Preparing For a Little One – Babyproofing your home

Welcome to another week of Preparing For a Little One (PFALO).  I’ve truly been loving this link-up.  It helps me write about all the things I’ve always wanted to, but the list was getting so long that I didn’t know where to start.  Even though I’m on the tail end of the “little one” thing I’ve really enjoyed reading the stories of like-minded mommies.  No matter where you are in life sometimes you just feel like you’re alone.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find there are other bloggy moms out there doing things like I do.  It’s been a real treat.  Thanks Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals for putting this together. 

Preparing For A Little One

This week’s topic is Babyproofing your home.  I’m going to talk about it this from more of a philosophy stand-point then an actual doing.  In our house we babyproof as little as possible.  The philosophy behind that is that we would like to train our children to be able to “handle it” when they are at homes that aren’t babyproofed.  Right now someone has a light bulb going off over their head!  It’s true, there are some things that I really feel should be babyproofed regardless – chemicals and medicine, rooms with dangerous items that can’t be put away and things like that.  It’s like a swinging pedulum.  I’d like to be somewhere in the middle.  If you walked into a baby store, or stores with baby items, you might find every babyproofing gadget for every item in your home: door handles, toilets, refrigerators, stove knob covers and the list goes on and on.  People remove magazines from their tables, books and movies from shelves and every cabinet has one of those annoying plastic things that breaks after using it once.  My home however has very few things babyproofed.  Instead we “trained” for lack of a better word, our children to leave those things alone. After about a week (the time frame it usually takes to change or implement anything when it comes to kids) my magazines are on my coffee tables, my knick-knacks our out and no one turns on the stove.

One of my other favorite tips that I’ve told to lots of my mommy friends is the one drawer/one cabinet rule.  There’s always a drawer or a cabinet without rules in my kitchen.  Usually its the tupperare drawer, sometimes its the drawer with their stuff in it (spoons, plates and such).  If I’m cooking, and they are little, they can follow me around in there and keep themselves preoccupied.

So far this has worked for us through three kids, and no major baby-proofing incidents (knock on wood).  What is so great about this, and where I really see the fruits of our labor, is when we go to people’s homes that don’t have kids or have older children.  Usually we don’t have any problems with kids going nuts knocking things over or breaking things, or opening up every single cabinet.  It might be different, but its a formula that has worked for us and I tell everyone I know about it.

Food for thought is always good.

Do you babyproof?  What are your babyproofing tips and tricks?  Any horror stories you want to share?

My past PFALO posts:

How to Stay Connected to Your Partner
Favorite Stores and Shops (including small businesses!)
Introducing Solids
Baby Wise vs Attachment
Dealing with PPD
To Vaccinate or Not
Tips for Recovery (For the Hubbies!!!)
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Preparing for a Little One: How to stay connected to your partner

Preparing For A Little One

Welcome to another installment of Preparing For a Little One.  It hasn’t been that long that I’ve been a follower of Kaitlyn over at Wifesessionals, and I was super happy to find her little corner of the web.  When she discovered she was pregnant it wasn’t long before she created this weekly link-up with topics relevant to pregnancy and having a newborn.  It is such a great idea.  Anything in a weekly format is great.  I haven’t been able to do it every week but I’ve participated in a few of the topics:

