Mama's Got A Brand New Blog {Giveaway}

As you can tell, the blog got a little make over! It was in desperate need of a face lift. Name and all! So yes, you are in the right place, and yes, the blog address is still the same, but the name and look has changed! I hope you like!

The genius behind this design is Becca from Jumping Jax Designs!
She and I actually met when I asked her to freshen up my teaching blog. We became fast friends and I absolutely love her! She's a Texas gal and just as sweet as sweet can be! She has 2 kids, Jax and Jory, and she's married to Travis. Could her family be any cuter?
And to top off this amazing blog make over, she has agreed to give away $50 credit towards a digital purchase (not including digital prints). So that could include a new blog designbirth announcement, a family Holiday card, baby shower invitations, birthday part invitations, and much more! You have to go check out your options! There are tons!

Would you like to win? Enter the rafflecopter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crib Transition and Sleep Training Part 2

To preface this post, I know that there are many ways to transition your baby to their crib and even MORE ways to sleep train your baby. These are the ways that were successful for Raegan and I wanted to share them in case another mom could benefit from them!

To see my post on how we transitioned Raegan to her crib from her rock n play, click HERE.

Picking up where we left off yesterday, I had shared how we transitioned Raegan from her rock n play to her crib. To put Raegan to sleep every night we would rock her and let her have her paci until she fell asleep. Then we would gently and carefully, remove the paci, and place her in her rock n play. We continued this as well when we moved her to her crib.

One night we were having a really hard time getting Raegan to go back to sleep once she had woken up about an hour after we put her down. This was a normal occurrence that would continue happening all night long. We would have to go in and put the paci back in her mouth until she fell asleep, then gently pull it out so that it wouldn't fall out and wake her up.

We had always planned to use Dr. Ferber's method of modified crying it out and thought, this was as good of time as any to start since we had tried all our normal tricks of putting her to sleep and she just wasn't having it. It was time to let her learn to put herself to sleep. Our pediatrician had said to at least wait till she was older than 3 months and Dr. Ferber's book recommends between 4-5 months.

Dr. Ferber's method was perfect for us. We wanted her to learn how to put herself to sleep and we were fine with letting her cry, but we still wanted to be able to check on her and reassure her that we were still there.

So we kissed her on the forehead, said we loved her and walked out. What I loved about Dr. Ferber's book, "Solving Your Child's Sleep Problems", is that it gives you a chart to help you navigate modified crying it out (CIO). 

The first night you go in at 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and then every 10 minutes until the baby falls asleep. You comfort the baby for about a minute then leave again. We chose not to give Raegan her paci during our check in time because she can't hold it in her mouth anyways and would just get upset all over again when we left and it fell out. The first night it took her a total of 17 minutes to fall asleep. We were shocked. We expected at least an hour.

The next night came around and we did the same thing. Fed her, put her in the bed, kissed her on the forehead and walked out. Night 2 has you check on baby at 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and then every 12 minutes until baby falls asleep. Tonight it only took her 15 minutes to fall asleep. Now on this night she did wake up about an hour later, and we just started the timer again. Checked on her at 5 minutes and she was asleep before we went in to check on her after 7 minutes. We were shocked AGAIN!

Raegan is a stubborn little girl and we thought she would put up more of a fight, but she responded amazingly to sleep training. By the end of the first week, she would take about 10 minutes of babbling to herself and then fell asleep. No more crying at all. And when she woke up through out the night, she was able to put herself back to sleep.

Here is the chart if you are wanting to try the modified CIO sleep training schedule.

And now, 6 weeks later, she's a sleeping champ! She goes down about 6:45-7pm and sleeps until 3:30am-4am, eats, then is back down until 8-8:30pm. Now naps are a different story! Girlfriend naps a TOTAL of a little over 1 hour a day. Yes, poor momma. We will get naps under control one day! I'm just not sure how.

Now I know that every baby is different and responds differently to sleep training, so I was ecstatic when Raegan responded so well to it. If listening to your baby cry is hard for you, but you are desperate and need something to work, just try it for 1 week. Grab a glass of wine or something stronger, hunker down, get out your timer, and give it a go. If you still don't feel right about it after 1 week, that's ok! Do what you think is best for you and baby.

