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Morning Routine for School

morning routine for school
Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

It’s Back-to-School season, and we all know what that means! The dreaded weekday morning struggle of getting your kids ready and out the door in a timely manner. No matter how many kids you have, how old they are, or whether they have a Type-A or B personality, your morning is guaranteed to result in fighting with kids, everyone starting their school/work day in a bad mood, forgetting something important at home, and just a whole lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.

I did not anticipate going back to school this year! I have a 9 month old at home and am trying to make money writing lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. Being a full-time mom, wife, and entrepreneur is hard enough! But randomly last weekend I decided I needed to get out of the house twice a week and do something fun. So, I texted my old boss at Faithful Academy — a local homeschooling academy in Southeast Texas — and asked her if she needed anybody. Long story short, this year I will be teaching American Sign Language — which I could do in my sleep — and a creative/artsy/calisthenics/cooking/etc. class for K-4.

Related: When to Teach Baby Sign Language
Want my Elementary ASL lesson 1 & 2?
What about my ASL 1 Lesson 1 & 2 for Jr High & High School?

So, now I have to balance mommin’, wifein’, me-time (‘cuz that’s super important!), bloggin’, and teachin’. At first I had a minor heart attack, and then I realized I’m the QUEEN of schedule-making. 👸 I wrote down my morning routine, followed it while going to inservice all last week, perfected it, and now I have stress-free mornings just in time for school.

You may be thinking, “She has an infant and no school age kids. She doesn’t relate to me with how stressful our mornings are in our house!” But getting a 9 month old dressed, fed, and packed for grandma’s who lives 45 minutes away from me is just as insane, so I hope you can translate my morning routine into what works for your family.

I will share my routine below, but then after that I want to provide some time-tested advice I’ve received from mamas with school age children!

See also: The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule

My Morning Routine

Night before: My clothes laid out, Joshua’s backpack packed, Bible by my bed
1. Wake up and have God-Time – 6:30
2. Get dressed, brush teeth, make Joshua’s and my breakfast – 7:00
3. Wake up Joshua, change diaper, get him dressed – 7:20
4. Joshua breakfast (me trying to eat breakfast) – 7:30
5. Put Joshua in car seat and head out the door – 7:50
6. Leave for MiMi and Pop-Pop’s – 8:00
7. Meet MiMi to hand over Joshua – 8:30
8. Work – 9:00

You may also enjoy: How to Manage Your Time with a Baby

Back-to-School Advice from Real Moms!

Some wonderful mama’s dished out their best advice for helping all you ladies have stress-free weekday mornings from August to June! If these ladies wanted credit, I tagged them next to the advice they gave! If you use the advice or just really like it, make sure to click on their links and follow them as a big “THANK YOU!”

morning routine for school
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Check out: The 10 Mommin’ Commandments

Before the First Day of School

1. Write down a morning routine with specific times like I did above

2. Practice this routine for a week or two before school starts so you and your kids won’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off on the first morning of school. 🐔 #ImFromTheSouth

Weekend Before Each Week of School

3. Choose all clothes for the week (mama’s clothes included)
👚 Either put them in drawers with daily labels like this, this, or this — or hang them in order in a designated area in the closet. (Thank you, Stephanie Buckner for this tip!)

4. Meal prep
🍽️ Pre-make breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner — if you’re feeling up to it. You can put cereal servings in baggies ready to pour and milk servings in sealed containers if you want to be extra.
🍽️ Pour baby formula powder servings and separate portions of baby food. Remember, baby food only keeps up to 3 days in the fridge, so you will have to do this again later in the week.
🍽️ Ashlyn Ivy Carrell, owner of T&B Creations, suggests making homemade mini pancakes, freezing them, and then heating them in the microwave each morning for a quick and yummy breakfast.

school morning routine
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The Night Before a School Day

5. Lay out clothes if they aren’t in an easily accessible place. I lay my clothes on the couch right outside of my bedroom so I can put them on right before I let the dog out.

6. Straighten Hair/Shower
💄Anything that can be done the night before that involves hair, hygiene, etc. get it done. I straighten or curl my hair the night before and then do any touch-ups that need to be done quickly the morning of. Use heavy-duty hairspray like TREsemme or Big SexyHair. Don’t you wish there was a makeup that could stay on your face for a week. ☹️

7. Get kids in the habit of putting everything in their backpack when they’re done with homework.
📝 We all know habits can take some time, especially with kids, so walk them through it the first few times, patiently remind them the next few times that they forget, and have consequences after that. Make sure to explain to kiddos that when they don’t do this we all have a stressful morning.

back to school morning routine
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8. Have everything by the door and a checklist
🎒Make a generic checklist for things your kids will need everyday and check that list the night before. This list could include (click each link available to see Amazon’s best sellers):
✏️ Backpack
✏️ Pencil bag
✏️ Folder/ Binder / Notebook for each class
✏️ Homework
✏️ Project
✏️ Permission Slip
✏️ Snack (if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
✏️ PE clothes
✏️ Lunch money
🎒If there is something your kiddo needs to bring that is not usually on the list either write it on a sticky note and attach it to the list or laminate your list and add this item in dry erase marker.

9. Fill water bottles with water and ice and place in the fridge. (Thank you Josie McElvain for this tip!)

10. Place tomorrow’s lunch in your kid’s lunch kit and put back in the fridge ready to grab!

11. Get gas!
⛽ We all tell ourselves the lie, “I’ll wake up early and get gas in the morning.” No, you won’t! Get it tonight! #PreachingToTheChoir #Guilty 💁‍♀️

12. And while you’re at it, FIND YOUR KEYS! You know we parents spend way too much time searching for our keys in the morning. Put those keys right by the door or in your purse (same place every time) the night before so you’re not spending 10-15 minutes hunting them down the next morning. 🔑 Consider investing in a Tile to help you find your keys!

13. Have coffee ready to go! If you have a coffee pot with a timer, remember to set it. If not, then write turning on the pot into your morning routine. ☕ (Thanks Cheyenne Rae Chatelain for these tips! Follow Cheyenne on her personal Facebook and Instagram and her wonderful mom community advice page: Mommin’ Ain’t Easy.)

14. Turn off screens 30 minutes before bed. 📵
The National Sleep Foundation has discovered that no screens before bed results in a better sleep and other wonderful benefits, not to mention some quality family-time and/or time to prepare for tomorrow.

my school morning routine
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The Morning of a School Day

15. Get up 15-30 minutes early to spend time in the Word
🙏🏾 I started this habit last week and I’m loving it! Before I even step out of bed I pray over myself. I think about my day and all of the potential things that could give me anxiety, anger, etc. and I pray about it or pray scripture over myself. My go-to’s are The Serenity Prayer (full version), The Prayer to the Holy Spirit, and 1 Peter 5:7. I also have a verse of the month I choose that speaks to me and pray that over myself. Right now that verse is Proverbs 29:25.

Full Serenity Prayer" Art Board Print by heavenlypeace | Redbubble
proverbs 29:25 productive morning routine

THE SALT STORIES - Come Holy Spirit...In Remembrance
Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 Art  Print by prettystock | Society6

16. Turn off distractions
📺 Morning is not the time to be on YouTube, watch TV, or be on tablets. I used to turn on Netflix while getting ready and I would catch myself staring at the screen for moments at a time or wanting to finish my show before leaving the house even if I was running late.

17. Wake up kids 15 minutes before they actually need to get up. You know they’re going to drag around, so instead of having to fight them to get up right away, give them some time to wake up. (Thanks again to Stephanie Buckner for this tip!) ⏰

18. Have a morning playlist
🎵Start it at the same time every morning — probably as soon as you wake up the kids. Eventually, your kids, even young kids who can’t tell time, will know how much time they have left to get ready based on how many songs are left. Choose fun and positive music such as Good Morning by Mandisa or The Blessing by Kari Jobe. When the last song starts right before it’s time to leave, remind your kids, “Okay, we’re heading out the door as soon as this song is over!”
🎵 Another benefit of this is my mind doesn’t wander to the things that give me anxiety because I’m too busy praising God, so my day starts out a lot more positive!

school morning routine checklist
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19. Teach kids to make their own breakfast
🥣 Whether it’s heating up the meals you’ve already prepped, pouring cereal into a bowl, or putting a pop-tart into the toaster, this will save you time to get ready by not having to worry about what the kids are eating. Have your older kids help the younger kids if needed.

20. Have kids read a short devotional during breakfast
📘 I grew up doing this and as an adult I look back and recognize multiple benefits. Of course, your child is starting their day with Jesus, but also distracted by something to keep them out of your hair for a moment. Also, the reading benefits! Tell your child that they should be finished with breakfast by the time they finish reading their devotional (or vice versa).
📘 Talk to your kids about their devotional on the way to school. This will keep the positivity going all the way to school! Also, it will keep the kids from fighting and you from road rage — hopefully.

morning routine with kids
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21. Have a 5-Minute makeup routine
💄Before the school year starts, write down exactly what makeup you can do in 5 minutes because, trust me, you will not be able to make those decisions efficiently the day of.

💄If you have a teen or pre-teen daughter who does her makeup, make sure she has a routine as well or knows that she has to wake up earlier if she is going to do full-face.
💄My 5-Minute makeup routine is as follows (click the links to see what products I LOVE:
💋 Moisturizer
💋 Primer
💋 Foundation
💋 Powder
💋 Eyebrow pencil
💋 Eye shadow
💋 Mascara
💋 Lip balm
💋 Setting spray
💄As of right now, my routine takes 9 minutes, so I either need to tweak it or get faster at it… or wake up 4 minutes earlier.

22. DON’T TRY NEW THINGS
⛔ A school morning is not the time to try a new hairdo, breakfast recipe, route to school, etc. Things go wrong, it can throw a kink in your schedule, and you can end up getting to school or work late.

Remember, Mama

It’s the beginning of a new school year. Your kiddos may be starting a new school or starting school period! They have all new teachers and all new classes. The first day of school is already going to be nerve-racking in one way or another for both your children and you. Anything that you see that could cause any negativity in the morning, figure out a way to make it better. Work with your kids and have them come up with ideas so they can take responsibility. Starting your day with positivity, order, and love will benefit both you and your kids and will determine how to rest of the day goes.

morning hacks
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Routines will take time and sometimes they won’t work out — like when my phone wouldn’t connect to WiFi recently so I couldn’t listen to worship music — but take each moment as it comes and each “mess-up” as a learning experience. And remember, YOU’VE GOT THIS, MOM!

Have any other great back-to-school tips??
Share it with us in the comments!! 👇
"I will face whatever comes today with a positive attitude." Affirmations to make this year the best ever.

Want to pin this post to Pinterest? Choose your favorite image below! 👇

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Parenting Challenge

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parenting on purpose
Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

Motherhood is a ministry. We think as Christians that we have to bake cookies for the church fundraiser and serve in the nursery on Sundays and feed the elderly on Tuesdays and chaperone the youth groups outing and and and… But we don’t! Your #1 calling as a mama right now is to pour Jesus into your children. It doesn’t matter if you’re the governor of your state, a work-from-home mom-preneur, or a full time mom with a house that never gets clean, your top priority — after spending time with Jesus and nurturing your marriage — is to make sure your babies know about Jesus, whether you do that by sitting down and talking to them about faith or just in the way you show love by spending time with them!

righteous intentional parenting

Y’all. I am preaching to the choir! I catch myself constantly working harder at my blog and business than I do at spending time with my child. He’s 8-months-old; all I have to do is sit by him while he eats his toys and tell him what a good job he is doing, but I find myself thinking “oh, let me go and sweep, let me go and edit my blog post, let me go and…”

You may also enjoy: The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule

Love Like Jesus

The young adults pastor preached a sermon to our congregation about a month ago on John 13 titled “Love Like Jesus.” Of course, the sermon was directed to the entire congregation young and old, male and female, but I couldn’t help but hear a message within the sermon that was directed at me as a mother ministering to her children.

If you want to watch the sermon, the video is available here: 👇🏽

Looking at Jesus as an Example of How to Be More Present with Our Children

John 13:1 (ESV) - John 13:1 ESV - Now before the Feast of the ...

John 13:1

This is the part of the sermon that really made me start listening from a mom-perspective. I’ve glanced over this verse probably dozens of times, but never gave it the importance it truly holds.

Jesus knew that within the next day, He would suffer and die on the cross. If that was us we would spend the whole night worrying, crying, biting our nails, and imagining how painful it would be. But Jesus? He spent the evening serving His disciples by washing their feet.

parenting challenges

I have over 1900 photos and videos of Joshua saved on Facebook. That is about 237 photos or videos taken per month since he was born! Yeah, that came as a shock to me, too! How many of his firsts did I see through my phone and not by actually looking at him? How many moments did I miss something adorable or amazing or unsafe that he did because I was looking at my social media or working on my blog? Can you relate? If not, bravo! For real! I wish I didn’t have so much dependence on my phone!

You may also like: The Good Friday Mom : A Lesson From Mary on Motherhood

Want to spend more time with your kids and less time on your phone?

I love challenges! I’ve watched all of the Harry Potter movies in less than 24 hours (22.5 hours). I just recently did the 3 day military diet (oof). A few years ago I did a 30 day ab challenge. Yeah, I’ve succeeded in a few challenges, but more times than not, I don’t finish. But you know what? I’m better for the experience. Maybe I didn’t exercise every single day on that exercise plan, but I exercised a lot more than I did last month!

I say all that to preface this; I have a wonderful challenge for you to help you be more present with your kids. If it looks daunting, don’t worry! If you only do 5 out of 14 days, so what? That’s 5 days that you intentionally spent time with your children ministering to them in one way or another and making memories. Also, this list doesn’t have to take 14 straight days! These are activities you can come back to again and again to make sure you’re taking the time to be present with your kids.

parenting with a purpose

Most popular post: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

2 Week Challenge to Be More Present with Your Kids

Below is a list of my day-by-day challenges and Biblical explanations. If you would like a printable version of this to store in your journal or Bible or keep on your fridge, scroll to the bottom and follow the directions.

Day 1: Pray over your children

For This Child I Have Prayed - 1 samuel 1:27

God has blessed you with the gift of children, even if they don’t seem like a gift every moment of the day.

Take a moment today to pray for your children. Tell God how amazed you are with these tiny creations that will grow (or have grown) into young adults. Confess any parenting guilt you may have and give that guilt to God.Thank God for their talents and their quirks. Ask Him to guide them to their purpose. You could choose to do this privately or over your children.

You may also be interested in: 5 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children

Day 2: Pray about what is distracting you from your mom-istry

Today, ask God to spotlight exactly what is causing you to be distracted from the priority of spending time with and building up your children. Give those anxieties about not getting things done to God and ask Him to reveal to you how to balance the to-dos and your family. Also, ask Him to reveal things that you may need to say “no” to that are unnecessary and taking away precious time with your kids.

Hebrews 12:1-2 ~ Looking to Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our ...

See also: There’s Another in the Fire: Dealing with Anxiety in Mommyhood

Day 3: Share and discuss a Bible story with your kids

matthew 7:24

Share you favorite Bible story with your kids or one that has been on your heart. Ask your kids what their favorite Bible stories are and read those as well. Discuss the stories. Why are they your favorites? How can you apply them to what is going on in your lives today? What is revealed to us about God in the stories?

If you have a baby that can’t understand stories yet, read a children’s Bible to them with lots of colorful pictures. It is never too early to pour the Word into your child.

Check out: How to Manage Your Time with a Newborn

Day 4: Set family-time goals

On day 4, take the time to write down a goal of how much time you want/need to spend with your kids. Pray about this and ask for guidance. This could be a daily goal or weekly goal. Or if you work odd shifts that keep you away from your family, your goal could be a monthly or bi-weekly family day with no distractions.

Day 5: Take care of your temple

Exercise with your family today. Go for a walk, play an exercise game on the Wii. Play soccer. Go swimming. And while you’re doing that, discuss with your kids about their temples and how and why we should take care of them.

Pin on Our Blog: She's Intentional 1 corinthians 6:19-20

Readers have also liked: Am I a Good Mother? : The Biblical Definition

Day 6: Set screen-time limits

As a family — not you with your family listening — discuss the negative effects of overuse of screens especially before bed. Discuss together what would be a good time to turn off the phones, tablets, laptops, etc. and just spend time with each other.

My husband and I turn off our phones and I stop working on my laptop by 7:30 because Joshua is generally asleep by this time. We eat supper, talk about each other’s days, play games, and when we’re too tired for much else, cuddle on the couch and watch something we both enjoy.

You may also be interested in: 10 Baby Hacks for a Happier Baby and Happier You

Day 7: Really listen to your child

Pin on JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN matthew 18:4

“Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I can do a cartwheel.”

Sound familiar?

The things your children — even your teens or adult kids — have to say may not seem important to you, but they are important enough to them to share them with you (as I’m sure you have experienced when trying to share something important to your kids.)

Today, when your child has something to say, stop what you’re doing and really listen. If you’re in the middle of something, say “I really do want to hear this. Give me a minute to finish up with this and we can sit down and talk about it.” Don’t pretend to listen. Kids are smart! Children that don’t think you want to hear what they think is important to them turn into teens who don’t want to talk to their parents.

You may also be interested in: 10 More Baby Hacks

Day 8: Start a bedtime prayer routine

Teach your children to say their prayers before bed. Do this as a family every night. A house full of prayer is a house void of evil.

Remember this little diddy? “The family that prays together stays together.”

Joshua 24:15 Me and my House - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads ...

You may also like: Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas

Day 9: Date night with the kids

Go on a date with your kids. You could decide to do this as a group or separately with each individual child. You could take your sons out on a date and your husband take your daughters. Whatever works for your family. Show your kids what they should expect from and look for in a godly partner and how treat each other appropriately on a date. Teach them what to look out for and what to be weary of — with age-appropriateness in mind, of course.

intentional parenting

Day 10: Enjoy a sweet moment without your phone in your face

When your baby giggles for the first time or your child does a precious dance, put down your phone. You don’t have to post every life moment to Facebook (again, I’m preaching to the choir!!). Live in that moment and see it for yourself rather than through your phone’s camera.

Day 11: Read together

One of my most treasured memories from my teen years is taking turns reading a novel with my family. We only did this once but we absolutely loved it. We were avidly spending time together and discussing what was going on rather than just watching TV in a vegetative state.

My mom started reading to me before I could speak. The benefits of reading to your kids, no matter their age, are infinite.

RelatedEnjoy the Little Moments, Mom!

Day 12: Write down your prayers about your kids’ futures

Jeremiah 29:11 Watercolor Bible Verse Pink | Bible verse | Cosellie

Write down a prayer about your children’s futures; their career, their calling, their future spouse, their future children, their future grandchildren, etc. Hear what God is saying to you about their futures. Either give this prayer to your kids now or hold onto it until they graduate or marry.

See also: The 10 Mommin’ Commandments

Day 13: Family game night

Have a designated night once a week or several times a month — whatever works for your schedules — for family game night! Nothing helps you really get to know your family members like some good, old fashioned competition. My husband and I have a Monopoly collection of over 20 Monopoly games including Doctor Who, A&M University, and Sponge Bob. We are very competitive and I can’t wait until Joshua is old enough to play!

Here are some of our faves!

Day 14: Let them help

You know that thing that your kids always want to help you with but you know it will take to long if you do? Folding towels, going with you to the bank, watering the plants. Let them do it today! So it takes an extra 30 minutes? Your child wants to spend time with you. Before you know it, they won’t want to spend time with you anymore. So your towels won’t get folded perfectly? Be silly and enjoy the moment with your kiddo!

I hope you enjoyed my 14 day challenge to be more present with your kids! Want more ideas? Follow my Less Screen Time Pinterest board! 👇🏻

Want a printable version of the challenge to hang on your fridge? By signing up for my email list, you will receive access to my free printables library with LOTS of checklists and info-graphics for mommin’!

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When to Teach Baby Sign Language

when to teach baby sign language
baby sign language when to start

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

I started Baby Sign Language with Joshua, my 7-month-old, last month. A few days after turning 7 months, he signed “milk” right before bed-time! I was absolutely elated! My little baby boy was communicating with me!

I have been in love with American Sign Language since kindergarten and I always knew my children would have that same love, too. Then, when I heard about Baby Sign Language, my heart leapt even more for the opportunity to not only get to teach my babies this beautiful language, but also the opportunity to be able to communicate with them earlier.

when can you teach baby sign language

One of the great things about Baby Sign Language is that you don’t have to be fluent in, or have any experience at all with American Sign Language (ASL). Literally anyone with an ambition to help their children communicate earlier can do it!

You may still be deciding whether or not you want to do Baby Sign Language with your little one. There may be some things keeping you from starting, like the idea — er myth — that Baby Sign Language causes delays in speech, your child is no longer baby-status, or you just don’t know where to start. Well, no worries, Mama! I will be addressing those things and more right here!

You may also be interested in: The 6-Month Purge

Why Baby Sign Language?

Myths and Benefits of Baby Sign Language

Myths

Myth #1 — Baby Sign Language will slow down verbal development
On the contrary, Baby Sign Language actually speeds up verbal development! Think about it. Babies learn the value of communication earlier and that each object has a name. They learn the skills of communicating which lays down the framework for sooner, rather than later, communicating with words. To read more about the science behind this, check out Pregnant Chicken‘s blog.

Myth #2 — Babies will depend on signs over words when they do start talking
This may be true for children who are painfully shy or have low speaking skills for developmental reasons, but in this case those children are being given another option to communicate rather than being completely non-verbal. Besides that situation, there is no evidence that children without genetic developmental delays will depend on signs once they start speaking.

Benefits

Benefit #1 — Baby can communicate with parents earlier
Babies who are taught Baby Sign Language can learn to communicate 4 months (sometimes as early as 6 months) before babies who have not be taught this.

Benefit #2 — Signing babies tend to become smarter adults
Studies have shown that Baby Sign Language raises an IQ an average of 12 points!

Not to mention these great benefits provided by CanDoKiddo.com 👇🏽

Baby Sign language benefits
See also: Amazing Tips and Products for Deaf Parents and Parents of Deaf Children

When to Start Baby Sign Language?

