Tips for Visiting a Newborn

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As I approach my due date, I thought it would be a good time to do a post on having visitors after a new baby. Over the past few weeks, I’ve asked several of my friends (with all different birth stories and experiences) how they feel about visitors and what their personal boundaries are. I was really surprised by my friends responses! I assumed everyone felt the same way as I do about things, and it was interesting how many different preferences there were when it came to visitors.

I wanted to be fair, so I asked 3 of my friends their opinions, and will share theirs along with my own (so 4 opinions total). I think this was a great learning experience for myself, because I sort of assumed each of my friends needs and desires were the same as mine. Given the variety of personalities God has created, I think it’s always safe to say – when visiting a mom with a new baby, always ask her preference on things – and don’t be offended if her answer isn’t what you had hoped or expected!

Here are some of the topics discussed (not each topic was discussed with each friend, but was discussed with at least 2-3 of the friends):

 

Visiting baby in hospital.

For mom’s that had a home birth or a birth center birth, this doesn’t apply. But for mom’s that had a hospital birth, this one is about 50/50. One mom said she’d rather not feel as much like hosting visitors once home, while another said she didn’t want to see many people at all so that she could just focus on bonding and connecting with her baby and not having to constantly ‘share’ her baby. Perhaps when asking to visit, politely ask if the mom prefers a hospital or home visit.

Length of visits.

Pretty much each friend was on the same page with this one. Keep visits short and quiet, and be alright with mom and baby leaving the room if they just need sleep or need privacy to nurse. Be sure to have scheduled the visit beforehand, and be respectful if the mom (or dad) has requested an end time to the visit.

Offering to help.

With this one, I think 3 out of the 4 said they’d prefer to hold and cuddle their baby while someone folded a basket of laundry or did some dishes. 1 out of the 4 said she’d occasionally prefer to have someone hold her baby so that she could take a quick shower etc. Most moms said that they got tons of offers from others to hold their baby so that they could take a nap or shower, when all they really wanted was to snuggle and bond with their baby while someone else quietly chiseled away at some housework. I think it’s very important to offer BOTH options to the mom and not just one. Everyone loves to cuddle a newborn, but it’s important to respect (and not resent) the mother’s wishes and her and her baby’s need for bonding time.

Holding baby.

While I think all of us moms realize that this is the main reason visitors come, a lot of moms have had bad experiences in this area. Most say they really prefer visitors to wash their hands first (one mom didn’t care about this) but most moms also felt a bit timid to ask the visitors to please wash their hands. I think it’s probably safe to wash your hands regardless.

Moms have also had anxiety over the length of time visitors hold their baby. Please understand that a brand new mom has a flood of hormones and her emotions are all over the place. She often feels the most calm when having her baby in her own arms, so please be aware of the length of time you hold her baby.  All of my mom friends have more than one child, and one mom said she’d even enjoy having certain visitors play a bit with her older children while she got some special time with the new baby. Again – this goes along with asking what the mom prefers – does she prefer some light housework, a nap or shower, or a some special time with her baby while you play with an older child? If offering to clean or play with older kids – still keep the visits short and sweet.

Kissing baby.

Please – never think it’s alright to kiss someones baby! Or at least ask permission first if you are family or very close. However, each mom I talked to about this agreed hands down – please just no kissing on our babies, no matter how close you might be. Please protect our little ones who are so very new to the world and fragile.

Men visiting.

If visiting as a family with your husband, be especially sensitive to time. New moms often are going through a lot of recovery and might have leaky breasts or be uncomfortable in general being around men. I definitely don’t put a bra on if I know I’m only expecting a female visitor, and I feel like I can be a lot more comfortable.

Hand a crying baby back to Mama!

I thought this one would be more common sense, but after talking with other Mamas – lots have experienced a ton of people continue to hold their baby while he/she would gradually get more and more worked up. I realized that maybe a lot of people truly don’t think about it. Maybe they think, oh I’ll give mom a break – or maybe they just don’t want to give baby up and are determined to calm the baby down themselves. But please, please, hand the crying baby back to his or her Mama so they can calm down. I can actually remember times where it took forever to get my baby to calm down after someone left because she got to a level of being so upset that she just couldn’t calm even after being handed back to e. It broke my heart, but I had a lot of trouble speaking up as a new mom. If the mom is stressed or at a breaking point and NEEDS you to do this, that’s one thing, but always ask or start walking towards mom when her baby starts getting worked up.

Another tip – try to remember not to wear any strong lotions or perfumes. For most of us natural minded moms – we don’t wear it ourselves because of ingredients that we are bothered by, so try to respect the mom’s lifestyle, and her desire to keep certain things like strong perfumes away from her baby.

Always come with food.

I don’t think I need to explain this one any further! 🙂 A meal is always helpful to a new mom! Just make sure no one in the family has any allergies or other special diets. Also – sometimes just dropping a meal off and not expecting to stay and visit is nice sometimes too, especially during the first weeks.

