Friday, March 31, 2017

How to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Baby

One of the hardest things for me during my second pregnancy was the guilt and nerves I felt about how our new baby would affect my toddler and our relationship. I cried many tears about it and prayed many prayers about it, but knew it was out of my control. All I could do was help prepare his little mind and heart in the only ways I knew how.

Here are some things I found helpful as I was preparing my toddler to meet his little brother... 

Read Books about Babies and Big Brother/Sister: Here are the ones we read on repeat.
Take your Toddler to your Doctor's Appointments: You may think I'm crazy, but I highly recommend taking your toddler with you to your OB appointments. It may be a hassle, but I truly feel it helped Aiden prepare for a baby. He got to hear the baby's heartbeat at all my third trimester appointments and he saw me with doctors....
Share Pictures of your Toddler as a baby: This was a huge help in preparing Aiden for his hospital visit. He had seen pictures of me in a hospital gown from when he was born and was able to make the connection when he came to meet Alder. We read it together in the hospital room as well.
Introduce a baby doll: My sister in law gave Aiden a baby doll a few months prior to Aiden meeting his baby brother. It cried and laughed and came with a bottle. From time to time we would ask Aiden to feed the baby or hug the baby. When it cried we asked him to "pat, pat" the baby. I truly think this helped prepare our little guy for some responsibilities he would have as a big brother.

Other helpful tips:

  • When it's time for your toddler to actually meet the baby, give your toddler lots of attention: I made sure I was the one to greet and hold Aiden when he came in to our hospital room. He sat in my lap and my husband held the baby so I could reassure him that I was okay and that he was still important and loved.

  • Have a present from the new baby for your toddler to open. Our gift from Alder to Aiden just happened to be something that also kept him entertained in our small hospital room. That was extremely helpful!

  • Give your toddler time and grace. They will learn to love your new little bundle in time, but expect some tears and a transition time. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

3 Simple Ways to Make Mealtime More Fun! {AND A NUBY GIVEAWAY}

I don't know about you, but I find myself giving my two year old the same food options on repeat because I know he likes them and because it's easy. But that gets old for both of us very quickly, so I have come up with 3 simple ways to make mealtime more fun for both you and your child.

1.) Play with the shapes of their food
Kids love to have fun, so why not play with their food? An easy way to do this is by changing the shape of their food. The common way to do this is by using a cookie cutter. You can easily make your child's boring PB&J into a heart or a dinosaur. Another way to play with the shapes of their food is by using an ice cube tray! My toddler loves mashed potatoes and he eats them often so instead of serving them mashed in the usual way I decided to change it up. I filled a cat shaped ice cube tray with the potatoes and then froze them. I then took them out of the freezer, brushed some melted butter on top, added a little salt and pepper then baked them at 180 degrees for 18 minutes and he loved them! The foods you could freeze in ice cube trays are endless (applesauce, yogurt, any puree, sweet potatoes, etc.!) IKEA has inexpensive ice cube trays in a variety of shapes if you are looking for some.
2.) Serve Fruits and Veggies with some kind of spread
Let's be honest, it can be hard to serve fruits and veggies to your picky eater. My toddler loves cream cheese and he loves crackers so I decided to just make my own version of a fruit pizza for him to eat. Choose a spread that your child likes (cream cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, hummus) and think of how to add fruits or veggies to it. I will be trying the cream cheese and cracker pizza idea with vegetables next time!
3.) Present food in a brand new way
Visual presentation is important to a child and to us too, right? My toddler doesn't love lunch meat so I have tried to present it in a few different ways. I tried wrapping it in a tortilla and then saw this idea on Pinterest of using a pretzel stick. I simple wrapped lunch meat around string cheese and then used a knife to make an X and stuck the pretzel stick through. Aiden had fun holding on to the lunch meat this way and while he still didn't proceed to actually eat the lunch meat, he at least tried it, which is progress.

The Sure Grip Miracle Mats pictured above make presentation at mealtime much easier because it is a divided plate. It also makes me think about how to incorporate more food groups into each of my child's meals. These mats stick to the table, my child's high chair tray, counters, etc. and are dishwasher safe. It is nice to have a plate you know is secure and won't be flipped over, or chucked across the room!
If you'd like to get one of these mats for FREE, 
hop over to my Instagram: @allie_renner for a chance to win one!
Throughout this month, Babies R'Us is having sales on many other Nuby mealtime items that could also help make mealtime more fun for you and your kids. Here are some details on the sale so head to your nearest Babies R' Us (or visit their website) to snatch up some mealtime items for yourself!