It’s Never too Early to Start Baby Sign Language

Before Joshua was born, I asked all the mamas I knew who use Baby Sign Language how early they started signing to their little ones. All of them told me they started as soon as their baby was born. This is great, but it’s not necessary. Baby will enjoy watching you move your hands around, but studies show they really won’t start understanding it as communication until 6 months and probably won’t sign back to you until 8 months. So, you can start as early as you want — it won’t hurt anything — but it also won’t benefit anything until your baby is halfway to a year.

I waited until Joshua was 6 months for that reason and because being a first-time mom is stressful and I didn’t want to add one more thing to my plate until it was time to! I’m happy to report that after a month of consistent signing, Joshua signed “milk” 2 days after turning 7 months.

It’s Never too Late to Start Baby Sign Language!

A lot of people with young children tell me “I wish I had started Baby Sign Language with them when they were still babies. The truth is, it’s never too late to start! I didn’t start learning sign language until kindergarten (Baby Sign Language uses signs from ASL).

You can use Baby Sign Language with your toddler as well!

how to teach baby sign language

Most Popular Post: 20 Baby Must-Haves in 2020

How to Start Baby Sign Language?

I was definitely overly ambitious the first few days. Day 1, I signed everything since I’m fluent in ASL and just figured this was the way to go. This got exhausting real fast!

On Day 2, I slowed my roll to just signing his vocabulary words within my sentences, but then I realized I had unrealistically chosen way too many words to start with!

By Day 3, I had refined my list to a handful of practical words. I chose words I use often with Joshua that weren’t too difficult a concept for a 6-month-old to eventually grasp — for example, originally I was signing every flavor of his baby food, but decided just to sign “fruit” and “vegetables;” I could simplify it even more to “food.”

Related: Baby’s First Foods Schedule and Tips

Choose Simple, Practical Signs

BabySignLanguage.com suggests choosing 3-5 signs and to use them as often as possible with baby.

The signs I am currently using with Joshua are:
-Milk
-Vegetables
-Fruit
-All done (his favorite sign)

Once he begins to use these signs to communicate, I will slowly add more signs.

BabySignLanguage.com also has a list of their top ten suggested starter signs with printable flash cards.

How to Use Baby Sign Language

It is best to use the signs within a sentence. So, when feeding Joshua, I hold up his bottle and ask “Do you want your milk?” while signing “milk.” I try to sign “milk” every single time I say milk so that eventually he will associate the sign, word, and object.

Check this out: The 10 Commandments of Mommin’

The BEST Resources for Teaching Baby Sign Language

Books for Parents on Baby Sign Language

🤟🏿Baby Sign Language Made Easy — Baby Sign Language expert, Lane Rebelo will guide parents on how to quickly and effectively teach their little one Baby Sign Language with songs, activities, and frustration-free organization.
🤟🏾The Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language — Another book by expert Lane Rebelo. Once your baby has mastered their first 100 signs from Baby Sign Language Made Easy you can move onto this book which includes over 200 signs that they will be itching to learn next!

Books for Baby on Baby Sign Language

🤟🏽Baby Signs — A board book to use during play to teach Baby Sign Language. Some of the illustrations make teaching difficult, so make sure you have another way of learning the sign besides just this book.
🤟🏼My First Signs — Another board book to use during play to teach Baby Sign Language. More signs and more detailed instructions for signs.

Websites on Baby Sign Language

🤟🏼Official ASL online dictionary
🤟🏻Baby Sign Language online dictionary

You may also enjoy: Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas

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Checklist for 6 Month Old Baby

checklist for 6 month old baby
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I cannot believe it’s been half a year since Joshua came into our lives! And in just half a year, our little man will be ONE!

Just like my little one, I’m sure your 6 month old is becoming a whole new kid; their personality is really coming through — Joshua is heavy on the sass–, they’re trying to become independent — pushing away from kisses and starting to crawl — , and they are gaining an interest your food — trying to grab your cup or plate. Your kiddo is growing, which I’m sure brings mixed emotions of elation and sadness! They’re learning all new skills that you have to nurture and encourage! There’s all these new products you need to buy! Well, no worries, Mom! I have a list of all the necessary things you need now that your little is 6 months!

Related: The 3-Month Purge

1. Bottles and Pacifiers

First of all, throw out all of your baby’s used pacis and bottle nipples! There are a number of reasons for this including hygiene issues and developmental milestones in your little one. As soon as you notice any damage to a nipple or pacifier it should be thrown away, but manufacturers recommend going ahead and replacing them every 2 months just to be safe.

Bottles & Nipples

If you didn’t make the switch by 4 months, know that developmentally your child is ready for a medium flow nipple (packages will be marked “4-12 months”) which she will be using until she is a year old. Throw away all used bottle nipples she has used up to this point. You should not save these for a future child. They could already be damaged or close to cracking which could be a hygiene issue or cause colic for a future baby.

You can either toss the bottles that go with the used nipples, or keep them for back-up, but you should go ahead and buy bottles that hold 8-9 oz if you haven’t already as 6 month olds eat 6-8 oz per feeding.

My son’s favorite bottles and nipples are Medela — a high quality, popular brand, but he also likes Parent’s Choice — a very affordable brand.

6 month old baby toys

I will be the first to say I let Joshua use the same nipples and pacifiers for a little too long because, honestly, MOM BRAIN! But just last month, I found out about this GREAT service on Amazon! If you buy these Medela nipples, you can schedule Amazon to automatically charge your card and send more at a customized interval anywhere from every 2 weeks to every 6 months. I have mine scheduled for every 2 months, so when they come in the mail I just throw out the old ones and cycle in the new ones without having to keep track of how long he has been using them!

See also: Baby Hacks for a Happier Baby and Happier You

Pacifiers

Your pacifier size is no longer age appropriate for your 6 month old. It’s time to buy 6-18 month pacis, however, if your baby is starting to get teeth then you should start weening him off pacifiers for hygienic and orthodontic reasons.

Unfortunately, WubbaNubs are no longer age appropriate for children over 6 months of age. My son loves his WubbaNubs, so I cut off the pacifier part, threw them away, then gave them to him to play with as stuffed animals. *To avoid suffocation, you should never leave your child alone with a stuffed animal.

toys for a 6 month old baby

If your child still hasn’t cut teeth and you’re not ready to ween him off the pacifier, you will need to buy the next size up (6-18 months) of pacis. We have been using the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier since Joshua was born. Now that your child is over 6 months old, he is ready for what Philips calls the “fashion” pacifier. We are in love with their Ultra Air Blue/Green bears pacis.

You may also be interested in: 10 More Baby Hacks

2. High Chair

If you didn’t start feeding your little one sometime in the past two months, it’s time to start now. (Pediatricians usually recommend waiting until 6 months, but some say they can start as early as 4 months.) If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to invest in a high chair.

There are 3 main types of high chairs — the traditional high chair, the clamp-on-seat that connects to the side of a table, and the booster seat high chair; the one you choose depends on your preferences and house/storage size.

As my family lives in a pretty small house, we decided it would be the best fit for us to get a foldable traditional high chair. Our chairs are too short for a booster seat to be comfortable for us to feed my son, Joshua and the idea of my squirmy little one hanging off the side of a table just didn’t sit well with me.

We chose the Graco Table2Table Fold 7-in-1 High Chair for our “tiny home.” I was very impressed with the Graco brand when we bought our stroller, so I knew this was a brand I could trust. I love any product that grows with your child (money I don’t have to spend later). This high chair turns into a booster seat, a seat with a table, and a toddler youth chair. Also, you can sit your toddler in the toddler chair and baby in the booster seat at the same time. My favorite part? It’s foldable! You can easily store it away when it’s not in use. (It comes in three different colors that range from $139-169, so make sure you click on the three color options to choose the best price/color combo for you!)

best 6 month old baby toys
must have for 6 month old baby

3. Boppy

Your 6-month-old should be able to, or almost be able to sit up on her own. By now, she probably hates laying back in her bouncer, crib, or swing and will need something supportive to help her get a better look at the world.

6 month old baby must have

Boppys are recommended to help your infant strengthen her back and neck muscles.

The Boppy is great to start using as soon as your baby first starts trying to sit up. You can prop her up or let her lean back on the Boppy. The pillow is thick and tall enough to make up for your little’s lack of core strength and will help her build it.

The Boppy comes in dozens of different designs, and the covers can be easily removed to be washed in the washing machine (my favorite aspect, of course), so I would recommend buying at least one extra Bobby cover so you can still use the Boppy when one cover is in the wash.

4. Sleep Sacks

Around 3-6 months, your baby will be ready to transition out of a swaddle. If your baby can roll over on his own, get completely out of the swaddle, or has started getting very frustrated with the swaddle, it’s time to transition!

So, what’s next for your bundle of joy?

You can either transition to a Sleep Sack or straight into pajamas.

The Halo SleepSack will have the familiar warmth of the swaddle, but your baby’s arms will be free in case he rolls over in his sleep. Halo even makes sleep sacks that wrap snug around your little’s torso to help him feel even more like he is still in the swaddle. The National Sleep Foundation says your baby should be in a SleepSack until he turns 1.

5. Baby Food, Food Processor, and Supplies

Pretty soon, you are going to get the go ahead from your pediatrician to start letting your baby eat baby food — this should be a very interesting experience! If you have not already made the decision about whether or not you want to buy baby food or make your own, you should probably make that decision now.

Store Bought Baby Food

If you do plan on buying baby food, I encourage you to research the best brands. This will be the first manufactured food (unless your baby has been drinking formula) that will go into your little one’s body. They are not used to manufactured foods like we are, so it is best to make sure you are putting quality, safe, and natural products into your child. There are some great, reputable organic baby food brands out there!

Plum Organics, a certified organic non-GMO brand, was ranked the #1 baby puree in 2020. The Stage 1 Plum Organics (what your baby will start out with) has only 1 ingredient, fruit! It has no artificial preservatives or sweeteners and is unsalted — not to mention kosher. You can buy an 8-pack with 4 different flavors, a 9-pack with 3 different flavors, or an 18-pack with 3 different flavors. The packaging is BPA free which is always a plus for our littles (and for ourselves). And if you’re really into the environment you will be happy to hear that the packaging is recyclable.

Baby Food Processor

must have for 6 month baby

If you’re still wanting to be in charge of every ingredient that goes into your little one’s mouth — like this control freak mama right here! — and you have a farmer’s market in the area (or a green thumb), then you have the option of making your own baby food. This really excites me as a mom because I feel like I am nurturing my child in every way possible! I get to change him, cuddle him, love him, and now I get to make his food!

We have the Magic Bullet Baby Bullet food processor for making Joshua’s baby food. I love that it comes with tons of accessories including a mixing bowl, a spatula, separate containers for the refrigerator and freezer which have rotating caps to mark the date, and a recipe book that tells you how to introduce new foods and gives suggestions of which foods to try based on your child’s developmental level! I just love products that manufacturers obviously put parents first when they were creating it, and this is one of those products!

Other Essential Feeding Supplies

Everywhere you turn in my house is a package of baby hand-and-face wipes. I don’t want to have to go hunt them down every time Joshua drools, spits up, eats pureed carrots, etc. These are a life saver. And I learned the hard way that you don’t want to wipe your baby’s face with regular baby wipes or a tissue. Joshua broke out in a painful rash on his cheeks after just a few days of that.

Don’t forget infant spoons and bibs! We absolutely love these apron-like bibs!

You will also want spoons made just for your baby to hold so he can practice feeding himself. I let Joshua try to spoon a few mouthfuls in his mouth — they usually end up on the side of his face — and then feed the rest to him myself.

Related: Baby’s First Foods Schedule and Tips

6. 6 Month+ Toys/Teething Toys/Activity Mat

Your baby has probably started grabbing things she isn’t supposed to be — mine loves to eat the Roku remote — so it’s time to get her some 6-month-old toys!

Teething Toys

Provide your little with some toys that double as teethers as she could very well be sprouting teeth soon. Teething can start anywhere from 2-6 months, but both my son and I started showing early signs of teething at just 1-month-old, so get those teething toys as soon as possible because you don’t want to need them and not have them! Make sure you have teethers that you can freeze and the ones that don’t have to be frozen. Sometimes my son likes the frozen ones and sometimes he doesn’t; babies are pretty persnickety!

Developmentally Appropriate Toys for a 6 Month Old

You’re baby will be working on learning some important skills this month, so look for toys that teach or encourage cause-and-effect, fine and gross motor skills, object permanence (a toy still exists even if it’s out of sight), language and speech skills, cognitive skills, social skills, and touching/smelling/tasting senses.

Here’s Joshua’s top six favorite “BIG KID TOYS”:

*The above 6 photos are my son’s favorite toys either directly from or inspired by Kate Ward’s list.

Activity Mats

It’s also a wonderful idea to purchase an activity mat! These generally come with colorful, noise-making toys and will help your baby love tummy-time! They also fold up easily for storage, so if you don’t have a lot of room for toys, an activity mat could be an alternative to a bucket full of toys.

The new trend is water mats! It’s just like an activity mat, except it has water in it! Instead of your baby laying on her back to play, she is laying on her tummy moving objects around inside the mat. Unlike an activity mat that generally has the toys above her, this mat encourages crawling and helps her use muscles she wouldn’t be using while laying on her back. They also tend to be more affordable than activity mats.

Baby Sign Lanuage

Your baby is also developmentally ready to start learning baby sign language! We love the My First Signs board book. Baby will love watching these new movements you’re making and may try to repeat them, but you probably won’t start seeing them use them to communicate until 8 months.

Readers also like: 20 Baby Must Haves in 2020

7. Activity Center

Now that your sweetheart is holding up his head on his own, it’s time to upgrade to an activity center! I my son was more than ready to get out of his bouncer and have some activities to do! Activity centers come in every kind of variety you could imagine — bouncing, spinning, wobbling, stationary — the options are endless! Your choice in activity center ultimately comes down to space in your home, how much you’re willing to pay, and the kind of activities you think your little will enjoy the most. You’ve been around him for 6 months now, you have some idea of what toys and activities he likes and doesn’t like.

best 6 month old baby toys

must have for 6 month baby
6 month old baby must have

Bonus Item: Baby Proofing Supplies

Before you know it, your little one will be crawling if she isn’t already. Just think of all the things she can get into! Go ahead and stock up on some baby-proofing tools:
Magnetic Cabinet and Door Locks
Outlet Plug Covers
Sharp Corner Protectors
Oven Door Lock
Furniture Anchors
Door Knob Covers
Toilet Lock
Power Strip Cover
Stove Knob Covers

Time sure has flown since you brought your baby home! I know you’re looking back and thinking how far you have come as a mother and how much your baby has learned in just 6 short months! Before you know it, your baby will be ONE and you will be wondering how he got so big! I pray this next chapter of your infant’s life goes as smoothly as it can, and, in the trying moments, you stop and take the time to appreciate how small and precious this gift is.

You’ve got this, Mom!

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10 Parenting Rules Based on Biblical Truths

biblical quotes on parenting

As a first time mom, my motto used to be “Do all the things.” I thought I had to have a spotless house; keep track of every diaper change, bottle feeding, color of poo, etc.; be the perfect wife; have scheduled, daily me-time; say “yes” to all my engagements; and so on.

Very quickly, I got overwhelmed and burnt out! Soon, my motto became “TRY all the things, prioritize, and take time for you.” From there, I came up with my 10 Mommin’ Commandments to help me not overdo it, take time for me, and make time for what is most important.

The 10 Commandments of Mommin’

1. God first. Then family. Put nothing else before these two.

It’s so easy to get distracted by the daily routine and forget to nurture our relationships with the most important people — God and our family.

You may also be interested in: Am I a Good Mother? : The Biblical Definition

2. Have a set time of evening to unplug and be present with your family!

I know how easy it can be to just sit on the couch and veg-out on social media until bedtime, but that isn’t healthy for you as an individual or for your relationships with your family. One night before bed, I looked up from my phone and realized my husband and I had probably said 10 words to each other in 24 hours! We try to turn off our phones by the time Joshua is in bed — around 7:30 — and just be together.

See also: There’s Another in the Fire: Giving it to God

3. Speak life. Be slow to anger.

These may be two separate ideas, but I included them together because, to me, they go hand-in-hand.

When I get angry — and boy can I get hot-headed — I start speaking all kinds of ugliness into those who have agitated me.

God is definitely working on me to be slower to anger, but I continue to pray everyday that when my children frustrate me that I will not speak any “death” into their lives.

Related: Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!

4. Always set aside quality time for family.

This may seem like commandment #2 (unplugging and being present with your family in the evenings) but it’s entirely different. This is planning a time to spend with your family building your relationships.

This could look like a monthly family outing, a weekly game night, or going for a walk together after school and work. Whatever you choose, intentional time needs to be set aside to grow stronger as a family.

You may also like: Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas

5. Teach your children to honor their parents, but also respect your children as people. Show them the love you expect to receive.

Don’t get me wrong; children and adults are not equals. Children should be taught to respect and obey their elders, but that does not mean treating a child like they are insignificant or unimportant. Sometimes children can be much more wiser than adults and should be included from family decisions and conversations as much as possible.

Related: The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule

6. Do not kill a child’s dreams.

Tell your children they can do anything! Even if their current dream is something totally imaginative, impossible, or little income. They’re kids! Their dreams will change a million times before they decide! The point is that they believe there is no limit to what they can do as long as they are determined enough.

What could we achieve if we dreamed like a child?

You may also be interested in: 5 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Children

7. Always be honest to your children.

It’s so easy to lie to our kids to avoid awkward conversations, but kids tend to remember and catch you in that lie eventually.

If they ask you something that you can’t answer fully for one

reason or another — like “Where do babies come from?” — don’t lie, but tell them what you can tell them for their age.

If we expect our kids to be 100% truthful to us, we should give them a model to follow.

Most popular post: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

8. Do not steal time from yourself. Set aside time for some quality “me-time.”

Make time for yourself or you will burn out!

Hand the kiddos off to dad and go read a book. Trade off with another mom to watch the circus while you go get a mani-pedi. Drop them off at vacation Bible school in the summer and window shop at your favorite store! Whatever you need to do to rejuvenate yourself, do it! Listen to your body trying to tell you to slow down and chill out — I’m preaching to the choir, Mama!

Check out: How to Manage Your Time with a Newborn

9. Always own up to your mistakes. Teach your kids that no one is perfect and we should be humble.

When I taught high schoolers, I had issues with the students ganging up against the teachers and tattling to the principal about tests being too hard, giving too much work, not having enough time to do an assignment, etc.

The majority of the time, it was the students fault for not listening, waiting until last minute to get their work done, etc.

I finally got fed up with this and had a talk with the students. I told them that they wanted to be treated as adults but wouldn’t own up to their own mistakes. I told them this is on of the most important qualities of growing up and that they won’t be taken seriously by their parents or teachers until they started owning up to their mistakes.

I never had a problem with them pointing fingers at their teachers again.

You may also like: The Good Friday Mom : A Lesson From Mary on Motherhood

10. Don’t compare your children to their siblings or to other people’s children.

One of the most harmful things you could say to a child is “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister/cousin/etc.” Just like you have your shortcomings, so does your child, but they also have areas they shine! They may be struggling with everything right now, but eventually their calling will be revealed and speaking encouragement into them will give them hope and courage to find their gift!

I hope my “commandments” spoke life into you today! What’s a personal commandment, rule, motto, or mantra you have for yourself as a mama? Comment below! I would love to hear from you!

You may also be interested in: 10 Baby Hacks for a Happier Baby and Happier You

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Cute Father’s Day Ideas From Baby

cute fathers day ideas from baby
diy first fathers day gifts from baby
best fathers day gift from baby

How is it June already? And guess what! Father’s Day is right around the corner!

Looking for DIY First Mother’s Day Gifts from Baby ?

You’re in the right place if… you’re a mama wanting to do something sweet for your hubby who has been your ROCK since the new baby came into the picture OR if you’re a parent wanting to make a cute do-it-yourself gift from baby to grandpa!

homemade fathers day gift from baby

I’ve compiled a list of the best DIY first Father’s Day gifts from baby. Some of them will look like mother’s day gifts or grandparents day gifts but that’s because I thought they were precious and could easily be converted into Father’s Day gifts.

Related: Inexpensive and Free Date Ideas

DIY Father’s Day Gifts From Baby

👉🏼👉🏼To find the original post and/or how-to (if available) about each project, click the photo or the link in the caption below the photo!

Finger Painting Gift Ideas

Here are some precious hand and/or foot print ideas for your little bitty to “help” you with. I have learned from hand painting experience to use washable paint and wipe it off the hand as soon as you’re done to avoid paint all over baby’s face and hair! 🤣

homemade grandpa gift from baby
Here is the how-to if your baby is old enough to finger paint.
homemade grandparents day gift from baby
Make it yourself or buy it here for $24.95.
grandparents day gift from baby
DIY your own or buy it here for $20.
Previous Post: Baby’s First Foods Schedule and Tips

Photo Shoot Gift Ideas

If you don’t want to mess with paint or don’t see yourself as the “crafty” type, then a photo shoot is for you! Don’t worry about having an expensive camera. Your phone should be able to take some great photos! And daddy (or grandpa) won’t mind if they’re not professional.

You may also be interested in: 20 Baby Must-Haves in 2020

I hope these 14 ideas brought you some inspiration! Let us know in the comments which ones you tried and how it went! In the meantime, make sure to follow our Holiday Activities and Hacks Pinterest Board (there’s a Father’s Day section within this board) to stay updated on the cutest Father’s Day gifts!

Pin these photos! 👇🏿

fathers day gift from baby
first fathers day gift from baby
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Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas

stay at home date night ideas quarantine

Stay at Home Date Night

Life has gotten sort of robotic since Joshua was born 6 months ago! Half. A. Year! Boy, how time flies by! In a time of chaos, you crave routine, especially since babies tend to need a new routine monthly because they have grown out of their old one!

Earlier this week, I went to bed while my husband, Garrett stayed up late playing video games. I almost forgot to kiss him goodnight. When I crawled under my covers alone, I realized that we have become roommates rather than spouses, best friends, and lovers. It can be so easy to fall into a routine to nurture baby that parents can forget to take the time to nurture their marriage.

A marriage, just as any other relationship, left neglected can eventually wither out and die; and we don’t want that!

