The First Three Months with a Toddler and Newborn

The First Three Months with a Toddler and Newborn

The transition to becoming a mother of two was a wonderful, chaotic, and emotional one. The first six weeks were a huge adjustment for all of us–especially for Paul. Paul has ADORED Chiara since the very first time he met her. He loves to hold her hand while they are nursing together; he loves to snuggle with her; he loves to play with her; and he loves to make her smile and laugh. At this point, all Chiara has to do is see Paul for her to smile and laugh. Their relationship is already so beautiful and so strong; and it is nurtured every day to ensure that their bond continues to grow stronger. Even though he has expressed so much love for her from the absolute beginning; the transition to becoming a big brother had a huge impact on my Paul Bear…

I found the first six weeks to be the most difficult. It was very apparent that Paul felt insecure. In a stage where he was now pushing for his independence and autonomy; he was now also struggling with feelings of insecurity. On top of bringing home a new baby, we were also preparing to do a big move out of state. These transitions caused Paul to behave in ways that tested everything that I had studied and practiced thus far in terms of early childhood development and behavior modification…

Paul’s insecurity caused him to nurse more frequently than a newborn–and trying to get him to take breaks resulted in tantrums and melt downs. He also started seeking negative attention since it was a definitive way to get us focused solely on him– and he started to bite, frequently. The way we were handling biting and hitting before Chiara was born was to place him on time out for one minute and then talk with him about the incident–the method worked as a space to provide a teachable moment to talk with him about why he was placed on time out; the words he could use instead of biting or hitting; a time to teach him emotional regulation; as well as a time to teach empathy. However, these behaviors occurred so frequently after Chiara came home that this method no longer provided us with a space for the teachable moments that it once did–and instead strengthened Paul’s insecurity. It was when his happy affect had seemed to diminish that we knew that we needed to take a different approach…

The first steps that we took was to stop putting him on time outs; heavily reinforce his positive behavior; and put all negative behavior on extinction– essentially, we did not provide any reaction to the behaviors that we were trying to eliminate. This caused his biting behavior to occur even more frequently because he was trying extra hard to elicit a response from us– but it was still placed on extinction. The goal was to set him up solely for success.

For nursing, I started using countdowns, which helped him to prepare for the fact that he was going to have to take a break from nursing; and I also provide reasons for the necessity for the the breaks to occur. Implementing this helped almost instantaneously. 

After we moved, we continued to implement these new techniques. In addition, I decided that it was time to encourage him to sleep without nursing for naps. I knew that this would be difficult at first, as prior to Chiara being born, nap time was the only time that he did nurse. To encourage this, we started to–and still do– nurse before we read stories before nap and he nurses again after nap. It took a few days for him to accept this, but he has been successfully napping for up to two hours a day going on two months now. It is an understatement when I say Paul’s favorite thing to do is to nurse; but he has become so much more patient and flexible about it. We have not had any nursing related tantrums in weeks and I do not foresee any occurring now that we have a system.

To eliminate biting took more adjustments and modifications as this behavior turned from an attention seeking behavior to an impulsive behavior. After settling into our new apartment, the frequency of his biting just naturally decreased. While the behavior of biting was occurring less frequently, it was still not eliminated. I decided to reintroduce his Ringley teether, and I made sure to have him bite on it during the times that his biting behavior was to most likely occur; which was when he was tired. Since biting is most likely to occur when he is tired, the two hours leading up to his nap time and the two hours leading up to his bed time are extremely structured. Between providing him an outlet to bite and ensuring a structured nap time and bed time routine, Paul’s inappropriate biting behavior has been seemingly eliminated.

At three months into parenting a toddler and newborn, things have become SO. MUCH. EASIER. As parents, we are constantly learning through trial and error and much reflection to achieve the ultimate goal of being the best parents that we could be to foster our child’s individual needs. We faced so many obstacles in the weeks following Chiara’s arrival, and after much effort, we’ve finally reached a state of equilibrium. This experience and overcoming these obstacles has brought our family so much closer together. In this exact moment, we are all in bliss. 

