So you've got twins on the way, do ya? Congratulations!! You have a TON of shopping to do, and one of the first things you have to decide is where your little bundles of joy will sleep. They can co-sleep in one crib but that involves an increased risk of SIDS. They could go straight into their own cribs. They can co-sleep with you in your bed, but you might have to kick your partner out of bed to fit them in there, and many will argue co-sleeping with your baby/babies isn't safe. There's also the good ol' Rock 'n Play, however many blame them for flat head, not to mention the steep incline creates a risk of postural asphyxiation, yikes!
Yes, you have many options for sleeping arrangements but here is one you probably haven't heard of and should definitely consider. Are you ready for a REALLY cool (and beautiful) product for twins? Are you?? I give you, the Babyhome So-Ro Twin Cradle:
We just got one and here is what I'm loving about it:
Daddy put the cradle together in about 10 minutes, with some "help" from our toddler. This made for a great present to our girls on their first Christmas! Here are our twins enjoying their So-Ro:
We're not the only ones loving it. The Babyhome So-Ro Twin Cradle has been awarded "Best of Baby" by The Bump in 2015 and the Norwegian Design Council's Award for Design Excellence, and was a nominee for the 2012 German Design Award.
Distributed by Babyhome (like other awesome children's products from high chairs and bouncers to strollers and bed rails), click here to purchase your very own So-Ro Twin Cradle (or a single So-Ro Cradle for just one baby).
And don't forget to follow Babyhome on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest for the latest info on their products, and giveaways, too!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
We are a co-sleeping family. It started when my son was about 18 months (see my story on Mommy Nearest) when we realized bringing our son into our room and attaching his crib to our bed "sidecar" style meant a full night's rest for all three of us. Now, I couldn't be happier with our situation! Except... my son is a pillow thief!! About halfway through the night he'll roll or crawl his way into our bed and basically push me off of my pillow and use it himself. If I dare try to reclaim it, all hell breaks loose! So, I've been sleeping without a pillow half the night for a couple of months now. It could be worse. At least I'm sleeping! But it got me thinking: isn't he about ready for his own pillow?
Most pediatricians and professionals recommend waiting until a child is at least 2 years old before allowing ANYthing into the crib, from pillow to blanket to stuffed animal. I've adhered to this for the most part so far, but my son is 22 months old and I figure we're close enough! I did some research and got what I found to be one of the best toddler pillows on the market...
So what makes the Calla Toddler Pillow so awesome!?
My first thought upon opening it was, awwwww, how cute. It's like a mini pillow (13" x 18" - great for toddlers, or even as an adult's travel pillow). It was really soft and fluffy, a natural cream color (not all bleached and processed in appearance like most pillows), and there were no chemical smells or anything, phew! Also, the following were included and a nice reminder that the Calla Toddler Pillow is a family-business - love that!!
My only problem is now I have to find a pillow case that fits it. For now we have a regular sized pillow case on it, which is fine. I might try a t-shirt on it as well. I feel like a snug fit is probably safer.
Also, it should be noted that while the cover (i.e. the part that comes directly in contact with your child's face for 12 hours a night) is made of organic cotton, the filling is not. But that doesn't mean the filler is all chemicals and baddies. Quite the opposite. The filler is a special blend of Calla Polyester Cluster Fiber. It's hypoallergenic, washable and non-aromatic. Jeremy Mentz, half of the parenting duo behind the Calla Pillow explains, "Unfortunately there are no organic filling options for toddlers that are washable, hypoallergenic, and non-aromatic...so we did our best to match form with function. This might be a deal breaker for some parents, but we've found most parents (and their kids) appreciate the practicality."
So, what's my toddler think about it? As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words...
And the best news? He slept on it the whole night!! My pillow is mine again!!! Hooray!!!
Oh wait, I lied, that's not the best news... The best news is that you can enter below for a chance to win your very own Calla Toddler Pillow (you must be 18 or over and a resident of the US to enter, giveaway will end at 11:59PM EST on Thursday, November 6 and winner will have 48 hours to respond to my e-mail)! If you can't wait, you can buy one on Amazon for $49.99 (don't forget to add code "NU8IBVXP" for 15% off! valid through the end of the year).
