Tips on Traveling with Jet Lagged Toddlers

This post is completely about what’s happening in my life right now.  We travelled by plane, train, and automobile to Israel this week in a trip that took 20 hours total.  That’s enough to throw off an adults internal clock-so for sure it’s enough to throw off a toddler’s internal clock.

Honestly, last year our trip was easier when it came to jetlagged. I was traveling with a nine month old baby who still slept quite a bit during the day, and my two-year-old was a terrific sleeper.  The good news is that two-year-old is now still a great sleeper at three years old. However that nine-month-old who used to sleep all the time, he is not doing so great this time around.  Leading up to our trip there were often times he would wake up for a couple hours at home in the middle of the night, wanting something to eat and drink. Now, it’s been five nights in Israel and he is still waking up for five hours at night!  So how do we cope?

1. Take turns napping with your partner.  Right now my husband is taking a much needed power nap, and my 20 month old is taking a mini nap.  He’s exhausted but I want him to sleep through the night so I will wake him up for dinner.  Then he and his father can hang out together until they get tired later on.  I can rest until they need me to help with bedtime later on.

2. Consider children’s melatonin for toddlers and kids.  My friend recently moved with her daughter to the other side of the world and recommended the Zarbee’s brand.  I didn’t bring melatonin with me, and I doubt they have it for children in the pharmacy here (which is something to consider when you travel to other countries-medicines are different). I have second guessed my decision not to purchase some for our trip.

3. Try to keep the first few days easy on your trip so you can get ample sleep.  We travel for a month at a time so it makes it easier for us to take our time to transition. Nap during the day as needed.

4.  Set up your child for sleep success.  Cut day napping shorter, bring favorite blankets and lovies, and play light music when it’s sleepy time.

5.  Allow a couple of days to adjust back after your trip.  Yes we had jet lag both ways on our trip last year.  It took 3 days to catch up.

Remember that no matter what the age traveling opens our eyes and senses to the world. Your child will be so lucky to see and experience the world with you, and you will treasure these memories for a lifetime! Don’t let fear of flying with your child or jet lag keep you from making memories.

The Etiquette of Disciplining Other People’s Children

We’ve all been there: a child throws a toy at your child at an indoor playground or your child pushes a kid on the ground.  Next the parents intervene. The question is how?

Should you get down into a kid’s face it you don’t know and yell at them because they hurt your child?  I would very strongly advise against that.  More times than not your child will be perfectly fine in an hour. Also, the child who hurt your child didn’t mean to do it with a serious intent to harm.  Small children don’t understand the concept of consequences to their actions. Little kids see a toy they like in a sibling’s or friend’s hand that they want and they will hit, push, snatch. Sharing is a wonderful skill to discuss and teach our children at a very young age, however they don’t really start to understand sharing until after they are three years old.  The child who hurt your child was probably simply getting what they wanted. 

If this is a situation where your child is being hurt at a playground or public place you probably don’t know the child. The child could be on the spectrum, having a bad day, not feeling well, or have sensory issues.  These are other reasons why not to aggressively discipline.  By aggressively discipline I mean to discipline with intent to punish.  Yelling, getting in close proximity of a child’s face, shaking your finger, and any form of physical contact would be considered aggressive.  I would not recommend using any of these forms of discipline with children you don’t know.  While I have been known to lift up and separate my children when they’re not getting along I certainly would not want some stranger at the park lifting my sons!

I have been a teacher for 15 years and I was in charge of disciplining other people’schildren in my career. I recommend thinking of disciplining as guiding rather than punishing. In a moment when your child is crying hysterically because they just got hurt and you’re the first person on the scene, I would recommend asking in a firm tone that the other child “Please stop” and take your child away from the situation.  If the child continues to bother your child, then I would just go somewhere else.  Their parents should be disciplining them if you’re somewhere public and this is happening.  If the parents of the other child are not stepping in to help-removing your own child will put a stop to the situation without getting the other parents involved.