When searching for Bible verses for this post, I happened upon this one and it made me giggle:

proverbs 5:18-19 quarantine date night

But really, as awkward of a verse that that may be to read out loud, those 35 words speak volumes about the relationship we should have with our spouses!

You may also be interested in: 5 Scriptures to Pray over Your Child

Before baby, hubby and I used to have date night once a week. One date night a month was a going-out date night, but the other weeks were stay-at-home, cheap or free dates. After a few months of stay-at-home date nights becoming just sitting on the couch watching a movie with our faces in our cell phones, we decided that date-night-in had to be more planned out. We could watch a movie together, but only after we did an engaging activity that took our eyes off the screens and onto each other.

If you’re reading this in 2020, it’s highly likely you are looking for fun date ideas you can do without leaving the house and, maybe, are affordable or free because you’re currently not working.

No worries! Here are some stay-at-home date ideas that won’t break the bank and will help rekindle that beautiful flame between the two of you!

1 corinthians 13:4-8 stay at home date night ideas

FREE Stay at Home Date Night:

  • Build a blanket fort (Our mattress is light enough that we take it into the living room and use that as the base.)
  • If you live near a park or place to walk around while social distancing, take a walk. (Shout out to Memphis Putman for sharing this idea with us!)
  • Create quarantine coupon books for each other (Back rub, he picks the movie, you do one of his chores, fishing trip when the quarantine is over, etc.)
  • Paint/draw each other’s portraits (Don’t let the other person see it until it’s done. My husband and I did this, and we still have ours hung on our fridge. The finished products were hilarious and a great memory! See the picture? He painted me and I painted him. 🤣)
  • If you have a yard, go stargazing or sleep under the stars
  • Play your favorite board game/card game/video game (or create your own!)
  • If you have a boat or ATV, take it out for the day! There should be some places you can social distance!
  • Find a dance tutorial on YouTube and have a free “dance class”
  • Karaoke party (You can search just about any song on YouTube with “karaoke” behind it and find the karaoke version. For example, “my girl karaoke“. To prepare, you could go ahead and make a playlist or just wing it!)
painting date night at home

Related: Inexpensive and Free Date and Gift Ideas He Will L♥VE
  • Spa night (Give each other a back and foot massage.)
  • Scavenger hunt (Send each other around the house or around the yard.)
  • Go to a local park that has a free tennis court, volleyball court, or basketball court and play against each other (or invite another couple and play doubles… just not in basketball).
  • Watch the sunset
  • Create a couple’s bucket list together (You can create a specific one for what you will do when you get out of quarantine.)
  • Sit down together and each write 26 date ideas on pieces of paper. Put them in a jar, and you now have 52 weeks of date ideas that one or both of you would enjoy! (Look on Pinterest for date ideas. Make sure to throw in some cheap and free options.)
  • Pick wild flowers, and make a bouquet together
  • Sit together with a cup of coffee and talk. Turn off your phones and just be present with each other.
  • Take “The Intimacy Acceleration” quiz — the quiz Penny and Sheldon test in Big Bang Theory to see if it will make them more attracted to each other and by Daniel and Natasha in The Sun is Also a Star movie and book. Don’t forget to stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes at the end. (My husband and I did this and really enjoyed the experience!) Here and here are clips from the episode on Big Bang Theory about the quiz.
date night at home activities
  • Work out together (This increases endorphins and euphoria.) (You can find workouts on Pinterest or YouTube.
  • Find funny BuzzFeed couple quizzes
  • Make a time capsule
  • Participate in his favorite hobby with him
  • Go on a free virtual museum tour … check out this one, too!
You may also enjoy: The Good Friday Mom

Inexpensive Stay at Home Date Night:

romantic date nights at home
  • Cook him a romantic dinner (You can never go wrong with steak… or recreate the meal you had on your first date or at your wedding.)
  • Find a cooking tutorial on YouTube and have a in-home “cooking class”
  • Just drive around and talk (I put this under “inexpensive” since you have to pay for gas.)
  • Rent a movie from Redbox, gather popcorn and candy, and turn the lights down for a movie night! (Make sure to melt LOTS of butter!)
  • Have a picnic in your yard or on your porch… or in your living room (This could be free if you grab food you already have on hand.)
  • Netflix and Chill
  • Camp out in the living room (make s’mores in the microwave!)
  • Think of 10-20 questions that your spouse may not know about you (and you about him) and compete for who knows whom better. Loser gives winner a foot massage or has to pass over the remote for 1 night.
  • Bake some yummy cookies, decorate them with icing and sprinkles, and post on social media for people to vote who made the best. THEN EAT THEM!
  • Fly a kite in your yard or a park/beach with little people
  • Tie-dye and/or paint shirts for each other
Related: 37 Quarantine Activities for Seniors

Liked these date ideas? Follow my Date Night Pinterest board:

I hope you enjoyed my lists and found some great ideas! It honestly doesn’t matter what the two of you are doing as long as you are spending intentional time together.

You’ve got this, Mom!

What are some stay-at-home date night ideas you have done? Which of the ideas from above are you excited to try? I would love to hear from you! Comment below. 👇🏼

Loved my post? Pin it to Pinterest or share it with a mama who needs some date ideas!

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Featured

DIY First Mother’s Day Gifts From Baby

17 DIY first mother's day gifts from baby

Can you believe it? Mother’s Day is right around the corner!

You’re in the right place if… you’re a dad wanting to do something sweet for your wife who has been working so hard with a new baby OR if you’re a parent wanting to make a cute do-it-yourself gift from baby to grandma!

17 mother's day gift ideas from baby

I’ve compiled a list of the best DIY first Mother’s Day gifts from baby. Some of them will look like father’s day gifts or grandparents day gifts but that’s because it’s difficult to find ideas DIY mother’s day gifts due to the fact that mamas usually take the initiative of making something for father’s day over daddies making something for mother’s day. (But good for you, Dad! Trust me! Mama Bear is going to love something handmade from you and Baby Bear!) All of the DIY gift ideas I have picked out for you can easily be converted into Mother’s Day gifts!

Related: Inexpensive and Free Date Ideas

DIY Mother’s Day Gifts From Baby

👉🏼👉🏼To find the original post and/or how-to (if available) about each project, click the photo or the link in the caption below the photo!

Finger Painting Gift Ideas

Here are some precious hand and/or foot print ideas for your little bitty to “help” you with. I have learned from hand painting experience to use washable paint and wipe it off the hand as soon as you’re done to avoid paint all over baby’s face and hair! 🤣

Make it yourself or buy it here for $24.95.
DIY your own or buy it here for $20.
Get the how-to and free printable gift tag here.
Find the how-to here.
Here is the how-to if your baby is old enough to finger paint.
Previous Post: Baby’s First Foods Schedule and Tips

Photo Shoot Gift Ideas

If you don’t want to mess with paint or don’t see yourself as the “crafty” type, then a photo shoot is for you! Don’t worry about having an expensive camera. Your phone should be able to take some great photos! And mama (or grandma) won’t mind if they’re not professional.

You may also be interested in: 20 Baby Must-Haves in 2020

I hope these 17 ideas brought you some inspiration! Let us know in the comments which ones you tried and how it went! In the meantime, make sure to follow our Holiday Activities and Hacks Pinterest Board (there’s a Mother’s Day board within this board) to stay updated on the cutest mother’s day gifts!

Pin these photos! 👇🏿

17 DIY mother's day gifts from baby
17 diy mother's day gift ideas from baby
easy homemade mother's day gift ideas from baby
Featured

The Ultimate Remedy for Baby Constipation

ultimate remedy for baby constipation
Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

Baby constipation… We all know it’s going to happen and it’s not going to be fun for anyone involved. I’m used to my son, Joshua having irregular bowel movements (yum). He has only been going once every other day since he was 3 weeks old, and his pediatrician is fine with that. He has been constipated a few times, but he always gets through it just fine on his own. After all, “infants often do not require active treatment for constipation.” In one of my favorite quotes on the subject of poo 💩, HealthyChildren.org says, “Infants normally work really hard to have a bowel movement, so straining at the stool isn’t necessarily alarming, even when the infant cries or gets red in the face. For an infant to have a bowel movement can be a major effort, and it shows. Just imagine trying to poop lying on your back and you’ll get the picture.”

when babies are constipated

When to Worry About My Baby’s Constipation

There’s little need to worry right up front if your infant is constipated. All these organs are new and still figuring out how to work properly. If your baby has started eating baby food or formula or taken a medication he has never taken before, his body is probably figuring out what to do with it (like when we gorge on Tex-Mex on Taco Tuesday 🌮🤠).

You ultimately know your child better than anyone else. You know when a grunt is just a usual grunt — we all grunt when we poo, right? — and when a red face is just a toot, and you will know when something is up and he seems to be in pain.

It’s Time to Break Out a Baby Constipation Remedy When…

  1. You can tell he is in more pain than usual when having a bowel movement.
  2. She is spitting up more than usual.
  3. He is having dramatically more or fewer bowel movements.
  4. Her belly is really taut or hard.

Call the Doctor About Your Baby’s Constipation When…

  1. She has been constipated for at least 4 days.
  2. A fever of 100.4°F or higher is accompanying the constipation.
  3. He has refused a meal.
  4. There is blood in her stool.
everybody poops taro gomi constipation remedies
it hurts when i poop howard j bennett constipation remedies
everybody poops justine avery constipation remedies

What to Safely Give Your Baby for Constipation

NOT Karo Syrup…

Last week, when Joshua first started having more trouble than usual passing stool, I called his pediatrician who recommended Karo syrup. I had heard of Karo syrup used for baby constipation, but didn’t actually know what it was. Come to find out, it’s just corn syrup. That’s right corn syrup; pure corn starch and man-made sugars.

Well, my mom-tuition kicked in because putting 2 tbsp of manufactured ick in my 5-month-old’s bottle just didn’t sit right with me, so I did some research and found that this is one of the many things — like laying an infant on her stomach to sleep — that we don’t do anymore because we have figured out it is dangerous!

According to Medical News Today, “… corn syrup is not sterile . . . might contain harmful levels of bacteria . . . [and] can cause a rare and sometimes fatal illness called botulism. Karo syrup may also increase the risk of dental cavities developing in older infants. As such, the syrup is not suitable for children.”

So, I’m sitting at the table with a hungry, constipated child with no time to research exactly what I can give him and no means to go get it, so I have to use what’s on hand. And it hits me… PRUNES! I had some jars of pureed prunes for Joshua on hand because he had tried them and liked them a few weeks prior, but they didn’t agree with his… diapers… to say the least…

You May Also be Interested in: Baby’s First Foods Schedule and Tips

Let Them Eat Prunes!

Prunes are a NATURAL laxative and they come in many stage 1 baby food brands. Just a few spoonfuls will do the trick in getting things going.

elmo constipated remedies prunes sesame street

But there-in lies another problem.

After you’ve given your little a few spoonfuls of the prunes and it does the trick, does the rest just go to waste?

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely HATE wasting food. The fact that I had opened a package of prunes and would have to throw out the rest within 24 hours because I highly doubted he was going to make it through 4 oz was driving me insane. I literally thought about those prunes sitting in the fridge for several hours after that and how they were just going to get thrown away, and how the next time he was constipated I would have to go buy more prunes that would eventually get wasted as well.

And then I had another spark of genius — humbly wipes genius dust off shoulders — WHY NOT FREEZE THE LEFTOVER PRUNES?! And so began my pureed-prune-pop-pursuit (patent pending 🤣).

Freezing Leftover Pureed Prunes

Step 1

  • When your little one (4 months old and over — for younger than 4 months, consult your pediatrician), shows signs of needing help with his constipation, open a new container of prunes and put 2-3 spoonfuls in a separate bowl. You should not feed directly from the package because once you put a used spoon back in the food it is considered contaminated and should be thrown away after feeding. I like using Gerber’s Supported Sitter packs because they come in 4 oz tubs and are, therefore, less likely to go to waste. I also like using Plum Organics Stage 1 packs because you can easily squeeze the prunes straight onto a spoon.
  • Feed your baby the 2-3 spoonfuls; as much as she will eat of this portion. Throw away the rest of the portion.
  • Place the leftover, uncontaminated, open package of prunes (resealed) in the fridge. It can stay there for up to 24 hours. If your child still hasn’t had a bowel movement in 2-4 hours, give him 2-3 more spoonfuls of prunes.
gerber purees first food baby constipation remedies
plum organics stage 1 first foods prunes baby constipation remedy
Related: 20 Baby Must-Haves in 2020

Step 2

  • Before the prunes have been in the fridge for 24 hours, scoop 2-3 heaping spoonfuls full into an ice tray and cover with tin foil.
freezing pureed prunes step 2 constipation remedy for babies
baby constipation remedy step 3 freezing pureed prunes first foods

Step 3

  • After they are frozen, remove them from the ice tray and put them in a zip lock freezer bag. You may need to use a butter knife and cut around the edges to pry them out.
  • Write the expiration date on the bag (30 days from when you froze them) and put it back in the freezer.
freezing first foods for baby prunes for constipation how-to

Step 4

  • When your infant needs prunes for constipation, take out one of the prune-pops and put it inside of a container. Put the container in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water and let thaw.
  • Feed your baby as much as she will eat and throw away the rest of the portion.
frozen pureed prunes for baby constipation remedies step 4

Prunes, Prunes, the REAL Musical Fruit!

I hope you enjoyed my crude post about constipation as much I enjoyed writing it! I pray your little one is feeling better soon! Here’s some more prune memes I absolutely loved but had no where to put… 🤣

star trek prunes baby constipation meme
power of the prune baby constipation memes

What are some other natural and safe remedies you have used for your babies for constipation? Let us know in the comments!

If you want weekly mom-spirational advice sent straight to your inbox, fill out your email here 👇🏼!

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Featured

Baby’s First Foods Schedule and Tips

Congrats! You’ve been a mama for about 4 months! Breathe for a second… cuz it’s about to get real crazy again for a little bit! 🤣

It’s time for your little one to start trying baby food (after you get an okay from your pediatrician at the 4 months appointment).

I can honestly say beginning this new chapter with Joshua has been insane! There are not a lot (or any that I have found) of clear resources on how to introduce new foods to baby. I’m the type of person that needs step-by-step specifics — you give me the big picture and my brain shuts down. So, for all of my fellow sequential learners, this one’s for you! I’m going to try my very best to lay it out as simply and comprehensibly as possible! And BONUS — I’m going to provide you with a free downloadable schedule of foods and exact portions to feed baby until you get the hang of it!

See also: The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule

What You Need Before You Start Baby Food

If you haven’t stocked up on new things since your little turned three months old, check out my comprehensive list of what to get rid of and what you will need to stock up on, but for now, here are the basics.

  1. High chair — There are 3 main types of high chairs — the traditional high chair, the clamp-on-seat that connects to the side of a table, and the booster seat high chair; the one you choose depends on your preferences and house/storage size.

As my family lives in a pretty small house, we decided it would be the best fit for us to get a foldable traditional high chair. Our chairs are too short for a booster seat to be comfortable for us to feed my son, Joshua and the idea of my squirmy little one hanging off the side of a table just didn’t sit well with me.
We chose the Graco Table2Table Fold 7-in-1 High Chair for our “tiny home.” I was very impressed with the Graco brand when we bought our stroller, so I knew this was a brand I could trust. I love any product that grows with your child (money I don’t have to spend later). This high chair turns into a booster seat, a seat with a table, and a toddler youth chair. Also, you can sit your toddler in the toddler chair and baby in the booster seat at the same time. My favorite part? It’s foldable! You can easily store it away when it’s not in use. (It comes in three different colors that range from $139-169, so make sure you click on the three color options to choose the best price/color combo for you!)

baby first foods schedule high chair must haves
baby first foods schedule high chair must haves
Related: The 3-Month Purge

2. Baby Food and/or Baby Food Processor — Parents can make the decision to either make their own baby food with a baby food processor or buy pre-made baby food from the grocery store. Neither option is “more correct” than the other. It is an individual decision for what works best for your family.
If you do plan on buying baby food, I encourage you to research the best brands. This will be the first manufactured food (unless your baby has been drinking formula) that will go into your little one’s body. They are not used to manufactured foods like we are, so it is best to make sure you are putting quality, safe, and natural products into your child. There are some great, reputable organic baby food brands out there!
Plum Organics, a certified organic non-GMO brand, was ranked the #1 baby puree in 2020. The Stage 1 Plum Organics (what your baby will start out with) has only 1 ingredient, fruit! It has no artificial preservatives or sweeteners and is unsalted — not to mention kosher. You can buy an 8-pack with 4 different flavors, a 9-pack with 3 different flavors, or an 18-pack with 3 different flavors. The packaging is BPA free which is always a plus for our littles (and for ourselves). And if you’re really into the environment you will be happy to hear that the packaging is recyclable.
If you’re still wanting to be in charge of every ingredient that goes into your little one’s mouth — like this control freak mama right here! — and you have a farmer’s market in the area (or a green thumb), then you have the option of making your own baby food. This really excites me as a mom because I feel like I am nurturing my child in every way possible! I get to change him, cuddle him, love him, and now I get to make his food!
We have the Magic Bullet Baby Bullet food processor for making Joshua’s baby food. I love that it comes with tons of accessories including a mixing bowl, a spatula, separate containers for the refrigerator and freezer which have rotating caps to mark the date, and a recipe book that tells you how to introduce new foods and gives suggestions of which foods to try based on your child’s developmental level! I just love products that manufacturers obviously put parents first when they were creating it, and this is one of those products!

**Keep in mind that homemade baby food can stay in the freezer for 30 days and the fridge for 3 days.

3. Infant spoons — Now that my son has been eating baby foods for a month, I have discovered that rounded spoons work better than squared spoons. It may be the brand or my individual child, but the rounded spoons seem easier for him to get every last drop of baby food off of.

4. Bibs — I’m sure you received more bibs than you know what to do with at your baby shower. If you haven’t already, it’s time to pull those out! I’ve come to love using polyester bibs for feeding-time — I like that I can wipe them off and use them all day instead of getting a new bib for each feeding — and regular (cotton-blend) bibs to catch unforeseen drool and spit-up accidents the rest of the day. We also absolutely love these apron-like bibs!

You may also be interested in: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

5. A calendar — I have a calendar on my fridge specifically for Joshua. It has all of his appointments, who will be babysitting him on what days, and now what foods he will be eating. It isn’t absolutely necessary to plan out exactly what your child will be eating, but let me tell you why I do it.

🍼I am not a morning person, so when I first wake up I don’t automatically remember what he’s
supposed to be eating or how much.
🍼In that first month or two when he is trying new foods, the days may start blending together
and you may forget if he is supposed to be eating half a jar or a whole jar today.
🍼You never know when an emergency may come up and someone has to watch your child. What
and when he is supposed to eat will already written out for a babysitter and that’s one less thing
you have to worry about.
🍼You can make sure you have all of the supplies you need for your baby’s meals for the whole
week (or month if you plan that far).
🍼If you’re making your own food, you can write down when to make a food, what day it expires,
what day to pull it out of the fridge, etc.

baby feeding first foods schedule and tips calendar

6. Patience and a good attitude — The first (or second, or third) meal of baby food isn’t going to go smoothly (but congrats if it does!). Your little one has never eaten food off a spoon, nor have they ever had anything except breast milk and/or formula, so suddenly having a colorful foreign object with a strange smell in their face is going to be met with some interesting reactions. Your baby may eat nothing! Your baby may open his mouth right away and then spit it all out! Or your baby may eat her whole portion after 5 minutes of trying. All of these are okay results! The point of the first week or so is to get your baby used to eating from a spoon! No matter the result, you are doing great, Mom!
Don’t forget to smile through the grossness! Your baby knows your emotions and if you’re stressed, she may not respond well! Just have fun! This isn’t a test; it’s preparing your baby to one day (not today!) be able to eat on his own. Baby steps, Mama, baby steps!

Related: Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!

What Baby Foods to Try First

There are a plethora of baby foods to try with your little one! You can really start with anything, just make sure you are choosing single-ingredient foods that are appropriate for a “supported sitter.” If you are buying pre-made baby food, look for labels that say “supported sitter” or “stage 1.”

My son’s pediatrician — and Gerber — recommends starting the first week with rice cereal — which you will see on the printable schedule I will provide you. As this is the first week he will be having something new in his system, you will need to start slow (see schedule). With each new food she tries, you will also need to introduce these slowly to make sure she does not have an intolerance or allergy to a specific food, but once she has tried that food and loves it, you can feed it to her regularly. I like to switch back and forth between fruits and veggies each day to make sure Joshua is getting a good balance. I also like to put a little bit of rice cereal and formula in his baby food each day to give him some extra sustenance and calories because he is a slow grower. This, however, is optional.

**After following the schedule for 2 months, you will have introduced your baby to every food available in Gerber Supported Sitter. If you still want someone to plan your feeding schedule for you, Gerber has a weekly schedule with 6 different weeks planned for you. They provide these schedules all the way up to preschool age!

Baby’s First Foods Schedule:

👀👉🏼 Enter your email to receive access to my download library including the Baby’s First Foods Schedule sent straight to your inbox! You will receive an email with the download library link and my personal password to the page. Read the instructions at the top of that page on how to download. Scroll to find the Baby’s First Foods Schedule and download all three images. Make sure to read the first page which gives you instructions on how to read the schedule.

You may also be interest in: Free Baby Playtime Schedule and Activities

Keep scrolling on this post to find my some of my Pinterest boards you may find helpful! Follow my Pinterest page for tons of parenting hacks and mom-spiration!

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Follow me on Pinterest for more TIPS! 👇🏼

Click the board you are interested in following to be taken to the link.

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baby first foods parenting hacks pinterest board
baby first foods mom time management pinterest board

Have you started baby food with your little one? What has he or she loved and hated so far? My son LOVED prunes and HATED peas. We would love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments!

Featured

37 Quarantine Activities for Seniors

During this unnerving and unfamiliar time, we all know someone, a loved-one, who is in the age range of preferred fatal targets for the Coronavirus. People who are 65 years old and older; our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our great-aunts and uncles, maybe even our neighbors.

I called my sweet MeMaw the other day and my heart broke to hear her say, “I’m about to run out of stuff to do!”