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, I was not compensated in any other way to do this product review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
I could not have been more informed about my pregnancy and birth. There was no possible way! I read books, went to classes, listened to podcasts, you name it! Unfortunately, it stopped there. I totally forgot to prepare myself for what to do AFTER THE BABY ARRIVES!!! My husband and I were totally clueless. Thank god the learning curve is steep, but let's just say the first few days, weeks, let's face it months, were a blur of exhausted confusion!!
I had a hand-me-down copy of What To Expect The First Year, and read through the first chunk of it during middle of the night nursing sessions but eventually gave up on it. From there I pretty much used Doctor Google for random stuff like "Is it possible my baby's belly button didn't close" (haha yes, this was actually a concern of mine I brought to our pediatrician when my baby was 7 months old, you can see my blog about it!!). Unfortunately Doctor Google, while often helpful, can really bring out the paranoid hypochondriac in you and lead you very very astray.
I recently discovered Dr. Carey's Baby Care book which is really an amazing resource for new parents (or parents-to-be) to have on hand. It's basically a users guide for your baby's first year, covering the following topics:
Dr. Carey's Baby Care book is easy to read and concise - only 80 pages - so you get the really important info without all the filler that will put you to sleep or make your foggy new mom brain wander! It's also very very graphic and by this I mean it has 180 full color photos for when you have those "Is this normal??!??!?!!" freak out moments about your baby's rash, poop, or etc. Here's an example of what you'll find:
The photos are also really helpful in showing you how to care for your baby. Here, look, 4 steps to make the perfect baby burrito!!
Dr. Carey, a pediatrician in Ventura, California said, “In a world of information overload, I aimed to keep this book short and to the point. Despite the quick read, if a picture is worth a thousand words, one might say I spoke a lot. The photos that I share in my book depict items that I am asked about every day in my office.” I'm very visual myself, so this book really speaks to me and I think it will to you as well!!
Order your copy of Dr. Carey's Baby Care book on Amazon (also available for Kindle), or enter to win one along with a whole slew of cool products for baby, toddler, and mom in my $1500 value Mother Of Giveaways going on through May 26! Enter to win here!
*Disclaimer: Although I did receive these products free of charge, I was not compensated in any other way to do this product review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
For parents of little ones, a good night's sleep can be hard to come by. Without a doubt, you'll be up around the clock the first few weeks (or months), that is for sure, but after that it seems like the luck of the draw if you'll have a good sleeper on your hands or become a mombie for the next few years. But maybe it's not completely luck...
Die hard sleep training enthusiasts have many a theories that they swear by - it is such a hot topic in the parenting world!! Cry It Out vs. No Cry Sleep Solution vs. blah blah blah blah - OMG, seriously, what to do?? I've done plenty of research and attempted a few different methods myself (you can read about my experience with Babywise, Sleep Sense / CIO, and finally banishing baby to a partitioned off area of the living room!). My takeaway? Keep to a schedule, don't let baby get overtired, make a routine including cues so baby knows sleep time is coming, and eliminate sleep props that baby cannot initiate or recover himself (i.e. nursing to sleep or letting him fall asleep sucking on a pacifier that he cannot find in the middle of the night to plop back in his mouth is a no-no whereas a sound machine and a sleep sack would be OK).
Since we've had such a long drawn out drama with sleep in our house, when I came across the Bitta Kidda Sleeper at a baby expo recently I was really intrigued. What is Bitta Kidda, you ask?
Bitta Kidda is basically pajamas with a built in lovey. Putting a security blanket or lovey in the crib with a baby isn't completely safe (suffocation / SIDS), and you also run the risk of him chucking it out of the crib (as mine did) or not being able to find it in the middle of the night when he wakes up and needs to self sooth - cue screaming baby who needs your help to fall back asleep! The idea of the Bitta Kidda is that the lovey is always within reach so the baby can hold the piece of blanket for comfort and fall back asleep without your help. Sounds amazing right!?
The Bitta Kidda Sleeper is sold in two colors (yellow and green) in sizes 6 months through 3 years, but obviously the younger you can start the more effective it'll be as it becomes part of their sleep and soothing ritual. They recommend you have 2 (so you have a spare during laundry time) and that baby wears it every night and every nap time.