Another situation you may find yourself in is that of catching something at school or day care. Teachers are so busy with their students that they don’t always have their eyes on each and every child all the time. You might catch something when the daycare teacher is changing a diaper.  For example, I have seen a child hit another child with a book while the daycare teacher had her back turned.  In this case, I would just let the teacher know. It is their job to handle the situation.  Don’t blame them that they didn’t catch it, they were probably doing their job and meeting the needs of several of their children.

Lastly, if you are in a social situation such as a play date or party where it’s a small group and you know the parents when a situation arises that needs a behavioral intervention I would just let the parents know what happened in a calm voice. I’ve told friends that their child pushed my child. I just left it up to them to discipline their child.   However, if my boys have a friend dropped off at our house and I’m watching while an incident happens I go into guidance mode.  I might tell them “no thank you” and redirect to another activity. I might remind them “We keep our hands to ourselves.” If I see we are having trouble sharing I will change the activity the children are doing (this is a great time for snacks!).  If the other child gets hurt by your child I would definitely recommend letting the parents know upfront, as it builds trust.  

This article has actually been inspired by a recent occurrence I had in which my child harmed a stranger’s child at a playground innocently. He was playing too rough. The parent aggressively yelled in my child’s face. I did not apologize to the parent because I went into protective mode. I understood why she was upset, I was sorry he hurt her children, however my son is only three years old and he’s learning the ways of the world. He makes mistakes and sometimes he plays too rough. I immediately took him away from the play area where the incident happened and kept him away from there for the entirety of our playground trip. He was really upset after this happened and cried for a while because the parent got in his face and yelled. The parent continued to follow us around and glared at us. Please if a child harms your child, at a young age, know that there was not an intent to do harm.  Kids are learning and growing every day.

 I have been on the other end of this when my son was 18 months old and a child at elementary age pushed him.  I was the only parent who intervened. I firmly told the child to “stop” and explained that my son was “just a baby who wanted to play in the same area with him, could he include him?”  The child included my son from that point on.  Their parent did not intervene at all situation and I could tell that child was not familiar with babies. 

If you keep in mind that discipline is really about guiding children and not punishing them you’ll be coming from a positive place and really teaching children an important lesson.  I will make a list below of tools you can use and strategies to handle these delicate situations.

  • Physically remove your child from any situations in which he or she is being harmed.  Don’t yell at other people’s kids while your child is crying.   Protecting your child should be your first priority.
  • If you see a young child not sharing or including your child, walk up to them and introduce your child to them. Say something like “This is Alan, he would really like to play ball with you. Do you think you could play ball with him?”
  • Never touch another person’s child, just focus on removing your child from the difficult situation.
  • Remember that young children are growing, learning, and do not think about consequences. When you approach another person’s child come from a place of guidance.
  • If you know the parents of the child who has been playing too rough with your child, let them know what happened.
  • As a teacher I always used a firm “No thank you” to diffuse situations quickly.
  • Remind children we keep our hands to ourselves and redirect.

Dealing with Daycare Separation Anxiety

daycare
This past spring I felt that my home business was growing to the extent that it was taking a lot of time away from my children and my personal time. If I wanted to go even further with the business I would need either a nanny or daycare to free up time for me to grow. Over the summer we started sending our boys to our synagogue’s day care program. My older son, Ben, attends services with my husband every week there. So for Ben it wasn’t a new place or new people. For Adam who stays home with me – this was a totally new experience for him.

While I stayed home last year the boys went a couple hours here and there to the day care center at our gym.  So they have experienced a small amount of separation from me. An hour or two a few days a week was the standard amount time away from each other.  I recommend if you are nervous about starting day care with either a baby or a toddler who has never been before start them slowly.  When I was teaching full-time I would typically drop Ben off at the daycare or nanny for a couple hours 2 weeks before the school year started. This way it was not an unfamiliar place when he started going full-time.  This short amount of time that the child spends at the daycare or nanny can also alleviate any separation anxiety for the parents as they transition back into full-time work.  The parent gets to know the teachers or the nanny better, they get used to saying goodbye, and having time without their child.