 

 

Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

Good evening and happy Saturday! Today, I am 30 weeks pregnant. Matt and I had our 27 week ultrasound and I am so happy to share that everything is going well; baby girl is 2 lbs and is in birthing position. We absolutely love going to ultrasound appointments =)

The experience of pregnancy is so incredible and it makes me so happy to be able to experience it again for a short 9 months. Baby girl is moving so much, and her movements are so strong. I love feeling this little baby angel grow inside of me; and I am really looking forward to the next 10 weeks of feeling her fetal movements grow stronger. It is so exciting that we can officially see her movements. =)

Reading through my posts during my pregnancy with Paul made me realize how different both pregnancies have been. With this pregnancy, the third trimester symptoms that I am experiencing are chronic heart burn, exhaustion, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, skipped heartbeats, and a swollen vein. While these symptoms are incredibly difficult–it is a beautiful difficult.

Body

I have gained 18 beautiful pounds during this pregnancy so far; and I expect to gain up to 10 more. I am someone who feels absolutely beautiful during pregnancy; I think that I even stated in a post while I was pregnant with Paul that I have never felt more beautiful than I do when I am pregnant. This remains true with this pregnancy. The duration of pregnancy is so short; so I embrace every second of ALL of the experiences it brings.

I am still able to workout and it is a regular part of my routine. I do a 45 minute workout for my lower body two days a week, a 30 minute workout for my upper body with weights two days a week, and lots and lots of walking. I really want to incorporate yoga into my daily routine, specifically for flexibility (and take advantage of that relaxin hormone!), but I am unsure of what is safe for me to do. Keeping up with my workouts are a priority for me; I have been able to maintain as much muscle mass as possible and I think this is going to make my postpartum fitness journey easier this time than it was the first time.

I have not been excessively hungry during this pregnancy. With Paul, I would wake up starving in the middle of this night; but with this pregnancy, I have a snack right after dinner and that’s all until the next morning (unless Matt and I are snuggling up and watching a movie and fall down the snack hole). The days that I am constantly hungry are the days that I work; my job is physically demanding so I stay physically active during the entire work sessions and I also walk a lot on these days. Overall, I am really happy with my food consumption and fitness journey during this pregnancy.

Thank you so much for reading and coming on this journey with me! =) I hope that you have a happy Saturday! <333

Pregnancy Update: 21 Weeks

Good morning and happy Saturday! I am 21 weeks pregnant, and halfway through this beautiful pregnancy. This pregnancy is flying by. I feel baby girl’s movements very strongly all day (and night) long; I absolutely love how active she is–same as Paul was in my belly. Matt is able to feel her movements as well =)I have gained 8 pounds so far; I started gaining 1 pound a week as of week 13. Here is a picture of me at 21 weeks with baby girl:

I am a person who loves growing a baby. I think it is incredible what a woman’s body can do to accomodate pregnancy; and I feel so incredibly lucky to be carrying another baby angel. With this pregnancy, I have been significantly more lenient with myself when it comes to nutrition. I find myself drinking more caffeine (I just love iced tea this pregnancy), eating more store bought candy, and eating lots of bagels (those carbs really help me have enough energy to get through work)–these are things I completely avoided with my first pregnancy. While I am more lenient with myself, I still eat very nutritiously. With my pregnancy with Paul, I had to stop working out because of severe pelvic pressure; but I have not experienced that with this pregnancy (yay!), so I am still working out 3 days a week.

Paul and the Pregnancy

Paul is very excited about his baby sister. He was the first one to know (even before Matt and I) that I was pregnant. Paul started nursing more frequently in September, and he would point at my belly and say “baby.” That prompted me to take a pregnancy test and, I was pregnant! Matt and I had been talking with Paul for some time before I became pregnant about having a baby brother or sister and that a baby would grow in my belly like he did–so it could have just been a coincidence that he actually pointed to my belly and said “baby.” He did, however, increase his nursing for the entire month of September, which was my first month of pregnancy. Paul says good morning and good night to his baby sister every night and always kisses my belly. It is the sweetest thing to see how happy he becomes when we talk about the baby with him. I am so happy that these two baby angels will be two years and four months apart. I think it was perfect timing. And this month, Paul started sleeping in his crib for nap time =) He no longer needs to nurse before nap, and we just follow the night time routine before we place him in his crib to nap. I am so proud of my big boy.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy day! =D

Baby Boy is Full Term!

