On Cribs and Other Protective Devices

We bought a new-to-us crib in anticipation of this third baby. The last actual crib we had was when my oldest was a baby, but then drop-side cribs were recalled and since he didn’t really sleep in there anyway (by that point we just used mattresses on the floor throughout the house) we just never bothered replacing it.

When number 2 came along, we knew he’d sleep in bed with us for a spell and just assumed he’d migrate to floor mattresses like his brother.

We failed to anticipate his brother’s fascination with messing with him physically. We’d dart into a room to find a suddenly-awake baby with pinch marks on his face or bright red toes where someone yanked and pulled, too curious to resist temptation.

We realized cribs might not be the best solution for our family for night-time sleep, but there was something to be said about using them as a barrier from older brothers during the day!

So we have this crib all set up in our bedroom, just waiting to greet our new addition. And, of course, the older children are fascinated by it. Many times per day, my 5-year-old will tattle, “Mom! Felix is in Squishy’s bed again!”

And then from upstairs I’ll hear, “No! Dis *MY* bed!”children playing

Don’t ask me how the 2-year-old gets in there. Don’t ask me why he can’t/won’t extract himself. But I can already see that we’re going to run into some explosive situations when the new baby makes his appearance.

Yesterday, for instance, my husband installed the mobile I thought we threw away 5 years ago.

It was such a joke, the idea that our first baby would sleep at all, let alone in a crib while contentedly staring at a mobile. Ha! Haha! But my husband isn’t giving up hope that this third time is the charm and we’ll have a baby who feels tired sometimes. Or might just be content to gaze upon some stuffed zoo animals.

Except that the 2-year-old is now claiming the animals on the mobile. He climbs up into the crib to cuddle the wee critters, to suck on their faces and mark his territory, let us know that he is not messing around.

So if the crib, with its bars and its height, is not enough to protect this wee baby from big brothers, what the heck am I supposed to do? You can imagine that baby gates are pretty useless at our house and we have the sort of ancient, wooden doors that only close half the year. We’re currently in the half of the year where they are swollen by humidity, laughing at us if we try to yank them into submission.

I’m considering buying one of those hospital cribs that has a lid. Like a cage. But for the baby’s protection, you see! That, apart from constant vigilance, is my only good idea right now. And constant vigilance only works if mom never has to do things like pee or stick her head in the fridge to prepare food…

Did you find a good way to protect a napping baby from curious older siblings? Leave us a comment to share what works at your house!

Parenting Epiphanies

I’ve had several life-changing epiphanies since becoming a parent. Is epiphany the right word? What happened was I observed other moms doing these things and then I copied these women and found out the strategy worked so well in my family, I had to implement it into my daily life.woman with arms raised

The first: I tried attending a Mommy and Me yoga class with my screamasaurus first son (this was years before we knew he has Sensory Processing Disorder…all we knew was that he SCREAMED. All. The. Time.) and, of course, he cried the whole class. I overheard another mom say she marched her baby up and down a flight of stairs while wearing him in the baby carrier. I went home, tried it, and he stopped screaming. So we marched him. For months. I got very fit and thin, if I didn’t get much sleep.

The second: A friend told me that the first year of life after having her second child was basically a big game of “Whose turn is it to cry right now?” By this, she literally meant that she told her sons, “You can’t cry right now. It’s not your turn. It’s your brother’s turn to cry.” Any parent who has been privy to the train-whistle choir of two children crying at once can appreciate how awesome it would be if just one of the children would stop weeping. I was skeptical that such a thing would work, but one day said to my older son, “Miles, you cannot cry right now. It’s Felix’s turn to cry. You have to wait until he is done.” And it worked! From that moment on, we’ve taken turns crying. Even if that means one kid yelling to the other one, “Stop crying! Stop crying! It’s *MY* turn to cry!”

Now, I’m moments away from having three sons. The aspect of parenting that currently vexes me most is carseat buckling/unbuckling. I will order a spatula from Amazon Prime rather than deal with car seats to go to the store, I hate it that much. Sometimes, I lie awake at night and cry thinking about how I’ll soon have to deal with three car seats just to visit the ATM. Thankfully, my trusted village of mom-friends delivered another epiphany.

The third: My older kid can help my younger kid(s) with carseat buckles. It’s true! He can already do his own chest buckle and undo all of the buckles. Why shouldn’t he at least get his brother’s chest buckle? There is little he loves more than to boss his brother around. I thought I’d try directing this “leadership” toward carseat safety. And it worked! I sat Miles down and explained that it’s hard for me to bend over, I’m usually hauling many bags of crackers and diapers, and could he just be my big helper and fasten his brother into his carseat? “Sure, I can do that.” And he’s been doing it! He ushers his brother into the seat, buckles the chest clip, then climbs in his own seat and buckles his own chest clip. And, lo! I have two children contained enough that one isn’t climbing away into the driver’s seat while I’m buckling the other.

