Life in Lape Haven

Author - Kishona

10 Items that Helped Us Adjust to Life with a New Baby

Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.

Somehow our littlest guy, Isaiah, turned 7-months-old this week. Seriously, time has FLOWN by.

And yet, it’s still gone slowly enough to remind me that life with a newborn or infant can be challenging. What was once normal and routine gets thrown out the window as everyone in the family adjusts to all the transitions.

Preparing for all the changes in addition to planning to care for a new baby can be overwhelming, whether you’re welcoming your very first baby or you’re an experienced parent.

While I’ve shared with you a few new tips and tricks we learned with Isaiah, I realized that there are some products and ideas that we have been using over the last seven years  – and for all three babies – that also helped make the adjustment to life with a little one a bit easier.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you use the link.)

 

SLEEPING

One thing that EVERYONE knows, whether they have children or not, is that babies and sleep don’t always go together. Sure, some parents are blessed with better sleepers than others, but all babies will, at some point in their infancy, have Mommy, Daddy, or both of you up in the middle of the night.

While we’ve never had horrible sleepers – Isaiah’s been our toughest night owl – we’ve also never had babies that easily slept through the night from a young age. (For tips on that, you might want to check out this post from my friend Denise Renae: How I Got All 5 of My Babies to Sleep Through the Night)

Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.

However, we have found a few things that helped our little guys sleep better and longer when they finally did go to sleep.

1. HALO Sleepsack Microfleece Swaddler

For starters, as I mentioned in the tips and tricks we’ve learned with our third baby, a good sleep sack can make an amazing difference. We always thought that any sleep sack was as good as another…until we learned differently with Isaiah.

He slept fine in the handed-down ones we had from our first two boys, but he was a bit smaller than they had been, so I ordered a new HALO Sleepsack Microfleece Swaddler in the newborn size. The difference was notable and impressive, and all those other sleep sacks were left in the drawer while our little guy slept longer in his Halo than he had since coming home from the hospital. Hallelujah!

 

2. Nightime Soothers

The other thing that all of our boys have had is some type of musical nightlight soother. For Elijah it was a Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse , which played a lullaby and glowed. He used it until he was at least 2 years old. (He liked it so well that we also gave a couple as baby shower gifts.)

Josiah had a similar cuddly animal, a Fisher-Price My Little Snugamonkey, but it alternated playing soothing nature sounds as well as a couple classical songs. After years of listening to the seahorse’s lullaby over the baby monitor, rainforest ambiance was a welcome change!

For Isaiah, we took my brother’s recommendation for a plug-in night time soother from Skip Hop (the Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight Soother Elephant ) that is very customizable. It projects a starscape on the ceiling (also adjustable), plays either nature sounds or lullabies, and has a nightlight feature as well.

My brother had purchased one for his older boy, and the family liked it so much, that his little brother wanted one, too. Since both my nephews had the owl version, we opted to get Isaiah the elephant. We love it, and I especially love that I can crank up the volume on the sounds during nap time to drown out Isaiah’s noisy brothers playing downstairs. 

 

BATH TIME

It seems that when it comes to baths and water, either baby loves it or he hates it.

Thankfully, with all three of our boys, it’s been a love affair from their very first times in the tub (even though Elijah didn’t really enjoy getting water in his face.)

3. Bath Cozy Cover

I think part of our bath time success was due to an awesome baby shower gift: a bath cozy cover.

I’d never heard of one, but my cousin found it at the store and went off-registry, and we have been very glad she did.

The cozy cover is kind of like a giant washcloth that you dip in the warm water and cover your baby with during his bath. It keeps him warm and soothed, so that bath time becomes a calm, fun experience.

You can always use an actual washcloth or maybe a hand towel in a pinch, but I did find something similar to ours (which is, again, over 7 years old) online.

 

4. Clear Shower Curtain & Double Curved Shower Curtain Rod 

The other thing you quickly learn about baths and life with a newborn is that as a new mom (or dad), it can be difficult to get that spare minute to get *YOUR* bath or shower.

One of the best pieces of advice I found online when preparing for our first baby was to buy and put up a clear shower curtain for your shower. This allows you to have the baby in their bassinet or swing in the bathroom with you. You can see them, and they can see you, and you can get all clean and refreshed without the stress of worrying if baby will wake in his crib before you finish.

We also installed a double shower curtain rod so we could have a cloth curtain and a clear curtain. I chose a curved curtain rod because that gives you a little more room in the shower in those last months of pregnancy or when you inevitably end up showering with your baby or toddler.

(And when you need to clean that shower quickly and easily, save time and money by using this safe 2-ingredient homemade tub & shower cleaner. I love it!)

 

NURSING

It’s probably no surprise that the mom who chose to give birth to all three of her babies as “naturally” as possible without pain medications (although Isaiah’s story was a little off my birth plan) also chose/chooses to breastfeed those babies. In fact, we’ve rarely had to use bottles (Isaiah just plain refuses them.)

5. Nursing-Friendly Tops & Dresses 

For me, I’ve needed things that make breastfeeding easier, such as good nursing-friendly tops and dresses, nursing bras, which are not always so easy to find. Sure, you can look for button-down shirts or tops with elastic necklines, but sometimes you want something easier.