 

These are the basics of what we discussed on our feelings towards visitors. If YOU’RE the new mom – don’t be afraid to speak up! Set boundaries. Husband’s are great at making sure the boundaries are not broken, and can be the ‘bad guys’ and ask friends and family to leave if need be. Make sure you’re taking care of your family and your own needs first. Visitors shouldn’t be a source of stress. Have as many or as few as you like! Don’t be afraid to tell them to wait a week or two if you need extra time alone as a family. Trust that your friends and family will all understand.

Please know if you’re a visitor (whether friend or family) – mom’s are thankful for you and need your support! We just might each need completely different things from you. We may need a shoulder to cry on from the exhaustion we are feeling. We may need to sleep while you clean something in our house. We may need you to rock our baby to sleep or we may need you to play with an older child. We may just need you to sit quietly beside us as we hold our precious new baby, that we are soaking in and completely in awe of.

What are some of your personal experiences and tips for visitors when it comes to having a new baby?

Getting Through The Rough Parts of Pregnancy

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I absolutely love the fact that God has blessed us with a little life growing inside my womb, and I think that pregnancy is a truly beautiful, wonderful miracle. I wouldn’t trade this amazing opportunity to carry our baby in my womb for anything, and I cherish all of the special moments of watching our baby grow and move. But pregnancy has been far from smooth sailing for me.

Before I ever got pregnant, I had heard about this thing called morning sickness, but I don’t think you can truly grasp what it is or feels like until you’re actually there. I have friends that have had it very mild, and others who have had it pretty severe. I’ve always been more on the severe side of the spectrum.

I was totally unprepared for how yucky I would feel with my first pregnancy. My food aversions were so awful that my husband and I ended up grabbing food out just about every other night for the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy. This was so out of the norm for us since we usually stick to a strict budget – but sometimes you just do what you have to do to survive!

Now that we’re on one income, eating out every night with this second pregnancy is not an option. I also don’t want to ingest all of the terrible ingredients that come with most take-out options. Thankfully I was more prepared this time around! And I’m so glad because this pregnancy has been a lot worse with morning sickness. As soon as we found out we were pregnant I literally went into this mindset that’s pretty similar to the nesting phase right before actually having a baby. I wish I were here to tell you that I found the secret to cure morning sickness (if you did please share!), but I am here to tell you some things that will be a HUGE help.

If you haven’t been pregnant, I can’t encourage you enough to follow some of these tips as soon as you get pregnant. Even if you don’t get sick, you’ll need extra rest. These ideas will allow you to kick back and prop those feet up, or take a nap instead of cooking dinner, and I promise you will be so glad that you were prepared.

Tips for Preparing for Rough Parts of Pregnancy:

-40+ Freezer Meals. You read that right! I wish I would have made an additional 10-20 to be honest. My sickness is so severe that I gag from opening our fridge or even walking into the kitchen. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I spent a week preparing lot of meals. A lot of meals I did were crock-pot meals, and placing the crock-pot in a separate room with a closed door helped make the cooking part more bearable. I can not stress enough how much of a life saver this has been. Even though I can’t always stomach some of my healthy freezer meals, I know my husband and daughter are eating a healthy dinner and lunch every day. At the end of this post I’ll send links to some of the meals I made.

-Clean Your House. But don’t over do it. If making the meals is all you can do then stick with that. The cleaning can wait, but mouths still need to be fed. I was able to do some cleaning but not as much as I’d wished, but it honestly didn’t bother me much. It’s ok to let some things go for a season and just be sure you’re taking care of your family and yourself for now.

-List of Fun Indoor Activities for Kids. If you have other little ones, make a note of a bunch of new and creative activities that will help to bust boredom for days when you’re unable to get out of the house. Pinterest has been wonderful at giving me ideas for my toddler.

-Stretch Oil. I love Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Stretch Oil. My stomach has become a lot more itchy and is growing faster this second time around. This oil brings such relief!

-Sea Bands. Sea bands are simply bands that you wear around your wrists with a pressure point that’s known to help with motion sickness and morning sickness. They worked well my first pregnancy and occasionally work with this one.

-Magnesium Oil. From everything I’ve read, most of us are deficient of enough magnesium. Magnesium can help with an endless amount of ailments, including morning sickness.

-Pear Juice. If you’re one of the women who get really constipated during pregnancy, pear juice is much tastier than prune juice. I’m still not really crazy about it, so I will make a fruit smoothie and add it into that.

-Tea. Earth Mama Angel Baby has a Mama-To-Be Tea Sampler. The Morning Wellness tea has been really helpful with taking the edge off of morning sickness, and the Heartburn tea has worked well for evenings when I’m suffering from heartburn.