Good morning and happy Monday =D I am 37 weeks pregnant, and my son is officially full term! When I look at my belly, I can’t believe that I have a full size newborn baby in my body. My little marshmallow man is due in 22 days, and I am so anxious and eager to meet him. It is amazing how much my son’s fetal movements have changed over the last week. I feel him all of the time, but he is mostly squirming and trying to stretch. I think he is trying to make more room in mommy’s tummy!

Body

This is my body at 37 weeks =D  I still weigh 140 lbs.

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 This is the first time in my life that, in my eyes, I feel absolutely beautiful =D Being pregnant has been such a positive experience and has had such a positive impact on me.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a happy Monday! <333

36 Weeks Update

Good evening and happy Monday! I am now 36 weeks pregnant and have 28 days left until my due date. My tummy is feeling incredibly heavy, like I am carrying around a 20 pound kettlebell; a very adorable and active kettlebell of course =D I have been getting a lot of cramping and Braxton hicks contractions this week, which has me thinking about my birth plan. The plan is to go natural if I can, I would like to experience medication free childbirth at least once. If the pain is too intolerable, I will be getting an epidural, which is a little frightening to me. I really dislike the idea of having a tube sticking out of my back and a catheter inserted into my body. I also dislike the idea of feeling paralyzed from the waist down, so I am hoping I can tolerate the pain enough to experience childbirth. =D

Matt and I have a few names picked out; we have been calling him one of the names for the passed few months, but we are not set on it. A few days ago, Matt called out the names that we were discussing to my belly, and our son responded to the name that we have been calling him over the passed few months by giving us a big movement. It was incredible =D

Body

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Here is my body at 36 weeks pregnant. I am now 140 pounds, so I gained a pound and half this week. This time, eating empty calories is not to blame for the extra half pound of weight gain =)

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy Monday <33

 

Hello Ninth Month of Pregnancy

Good afternoon and happy Saturday =D I hope everyone is enjoying the new year <3

Today, I am officially 9 months pregnant, and the feeling of reaching my last month is bitter sweet. Pregnancy has been such an amazing experience; my favorite part of it has definitely been feeling my baby boy’s movements grow stronger. At the end of 35 weeks, I no longer feel kicks and punches, rather, I feel full stretches, twists, turns and body movements. Once I give birth, I know I am going to miss these active movements that have become so soothing for me. Truthfully, I do not remember what it is like not to be pregnant, so it is going to be interesting to see how I readapt.

At the same time, I am at a point where I am so eager to meet him that I can not wait to go into labor. I am full term in a week and a half, so I find myself fantasizing about going earlier than 40 weeks. Also, after growing a baby for 9 months, my body is incredibly tired and could use rest. The transformation my body has gone through during this pregnancy has been astonishing, and though I enjoyed every moment of it, I am excited to get back into my physically active hobbies that I was told to stop during my pregnancy. Interestingly, washing the dishes for 5 minutes makes my heart beat as fast as working out used to do to me and I am equally as out of breath.

I have had 5 ultrasounds done throughout my pregnancy, and I want to show you the progression of my little marshmallow man.

This is my little man at 13 weeks and 3 days <3 When I first saw this, I instantly knew that he has inherited Matt’s lips =D

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This is my my man at 27 weeks and 3 days =D He weighed about 2 pounds <33

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Here is my little marshmallow man at 34 weeks and 6 days =D He weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces, and this ultrasound confirmed that he has definitely inherited Matt’s lips! We also saw his hair flowing in the fluid. I wonder if he has inherited my thick hair.

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This is the little man who gets the hiccups a few times a day because he is practicing breathing. This is the little man who responds to my touch and voice by giving me a strong movements. This is the little man who has been a part of me for the last 8 months. This is the little man who will soon be able to live independently from my body. I can not wait to meet him.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have a happy Saturday! =D

35 Weeks Update!

Good afternoon and happy Tuesday!! I am 35 weeks pregnant and I could not be happier. My insurance has a new policy where everything needs to be preauthorized before patients are able to get tests done, and after a month of waiting for an approval for a fetal echocardiogram and a routine ultrasound, I finally got both of the tests done yesterday =D

I needed to get a fetal echo because I had the Coxsackievirus during my third trimester of pregnancy. This virus, also known as the Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, is a prevalent childhood infection, but if a pregnant woman is exposed or becomes infected with the virus during pregnancy and it crosses the placenta, the virus attacks the fetus’ heart. (Some other childhood infections that could cause serious damage to a fetus is Fifths Disease and Chickenpox). My cardiologist said at first glance everything looks normal and he does not see anything that is life threatening. I waited so long to hear this, so I am ecstatic. =D

At my last few doctors appointments, I was told that my stomach was measuring small and they were concerned about my son’s growth, and today, I was told he is currently 5 pounds 4 ounces and everything looks great! Yay!