Since it had been a few years between babies, I was in need of replacing a lot of my nursing wardrobe when Isaiah arrived. Two of the new companies I found were Latched Mama and Milk Nursingwear.

Latched Mama: They have a fun selection of more casual style tops, dresses, and pajama sets. I especially love my Latched Mama nursing hoodie sweatshirt! (They were available on Amazon, which was great for our Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping, but they don’t currently have anything listed.) Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Milk Nursingwear: They have more varied styles for how you access the nursing areas of their clothes, and they have more selection in dressier styles. While they can be a bit pricier, when you shop directly through their site, you can earn 5% back on each order, plus you can check out their sales. Or you can go through my Amazon link below and use your Prime shipping. 🙂

 

6. Kindred Bravely Nursing Bras

Of course, a good foundation is also important, especially when you’re nursing, so I had to replenish my stash of nursing bras and tanks, too. That’s when I found Kindred BravelyNursing bras and tanks are their specialty. They also sell maternity/nursing pajamas, nightgowns, and panties. You can use the Amazon link below or use this referral link directly at Kindred Bravely and get $10 off you first order of $50 or more.

 

Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.

7. Udder Covers Nursing Cover

For nursing in public, I’ve always used a cover from Udder Covers  (because they sent me a coupon for a FREE one, and I just had to pay shipping). I love the special stiffened neckline that allows me to see my baby – and him to see me – easily.

(And despite what you might read about nursing in public, I’ve never gotten any bad reactions. Actually it’s been quite the opposite, whether I’m at a restaurant, church, or at the park with my boys)

—>PLUS: I have a coupon code for you to get yours FREE ($35 off!), just pay shipping & handling. <—
Use coupon code: EAEBF0

 

8. Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads 

Of course, if you’re nursing, you need nursing pads, and my absolute favorite ones are Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads. With Elijah, I used the regular disposable kind from the store, and they were uncomfortable. I had all kinds of issue, including clogged ducts – OUCH! When I was pregnant with Josiah, I heard about Bamboobies from a post online, and I was determined to try them out. The difference was amazing. They are incredibly comfortable, don’t leak, are washable (saves $$$), and I haven’t had another issue with clogged ducts or the like since.

(They were also one of things that were a must in my hospital bag!)

 

OTHER HELPFUL ITEMS FOR LIFE WITH A NEW BABY
9. Baby K’tan Carriers 

With Josiah, I discovered the joy of baby wearing, but my carrier was more heavy duty, for outdoor adventuring and Life in Lape Haven: 10 Items that Helped Us to Adjust to Life with a New Baby. Preparing for all the changes and transitions that come with newborns and infants can be overwhelming, but we've found a few products and ideas that have helped make the adjustment a little easier.walks. Plus, I had a horrible time getting it on without someone to help snap the back clasp.

So, for Isaiah I knew I needed something lightweight that I could get on quickly and without help. That’s why I went with a Baby K’tan Original Carrier. It was easy and quick to put on, whether it was for just around the house, a trip to the grocery store, or a hiking outing with our whole family.

 

10. Baby Care Tracking App

One other thing that has helped us keep up with life with a baby has been a Baby Care Tracking App. These apps work like a daily log for baby’s sleeping, feeding, diaper changes, and more.

With both Josiah and Isaiah, I’ve used the iBaby app on my Android, but there are quite a few options, most of them free, out there.

 

What items did/do you find helpful with your newborn/infant?

RELATED POSTS:

5 Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned With My 3rd Baby that I Wish I’d Known with My 1st

What Will Be in My Hospital Bag?

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story that Didn’t Quite Follow My Birth Plan

 

 

 

How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More

Life in Lape Haven: How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More. A simple idea on the day we began our trip gave our vacation an extra focus on kindness toward others.

Last week our family went on a little getaway, the first with all three of our boys. Since we weren’t sure how well 6-month-old Isaiah would travel (he won’t take a bottle or pacifier at all, which has been fun), we knew we might have to make more frequent stops. That’s why we decided to vacation a little closer to home, picking an area within a 5- to 6-hour drive from us. We also decided to go for only 4 days.

In preparation for this grand adventure, I made an extensive packing list, stocked up on car-friendly snacks, printed out some drive-time scavenger hunt sheets and other traveling activities for kids, and created an on-my-visor behavior clip chart to help our older two boys stay on track.

Life in Lape Haven: How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More. A simple idea on the day we began our trip gave our vacation an extra focus on kindness toward others.

The on-visor behavior clip chart…on a string.

(You can read more about how that worked and get additional tips and tricks for traveling with kids from me and other moms in this post on The Merry Momma.)

The night before our road trip started, Brad was praying with our boys at bedtime. Toward the end of the prayer, he asked that God would use our trip to bless not only us but others.

And God gave me an idea immediately of a very easy way to accomplish that and make our family vacation about more than just us.

The morning of our trip, we loaded the car, got the boys settled, and I hung the clip chart string on my visor. Then I put 3 large wire clothespins on the left corner of my visor. Even Brad looked at me in confusion.

Life in Lape Haven: How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More. A simple idea on the day we began our trip gave our vacation an extra focus on kindness toward others.

“What are those for?” Elijah asked.

So I explained.