I hope you find these tips help make for a smoother pregnancy so that you can focus more on all of the joyful moments that come with it. I would love to hear tips from you on how you cope with morning sickness, heartburn, or exhaustion during pregnancy.

As promised, here’s a list of some of the freezer meal recipes that I made:

Breakfast/Snacks/Sides:

Whole-Wheat Carrot Applesauce Muffins

-Breakfast Burritos (My personal recipe that I’ll have to share soon!)

Baked Pancake

-Granola Bars (My personal recipe that I’ll share in the future.)

Peasant Bread (Easiest bread ever!)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (I subbed almond milk for regular milk and greek yogurt for regular full fat homemade yogurt)

Dinners (I froze a lot of soups in portion sized mason jars – perfect for lunches!)

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Crockpot Tomato Beef Veggie Soup

Crockpot Italian Chicken

Crockpot Zuppa Tuscana with Sweet Potatoes

Crockpot Sausage Spinach Tomato Soup

Crockpot Tomato Basil Chicken 

-Crockpot Chicken Tacos (3-4 chicken breasts, homemade taco seasoning, a little water)

Crockpot Lemon Garlic Chicken

Crockpot Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Crockpot Baked Potato Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

-Chicken Pot Pie (My personal recipe with homemade crust, but you can find recipes online anywhere for this)

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (I subbed the corn flakes for bread crumbs)

-Shepherd’s Pie (From a recipe book I have, but again, you can find recipes for this online)

Apple Cheddar Pizza with Caramelized Onions (Seriously the best pizza ever!)

These are just some of the freezer meals I made. Some of these recipes I doubled or tripled. For the crock-pot ones, I froze everything in freezer gallon bags. I wish there was an easier way to freeze these meals without using plastic, but this seemed to be the best way to store lots of meals, and I knew they wouldn’t be in the freezer for too long! I also made some of the soups in the crock-pot ahead of time, and then froze the soup in mason jars for lunches.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite freezer meals are!

Cold & Flu Natural Remedies for Babies & Toddlers

I remember being filled with worry as a new mommy, when my baby girl got her very first cold at just a few months old. I had always told myself that I only wanted to use natural methods when she got sick, but now those natural remedies would be put to the test, and if they didn’t prove to be successful, I wasn’t going to watch my baby girl suffer! Thankfully the natural remedies I tried really did (and still do) work for her.

Our culture has become so used to grabbing medicine for every ache and pain. There are times where medicine is truly needed, but more times than not, it’s really not needed. It can seem a lot easier to just grab some children’s acetaminophen next time your baby or child is sick, but do you know how harmful it can be to your child’s health in the long run? There’s so much research out there, showing just how harmful it can be. There’s been a lot of research linking acetaminophen to liver damage, and there are reports of babies and children dying from taking it. Although I’m just pointing out acetaminophen, most medicines are better to avoid altogether and replace with natural remedies when possible.

Did you know fevers are a good thing? They are the result of your body trying to fight off the infection. There are dangerous levels of fevers, so be sure to know the difference between a safe fever and a concerning fever.

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There was a time when natural remedies were all we had! Of course, the invention of certain medicines has been live-saving, so I’m not trying to downplay that. But our bodies can take care of themselves more than we give them credit to. Sometimes we just need to give them a small boost – through a natural herb or supplement, to help it do it’s job more efficiently.

My 13 month old has been sick about 3 times in her life, and each time she was only really sick for one day. Each time she’s been sick, I have used the same natural remedies, and each time I saw her health improve very quickly. I hope these remedies will help your family next time cold or flu season comes around!

Please note that I am just a mama seeking natural alternatives, and each mama should do their own research on these remedies. I would never tell a mother to give medicine or to not give medicine, as I do not have a medical degree. I have given my daughter dye free infant ibuprofen when she’s gotten a high fever or just been completely miserable. I do believe there’s a time and place for medicine, I just don’t feel it should be used quite as frequently as many use it.

Cold & Flu Natural Remedies for Babies & Toddlers:

-Luke warm apple cider vinegar bath

-Mix a little apple cider vinegar into a fruit smoothie (Use lots of citrus fruits for vitamin C.)

-Drink lots of bone broth (My daughter actually loves drinking this cold in her straw cup.)

-Elderberry syrup (They make some for ages 1 and up. For babies I recommend a good immune support vitamin.)

-Probiotics (I actually use these frequently anyway, but I especially don’t miss a dose when she’s sick.)

-Humidifier at night (I’ve used it during the day when I felt she was really miserable.)

-Nose Frida

-Lots of nursing! (Breast-milk is filled with antibodies that help fight off all kinds of things, and breast-milk actually changes based off of your baby’s needs. It is so amazing that our bodies can know when our little ones are sick. So nurse away! Plus, they need the extra comfort when they’re sick anyway. 🙂 )

-If you breast-feed, make sure you take care of your health also. I usually take probiotics, elderberry, and make an extra vitamin C smoothie with apple cider vinegar.