As we started daycare the first two weeks this summer Ben was really excited, but then separation anxiety did start setting in.  What helped Ben was having some time with Adam in the morning to play and get settled then. So the teachers at the daycare center coordinated a time first thing for the boys to play outside together. This 20 to 30 minutes helped Ben get over his separation anxiety very quickly. This works well if you have siblings or a friend who’s child your child is already friends with.

For Adam, he has always had separation anxiety.  He doesn’t even want to walk into the door in the morning. I simply pick him up and have a routine with the classroom teacher to get him settled in quickly. I lift him into the classroom, hug and kiss him, give him to the teacher, and she takes him over to his favorite toy to distract him immediately, calming him.

I don’t recommend elongating the goodbye, or feeling guilty. If your child sees you feel badly dropping them off at daycare then they will feel that there’s something bad about dropping them off at daycare. If you just keep it quick, happy, and set up a routine they will transition into their day better.  Stick to this transition routine, and stay positive. For a young child like Adam who is only 18 months old and has been home his entire life up until now, a short daycare day is a huge change in his life.

In the morning after I drop off Adam I go to I drop off Ben. I simply give him a kiss goodbye and he starts  playing with his friends. When I walk back past the baby room I peek into Adams classroom and he’s busy happily playing.  Daycare and preschool give parents a chance to teach their child that school is cool from a young age. If you keep it upbeat and positive, they will come around to it being an upbeat and positive experience.  As a teacher, I will tell you that separation anxiety as at its highest during drop off in the morning. Most kids settle into school and have a great day. The following morning the separation anxiety returns. I know that Adam is having a great time playing with his friends, helping his teachers and his room, and is being taken care of while I’m out with him. I don’t feel guilty dropping him off because he cries in the morning. I know he’s going to be okay.  I have seen kids of ages  five or six have terrible separation anxiety in the morning and later during the school day are happily playing with their friends.  The worst separation anxiety I ever saw was from a six-year-old who when I taught her in the afternoon was a complete joy to have in my classroom.  Try to set up a plan with the classroom teacher every day to get your child settled in and comfortable. Work with your classroom teacher or the school counselor if the separation anxiety is extreme.

Another tip I have for older toddlers joining daycare for the first time is when you are home with your child talk positively about the teacher and their friends are making. Our daycare put out a newsletter with photos of what’s happening in the classroom each week, so I gave the photos to Ben and talked about his friends with him when we got home. We talked about how much fun he has playing with them every day. We talked about the fun things he’s learning in school.  Now he loves going to school! In fact,  yesterday he left the school building crying because he had to leave school!

If you’re returning to work immediately after your maternity leave and leaving your child to day care or with a nanny as I did when I left Ben at 4 1/2 months- there was no separation anxiety. Babies don’t understand that we can actually get up and be somewhere else. He went to school every single day for half a year with not a tear in his eye.  He was too little to understand. The older they get, closer to nine months to a year old they start to understand that mommy goes away. Remind them that mommy always comes back. Start with leaving them with dad while you go for groceries show them mommy goes bye-bye and comes back. Take a date with your husband or start daycare in small increments like I recommend. Small amounts of separation can ease a later larger transition.  I believe that consistently separating this past year from Ben helped him get over his separation anxiety quickly, he knows mommy always comes back. As I said that out loud just now he replied “yes.”

Legoland Fun in San Diego

If you follow My Petite Picassos on Instagram you’ll know that we recently went to Legoland, California. We had an amazing vacation and the boys had so much fun!

Compared to other theme parks in SoCal Legoland is really affordable!  We were able to go for $123.99 all together!  We had a Bogo coupon for buy one adult hopper ticket get another one free. Hopper tickets allow you to go in between Legoland and either the aquarium or the splash park. We chose the splash park, however we were only at Legoland one day and we didn’t end up going there.  Kids under three years old are free at Legoland so the boys got in with for free. This was a lot cheaper than last year when I paid $300 a day for myself and my husband at Disneyland. Legoland is not as magical as Disneyland nor as large, but it definitely is a great theme park!