“These three clips are for the three big days of our vacation. Last night Daddy prayed that our trip would bless others, right? Well, each day our family will do a random act of kindness or find someone we can help. When we’ve completed our task for the day, we’ll take a clip down. Until we do, though, these clips will remind us to be on the lookout for ways to be kind, encouraging, or helpful to other people.”

My boys, especially Elijah, were excited about the plan, and they began coming up with ways we could bless someone.

Over the next few days, amid the excitement of hotel stays, daily adventures, and eating out, I was surprised by how often my boys (or my husband or I) would mention an idea for a random act of kindness. Their suggestions weren’t always feasible, but at least I knew they were busy thinking of others.

So what DID we do?

Life in Lape Haven: How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More. A simple idea on the day we began our trip gave our vacation an extra focus on kindness toward others.

Enjoying our treats at Dairy Queen (note my surprised look as Isaiah tried to steal my shake)

Our first fun act of kindness was passing out ice cream bars to a group of construction workers staying at our hotel. They had been sitting outside when we took the boys out to the pool early in the evening, and they were still there later when we were headed out to get a treat at the nearby Dairy Queen. Before we left the restaurant, we grabbed a pack of ice cream bars, just in case they were still outside when we returned.

When they questioned us about the gift, we just told them that we wanted to do something nice for others as a family and show God’s love. I’m not sure who enjoyed the surprise more – our boys, who were very excited to share, or the men and ladies who were delighted with not only the ice cream, but seeing our boys’ excitement to share with them.

Life in Lape Haven: How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More. A simple idea on the day we began our trip gave our vacation an extra focus on kindness toward others.

Dinner at the diner.

We earned our next day’s clip in a more subtle way. Since much of our day had been spent exploring a state park (and on a weekday), we didn’t interact with many other people until we went to dinner. Throughout our meal, I noticed that our waitress seemed a bit stressed, and while our boys weren’t behaving badly, they were energetic enough to add a little more chaos to the atmosphere.

We didn’t try to initiate much of a conversation with her or find out how her day had been going because, honestly, when you’re wrangling three little boys during mealtime, it’s much kinder sometimes to focus on keeping your children’s mess and noise to a minimum and just let people work. But I knew that she should be on the receiving end of a little kindness before we left. Even though I didn’t mention my observations to Brad, halfway through the meal, he quietly suggested to me that we leave her a substantial tip (far more than just 20%) as our kindness for the day. So we made sure to express our appreciation for her attentiveness and excellent service both verbally and monetarily.

Life in Lape Haven: How We Made Our Family Vacation About A Little More. A simple idea on the day we began our trip gave our vacation an extra focus on kindness toward others.

Family selfie, blocking most of the view of the beautiful mountains behind us.

Our third clip…well, we actually didn’t get to do anything for our last clip, which really bothered our boys. The last day of our trip was spent mostly traveling home, and we didn’t even go through a drive-through, so the easy idea of paying for the person behind us couldn’t even be used. When we did stop for dinner, there weren’t any other people in the restaurant until we were leaving.

However, I don’t feel as though it was a failure because, again, my boys were looking hard for opportunities to help others (whenever we were around other people. Haha). And I know that the two clips that we used were definitely ones that God directed us to do.

So despite only accomplishing two out of the three things, getting my boys to think of others often during our family vacation and knowing that we were obedient in doing what God asked us to when the opportunities were there, to me means that we were successful in making our vacation about much more than ourselves.

And those three clips will be staying in the car so that we can continually be reminded to think of others and look for ways to be kind, helpful, and encouraging every day.

(Next vacation I plan to be much better prepared to continue this tradition, so check out the links and resources below that I’ve found with ideas we can use.)

Random Acts of Kindness

101 of the Best Random Acts of Kindness Ideas 

30 Random Acts of Kindness to Do with Your Kids 

Super Easy Act of Kindness for Kids (We are TOTALLY doing this soon!)

67 Awesome Random Acts of Kindness for Kids

HOW DOES YOUR FAMILY SPREAD KINDNESS?

 

Feature picture background courtesy of Pixabay

Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children

Life in Lape Haven: Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children. It doesn't take much to bring joy to our children's lives. Here are some ideas on simple ways to add some fun to your every day with your kids.

The other day I was gathering everything up and ready to head out the door to the grocery store with my two youngest boys when Josiah decided it would be a good time to ask Mommy for a cup of milk.

Since milk was already on the shopping list, and I was kind of in a rush, I grabbed our nearly-empty milk jug from the refrigerator and handed it to my 4-year-old.

“Here you go. Do you want to drink it straight from the jug?”

I figured there wasn’t much left in it, so we’d be throwing the empty container into the recycle box anyway. Plus, I wouldn’t have to get out a cup, and Josiah might have fun with this.

Oh, my goodness! His reaction was adorable.

He gave me a slightly surprised but very excited grin and nod, followed by the best giggle ever – It was equal parts delighted and ornery. Then he proudly chugged down his milk.

Life in Lape Haven: Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children. It doesn't take much to bring joy to our children's lives. Here are some ideas on simple ways to add some fun to your every day with your kids.

My split-second decision, made primarily to save me time and hassle, brought my little guy so much joy that it got me thinking about all the simple, every day ways that we, as parents, can spark joy in our kids.