-Coconut oil on the nose to keep from getting sore (And since coconut oil is so amazing, I actually give her a spoonful to eat and she loves it!)

-During nap time and night time, keep your child’s head elevated by putting the mattress at an angle (I use a rolled blanket under the mattress at one end.) Or let baby sleep on you to help make their night more comfortable (I usually do this. Make sure you follow safe co-sleeping guidelines if you do this.)

-Run a really hot shower and don’t turn the fan on in the bathroom, or boil a pot of water. Let baby breath in the steam (Be careful not to allow them to come into contact with the hot water.)

Update: Additional Remedies (Added February 27, 2017):

-Warm garlic bath. Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic and antibacterial ingredient. I know a garlic bath sounds strange, but this is my personal remedy as an alternative to the sock method or drinking the cloves with water. I knew my daughter wouldn’t do either of those two methods, so I figured if the sock method absorbs the garlic through the skin, then why not a warm bath? I added a few cloves of garlic to my daughter’s warm bath when she was recently sick. It didn’t seem to bother or irritate her a bit!

Homemade electrolyte drink. (Keep in mind honey is not recommended to give to children under one year of age.)

-Peppermint oil diluted in a carrier oil on forehead to help cool a child from a fever. (Please research for yourself what oil brands are safe, what oils are safe for what age, and the appropriate amounts.)

-Eucalyptus oil diluted in a carrier oil on chest for a natural vapor rub. (Please research for yourself what oil brands are safe, what oils are safe for what age, and the appropriate amounts.)

-Warm liquids. (I boil water and add some honey, lemon, and coconut oil. Then let it cool down until warm, before giving to my daughter. Keep in mind honey is not recommended to give to children under one year of age)

-Cinnamon. This is a great antibiotic and antiviral ingredient as well. You could make a cinnamon tea with some honey by mixing a bit of honey and cinnamon together in a mug, and then pour hot water on top. (My daughter doesn’t love warm beverages so I just usually give her some applesauce with cinnamon and ginger on top.) (Please also note to never give cinnamon powder by itself – this is a major suffocation hazard!) (Also keep in mind honey is not recommended to give to children under one year of age.)

-Apple Cider Vinegar shot. (I wouldn’t recommend this for a baby but my toddler is able to drink this (through a dropper). If she’s sick I’ll take a shot with her so we can both take the nasty stuff together. I usually just give her 1 teaspoon ACV  mixed with 1 teaspoon water.)

-Saline Nose Drops.

I hope you’ll find this list beneficial for your babies and children. Please remember, I’m not a doctor so the methods that I’ve shared should be researched for yourself.

What natural remedies do you use for illnesses in your family?

Garden Light Candles – Official Grand Opening!

My Etsy shop, Garden Light Candles, is open for business!

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I’m so excited for this new journey! I’ve been enjoying making homemade candles for the past few years, and have spent a considerable amount of time researching the most natural ingredients. I use a natural soy wax for candles and wax melts, and fragrance them using 100% organic fragrance oils.

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Organic is very important to me, so I also wanted to have a completely organic candle. What better wax to use than beeswax? Beeswax candles are my favorite kind to make, because they are the most non-toxic and natural candles out there. Beeswax purifies the air when burned, and is thought to help with allergies and asthma. How incredible! My beeswax candles are made using organic beeswax and organic, unrefined, non-GMO, coconut oil. Some are left plain (they have a lovely light, honey fragrance), and some are scented with organic fragrance oils.

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All of my candles are hand-poured into a lead free and BPA free glass jar. To start off, I have four amazing fragrances. Honeysuckle, Cinnamon Bun, Lemon, and Vanilla Sugar. I’ll be releasing a new fragrance (watch out for a giveaway!) in one month.

This month ONLY, you can get 10% off using the code: MAY10. If you are local to the area that the candles are made, you might qualify for free shipping, so message me to find out (and if you live in the area, orders placed by Wednesday, May 4 by midnight, will arrive in time for Mother’s Day). You can reach me several places:

E-mail: GardenLightCandles@gmail.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gardenlightcandles/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gardenlightcandles/?fref=ts

And of course, Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/gardenlightcandles

10% of each candle sale will go to a ministry.

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What fragrances would you like to see available?

Encouragement for Busy Moms

Do you sometimes long to have more time to just read a good book, talk to a friend about life, or grow in your walk with the Lord? Sometimes mom’s need a little encouragement during the week, and it can be tough to find time to read, or call a friend, or get involved in a Bible study. It’s hard to find quiet time, and once I finally have it (usually during my daughter’s naps), I’m usually trying to catch up on cleaning and laundry and cooking.