And guess what? They're actually going to be launching the Bitta Kidda Sleep Sack soon! Exciting stuff!!
The Bitta Kidda Sleeper is one of the fabulous prizes in my $1500 value "Mother Of All Giveaways" running through May 26. ENTER TO WIN HERE TODAY!!
**Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, to do this product review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and completely unbiased.
I'll skip to the chase - sleep training in a one bedroom apartment is impossible, or nearly so, at least for me! I searched the web high and low for sleep training guides focused on families in small apartments forced to share a bedroom with their little one. And you know what, I couldn't find a single one. Sure, I found the occasional question on a sleep training forum, with a few suggestions such as "put up a barrier so baby can't see you", etc. But I'll tell you, it's not easy and for us it just wasn't happening.
Baby wakes up for whatever reason: transitioning between sleep cycles, a loud truck rolled by, the neighbors dog was barking, you name it. Baby wakes up just enough to start crying and stand up in his crib. Then he sees you, or if you have the barrier up or are hiding under the covers, he still knows you are there. Thus begins the process of getting himself so worked up that eventually he's dinosaur screaming (you know, where it's all guttural high pitched screaming from the throat, that sounds like he's in excrutiating pain). Maybe you are deteremined to let him cry it out. Commence torturous moments or even hours, if you have the will and heart of coal. Maybe baby gives up and lies down, but is up and at it again in 5 to 30 minutes. You finally cave, thinking something must be terribly wrong with your baby - he's hungry, teething, has a poopy diaper, is gassy, had a night terror, sees dead people, who knows!?!?! it's the middle of the night and you're exhausted and you're scared your child is crying for a real reason and you've been ignoring him! Worst mother ever!!! So you pick up your screaming child and the SECOND you pick him up out of the crib he is the most quiet and peaceful thing you have ever seen. Your mind suddenly switches from terrified to angry - YOU BIG FAKER!!!! But he's angelic and sweet and so you cuddle or nurse him and he's back to sleep in no time. Finally you put him back down in the crib, maybe he protests with a few cries, maybe not. But he's back to sleep and you know the cycle will just repeat in another hour or two.
Welcome to the #ZombieMom Zone.
I've been here for about 7 months, since my perfect little sleeper turned 5.5 months and decided he would no longer sleep 11 hours through the night, would no longer find comfort in sucking his thumb, and would begin torturing his parents on a nightly basis. #ZombieMom Zone is not just uncomfortable, it's dangerous. Your ability to reason and to have patience of ANY sort whatsoever are out the window. It's not healthy for you or your family or the world. The longer you remain in #ZombieMom Zone, the deeper you go until you don't even remember what it's like to function like a normal thought processing human being. Every cry of your child in the night sends you to the edge, making you remember the words of your discharging nurse after birth warning you about shaken baby syndrome: "no baby every died from crying - do not even go near that crib if your thoughts are anything other than warm nurturing ones".
I used to bring him into bed with us, but I broke that habit with our last attempt at CIO sleep training a few months ago (that attempt did help - he's now a great napper and goes down at night usually without crying at all, it just didn't help with not waking up every couple of hours!), and don't wan to start the habit again or confuse him with sometimes allowing it and sometimes not. I love co-sleeping actually, but my biggest fear is baby will fall out of bed in the middle of the night. He's really restless and does acrobatics all over the place. Co-sleeping is not conducive to me getting a good night's rest, unfortunately, so it's out of the question.
Yesterday I analyzed our living room and realized there is a spot by the window that I can fashion a makeshift room for Kenzo. If I put the sound machine in there, and we are super quiet when are going about the rest of the apartment, he should be able to sleep in there...
So, our plan was not to go to Kenzo unless he was crying for at least 20 minutes. How did it go??
AMAZING NIGHT OF SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!
I put him down at 8pm. While we were still awake and working in the kitchen, Kenzo woke up and cried for a minute or two at 9:45 and again at 11pm. There were a few more times during the night were I heard him cry very quietly for a minute, but it was the kind of cry you could tell he wasn't really awake, and thankfully he just laid himself down and went back to deep sleep. He didn't really wake up until 6:45am. Hooooo-freaking-rah!!!!!!!!!