This week’s topic is all about staying connected to your partner.  After three kids, 14 years of being together and 9 years of being married, we’re still finding the balance in that.  It’s ever changing, and develops over time.  It can fit the needs of wherever you are in your life.  It can be easy and it can be hard.  For me I think its gotten harder with each kid we’ve had, with each move and with each career path.  But there are things that we’ve done that have remained consistent over the years.
1. make time in the hospital special
With our first one, I’m going to honest, it was a very difficult delivery and I was so tired I just don’t remember a whole lot about the time in the hospital.  However, I do remember that my husband was with me and we spent time together alone, looking at our cute little bundle of joy.  With our last little man we decided to not have anyone at the hospital waiting to come in right away.  While I think that would have been a difficult decision had it been our first one, especially since I’m so close to my mom, with our last one it was important.  We didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed.  Hubby helped with the first bath in our room, we ate a meal together and snuggled with our little man.  Then we brought our older two in the next morning.  If you start off right, making connection of vital importance right out the gate, it will go a long way to preserve that.
2. Don’t rush the romance
I guess I mean in a physical way.  With our first born it was a fairly painful and long-term recovery.  I had an emergency episiotomy and the recovery from that was extremely painful and much longer than the six weeks.  My poor sweet hubby was a freaking saint.  I think I fell more in love with him then.  We took the time to hang out with other, we starting reading more together at night, and building the communication romance.  It’s easy to get swept away in the stress of the baby and adjusting but if you stay focused on each other, even from the beginning, it will do wonders for your marriage.  
3. You have a life separate from your kids (and that’s okay!!)
One thing I have always tried to maintain is my own interests, not just for me, but my husband.  Maintaining a healthy life without our kids, separate or together, has done wonders for us and will continue to do wonders as our children grow older and are around less and less.  I know you must have heard stories of couples that don’t know what to do when their kids leave the home.  They don’t know each other and they have nothing in common.  They’ve been so wrapped up in their kids that everything else is a mystery.  Yes, your life must change when you have kids, but letting go of everything else will not keep you connected to your partner or yourself.
Those are the first things that come to my mind, and its always a learning experience, and each child has been a different experience.  But if you keep these things in mind and think of your family as equal parts to a whole pie, you will be a success!  
Thanks for stopping by!!  If you  think my blog is awesome you can vote for my blog! Just check the box next to Cammo Style Love.  Thank you!!!

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Preparing for a Little One : Favorite Stores and Shops

Welcome to another week of Preparing for a Little One, with Wifesessionals.  Fast becoming a fav over here.  Although I have three kids, I’ve found that this link-up has shown me that I’m not alone in how I’m raising my kids or the choices that I’ve made (especially with some of the heavier topics).  For most moms, I would think, that is a priceless gift.  You know what you’re doing is right and in reality you shouldn’t need affirmation of that fact.  However, as humans I think self-doubt is only natural.  One of the weeks I found three or four girls that I spoke to through comment and email responses and we shared that same sentiment.  They may not have realized that they gave me a little blessing that day, but they did.  So, even if you have kids and sort of have your bearings, stick around and read some posts.  You might find your own smile somewhere in there.

This week’s topic is a little more fun and light – Favorite shops and stores.  Who doesn’t love shopping?  And furthermore, who doesn’t love shopping for a baby!?  I’m a succor for it in fact, especially all the little girl stuff.  Make it in pink and I’m sure to swoon.  I’ve got a couple favorite, some big and some small.  Wherever you are google a local boutique.  While they might be more expensive you might find some really cool unique things, plus you’re supporting small business.  One of my favorite dresses I got for my daughter one Christmas was one I found at a little boutique shop.

1. Target!

seriously, who doesn’t love target.  They basically have everything, and as far as big store stuff they are going to be cheaper then Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby.  The truth of the matter is I love going there because I can look for other things besides baby stuff.  But you really can’t beat their clothing (aside from Wal-Mart). I just don’t spend a lot (nor would I recommend spending a lot) on baby clothes.  They barely use them, so if you can get hand me downs they will probably look almost brand new.  But at $3 a piece at wal-mart, their Circo Brand for clothing is awesome!

2. Little Sapling Toys

I love Little Sapling teethers.  I bought this one for my niece.  My nephew has an anchor and my youngest had one in the shape of California (since that’s where we are from).  They are amazing and the kids love them, plus they are a keepsake.  It’s such a great company, hand-made, small-business.  It’s American made and they plant a tree for every toy sold.  They have all sorts of toys and accessories.  These also make great gifts and I absolutely love everything about the product and the company.

3. Once Upon a Child

Reuse Recycle and Reduce!!!!  I have found some great stuff at Once Upon a Child.  Some of the things still had tags on them even.  I’ve gotten toys, a stroller and my very favorite Janie and Jack outfit for my daughter.  I’m all about budgeting where I can and I really think every day kids clothes is the way to go.  Consignment sales are also an option, but those aren’t held all the time.  Most of the clothes, especially for the little ones are barely used and I’ve never had an issue with anything I’ve purchased there.  Most of the shops even have a little place where the kids can play that’s gated off so you can shop and just keep an eye on them (or have your seven year old do it, LOL).  I’ve never sold anything at one before but I’m sure the experience is equally as great.  Usually the stores have a frequent buyer card, so for every ten dollars you spend you get a stamp and then you get 20% off your purchase after you fill it up.  Usually twice a year they have a clearance, fill-a-bag sale, so watch for that and get on a mailing list.