While I was pregnant with my daughter, I discovered a wonderful way to gain some encouragement, listen to some parenting advice, grow in my walk with the Lord, and learn about hobbies that I’m interested in. I discovered the world of podcasts! I could be encouraged in motherhood, marriage, faith, gardening, etc. all while cleaning or cooking dinner for my family. I’ve been listening to several great podcasts since becoming pregnant, and still listen to them today (I actually just finished one on motherhood just ten minutes ago while cooking).

I thought I’d share my top favorite podcasts, so that you can be encouraged in your walk with God, gain wisdom with parenting, or just enjoy learning more about managing your household (gardening, cooking, homesteading, etc.). While I enjoy all the baby talk conversations with my little one, sometimes it’s nice to tune in and hear from other moms or godly role models. These podcasts have actually made me look forward to certain cleaning duties that I would otherwise dread. I hope you find encouragement from some of these as well!

The first podcast I began listening to, was Dr. James Dobson’s familytalk. My parents used to read Dr. James Dobson’s books on parenting when they were raising me, and I’ve been enjoying learning from him as well. I love the wisdom he shares, and enjoy the wide variety of topics discussed on each different broadcast. So many different topics are covered, from parenting, to marriage, to health, to politics, and so much more. I’m constantly feeling encouraged and growing in my walk with God through this great program!

I really enjoy learning about homesteading, as we have recently purchased a home with more land than we previously had. Homesteading is a dream of mine, and I love learning all about it! Melissa K. Norris’ podcast helps me learn about homesteading, as well as ways to build up a natural pantry, how to can foods, make broth, and so much more! Her podcast is so much fun to listen to and easy to learn from. I love the knowledge she shares about her homesteading journey.

Since we’ve moved, I’m so excited to have a larger garden than we’ve ever had before. Specifically an all organic garden. The Organic Gardener Podcast has been great to listen to for tips and wisdom on having an organic garden.

I love learning all about how to feed my family nourishing, organic foods. I believe that the desire to nurture our bodies, comes from the Lord. Dr. Eric Z has so much knowledge about eating and living healthy, and puts a complete Biblical perspective on it. You do have to sign up to gain access to the podcasts, but it’s totally free and well worth it!

The God Centered Mom podcast is my newest discovery. I’ve been really enjoying going through some of these podcasts, and can totally relate to the busy life of a stay at home mom. I enjoy listening to the different mothers that are interviewed, and hearing the journey’s that God is taking them through. I’ve already found myself in tears after listening to an interview with September McCarthy. This is truly a wonderful podcast!

I like to hop around through these podcasts depending on what mood I’m in, but I definitely am not able keep up with all of them! I enjoy having a variety of great options to listen to during my cleaning and cooking times. These are all great podcasts, and I encourage you to listen to one next time you’re dreading cleaning the bathrooms or scrubbing the floors. What podcasts do you enjoy listening to?

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The Beauty of Baby-Wearing

Yesterday was my birthday and my husband made it such a special day for me. First, he surprised me by taking the day off of work, then he took me to get coffee, have a picnic lunch, and then for a walk while he took pictures of me baby wearing our daughter. The pictures were the highlight of my day, because it’s something I’ve been wanting for awhile. Baby-wearing has been a huge part of motherhood for me, and one of my favorite parts of being a mommy (what mom doesn’t love baby snuggles?).

You can read about my journey of having a baby with colic by clicking here. Baby-wearing helped me through that challenging time. I would wrap up my daughter in my Moby wrap for several hours every day those first six months. At eleven months, I still baby wear at some point each day, and it still works wonderfully at calming her down when she’s upset or putting her to sleep when she’s tired.

When I became a mom for the first time, I dealt with a lot of doubt in myself. Doubt that I was doing anything right (especially the long nights that I couldn’t seem to do anything to help my baby girl stop crying). I received a ton of advice (which I’m so thankful for) and tried so many different things those first few months. I was told to schedule her nursing times, while others told me not schedule. I was told to let her cry or to never let her cry, to hold her all the time or that she shouldn’t be held all the time. I was told not to spoil her. I tried this and that, but in the end, I took the advice of others that matched what my maternal instincts were telling me (I believe God gives maternal instincts to every mom).

My instincts were to keep my baby close to me. My sweet baby girl had just spent nine months in a wonderful, warm world, where she was always beside me. She didn’t know anything besides being with mommy, and after she was born she was clearly happiest when she was with mommy. Why would I try to teach independence to a baby? Why would it harm her to be close to me? I read bits of different books that advised me to have her sleep in her own room, never in my arms. These books went against every instinct that I felt. My daughter’s cries were the only way she could communicate with me.

Some books suggested that once she was fed and had a clean diaper, it was alright to leave her cry herself to sleep because her needs had been met. Do baby’s not have emotional needs too? Of course they do! My baby girl just entered a new, cold, bright world which was probably so scary compared to my snuggly, dark, warm womb.

