Why I Chose to Swaddle My Kids…

There were a few disagreements when I began to swaddle my babies after I had them, especially from my mom since that was not something she did when I was born. But there are a lot of good things that can come from swaddling your baby.

I liked to swaddle my kids because it kept them from startling themselves awake at night. After babies are born they have a natural startle reflex where they get scared in their sleep and their arms will fly up and scare them to the point where they wake up. As a new mom, you want to keep your baby asleep and not waking up every 5 minutes. Even when you just try to lay them down in their crib, it can cause them to startle themselves awake. Swaddling helps keep their arms close to their body so they don’t startle themselves.

There are many different kinds of swaddles out there as well. There is the blanket swaddle which includes a lot of twisting, tying, and wrapping. The blanket swaddle is nice because there are so many different colors and fabrics available to you and different positions you’re able to swaddle baby in.

There is also the sleep sack swaddle which only has a zipper going up the middle which requires no wrapping or twisting. I really liked the sleep sack swaddle because it allows the baby to move their arms and legs naturally as they would in the womb, but still doesn’t allow them to fully lift up their arms and startle themselves.

The velcro swaddle was my least favorite because my kids could always pull their arms out of them and it wasn’t tight enough to even hold their arms down since the velcro continued to come loose each time I used it (and it was also difficult to wash).

I think there are a lot of good benefits when it comes to swaddling babies. It calms them down and helps them stay asleep longer, it can keep them warm without having any loose blankets in the crib, and there are many different options for different parents and babies preferences.

Tips For an Easy Labor & Delivery

It can be really scary and nerve wracking when you find out that it’s most likely time for your baby to come. There are so many things rushing through your head that you are trying to not worry about, but unfortunately it’s possible to not worry. You are bringing a new life into the world and it’s a scary feeling.

Here are some tips for having a smooth delivery:

  1. Try to have a birth plan or ideas in mind, but don’t expect it to go as planned. Think of your birth plan as your most wanted things to happen during the birth experience, but know that it can be impossible for it to go exactly as planned. Think about if you want to go all natural or receive an epidural. Prepare yourself that your doctor could possibly not be the one delivering your baby. Mentally prepare yourself that baby will most likely not be born on their due date.
  2. When your water breaks, it will feel different for each individual. Personally for me, it felt like I kept accidentally peeing my pants every 5 minutes. Some people have a huge gush of water. It’s usually a clear fluid and smells… different. But if you think your water broke, then it probably did and you should call your doctor.
  3. If you get an epidural, do not move. No matter how scared you are or how much it moves, really try to not move when that needle is near your spine. When I got my epidural it felt like a burning sensation about the size of a fist on my back where the needle was. Then I felt a shock go down one of my whole legs and it made my leg jump up. Then over the process of having the epidural I felt very cold and kept shaking even though I couldn’t feel anything below my waist. If you decide to get an epidural, they will have to also put in a catheter, so be aware of that!
  4. Try to walk around if you can. It may sound pretty cliche, but walking around will actually help the baby move down and help move your labor along so you begin to dilate.
  5. When it comes to pushing, one of my best forms of advice that I tell people is to not scream. Screaming or yelling will use up your energy that you should be using to focus on pushing. Even though it will hurt a lot and you will want to scream, try not to.
  6. Finally, when you are at the point where it’s time to start pushing, curl up into your stomach with every push as if you were trying to do crunches. If you curl up into your stomach, it’ll help naturally push baby down because you’re not allowing them to stay up if they’re sitting up high near your rib cage.

I hope these can help you make your labor and delivery at least just a little bit easier. Let me know if any of them work for you!

Choosing Your Wedding Dress

It can be a tough decision trying to decide on your wedding dress, especially with all of the different styles to choose from. Here are some tips from my experience when choosing my wedding dress.

  1. People will always have a different opinion. It’s good to listen to people’s advice, but you can’t make everybody happy when choosing a dress. Make sure to choose what you like as well.
  2. Look at pictures and choose a style, but don’t be afraid to try on every style. A picture of a dress can look a lot different than it would on you, so don’t be afraid to explore.
  3. Don’t feel pressured. Even if everyone around you loves the dress on you, at the end of the day you need to love it too.
  4. Have some wiggle room in your budget. When you plan together your budget for your dress, keep a standard number in mind that you want to stay at, but also allow some wiggle room if your dream dress has a price just a little bit higher.
  5. Don’t be afraid to say no. It is your dress after all, so if you don’t like something, speak up. You don’t want to be caught trying to make other people happy and ending up hating the dress you bought.
  6. You don’t have to pick your dress the first time you go in to try some on. If you’re not sure, take the night to think about it and then come back on a different day with a clear head.

