Motherhood Problem #1: Sleep

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I had a friend send me a meme/message today about the “sleep when baby sleeps” saying that you get fed as a new parent. I responded with the question of “what do I do if the baby is sleeping and I want to sleep but the preschooler is still awake and crazy?” Because that was my real life situation.

Truth is sleep is the holy grail of parenting, the key to happiness and success often teeters on the scale of how rested you are. The more kids you have the more you adapt to interrupted and fewer overall hours of your eyes being closed.

Not going to lie, some days I roll my eyes at this whole scene about becoming parents and losing sleep but is it because I was lazy or I’m now just so used to it that, as long as someone isn’t sick throughout the night, I actually think that I am sleeping like a normal human being?!

And let me just warn any not-quite-parents-yet out there that motherhood does start at pregnancy because I remember losing sleep when I was pregnant with Harper and other moms telling me “oh you should sleep now while you can!” What a bunch of shit advice that was. How can anyone forget the immense uncomfortableness of a baby moving inside you, punching your cervix, kicking your ribs, spreading your hips apart mixed in there with the having to pee every 2 hours. From now on I’m just going to tell newlyweds “sleep now while you can because the from the moment you know your pregnant  you’re screwed until they all learn how to get themselves breakfast and turn on netflix themselves.” That’s real advice.

So now to my main point. Sleeping with babies. Everyone has their own journey. With baby 1 we had a crib and bassinet/pack n play combo. I was so paranoid about him breathing I couldn’t put him in another room where the crib was, he hated the bassinet so he slept next to me. Perfectly safely. But then again I never fully slept pretty sure I didn’t enter any form of REM sleep until he was 1. Baby 2, we bought a king size bed because baby 1 kept coming into our bed here and there. It worked alright but now we have 4 people in 1 bed 3 nights a week. Somehow, baby 3 happens and I’m at a loss. I felt that I couldn’t safely sleep with a baby in our bed as long as there was the potential for the other 2 to come in (usually they would sneak in). Also, I was far more sleep deprived now as a mother of 2 already that I didn’t feel my state of sleep was as reliable as it was when 1 was born- basically, I could no longer trust myself to sleep lightly around a newborn.

I started researching (shopping) around for ideas on how to keep this new baby safe and I found the Halo bassinest. Once I found it I felt it was the answers to my prayers from the beginning because it was easy to get baby in and out of, literally could by baby right next to me without them being in the bed and best of all it swiveled so I could get up in the night without scooting down to the edge of my bed. Plus it had a sweet nightlight and vibration and other stuff that I didn’t really use. Overall best baby sleeper ever, I slept thoroughly and safely next to Iver every night, even when he was waking up every 2 hours straight for 3 weeks….we used this until he could sit up on his own, around 5-6 months.

Second purchase I made towards sleep was the dockatot. Originally I made fun of the “baby raft” but in the end it was my best friend and the hardest baby item I’ve ever had to say goodbye to. I’d put Iver in the dockatot and he would put himself to sleep. That baby pillow hugged them just right so they felt safe and secure and I felt safe and secure with him in it because I knew it was snug and it was breathable. Add in the fact that it was his bed when we traveled and it was well worth it’s price tag. I used it all the way until he was 10 months old.

Third thing toward a decent night sleep with baby 3 doesn’t work with all babies but a good swaddle. I was grateful that a friend lent me her Ollie wrap, it was the best swaddle I had ever used because you could really wrap those suckers (babies) in there and it had enough give that they could squirm but it never un-hugged them. Iver was golden in it. We used it until he grew out of it and could wiggle out, probably at around 4 months, which is a pretty long time in the swaddling world.

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the holy trinity of sleeping babies

Ollie wrap+dockatot+bassinest= at least 4 hours of sleep at one time even with a colicky baby that you haven’t figured out is actually dairy sensitive yet.

And now that I no longer have any of these but don’t have to worry as much about anyone rolling onto my baby? I was planning on buying another dockatot (there’s a bigger one) but couldn’t swallow the price on it ($260) so I did a little more research and ended up buying Iver  a sheepskin to sleep on. It is amazing, transfers (what we parents call moving a sleeping baby out of our arms) onto it are very easy and he stays asleep. Though it doesn’t snuggle him as well as the dockatot did it is SO much cheaper and now everyone in my family wants their own because they are so cuddly and comfortable to sit, stand and sleep on.

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dreaming of sheep(skin)

On one final note. I heard the statistic yesterday that the quality and amount of sleep only lessens for women and not for men.  Haven’t these babies heard of feminism?! (as my husband sleeps on the couch just fine right now…. but surrounded by 2 out of 3 children).

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Crazy Car Seat Ladies

(I’m going to try to write a few more reviews because I get so many questions from friends about mom stuff like this)

Some people REALLY care about carseats, they obsess over them, wait to purchase the newest models, defend their preference to anyone who will listen. I like carseats, they keep my kids safe and they are fun to pick out. Our past carseats where purchased based on price point, name recognition, reviews, materials and safety upgrades. In the past we have bought: Graco Snugride 30 (before they became super cheaply made), Britax Marathon, Recaro ProRide, Recaro Preformance Ride and Britax Frontier. Some we’ve preferred over others but they’ve all been more than sufficient.
Although the Recaro’s win for ease of hight adjusments.

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We now face the fear of buying car seats yet again, these suckers are not cheap, and this time we have a new dilemma: size. I need to fit 3 car seats in the back of my Subaru XV Crosstrek, it is not a wide backseat and falls into the compact category but I don’t want another car (unless it’s a 4Runner, but I can’t afford a 4Runner). After reading all specs and reviews that I could stomach our search was over fairly quickly. We basically had the choice between a Chicco Keyfit or Graco Snugride for an infant seat and between Diono or Clek for our 2 convertible seats. These are the only choices for fitting 3 across as they are all 17″ at their widest points. I’ve had many a recommendation from experienced moms rave about the Diono, they are versatile, have a very high weight limit, fold flat, and can be used from infancy through booster stage. The Clek has the best reviews, safety specs, a rear facing limit of 50lbs, and can be used from infancy up until 90lbs.

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The baby seat we aren’t worried about, either will be fine. The convertible was a slight struggle, the Diono comes highly recommended from many mothers and has a lower price point, the Clek is more expensive but definitely a sleeker design, both have amazing specs and safety reviews. In the end the choice was made easy for us, basically the Clek doesn’t expire for 9 years thus ensuring these will be our last car seat purchases ever.

One huge downside to all of this is because of where we live I can not see either product in person until we order it. Part of this frustration fuels the desire to open a baby/kids store but I don’t feel the drive for that, instead, I’ll write about it once they come, share my experience for others. I’m sure I’ll have a bit more to say about all of this after I actually have to fit all 3 seats and all 3 kids in, I’m looking forward to it.

If I had to go back, I wouldn’t make any different decisions. This is mostly a learn as you go thing when it comes down to it. Obviously the integrity and safety of the seat is most important but if you can’t afford a $300 carseat don’t assume that your baby is any less safe, as long as you use it correctly (read the manual!). Make sure you are using the right car seat for your child’s age and size, do not be in a hurry to turn them around, move them out of a harness or off a booster. Other things you want to consider are safety add ons, especially head supports and side supports, padding of the seat for comfort, ease of adjustments, ease of installation especially if you will be moving the seat to and from other cars, size of car, and the hight/weight/age limits of the seat as well as expirations of the seats. This is a ton to think about, not everyone does, but when it comes to your kids and your money you might want to think it all over.

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