By following my maternal instincts, I used to feel guilty, sheepishly telling others that yes, I nurse her to sleep, or yes, I pick her up every time she cries. I was told (and still am told) that I’m too attached to my baby. At a certain point, I stopped caring what others thought, and I’m glad I did. I stopped feeling like I was too attached to my own baby just because I was following my instincts.

We live in a culture that tries to get babies to fit into our schedules, instead of embracing the beauty of motherhood and enjoying the sweet and fleeting moments with our babies. I once heard a comment from a frustrated mother, ‘I still have to rock her to sleep.’ How incredibly sad this mother’s perspective was. I cherish nursing and rocking my baby girl to sleep each night. I love our late night nursing sessions and I love holding her in my arms and having her close to me. I love that I can rescue her from tears by picking her up each time she’s afraid, upset, or just needing mommy. She won’t always need me in this way. In fact, she’s already showing so many signs of independence.

I have no regrets for answering my baby girl’s cries and always keeping her close to me. I hope this post encourages other new mom’s to do the same. Don’t ignore your baby’s cries or try to make your baby fit into your schedule. Embrace this beautiful experience. Some day you’ll look back and long to do it all again.

Here are a few of the pictures that my husband took of my daughter and I.

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“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” -Isaiah 49:15

 

Thankful For Colic

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Thankful for colic? How terrible does that sound? What mommy could possibly be thankful for a baby who cries all the time and most likely has some discomfort causing the insane amount of crying? Well, I’m not exactly “thankful” for the fact that my baby girl cried and screamed hours upon end (6pm-2am just about every night for a while). In fact, so far it’s been the toughest parenting challenge I’ve had. It hurt me deeply to not be able to figure out how to fully calm and comfort my baby.

In the midst of that season, you could have told me, “God is teaching you something through this,” and I would have wondered what good lesson could possibly come from colic. But God is faithful in teaching us something from every situation in life. I didn’t understand at the time why God allowed my little one to suffer from colic, but I’m beginning to understand what He was trying to teach me through it all.

My personality has always been that I need to have control over situations and be able to fix things and do things on my own. In dealing with colic, I learned that I had to completely trust in God and wait on Him for it to pass. I researched colic to death and tried every natural remedy I could find. I don’t regret doing so, because I found ways to bring comfort and relief to my little one. (I wrote a separate article on colic and reflux that I’ll post in the near future). For a while I refused to call it colic, because I personally feel that term is often thrown out every time a baby is extra fussy. I didn’t like when anyone else said I had a fussy or colicky baby because it felt they were implying she was a “bad baby.” There are no bad baby’s. All are just as sweet and precious, fussy or not! I do think we have to research and fight for our little ones who can’t speak for themselves and say what’s really going on. But I cried many tears along with my girl thinking, “Why can’t I just fix this and make her feel peaceful?!” There’s nothing more frustrating and hurtful for a mommy than to watch her little one be hurting or unhappy and not be able to make things better. Through many tears, I learned that after I’ve done all I can do as a mommy, my baby’s well being ultimately rests in the hands of her Creator. He loves her even more than her father and I, and He is in control of every situation, not me.

Another aspect of my personality is to go, go, go. When I’m at home, I’m baking, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning, scrubbing, tidying, and making homemade household products from morning to evening. I absolutely love being a homemaker and taking care of my family. Having a baby with colic who needed to be held almost nonstop the first 3 months changed all of that. I knew my first six weeks would probably be an adjustment and I pictured myself getting back into the swing of things by then. But I was wrong. And that reality was tough for me. I wanted to keep our house clean and tidy and have dinner on the table every evening as soon as I felt up to it.

We had over thirty days of freezer meals prepared, and we were so blessed to receive even more from friends and family. I’m so thankful I had so many meals stored away, because my baby girl did not like being put down for more than five minutes. I resorted to wearing her in a wrap to get things done, but suffered severe back pain and could only wear her for so long each day. Through colic, I learned that I couldn’t have total control over our household and that it was OK to receive help. I realized more than ever how blessed I am with a selfless and serving husband who constantly helped around the house despite the long hours he works. And I realized that God wanted me to see what things in life are most important. Holding and comforting my sweet baby is so much more important than anything. If I had a more laid back baby, I might have put her down all the time to focus on the house and I would have missed out on those precious and wonderful moments of holding and rocking and singing to my baby.

Now that those long sessions of tears are in the past, I’ve got one of the happiest little baby’s, who is full of smiles and giggles. I’m so grateful that colic is a thing of the past in this house. I don’t regret picking her up every time she cried (or every time she still cries) or deciding to hold her for most of her naps because she just slept better that way. And I’ve fallen in love with baby wearing her all throughout each day still.