I'll still put him down in the bedroom in his crib for naps, so I can get stuff down around the house without tip-toing around, and then we'll continue the nighttime sleep in the living room. I really hope last night wasn't a fluke and this is the solution until we move to the new home in 2 months and he gets his own for real room! Also hope this cold-turkey night weaning doesn't land me with another bout of mastitis! Eeeek!
It was bad, then it was good, and now it's bad again. Ha! I could stop there, but maybe some of you want some more details (crying and sleeping totals are for the 24 hour period from bedtime through next day's 2 naps, also I should add they're totals for the baby, not me, haha):
DAY 1 = HORRIFIC!!
Total Crying in Crib: 6.5 hours
Total Sleep: 11.5 hours
DAY 2 = MUCH better!
Total Crying in Crib: 1.5 hours
Total Sleep: 9 hrs (boycotted 2nd nap)
DAY 3 = NOW we're talking!! ^_^
Total Crying in Crib: 40 minutes
Total Sleep: 14 hours (not a peep from 8pm-6:30am)
DAY 4 = Gooooooood!
Total Crying in Crib: 1 hour
Total Sleep: 13 hours (slept 8pm-7am with just a couple of peeps)
DAY 5 = Back to Exhaustion.
Total Crying in Crib: 7 hours
Total Sleep: 12 hours
DAY 6 = Better...
Total Crying in Crib: 2.5 hours
Total Sleep: 10 hours
DAY 7: Sucky suck mc. suck alot
Total Crying in Crib: 5.5 hours
Total Sleep: 10.5 hours (boycotted 2nd nap)
So, looking at his total time sleeping he is WAAAAAAY sleep deprived. He slept through the night 2 times out of the week. We're not doing so well... He's developed a cold with some pretty major congestion, and 2 bottom teeth are trying to bust through (his 7th and 8th teeth), so I'm hoping once these 2 issues are through he'll be sleeping through the night regularly and getting his much needed cumulative 14-15 hours of sleep. After all this, I'm definitely not going to revert back to letting him pass out at the breast, even when he's not feeling 100%. If he's really miserable I will comfort him in other ways, but not by co-sleeping and not at the breast. We will get through this... soon... fingers crossed!!! @_@
In case you're new here, here's a recap of my baby's sleeping history:
I read "Babywise" at 7 weeks and my little guy quickly took to the eat-play-sleep schedule. By 2 months he was a great napper and slept through the night 6+ hours, by 3 months 9-11 hours straight. I put him down awake, he sucked his thumb and went to sleep quietly.
At 5 months all went to hell in a hand basket due to any combo of the following:
1) He cut his bottom teeth and promptly stopped sucking his thumb
2) We had a 1 week vacation to my parent's house
3) He developed object permanence
4) We stopped using his swaddle/sleep sack
Around 7 months my sister convinced me to do "Cry It Out" and we gave it a half arsed attempt but had 2 things in our way:
1) It was summer and we don't have AC, so he got way too hot while crying.
2) He gnawed at the crib when we left him in there crying (evidence below)
So, I got crib rail covers and waited for the summer heat to fade away. I found the Sleep Sense Program by Dana Obleman (more on that in another post) and decided to give it a go during my husband's next business trip (I don't want Kenzo's crying throughout the night to keep my hubby up, awwwww am I the best wife or what?? ha! Seriously though, he's such a wimp, always pulling baby into bed with us at the first sign of a whimper). In the meantime we've been co-sleeping for the past few months and he's been waking up about every 1-3 hours and cries until he gets a boobie. I whip it out and we both pass out within a couple of minutes. It's really not that bad, but it's not good (what would happen after I wean him??) and his napping has been getting worse and worse as well. We both need to get better sleep!
Tonight the sleep training finally commenced! Here's a video selfie just after I put Kenzo down in his crib. Whooooo that sucked...