I feel as though a wedding dress can be a very important part of your wedding, so don’t be in a rush to make a decision. Try to be focused and have a clear mind and think about the overall picture of what you want your wedding day to be. Your day deserves to be perfect no matter what.

Finding the Right Childcare

It can be really difficult trying to find the right daycare/nanny to take care of your children. There are so many scary news stories out there about children being injured or mistreated while in the care of somebody else. It can also be really expensive.

In my situation, full time childcare is about $1,000 a month per child. And unfortunately I am $40 over the income limit to receive any help from the state when trying to get care for my children. I work a full time job, 40 hours a week, and a second job on Saturdays to try to keep up with the needs of trying to live in Seattle, WA. It would basically add up to my whole paycheck of trying to put both my children into childcare which would defeat the purpose of going to work.

At first I tried to find a nanny through Care.com which I found someone who was very great and understanding at first of my schedule. Over time, my kids were begging for me to not have her come over and she was taking over children about 30 miles away every day for a “play date.” It didn’t last very long and we ended up having find care from someone else.

We found an in home daycare licensed through the state that was about 5 minutes from our home and seemed like they were taking good care of our kids. She understood our needs for care, our schedules, and that we couldn’t afford much (about $800/week). It was going great for about 3 months and then when I messaged about bringing our kids in at a different time at the beginning of March, the lady stated that she raised her prices and also gave away my children’s spots in her daycare. It was really upsetting that it happened without notice when my kids had been there the week beforehand and she could’ve easily mentioned it to us.

Then someone referred us to a nanny share situation and she has been really great. We pay her $25/day per child and she sends us picture, video, and text updates on the children throughout the day to let us know how they’re doing. They get fed really good meals, have many different activities to do, and they go on a daily walk outside to the park to interact with other children and get some fresh air.

It took a really long time to find someone that you can honestly trust with your child. It is a learning experience and you want to find someone who is affordable, understanding, and truly cares about your child. The most important thing to me is that the person will take care of your child, no matter what. I just want someone who will treat them like their own. They are my babies and they deserve the best. Keep an open mind, keep trying to find someone if you have to, and always trust your gut when it comes to child care.

Anxiety vs. Parenting

About 6 months after I had Gianni, I realized that my social anxiety had gone to an all time high. I experienced my very first anxiety attack while at work. It was the absolute scariest feeling I have ever felt. My throat and chest felt like they were both closing up and as if a huge weight was crushing me. My hands and legs could barely stop shaking. While my eyes created tears that just wouldn’t fall. It was at that point that I decided to see my doctor regarding the situation.

As I sat in that exam room, waiting for my doctor to come into the room, a million thoughts ran through my head since I’m the type of person that likes to overthink things.

“Am I a bad mom because of my anxiety?”

“Will my kids be taken away from me?”

“Are people going to think I’m mentally crazy?”

“Is anyone going to believe me this was real?”

“I can still change my mind… it’s not too late…”

The one thought that overcame all of the others was, “Your kids need you to do this. They will appreciate you taking the time and strength to do this.”

My doctor came into the room and as she asked me why I was in today, tears came into my eyes. I let her know about the panic attack, the actual fear and panic that overcomes me when I get into uncomfortable confrontations, the thoughts that I am being judged at every moment. I admitted that I was scared and didn’t know if I should be doing this.

At that moment my doctor looked into my eyes and said “It’s good that you are doing this. They need this. The only way you can take care of your babies, is if you take care of yourself first.”

That’s when I decided to start taking care of myself. I started to look for other jobs in the same work field to get away from the negativity surrounding me. I started to go for walks when the weather permitted it with the children. I open up about my feelings and thoughts a lot more now instead of hiding away and holding them in. I am still the same person. I am still the same mom. And I still love my kids just the same as I did before starting my medication.

There is a stigma in our society today that everybody is making up their anxiety or that everybody has some sort of mental health issue – and unfortunately it’s making people afraid to get the help that they most likely need. It is truly scary to ask for help… I am not going to lie about that. In the end it will be completely worth it though to finally have the weight off of you. To finally feel like you can breathe. To finally feel like you can be yourself.

It’s not a forever cure though. It will sneak up on you. It will pop out at random moments and haunt you just a little bit. But having the resources to get it under control, to fight it, to realize that it’s just the anxiety… it will make a difference. And it will be the best decision you can make. I always tell people that I am here if they need to talk because I do get it and I’m not just saying it. Sometimes we all just need someone.

And that’s okay.

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