Now when she wakes up in the middle of the night, my heart doesn't skip a beat, wondering if she will go back to sleep. Now she may talk to herself for a bit, and then she's right back to sleep. Another tip if you choose to do this sleep training route, if baby wakes up and it's not in their normal feeding window (Raegan's feeding window is 3:30am-4:30am) do not go into baby's room. Start the timer when they begin crying and stick to the schedule.

On day 7 of Dr. Ferber's sleep training schedule, he has the first check in at 20 minutes and that's what we use every time she wakes up now. And more often than not, she is back asleep before the 20 minute timer goes off.

Our next hurdle was transitioning her out of her swaddle. Things were great for about 1 week into our sleep training when she decided to roll over in her swaddle in the crib! Well, we decided to just go cold turkey, take her out of the swaddle, take all of the towels out of the crib, and lower it to the ground. We continued our sleep training like we had before. It took her a few days for her to figure out how to handle not being swaddled, but she took it like a champ, and now sleeps on her tummy with her bottom in the air.

The cutest thing around if I do say so myself!

Have a question about Dr. Ferber's method or how we handled sleep training? Email me at I'd be happy to help you in any way I can!

Crib Transition and Sleep Training Part 1

To preface this post, I know that there are many ways to transition your baby to their crib and even MORE ways to sleep train your baby. These are the ways that were successful for Raegan and I wanted to share them in case another mom could benefit from them!

Raegan had been sleeping in her rock n play since she was about 6 weeks old. She loved being swaddled and having that cozy environment to sleep in. She slept next to our bed until she was 3 months old. That was when momma needed her in the nursery! I was waking up to every little sound she made and I just couldn't do it anymore. So in October when Raegan was almost 3 months old, we moved her rock n play into her nursery. She continued sleeping in it swaddled until the beginning of December.

Right after Thanksgiving she learned to roll herself over in her rock n play. After she did it a few times we knew it was time to put her in her crib. We worried that she would struggle sleeping in it since her crib wasn't like the cocoon that the rock n play provided. So we started thinking of how to slowly transition her.

First off, my husband built a little platform that helped elevate one end of the crib. One reason Raegan was in her rock n play for so long was because it allowed her to sleep reclined and not be so congested. Her cleft palate causes her to have a lot of congestion. So we knew we wanted the crib to be elevated as well.
Now this could be done with books as well, but my husband worried about one of the legs slipping off and the crib toppling over. He's a worrier.  So I let him build a sturdy platform. Choose your battles ladies!

After elevating the crib we knew we wanted the inside to be cozy like her rock n play. So we took 2 large bathroom towels and rolled them on the long side. Then made it into an upside down U. We then took 2 sink towels and rolled them on the short side and put it at the bottom of the U so that if she moved throughout the night her bottom wouldn't slide down. We also had a plastic crib wedge under the towel, but this was really not necessary.

After putting the sheet back on, we took a couch pillow and stuffed it at the bottom of the crib so that if she scooted down at all through the night, it would stop her. 
She absolutely loved this set up! It allowed her to get used to her new sleeping arrangement, but still have the comforts of what she was used to.

This amazingness lasted about 2 weeks. Then she decided that she was going to learn to roll over while swaddled in the crib too. It was time to transition her out of the swaddle and into the big ole crib!

The saying is true. "Once you get used to one thing, the baby changes it all up!" And Raegan sure did!

Come back tomorrow and hear about how we taught Raegan to put herself to sleep on her own!

Exclusively Pumping

Since Raegan has a cleft palate and is unable to breastfeed, I decided that exclusively pumping (EP) was going to be how I fed my daughter. It's not the normal way, but it is becoming more common and I thought I would write a blog post about how I have made EP a little easier for me.