We went on a Saturday in July and while it was crowded it was not overcrowded. We downloaded the Legoland app to find out which rides had the shortest wait time. We only waited a long time for a boat ride. Even though my boys are young toddlers they were able to enjoy a variety of rides and activities. They had several boat rides and cruises through at the same park that the boys could go on, a carousel, a train ride, and little car rides. A lot of the boat rides and such are going past full Lego exhibits such as the Lego towns/monuments or fairytale stories.  I loved seeing Las Vegas made out of Legos, so much detail-they even had a pool party at one of the hotels!

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It was more challenging to find things for Adam to do than Ben. Ben even got to ride some rides by himself! A lot of rides are appropriate for ages three and up however they do have a whole Duplo Town for little guys . Duplo Town is where we rode the train and there was a large playground.  When my husband to take Ben on rides I would walk around with Adam and take him to the area where you can build with large Legos or go in search of characters. One of the favorite places in the theme park for the boys was the area where they could build Lego cars and race them!

Th hands on activities kept the boys busy for at least 45 minutes to an hour and we found ourselves prying them away to check out rides or get something to eat.

One is One, Two is Twenty

One is one

That’s what my mom told me my cousin said about having two littles back to back.  Today it dawned on me as we did a 6 hour drive to San Diego how much easier it would be with one child and how much more attentive to that child I would be.

For a short 18 months I was Ben’s mom, only Ben’s mom.  Ben’s mom who had books in the backseat of the car and gave him one every morning on our drive to daycare.  Ben’s mom who sat on the floor and played with him everyday after work.  Ben’s mom who had weekly arts and crafts activities planned to the last detail for the nanny to complete with him.  Then I became a mom of 2 under 2.

If it had been just Ben for this trip we are on I would have had a bunch of handmade busy bags made for him, I would have sat in the back seat playing and reading to him, and I would have had home cooked snacks like quinoa muffins for the trip.

Instead Ben and Adam were occupied with a little Mickey Mouse on the IPad, lollipops, and singing to each other.  I sat in the front seat unable to do much when one got antsy – other than talk calmly to my child as their father pulled off on the closest exit.

The mom I’ve become forgets to pack bibs and a dressy top for the trip because I’m so busy trying to keep an eye on two very active toddler boys.  I hardly get to play on the floor with them because I’m running after them with the dustpan and folding laundry.  Two toddler boys = buried in laundry!  They may not have quinoa muffins, but I did make the pb and honey sandwiches and stock the back seat with all their favorite snacks.

It’s hard not to think that I was more attentive to Ben as a mom of one and he reaped the rewards of that, however he is reaping far more having a little brother who has brought so much happiness into our home and hearts.  I wish I could be that perfect mom that I was to Ben to both of them-but it’s a different kind of balance for me now.  Rather than working full time as a teacher and coming home-giving Ben 110%, I’m working part time building a business around my boys’ schedule. I was for a year a full time stay at home mom and I do feel I was more attentive to my boys than I am now, but I have an opportunity that I need to take advantage of-and in the long run could pay off in more than one way for my family. I do catch my moments during the week that I am able to sit and play instead of clean or cook, some nights they even listen to me read stories, and swim classes on weekends are one on one time with mom.

About a year ago I signed up the boys for a mommy and me art class. Ben didn’t want to go in the class as there was a playground he was more interested in and Adam started to sympathy cry.  Both boys crying I brushed it off, walked inside the class to a bunch of stares from moms who had one quiet, on task child.  A dad looked at his wife and said “And you want a second?!?!” Yeah I’ve had kids fighting in the cart in the checkout line, and both crying when they clunk heads on the trampoline—but they’re best friends.  Adam made our family complete-maybe it’s messy, and we’re running late to EVERYTHING, and I don’t have a bib in my diaper bag on our trip to San Diego.  Maybe that’s our imperfect perfection.