You know you’re bored mindlessly sitting on Facebook all day or binge-watching Netflix, but what about the older generations who depended on relationships without phones and internet and Facetime? Generations who don’t have an addiction to sit in front of a TV and vegg-out for hours on end waiting for this quarantine to end? Generations who, even before quarantine, were calling to see when the next time would be that you would stop by just to say hello and bring those sweet grand-kids along with you?

SHOUTOUT to @realfamilyideas for helping me find this picture!

It is our duty as the younger generation to do all we can to make this time less depressing for our beloved seniors.

Fortunately, we have been blessed with the technology and time to help our elders stay active, entertained, and joyful during this trying time.

Quarantine Activities for Seniors

I have compiled a list of activities for seniors to do on their own, as well as activities that family members can do with them over Facetime. Please DO NOT go to the homes of your parents’ or grandparents’ who are 65 or over. This is a time in which we need to practice social distancing.

You may also be interested in: Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!

Activities Over Facetime

How to Get Facetime:

There are lots of ways to video call your loved ones:
🎥If you both have an iPhone, you can call your parent or grandparent and then click the
“Facetime” button. Andriods can do this only if both Androids have the same service provider.
You simply make a phone call and click “video call.”
🎥Download the Skype app to your computer, smart phone, or tablet
🎥The Facebook Messenger app has a video call option
🎥Everyone is using the popular Zoom app to talk to multiple people at once. You can use the
free version for 40 minutes at a time. When the call ends, just call back for 40 more free
minutes.
🎥The Google Duo app is another option. I have never used it, but have seen recommendations
for it.

Activities:
  • Play Pictionary
  • Play Charades
  • Play Hang Man
  • Let grandma host a cooking show for your kids (the could cook, too!)… I have a 4-month-old and we call my mom every morning on Facebook Messenger. She talks to us while doing chores. We call it The MiMi Show.”
  • Have the kids come up with a skit or comedy sketch beforehand and preform it over Facetime
  • Show and Tell
  • Have the kids interview the grands… ask questions about their life growing up or what they remember about being their age
  • Play just about ANY board game. You can roll and move the pieces for the grands.
  • Have a meal together! Just call and chat while eating!
  • Play “I Spy”
  • Older kids can help with a crossword puzzle
  • Have a dance party! (Have the grands teach the kids what the most popular dance moves were back in the day!)
  • Have a fashion show (This is a popular one in my family. Let the kids put it on and grandma do the commentary!)
  • Have a riddle contest
  • Have a “dad joke battle“… Tell corny jokes. If you laugh your opponent gets a point. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.
  • Have a prayer service or worship service
  • Read together
  • Let grandma help with homework
  • Download the “Draw Something” app to your phones (if you are talking on another device) and play against each other
  • Have a concert for grandma
  • Write down a large word (like these hilarious words) and compete with the grands to see who can come up with the most words.
  • Morning devotion. You could read a kid one and/or an adult one… or choose a family one and discuss it together. There are TONS of devotionals available on the YouVersion app.
  • Have a themed costume party (80s, tacky tourist, hobos, etc.)
  • Show the kids how to do Pilates — PUMP UP THAT 80S AND 90S AEROBICS MUSIC!
  • Help the grands set up a book club with their friends over Facetime
    👉🏼BONUS ACTIVITY: Follow my Corona Virus Quarantine Activities Pinterest board to find even more activities!
Related: Inexpensive and Free Date Ideas He Will Love

Activities for Seniors to Do on Their Own

  • Puzzles (My mother-in-law has been mailing her mother puzzles. Her mom takes the puzzle out the box outside her house using gloves, throws the box in the trash can, and brings the plastic package inside the box into the house).
  • Knitting, sewing, quilting, cross stitching (Ask your parents or grandparents to make you something. Be specific. Have them make you some pillow shams or a new dress for your baby girl!)
  • Take up a new hobby. What is something they have always wanted to learn? Teach them how to look up how-to videos on YouTube.
Photo by Edu Carvalho on Pexels.com
  • Read. If they have exhausted all the books in their house, tell them how to download the Audible app for audio books (the first 30 days are free), Kindle app (this is usually already downloaded on a new phone), or the Books app for iPhone (which is usually already downloaded). Some local libraries also have apps to “check out” ebooks.
  • Explain to them how to record a video on their phone and have them record a “how-to video” to post on social media. This could be a cooking video, sewing video, or gardening video!
  • Crosswords, word searches, Sudoku… you can download free apps for puzzles like these.
  • Creative writing (short story, novel, poetry)
  • Memorizing scripture
  • Free online museum tours (just Google that phrase and you will find museums whose websites have these available)
  • Do that house project they’ve always been meaning to get to (putting photos in albums, organizing the home movies by date, organizing the closet by season, etc.)
  • Make things for people in need (surgical masks, stuffed animals for kids doing outpatient chemo, crocheted octopuses for NICU babies, casseroles for non-essential families who no longer have a paycheck, etc.)
  • Set up a war room and PRAY for our world!
    👉🏼BONUS ACTIVITY: Follow my Corona Virus Quarantine Activities Pinterest board to find even more activities!

Do you know someone who would love to see this list? Share it with them!

What are some activities you have done with your loved ones over Facetime? Share with us in the comments!

You’ve got this, Mom!

Featured

The Good Friday Mom

A Lesson From Mary on Motherhood

I have never before given thought to Mary on Good Friday. Now that I am going into this day of celebration and reverence as a new mother, I can’t help but think about Mary at the foot of the cross watching her Son die for the sins of the world.

I was moved by Michelle Landsberg’s quote: “It is the very moment we give birth that we first begin to truly understand and fear death.”

I can only imagine what Mary must have been thinking. “Why Him, God? Why does my son have to be wounded for the transgressions of the world? Why does He have to be bruised for our iniquities when there are so many evil people who could be hanging there in His place? Why does it have to be my perfect baby boy You blessed me with?”

I’m sure Mary was in so much anguish watching her Son cry out in pain; after all, she was human. But I don’t think she regretted raising the Son of God. I don’t think she regretted saying “yes” to God’s plan about 33 years prior. I believe she looked back at her journey of motherhood and reminisced about what it was like to raise Jesus.

I believe she laughed and cringed when she remembered the day they left Jesus behind in the Temple when He was 12. I believe she smiled a proud grin when she thought about the day He was baptized by His cousin John. I believe she giggled as she closed her eyes and could clearly see a baby Jesus taking His first teetering steps across the dirt floor of their home.

You may also like: Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!

It’s so refreshing to remember that Mary was a mother. She went through everything we have gone through in raising our children. Fellow blogger, MaryLou Driedger says in her post Thinking About Mary on Good Friday, “No doubt her faith in God sustained her through the most difficult trials of motherhood.”

As a Christian mommy, you have the task of “training your child in the Way he (or she) should go.” We have no way of knowing in the early years of their lives what calling God has in store for them. Will your child be a doctor, a teacher, a worship leader? The possibilities are endless at the moment. But even though we don’t know what our children will be called to do for the Kingdom, we can still follow Mary’s example.

Related: 5 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Child

Luke 2:22-38

When Jesus was eight days old, Mary and Joseph took Him to the Temple to be circumcised according to Jewish Law. A man named Simeon was moved by the Holy Spirit to pronounce a blessing over Jesus. He told — or rather reminded — Mary that Jesus was to be the salvation of both the Jews and Gentiles. He then went on to bless Mary and Joseph and tell Mary that raising Jesus and watching Him fulfill His calling would be like ‘a sword piercing through your soul.’ Wow!

Mary knew what she was getting into with being the mother of Jesus. She was reminded by people, through God, that it was going to be a tough road.

Raising a child up to be a follower of Jesus in this day and age — a time where the world tells us everyone has sex before marriage and that’s okay, “live your truth,” and eat Tide Pods — can seem like an impossible task. But I’m sure Mary felt that way every time she was reminded who her Son was.

See also: To Be a “Good” Mom Rather than a “good” Mom

Earlier I quoted Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the Way he (or she) should go.” I don’t know about you, but I tend to quote the first part of this verse and leave out the second part thinking it is just implied, but as parents, we should take a moment to analyze it.

“And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Mary did her absolute best to raise Jesus as a follower of God, preparing Him for His calling. Just like Mary, our duty as a parent is to prepare our children as best we can for the Divine calling God has planned for them. And just like Mary, we have to have faith that God equipped us as mothers to raise our children in the way necessary for them to accomplish that calling.

“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother…” (John 19:25).

Mary stood at the cross and watched her Son fulfill His calling. She knew, no matter how much she wanted to, that she could not fulfill it for Him. It’s a tough moment when your kids become independent. They’ve spent their whole lives needing you, and then one day, out of no where, they don’t need you anymore.

As sad as that day may be for you, I want you to look back and remember. Laugh about the time you frantically searched for your child in Walmart only to find them chilling happily in the toy aisle. Cry happy tears at the moment you saw them get baptized and publicly give their life to God. Giggle with overwhelming joy as you close your eyes and picture your baby taking their first steps.

And then hand them off to God with faith that He can take it from here. ‘You have fought the Good fight. You have finished the race. You have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). You have spent a lifetime raising this kid in the Way. Now, as hard as it may be, it is time for you to stand back and watch what God has in store for them.

You’ve got this, Mom!

Know a mom who is struggling with letting their kids become independent? Share this with her!

What would be your advice to a mother who is struggling with this? Comment below! We would love to hear from you!

Featured

10 More Baby Hacks

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

A month ago, I shared 10 valuable baby hacks that I learned from being a new mom to my then 3-month-old… you can read that post here. Well, I have grown a month older, a month wiser, and a month tired-er… but I have 10 more baby hacks to share with you! 🙌🏼🙌🏼

Just like in my last baby hack post, I wanted to go above and beyond for you! Under many of the hacks is some extra information or a link to a specific product I use! I know mommin’ is tough, and I wanted to make these hacks that much easier for you. So, make sure to not miss out on the info I included for you under the hacks!

Hack #11

Here are some of our favorite onesies brands (click the pictures to be taken to the websites):

Related: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

Hack #12

Here are our favorite tushy-friendly washcloths:

Hack #13

Every baby is different and, therefore, has different formula needs. Joshua started on Similac Pro-Advance Non-GMO Formula while he was in NICU, so we kept him on it. His pediatrician also recommended this formula to us as well, so if you haven’t chosen a formula yet, this is a really great choice!

The best option to get your money’s worth is the 36 oz can, but you can also buy Powder Stickpacks and Ready To Drink Bottles. These alternative options can get expensive, but we like to use them for traveling.

Hack #14

The Similac Formula cans come with a new scoop in each can! I just kept one of the scoops, washed it, and put it away in case I lost the new scoop (I’m really good at losing things) or for traveling. Joshua goes to his grandma’s 45 minutes away once a week and when I pack I put the old scoop in his diaper bag so I don’t have to remember to pack the new one if I feed him before we leave.

Hack #15

This is a handy hack I learned from the lactation consultant at the hospital where I delivered. Just putting your pinky lightly on the corner of your baby’s mouth should be enough to get her to release the nipple, but if not, you can wedge your pinky inside of her mouth.

Babies will all prefer different bottles. My son loves Parent’s Choice 5 oz Bottles the best — which I’m very happy about because they are REALLY affordable.
We also use Medela Bottles with him. It took him about a month to get used to this brand, but we already had them because they came with my breast pump, and we were determined not to buy more bottles.

Hack #16

You may also be interested in: To Be a “Good” Mom Rather Than a “good” Mom

Hack #17

When your little one starts teething, she will also start drooling. I got real tired real fast of constantly changing Joshua’s wet onesie, so I started using bibs. Now that he is eating baby food, I use regular (cotton-blend) bibs for drool and polyester bibs for feeding time. I like that I can wipe them off and use them all day instead of getting a new bib for each feeding.

Top Post: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

Hack #18

My son is obsessed with his WubbaNub pacifiers. He holds onto the attached stuffed animal for comfort and uses it to push the paci back in his mouth. WubbaNubs come in all kinds of stuffed animals including a giraffeelephantunicornmoose, and sloth.

I was sad when we had to buy new ones after 3 months of use because he loved his deer and giraffe, so I cut off the pacis for him to keep the stuffed animals. The pacis came off way easier than I anticipated and leave behind a cute, green smile.

We never use the WubbaNub in his crib because he could push it over his face and it could cause suffocation. We only use them during the day when we’re watching him. A pacifier you can use at night that is just like the one attached to the WubbaNub is the Phillips Avent Soothie. Here is the 0-3 month pacifier and the 3+ month pacifier.

Hack #19

Need ideas for postpartum exercise? Follow my pinterest board where you will find exercises to help you get your pre-pregnancy body back and exercises to do with you baby!

You may also be interested in: How to Manage Your Time with a Newborn

Hack #20

cannot recommend the Kinedu app enough! This app keeps track of your baby’s developmental skills and specifically gives you an activity that will help you and your little one work on the skills they should be learning next. It gives a quick, weekly assessment to see what your baby has mastered so it can update the videos you are seeing. We use the free version and absolutely love it!
*** If you are reading this during the Corona Virus Quarantine, from now until 4/15/20, Kinedu has opened their entire library for free to help us all out during this terrifying and confusing time!

What are some mom hacks you have found helpful and would like to share with us? Tell us below in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

Know any mamas who could majorly benefit from these hacks? Share this post with her!

BONUS HACK! 👇🏼👇🏼

Follow my Mom Hacks Pinterest board to stay updated on the BEST hacks!

Featured

Free Baby Playtime Schedule and Activities

God, works in mysterious and wonderful ways, y’all! I do plan what blog posts I want to write, but the majority of the time God places something on my heart last minute and those posts get pushed to later… or never 🤣. God put this post on my heart very early last week to write, and I really didn’t know why until today.

I’m a stay-at-home mom (#SAHM) with a 4-month-old baby, so this quarantine-induced pandemic isn’t much different from my daily life, but for most moms, this is The Shining! Mamas love their kiddos, but all of a sudden, they have to learn how to balance working at home, momming, and wife-ing all at the same time — a skill I’ve been working on for 4 months and still don’t have it down!

Related: How to Manage Your Time with a Newborn

Take a moment, Mom and BREATHE! I’ve been doing this for a third of a year and still have moments where I have no idea what I’m doing — AND THAT’S OKAY! Take it one moment at a time!

If you’re a mama with a baby who is usually in daycare all day, you have probably already run out of ideas by now of how to keep him entertained. Well, look no further, Mama! I would love to share my flexible schedule and ideas with you to help you come up with tons of fun activities for you and your little one!

Flexible Baby Playtime Schedule

If you’re like me, an hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute schedule just stresses you out even more! If you miss one activity or something takes longer than it was supposed to, it throws off your whole day! I need a flexible schedule that tells me what to do without telling me what to do… you know what I mean?

You may also like: A Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule

When making my schedule, I knew my son, Joshua, is awake between naps 4 times a day. I also knew I wanted my play times to be purposeful by choosing activities that worked on his 4 main developmental areas: physical, cognitive, linguistic, and social/emotional. I placed each developmental area in a time-slot that I knew I would have the appropriate amount of energy for at that time of day (I am not a morning person, so I knew I wasn’t going to put “physical skills” before noon, but I also didn’t want it to be right before bedtime either).

One thing that makes this schedule so flexible is that you can move things around for your — and your baby’s — personalities, preferences, schedule, etc. And the second reason is that you will not grow bored doing the same activities over and over day in and day out because you will have a plethora of activities to choose from — and as your baby grows, he will need new activities to help develop new skills.

Developmental Skills For Babies

Here are the skills your little one will be learning for the first year of his life:

Linguistic/Communication Development
Babbling, gestures, communication, speaking, and comprehending.

Social/Emotional Development
Interactions, attachment, self-awareness, and independence.

Physical Development
Reflexes, posture, senses, head control, movement, coordination, rolling over, sitting up, finger dexterity, crawling, hand coordination, standing, and walking.

Cognitive Development
Exploration, memory, attention, abstract thinking, knowledge, imitating, and musical skills.

What you need to know before you print the schedule…

  1. Grab the free printable below and make sure you check out both pages — page 1 is the actual schedule, and page 2 is activities for each developmental skill.
  2. Some activities encourage multiple skills (BONUS!!) — for instance, helping your baby play with her feet promotes both physical and social/emotional skills — so you can use those activities in other areas, but they were mainly placed where they were because it most obviously promotes that skill.
  3. I chose activities that would work for a range of ages so that this chart wouldn’t just be beneficial to a specific group of moms, and so you could use these activities for a while!
  4. You can follow my Pinterest board I created with lots of fun developmental activities for even more activity options!
  5. These activities don’t have to last very long. Your little one will probably become tired and/or overwhelmed after about 10-30 minutes.
  6. I highly suggest downloading the Kinedu app! This app keeps track of your baby’s developmental skills and specifically gives you an activity that will help you and your little one work on the skills they should be learning next. It gives a quick, weekly assessment to see what your baby has mastered so it can update the videos you are seeing. We use the free version and absolutely love it! The free version gives you 3 free activities a day and each video starts off by telling you what developmental area is being promoted in that skill. The paid version (about $40 a month) gives you access to the full video library, but I personally find that unnecessary for me and Joshua. I start our day by watching the three available videos and noting what skills they encourage, then making a mental note to do those activities during the appropriate scheduled time. *** If you are reading this during the Corona Virus Quarantine, from now until 4/15/20, Kinedu has opened their entire library for free to help us all out during this terrifying and confusing time!
You may also be interested in: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

👇🏼Snag my FREE PRINTABLE Baby Playtime Schedule! 👇🏼

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I hope you get so much out of this schedule I created for you! But most importantly, I hope you get tons of wonderful memories with your sweetheart!

What activity do you think your little one will love? What activity isn’t included that you would like the share with other mamas? Tell us in the comments below!

Know any mamas who have suddenly become a work-from-home mama? Share this post with them!

You’ve got this, Mom!

Featured

Amazing Tips and Products for Deaf Parents and Parents of Deaf Children

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

**First and foremost, to clear the air of any confusion, you will see me use the terms “deaf” and “Deaf” throughout this post. These are terms used within the Deaf community. Little-d “deaf” refers to anyone who is legally deaf, while big-D “Deaf” refers to anyone who uses American Sign Language (ASL) as their main form of communication. You do not have to be deaf to be Deaf; hard-of-hearing (HOH) people, children of Deaf adults who use ASL at home, and others can be part of the Deaf community.**

I am a hearing parent of a hearing child, but I have been infatuated with and connected to the Deaf community since I was very young. I fell in love with ASL at just 6 years old and, teaching myself, became fluent in the language by high school. This opened doors for me in college to become friends with Deaf students; friendships I still have today!

One of my friends, Becky, whom I’ve only known for a few years, is a Deaf mother of a hearing child. Becky and I share a passion for bridging the gap between Deaf/deaf and hearing, and to provide information to Deaf/deaf people to help make life in a hearing world easier! Although her child is grown now, Becky and I have recently been discussing what current products are available to new deaf parents and/or hearing parents of deaf babies.

My curiosity got the better of me, and I started researching. I learned that, even though those products are out there, there is not a lot of information available to parents about what is out there and what are the best products.

**Because there are very few easy-to-find resources on this topic, I compiled the best I could find on a Pinterest board. Please be sure to follow it to keep up with new information on the subject!**

Tips for CODA Parents

“CODA” or “KODA” are slang terms in the Deaf community that stand for “Child/Kid of a Deaf Adult.” CODAs can be either hearing or deaf, but 90% of the time a child of a deaf adult is hearing.

A popular question among hearing parents is “How do deaf parents hear their children cry?” Well, obviously they can’t “hear” their children cry in the usual sense of the word, but deaf parents are more than capable of taking care of a child in the same capacity as a hearing parent.

Deaf parents rely on their other senses to understand the needs of their child; they see that a child is crying, feel their temperature, etc.

Fortunately, there are some fantastic products out there that capitalize on these senses for when a deaf parent is not in the room with their child — because these parents need peace of mind to sleep as well!

👉🏻👉🏻You may also be interested in: Establishing a Newborn Sleep Schedule 👈🏻👈🏻

Alert for When Your Baby Cries

There are actually a lot of options that can provide deaf parents with the ability to know if their little one needs them from the other side of the house including digital and vibrating monitors, apps, and even special dogs who have been trained to alert you of your baby crying.

Baby Monitors

Here is a review of the 5 best baby monitors of 2020 according to Vera Baby Spot.

Our absolute favorite, which came in second on their list, is the Summer Infant Babble Band Wearable Audio Monitor. Unfortunately, after much searching, it looks like this product is no longer manufactured, so a great alternative is the SereneLife Wireless Baby Monitor and Smart Watch. You wear the parent unit just like an Apple Watch and get an alert through vibration when your child cries.

Apps

Thank God for technology; I don’t think I have ever said that until I had a baby! The conveniences that technology gives us as parents (digital baby monitors, googling parenting questions, etc.) is just amazing. Cloud Baby has created an app that lets you monitor your child through your iPhone, Android, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, or Apple TV. You have to have at least two of these devices for this to work. For instance, you would place an iPad, Mac, or Apple TV in your child’s room and you would be notified through whichever other device you are using as a parent unit.

The app itself is $3.99, and if you already have these devices, then you’re spending less than $4 on a high quality baby monitor. When we were researching this product, we were amazed to see an average of 4.8/5 stars from 12.9K ratings on the Apple app store ratings (which is almost unheard of for any app or baby monitor). Just check out this user’s review!

When your baby moves or makes a noise, you will get a notification. Deaf parents can set their phones to vibrate or vibrate and flash (if you have that option on your phone) and can be woken from their sleep with the alert.

👉🏻👉🏻 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020 👈🏻👈🏻
Trained Hearing Dogs
Photo by Yuliya kota on Pexels.com
deaf_parenting_children_service_dog.jpg

Did you know there are dogs that are trained to alert you when your baby is crying? Mommy Gone Tropical explains: “Deaf parents still have the ability to obtain a hearing dog to assist with alerting them to the baby’s crying. However, the hearing dogs are expensive. There is a wide range of hearing dog costs from $0 (donation-based) to more than $30k, so it is not always the ideal option you would utilize. Some deaf parents get lucky with their regular dog taking on that responsibility naturally while other dogs are simply lazy just like mine.”