What parenting epiphanies have you learned that have most changed your life for good? Leave us a comment to share your experiences!

Cervical Checks?

 midwife with hands on pregnant belly

Last week, at the end of my midwife visit, we discussed my upcoming Group B Strep test. “Would you like a cervical check when we do that?” she asked.

I had a week to think about it, and went back and forth as to whether I’d say yes. I know there are risks involved in cervical checks in the last weeks of pregnancy. I also know the results don’t mean very much–I could be closed up tight and have my baby that evening…or I could walk around for weeks at 3cm dilated.

But, the day of my GBS test I was 37 weeks pregnant. I’d been having a challenging week personally, and I’d been experiencing tons of pelvic pressure and Braxton Hicks contractions. Plus, my second son arrived at 38 weeks–I’d opted out of any cervical exams during his pregnancy.  Maybe I wouldn’t have been so surprised at his arrival if I’d gotten a check? Who knows!

I decided to go ahead with the check, since I don’t anticipate taking my knickers off for any more of my prenatal visits.

I was elated to learn that I’m 1cm dilated, 30% effaced, with an anterior cervix. Plus, my baby’s head is floating just above the cervix. And he’s anterior! Neither of my other boys were ever optimally aligned for birth. I have a history of a posterior cervix. Today, learning these things about this baby and this pregnancy gave me a spiritual boost leading up to birthing.

My body has been doing such hard work. I’ve been large and miserable and grouchy. Knowing that things are starting to happen makes me feel happier, more excited for the impending arrival of this little dude. I’m glad I said yes today.

Did you opt for a cervical exam toward the end of your pregnancy? Leave us a comment to share your experiences. 

Packing My Hospital Bag for Baby #3


My job this week: pack my go-bag for the hospital.

The first time around, we packed a ton of luggage and didn’t use most of it. The second time, I packed all the wrong things and my husband still had to make a few trips home to get stuff I forgot. Here’s what I’m packing for this, my third birth.

  • Copy of my birth vision
  • Chapstick, 3 tubes. Hospital air is dry. I think they actually come into the rooms with a dehumidifier, it’s that dry. I need tube near each hand and a spare in my bag for when one rolls off the table.
  • Nursing tanks. When I’m in the hospital, I don’t feel like wearing my own clothes. I rock the gown, because I’m in the hospital. I’m not up for company, I’m not trying to look good to feel good. But I do need to support my voluptuous bosom and I like nursing tanks.
  • Diaper wipes. Our hospital only provides dry cloth thingies we have to moisten to wipe up the tar-poop during our stay. We learned from our previous kids! We’re bringing our own wipes. These are also good for lazy face wiping for grownups.
  • Chargers for our devices.
  • iPad. I’m taking it from my kids. Sorry! I need it more than them while I’m in the hospital. They can watch Roku or use my computer or something…maybe play with their toys??
  • 3 outfits for the baby. I let my big kids each pick a coming home outfit, and then we agreed on a spare one in the likely event he soils himself.
  • T-shirt for me to wear home.
  • 1 pair of maternity pants for me to wear home.
  • Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant (forgot this last time!), shampoo, body wash.
  • My nursing pillow, primarily for elbow support as I perfect my laid-back breastfeeding skills.
  • Snacks, for when I’m up late at night nursing and there’s no food service. Mmmm what snacks should I pack?

I’m not packing myself underwear. Maybe I’ll feel differently if I have a successful VBA2C, but I really needed the hospital-issue mesh things the last 2 times. I’m not packing socks, because it’s summer and I haven’t felt cool (let alone cold) since before I got pregnant. I plan to show up in my flip-flops, so I don’t need different shoes.

Is there anything I’m forgetting? Leave us a comment to share how you packed differently for subsequent babies.


Breastfeeding Positions to Assist Baby’s Reflexes

When my second son was born, I visited a few IBCLC’s to help figure out why he nursed so frequently without ever seeming to fill up. He was a snacker! Their advice was for me to try laid back breastfeeding. My takeaway (probably they said more things!) was that I should try to get . . . → Read More: Breastfeeding Positions to Assist Baby’s Reflexes

Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: How Breastfeeding Changed My Life

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about the long-term benefits . . . → Read More: Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: How Breastfeeding Changed My Life

Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: Favorite Breastfeeding Benefit

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about the long-term benefits . . . → Read More: Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: Favorite Breastfeeding Benefit