Now, this isn’t about always giving your kids what they want or thinking that they have to be happy (or happy with you, Mom or Dad) all the time. We all know that our responsibility as their parents is to lovingly teach and train them, and they aren’t always going to be able to have fun or enjoy the process, especially when we have to discipline them.

But with all the hard work of parenting, there are rewards. One of the best parts about parenting, and one that you don’t hear enough about, is that Moms and Dads have the prime opportunity to show their children how to truly enjoy life and celebrate all the good things that God has given us. We get to help them embrace challenges and adventures and watch them grow through them. We are the ones who encourage them to try new things as we nurture and cultivate their senses of humor, their curiosity, and their imagination.

In short, we get to have fun with these little human beings!

And really, they make it easy. They have a natural, God-given desire to explore and discover, and they have an eye for seeing the wondrous and amazing in the common place, every day things around them.

So bringing them little moments of joy usually isn’t hard at all, like letting them drink straight from the milk jug once in a while (and with the understanding that we don’t do it unless we are finishing off the contents!)

HERE ARE SOME OTHER IDEAS FOR BRINGING JOY TO YOUR LITTLE ONES:

Life in Lape Haven: Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children. It doesn't take much to bring joy to our children's lives. Here are some ideas on simple ways to add some fun to your every day with your kids.

Explore the World & Try New Things

Let them blow those dandelion puff seeds. It’s just plain fun, and it would probably be good for you to pick a couple to blow on, too. You know you want to. (I’ve personally never outgrown it.)  Oh, and don’t worry about your lawn. Dandelions are good for the honey bees. 😉

Go through the car wash. Seriously, my boys love this, especially when we go to the “big” one with the big rotating brushes and colorful foam. If you treat something as an adventure, little kids are generally pretty willing to play along.

Also: Have picnics – even just in the backyard or in the middle of the living room, say “yes” to roly polies as pets, encourage them to play in the rain & puddles (when it’s safe, and they are suitably dressed)

 

Life in Lape Haven: Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children. It doesn't take much to bring joy to our children's lives. Here are some ideas on simple ways to add some fun to your every day with your kids.

Give them the freedoms and independence that you can.

Allow them to pay at the store. Whether they are buying something with their birthday money, or you hand them the cash to give to the cashier during a grocery run, children feel rather grown up when they get to do “big people” things. They love that.

Similarly, giving little children the freedom to pick out their own clothes – and not making them change unless absolutely necessary – is guaranteed to bring them joy. It might just give you a laugh or two, as well. 🙂 Josiah adores “fun” socks, and I’ve learned to just forget about whether they actually match his clothes or not. Sometimes he does well; other times his outfits are awesome in a totally different way. (This also applies to shopping for clothes, too.)

Another “free to choose” thing that my boys love is when I give them the chance to pick what kind of cookies we’ll bake. And then they get to help me in the kitchen. Whether they are just dumping in the ingredients after I’ve measure them out, or Elijah is stirring oatmeal on the stove (supervised), letting kids lend a hand with meal (or goodie) prep is not only fun (forget the mess, make the memories), but it’s teaching them a valuable life skill.

Also: Let them eat that sugary cereal on occasion.

Life in Lape Haven: Simple Ways to Spark Joy in Your Children. It doesn't take much to bring joy to our children's lives. Here are some ideas on simple ways to add some fun to your every day with your kids.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Silly

Have a spontaneous dance party. For us, that usually means while I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, or doing some other always-present household chore that I can do with a few turns, wiggles, and flourishes. I’ll turn on my Amazon Prime Music, and my boys will break out their moves. ( Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial)

Also: Go through the closets and create silly costumes. Or use old make-up (or Dollar Store finds) for face paint fun. Start a water gun / water balloon fight. Become the “tickle monster.”  Share jokes.

Be Creative

Give them the paper towel tube. Or an empty box. Some leftover scraps of fabric. My boys will fight over these things because they can use them to either pretend with or make a craft. Kids love to create, even if they don’t have an end product in mind, so give them things they can cut, paste, and color however they want.

Also: Show them how to play the spoons. Shoot video of them doing a pretend commercial or newscast or have them put on a theatrical production.

These are just some things that I know bring a smile to my boys’ faces, but you know your children best. Find out what puts a twinkle in their eyes, and do that.

And, yes, while some of these ideas probably won’t work as well when my guys get older, I think the same main principles will still apply. Hopefully by that time we’ve established a tradition of enjoying time together and being able to celebrate simple things as a family.

“As a family” is the key because if you notice, nearly everything on the list above requires your interaction or presence. Nothing will bring your children joy like spending time with Mommy and Daddy.

And I’m pretty sure that nothing will bring you greater joy than being with them, too!

WHAT SIMPLE THINGS GIVE YOUR LITTLE ONES JOY?

5 Tips & Tricks I’ve Learned with My 3rd Baby that I Wish I’d Known with My 1st

Life in Lape Haven: 5 Tips & Tricks I've Learned With My Third Baby that I Wished I'd Known with My First. Even though I've been a mother for nearly 7 years, I've learned a few new things with my third baby that would have been great to know years ago.
When Elijah was born nearly 7 years ago, Brad and I were the newbie parents, reading books and learning everything we could to help us adjust to life with our newborn little boy. When Josiah joined our crew a few years later, we were much more confident in our parenting roles and our experience, but we continued to learn as we parented two very active boys. By the time Isaiah came along a few months ago, we had plenty of tips and tricks up our sleeves, but as it turned out there were a few things that we’ve discovered since his December arrival that I wished we’d known way back at the beginning of our parenting journey.