And! He is in birthing position; I was told to be prepared to give birth at 37 weeks, that is 2 more weeks =D

Body

The transformation that my body has undergone throughout this pregnancy has been astounding. I can’t believe I started here (the two left pictures are pre pregnancy and the two right pictures are 17 weeks):

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and now I am here (35 weeks):

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I currently weigh 138 pounds. This week I gained 1 1/2 pounds (I should be at 137), and it is because I over indulged on empty calories throughout the holiday season. That extra 1/2 pound was worth it. =D

Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy, I realized that I forgot what it feels like not to be pregnant. Over the last few weeks, I have become accustomed to the soothing feeling of my son’s movements inside my body. It truly brings me so much happiness. As I enjoy the last 2 to 5 weeks of pregnancy, I am excited to give birth and see how my body transitions from being pregnant into being unoccupied. I find myself asking these questions: How long will it take to lose my pregnancy weight? Will my body look as it did prior to pregnancy, or will I embrace a new shape? Will my belly button remain an outie (because seriously, that button is completely out), and will it be stretched out? I do have more questions, but, I will just have to wait and see =D

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a happy Tuesday! <333

The Ultimate Power Dessert: Yogurt Ice Cream

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Happy Saturday! Matt has created many recipes throughout my pregnancy to satisfy my ever changing cravings. This dessert is not only super delicious, but it is nutritious for you and your baby =D There are two recipes that we have been making.

Recipe 1:

Ingredients:

Plain Greek Yogurt

Frozen Strawberries

Pasteurized Honey

Chia Seeds

Lemon

French Vanilla Oats

Recipe 2:

Ingredients:

Plain Greek Yogurt

Peanut Butter

Banana

Chia Seeds

Pasteurized Honey

Lemon

French Vanilla Oats

Place the yogurt and frozen strawberries (Recipe 1) or the yogurt, peanut butter, and banana (Recipe 2) in the food processor or blender. Add some raw organic honey, some chia seeds, and a squirt of lemon. This measurements are based on your taste, after the ingredients are mixed, add more of anything that you would like. Place the mixture into a bowl and put it in the freezer until it is at a texture to your liking. Sprinkle french vanilla oats on top for a nice crunch.

What nutrients do these ingredients contain?

Plain Greek Yogurt

Yogurt contains protein, calcium, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains probiotics, which research suggests boost the immune system.

Pasteurized Honey

Honey boosts your immune system and reduces heartburn. It contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain fiber, iron, protein and calcium.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter contains protein, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and healthy fats.

Oats

Oats contain fiber, potassium, and iron.

Strawberries

Strawberries contain vitamin C, magnesium and calcium.

Bananas

Bananas contain potassium and vitamin B6

Lemon

Lemons contain calcium, thiamin, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin B6 and riboflavin.

How does the nutrition found in these ingredients foster your babies development?

Protein is necessary to the baby’s growth and organ development.

Calcium is necessary to the baby’s bone development.

Magnesium helps to regulate blood sugar levels and your build tissues.

Potassium contributes to balancing electrolytes and nerve impulse transmission throughout your body.

Vitamin B12 is essential for the formation of red blood cells.

Copper assists with developing the baby’s heart, blood vessels, and skeletal and nervous systems.

Iron helps create blood for you and baby as well as transports oxygen throughout your body.

Phosphorus helps with the baby’s bone development.

Zinc is essential for the baby’s rapid cell growth.

Fiber helps regulate the digestive track in pregnant women.

Vitamin C assists with the development of the baby’s skin and bones.

Vitamin B6 helps promote the production of white blood cells by ensuring that the organs that create them remain healthy.

Thiamin helps promote a healthy nervous and muscular system for your baby.

Riboflavin helps a baby develop bones, muscles, and nerves.