4. Cloth Diaper Shops

For my cloth diaper needs I have bought used and from friends, but some of the shops I love and have worked with personally are:

Kebbie’s Diaper Bag – wahm run and Fern is great.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting her in person and trying some of her products (check out the cloth diaper tab up top). They are really starting to pick up and grow and carry more products so don’t count them out because they are smaller.  They carry some of my very favorite products like Scarlet’s Naturals, Bummis, EcoPosh, Planet Wise and others!!

Kelly’s Closet – larger business with a wide variety of cloth diaper, and cloth diaper related accessories and items.  Plus more!!

Diaper Safari – where I order my liners

Abby’s Lane – this used to be where I would go into a brick and morter store and get to touch and feel all the dipes!  Oh how I miss them.  but they are still around online and they are awesome!!

**make sure to check out my reviews in the Cloth Diaper tab up top and I’m always around to answers questions about cloth diapering

5. Inspired By Finn

Being who I am (LOL), I was a skeptic when it came to Amber necklaces.  It honestly sounded like a mind game, like a placebo affect.  But I decided to try it out and was pleasantly surprised at the effect I know it had.  It actually worked.  Now you have to be careful because they are so many knock-offs and fakes out there.  I’ve only worked with three retailers on these – Kebbie’s Diaper bag (which i mentioned before), one of my amazing sponsors The Cloth Nook, and Inspired by Finn.  I wanted to share Inspired by Finn with you because of their grab bag options and their customer service.

The grab bags at Inspired by Finn, are sort of like the slightly off sheets you get at like TJ Maxx.  The beads aren’t all perfectly matched in color or size.  To me, I could care less.  I’d rather save money but still know I’m getting a good product.  You’re going to probably pay about $19.00+ on them depending on where you buy it from.  You can get a grab bag item (where you don’t get to choose) from IBF for about 14.95.  I had an issue with the first necklace they sent me, the closure cracked, which can happen.  They sent me another one right away, no biggie.

When buying amber, please go with a reputable shop and ask questions if you need to!!

6. Evie Doo’s Boutique

This is a WAHM shop, where you can get just about anything!  What I love the most about the shop is the embroidery!  She’s even embroidered towels, like for a wedding gift?  How amazing is that and a unique option.

 Look at this! Month onesie set!!!

thanks for stopping by!  Have you ever shopped at one of these shops before?  What’s your favorite shop or store?

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Preparing for a Little One – Introducing Solids

Today I’m trying to play catch up with the Preparing For a Little One link-up, hosted by Wifesessionals.  I got a little bit behind on the discussions here but I just love this link-up so much.  It’s such a great idea and it has hit upon all the topics that I get asked about a lot, or just come up in conversations with mommy friends of mine.  Make sure to check out the rest of PFALO posts here on Cammo Style Love and over at Wifesessionals.

Preparing For A Little One

A couple of topics ago, Buying vs. Making Baby Food was the subject of the day.  I wasn’t going to write up a full post on that, but I just wanted to share a couple tidbits before we moved on to this week’s topic.  I made baby food/fed them our food for my second/third one.  Apparently its a thing we’ve actually labeled now, called Baby Led Weaning.  I think its kind of hysterical that we label it, but there you go.  Making pureed baby food is 10x easier than I thought it would be.  I had a night a week or two weeks I did it with the hubby.  we put on a movie and did it together.  Then I got Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, and the world of pureed food opened up wide for me!!!  I used extra puree’s in my every day food, which was kind of cool.  Definitely look that up and get it.

If you don’t feel like actually committing to all your baby food, and feeding your kid table food kind freaks you out (which is okay), here’s some other money saving options!!  Don’t buy baby food bananas man, or really any other fruit.  just throw that stuff in a blender (bananas, pears, peaches).  Also, Mott’s plain applesauce…buy that in bulk, its just like the baby food stuff and 10x cheaper!!!