This post contains affiliate links which means that, at no additional cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you use the link.

BABY BODYSUIT SHOULDERS ARE MADE THAT WAY FOR AN AWESOME REASON

Okay, actually this trick is something I’ve been holding onto for about two years or more. When I first saw videos and comments about it, Josiah was no longer wearing Onesies or other baby bodysuits, so Isaiah is the first child I’ve had a chance to try it out with. And you know what? It’s GENIUS!

You know how the baby bodysuits have those overlapping sections at the top of the shoulders (also called envelope or lapneck shoulder flaps)? I just thought that it was to be helpful for getting them over an infant’s head easily. While that is part of the reason, the biggest, most parent-life-changing reason is so that you can take the Onesie off of your child WITHOUT going over his head. You slip it off his shoulders and down his body.

Anyone who’s ever dealt with a diaper blowout knows the beauty of this method!

The very first time Isaiah wore a bodysuit, I took it off him this way, just to test it out. It was so much easier, especially with a wiggly, floppy newborn.

And not only was it easier to take off that way, we found that in those first few weeks, it was actually easier to put them on him from the feet up. This was incredibly helpful when I discovered that Isaiah’s little sleeper gowns with the elastic at the bottom had the same kind of shoulder flaps. Those go on much easier from the bottom up, too!

Life in Lape Haven: 5 Tips & Tricks I've Learned With My Third Baby that I Wished I'd Known with My First. Even though I've been a mother for nearly 7 years, I've learned a few new things with my third baby that would have been great to know years ago.

Here’s one of the videos I saw that show exactly how easy this method works.

Again, GENIUS!

 

HOW TO CALM A BABY

All babies cry. Since it’s their only way to communicate in the beginning, they do it a lot and fairly often. Knowing that is helpful, but knowing how to meet their needs and calm the crying is even better.

Like most parents, Brad and I had found a variety of soothing techniques with our little ones mostly by trial and error or happy happenstance. For example, when Josiah was tiny, he loved the sound of the dryer running. We discovered this one day when he was crying, and Brad was walking around with him, trying to settle him down. One step into the laundry room, and Josiah stopped crying. Stepping out of the laundry room, he would get fussy again.

When Isaiah was only a week or so old, I saw this video about how to calm a little one and immediately forwarded it to my husband. We were already using some of the techniques and tricks without knowing why they worked. But the order and the way that this man applied them was much more effective and rather amazing to see. (The video was part of a blog post with additional tips to calm a baby.)

Life in Lape Haven: 5 Tips & Tricks I've Learned With My Third Baby that I Wished I'd Known with My First. Even though I've been a mother for nearly 7 years, I've learned a few new things with my third baby that would have been great to know years ago.

In addition, there was another video that you may have seen popping up in your Facebook newsfeed over the last couple of years that showed a similar technique to calming a newborn, and it was an idea that I held onto to try out, too.

This method was demonstrated by a doctor as an almost immediate solution to calm a baby’s crying, and watching the video is rather impressive.

So, of course, we’ve had plenty of opportunity now to try some of the ideas with Isaiah, and they worked really well – so well that I wish we had seen these videos back when our first child was born.

 

THE POWER OF A GOOD SWADDLING SLEEP SACK

All of our boys have used some kind of swaddle or sleep sack, especially when they were first born. However, none of them have ever been particularly effective. The boys all did well at the hospital when swaddled tightly in a blanket, but at home we just couldn’t make our “baby burritos” as well as the nurses.

With Isaiah, we started out with the same sleep sacks and infant swaddlers we used with our older two boys and ended up with the same results: a slightly restless baby, which meant a very rest-less mommy and daddy. Because Isaiah was a bit smaller at birth than our other two, I thought maybe a slightly smaller sleep sack would help him, so I started looking online at all the options.

I decided on the HALO SleepSack Microfleece Swaddler because it not only came in smaller sizes, but also in a winter weight (my other two boys were spring babies, so they didn’t need a heavy sleep sack). The swaddle part of it was also adjustable to either have his hands completely in, partially in, or completely out, which proved to be exactly what we needed as he grew and developed over the first couple of months.

The first night he slept in his new sleep sack, the difference was obvious. It fit him well, he was warm enough, and it swaddled him just right. He was much less restless and slept better and longer than in the other sleep sack we had. I found myself wishing we had tried this sleep sack with our older two.

(This is one of the 10 items that have helped us adjust to life with a new baby.)

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOREMILK & HINDMILK

As a mom who has breastfed both of her previous babies for at least a year each, you would think I knew this one, and I did…sort of. However, when I was pregnant with Isaiah, I clicked through a few breastfeeding and nursing articles just as a refresher to help me prepare, and I found one article in particular that was full of little bits of helpful information and tips that I’d never heard before. Even reading over what I already knew was a fascinating reminder of how perfectly God created us to provide for our babies.

 

HOW TO BURP A BABY

No matter how you feed your baby, you’ll need to burp him. And I already knew how to burp a baby…only I didn’t. Of all the new things we’ve picked up this time around, this tip is BY FAR our favorite.