Paws with a Cause specifically trains dogs for this purpose (as well as alerting you for smoke alarms, door bells, phone calls, etc. We thought it was absolutely precious that their motto is “You Listen For Me.” Even though this is expensive, it is still our favorite option; how much better would it be to be woken up by your sweet fur-baby than by a vibrating or super bright monitor?

Car Safety

Driving with a child in a rear-facing seat can be stressful for any new parent because you can’t see what they are doing. A great idea for seeing your child while driving is installing a mirror. However, many baby mirrors for the car are not crash-tested and could cause major injury to you or your child in a crash. If you are going to buy a mirror for your car, make sure it has been crash-tested by manufacturers.

The BRICA Crusin’ In-Sight Baby Car Mirror is a great choice because not only will you be able to keep an eye on your little one, but the mirror will keep him entertained during the trip with fun lights and music. We love how well this mirror is strapped on to the seat; there’s no way it’s coming off!

If you’re looking for a cheaper and simpler option, BRICA also makes a crash-tested mirror that has no extra bells and whistles; it’s just a mirror. The Munchkin BRICA Baby In-Sight Car Mirror has the same straps as its flashy counterpart to safely keep it in place.

Tips for Parents of Deaf Children

As a hearing parent with no ties to the Deaf community, finding out that your child is deaf is world-changing! There are so many decisions you have to make — hearing aid vs. cochlear implant vs. no device, Deaf school vs. mainstream school, speech vs. sign language, etc. Although those decisions can be put on the back burner for a while, preparing your home — and your parenting — for a deaf child is something you have to be able to jump right into! These products and tips should help with the transition.

Alternative Soothing Methods

One reason I began wondering about what products were available for deaf parents or parents of deaf children was because my 4-month-old son cannot get to sleep without me singing to him. This, of course, peaked my curiosity about how deaf babies can be soothed to sleep.

Probably not as a newborn, but once your baby starts becoming more aware of his surroundings he may become very uncomfortable in a pitch-black room. Being completely deprived of all of your senses at once can be very disturbing to anyone (think about being in a completely black, completely silent room by yourself). Also, depending on what caused your child’s deafness, he may feel very dizzy and disoriented in a dark room.

To help your child with this, you could buy a night light, a light mobile, or good old-fashioned glow-in-the-dark star stickers.

Bedtime Routine

It’s also important to have a very strict bedtime routine. If your little one is having trouble being soothed at bedtime, he needs a routine that calms him but also helps him know what is coming next. Giving him a warm bath, changing him into pajamas, and rocking him will help calm him down before bed and may even get him to sleep before you put him in the crib.

👉🏻👉🏻Related: Establishing a Newborn Sleep Schedule 👈🏻👈🏻
👉🏻👉🏻Also: Two-Month-Old Sleep Schedule & Napping Tips👈🏻👈🏻

Developmental Toys

Fortunately, you probably already have a lot of toys at home that will help your deaf child with development. While the noises that a toy makes will probably make no difference to your child, other things about their toys will appeal to them. Look for toys with bright lights and colors, different textures, and rattling or vibrating toys. If you have a toy that makes sound, put your hand on the speaker and see if the sound makes a vibration. Your little one will love to practice using his sense of touch and sight!

Here are some of our favorites!

👉🏻👉🏻 Related: 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020 👈🏻👈🏻
Language Development

Even if you don’t want (or haven’t decided on) your baby becoming fluent in ASL, using baby signs as soon as possible is very important to your little’s language development.

Baby signs are beneficial to both deaf and hearing children. Studies show that babies whose parents have used baby sign language with them from infancy start to communicate months earlier with their parents (manually) than their peers who are just getting verbal communication.

Whether or not you care about early development of language skills, all babies have to have some form of communication from very early or they will have learning and communication issues later in life.

We love this image from Can Do Kiddo about the benefits of baby sign in her blog post “Why, When, and How to Start Baby Sign Language.”

It is recommended to start using baby signs with your child as early as 6 months. This is when she will start understanding that signs have meaning. She may start communicating back with you immediately, but most babies don’t start using the signs on their own until 8 months.

And if you do decide that you want your child’s main form of communication to be speech, don’t worry! “A common concern regarding baby sign language is that this method of communication will take the place of verbal language for your baby. However, Aylet says that sign language will actually accelerate your baby’s verbal skills: ‘If your little one is growing up in a house and community full of people who use speech as their primary means to communicate, then when your baby or toddler can speak, he/she will’ (Can Do Kiddo).

Make sure when you’re communicating with your baby that you make eye contact and express yourself through movement. Your little one needs to understand that something different is happening rather than just the routine movements of day-to-day life.

Expressing Your Feelings

Even though your baby can’t hear you with her ears, she can still “hear” you by seeing your expressions. When you’re happy, smile big and move about joyfully. When you want her to know how much you love her, cuddle her and tickle her toes. Be aware of how you talk to her so that she knows what you are feeling. Even if babies have no idea what you’re saying, they pick up on emotions pretty quickly. Before you know it, your big, happy grin will bring a precious smile to your little one’s face!

Other Resources

Check out my fellow mommy blogger’s, Donna Stephen of More Than A Mommy Blog post about her experience with hearing loss in a child and her interview with ASL teacher, Megan Stokes.

Have you used any of these products before? What other tips and tricks do you have to share? I would love to hear from you! Comment below!

You’ve got this, Mom!!!

Featured

The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that being a mom is a job in and of itself. Throw a career into the mix and you’ve got two full-time (or full and part-time) jobs demanding your attention. So, how do you balance the two without losing yourself — or your mind?

This was a question I found myself asking last week. I have been blogging for 3 months now, and Joshua is about to be four months old! When he’s not napping, he thinks he has to be in my arms at all times which means I only have 30 minute to an hour increments (2 hours if I’m lucky) to get all the things done. Over the last 3 months, my go-to in those moments has been to work on my blog, which caused my house to become a disaster and me to become overwhelmed because I wasn’t getting any me-time (self-care is important, ladies!!!).

I spent some time looking at different #WAHM (work-at-home mom) schedules on Pinterest. There are some great tips and printables out there, but I wasn’t finding anything that spoke specifically to me, my personality, and my life as Joshua’s mom.

If you’re anything like me, writing down exactly when to do things stresses you out. If you don’t eat your breakfast by the scheduled time because your little one still hasn’t laid down for his nap, it throws off your whole day and you have already started out with a feeling of stress and defeat. (And what stork is dropping off babies at people’s houses that follow nap time schedules, because I’m going to need his number.)

I knew I needed something flexible to incorporate all that life, and Joshua, has to throw at me, so I sat down and created my own flexible schedule. During my Pintrest-ing, something that was very intriguing to me was time blocking which, essentially, is budgeting your time like you would budget money. I took that idea and tweaked it to be my own (as I encourage you to do with all of this information because no schedule is going to be perfect for everyone!).

What are your main duties?

First, I thought about the most important things that I wasn’t getting done or knew I needed to budget more time for. These things, for me, were (in no specific order) cleaning the house, working on my blog, being a mom, spending time with God, spending time with my husband, and having me-time.

Time Blocking

Looking at all of my “main duties,” I decided to divide up my day into 4 categories and sprinkle Joshua-time throughout the day as needed (depending on his day-to-day self-made “schedule”).

These categories are:

Me-Time: Read my Bible/pray, read a book, watch TV, shower, etc.

Wife-Time: Clean the house, pay bills, to-do list

Work-Time: Anything pertaining to my blog (writing, social media, video editing, etc.)

Family Time: Spending time with my husband by cuddling, talking, watching TV together, playing games, etc.

My husband and I had recently decided that we want to turn off our phones by 7:30 pm and spend time together, so the first thing I blocked was “family time.” I also had been trying to wake up by 5:30 am to get more things done before Joshua wakes up around 7:30, so I added these times first.

Now that I knew when my day began and ended (before family-time), I was able to divide up the time by three to fit in my three remaining categories. This gave me 4 hours and 40 minutes for each. (This may seem like too much time for some of the categories, but you never know what is going to happen. You may have to run an unexpected errand, your kid may decide not to take any naps that day, or you sleep through your alarm. Allotting yourself too much time is better than allotting yourself not enough time.)

Suggestion: You can divide these between however many categories you have, allot more or less time to one of the categories depending on the needs, or move back and forth between categories each day (like block scheduling in school).

Now, it was time for me to fill in my categories. I decided to start my day with me-time because I am not a morning person, and I usually sit and watch TV for far too long before starting anything productive. I put work-time (blogging) at the end of the day because my husband is usually home by 3:30 and can watch Joshua so this is my most uninterrupted time. That left wife-time to the middle of the day.

The flexibility of this schedule is perfect for me. I can’t schedule an exact time to eat breakfast and lunch because I never know exactly what time Joshua will be napping. With this schedule, I know that sometime during me-time I need to eat breakfast, and sometime during wife-time I need to eat lunch. I also try to go for a 45 minute walk with Joshua around 2 pm depending on when he wakes up from his nap.

Related: How to Manage Your Time With a Newborn

Other Helpful Tips

Get a planner!

I have been using a planner since the 4th grade. If I didn’t have a place to write down all of my to-dos, my head would probably fall off and roll away. Having a planner or just a simple desk calendar to write everything down gives your mind a huge break because you’re not having to store all of this information up there!

Check out these mom-planners!

Five-Minute Tasks

I got this idea from Raising Kids, Making Money. This mom suggests making a to-do list of tasks that only take 5 minutes. So, when you put your baby in her bouncer in front of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and you know that will only keep her content for 5 minutes, you have a list of things you can get done rather than wasting that time thinking about what you can get done.

Pray Without Ceasing

When you’re feeling the stress, “cast all anxieties on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Know that somedays you just aren’t going to get things done. I literally typed half of this blog with a screaming, sick baby in my arms. All I accomplished today was taking him to urgent care for a fever and speed-typing this post.

If all you get done tomorrow is cuddling with your little one because she had a bad day, then you did exactly what needed to be done that day!

Learn from the hiccups today and grow to have a more productive day tomorrow.

And remember… You’ve Got This, Mom!

Featured

The 3-Month Purge

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

Can you believe your baby is already 3-months-old?! Where has the time gone? Just yesterday you were taking him home from the hospital at only a few days old!

Being a mom finally doesn’t feel all that odd to you anymore. You think you’ve got it all figured out, and then it hits you! Your kid is growing! He’s learning all new skills that you have to nurture and encourage! There’s all these new products you need to buy! Well, no worries, Mom! I have a list of all the necessary things you need now that your little is 3 months!

(Click here to read my list of 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020.)

1. Pacifiers and Bottles

Pacifiers

It’s time to throw out all of your baby’s pacis and bottle nipples! There are a number of reasons for this including hygiene and development in your little one.

You should throw out a pacifier as soon as you notice any damage, but manufacturers recommend going ahead and replacing them by 2 months just to be safe. If your baby is still using the same pacis since he was a newborn, it’s time to throw them out if you haven’t by now — It’s okay! I haven’t either! Oops! Your pacifier may also not be age appropriate for your little one anymore. While some pacifier packages say 0-6 months, some packages specifically say 0-3 months. It’s time to go through your pacis and look for 0-6 month or 3+ month pacifiers.

My son loves his WubbaNubs, so I am planning to cut off the pacifier part and and throw them away, then sew up the holes on the stuffed animals and keep them for when he is old enough to play with them. I will be replacing these with new WubbaNubs. Even though some of the WubbaNubs are listed on Amazon as 0-3 months, the WubbaNub manufacturer says they are recommended for 0-6 months. There is no new model of WubbaNub you need to get now that your baby is moving on up! You will, however, need to buy the next size up (3+ months) of the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier 2-pack or 6-pack if you don’t want your little to have the WubbaNub unsupervised in their crib to avoid the risk of suffocation.

Bottles

It is also time to buy new bottle nipples. Developmentally, your child is getting ready for a medium flow nipple; packages will be marked “3-6 months.” Throw away all bottle nipples that he has used. You should not save these for a future child. They could already be damaged or close to cracking which could be a hygiene or colic issue for a future baby.

You can either toss the bottles that go with the used nipples, or keep them for back-up, but you should go ahead and buy the next size up. Three-month-olds drink about 5-7 oz of formula per feeding, and the bottles you are using now probably only hold 5 oz.

My son’s favorite bottles are Medela — a high quality, popular brand. It took him a few weeks to get used to them, but his other favorite brand, Parent’s Choice (a very affordable brand), only has slow flow and fast flow.

2. High Chair

Can you believe it? Your little one will be sitting up and eating baby food next month! To do that, you will need a high chair. You will want to go ahead and buy one during month three so when you get the go-ahead from your pediatrician, you and your baby will be ready for action — gross, mashed green pea spitting action.

There are 3 main types of high chairs — the traditional high chair, the clamp-on-seat that connects to the side of a table, and the booster seat high chair; the one you choose depends on your preferences and house/storage size.

As my family lives in a pretty small house, we decided it would be the best fit for us to get a foldable traditional high chair. Our chairs are too short for a booster seat to be comfortable for us to feed my son, Joshua and the idea of my squirmy little one hanging off the side of a table just didn’t sit well with me.

We chose the Graco Table2Table Fold 7-in-1 High Chair for our “tiny home.” I was very impressed with the Graco brand when we bought our stroller, so I knew this was a brand I could trust. I love any product that grows with your child (money I don’t have to spend later). This high chair turns into a booster seat, a seat with a table, and a toddler youth chair. Also, you can sit your toddler in the toddler chair and baby in the booster seat at the same time. My favorite part? It’s foldable! You can easily store it away when it’s not in use. (It comes in three different colors that range from $139-169, so make sure you click on the three color options to choose the best price/color combo for you!)

3. Bobby

If you haven’t already, you should soon be seeing signs of your little one trying to sit up on her own. Before you know it, she will hate laying back in her bouncer, crib, or swing and will need something supportive to help her get a better look at the world.

Boppys are recommended to help your infant strengthen her back and neck muscles.

The Boppy is great to start using as soon as your baby first starts trying to sit up. You can prop her up or let her lean back on the Boppy. The pillow is thick and tall enough to make up for your little’s lack of core strength and will help her build it.

The Boppy comes in dozens of different designs, and the covers can be easily removed to be washed in the washing machine (my favorite aspect, of course), so I would recommend buying at least one extra Bobby case so you can still use the Boppy when one cover is in the wash.

4. Sleep Sacks

Around 3-6 months, your baby will be ready to transition out of a swaddle. If your baby can roll over on his own, get completely out of the swaddle, or has started getting very frustrated with the swaddle, it’s time to transition!

So, what’s next for your bundle of joy?

You can either transition to a Sleep Sack or straight into pajamas.

The Halo SleepSack will have the familiar warmth of the swaddle, but your baby’s arms will be free in case he rolls over in his sleep. Halo even makes sleep sacks that wrap snug around your little’s torso to help him feel even more like he is still in the swaddle. The National Sleep Foundation says your baby should be in a SleepSack until he turns 1.

5. Baby Food or Food Processor

Pretty soon, you are going to get the go ahead from your pediatrician to start letting your baby eat baby food — this should be a very interesting experience! If you have not already made the decision about whether or not you want to buy baby food or make your own, you should probably make that decision now.

If you do plan on buying baby food, I encourage you to research the best brands. This will be the first manufactured food (unless your baby has been drinking formula) that will go into your little one’s body. They are not used to manufactured foods like we are, so it is best to make sure you are putting quality, safe, and natural products into your child. There are some great, reputable organic baby food brands out there!

Plum Organics, a certified organic non-GMO brand, was ranked the #1 baby puree in 2020. The Stage 1 Plum Organics (what your baby will start out with) has only 1 ingredient, fruit! It has no artificial preservatives or sweeteners and is unsalted — not to mention kosher. You can buy an 8-pack with 4 different flavors, a 9-pack with 3 different flavors, or an 18-pack with 3 different flavors. The packaging is BPA free which is always a plus for our littles (and for ourselves). And if you’re really into the environment you will be happy to hear that the packaging is recyclable.

If you’re still wanting to be in charge of every ingredient that goes into your little one’s mouth — like this control freak mama right here! — and you have a farmer’s market in the area (or a green thumb), then you have the option of making your own baby food. This really excites me as a mom because I feel like I am nurturing my child in every way possible! I get to change him, cuddle him, love him, and now I get to make his food!

We have the Magic Bullet Baby Bullet food processor for making Joshua’s baby food. I love that it comes with tons of accessories including a mixing bowl, a spatula, separate containers for the refrigerator and freezer which have rotating caps to mark the date, and a recipe book that tells you how to introduce new foods and gives suggestions of which foods to try based on your child’s developmental level! I just love products that manufacturers obviously put parents first when they were creating it, and this is one of those products!

Don’t forget infant spoons and bibs! We absolutely love these apron-like bibs!

6. 3 Month+ Toys/Teething Toys/Activity Mat

Your baby probably hasn’t shown much interest for toys in the last three months, but that will change before you know it! It’s time to pull out those 3 month toys you got from your baby shower!

Provide your little with some toys that double as teethers as she could very well be sprouting teeth soon. Teething can start anywhere from 2-6 months, but both my son and I started showing early signs of teething at just 1-month-old, so get those teething toys as soon as possible because you don’t want to need them and not have them! Make sure you have teethers that you can freeze and the ones that don’t have to be frozen. Sometimes my son likes the frozen ones and sometimes he doesn’t; babies are pretty persnickety!

You’re baby will be working on learning some important skills this month, so look for toys that light up, make noises, and have bright colors to encourage your baby to reach, grab, put things in her mouth, and practicing rolling and sitting up.

It’s also a wonderful idea to purchase an activity mat! These generally come with colorful, noise-making toys and will help your baby love tummy-time! They also fold up easily for storage, so if you don’t have a lot of room for toys, an activity mat could be an alternative to a bucket full of toys.

The new trend is water mats! It’s just like an activity mat, except it has water in it! Instead of your baby laying on her back to play, she is laying on her tummy moving objects around inside the mat. Unlike an activity mat that generally has the toys above her, this mat encourages crawling and helps her use muscles she wouldn’t be using while laying on her back. They also tend to be more affordable than activity mats.

7. Activity Center

Pretty soon, your sweetheart will be holding up his head on his own (around 4 months), and when he does, it’s time to upgrade to an activity center! I know my son is more than ready to get out of his bouncer and have some activities to do! Activity centers come in every kind of variety you could imagine — bouncing, spinning, wobbling, stationary — the options are endless! Your choice in activity center ultimately comes down to space in your home, how much you’re willing to pay, and the kind of activities you think you little will enjoy the most. You’ve been around him for 3 months now, you have some idea of what toys and activities he likes and doesn’t like.

Time sure has flown since you brought your baby home! I know you’re looking back and thinking how far you have come as a mother and how much your baby has learned in just 3 short months! I pray this next chapter of your infant’s life goes as smoothly as it can, and, in the trying moments, you stop and take the time to appreciate how small and precious this gift is.

You’ve got this, Mom!

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Baby Hacks for a Happier Baby and Happier You

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

My son turned 3 months on Monday! Where did the time go?!?!

In the past 3 months, I have learned some valuable newborn hacks that have made life as a new mom a whole lot easier, and I wanted to share my newfound knowledge with you.

Below are my top 10 newborn hacks that will change life with baby! But I wanted to go above and beyond for you! Under many of the hacks is some extra information or a link to a specific product I use! I know mommin’ is tough, and I wanted to make these hacks that much easier for you. So, make sure to not miss out on the info I included for you under the hacks!

Hack #1:

Hack #2:

We love the Johnson’s Hand and Face Wipes (here is a great deal for a 4-pack and a 12-pack). I keep them where I generally feed Joshua everyday so they are easily accessible to me when I see that his neck and palms need to be cleaned. My favorite lotion to use on him (and me) is Johnson’s Baby Moisturizing Lotion.

Hack #3:

Babies will all prefer different bottles. My son loves Parent’s Choice 5 oz Bottles the best — which I’m very happy about because they are REALLY affordable.
We also use Medela Bottles with him. It took him about a month to get used to this brand, but we already had them because they came with my breast pump and we were determined not to buy more bottles.

Hack #4:

Hack #5:

When Joshua is upset and the usual things don’t console him, I try any number of these hacks.
Make life even easier on yourself! Invest in a car seat that quickly fits into a stroller. I don’t know what I would do without our Graco FastAction Jogger Travel System.
Our favorite way to carry our son around the house (my husband included) is in the Ergobaby Aura Wrap Carrier. If I’m walking to my neighbor’s, doing chores, or dancing with him to salsa music, this wrap is easy to put on, comfortable to wear, and takes up little storage space.
I made a playlist of lullabies on YouTube that I can quickly pull up when he’s fussy. You can make your own or follow mine.

Hack #6:

My son is obsessed with his WubbaNub pacifier. He holds onto the attached stuffed animal for comfort and uses it to push the paci back in his mouth. WubbaNubs come in all kinds of stuffed animals including a giraffe, elephant, unicorn, moose, and sloth.
We never use the WubbaNub in his crib, however, because he could push it over his face and it could cause suffocation. We only use them during the day when we’re watching him. A pacifier you can use at night that is just like the one attached to the WubbaNub is the Phillips Avent Soothie. Here is the 0-3 month pacifier and the 3+ month pacifier.

Hack #7:

I have written previous blogs about feeding schedules. You can read my suggestions and tips for a newborn feeding schedule and a two-month old feeding schedule.

Hack #8:

These onesie brands have consistently been my favorite brands! However, just like kids and adult clothes, baby clothes sizes should not be treated equal. Here are some of my favorite onesies in these brands currently available (click the pictures to be taken to the websites):

Hack #9:

Hack #10:

Here is a 2 minute video of a baby crying that you can play for your pet.

Hey, Mom! I really hope these newborn hacks give you a peace of mind and make life a little easier for you! Please let me know what hacks you tried or any other hacks you have figured out for your little one!

You’ve got this, Mom!

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Inexpensive and Free Date and Gift Ideas He Will L❤VE

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

The year 2020 is well underway. Christmas lights have (hopefully) come down, January is but a memory, and Valentine’s Day is just a week away!