Okay, now on to this week’s topic, which kind of goes along with what I mentioned up there.  Apparently “Baby Led Weaning” is for-real a thing.  I had no idea.  I think I’m old or something.  If you’re like me and didn’t know it was a thing, definitely read up on it.  With my first one I just did the normal baby food thing.  I also had a really awesome pediatrician who wasn’t telling me at exactly such and such time to start feeding them, such and such food.  He was very much of the idea that baby should show an interest in the food.  This is an idea that I have carried on through each of my kids.  What I have fed them has changed.  I remember thinking to myself, why am I spending all my money on this baby food in jars.  I have half of this stuff in my pantry, or buy it for myself. 

eating what brother eats!!

Here’s some bullet points for the whole feeding thing.

  • Don’t be afraid – don’t be afraid of the whole chocking thing.  Just be smart.  They will gum on stuff, suck it, and try to bite it.  Just watch them explore the food.
  • I like to still use baby rice cereal, oatmeal and some canned or home-made foods and let them play and learn how to use utensils with it.  It’s easier for them to manage that way.  The result for me has been having a one year old that can use a fork and spoon.  I like that!!  and when I say play, I mean, I let them squish it around in their high chair while we eat.
  • start putting your child in a high chair at the table with you as soon as possible.  I love my The First Year’s high chair.  It actually sits on a regular chair (yay space saver!) and it has three different tilt positions.  So I would bring my little ones to the table when we ate even before they could sit up.
  • variety! Introducing and feeding your kids variety from the beginning can only be beneficial.  I have three very, very different kids.  Some of them are more picky then others, but generally speaking my kids eat some crazy things.  And not crazy, as in, weird, but I’ve frequently gotten comments on the fact that my kids eat things like zucchini, salad, spicy food and complex flavors, which kids usually don’t go for.  Introducing to these foods to your kids at an early age is really important I think.  

and one of these because who can resist an adorable baby pic!
Phillip @ 9 days old

Going with your gut is important in parenting.  Listening to your mommy voice is key.  I think too many people read too many books, and do too much research; which only shoves that mommy voice down until you can’t hear it very well any more.  I find, talking to my mommy friends who have like parenting styles is when I get the most help.  

Lastly, have fun!  Have fun cooking and exposing your baby to the foods you make.  I always thought it was great watching them test things out for the first time, the sweetness of pears or the sourness of a pickle.  Who knows, you might wind up with a kid like mine that enjoys sucking on limes and licking pepper of her hands!

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Preparing for a Little One: Baby Wise vs. Attachment Parenting

 Preparing For A Little One

If you have a second to vote for me for Top Military Mom Blog I would love it!!!

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv…so there’s that.  And again, the whole deleting comments like the Chinese government is still happening people*

Thanks everyone for stopping by for another week of Preparing for a Little One. I think the whole idea behind this series and link up is pretty fun. I would have thought it was so fun to have been able to read something like this when I was pregnant. Now that I’m a mom of three, with three very different experiences I’m so excited to be able to share what I’ve experienced and learned.

This weeks topic is Baby Wise vs. Attachment Parenting. Before i even start I must tell you that I don’t practice either one fully and the thoughts and ideas that go along with each of these can vary so much.  If you don’t know much about either one the internet is full of helpful information.  The gist of it basically is the Baby Wise philosophy, and other similiar ones like Tracy Hogg’s E.A.S.Y. book, build off a more structured idea.  Schedules and things like that.  Attachment parenting is a bit more baby and child led, positive and peaceful environments, and things like baby wearing, co-sleeping and baby led feeding are concepts you will hear a lot when discussing attachment parenting.  We do a very mixed bag and its sort of our own style of parenting.  We base our parenting on a general philosophy and I think with each kid you have to find what works for them.  What works for one might not work for another.  I firmly believe that if you go into something with too rigid of an idea it doesn’t work out well.  Parenting books aren’t something that I usually advocate for, especially ones that highlight one specific style of doing something.  The reason being is that I have found that those are the exception and not the rule.  When parents read books like that and find that its not working for them they think they’re the one with the problem.  They believe that they are supposed to fit into some mold and that’s just not how it works.  Now that I have three kids I can tell you that each one has been very different.  Operating off a specific set of values that we want to instill in our children, we tailor that to each of our children’s specific needs.