I saw this video posted by a blogger on Facebook, watched it, and thought, “That looks funny, but it makes sense. Interesting.” It also reminded me of the calming technique from that doctor’s video.

The day after we watched this burping technique, we were at Brad’s sister’s house for pictures and to visit the family since sickness in all our families had kind of postponed our holiday celebrations. When I tried out this burping method on Isaiah, we all noticed how it calmed him instantly. And I mean, instantly.

Life in Lape Haven: 5 Tips & Tricks I've Learned With My Third Baby that I Wished I'd Known with My First. Even though I've been a mother for nearly 7 years, I've learned a few new things with my third baby that would have been great to know years ago.

Calming Isaiah with the burping technique. (Photo courtesy of Picture Bliss Photography.)

My sister-in-law asked us if that was something we knew he liked, and I explained that we were just testing it out.

However, it quickly became our go-to for not just burping him, but just calming him down. Here’s how I shared about it on the Life in Lape Haven Facebook page the next week:

“UPDATE: OK, we’ve been doing this all weekend, and it SERIOUSLY works! Whenever Isaiah was fussy and we knew it was not from hunger or being sleepy, we did this. Just the goofy hold with the up & down alone calms him, then he usually burps and stays happy.”

It’s still working, and as he’s getting bigger, working us out, too!

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TIPS & TRICKS FOR TAKING CARE OF LITTLE ONES?

 

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Feature picture courtesy of Picture Bliss Photography.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Life in Lape Haven: Tried It Tuesday - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls. A simple recipe for healthy energy bites. Great for the whole family.

In the past three months since Isaiah’s birth, I haven’t done a lot of extra cooking or baking. Right now, I’m doing well to get dinner made most nights. 🙂 However, I still like my goodies and making what I can from scratch, and on occasion my older two boys will behave and Isaiah will nap or be content long enough for me to throw together a little something special.

As a mom with a newborn, I haven’t only been looking for recipes that are quick and easy, but also ones that could be helpful to my milk supply since our new little guy LOVES to nurse. In the first few weeks especially, I needed healthy, easy-to make and easy-to-eat snacks for both my boys and myself. I found a perfect answer for all of those in the form of simple, customizable protein balls.

I’d seen these little treats, also called “energy balls” or “energy bites,” before online, and I’ve even sampled some that a mom friend of mine had made. However I’d never made any myself. So, I had to find a recipe.

Since protein balls can be made with such a wide variety of ingredients, I wasn’t sure which particular recipe to try from the myriad I found on Pinterest, so I looked for ones with ingredients that I had on-hand, especially ones with oats and flaxseed, since both are foods that can boost a mother’s milk supply.

Once I found a few options, I compared the recipes, used the common measurements of ingredients, and made up my own recipe, following the same basic procedure that all the protein ball recipes followed.

I have made up several batches since then, and my whole family loves them. However, since the protein balls do pretty much give you a boost of energy, I try not to let the boys have them too late in the evening. 🙂

I have also tried a few different variations, such as using different nut butters (I like using both almond butter and peanut butter as the same time) and using either date syrup and/or raw honey as a sweetener (I prefer the date syrup because the honey can make the balls very sweet and a bit stickier).

I think the fact that I can easily adapt the recipe to what I have makes this a fun, almost foolproof snack. However, here’s my favorite way to make protein balls…so far. 🙂

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Oats
  • ½ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 2/3 cup Coconut Flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Almond Butter
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup Date Syrup (or can use Raw Honey)

Instructions

  1. Prep a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly combine oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and ground flaxseed. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together nut butters (or can do ½ cup of only one type of nut butter), date syrup, and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Roll mixture into small balls. I use my cookie scoop to portion out the mix. You can roll them large or small, depending on what you want. If the mixture is too sticky or melty, you can chill it in the refrigerator a bit before rolling it into balls.
  6. Place balls onto the prepped baking sheet.
  7. Chill protein balls until they harden.
  8. Keep refrigerated in an airtight storage container.
http://lifeinlapehaven.com/2017/03/21/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-protein-balls/

 

 

 

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn’t Quite Follow My Birth Plan

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn't Quite Follow My Birth Plan. Life in Lape Haven. I thought I was ready for the birth of our third child until things didn't go quite as planned. Thankfully, God is always in control, and His plans are even better than our own.

Looking at our sweet little boy as he sleeps beside me on the couch, it’s hard to believe that he is already two months old. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t really introduced him to you yet.  It’s hard to believe that I have sat down to write his birth story at least once a week for the last nine weeks, and either life interrupts my writing (newborns can be demanding) or the words just don’t seem to come. It’s also hard to believe that that’s been okay with me.

Very few things have gone exactly according to plan since Isaiah’s arrival, such as having a stomach virus hit our home the day after coming home from the hospital with our newborn. It was the kind of virus that lingered and caused us to be quarantined over the holidays and miss out on introducing Isaiah to our family and friends. In fact, for some reason or another (mostly sickness), most of our immediate family members didn’t even meet him until he was about a month old. We also didn’t get to do his newborn pictures until he was about six weeks old instead of six days old.

With all of that and other things, adjusting to life with three boys has been…well, an adjustment to say the least.

