Books We Love: The New Basics 

Another book that my sister gave me before Madeline arrived is The New Basics. She had found out about this because it is written by her pediatrician. Essentially, it’s like a baby bible.

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The book is organized by symptom. Whatever is going on with baby, you look up that symptom and it will tell you what is normal, when to worry and tips for helping baby. As a first time parent this book is a lifesaver! I didn’t want to call our pediatrician for every little thing and this book eased all my fears. Those first few weeks at home I felt like I opened the book several times everyday. I looked up things like poop, snot, sleep, fever, colic, cradle cap – anything and everything.

The premise of this book is to not worry so much and it certainly lives up to that. Being able to look up what was going on with Madeline and not knowing if it was normal or something to expect or not, this book really put me at ease.  While I’m not sure I agree with all the advice the book gives, there are still things I double check with my pediatrician (and you should always call the doctor if you’re really worried), this book has definitely helped me in the middle of the night and with any questions I was just curious about.  This is the true meaning of a coffee table book.  It sits on our coffee table because we reference it so frequently!

A good example we encountered recently is that it has been unseasonably cold in Upstate New York and Madeline has been waking up with small nosebleeds or not even full nosebleeds just dried, crusted blood in her nostrils.  I was concerned but not enough to call the pediatrician, assuming it was just dry air.  Sure enough, a consult with this trusty book set my mind at ease! Now I know to just clean them up and call if they get more frequent or profuse.  Here’s what a section in the book looks like:

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I think they key to remember when utilizing this book is that it’s a guide.  Every baby is different, and just because they are crying, doesn’t always mean the same thing to every baby.  Try to really figure out the root of the problem and look there, otherwise you can drive yourself crazy with worry.  What I also love about the book is that I can look up things that I know will happen in the future, for instance solid foods, and what to expect and what could occur.  Or, this one is approaching quickly, sleep training and what to expect and what is normal.  These all help me prepare so I can respond to whatever Madeline throws my way in the most prepared and informed way possible.  It also helps keep me calm so that if something does happen, I have the knowledge of how to handle it already.

Do you use the New Basics? Is Dr. Cohen your pediatrician? What do you think of it?

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My First Year of Motherhood

A little over a week ago Logan turned one – wowee! It also marks my one year anniversary of being a Mom! To some that may not sound like a big deal, which I guess in the grand scheme of things one year compared to those who have years and years under their belt (my mom is just about to hit 30 years!) is nothing. However, others will totally understand my bittersweet feelings about this milestone. It is a big deal to me because it was my first year.  A year? One whole year? Already? It can’t be true. But it is. People ask me who am I? Why are you here? Well, I am a wife, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, coworker, acquaintance, stranger…but most importantly I am a mom. And that is why I am here. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a mom. Everyone told me I would be an excellent mother someday, that it was in my DNA, my nickname was Mama Sherrie and strangers would even ask how many kids do you have? I can now proudly say I have one adorable son. 🙂

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The last week I have been reflecting on my first year of motherhood. What  has changed in me since day 1 to now? Well, here a few of things I have reflected on that I’d like to share:

My Emotions
I am 1,000% more emotional. I have always been an emotional person – just ask my friends and family, but suddenly anything about babies or kids makes me cry – even happy stuff. Give me a newborn to meet? Instant tears. See a Dad pushing his kid in a stroller? Instant tears. See a family laughing on the playground? Instant tears. If it includes my own son, tears are a given. I cried when I asked the lady a Toys R Us for his birthday balloon and crown – everything just gets my emotions flowing!

Mom Guilt
It is true when they say you are your own worst enemy. Yes, Logan was mostly formula fed and we put him into daycare and occasionally we purchased baby food. Those are just a few things that made me feel guilty. All of it weighed heavily on me and I would think, why didn’t I breastfeed longer? Why didn’t I plan to stay home and watch him? Why didn’t I wake up earlier to make more food?  Now a year later – forget it. I don’t feel guilty because I was doing what was best for my family at the time. In order to take care of someone else, you need to take care of yourself first! If you’re child is happy and healthy then do not feel guilty or let anyone make you feel guilty for any decision you make as parent. You are doing great!!!