The crying lasted 45 minutes, which funnily enough is the exact time Dana reported as the average time of first night crying on the hundreds of cases she's worked on as a baby sleep consultant. She gives the option of staying in the room with the little one throughout, or just going in to check on him and reassure him. I opted for the second method. I went in at 3 minutes, at 5 minutes, and then 10 minutes a few times. Then I felt like my going in was just working him up even more. So after the 30 minute mark I stopped going in and by the 45 minute mark he was silent. I waited a few minutes then went in to make sure he was ok and in a comfortable position. This is what I found and I almost burst out laughing!!!
He was out, kind of in a twilight sleep, and kept sitting up and falling forward over and over again. Really sad actually, but hilarious at the same time. Luckily he didn't wake up when I laid him down. I'm really not looking forward to him waking up in the middle of the night... I have a feeling it's going to be rough!! I blame myself - just giving him the boob to make him go back to sleep has just made him wake up more frequently and become so dependent on me. This might be a tough habit to break!
Preemptive strike against possible criticism: Sleep training with or without CIO, no sleep training, breast vs. bottle, SAHM vs working mom, whatever... #ISUPPORTYOU and hope you will support me too. We're all doing the best we can and doing what we feel is right for our families. I would love if you comment with your personal experience, advice, tips, etc. But there is no need for judgement or criticism.
Kenzo just hit 10 months, actually about 30 minutes ago! ^_^ I really can't believe how fast he's growing, it's kind of scary! Exciting, but scary. One by one his friends are all turning one year old and all the moms say what a hard day it is, full of sobbing and memory lane. I feel full of anxiety just thinking about that and it's still 2 months away!! Speaking of turning one, we just booked his birthday party - we're gonna have a joint one with 2 of his baby friends who were all born within a week of each other during the crazy week of Christmas and New Year. Of course all 3 of us moms have been sucked into Pinterest getting ideas for save the dates and invitations and decorations and food and.... Man, that thing is EVIL! haha!!
Anyway, back to my 10 month old little one... he's got 6 teeth now (4 top, 2 bottom), is taking solo steps, usually about 2 but up to 5 at a time! I introduced chicken and turkey so he's no longer a vegetarian! He is really into cuddling now which is uber uber cute, he is also a big fan of clapping, waving, and most recently throwing things. Ha! He's still a monster at night (since about 6 months) waking up multiple times and I've totally been enabling him as I just pull him into our bed and nurse him back to sleep cuz it's the fastest and easiest. He's dealing with his 3rd cold in about 6 weeks, but I swear as soon as he recovers we're conquering this sleep thing!! You're in for it little dude!!!
Also as one year approaches I'm having to think about the whole going back to work thing. I really really don't want to. I've got my hands in so many pies at the moment (blogging, Miny Moe, Mommy Nearest, Kidz Central Station, Eczema Company, and of course my Facebook groups Bay Ridge Baby Mamas and Bay Ridge Swappies) none of them raking in a ton of cash but together they take care of groceries, haha. But they keep me busy and my hope is that through them I'll develop the right skills and meet the right people so when/if it comes time for me to find a 9-5 again I'll have some good connections. And no one can ever say I was just twiddling my thumbs during maternity leave, that is FOR SURE!!
Over a month ago I was the lucky winner of a set of Wall Candy wall decoration stickers from Parents and the City blog. The stickers are super cute and I've been meaning to get them up but they'd been hanging out on the back burner with a bazillion and one other projects. But, I've finally gotten to them and HOORAH!
Here are the decals freshly removed from their canister. Bonus - the canister is SUPER FUN in and of itself! Baby loves to roll it around, and mama loves to bang on the two ends like a bongo! Fun for all!
Here's the before shot - I know, horrible... I should add we don't have a nursery, baby's crib is in our bedroom. I loved the elephant canvas because the elephant is Kenzo's mascot since one of the meanings of "zo" in English is, you guessed it, Elephant! But now we'll find a new home for it as well as the Japanese Yukata (summer Kimono). As for the storage boxes on the right, they'll have to remain unfortunately! Such is the life of a family of 3 in a tiny 1 bedroom in Brooklyn!!
Here's my little assistant hard at work:
Getting started... They're actually really easy to use. The car tires were the only ones that were rather difficult to peel off. The others were easy, and came off nice and clean when I had to relocate a few.