I hope that you enjoy this delicious dessert =D Happy Saturday <3333

 

 

34 Weeks Update!

Good afternoon and happy Saturday! I am so sorry that I have not updated in a while =( I am now 34 weeks, and each week since my last update has been full of new surprises. My baby boy is super active and has taken control of my tummy; especially the left side =D Little cutie. I feel every precious movement he makes, and my favorite has to be the sensation of him rolling around. It is also super adorable when he gets the hiccups, which feels like a heartbeat =)

It is so exciting that I only have 6 more weeks to go. =) It is amazing to experience how different my body feels and looks from one week to the next. An interesting symptom that I have been experiencing over the last 3 weeks is a decrease in appetite. I am not hungry all the time anymore, and I get full incredibly fast.

Here is me at 34 weeks pregnant:

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My total weight gain so far is 21 lbs. I am now 136 lbs, which is exactly where I expected to be =D

Hospital Tour

Matt and I went on a tour of the hospital this week =D We both feel very much at ease now that we know what to expect during our 2 or 3 night stay. There is an ER just for women who are in labor, which is the first place I will go when I arrive to the hospital. After I am admitted, I will be transferred to the delivery room, which is a private room where we will stay for the rest of my labor. After I deliver, we will be transferred to another private room where we will spend 2 or 3 nights. Being there and seeing what my experience is going to be like was so invigorating; I’m ready!

Labor Pains

The day after Matt and I went on our hospital tour, I started experiencing intense cramping. I have a relatively high pain tolerance, so I was unable to accurately judge the urgency of the pain. The cramping started in my lower back and made it’s way around my entire stomach. I was also having contractions, but they were so irregular that I knew it had to be braxton hicks. I experienced these pains constantly for 6 hours before finally falling asleep. I still had them when I woke up in the morning, so my doctor is testing me to see if I am at risk for premature labor. I am on bedrest until the results come back on Monday =0 I am hoping that baby boy waits until 37 weeks so his lungs and brain have more time to develop.

Words can not express how amazing it is to be pregnant and to experience a human growing inside of you. In the third trimester, you feel every movement your baby makes; every twist, turn, stretch, kick, and hiccup, and since I love feeling him, the third trimester has been my favorite part of pregnancy. Thank you for reading and enjoying this experience with me <33333 I hope you have a wonderful Saturday!

 

How I am Staying Fit During Pregnancy

Good afternoon and happy Thursday! Even though I have been unable to do toning exercises, I have been trying to stay as fit as possible by eating healthy, drinking a lot of purified water, and going on daily walks. I have been gaining 1 lb a week since week 13, so I am currently 130 lbs (my pre pregnancy weight was 115) and I have about 12 to 15 more pounds to gain depending on the size of my boy. I have found many recommendations online about how many calories to eat on a daily basis, but honestly, I do not follow any of these suggestions. When I am hungry, I eat. Since the second trimester, I have been consuming approximately 1800 to 2300 calories a day. Though I do add up my daily calorie intake, I am not concerned with them. What is most important to me is where I am getting the calories from. I try my best to limit the amount of empty calories I consume on a weekly basis since they have little or no nutritional value and try to keep my diet very healthy. I am very happy if I consume 2300 or more calories from nutritional foods in one day. =D

There are specific items that I try to always have in my kitchen to ensure that I am eating healthy and nutritionally:

Fruits and Vegetables

Avocados, Organic Spinach, Organic Apples, Oranges, Frozen Strawberries and Mangos, Bananas, Tomatoes, Onions, Organic Celery, Organic Carrots, Jalapeños, Red Peppers, Cucumbers, and Garlic

Protein

Chickpeas, Cannelloni Beans, Red Beans, Organic Eggs, Organic Peanut Butter, Organic, Whole Chicken, and 90% Lean Ground Beef

Dairy

Greek Yogurt, Parmigiana Cheese, Butter and Whole Milk

Oils

Canola Oil or Olive Oil

Grains

Pasta and Whole Wheat Bread

Drinks

Orange Juice and Sparkling Water

Seeds

Chia Seeds

There are so many delicious and nutritious meals that could be created with these ingredients. I have been sharing my husband’s recipes and explaining how each ingredient in the recipe impacts the development of a growing fetus. If you would like to view some, you can click on the following links =D

Chicken Burrito

Beef Chili

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Upcoming recipes include homemade hummus with homemade yogurt sauce, chicken chili, and fruit smoothies  =)

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day! <3

 

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