I don’t know how moms of 3, 4, or more manage.  The laundry piles must be up to the ceiling!  I’m amazed by my friends of 3+ -they’re a lot more brace than me.  I’m happy with my two boys-they’re best friends and I feel that my family is complete.  I’m done with vomiting through my first trimester and sleepless nights with a newborn.  Im glad I experienced the first ultrasound, the first time I held my boys in my arms, and the first steps-but I look forward to finding Liza again.  She’s lost somewhere between work and piles of laundry.  It’s temporary, but I’m making way for me time.

Am I complaining?  About laundry and not enough “me” time-yes.  About being a mom-NEVER.  Balance-it’s all about balance.  Balancing was easier with one, and went totally out the window with two-but since they’re so close in age it’s coming back sooner than later.

One day I’ll yearn for this busy, sometimes chaotic time back.  My cherubs will grow into teenagers who will be busy with friends and school.  One day they will be men with families of their own.  My laundry loads will diminish and I’ll get to that bucket list, just not now.

Marking Our Milestone

 

Ok, he’s not a baby anymore, he’s a toddler.  In the Jewish tradition you are not supposed to cut your son’s hair until 3.  At the 3 year old birthday mark on the Hebrew calendar (it’s a lunar and much older calendar than the Christian calendar) the boy has his haircut and there is a party to honor him coming into more spiritual awareness.  Prior to cutting Ben’s hair we met with my dear friend Maritza Nolasco to get photos of him done.  It was extra special having Maritza take these photos as she and I experienced pregnancy for the first time together down to a couple of days difference!  She has been a great supporter on my path to and through motherhood.  We started with some outdoor photos  in her yard and then followed to the pool to get some photos of his gorgeous hair as he swam!  milestoneIMG_0191IMG_0194IMG_0206IMG_0293IMG_0294

Even Adam got in on the photo fun and we have some incredible shots of the boys together.  If you live in Las Vegas and are looking for a professional photographer, who’s great with kids and very patient I suggest looking up Maritza on Instagram or Facebook!

These photos will mean so much to me in years to come.  It will remind me of this special time I am having with m boys, it marks a change in my firstborn from being a baby to a child.  I love his long waves, wheat blond from time spent in the Israeli never-ending summer sun, but I will love his short hair too.  He will look handsome and more grown up.  No more tangles and knots as I comb through it and no more “she’s so pretty” in the grocery store.  He will be a BIG BOY at last!

 

 

Weaning My Toddler

Yes, toddler.  More and more moms I find are breastfeeding until 2 or 3 I find.  Ben I weaned at 12 months.  It was easy – I simply cut one feeding a week and replaced it with homemade baby food.  He was in daycare which helped-we had some independence from each other.  Also, I was pregnant.  After that he slept through the night and moved to his own room.  He’s a great sleeper-12 hours straight.  Naps are pretty great too.

Adam on the other hand has been more challenging.  He never wanted to sleep in a bassinet or crib.  I’ve been co-sleeping with him since birth.  He exclusively breastfed until 10 months old when I allowed him to try soft and easy to dissolve foods from our plates.  He likes food-but he likes to breastfeed more.  He’s very attached and sleep? What sleep?!?!  I’ve been in a zombie fog for 17 months now.  I’ve gently and slowly replaced nursing with food over time.  I started that at 10 months old.  Then Adam reverse cycled and wanted to nurse more at night to feel close and make up for what he was missing during the day. A lactation consultant suggested I nurse more during the day and he will let up at night.  So I did.  I also gave up on the idea of weaning for 2 months.  

At 14 1/2 months I decided I’d had enough with not sleeping.  Adam had been sleeping part time in a crib and I felt like he might sleep better if I just made sure not to fall sleep with him in my arms and put him back in the crib.  Best. Laid. Plans.  Haha-I’m exhausted so that didn’t work.  Instead I would have to get serious about weaning.  I day weaned except nap.  He did not reverse cycle this time.