First off, I wanted to explain why Raegan can't breastfeed, not because I have to justify why we aren't breastfeeding, but to help you understand what she deals with each day to eat. She has a U shape hole in the back of her mouth. If you put your tongue on the roof of your mouth (hard palate) and move it back until it gets soft, you'll feel where Raegan's hole is. It is a blessing that it's just in her soft palate because that is muscle and not bone. The surgery to repair it will be much easier.

Since she has this hole she cannot get good suction. Imagine trying to drink out of a straw with a hole in it. That's how it is for her. She can get some milk, but not enough to sustain her. So she learned to eat from a special bottle and hasn't looked back since. She is very efficient and has even strengthened her suck. She can take a bottle down in 3 minutes if she's really hungry!

So while we were in the NICU I began pumping round the clock. Every time she ate, I pumped. At the beginning it was just colostrum, but soon after turned to yellow milk, then that beautiful white milk. And when it came in, it came IN! I was producing so much! And this brings me to my first tip.

1. Always pump after baby eats.

If you choose not to and go longer between pumps, you're not giving your body the right message and it may start producing less since you aren't pumping when baby would be eating from your breast if you were breastfeeding. I've done it and had to work hard to get my supply back up.

Next, well really this should be first, but it didn't flow with my post ;)

2. You need a good quality pump.

I have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and when we were in the NICU I used the Medela Symphony which was amazing, but costs a pretty penny! If you ever have to rent a pump, go with the Symphony. It is big, but it's amazing!

3. You need a hands free pumping bra.

I have the medela hands free pumping bra and it has changed my life! For the first few days I had to hold the pumps to me and I couldn't do anything while I pumped, but now I can eat, write blog posts, entertain the baby if she's cranky, and so much more! Doesn't this mom look like she's having a blast?

4. Set up a place to pump.

My designated pumping area is at our kitchen island. I have my pump, my pumping bra, my towel (things can get messy), my Lanolin cream, and my itzbeen timer to time my pump. And during the winter, my space heater, because who wants to have to strip down to pump in the middle of the freezing night?!

5. Refridgerate your pumping parts.

Let me explain. At the beginning, I was pumping 8 times a day which meant I was washing pump parts and bottles 8 times a day. After I pumped, esspecially at night, I just wanted to be done! Here's the solution. Pump, pour the milk into a new bottle, and put it all in the fridge. The fridge keeps any of the milk in the pump parts and pumping bottles cold so it won't sour. At the end of the day is when I will wash the pieces and then it'll be ready for me for the next day, ehh early morning.

6. Label your bottles with a dry erase marker.

Labeling your milk is important and using labels or masking tape with the time written on is messy and a pain to pull off. So use a dry erase marker. My only other piece of advice is to wipe it off before you warm the milk. For some reason the steam makes the ink not come off the bottle as easily. It made labeling so much easier!

7. Get a car adapter.

One of the downsides of pumping is it's hard to leave the house because I'm on a 3-4 hour pumping schedule and if I'm out when I need to pump, I go longer between pumps, which affects my milk supply, and it can snowball from there. So I got a Medela car adapter and it's been amazing! I can't tell you how many times I have pumped in the car, and yes, I have pumped while driving when I had to be somewhere, but I had to pump. Guilty as charged! Wonder how that conversation would go if I got pulled over?

8. Get a pumping bag for when you travel.

All of our family lives near us so we spend a lot of the weekend at someone's house, so I have to lug all of my pumping supplies with me. Having a nice big bag with plenty of space is a necessity. I use the Vera Bradley "Get Carried Away" Tote. It's very roomy with lots of pockets to put all my bottles and parts in. AND some of the colors are on sale for $42, regularly $92, you're welcome!

9. Get a pump parts baggie.

I love the Vera Bradley 3-1-1 bag. It's the perfect size and whenever I pump while I'm out, I just clean the parts either in the sink or with the Medela wipes if I don't have a sink, and put them back in the bag ready for the next pump.

10. Get a pumping cover.

Just like a nursing mom, you want to cover up the goods. So I have an adorable pumping cover from Etsy. You can find them everywhere! It was purchased for nursing, but works just as good for pumping!

I hope this list helps you if you've chosen to be an EP mom! Any other tips that have been great for you?
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