I’ve gotten back into the swing of things with keeping our house in shape and getting meals prepared. I still love being in the kitchen, but I’ve learned to keep a lot of meals simple and quick, while still being healthy and homemade. Someday I’ll have more time in the kitchen again, but I will never get these wonderful days back. I’m not glad about my baby having gone through colic, but I’m so thankful for what the Lord taught me from it. I’m so thankful for every snuggly moment and only wish I could slow down time from passing all too quickly with my baby girl.

10 Baby Must-Haves For Natural Mamas

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There are just so many products out there for a baby, and it can be a challenge to know what to register for. I know I felt very overwhelmed and unsure if I was making the right decision when registering for different items. And there are some items out there that are just unnecessary. It sure is hard to know which baby products are beneficial, and which are just a waste of money. Now that my little one is here, I thought I’d make a list of my absolute favorite products for a baby. There are some items that I got while preparing for my baby’s arrival that I could do without, but there are some items that make life with a baby so much easier! This is by no means a complete list of everything you’ll need for a registry. Hopefully it just gives some helpful ideas of items you’ll want to include on your registry! So here’s my list:

A good devotional. Those first weeks at home were a little rough at night. I need the Lord all the time, but during those weeks I needed His strength more than ever. Sometimes praying during those long, sleepless hours wasn’t always my first thought (I didn’t have many thoughts at all after being so sleep deprived), but my wonderful husband was so great about reminding me to pray, read Gods Word, or put some worship music on. I came across a devotional at a book sale called ‘Streams in the Dessert.’ This book has been a tremendous encouragement to me during those late night feeds. I don’t know how people go through any of life’s challenges without Jesus!

Earth Mama Angel Baby – I love all of their products! After researching different creams for breastfeeding, I realized that there isn’t a huge selection of creams that aren’t in some way exposed to chemicals or pesticides or contain GMOs. This concerned me because I don’t want to put that stuff on my breast, and ultimately in my baby’s mouth. Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter is organic and free of GMOs. I love it! I also loved their stretch oil when I was pregnant. I put it on every night and I don’t have a single stretch mark from pregnancy. Some of my other favorites are, Baby Butt Balm, Baby Bath Blossoms, and Milkmaid Tea. Oh I could keep going on about this company, but I’ll stop with those five as my top favorite Earth Mama Angel Baby products!

Cloth diapers. This a huge must for me. Since I really care about what goes on or against my baby’s skin, this is the absolute best way to ensure that her little bum isn’t being exposed to dangerous chemicals. Even natural and organic brands of disposable diapers have questionable ingredients. Either way, the use of cloth is not only better for baby, it saves tons of money and helps allow for me to stay home with my baby. I’m not too picky with brands of diapers. We were blessed with several kinds of diapers, from Kawaii, to BumGenius, to prefolds – and they all work great. Oh, and cloth wipes take the savings a step further!

Baby Wraps. There are tons of great baby wraps out there, but I was looking to be as frugal as possible with our baby and decided to try the Moby wrap. The Moby wrap is amazing and affordable and I used it just about everyday during the first few months of my baby’s life. I am a huge believer in baby wearing and keeping your baby snuggled close, especially during the first few months. More recently I was given a Maya sling wrap and a Lillebaby carrier and love those as well. The sling wrap is my favorite for breastfeeding, and the Lillebaby is nice to have for on the go or for carrying for a long amount of time (mine came with a lower back support). If you just want a basic and versatile wrap that isn’t too expensive, the Moby wrap works fantastic. Baby wearing is the best thing ever. Seriously. When my girl gets fussy it calms her down almost immediately, and when she’s sleepy it helps her fall asleep so much faster. If you weren’t thinking of getting one, get one. My baby loves being in my arms so much that I wouldn’t be able to get dinner made or housework done without it. Baby wearing has increased our bond, and at seven months old, I still wear her just about every day.

Swaddle wrap. Either I have a really strong baby or I’m just bad with swaddling. I never could seem to get it to where my baby wouldn’t bust out of her blanket when she got startled. A friend told us about swaddle wraps and we gave them a shot. I’m so glad we did! As a newborn, our baby fought sleep whether swaddled or not. Once she would fall asleep the wrap would keep her secure and prevent her from startling herself awake. I loved the Summer Infant SwaddleMe Infant Wrap!

Nose Frida. It might sound disgusting to use your mouth on a plastic tube to suck the snot out of your baby’s nose (there’s a filter so nothing can get in your mouth), but trust me, you won’t care. It works so much better than the bulbs (which can get mold inside and cause them be a health hazard). And if your baby is like most, he or she won’t like getting their little noses cleaned out and you’ll want to get that snot out quickly. The Nose Frida gets the job done!

Coconut oil. Rashes, dry skin, disinfectant, and so much more. I even use some in my homemade diaper wipe solution.