About 3 weeks ago I decided to cut bedtime nursing and wake up nursing.  Strangely bedtime nursing has been easier to cut back on.  I wait until he’s really tired, I rub Wink Naturals Pure Breathe and Sleep Rub on his chest, and rock him to sleep.  He goes down after 5-20 minutes.  He stays asleep until 3 am which cuts out another 1-2 feedings.

Morning and nap are next to tackle. Not sure which will happen first.  The boys started daycare summer camp last week and he naps there 5 days a week-but I’m not there.  Morning is tough because he wakes up MAD if he can’t nurse.  

Weaning a toddler can be tricky.  It’s so ingrained into their lives to nurse once they’re past 12 months.  Many of my friends who nursed toddlers chose to stop cold turkey.  Im trying to avoid that as it’s painful emotionally and physically I’ve also heard.  Yes, I’m taking the long, winding road-but one day I’ll reach the end.

First day of daycare-lunches and backpacks packed and ready to go!

Tips for Taking Littles to Disneyland

disneyland

It’s been almost a year since Ben turned two. For his second birthday we went to Disneyland. It feels like every day I run into a parent telling me they’re planning their first trip to Disneyland.  I’m going to share with you my tips and advice for your first trip to Disneyland with your children.

  1. Choosing your hotel.  We went for two days. We stayed off property in a nearby hotel that was only half a mile away. The hotel had a free tram to Disneyland. Most hotels nearby have a free tram to Disneyland and are half price compared to the hotels on Disneyland’s property. However, with that being said there is a lot of convenience to staying on property. It does take two trams to get to Disneyland. With two babies under two years old and all of the stuff we had to bring it would’ve been more convenient to stay on property for sure.   If you’re going to Disneyland and trying to keep a budget then I recommend staying off property, but if you’re concerned about handling the two trams then it might be worth it to pay the extra money and stay on property.
  2. Take advantage of stroller rental.  Immediately upon getting through the gates at Disneyland we had to take our second tram. The first day we drove our car and parked at Disneyland. You can purchase a discounted parking pass online when you purchase your tickets. The parking lot is pretty far from the entry into Disneyland. This presented an issue for us, our double stroller, and all of our stuff. We had to collapse the double stroller, put the boys on the bus, and also carried the double stroller on the bus-it took up a lot of room.  The second day that we visited Disneyland I went by myself with my boys. As you enter Disneyland there is stroller rental which is rather affordable. So I simply wore Adam in a baby carrier all day and had the stroller for Ben.  The strollers that they have at Disneyland are large jogger style strollers with a good amount of storage. img_4986
  3. Get your celebration buttons!  For special events there are buttons you can wear as a group that lets the Disney characters know that you are celebrating. We all wore Happy Birthday buttons to celebrate Ben’s birthday and characters spent a little bit more time with my boys because of it. We were given these free buttons as soon as we entered Disneyland.  Just ask at the first kiosk you see.
  4. Dress comfortable. I highly recommend having your kids wear long, light clothing as the Disneyland chairs, rides, and changing tables are heavily trafficked public areas.  Wear sneakers, hats, and bring sweatshirts for the cool California nights!img_5026
  5. Bring supplies from home. Take hand sanitizer and use it repeatedly, take sunscreen, water bottles,and snacks. The food at Disneyland is expensive. You can cut costs a lot by bringing some sandwiches and some water bottles.  Our hotel also had a complimentary breakfast that we took advantage of every morning.
  6. Kids love meeting the characters!  To see and interact with the most characters definitely check out the restaurants. We went to Goofy’s Café and the boys were able to meet Mini Mouse, Chip and Dale, and Goofy.  The boys had a truly magical experience there. We ate there one night and the next night we just ordered pizza to our hotel room. It’s definitely worth a splurge.
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  8. Get a free line hopper app.  I did not plan on standing in line for hours on end with two babies under two years old to go on rides. So I downloaded a line hopper app and used it the whole time. I also recommend bringing a back up battery pack for your phone so you can charge it throughout the day. Between the battery running out for pictures and the line hopper app it’s good to have a back up.
  9. Nap time.  For nap time I did not go back to the hotel. If the boys were tired I would just take a break have a snack some water relax with my phone somewhere shady. Whichever boy was tired I put him in the stroller and let him relax.
  10. Cool off at the shows.  There are so many free entertaining shows on property and it’s one of the best ways to stay cool in the summer sun. We were at Disneyland in the end of June and it was so hot and humid! We went to every single one of the shows and despite my boys being very young, their jaws were on the floor at each show. They sat quietly and paid attention as soon as the characters came onstage. Most shows run about 20 minutes to 30 minutes.
  11. Cool off and shop!  We didn’t do too much shopping but on property there is the world’s largest largest Disney Store. So I had to check that out! They have items there that I’m not gonna find here in Vegas at the mall or online. I definitely think it’s worth splurging on and it’s another way to cool off! 

