Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Importance of Dad's Support with Babywise

Our children's generation is so blessed as it's a generation where dads are more hands on than ever before. Whereas our father's may not have changed diapers, dads today handle night duty, diaper duty, bath duty and so much more. Even though I'm a stay at home mom, my husband walks in the door each night and immediately jumps into his role as a father. Our kids are growing up with both parents pouring into their lives each day!

When our first child was a few weeks old I read Babywise and we began to establish a sleep routine for our son. I tell people all the time that Babywise is hard but worth it. I truly don't know how I would have been able to implement Babywise techniques in our home without my husbands complete support. Here are some of the ways that dads' support is essential to the success of Babywise:

1. Understanding "the why": Sleep training is a lot of long term goals. What you do today helps to prepare your baby for better sleep tomorrow and in the future. Understanding that big picture is so important. Days are long and it can feel like it's taking forever to get to the golden age of sleeping through the night (or the four hour schedule or the one nap a day...or any other sleep milestone). Having a supportive spouse remind you of the big picture helps to make it through when times are tough. His encouragement will give you a boost when needed (and pick up a milkshake for you on the way home as a bonus!).

2. Providing a Break: Teething. 45 minute intruder. 4 month sleep regression. Wonder Weeks. There are stages where you need to physically get out of the house. Sit on the porch. Go for a drive. Stroll the aisles at Target. Mommy has to keep her sanity and Daddy earns some mega brownie points when he takes over so Mommy can have her "me time." Having a husband who KNOWS the schedule, the routine, how to swaddle, etc makes it easier for that mommy break time. You can leave and not stress over details because you know he has it handled (of course my kids have always slept better for Daddy anyway!) and you are able to better relax during that time away knowing that your baby is sticking to their routine!

3. Sharing Duties: My husband is a swaddle PRO. He's also ammmmazing at "shhh patting" and can burp like no one's business. Sharing in the duties of parenting helps me to not feel resentment or loneliness. You're a team and in this together! By having a supportive spouse you don't have to hesitate to ask for help or to establish shared responsibilities. Finding a groove where you both have the opportunity to contribute means you get to vent the frustrations together and also celebrate the victories together too!

4. Respecting the Schedule: Consistent routine is everything when it comes to Babywise! It can be difficult to "revolve your life" around the baby's routine (which I highly recommend doing the first year!) and it's SO crucial to have a husband who is in agreement about the importance of that schedule. Planning things around nap time and early bed time is tricky and I can't fathom trying to do that while also having to battle my husband about it. People think I'm joking when I say that my husband is actually the more "hardcore" one when it comes to the schedules of our kids but it's true! He appreciates our kids sleep because he sees the benefits of it so he does what it takes to make sure they get the sleep they need!

5. Silencing the Haters: I find that I worry about hurting feelings a lot more than my husband does. When people start in on the anti-Babywise comments he is a PRO at stepping in and handling the situation. If you choose to do Babywise with your baby, especially your first, then you WILL hear comments. A lot of times it's not meant in a rude way, just in a "but we wanna hold the baby" type way. People don't always understand the reasons behind a solid sleep routine and it can be frustrating (and discouraging) to hear comments about how you have chosen to parent your child. In the long term (again, that big picture goal) they WILL see the benefits but in the moment it's a huge blessing to have a husband who will stand up for the schedule and your family! (You can read more about when family doesn't support Babywise here!)

Today is our Pinterest Day with Babywise Friendly Blog Network! Be sure to check out all the fellow bloggers on our topic of dads and visit our Pinterest Board for more great content!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dealing with Toddler Constipation

Exciting post topic rrrrrright??? If you've ever HAD a toddler with constipation then you feel my pain on this and understand why I would write an entire post on the topic. It's no joke. I was shocked when I posted a pic on IG awhile back celebrating the fact that Tess finally pooped that so many mama's commented that they too have dealt with the struggles (literally) of toddler constipation issues. 

I think toddler constipation is rather common for multiple reasons. Toddlers become pickier eaters and the change in diet messes with their systems. Also potty training will cause them to be more fearful of pooping which can create constipation. Tess also just stopped drinking breastmilk in January so I think that had a lot to do with her issues as well. Up until she stopped with the breastmilk she actually had mega loose stools. So much so that I was concerned and asked her pediatrician about it! I was really surprised when she ended up being my first kid to struggle with constipation! We went from never a solid poop to too solid of poop! It's interesting to me because her pregnancy was my first time in my life being constipated and now she's my first kid to struggle with it as well!

When you have a constipated toddler it's straight up miserable. For them and for you. It's pitiful to see them that pain and feel at a total loss as to how to help. I searched all over the internet for help and got tons of advice from friends too. Here's all the things we did to help Tess work through her constipation issues:

1. Avoid "Brat Diet": Basically I didn't give her anything that I was feeding her when I was trying to help her stools become more solid! No bananas, rice, applesauce or toast :) 

2. Feed Helpful Foods: Prunes help, but not as much as actual prune juice does (I had to dilute it to get her to even drink any). Apple juice sometimes helps as well (she didn't like any juice at all so I just pushed water as hydration is key!). Peaches and pears are both great to eat to help kids "go" and Activa brand yogurt has a lot of probiotics to help too (Tess LOVES yogurt so this was a win for us). I also searched the internet and found some "Poop Muffins" that I made...

3. Vitamins: Both a probiotic as well as a fiber vitamin are good to give kids who struggle with using the bathroom. She's done well with gummy type vitamins. I've heard that powder mixes of probiotic are actually the best but I knew if she won't even drink juice that there would be no way she'd drink something with powder!

4. Add-Ins: Flaxseed Meal is GREAT to sprinkle onto foods. I actually had some that I used to make lactation cookies while nursing so I just got in the habit of sprinkling it in yogurt and oatmeal. A TON of friends also recommended coconut oil (doesn't coconut oil seem to be beneficial for everything?). I use a spoonful and mix it in with her yogurt each morning!

5. Get 'Em to Go: I really wanted to try to get her to go on her own but I was worried she'd get compacted and I had several people say their kids got backed up and it can mean a visit to the hospital. No thanks. Miralax is safe for toddlers in small doses (1 tsp a day) so I did that for several days and also broke down and did ONE dose of Pedia-lax. It got the job DONE and got it done FAST.  Once I used the pedialax once I was able to stick with the Miralax for about a week or so just to make sure she got on a regular pattern of going on her own and that it was soft enough to avoid pain (seeing your child in pain to poop is PITIFUL).

Even after she seemed to improve on her ability to go I have continued to be mindful of keeping things running smoothly. Kids who get constipated once tend to have it happen frequently and I want to avoid it at all costs. I make sure she eats 1-2 prunes a day as well as Activia yogurt, vitamins, and I continue to sprinkle the flaxseed onto her foods. Hopefully being proactive about it will allow me to avoid ever having to do the pedia-lax again!

What are some of your tips to help with toddler constipation???

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