for babies who still get overstimulated easily at this age, a few different things will work better, like covering them up to reduce stimulation (which never works for Alexis, since she either gets mad, or thinks I am playing with her)

Another tip that I will be using next time:

If your baby is wearing an extra special outfit, buy two and pack the other one to go. If she doesn’t end up needing it, you can always return it, but if the first one is ruined, you at least have a backup that is just as nice.

We are going to test this out once again when we go to Orlando for my MIL’s wedding reception which starts at 6pm and I am hoping for a similarly successful event.

What do/did you do to make your evening trips and events with a small baby successful?