My Wink Naturals Review

A month ago I saw an ad for a product on Facebook promising to assist in better sleep for babies.  I have not had one full, uninterrupted night of sleep since Adam was born. In fact, I have been waking up 4-6 times a night since he was 8 months old to nurse.  That’s not bad compared to the 8 times a night prior!  

Ben was never a frequent waker.  He would wake 2-3 times a night as an infant and by the time he was 12 months old he was sleeping in his own room and waking once a night. 


So I’ve been trying to night wean the  Dr. Jay Gordon way.  Lay him next to me, massage him, sing to him, etc.  I was awake from 1am-4am when I tried it because he wouldn’t stop crying!


I knew I needed help so I was excited to try Wink Naturals Pure Sleep and Breathe Rub.  It’s an all natural ointment with ingredients like lavender and eucalyptus to help relax your baby and also open up their sinuses so they can breathe better. I think it would be really great when Adam has a cold to help him breathe better at night. Right now, though,  I want to use it just to help him sleep. I want to help take that extra little edge off so he can relax and ease into sleep without a lot of crying.  When the rub arrived I applied it on his chest and he really enjoyed breathing in the smell-he even held the jar in his hands to smell it. I noticed that the first night we used it he did sleep longer than he’s ever slept in one time.  He actually slept seven hours straight! Normally he only sleeps three hours max.

I have now weaned him from daytime feedings except for going down for nap and I also weaned him of his bedtime feeding. He has overall been sleeping better at night-which means fewer night feedings.  Now after a couple weeks of continued use I can say it is a great all natural product to help my baby sleep better.  

Wink Naturals has a whole line of Sleep products for babies and toddlers that can be found at http://winknaturals.com.  Always check with your doctor before using any supplements or holistic products.

Best Laid Plans-When Birth Doesn’t Go According To Plan

birth
I’m a planner.  Being a teacher lends itself to my belief that planning ahead is the best prevention to anything going wrong.  So I planned ahead for my first birth down to the last detail.

I hired a doula, used my friend’s OB/GYN, and put a down payment for a birthing tub.  I listened to hypno-birthing CD’s, I wrote 3 drafts of my birth plan, and had my hospital bag packed a month in advance.  I was ready.  Then my first son’s birth took a strange and difficult detour.

I knew he was big.  I was a high risk pregnancy and had over 20 ultrasounds during my first pregnancy.  His size resulted in me getting PUPPs a month prior to my giving birth.  PUPPs is a prenatal rash starting around the belly and spreading outwards across the body.  It’s common in first pregnancies with large babies or multiple babies.  It’s an inflammatory response to the severe stetching of the skin that takes place in larger pregnancies-and I had it everywhere except the bottoms of my feet, my face, and the palms of my hands.  I was miserable.
I remember sitting in a bagel shop on my birthday with my husband 3 days into the PUPPs wondering if I would go back to work and finish the school year.  I got my answer that night.  I couldn’t sleep-I sent my husband out to every health food store, the grocery store, and the pharmacy to find a cure.  I had none.  I couldn’t sleep as I was itching so bad.  I was put on bed rest by my high risk pregnancy specialist during the next day’s appointment when I was in tears worry my baby was itching like crazy too.  Thankfully it only affects the mom.  Ben was fine and growing.