However, through these last two months, God has been teaching me to let go of my plans (sometimes my control) and trust Him a little bit more. And He started my lessons off with a bang on the day before Isaiah was born.

THE BEST LAID BIRTH PLANS

Just over ten weeks ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with monitors strapped to my 39-week pregnant belly. As I listened to the sounds of my baby’s heartbeat and movements over the fetal monitor, I was waiting for labor to start. Praying for labor to start.

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn't Quite Follow My Birth Plan. Life in Lape Haven. I thought I was ready for the birth of our third child until things didn't go quite as planned. Thankfully, God is always in control, and His plans are even better than our own.

Picture courtesy of Picture Bliss Photography.

That day hadn’t gone according to plan, at least not MY plans. In fact, if my week had gone as I’d liked it to, I would have already had our little boy the day before, on Monday, and I wouldn’t even have had to go to my doctor’s appointment that Tuesday afternoon.

But our son had been content to stay put, and I’d gone to bed with a migraine Monday night (the second in three days). I made a quick – unplanned – visit to the chiropractor Tuesday morning (in case my headaches were just from my neck being out of alignment and also to be ready for when our little guy decided to come, which I knew was soon). Then I drove an hour – in the snowiest conditions so far this winter – to my OB for my weekly appointment.

At 39 weeks, 1 day pregnant, I was in new territory. Both of our older boys had been born at exactly 39 weeks, coming naturally, on their own. The goal for this little one was as near to 39 weeks as possible, too, since I am “over 35” and the risks of going all the way to, or over, 40 weeks are higher for mothers “my age.”

As I pulled into the parking lot at my doctor’s office, I was nervous. At my previous week’s appointment, she’d had me get an unscheduled ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels. I knew she was concerned that I had measured smaller, even though everything had been okay. I also knew that I’d have to tell my doctor about the headaches I’d had over the last week. (I was really hoping that my trip to the chiropractor that morning had solved that problem, and my doctor wouldn’t be concerned.)

Since I was over 39 weeks pregnant, my doctor would be watching me closely. I didn’t want to be induced if I could help it. I knew my doctor would only suggest if there was a legitimate, serious reason.

But still, I purposely didn’t bring my hospital bag with me. Because, you know, she couldn’t send me to the hospital if I didn’t have my stuff.

Clearly, I was already suspicious that things might not be as “okay” as I wanted them to be.

I was only a minute or so into my appointment when those suspicions got a little confirmation. As she was taking my blood pressure, I heard the nurse say, “Hmmm,” over the results. For the first time ever, my blood pressure was high.

My doctor soon came in and double checked it. It was still high. So after she measured my belly and checked to see if I was dilated or effaced at all (only slightly), she was ready to talk.

And I knew what was coming. With this being my third pregnancy, I knew that high blood pressure, unusual headaches, and my age were going to be issues. But then she informed me that I was measuring smaller than the previous week and had had protein in my urine. Since all of those are symptoms of pre-eclampsia, my doctor simply said, “It’s time.”

She wanted me to go immediately to labor and delivery to be checked and stay…to be induced.

I just wanted to cry.

This was NOT how I wanted things to go. I wanted my labor to be as textbook as my previous two (which were un-medicated, “natural” deliveries), only maybe a bit quicker and even easier. THAT was how I’d planned it.

Instead, I was going home to get my bags (my doctor was adamant that I just get my stuff & go to the hospital as soon as possible).

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn't Quite Follow My Birth Plan. Life in Lape Haven. I thought I was ready for the birth of our third child until things didn't go quite as planned. Thankfully, God is always in control, and His plans are even better than our own.

Picture courtesy of Picture Bliss Photography.

TRUSTING THE PLANNER

Frustration, fear, and pregnancy hormones had me fighting tears as I sent a text message to my husband at work and then called my mom. As I drove home, I worked out a new plan – one for getting my boys from two different places to my parents’ house, as well as coordinating with my husband and mom how we were all getting to the hospital.

And I prayed through tears.

I hated facing this sudden sense of urgency. I was frustrated that my body was betraying me like this. I was frightened by the worst case scenarios and the overall unknown that I was heading into. I didn’t want to face the wait, difficulties, and complications that can come with inductions, such as stronger contractions or even a C-section (with two older boys to keep up with, I knew my recovery time needed to be as easy and quick as possible).

I had to trust that God was in control, and not just for me, but for my little guy, as well. I believed that He was, and that He had His own (BETTER) plan, but I needed to REST in it rather than fight against it, demanding we go by the plan that I thought was best. Right then, that was hard.

Brad got home about the time I was ready to leave. We picked up Elijah from school, dropped him and our dog at my parents’ (Josiah was already there, thanks to my mom), and we headed to the hospital.

While Brad drove, I sent messages to different people whom I knew would pray – family, ladies in our church, close friends, and the women of my blogging group. Their replies of encouragement and faith started almost immediately and continued throughout the night.

Many mom friends offered positive notes from their own induction experiences, which helped immensely, while others spoke peace into the chaos of my heart by reminding me that God wasn’t surprised by the situation. Having that community of women that I could trust and rely on to cover me in prayer and support was amazingly comforting.

From the very first reply, my spirit began to settle, and God’s peace slowly took over, soothing my nerves and fears and calling me to simply trust Him.