Baby-wearing Phillip at the pumpkin patch at about a week old

I did a lot of baby-wearing when they are little, we do not co-sleep and I breastfed to varying degrees, the most with my youngest.  I struggled with breastfeeding, especially with my first baby, so Brian was almost exclusively formula fed. Phillip is almost 100% a breastfed baby, having self-weaned himself (much to my great and utter sadness) before he was one. I did Babywear them all, Ami the most and for the longest. My two boys didn’t love it, which was kind of a bummer for me, especially with Phillip because he’s my last baby.  We chose not to co-sleep because we don’t see the benefit compared to not co-sleeping.  I did bring them to bed with me during the last feeding before getting up during the day.  When Phillip was born I believe that I had this subconscious thing take hold of me.  I knew in my heart this was it so I adopted a lot of practices that I hadn’t with my other two, co-sleeping being one of them.  We had a very difficult time getting him sleep anywhere but with us in bed.  I realized how easy this would be if I didn’t have two other kids, but it was very difficult to keep up the feeding on demand, co-sleeping and baby wearing.  It is more than just a parenting style, it is a lifestyle and one that takes a lot of commitment, and both parents need to be fully invested in it.

Carrying Phillip around at The Battle of Bull Run in Manassas, VA

While I appreciate certain aspects, as well as the end goal of attachment parenting, there are some parts that bother me. Mostly what bothers me are the attitudes that I have encountered. And granted, it could be just the people that I have come across. My biggest problem is the idea that putting my child on a schedule, teaching them to self-soothe and not sleeping with them will somehow rob them of an attachment to me and that their bond won’t develop properly, or that letting my child cry at all is killing off brain cells (yes I’ve been told that, and no I’m not even joking a little bit).

        This type of experience is outlined perfectly in a statement I read on Dr. Sears’ website when talking about what Attachment Parenting is: Attachment parenting teaches you how to be discerning of advice, especially those rigid and extreme parenting styles that teach you to watch a clock or a schedule instead of your baby; you know, the cry-it-out crowd. This “convenience” parenting is a short-term gain, but a long-term loss, and is not a wise investment. These more restrained styles of parenting create a distance between you and your baby and keep you from becoming an expert in your child.

That type of thinking is frankly very offensive.  That the way I parent is for my “convenience.”  This whole paragraph bothers me on so many levels I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  The very thought that I’m somehow damaging my children and that I couldn’t possibly be attached and bonded with them is ludicrous.

Me and all three of my very loved, bonded and attached children

I guess the point I’m trying to say is that balance is key. In our home we strive to achieve balance in all we do, especially with our children. We want to have a home filled with love, honesty and patience. We want our children to be on a schedule, but not live by it. The ability to be flexible and ebb and flow with the needs of each one of our children, and our life in general is just as valuable. We have a very close bond with our children and in my personal opinion taking anything to the extreme can be damaging. Personally for us, this is what has worked and I haven’t seen a negative outcome yet. There are struggles with both types of parenting styles. Finding a schedule, keeping it, getting in a feeding rhythm and helping them discern their night from day. I have several friends that practice aspects of attachment parenting, several of while who have eventually had struggles, like when to stop co-sleeping, how to get a child to sleep in their own room, a spouse who grows weary and wants time with their mate in their bed, breastfeeding on demand multiple children, because a second one has come and the older one still wants to. Each comes with their own difficulties and hurdles to jump. I know the decision that I’ve come to and what I would appreciate the most is some respect for my parenting decisions. Like I said, I find it extremely offensive and troublesome when the bond with my child is called into question. Parenting isn’t for the weak! Find people who are like-minded with you and share in your triumphs and struggles and grow together. Parenting is a journey and develops over time. No is perfect right out of the gate, and I firmly believe you can’t go into it with hard and fast rules for many things you want to do. I think that only leads to frustration.

I know I didn’t get specific about some aspects of my parenting style. But I am always here and willing to talk via email. To offer advice, suggestions, elaborate on my experiences and just be a listening ear for you. This is such a huge topic I feel like I could have go on forever and ever!

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