And we're done!! Loving it!!! Thank you Parents and the City for a great giveaway!!
I should be thankful we made it almost 9 months without baby having even the slightest of illnesses. Don't get me wrong, I am. And now that he's come down with his first cold, they tell me it's a good thing - baby is building his immune system up! Well, I guess I can get on board with that? But you know what? I wish my baby would never get sick, like EVERRRRRRRR! He doesn't deserve to suffer. Who does? And he's breastfed, isn't that supposed to mean he'll live illness free for his entire life? Not even a sniffle, right? Oh yeah, and he'll be a genius and build much more satisfying and secure personal relationships. Hmph I guess breast milk is not ALL it's cracked up to be (it's still pretty damn awesome though!).
Kenzo came down with a wicked case of the sniffles in the middle of the night last night. He was snorting and making all kinds of racket, waking up what seemed like every hour upon the hour. It was super fun, let me tell you! When he wakes up in the night (3+ times a night for the last 4 months, geeeez), I usually just pull him out of his crib, spin around, toss him in the middle of our bed (yes, his crib is in our bedroom since it's the ONLY bedroom in our apartment!), stick my boob in his mouth, and we're all off to lala land in about 5 minutes. But last night, he was so stuffed up and snotty he wouldn't even take my boob. Poor guy!!
So, this morning it was off to my local/online mommy group for advice on helping little one (and me) get through his first cold. Here are some of the things that I was advised to run out and get:
1) Saline - you can spray it up the nose to moisten and help with congestion. Same idea as the neti pot I suppose, but you can't exactly get a baby to cooperate with the neti pot. You can't get me to cooperate with one either!! It was also recommended to use saline with a nebulizer, which I have borrowed from a friend but have yet to try.
2) The Baby Vac is a nasal aspirator that hooks up to your vacuum to give you some major suction power. Apparently it's sold at our doctor's office. Unfortunately our vacuum is ridiculously loud, and I fear between that and the suctioning, I will traumatize Kenzo for life!!
3) The Nose Frida is another nasal aspirator, but this one is powered by your own mouth!! Can i get a "EWWWWWWWWWW GROSSSSSS!!!!"?? Yeah, that's how I feel, but apparently those who use it swear by it!! I can only imagine the sensation as you're sucking the boogies out of your munchkin's nose. I know they get trapped in a little container and don't have a chance of actually making it to your mouth, but still, I just can't be convinced about this one!
4) The electronic nasal aspirator seems to be the perfect combo between the vacuum powered (too loud and also you have to lug out the vacuum and have it just sitting at the changing table taking up valuable real estate) and the mouth-powered Nose Frida. Unfortunately, reviews don't look so good - mostly saying they're weak and can't even suck water out of a glass. Hmmm... I might give this one a try, making sure about the return policy first!
5) A humidifier. We already have this one, but have yet to use it. I wonder if the reason Kenzo was such a snorting and grunting sleeper as a newborn was because our apartment was so darn dry. But I worry about using a humidifier because if it's not 100% clean - the device and the water - you're all inhaling the mold or bacteria or whatever else is in there. Scary... but I reckon emptying and cleaning it daily with a natural cleaner (maybe vinegar?) should be safe enough. Will have to give this a try.
I've also increased our feeding sessions since the goodies in my milk can only help him fight this off. I know ear infections are quite common to accompany a cold, but Kenzo has always been an ear puller so I don't know if I'd notice the signs! And about fever... I don't know if I have the mom gene where you can just kiss your child's forehead and know they have a fever. Sometimes he feels cool, sometimes hot, but anytime I've ever taken his temp it's always been the same. I guess you go by how they're acting as well? So far, Kenzo is pretty much his same old self today - playing, whining, crawling and cruising around looking for trouble! ^_^ Hopefully he conquers this cold without much trouble!! It's really weird because when adults are sick, we usually go about our daily lives and regular schedule as usual unless we are feeling especially crappy. But with a baby, you pretty much have to cancel everything for the next week or two because they can't control their coughing, sneezing, drooling, and general ability to infect all those around them, especially other babies. So, this is looking to be a pretty lonely week of quarantine!! But at least I have this adorable dude to hang with!!
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)