If you’re like me, a busy mom who feels like Christmas was just yesterday and her house still hasn’t recovered from it, you probably have nothing planned… and no money to do anything too extravagant.

No worries! Here are some date and gift ideas that won’t break the bank and will still show your wonderful man how much you appreciate him!

*Valentine’s Day is on Friday this year, but you don’t have to celebrate on Valentine’s Day. Talk to the grandparents about keeping the kids one night during the week or on Saturday while you celebrate, or wait until the kids are asleep, and have a date night at home.

Image result for 1 corinthians 13

Free Dates:

  • Build a blanket fort (Our mattress is light enough that we take it into the living room and use that as the base.)
  • Go for a walk in a park, in the historical district, at the beach (If you live in the south, and it’s not too cold), etc. (Shout out to Memphis Putman for sharing this idea with us!)
  • Coupon book (Back rub, he picks the movie, you do one of his chores, fishing trip, etc.)
  • Paint/draw each other’s portraits (Don’t let the other person see it until it’s done. My husband and I did this, and we still have ours hung on our fridge. The finished products were hilarious and a great memory! See the picture to the right? He painted me and I painted him. 🤣)
  • Go stargazing or sleep under the stars
  • Play his favorite board game/card game/video game
  • If you have a boat or ATV, take it out for the day!
  • Find a dance tutorial on YouTube and surprise him with a free “dance class”
  • Karaoke party (You can search just about any song on YouTube with “karaoke” behind it and find the karaoke version. For example, “my girl karaoke“. To prepare, you could go ahead and make a playlist or just wing it!)
Image may contain: 2 people, including Olivia Marie Winn Floyd, people smiling
  • Spa night (Give him a back massage and foot massage.)
  • Scavenger hunt (Send him around the house or around the neighborhood.)
  • Go to a local park that has a free tennis court, volleyball court, or basketball court and play against each other (or invite another couple and play doubles).
  • Watch the sunset
  • Create a couple’s bucket list together
  • Sit down together and each write 26 date ideas on pieces of paper. Put them in a jar, and you now have 52 weeks of date ideas that one or both of you would enjoy! (Look on Pinterest for date ideas. Make sure to throw in some cheap and free options.)
  • Pick wild flowers, and make a bouquet together
  • Go to the mall, and pick out silly outfits for each other to try on
  • Sit together with a cup of coffee and talk. Turn off your phones and just be present with each other.
  • Take “The Intimacy Acceleration” quiz — the quiz Penny and Sheldon test in Big Bang Theory to see if it will make them more attracted to each other and by Daniel and Natasha in The Sun is Also a Star movie and book. Don’t forget to stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes at the end. (My husband and I did this and really enjoyed the experience!) Here and here are clips from the episode on Big Bang Theory about the quiz.
  • Work out together (This increases endorphins and euphoria.)
  • Find funny BuzzFeed couple quizzes
  • Make a love time capsule
  • Participate in his favorite hobby with him

Inexpensive Dates:

  1. Cook him a romantic dinner (You can never go wrong with steak… or recreate the meal you had on your first date or at your wedding.)
  2. Find a cooking tutorial on YouTube and have a in-home “cooking class”
  3. Just drive around and talk (I put this under “inexpensive” since you have to pay for gas.)
  4. Rent his favorite movie from Redbox, and surprise him with popcorn and his favorite movie snack
  5. Go to a museum (Many museums have suggested donations rather than actual prices.)
  6. Go on a picnic (This could be free if you grab food you already have on hand.)
  7. Dollar store date
  8. Decide on a set amount of money to spend, and go to the arcade
  9. Check out Groupon to see what their current deals are. Try something new!
  10. Netflix and Chill
  11. Have a bonfire with s’mores
  12. Grab another couple and go to the mall for a scavenger hunt finding items that start with each letter of the alphabet, be sure to take a picture with each item, and the first couple finished gets dessert courtesy of the other couple. (I found this idea here.)
  13. Get copies of Do You Know Your Husband? and Do You Know Your Wife? and compete for who knows whom better. Loser gives winner a foot massage or has to pass over the remote for 1 night.
  14. Bake heart shaped cookies, decorate them with icing and sprinkles, and post on social media for people to vote who made the best. THEN EAT THEM!
  15. Go to the Dollar Tree, buy all your favorite candies, and JUST PIG OUT!
  16. Fly a kite
  17. Tie-dye and/or paint shirts for each other

Liked these date ideas? Follow my Date Night Pinterest board:

Free Gifts

  1. “Open When…” letters (I did this for my husband and he loved it!
  2. Write him a poem
  3. Write him a song
  4. Draw/paint him a picture
  5. Make him a pillow out of an old shirt he likes and an old throw pillow
  6. A personalized card
  7. Make a board game with YOU TWO as the theme
  8. Choose some Bible verses that remind you of him, write them down, and write why you chose them
  9. 365 Note Jar (Tedious, but definitely a great way to show him how much you appreciate him!)
  10. This ridiculously precious and punny gift you can make with hot glue and spoons 🤣😍

Inexpensive Gifts

  1. Bro-quet (Go to the Dollar Tree and put in his favorite things.)
  2. Gift card (Don’t roll your eyes at this one. My husband is really hard to shop for, so sometimes I surprise him with a gift card to Game Stop or Academy. We don’t spend much on ourselves, so I’m gifting him the ability to spend money on himself without feeling guilty about splurging. It can just be $10-20 if that’s all you can afford. It’s the thought that counts.)
  3. His favorite candy/snack (Or turn a bunch of his favorite candies into a cute card)
  4. Pocket knife (You can find inexpensive Case Knives.)
  5. Walmart always has fun men’s graphic tees from $5-20
  6. Breakfast in bed (Make all of his favorites!)
  7. A mix tape/CD
  8. Go out for a romantic dessert rather than dinner. FroYo, ice cream, sopapillas, cheesecake… (You would be surprised how much money this will save you.)
  9. Buy a frame at a dollar store and print your favorite picture of the two of you (Here is a really precious note to add to it.)
  10. Photo collage
  11. Year-long husband or dad devotional
  12. The 31 Day Pursuit Challenge — My husband and I are currently reading these books with our Bible Study group and absolutely love them! You can get the couple’s set for $22.98. Each day has an action or date idea to help you better pursue your spouse. You can buy them separately as well and do it on your own.

Liked these gift ideas? Follow my Inexpensive Gifts He Will Love! Pinterest board:

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to show your husband how much you love and appreciate him. You don’t even have to spend $1! Just going out of your way to do something thoughtful that you know he will love will be enough for him.

You’ve got this, Mom!

What are some inexpensive or free Valentine’s dates or gift ideas you have? Which of the ideas from above are you going to try this year? I would love to hear from you! Comment below.

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Two-Month-Old Schedule and Napping Tips

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the second you figure your kid out, they go and change on you! I had finally fallen into a rhythm with Joshua and, wouldn’t you know it, he grew! Just the other day, I found myself putting away his newborn clothes to make room for his 3-6 month clothes. Where did my tiny baby go?

Joshua has stared babbling our ears off, watching us walk around the room, and crying when we stop paying attention to him for 3 seconds (drama king, much like his drama queen mother).

And just like there are new quirks and cues I have to learn about him, there’s a new sleep and eat schedule I have to figure out, too.

Two-month-olds eat, on average, every 4 hours and sleep 15.5-17 hours a day.

I tried a new schedule with Joshua that was much like our newborn schedule except I stretched it out to four hour periods, but I learned very quickly that he will not go to sleep on command like he was doing from birth to 1.5 months. Babies have their own little personalities, just like kids and adults, and no two 2-month-olds are alike. So, I will be including a couple of schedules for you to choose from depending on the habits of your baby, but I encourage you to try them out for a couple of days to get to know what works best for both you and your child.

Structured Schedule

Below is the schedule Joshua and I started with. This schedule is good for babies who take naps at the same time every day, respond well to a sleep-time environment (see #4 on my 13 Late Night Newborn Sleep Hacks post), and/or have determined parents who want to win the fight with their baby and have them nap at the exact same time each day. As I am a homemaker, I had no need to keep his naps on a schedule and decided not to add one more stress to my and Joshua’s life by forcing him to go to sleep when he wasn’t tired.

*The times I chose worked best for us. I figured out that Joshua tends to wake up around 7:30-7:40 am every morning, so I chose 7:30 as his wake-up time. I also am not a morning person, so anything before 7:30 was not going to work for me. Feel free to look at the schedule but move the times forward or back depending on your needs.

Flexible Schedule

After figuring out that my son only napped for 25-45 minutes at a time and would tell me he was getting sleepy by rubbing his eyes and fussing for about 30 minutes prior to his nap, I decided to try a day of only scheduling his feeding and letting him tell me when it was time to nap. This was a much calmer and happier day for the both of us. He was way less cranky because he wasn’t being forced to nap when he wasn’t tired and he was sleeping more soundly during naps because I was setting the atmosphere by turning off lights and playing lullabies when I could tell he was tired.

Here is the schedule we are on now:

Help Your Two-Month-Old Nap More Soundly

Newborns sleep a lot longer and more frequently than they do when they get older. Gone are the days of hour to two hour long naps (although you may still get a few of those here and there). Here are some tips to help your 2-month-old sleep more soundly:

1.Keep track of his naps

Take note of his naps for a few days. Write down what time he went to sleep and what time he woke up. Calculate how long his naps are and for how long he is awake. This will help you know when to expect his naps and for how long to expect him to be asleep.

I learned that Joshua sleeps for 25 to 45 minutes and is awake for an hour to an hour and a half between naps. This helps me to know when I should get the environment ready for his nap by turning off lights and playing lullabies. This also helps me plan my day, leaving the chores that need more focus for during his nap times.

2. Be aware of her sleepy cues

During the few days that you are keeping track of her naps, also take notice of her sleepy cues. Joshua rubs his eyes and fusses for about 30 minutes before his nap. His eyes get heavy and he blinks more often and slower than usual. When this starts happening, I start turning lights off, rubbing his head, and singing to him to help him go to sleep faster.

Photo by kelvin octa on Pexels.com

3. Figure out what napping position and atmosphere works best for him

All babies are different. Some like sitting in a bouncer or swing to take naps while some like laying flat in their crib. For the first two weeks of Joshua being 2-months-old, he would rather take a nap in his bouncer. He would scream and kick if I tried to put him in his crib. Now, half way to 3 months, he sometimes doesn’t want to sleep in his bouncer and I have to put him in his crib. You have to be flexible and know that putting a baby to sleep could take up 30 to 45 minutes in and of itself. If your baby takes naps laying flat on his back, swaddle him to keep him from waking himself up with the Moro reflex (read #2 and #3 of my 13 Late Night Newborn Sleep Hacks). You can also swaddle in a swing or bouncer by using SwaddleMe swaddles (#9 of my 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020) and putting the harnesses through the hole in the back, but I don’t bother with a swaddle if Joshua is already content and falling asleep in his bouncer or swing.

Play around with different noises for your little one. Joshua likes a noise machine at night playing womb-sounds (#11 of my 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020), but sleeps better to lullabies during the day.

4. Let her sleep

If she is still sleeping during her feeding time, let her sleep. Joshua likes to fall asleep about 15 minutes before his 11:30 feeding. I just wait until he wakes up to feed him (unless he happens to sleep for longer than an hour — it happens sometimes). Ultimately, it’s your call, Mom! Sometimes I let him take super long naps and let the schedule fall to the way-side because he has had a particularly cranky day and I can’t take one more hour of crying. This could make him sleep less that night, but so far it hasn’t affected my son’s all-night sleeping. Again, it will just take time to get to know what works for you and your baby.

Also, if she opens her eyes during her nap, don’t immediately talk to her or turn on lights; she may go back to sleep. Sometimes I just shush Joshua or rub his head, or I just let him soothe himself back to sleep.

5. Give it time!

All of this is going to take time. Kids take time! Everyday they get a little older and change just enough that we have to relearn everything that we thought we knew. But that’s one of the best things about being a parent; realizing you made a human! How beautiful is it that God knit together a human inside your womb and gave him or her the ability to want and need and dream. When it gets tough and you can’t figure out how to get him or her to go to sleep or to stop crying, just hold on to the beauty of the moment. Just look at that tiny creature in your arms and thank God for taking the time and care to create this little bundle of joy and, at the moment, bundle of stress.

It will get better! I promise. It just takes time.

You’ve got this, Mom!

What helps your little one get to sleep best? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.

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How to Manage Your Time with a Newborn

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

I’m a new mom. The last two months have been bliss — aside from the crying and the getting-no-sleep. Bliss because I have gotten to ooh and aah over this bundle of joy while my family helped out with meals, cleaning, babysitting, night duty, etc. But the honeymoon phase is over. I now have to face the fact that I am a mom, a wife, a homemaker, and an individual!

Someone really needs to create a mommy boot camp before Moms have their babies to give them some practice of what it’s going to be like. But there isn’t, so you are tasked with figuring out how to manage day-to-day life all on your own.

I’m still figuring things out, but in the last two weeks, I’ve gotten into a pretty good rhythm with my son, Joshua. That’s not to say there won’t be a lot of adjustment and a lot of days where I get hardly anything done, but that’s okay! You don’t become a professional mom the moment your baby pops out into the world. Your child’s first cries don’t have this magical elixir that gives you the super powers to just know exactly what to do with this little, fragile human being.

The honest truth is this, Mom. You will never get as much done as you did before having a baby — unless you were a procrastinator like me before and oddly enough actually get more done now that you have a baby (we have established that I am an oddball). We know what the Bible says the role of a wife and mother is (Proverbs 31:10-31). Take a moment to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with these verses.

Did these 21 verses give you as much anxiety as they gave me?

Don’t worry, Mom. You’re not expected to do all of these things. Only Jesus is perfect, and as our perfect example, we look to him and learn how we should be. We will never be as perfect as Christ, but we are called to grow each day and strive to be like Christ as much as we can. In the same way, we are to look at the perfect example of the Proverbs 31 wife, and strive to be like her, not HER!

The Proverbs 31 wife is a seamstress and an eager and productive worker. She gets all her shopping and food-gathering done each day. She wakes up before the sun and cooks for her family. She is entrepreneurial and athletic. She does volunteer work and dresses in the latest fashions. She is strong, dignified, and sees the good in everything. She is wise and studies her Bible. She never sits on her butt, and her children and husband praise her for all she does.

On a good day, I can say I accomplished maybe 10% of this; on an average day…. 5%. Let me say it louder for the mamas in the back; YOU ARE NOT CALLED TO BE PERFECT! You are called to give the best you can today.

My best today does not look like my best yesterday. It’s raining outside, so naturally I am dragging around the house and can barely keep my eyes open. I will be lucky to get the dishes washed and maybe a few clothes folded after I finish typing my blog. Yesterday I washed dishes, sterilized all of Joshua’s bottles, did several loads of laundry, and organized our mail. Am I angry at myself for only getting a fraction of what I did yesterday done today? Absolutely not, because I know I am giving my today’s best.

On top of being a wife and a homemaker, I am also a mother of a newborn. I can’t just mindlessly clean the house all day; I’m also responsible for the nourishment and development of a tiny human who expects my attention approximately 12 hours out of the day. If I expect to sleep 8 hours, that only gives me 4 hours a day to eat, shower, exercise, clean my house, read my Bible, and maybe have some me-time. (Ew. I wish I had never counted that up. Now that gives me even more stress.)

I don’t have to tell you that 4 hours is not enough time! So, what can you do? I have discovered that the best way to get stuff done and spend time with your child (read my blog post about being more present with your children) is to involve them in your chores.

I’m sure you’re wondering how the heck I do that with a newborn. Well, I’m glad you asked.

Here are some tricks to spend time with your baby while still getting things done.

1.Read the Word to him.

Since Joshua was born 2 months ago, I’m still struggling to get back to a daily routine of spending time with God, but on the days that I do, I bring my son into my war room with me, read the Bible to him, and pray with him.

Reading to your baby has so many benefits: developing language, conversation, and cognitive thinking skills, as well as memory; encouraging a love for reading; influencing earlier reading; preparing them for formal education; bonding with Mom and Dad; building vocabulary; etc.

By reading the Bible to your baby, you are killing several proverbial birds with one Rock — see what I did there (heehee)? You are giving your baby all the benefits that come with reading to him, but you are also filling him with the Word at a very early age. You are getting to spend time with your Father while also spending time with your son or daughter.

Including your child in your prayer time is also pretty special. You get to pray over your child, but also, as he gets older, you will be teaching a wonderful habit to him that will hopefully stay with him all the days of his life; going to the Lord everyday.

2. Exercise with her.

Before Joshua was born, I had gotten really bad about not exercising. During the first two trimesters of pregnancy, I went to the gym for 30-45 minutes once or twice a week, but before that, I hadn’t stepped foot in a gym in a year or two, maybe more. I had gained about 70 lbs since I married my husband in 2016.

When Joshua was born, I couldn’t wait for the 6 week mark when I would hear the words from my OB that I could start exercising again. I was so ready to get off my butt and get outside! Three weeks ago, I started dieting and exercising again, and I feel like a new woman. I’ve almost lost 10 lbs.

How do I find the time with a newborn? I put my kid in his stroller (see my 20 Newborn Must-Haves for 2020 blog; my jogging stroller is #6 on the list) and walk around my neighborhood. I live in the country, so I am able to walk around our neighborhood during the day without anyone bothering us. I turn on Joshua’s nap time playlist, and he basically sleeps the whole time.

Pushing your baby around in a stroller is great for multiple reasons. You’re getting exercise, your baby is getting some sunlight — which is good for her immune system (make sure to not put her in direct sunlight), and, if your baby is cranky, the stroller ride will probably put her to sleep.

If you are unable to walk around your neighborhood, find a local park or free walking track. We have a local hospital about 20 minutes away from my house that has a gated walking track available to the community. You could take your baby to the mall to walk around or a parking lot you feel safe in, like your church.

You can follow my Pinterest board to get more ideas on how to include your baby in your work-out and to see exercises specifically created with postpartum bodies in mind.

3. Clean the house with him.

Of course, getting things done while he’s napping is an obvious choice, but my 2-month-old takes naps ranging from 25-40 minutes during the day and is awake anywhere from 1 hour to 1.5 hours between each nap. People tell me all the time that you don’t have to play with him every moment he is awake, but if your kid is anything like mine, he still needs constant attention while he’s awake. Between bouncing him in his bouncer and pushing his paci back in his mouth, it’s amazing I get anything done. But I’ve finally figured out the trick to keep him happy and clean the house at the same time.

Bring him with you!

Whether it’s carrying your baby in a wrap or a structured carrier (I personally love the Ergobaby Aura Wrap Carrier), or bringing the bouncer into whatever room you are in, moving your child around the house with you will give you back your time to clean — not all the time you had before motherhood, but a good bit of it!

I keep Joshua in his bouncer most of the day. If he’s not napping, he’s right next to me in his bouncer checking out whatever chore I’m getting done. While I wash dishes, I am bouncing him with one foot (because my bouncer doesn’t actually bounce) and talking to him to stimulate language and conversation skills. While I’m folding clothes, I’m sitting next to him bouncing him with my knee and making exaggerated movements while folding to help him practice focusing his eyes on objects.

Bringing your baby around the house with you allots him more time a day to learn from and bond with you, and makes your day just a little bit brighter to get to keep your eyes on that sweet face all day! Not to mention, you can notice immediately when he starts getting fussy and try to distract him instead of having to calm a screaming baby who dropped his pacifier 5 minutes ago.

I do make it a point to take breaks and be present  with my child by singing him songs, reading him books, and just talking to him. It is so important to know when to just stop and bond with your child. 

4. Take advantage of her naps.

It will take some trial-and-error, but figure out what chores you can get done while she is awake, and what you need to save for her naps. I generally utilize Joshua’s nap times for making and eating lunch, showering, writing my blog (getting your at-home work done), and whatever big chore I have scheduled for that day like dusting or cleaning out the fridge — things I know I need full focus on.

A great idea is to keep track of her naps for a few days. I made a chart in my phone one day of what time Joshua napped, how long the naps lasted, and how long he was awake between the naps. This really helped me to better plan what chores I needed to be doing at what time.

I cook when my husband gets home so he can watch Joshua because 25-45 minute naps just aren’t long enough for me to cook dinner. However, if this is not possible for your household, invest in a crock pot or instant pot, and choose recipes you can prepare and throw into the pot in about 20 minutes just in case she decides to wake up early.

5. Plan some you-time.

Taking time for yourself is very important. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you must set a time for yourself to just be you! You are Mom all day. Someone depends on you all day. Let yourself take even a ten minute break! You deserve it!

You may choose one of his nap times during the day for this me-time; an early morning coffee and God-time or a midday chill on the couch and watch an episode of your favorite TV show. I personally like getting all of my chores done during the day. I know if I sit down and relax, I will never get back up. So, my me-time is in the evening. When my husband comes home, he takes over Joshua-duty and I am free to read, or paint my nails, or play guitar, or binge watch Netflix and Disney+.

6. Get a mom-planner.

I’ve been using an agenda since the 4th grade. I think my head would fall off with doctor’s appointments, to-do lists, and bills I have to remember to take care of if I didn’t have a place to keep it all together for me. There are some great planners out there made specifically for moms. My favorite brand of agenda that I have been using for about 5 years now is the Happy Planner. This year, I have the 2020 Modern Mom Classic Happy Planner. I was so excited to finally get to upgrade to a mom-planner once Joshua was born. (I know it’s trivial, but I get excited about little things like that!)

I love the Happy Planner because you can easily remove and add pages and accessories to make it exactly what you need (comment if you would like to see a future post about how I set up my Happy Planner). The Modern Mom planner makes life easier for moms by providing a space every week for an errands list, shopping list, calls/emails list, bills to pay list, and a focus area. Each month has a quote targeted for a busy mom like “Mom hair don’t care” and “You got this, mama” (my personal favorite). I love that all of my lists and plans are together in one place and fit easily in my purse for me to refer to wherever I go.