My due date came and passed.  I soaked in multiple oatmeal baths everyday.  Friends helped me close up my classroom for summer break. No labor.

Another five days passed and in my OB/GYN appointment my doctor began mechanically inducing me with a balloon.  I was nervous.  If this didn’t work they would use Pitocin to induce labor.  My baby was late and my only relief from the PUPPs was birth.  Nothing happened for two days.  I was supposed to be admitted to the hospital at midnight on June 26th, but as the heat rose in Vegas women were going into labor left and right and there was no room for me.  It was midnight and I was stuck waiting at home.

The next morning I didn’t feel Ben move and I started to get nervous as I waited for a hospital room to open.  Then my contractions started and as they got closer to each other my husband and I drove to the hospital.

I had planned to have a beautiful, soothing, water birth experience for my son.  That is not the way it turned out.  I labored in the waiting room for an hour before I got a hospital bed.  My doula came and we walked the floor.  My contractions were close to each other but not powerful.  The nurse informed me I needed to put on an oxygen mask and that Ben was having trouble getting oxygen, also his heart rate had increased.

As the night wore on we realized we would not need the water tub, I would be hooked up to monitors the rest of the night.  They kept increasing my Pitocin to help Ben move along as he was in distress and needed to be birthed.  My epidural had to be repeated as there was a hole in the catheter and the intensity of my contractions was extreme to say the least.

After 26 hours of labor my baby was born.  Rather than being placed in my arms he was rushed to a NICU where he stayed for 5 days.  I was hospitalized 3 rooms away from, conveniently enough, due to my PUPPs for the same amount of time.  He was beautiful and he was alive, I was grateful for that.  I was close to needing a C-section, and thank goodness that didn’t happen as I would continue to have complications.

My husband camped out with me in the hospital, and we attended every one of Ben’s feedings.  I wanted to breastfeed, but the NICU staff were more concerned about measuring how much Ben was drinking and didn’t help me as much as I hoped.  I was given pumping lessons and my milk was having a hard time coming in as I was on 3 antihistamines to help with my itching.  Coming off the epidural and other medications had caused me to be very itchy and I scratched the dickens out of my legs!

Five days later we were allowed to go home together, and I was so glad to go home with my baby.  For the next week family and friends visited and we had the traditional Jewish Brit Milah after being cleared by the pediatrician.  On a return visit to the pediatrician I mentioned how I had developed large welts on my legs and she told me to see a doctor immediately.  I went to the Quick Care by my house and they put me on Cephlax and sent me home.  I developed a fever and began vomiting.  Turns out I’m allergic Cephlax.  It was the weekend and the doctor’s offices were closed.  I contacted the dermatologist and he saw me on Tuesday, 5 days later was diagnosed with an illness I contracted from the hospital.  I was told over the phone by a nurse the dermatologist would not treat me as I was post-partum and breastfeeding.  She also told me to not even be in the same room as my baby!

My mom came to stay with Ben while I saw another dermatologist who had success at curing my illness in other patients.  After two weeks of intravenous antibiotics I had a clean bill of health. I was able to start my life as a mom and go forward.  There were tough times during this as you can imagine, but I never quit.  You can’t.  You have to do what you have to do for your baby.  If I couldn’t hold him, I rested while I knew my mom was taking care of him.  If I couldn’t nurse him safely, I pumped and dumped because I was determined I would be a breastfeeding mom.  For some people faith in G-d and prayer gets them through these tough times.  With this situation I believed in tomorrow.  Tomorrow I would be one step closer to being with my baby.

Writing this today seems like a different life.  Those couple of tough months would be followed by one of the sweetest times in my life. I fell in love like crazy with my baby and was so happy to be a mom.  Every moment with Ben was so special and I treasured our time together. Before I knew it, nine months had passed and I saw a pink plus sign.