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Pure Castile Liquid Soap Baby Mild Unscented. I love this stuff. It’s so great for baby’s sensitive skin and it’s made with natural organic oils. Be cautious not to get it in your baby’s eyes, as it is not tear free. Tear free actually means that a chemical has been added to prevent that burning sensation of getting soap in your eyes. I always first wipe my girl’s face with a damp cloth, and then use soap sparingly and gently over her face and avoid her eyes. This is a great soap for bath time or for a homemade diaper wipe solution. Castile soap has so many great uses (I even clean our floors with it), and a little goes such a long way!

Homemade baby powder. Baby powder works great at keeping my baby’s bottom dry and helps prevent diaper rashes. I put it on her bottom each night before bed and if she has a rash, and it’s just about gone by morning! Most store-bought baby powder contains talc, which is linked to certain types of cancer. This is why I prefer to use a safe and natural alternative, which is simply arrowroot powder. And if you want a scent, just mix in a drop of essential oil. Easiest homemade baby product ever!

Worship music and lullabies. This helps to calm baby down, but it helps to calm mama down too. I’m so thankful during those late nights that my husband encouraged me to play worship music when I was so exhausted. It helped to put my focus back on the Lord, and I knew that He would help me through those tough long first nights. I especially love Twila Paris’ album, ‘Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship,’ and Jay Stocker’s alum, ‘Hidden In My Heart: A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture.’ We still listen to these albums, and I love singing these songs to my baby girl.

If you are preparing for a baby, I hope you’ll find this list beneficial. If you already have a little one, I hope some of these items make their way into your home and make life with your baby even simpler. What are your must-have items for your baby?

Passing Seasons

Yesterday my baby girl turned into a six month old. Today I’m reflecting on something I wrote just a few weeks ago, before fall had officially arrived. The reality that a new season is here, has given me such a bittersweet feeling. As I re-read through the following post, my baby girl is nestled in my sling, drifting off to sleep. I breathe in and smell her sweet baby scent, and my heart is overwhelmed by the love I have for her. I am so very thankful for this season of life.

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Passing Seasons

As I paced back and forth underneath the shade of the trees, I felt completely overwhelmed with joy. Cradled in my arms, was my baby girl. Her heavy eyelids were about to win her long battle against sleep. Her sweet and peaceful face made my heart melt a little more as I continued to pace and hum and help her rest. Her chubby little limbs began to grow heavier in my arms as they dangled in complete trust that momma wouldn’t let her fall.

I lifted my head to the see rays of sunshine through the tree branches. As a cool breeze brushed over my face and swept through the trees, I breathed in and knew that fall was just around the corner. A handful of faded yellow leaves silently made their way to the dirt floor, drawing my gaze back down upon the sweetest little face I’ve ever laid eyes on. The scent of a warm summer day, mixed with the pure scent of my baby, caused my eyes to close for a moment as I longed for time to stand still.

Tears welled up in my eyes because I knew, just as fall was around the corner, a new season with my baby would also be just around the corner. Each day she’s growing and changing so much. It’s so wonderful and amazing to watch.

There is beauty in each season, but always a bit of sadness, knowing that each new season brings a little more independence, and eventually my baby will need less and less of me. I love that she needs me to fall asleep or comfort her when she’s upset. I love when I sing her to sleep and her tiny fingers reach up for my face, as if to ensure that it’s safe to close her eyes as long as she holding on to her mommy. She’s still so small and I still have so many days of holding and singing and rocking left, but I’d be OK if babies stayed babies twice as long.

Each season is so beautiful that it’s hard not to miss them as they pass by. So many seem to be bothered by their babies, hoping they’ll sleep through the night as soon as possible, or be able to self soothe, or not nurse as frequently, and yet these are the very things I hold onto and enjoy so much. I love how much my baby needs me. I will gladly rock her to sleep or cuddle or nurse her as much as she needs. I may be crazy, but I love our middle of the night nursing sessions when the rest of the world is sleeping and it’s just my baby girl and I. I’m grasping onto to these moments that will one day quietly slip away, and be no more. These are the days I’ll miss. This is the season that will pass by all too quickly.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1

What This Blog Is All About

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Welcome! My name is Brittney, and this is my blog. My posts are written from inside our cozy home, which is tucked away on the side of a hill. My family and I are so very grateful to have a relationship with the Lord, and are constantly reminded of how many blessings we are surrounded by. I am thankful for all the resources I have to provide our family with a natural lifestyle, while still being frugal and living on a budget.

After about six months of writing, picture-taking, and brainstorming ideas, I’m finally prepared to launch my blog today. I’m just a stay at home mom who loves Jesus, my family, and everything natural. Being a housewife is my passion, and I am blessed to be able to take care of our house, prepare meals, and save money!

While I can’t wait to share housekeeping, money-saving, and food tips, I also can’t wait to just be real with you and share my heart. Being a Christian, mom, and wife has its challenges, but the joy it brings surpasses every hardship. I hope you enjoy reading the stories shared from my heart, and find my ideas and tips helpful for you, as you care for your family and household as well.