7. Take it one day at a time.

Figuring out how to get things done with your new baby is going to take time. Don’t beat yourself up, Mom. You are not expected to have motherhood all figured out. You are going to have great days where you get your to-do list for today and tomorrow done, and you’re going to have days where you were lucky to just make your bed; both of those days are just fine as long as you remember to do the most important thing: take the time to be a mom! It doesn’t matter what you accomplished on January 24, 2020 as much as it matters who you taught your child to be. It doesn’t matter how many times you have dusted your house as much as it matters how many times you have told your child, “I love you.”

The point is this, Mom. You can get to those chores tomorrow, but you can never get today back. Don’t hold it against yourself if you just need to rest or just need to sit on the floor and sing to your baby.

You’ve got this, Mom!

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Enjoy the Little Moments, Mom!

I took a much needed vacation from my blog last week. I’ve been writing 1-2 posts a week for about 2 months, and I needed a break!

I was getting burned out, overwhelmed, and depressed. I was having major writer’s block and hating the idea of sitting down at my computer to write.

As someone who has struggled with depression since I was 16, it is hard for me to keep a routine. For some reason, routine is one of my biggest triggers of depression. I think things start getting monotonous, which is actually the perfect word to describe how I was feeling. Monotonous can mean “repetitious,” but it can also mean “dull and lacking interest.” When I keep doing the same thing over and over, even if I love it with all my heart, I get tired of it.

I’ve been that way my whole life. I have quit so many things that I was passionate about. I’m an average guitar player. I have a 4th-grade-choir level education of music, as well as an 8th grade level education in art. There is a space in my closet where the multitudes of unfinished novels I started writing throughout my life go to die. There are several blogs and YouTube channels I have abandoned at some point out there floating around in cyberspace. I took tap for a week, just long enough for my Mom to buy very expensive tap shoes, and was in Brownies long enough to ride on the float in the homecoming parade (also a week). I quit marching band in 7th grade, got back in in 9th grade, and quit the last semester of my senior year.

The point of me dishing out my life story to you is this: I’m TIRED of quitting. As a mother, I get a chance to reinvent who I am. Who do I want to be for this child that I am bringing into the world?

I don’t want Joshua to grow up watching his mom quit everything she starts. I want him to have a dream and fight for it.

That’s why this blog is so important to me. I started it for moms who struggle to be perfect. I started it for me to hold myself accountable as a mother and as a person to stop quitting things that are important to me. And I started it for my son to have someone to look up to as a role model as he grows.

However, I have to learn to balance my newfound determination.

I’ve let myself get too overwhelmed over the past two months. I’ve become a blog writing robot. All I have been good for is feeding and changing my child, cleaning the house (haha), and writing blogs.

One day last week before I decided to take a “vacation,” I was having a very stressful day. Everything was going wrong, to-do’s were getting piled on me left and right, I just kept staring at the blank page on my laptop, and my son was basically crying all day!

I knew I wasn’t getting anywhere with the horrendous mental block I was having, so I shut everything down and just held my son.

As a mom, it’s hard to tell people your imperfections, because mothers are expected to know what they’re doing when it comes to child-rearing. But I have to be honest with you. That day, I played with my 2-month-old son and talked to him like we had never played and talked before.

I have to watch people to learn how to do something. I never anticipated that this would include how I bond with my son, but I guess it makes sense. I’m a socially awkward person, but I know how to adapt to act like I’m expected to act in a situation, so why wouldn’t that apply to interacting with my child — another human being? For the last 2 months, I would play with him like I had seen family members or YouTube videos play. I would read books to him and have tummy-time because I knew that’s what you’re supposed to do. I really didn’t think I, the Queen of Awkward, would be able to figure out how to bond with my child on my own. But that day, when I took a moment to just be present with my son, I learned some things.

I learned that my son is very aware of his surroundings. I learned that he likes looking at our dachshund, Toby. I learned that he loves the movie Sing and the book Do Your Ears Hang Low?. And I was hooked! I wanted to learn more about and bond more with my son.

So, I took the week off from blogging to do just that!

It was such a refreshing week. I learned Joshua’s cues for a nap and figured out all on my own through trial and error that he likes a dim room, soft music playing, and to be sitting in his bouncer while napping.

I bonded with my son when I wrapped him in his favorite blanket and rocked him to sleep. I bonded with him when he slept for a full hour in my arms and my elbow fell asleep. I bonded with him as I read him the first 3 books of Harry Potter and he fell asleep watching the first two movies with me.

I have loved my son so much over the past two months, but in the last week, I took the time to fall in love with my son. I took the time to get to know him and let him get to know me. I took the time to bond and cuddle and love. I took the time to learn his cries, his cues, and his patterns.

This is a week I will hold in my heart for his entire life because it was the first moment I purposefully spent building my son’s and my relationship; a relationship I pray only grows stronger and more secure as time goes by.

I started working on my blog again Monday, as well as really starting to get the house back in order for the first time since Christmas, but I hold last week in my heart as a reminder. A reminder to stop and enjoy the little moments.

Yes, I need to clean the house. Yes, I need to write a new blog post. Yes, I need to shower and brush my teeth — and I will get to all of those things. But one of my top priorities is being present with my son. He is only 2 months and 12 days old once. Before I know it, he will be crawling and talking! Just last night I had to put away his newborn onesies because he doesn’t fit in them anymore! He’s already getting so big! I can’t let all the important little moments slip away.

In the following weeks, I will be trying my best — because that’s all I can promise — to learn to juggle being a homemaker, an entrepreneur, and a mother. I hope to share my journey and my strategies with you once I get more comfortable with it. That’s not to say I will be a pro at this, ever! Each week, each day is a chance to evaluate the previous one and grow.

I’m going to have days where I feel like I fall short as a mom or as a wife or as a blogger, and that’s okay! You know why? Because I’m a human, NOT A ROBOT!

I foresee some blog “vacations” in my future; a week to just rest, reevaluate, and spend time with my son. And I encourage you to do that too, Mom! If you have a full-time or part-time job, maybe this looks like taking a “vacation” from something for the evening or for the weekend. It’s okay if the floor doesn’t get mopped this week or if you skip a day of dishes!

It is important to take care of our family as a wife and mother (Proverbs 31:15-17). But it is also important for us to rest. Even the God Almighty rested (Genesis 2:2-3). It is just as important for us to spend time with our families.

Mom, if you put keeping the house spotless over spending time with your family, you will get burned out and you will cause weakened relationships with your children and spouse. And if you’re like me, this will cause depression. If you are a mother of a newborn, it could cause Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Baby Blue’s.

What can you get to tomorrow or next week so that you can just be present with your children in this moment? Because, Mom, you can’t get this moment back. (Let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you!)

I pray this week that God reveals to you how to balance life as a mom, wife, and employee. I pray God spotlights the moments that you need to just stop and be present with your children. I pray God shows you how to prioritize and make time for what is important. And I pray God shows you what isn’t so important that is keeping you from spending time with your family.

You’ve got this, Mom!

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13 Late Night Newborn Sleep Hacks

13 Late Night Newborn Sleep Hacks

I recently wrote a post about establishing a sleep schedule with a newborn (you can read that post here). Instituting the schedule can take about a month, but you can help your baby get used to the schedule faster by creating an environment that will help them sleep deeper through the night.

Your newborn needs to figure out the difference in night and day. Here are 13 hacks to help your newborn sleep longer and more soundly at night:
  1. Create and stick to a nighttime routine

Initiating a bedtime routine will help your little one wind down for bed. It takes about a month of keeping the routine to actually see results, but it is definitely worth the determination.

Photo by Henley Design Studio on Pexels.com

When I first started Joshua’s sleep schedule, I had bath time after the 9 pm feeding as part of the bedtime routine. I changed this after a few days of trial and error because babies don’t need to be bathed daily, so switching between bathing and playtime every day would defeat the purpose of a routine. Also, he gets so wound up from the bath that he would be too overly stimulated to put to sleep. (When he gets more used to a bath and it starts to calm him down, I will probably change it back to after his 9 pm feeding.)

On the days we bathe him, we now have bath time after the 6 pm feeding, then put him down for a nap or play with him if he’s still awake.

After the 9 pm feeding, we keep him awake as long as we can. Now that he is almost 2 months old, he usually makes it to 9:45, but sometimes stays awake as late as 10:30. Do all you can to keep him awake so he will be worn out for bedtime, but don’t keep him awake if he gets fussy. You can actually cause babies to be too tired to sleep if you overstimulate them.

When he finally starts falling asleep but isn’t all the way asleep, we lay him in his in his crib and swaddle him.

2. Swaddle

Your baby should be swaddled during nap and sleep times (I no longer swaddle during the day since Joshua is in his bouncer all day and takes better naps now). Do not take him out of his swaddle when you change his diaper or feed him at night. We use the SwaddleMe swaddle and just open the bottom-half to change his diaper. (Click here to read my 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020. The SwaddleMe is #9 on the list.)

3. Reduce the Moro Reflex

The Moro Reflex causes babies to startle in their sleep, flailing their arms and legs which causes them to wake up. A swaddle keeps their arms from doing this, but not necessarily their legs. My husband figured out that if you gently hold down their legs while putting them back to sleep, this helps them fall asleep faster. Be very gentle when doing this. You shouldn’t be pushing on their legs; just lightly placing your hand over them to keep them from shooting upwards.

4. No extra stimulation

During the nighttime hours, do not turn on the light or talk to your baby unless you’re singing a lullaby or telling them a story to get them to sleep. (I stopped having to tell stories after he was about 3-4 weeks old.) Bright lights or other stimulation makes your baby think it’s playtime and you will have a tough time getting them back to sleep.

We turn on the bathroom light next to his nursery and crack the door. This lets in enough light to be able to see what we’re doing but not too much that Joshua thinks it’s playtime. When he slept in the living room in his play yard for the first few weeks, we turned on the light on the microwave in the kitchen since our house is open-concept.

I’ve heard from some people that they throw a thin blanket over a lamp when changing a diaper at night, but this is a fire hazard and should only be used if you have absolutely no other option. You must be very careful and diligent in turning off the lamp immediately and removing the blanket as soon as you’re done.

5. Keep them in the football hold as much as possible.

Practice carrying your baby by your side with your arm under their back and your hand cradling their head (see picture). When you put your baby to your chest, they are warmer and can hear your heartbeat and breathing like they did in the womb. When you take them off your chest to put them in the crib, the sudden change wakes them up. The football carry is less of a change from your arm to the crib and less likely to wake them up. Try burping them sitting up in your lap with their neck rested on your hand so you can keep them off of your chest before putting them back to sleep.

6. Rub their forehead and between their eyes

Gently rubbing between their eyes is the “magic touch” to put a baby to sleep. If you’ve seen Frozen 2, you’ve see Anna do this with her pinky to put Elsa to sleep. I do this every single time I lay him down at night.

7. Softly sing a lullaby

Sing a slow lullaby at a low volume. Singing too loudly could be an over stimulation for baby. My go-to’s are Baby Mine by Bette Midler and Stay Awake from Mary Poppins. If you are still pregnant, choose a song or a few songs to start singing now. I sang Baby Mine to Joshua while he was in the womb and this song calms him down very quickly now that he’s in the world. The nurses in NICU were amazed how quickly he would settle down when I sang this song to him.

8. Use noise machines

Many noise machines have sounds that mimic the noises in the womb. While you were pregnant, your baby heard your stomach digesting foods, your heart beating, your breathing, and muffled noises from the outside world. It would be irrational to think a baby needs a silent room to sleep since they were sleeping with noise for the last 9 months.

We use a Baby Shusher — which has a prerecorded voice saying “shhh” — and a Motorola Baby Monitor — which has a built in noise machine. (Click here to read my 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020. The Motorola Baby Monitor is #11 and the Baby Shusher is #16 on the list.)

9. Try a pacifier

Joshua likes pacifiers during the day, but he doesn’t seem to like them at night. A pacifier may work for you, however.

If you’re using the Wubbanub pacifier I talked about in my 20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020 post (#3 on the list), you can give your baby the Soothie brand pacies because they are the same brand used on the Wubbanub. You should not give your newborn a Wubbanub while he or she is laying in a crib. It is a stuffed animal and can lead to SIDS if you’re not watching them. A Wubbanub should only be used when you are watching your child.

10. Don’t forget to let him practice self-soothing

Babies need to practice self-soothing. If you pick him up the moment he cries, he will never learn to self-soothe and you will never get any sleep or get anything done.

Calm him down and put him to sleep, then leave the room. If he wakes back up, even immediately, wait 3-5 minutes to see if he can put himself back to sleep. In the early weeks, he probably won’t be able to, but you have to let him practice. I know it’s hard to hear your little one cry, but set a timer and distract yourself if you have to.

11. If all else fails, he may still be hungry

If you have tried everything else, and he is still crying, look for feeding cues such as rooting or sucking on his hand. While my son was in NICU, the nurses overfed him. When he should have been eating 2-3 oz of formula per feeding, he was eating 3-4 oz. He never lost his birth weight, but instead gained weight rapidly. My pediatrician was concerned upon meeting him at his 1-week-old appointment. He told me I shouldn’t be giving him more than 3 oz per feeding until he was 2 months old.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Instead of giving him extra formula, he instructed me to give him 3 oz of water and 1 tsp of sugar if he was too hungry to be consoled. (Please consult your pediatrician before doing this.) Instead of giving him 3 oz of water right away, I give him 1.5 oz of water and 1/2 a tsp of sugar. Then, if he’s still hungry, I’ll do that one more time.

I don’t do this as soon as he shows me he’s still hungry. I try to distract him and get him back to sleep because I don’t want him to think he needs 4.5-6 oz of something in his belly to be full at a month old. For the first few weeks, I was always having to give him sugar water after feeding, but now at 7-weeks-old I probably only have to give him 1.5 oz once a week and usually only at night to get him to that 4 hour mark.

12. Pray

Sometimes all that is left to do is pray. I have said lots of nighttime prayers over my child, desperate for just one full hour of sleep. Also, pray for yourself for strength to get through this tough time of little sleep while you’re getting your child on a schedule. Thank God that He is growing you to be a better mom and growing your child to be a more independent little human.

Nighttime Hack for Mommy…

13. Ask for help

This final hack is for you, Mom. Get your husband, or a loved one, involved in the nighttime routine. It is unreasonable to think you can cope on 2-3 hours of sleep at a time. You need to get a full night sleep.

Ask someone if they can help for a few hours at night so you can get a full night’s rest (minimum 6 hours if possible). As soon as your husband — or whoever is helping — gets home, GO TO BED!

When my husband gets home at 6 pm, his shift starts. We eat supper, and then I am in bed by 7:30 pm. Hubby has baby-duty until midnight. He stayed up that late on a regular basis before Joshua was born, so this isn’t a problem for him. If he feels tired, he will sleep between feedings.

At midnight, he brings me the monitor, tells me when Joshua last ate, then goes to bed. I usually get another hour of sleep in after this before Joshua wakes up to eat.

Midnight may not work for the two of you. Maybe they can only watch your baby until 10. Maybe you need to ask grandparents, family, or friends to take turns coming over once a week in the evening to take the night shift for a few hours. Let people help you, Mom! You are no good to your child if you can’t even keep your eyes open.

This too shall pass, Mom!

Your little one not sleeping through the night and waking up every 15 to 30 minutes is just another trial you have to go through together. My son is about to be 2 months old and sleeps 4 hours at a time at night — most of the time (Except last night when he decided to only sleep 2 hours). Before you know it, you will be waking up to your timer going off at four hours in total shock thinking you slept through his cries. You will get there! A month or two may feel like a long time, but it will be here before you know it. You’ve got this, Mom!

Do you have any late night sleep hacks to share? Comment below! I would love to hear them!

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There’s Another in the Fire…

There’s Another in the Fire…

I’ll be honest with you. As I’m working on building my audience for this blog, I’ve been so caught up in writing posts that I know will bring traffic to my page and are easier to write. But I was reminded today at church by a close friend and by a song sang during worship what and who I started this blog for — and I was humbled.

As I listened to the words, I heard a Voice I have been unintentionally blocking out for a few weeks… too focused on the what and not the why. It’s amazing how, even when we are doing what God called us to do, we can take it for granted and get distracted from the reason, the purpose, the beautiful relationship God wants to grow with us by providing the mission He has given us.

“There is grace when the heart is under fire…”

Two months ago, I was sitting in a hospital room, broken, afraid, frustrated, exhausted, and so many other emotions. It feels like years ago. I had just given birth by emergency c-section to my son, Joshua, who was in NICU. I had only held him for an hour since he was born and had to leave him in the care of strangers several floors below me.

I found myself thinking, “This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen. He’s supposed to be in my arms right now and we’re supposed to be bonding. I was supposed to give him his first meal from me, not from a bottle of formula at the hands of a stranger. He’s supposed to be laying on my chest sleeping to the lullaby of my heartbeat while I rub his hair and coo over his precious face, not under a UV light with protective covering over his eyes.” And somehow in that moment, over all of the other anxious emotions I felt — because, yes, they were still there — was a divine peace. A comforting Hand on my heart. A still, small voice saying, “It’s going to be alright. You don’t see it now, but it will all work out for My Good. You have a hard road ahead, but it will get better. Keep fighting. You are not alone.”

“I won’t bow down to the things of this world…”

As the hours in the hospital grew to days, I was able to see my baby more and more, but I also learned a valuable lesson in this time. I learned that I had no idea what I was doing!

Women are made to believe that the moment your child is born you have immediate Mom-instincts. You become Super Mom and automatically know how to take care of your child. The funny thing is, well-seasoned Mom’s know this isn’t true, but we preserve the myth anyway.

I think we do this because we still listen to the lie of the world that moms have to be perfect. We may not hear these exact words, but more and more we’re hearing about new things that can hurt our children. All of a sudden, we have to become an expert in science, nutrition, child-care, psychology, and pediatrics to be able to make the right decision for our children. And the world is watching — via social media — for the moment they think we have made the wrong decision. And they are going to let you know! It’s just unrealistic to believe you have to know exactly what you’re doing the moment you bring that bundle of joy into the world.

I suffered unnecessary frustration, self-doubt, and self-rebuking for being what I thought was a terrible mother because my child was several days old and I still wasn’t feeling that maternal instinct everyone promised I would gain.

“I can see the light in the darkness… I can feel the ground shake beneath us…”

There are still moments and hours and days when I feel less-than as a mother to Joshua. When someone can get him to stop crying when I can’t. When I’m 5 minutes late for his next feeding. When the AC gets under 70 degrees for just a few minutes. When I feel like everyone else is a better Mom to my son than me.

It’s in those moments that God shows me the light in the darkness. “You’ll figure out how to get him to stop crying; it just takes practice.” “He won’t starve if he didn’t get the bottle at exactly 3:00.” “He has socks and a hat on. He’s not cold. You checked him just a few minutes ago.” “You can do this! You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” “Cast all your anxieties on Christ because He cares for you.”

“Should I ever need reminding of how Good You’ve been to me…”

Image result for another in the fire

I praise God for the trials, the hard moments, and the tests. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Even when my son is screaming, and I can’t get him to stop; I still love those moments. Yes, I’m gritting my teeth and pulling my hair with frustration, but I can still look back later — when he’s finally asleep — and appreciate those moments.

I can be joyful that my son is healthy (and has a great set of lungs). I can be full of glee that he’s my baby (I know because he has my stubbornness and determination). I can be awe-struck by the masterful hands of the Creator, stitching us together piece-by-piece in our mother’s womb in such a way that we have the ability to scream when we’re hungry, or dirty, or frustrated. I can be humbled that God chose me of all people to be Joshua’s mother and know that He will provide me with strength and Holy Spirit Wisdom to do what I need to do to nurture, love, and raise up this baby (click here to read my post on praying to be a “Good” Mom rather than a “good” Mom).

I can also be thankful for the trials because I know they are teaching me and growing me to be a better mother. And in those moments I praise God.

“Count it all joy, my [sisters], when you meet trials
of various kinds, for you know that the testing of
your faith produces steadfastness.”
James 1:2-3

(Click here to read 100 verses about being thankful in our trails.)

“I’ll count the joy come every battle ’cause I know that’s where you’ll be…”

Image result for count the joy come every battle cuz i know that's where you'll be

I was reminded this morning that I started this blog for Mom’s to know that they don’t have to strive to be perfect. None of us are professional mothers; we figure it out as we go along and should expect some mess-ups and do-overs along the way. But guess what? There’s another in the fire standing next to you. You are not alone, Mom, even if you think you are. If you have never felt more alone than this moment, know that He is still there holding back the seas. We’re going to sink some, just like Peter, but God is there to pick us back up every single time. It’s our job to accept His hand.

But here’s the most important part. Don’t think He’s going to pull you out of the waves and put you on the shore. We still have to face these trials, these waves so that we can grow. But if you let Him, He will walk right beside you the whole way!

I pray that you will feel His presence today and will allow Him to take your anxieties and give you peace. Whatever trial you are feeling as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a co-worker, an employee, I pray that God reveals the light at the end of the darkness to you. I pray God shows you the joy in this trial; a joy and a peace that you can’t explain. You’ve got this, Mom!

What song has been speaking to you lately? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

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Establishing a Newborn Sleep Schedule

Establishing a Newborn Sleep Schedule

Should I establish a sleep schedule with my newborn?

Does it really work? Is it really worth the stress?

Don’t babies just make their own schedules?

Well, yes and no. Of course a baby is going to cry when they’re hungry or tired or need a diaper change, but establishing a schedule early on will get them in more of a routine so you will have a better idea of when that cry is coming. Here are some pros of establishing a sleep schedule, and because I’m a realist, I’m providing you with some cons as well. I want you to know that it will be hard and you will feel like you haven’t slept since he was born, but in the end (after about a month) it will be worth it!

Pros of Establishing a Sleep Schedule

  1. You can schedule your day around feeding times

I know when to schedule doctor’s appointments, cooking meals, doing chores, exercising, etc. because I have a really good idea of when he is going to want to eat.

2. If people want to come see him, I know exactly when to tell them to come over because I know when he will be awake.

I can’t imagine how people handle this, maybe because I’m a huge planner. I have to know exactly what’s going on throughout the day. I have a “game plan” all mapped out in my mind.

But I would also hate having to wake my baby up when he’s in a deep sleep just to see someone. Sometimes it’s so hard to get him to fall asleep, so I really hate waking him up for no reason.