So soon I was in a hospital bed, monitors strapped to my belly, no longer fearful but now resolute and ready for this baby to come.

Since my doctor knew that I wanted as little intervention as possible in my labor and delivery, she gave me a dose of Cervidil around 7 p.m. to start my induction. (It’s a medicine that’s left near the cervix to soften it. It stays there for 12 hours). There is a long line of things that doctors can do to help labor along, but she and I were hopeful that this was the only one I would need.

Now all we had to do was wait for it to work.

All evening and into the night, Brad, my mom, and I waited. With the sounds of the fetal monitors in the background, we chatted, watched TV, replied to lots of messages for updates, and tried to sleep (like THAT is possible in a hospital).

I just kept praying that the medicine would work and labor would start. While this wasn’t how I wanted my delivery to start out, I knew that I was doing what was best for my little guy and me.

Finally, about 4 a.m., I noticed some contractions and within another half-hour I was unable to sleep through them. By 5:30 a.m., I was tracking contractions that I knew meant I wasn’t going to need further interventions. (Praise God!  At least part of my plan happened!)

With those first good contractions, my focus went from all the waiting and dealing with being induced to “let’s get this baby out so I can meet him.” It didn’t matter how my plan was SUPPOSED to have gone – it hadn’t mattered much since I got to the hospital. All that mattered was that I was going be holding my little guy for the first time very soon.

Even though the nurses wouldn’t check my dilation until 12 hours after I received the dose of Cervidil, which would be around 7 a.m., they did set up the birthing ball for me to use. While my mom, Brad, and now his sister Kristin, who was there as our birth photographer, talked on the other side of the room, I swayed and bounced through increasingly intense contractions until 7:30 a.m.

By then, I was at 5cm and progressing rapidly, so much so that about 9 a.m. my water broke on its own, and I was feeling very done with being in labor!

A call to the nurse got me onto the bed and checked again (8cm). I labored there with the help of a peanut ball, my hubby, and my mom for about 4 or 5 more contractions (so NOT fun). Then I was more than ready to push.

At 9:43 a.m. Isaiah Joel made his debut. He was a tiny little guy at 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and 20” long.

With his little body nestled on my chest, I thanked God for such a precious gift. And I thanked Him for this experience. While I always knew that it didn’t matter how a baby was born, I finally had something more to base it on. The feeling of overwhelming joy and awe was exactly the same as it was when I first held my other two boys, even though I needed a little kick start to get to the moment this time.

THE BETTER PLAN

Later in the day, Brad and I would compare notes on how much better God’s plan was than mine.

For one, from what my doctor said when she checked me at her office, it is very likely that I would have gone into labor on my own within a day or so had we not had the pre-eclampsia worry there. (By the way, I tested negative for pre-eclampsia, but they did have to keep a watch on my blood pressure throughout my hospital stay.) Anyway, our weather was being properly wintery that week, that day especially, with the night of my induction having wind chills below zero and icy road conditions. Had I gone into labor that night, we would have had to deal with that not only on our way to the hospital, but also with dropping our boys off with their grandparents.

Also, with as quickly as my labor progressed, had we waited until my contractions were about 5 minutes apart to go to the hospital, we could have been cutting it close to get everyone and everything out the door, drop off the boys, and get to the hospital (in the nasty weather) before Isaiah arrived.

Not only was it cold, but there was also a full moon that night. The maternity ward at the hospital was crazy busy, so much so that we didn’t get to our postpartum room until late afternoon, even though Isaiah was born in the morning. With being induced, though, I was already in my spot in the labor and delivery side when it came time to deliver. 🙂

The timing also worked out well for our boys and Brad’s parents, with whom the boys were staying. Thanks to the yucky weather, Elijah had snow delays for two of the three days we were in the hospital, which meant he didn’t have to be at school nearly as early as normal. That definitely made for easier mornings for them, as well as more time together.

And of course, there’s that whole giving me a chance to trust God thing. Had my labor and delivery gone according to my plan, I might have relied more on my previous experiences and knowledge to get through it rather than finding my strength in God. Often times, having “been there and done that,” we think we can do things at least a little bit on our own.

So even though my birth plan went a little off script, it was exactly as it was supposed to be. Because of that, Isaiah’s birth story will always be a reminder to me that trusting God over ourselves brings us the peace we need in any situation, even when things happen differently than we want them to. God always has our best in His plan.

Our sweet little Isaiah is definitely one of the best of the bests that He has given to us. 
Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn't Quite Follow My Birth Plan. Life in Lape Haven. I thought I was ready for the birth of our third child until things didn't go quite as planned. Thankfully, God is always in control, and His plans are even better than our own.

Picture courtesy of Picture Bliss Photography.

 

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn't Quite Follow My Birth Plan. Life in Lape Haven. I thought I was ready for the birth of our third child until things didn't go quite as planned. Thankfully, God is always in control, and His plans are even better than our own.

Our first family picture

Welcoming Isaiah: A Birth Story That Didn't Quite Follow My Birth Plan. Life in Lape Haven. I thought I was ready for the birth of our third child until things didn't go quite as planned. Thankfully, God is always in control, and His plans are even better than our own.

 

Birth photography pictures courtesy of Picture Bliss Photography.