Mom Judgement
Before I was a mom, and I think most would agree, you have in your head the exact type of parent you will be.  A year ago I might have thought to myself, oh my how could that mom do that?! I will never do that when I am a mom! Now I get it. You do what is best for your family and your child. If there is one thing certain about motherhood it would be you cannot 100% plan for what will happen – expect the unexpected is my motherhood motto. I will never judge another mother for her decisions on how she chooses to raise HER child. Just like I don’t want you to judge me on how I am raising mine.

 Love for My Husband
The love for my husband since I have become a mom has grown exponentially. I never had a doubt that my husband would love our son and be an excellent father. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be the mother (or a mother at all haha) I am today. He is the glue that holds our family together and he is my rock to lean on. Sure we have our bad days, but what couple doesn’t? Becoming parents has made our love and bond that much stronger. One of my favorite things this past year was watching him be a Dad. <3

Respect for My Mother
My mom is a supermom. She has been there for me since Logan’s first breath. She has really showed me the ropes a lot this first year. I can count on her anytime, any day. She is my leading example of the mother I want to be. In the last year I have grown a lot more respect for my mother as I now understand what it takes to be a Mom – it really is the hardest job you’ll ever have! She raised 3 kids and it did not come without several obstacles. Mom, you’re the best and I appreciate everything you do for us and Logan!

This last year of my life has been my absolute hardest year yet but it has also been the most rewarding and joyful year. I take such pride in being able to say I am a Mom. I just can’t believe one year has gone by already – it went by way too fast!  I would like to wrap up by saying thank you to everyone who has helped us this last year. Whether your help was big or small, it means a lot. It really is true what they say – it does take a village!!! I hope this Mother’s Day you take the time to reflect on your journey as a mom whether that journey has been a few days, weeks, months, or years. Now get out there and treat yourself Moms – you all deserve it! 🙂

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Books We Love: The Wonder Weeks

When we were expecting Madeline we were gifted a lot of books, mostly children’s books for Madeline. But we were also given a few parenting books. One of my favorites is The Wonder Weeks, given to me by my sister.

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The premise of Wonder Weeks is that, while every baby is different, they hit certain developmental milestones or “wonder weeks” at the same time in the first 20 months of their lives. This book points out each of the times in your baby’s life that they will be going through a developmental milestone and what that milestone is.  Each chapter is a different wonder week. It tells you what to expect from your baby, what’s going on with them, what you can do as a parent to help and when it will pass (thankfully!).

Here’s an example: I started noticing Madeline was uncharacteristically fussy on a Wednesday, the day before she turned 9 weeks old. She would randomly squeal and cry, she only wanted to be held, she was nursing more frequently than usual, and she seemed to only be able to be comforted by me. Sometimes even only sleeping when I held her.  Sure enough when I looked it up in the book these were all tell tale signs that she was in a leap. Most babies typically hit a leap sometime between 8 and 9 weeks that can last into the 10th week of life. This is a big wonder week as it’s the one where baby discovers patterns. These are not just visual patterns, but patterns of behavior, etc.  it’s typically the time when baby discovers her hands and feet and this can take a toll on the baby.

One of the best parts about this book is it is also a diary. For each wonder week there are checklists at the beginning to recognize symptoms and at the end to see if baby has developed the skills associated with that wonder week.

I had known that this wonder week was coming up. In preparation I had ordered Madeline wrist and feet rattles so she can learn her hands and feet a little more easily. I also noticed in that week that she really took an affinity for a certain toy – Jaques Peacock. He’s a Lamaze brand toy, high contrast patterned. It’s perfect for a baby going through this development.

Wonder weeks take a toll not only on baby but on the parents as well. When your easy going baby is hard to console, it can really shake your confidence.  I did a double take thinking maybe something was wrong or maybe I was doing something wrong. It’s comforting to be able to reference this book and know why it’s happening and that if nothing else, I’m not alone on the journey of parenthood!

Are there any parenting books that you have truly loved? Let us know!

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