3. You never have to guess what time you fed him last.

I don’t know about you, but I am super forgetful. My husband can tell me something, and then a minute later I have to ask him what he said. I know Joshua’s schedule by heart after almost 2 months of using it, so I never have to worry about how long it’s been since he ate.

4. They figure out the difference in night and day

Babies don’t come out of the womb knowing the difference in night and day. It is very important for your sanity to help them figure this out. (You will see in my schedule below how you can do that.)

5. Your baby will sleep longer at night

Babies sometimes sleep as little as 15 minutes. You want your child to learn to have these cat naps during the day and save the long stretches of sleep for nighttime.

6. You can start right away with establishing the schedule

While doing research for this post, I read a few articles that said you could wait until your child is a month old to start establishing a schedule. I don’t agree with this. My son was in NICU, so from the very beginning he was on a feeding schedule. When I brought him home at almost a week old, I stayed on the schedule. It takes about a month for babies to learn the schedule, so why not start that month from the very beginning? If you start later, you have to break the habit of them getting food whenever they want it which can lead to overfeeding and more stress of breaking one schedule and starting a new one.

If you haven’t started a schedule, go ahead and start now. It’s never too late, it just may be a little harder.

Cons of Establishing a Sleep Schedule

  1. Sometimes babies just make their own schedules

Even though I have him on schedule, sometimes (maybe once a day, but usually not) he wants to eat about 15-30 minutes early. About half the time I can distract him with a pacifier or by taking him on a walk, but if he’s not having it then I will feed him. You shouldn’t make your baby wait just to stay on schedule if they are really upset.

2. You have to be really determined

It’s going to take some time. Joshua didn’t stick to the schedule until about a month in.

You will also have to hold your family and friends to the schedule when they watch your child. There will be some who complain, but stick to it, Mom! When you finally start seeing results, it will all be worth it!

3. Babies want to sleep right after they feed

You will see in the schedule that you should play with your baby after they eat during the day. However, newborns have a tough time staying awake with a full belly. You will have to try very hard and get pretty creative to keep them awake, but as long as you can get a minimum of 10 minutes of play from them in the early weeks, you can put them back down for a nap. My son is almost 2 months old and he finally doesn’t fall straight to sleep after feeding during the day.

4. You’re going to have to let them learn to self-soothe

As a mom, it hurts to hear your baby cry, but you shouldn’t pick them up right away if it’s not time to feed. Let them cry for about 3-5 minutes (closer to 3 at the beginning of establishing the schedule) to allow them to learn to self-soothe. If you don’t, then they won’t learn to put themselves back to sleep. The first time my son soothed himself back to sleep after about 2 minutes of crying I thought I was dreaming! I was almost too surprised to go back to bed! You will get there, Mom! Just set a timer and distract yourself for those 3-5 minutes.

5. You have to be a little flexible

Sometimes you will have to feed early because your baby can’t make it the 3 hours, but that’s okay! You are Mom. You know what’s best for your child. You have the final say. It may take a few days or weeks of stress to feel confident in your decision-making, but very soon you will be a pro!

Joshua’s Sleep Schedule

I found this sleep schedule on the All Spruced up in AK blog and modified it to fit my child and my life, as I encourage you to do as you establish your own schedule. Click here to read her original post about the schedule.

Here is my modified version that works best for me and Joshua. I’m starting at our nighttime schedule so I can better explain how our day begins:

9:00 pm — Diaper change and feed. Try to keep him awake as long as you possibly can. Now that Joshua is 2 months old, my husband can keep him awake for up to an hour and a half. The longer he stays awake the better he will sleep through the night, but don’t fight him. If he gets too overstimulated and cranky, put him to sleep.

11:00 pm to 9:00 am — Change diaper and feed every 2-4 hours. When they’re a month old, change this to every 3-4 hours. Wake to feed if they make it to 4 hours (I set a timer for every 4 hours just in case, but he didn’t make it to 4 hours until he was 5-6 weeks old.) Make sure to read the next section about how to keep them sleepy after each feeding.

8:00 to 9:30 am — This time depends on when they last ate during the night, but the goal is to make it to 9 am to start your schedule. I make Joshua wait at least 2.5 hours ever since he turned 1 month old, but before a month, you shouldn’t feed earlier than 2 hours if you can help it. So, for instance, if he ate at 5:30 am, I want him to eat again at 9 am to get the schedule back on track. But if he wakes up at 8 am wanting a bottle, I will give it to him, but no earlier than 2.5 hours. If he happens to eat at 7:30 am, I will wake him up at 9:30 am to start the day. It’s 2 hours, but if you wait till 10 am to feed, it can throw your baby off their schedule. This block of time is important to getting him on his schedule for the day. (You’ll get the hang of this after a week of having to make these decisions and figuring out what works best for you and baby. To start the day, I turn on all the lights in the rooms I will be using, change his diaper, and then feed him. After feeding is playtime. A newborn (less than a month old) should play for 10-30 minutes. When they start getting cranky, put them down for a nap.

From here on out, my schedule is less flexible until bedtime (unless he gets hungry early and can’t make it to the next feed).

12:00 pm — Change diaper and feed. Playtime for 10-30 minutes. Lay them down for a nap. (I suggest making your own lunch at 11 am. Too many times in the early stages of establishing a schedule did I wait till 11:30 to eat and he decided to wake up while I was eating.)

3:00 pm — Change diaper and feed. Playtime for 10-30 minutes. Lay them down for a nap.

6:00 pm — Change diaper and feed. Bath time every other day. If it’s not bath day, then playtime for 10-30 minutes. Lay them down for a nap.

9:00 pm — Repeat schedule.

*At a month old, my son was more aware and wanted to play more after each nap. I got tired of trying to get him back to sleep every 15-30 minutes, so I stopped laying him in his crib during the day. He now sleeps in his bouncer during the day and when he wakes up I play with him until he falls back to sleep.

** Need some tips on how to help your newborn sleep longer and deeper at night? Read my 13 Late Night Newborn Sleep Hacks post.

Sleep Schedule for Mama

It is irrational to think that Mama doesn’t need more than 2-3 hours of sleep at a time for the first 4 months of a baby’s life (and some kids don’t sleep through the night until they’re several years old). Talk to your husband, or whoever will be helping you, about taking over for a few hours at night so you can get some sleep. (Click here to read my blog post about letting Daddy be Daddy and why it’s important for both of you to share the schedule.)

Here’s how my husband and I share the schedule:

6:00 pm — Husband’s shift starts. I can have me-time, shower, cook, or whatever I need to do. I do help with bath time because that tends to be a two-person job.

7:00 pm — We eat supper together.

7:30 pm — I go to bed. Sometimes I wait till 8 or 8:30 to go to bed, but I always regret it.

12:00 am — Husband’s shift ends. He brings me the baby monitor and tells me what time the baby last ate. I set an alarm for the next feeding and fall back to sleep (before Joshua was used to the schedule, I would get up and sleep on the couch until he was ready to eat because this part of the night consisted of me waking up every 15-30 minutes to rock him back to sleep and I didn’t want to wake my husband up).

1:20 am — This is when Joshua tends to wake up now. When he wakes, I bring my phone and the monitor to the couch so I can sleep there the rest of the morning after feeding him and my husband can get an uninterrupted sleep before work.

Remember, Mom, this is going to take time, determination, patience, and prayer. Stick to it the best you can, but know your limits. Don’t berate yourself when it seems like nothing’s changing. It’s a slow process, but the end result is worth it!

“… Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith …”
Hebrews 12:1-2

“Cast all your anxiety on Him
because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7

You’ve got this, Mom!

If you found this post helpful make sure to read my sequel post: 13 Late Night Newborn Sleep Hacks .

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20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

20 Newborn Must-Haves in 2020

Disclosure: “You’ve Got This, Mom!” participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program providing a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon.com. Most product links lead directly to Amazon.com.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Can you believe it’s 2020? At church on Sunday, my pastor said, “This is the last Sunday of this decade.” How weird is that? We are in a whole new decade! Look back at the last 10 years. Boy, how you’ve changed. Now, look forward on the next 10 years. Looking back makes 10 years seem like forever. But looking forward… looking at my 7-week-old asleep in his bouncer and realizing that in 2030 he will be 10 years old… makes it feel like a decade is not long at all.

If being a mom has changed at all in the last decade, technology has definitely made it just a little bit easier on us! There are so many products that this generation of moms take for granted that my mom just stares at and says, “Wow, I wish we had that when you were a baby!” We are so blessed to have these products at our fingertips!

Check out my 20 favorite products that I couldn’t live without! (Click here to follow my Pinterest board of “Must-Have Newborn Products.”)

Bottles and Pacifiers

  1. Bottle Sterilizer

What did we do before bottle sterilizers? Oh, that’s right. We boiled nipples. I’ve never had to do it, thank God, but I hear nothing but dismay from the previous generation of Moms about it. With a sterilizer, you don’t have to wait for a pot to boil or worry about leaving the stove on. It is an absolute blessing to be able to pop the bottles in the sterilizer, push the button, and walk away.

I personally use the First Years Power of Steam Electric Sterilizer. I love how tall it is, letting you sterilize up to 5 bottles and about a dozen nipples at one time, but skinny enough that it takes up very little room on my cabinet. It takes about 13 minutes to sterilize and most of the parts are dishwasher safe. The base that plugs into the wall just has to be cleaned with a damp cloth, so keeping this sterilizer clean is ideal for a Mom who doesn’t want to spend much time cleaning one more appliance, like me! The only possible con is that ever since I’ve had the sterilizer — almost 2 months — the light that turns on while it’s sterilizing doesn’t stay on the whole time so you have to guess when it’s done. This really isn’t a problem for me because I hardly ever sterilize bottles right before I need them. So, I just turn on the sterilizer and know that the next time I need a bottle they will be ready. When I do need a bottle immediately after sterilizing, I just set a timer on my phone for 13 minutes.

I drop my son off with my parents once a week to watch him while I work. They decided to buy a steamer for their house and purchased the Munchkin Steam Guard Microwave Bottle Sterilizer. This is great for grandparents or other family members who will be watching your baby often because of the size. The Munchkin Sterilizer fits in the microwave and can be easily tucked away in the cabinet when not in use. There are no plug-ins, so the entire sterilizer is dishwasher safe. Also, it costs less than $20 which is great since my parents will only be using it once a week and didn’t need to spend a ton of money on one.

A great sterilizer to have on hand for travel is the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Sanitizing Bags. These were a life saver when I was in the ER 4 times in two weeks after Joshua was born and I was still breast pumping. These bags go in the microwave and can be used up to 20 times before throwing them away. They are small and lay flat, so they take up virtually no space and only take about 3 minutes to sterilize. They are also great if you don’t want to spend the money on a sterilizer, although, eventually you will be spending more money on the bags then a one-time purchase of the electric steamer. We decided to keep a stash of these bags for travel so we wouldn’t have to bring the electric sterilizer. You can get the bags in a 5 count for under $7, a 12 count for under $11, or a 20 count for under $20.

2. Bottle Drying Rack

You’ve probably seen the absolutely precious bottle drying racks that look like a patch of grass. They’re not just adorable, they are incredibly functional. The Boon Drying Rack comes in 3 sizes: Lawn — the biggest size, Grass — the small square, and Patch — the narrow rectangle. I personally have the Lawn and the Grass because of the number of bottles I have and the amount of space I have available on my cabinet, but I can see the Patch being great for traveling. The size you need is up to you and the amount of counter-space you have.

I also have the Boon Stem, Poke, and White Twig accessories. These are the flower, cactus, and tree accessories shown in the pictures and are sold separately from the drying racks. I use these to dry nipples and other parts. I purchased all three because they were cute additions to the grass patches, but I really only use two at a time. The Poke (cactus) and White Twig are my favorites for drying nipples. The Stem (flower) was wonderful for when I was still breast pumping and needed a safe place to dry the tiny breast pump membranes (filters) after sterilizing. They fit safe and sound in the petals of the Stem. (You can buy the Stem and Poke together to save a few dollars.)

All parts are dishwasher safe which, if you can tell by now, is a huge plus for me!

A con of the Boon Drying Rack is that it doesn’t store as easily as other drying racks, but honestly I use it 24/7, so there is no need to store it. My parents, as I mentioned before, watch Joshua once a week and, therefore, need a smaller, more convenient-to-store option. They have the Munchkin Fold Cup and Bottle Drying Rack. The poles on the drying rack fold down to easily tuck it away in the cabinet. You can only dry so many bottles at a time, so it makes a great addition for family who only watches your baby for short periods.

3. Wubbanubs

I wasn’t planning on using a pacifier with Joshua, but because he was in NICU he has been using a paci since day 1 of his life. I tried several different pacifiers, but he seemed to enjoy pacies shaped like bottle nipples over the normally shaped pacies. Then, I gave him the Wubbanub and our worlds changed. Not only does he have a paci whose shape is more natural to him, but he loves the comfort animals that are attached to them. He holds on tight to his giraffe and deer.

They’re also great for his motor skill development because when his paci falls out he tries to push up on the animals to get it back in his mouth. He does this mostly without success, but the fact that he’s practicing using his hands and thinking critically at a very young age puts a big grin on this mama’s face! The large animal on the end of it also makes it easier to spot in the bottom of a bag than a regular pacifier.

One con of the Wubbanub is that if he is fidgety, he can knock or pull the Wubbanub out of his mouth easier than a regular paci because the animal has a bigger surface area for him to accidentally knock it out. I really don’t mind this because of how much he loves his Wubbanubs, but my parents get annoyed by it and ask that I send him a different paci. So, you may not want to deal with putting it back in his mouth more times than you would a regular pacifier. Another con is that you can’t sterilize it. The animal doesn’t detach from the paci, so you have to use paci wipes to clean it.

4. Paci Wipes

It is common for parents to suck the germs off a pacifier when it falls on the floor, but this could actually be worse for your child. Babies don’t have the bacteria in their mouths that we do and have a very underdeveloped immune system, so by putting a pacifier in their mouth that has just been in your mouth can give them bacteria that can cause gum rot and tooth decay for their sensitive gums and soon-to-be-growing teeth.

My favorite pacifier wipes are Munchkin Arm & Hammer. They are natural wipes with baking soda. I keep a package in my diaper bag so if I drop a paci on-the-go, I can just wipe it off.

Medela also sells breast pump wipes that can be used to clean pacifiers, but they are much more expensive — Munchkin brand is 13 cents cheaper per wipe — so when I was still breast pumping, I just used the Munchkin Arm & Hammer wipes for my breast pump parts as well.

The only con for the paci wipes is that the baking soda must taste a little weird to babies when they first put it in their mouths because my son always makes a face, but it goes away quickly. You can try letting it air dry for a few seconds to see if that gets rid of the taste, but he honestly forgets about it after a few seconds.

5. Tubs for washing bottles

An absolute lifesaver are my washing tubs! When my mom was staying with me in the ER, she asked for some tubs from the hospital staff so we could wash my breast pump parts. I still use them now that I am home and couldn’t imagine life without them. I found some well priced tubs for around $3 each here on Amazon.

I have 3 tubs labeled “Need to Wash,” “Rinse,” and “To be Sterilized.” When I use a bottle, I rinse it out then put it in the “Need to Wash” tub. This separates dirty bottles from the rest of my dishes and keeps them from littering my cabinet. I wash the bottles in this tub just as an extra layer of cleanliness so I’m not washing them in the same place I wash my dishes. As I wash each bottle, I place them in the “Rinse” tub. (My husband rinses them as he washes each bottle and skips the “Rinse” tub, but it just depends on what you’re comfortable with.) When I’m done, I rinse them one by one and put them in the “To be Sterilized” tub. This system is great because I can wash all of my bottles at once, but still have a place to put clean bottles while they are waiting to be put in the sterilizer since I can’t fit them all at once. I used to have a 4th tub labeled “Ready to Use” to put completely assembled bottles in, but they never seem to make it off of my drying racks before I use them, so I put it away.

Baby Gear

6. Versatile Car Seat

When you’re shopping for a car seat, make sure to buy one that serves multiple purposes. We have the Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger Travel System which transitions easily from car seat to stroller.

We chose the jogger model because we live in the country and knew I would need higher quality tires for walks — the tires are basically bicycle tires. I love how easily the stroller folds up to fit in my trunk or the closet. Grandparents and other family members can buy the base separately so they an easily put your car seat in their own vehicle. When Joshua gets bigger, the stroller grows with him and so does the car seat! We will be using this car seat and stroller for years to come.

7. Baby Swing

Joshua absolutely loves the Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n Swing. In the early morning hours when he won’t sleep in his bed, I put him in his swing and it lulls him to sleep. It has 3 swinging positions, 6 swing speeds, 16 songs/sounds, and a moving mobile.

I love how easy it is to change swing positions because he doesn’t always like the same position. I also love how little room it takes up in our small house; it’s only about 3 feet by 3 feet and 44 inches tall. All the padding is machine washable and you can plug in the swing or use batteries.

The only con is that the sounds and mobile only go for about 20 minutes before turning off. Fortunately, the swing will keep going until you stop it. I’ve had him in the swing for up to 4 hours and it hasn’t stopped swinging.

8. Bouncer

He also loves his Fisher-Price Baby’s Bouncer. Once he turned a month old, his naps started getting shorter and shorter, so I keep him in his bouncer in the living room all day so that when he wakes up I can play with him.

I think he loves it so much because he can sit up and look around. He doesn’t like laying on his back too much. The machine itself doesn’t bounce; it only vibrates, which he seems to like, so you have to use your foot to bounce it yourself, which is a con for me. I bounce his bouncer so often that sometimes I find my foot bouncing even when it’s not on the bouncer (say that 10 times fast). Another con for me is that the toy bar makes it inconvenient to put him in and get him out of the bouncer. But you can easily take it off, so I just keep it off unless we’re playing with it which we don’t do often because he isn’t too aware of his surroundings yet.

Clothes

9. Swaddles

We’ve been swaddling babies for thousands of years. Mary knew what she was doing when she wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes. We don’t just do it to keep them warm. Swaddling your infant is actually beneficial to your baby’s health, as well as your beauty sleep.

Swaddling your child has been proven to reduce the occurrence of SIDS. It also soothes your baby because they feel snug and warm like they did in the womb. An added bonus is that it helps them sleep longer. By swaddling your baby, you keep them from waking themselves up with the Moro reflex. This is a startle reflex that babies have that causes them to flail their arms and legs while sleeping which can wake them up.

We started out with the Amazing Baby Swaddle. Muslin swaddles are great for babies under 7 lbs and newborns. I love how soft and light-weight the Amazing Baby Swaddle is compared to other muslin swaddles I’ve tried. I also love the easy-to-follow instructions that come on the tag (see picture). However, we were only able to use this swaddle for a week because my son was very strong for a newborn and kept kicking it off.

We then moved to the SwaddleMe. I absolutely love this swaddle because it has velcro that makes the swaddling process easy and more difficult for your little one to escape. My son, however, is a mini-Houdini and gets his arms out every once in a while when he’s really mad. It comes in 2 sizes. The small/medium is for 0-3 months, 7-14 lbs, and up to 26 inches. The large is for 3-6 months and 14-18 lbs. There is a hole in the back of the swaddles so you can still swaddle while your baby is in a car seat or swing. I personally don’t use this feature, however, because you should only swaddle while they’re sleeping, and it isn’t recommended by car seat manufacturers to swaddle while in the car seat.

*Now that my son is 3-months-old I found another swaddle he can’t escape from. The April Moon Boutique Swaddle (see picture) ties at the bottom, so my son can’t use his strong legs to kick free (use my code BE4R25 at checkout for 25% off!!!). Each swaddle comes with a matching hat. I am absolutely in love with this swaddle and very sad that he will be growing out of swaddles soon!

Babies are usually ready to stop swaddling between 3-6 months. Here is an article explaining how to know when your baby is ready to stop swaddling.

10. Dollar Tree Socks

Oddly enough, I ended up with no newborn size socks after Joshua’s baby shower. I tried putting him in 0-6 month socks, but they were way too big. My mom found these adorable $1 socks at the Dollar Tree, and they are honestly the only socks I want to have! They are soft, durable, adorable, and cheap! He’s going to grow out of them very quickly, so why bother spending more than $1 per pair, especially when these get the job done just as well?

Technology

11. Baby Monitor

If you’re planning on your little one sleeping in any room that you are not in, you’ll need a baby monitor. I love the Motorola Video Baby Monitor 5″. Many monitors nowadays require WiFi, but being that we live in the country, we needed a monitor that didn’t. The Motorola Baby Monitor is great for that reason as well as multiple others.

It is also a sound machine with 5 different sounds including sounds your baby would hear in the womb. You can talk to your baby through a speaker. The battery life is fantastic. You can move the camera position and zoom in and out from the video screen. It also tells you the room temperature.

The only con is that you can’t turn down the volume on the video monitor without turning down the noise machine. At first this was a problem because it was hard for me to sleep at night with the volume loud enough for me to still hear my son if he cries, but after a week or two it didn’t bother me anymore.

*Now that my son is 3 months, I have had more time to get acquainted with this baby monitor. In the last 3 months, it has shut off in the middle of the night 5 times! I was going to buy a new brand of monitor, but grew tired of reading review after review of every digital monitor having some sort of issue. So, I bought an inexpensive audio-only monitor to use at night as well as the Motorola in case it decides to shut off again. I am very happy with my VTech DM111 Audio Baby Monitor.

12. Baby Thermometer

The easiest way to take a kid’s temperature is with a smart ear thermometer. We have the Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer. The Kinsa takes just seconds to get a reading. It connects to the Kinsa app on your phone which tracks all family members’ temperatures, symptoms, and when they last took a medication. This comes in handy when you have multiple kids sick and need to keep up with medications or temperature changes. You can also use it for teens and adults. A major pro for this thermometer is the unlimited amount of people you can keep track of. I have looked at other smart thermometers, and many only let you keep track of 3-4 people. The only con, as with any ear thermometer, is that you can’t use it until your child is 6 months old. For accuracy in children under 6 months old, you have to use a rectal thermometer.

13. Kinedu app

The Kinedu app tracks your baby’s physical, cognitive, linguistic, social, and emotional development. When you first download the app, you are prompted with some questions about your child’s current skills. With this information, you are given a