Sale includes bottles, cups, mealtime, bottle accessories and bottle dish soap
Buy 1 Get 10% off
Buy 2 Get 20% off
Buy 3 or more Get 30% off
Sale runs through March 26th!

What do you do or use to make mealtime fun?


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Alder Jacob {One Month}

My littlest buddy is now one month (plus 10 days) old and what a sweet month it has been. I have loved getting to know Alder these last few weeks. Here's what I know about him so far...

He has my BLUE eyes and I think they're here to stay! I can't begin to tell you how happy this makes me. I love my brown eyed boys, but knowing he gets these eyes from me just makes me happy.

He likes to hold on to my fingers or my hair while he eats. I think it's the sweetest thing ever.

He is in a word from our doctor, "vigorous." I prefer mighty or determined. The kid knows what he wants and fights for it. Even though I'd say his overall demeanor is very chill and sweet, when he wants to eat, he wants to eat now and he will put his whole body into telling you so. 
He loves being sung to. His favorite and the song that most effectively soothes him is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." It has to be because he heard it so many times in the womb from Drew and I singing it to Aiden. I have now trained Aiden to sing this song to Alder when he cries to help all of our sanity and honestly, I think it helps.

He loves being close to me. His favorite position to be in is on my chest with his legs froggied out. He is also very content when I wear him in my Wildbird sling. That thing is a game changer.
He is alert and curious like his brother. At our newborn photo session the kid would not go to sleep for the longest time for our photographer. He followed her camera lens any time she moved it. He was too curious for sleep. Aiden did the same thing at his newborn session. #brothers

He loves the sound of his Daddy's voice. I'd say he is most smiley when Drew talks to him.

A few stats about Alder at one month: 

Weight: 10 pounds 12 ounces (85th percentile, WHATTTT?!)

Height: 23 inches

Size clothes: I have officially put away all of his newborn clothes and have bumped him up to size 1 diapers. I swear he just fit into his dinosaur footed jammies last week. Now he cant even bend his knees in this outfit. Believe me, I tried to squeeze him into them one last time. I'm in denial because he is changing way too quickly.

Sleeping: This kid cluster feeds like crazy every single evening from dinner to bedtime, which means he gives me a solid 5 hours of sleep before wanting to eat again.

Random stuff only parents want to know:

Nicknames: Alder J, Little Buddy, Little Pig-pig (due to his nightly feeding habits)

Likes: Smiling (it's his favorite), Being sung to (Twinkle, Twinkle), eating all day everyday...I swear he's a feeding machine. being carried in the ring sling, being snuggled close to Mama (and his feeding source, haha), the sound of Daddy's voice, "Pat-pats" from his big brother, staring at mobiles.

Dislikes: Having to wait for food especially in the evening hours, being sat on by his big brother (sharing Mama's lap is hard work)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Alder from our first month together...
We love our little buddy so much and can't wait to see what month 2 brings!

See Aiden at ONE MONTH here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

39 weeks with Alder (A Final Bump Compilation)

Taken at 39 weeks and 5 days just hours before meeting Alder
Dear Alder,
You are currently laying on my chest with your eyes closed and your sweet face toward the sun. You are breathing little breaths in and out on my chest and I can feel your heartbeat against mine. It's so crazy to think just 5 weeks ago you were inside me and that we did not quite know each other yet. My pregnancy with you was such a sweet one. I'm sorry I didn't capture it the way I did with your brother, but I felt blessed each day knowing you were growing inside me. My pregnancy with you went so fast and overall I felt very good. There was this one spot on my back you liked to press on, but every ache and pain was worth it the moment I saw you. Even though you had to be evicted like your brother, you were more ready to come out than he was.

My labor with you was quick and I found myself thankful for every contraction (as painful as they were) because they were bringing me closer to meeting you. You entered the world after 12 pushes, with a full head of hair and lungs that were clearly working. My favorite part of the day was when the doctor put you on my chest and we locked eyes for the first time. I loved you so much already, but actually seeing you and holding was such an amazing feeling. These last few weeks with you have been a mixture of so many things, but what I feel most when I hold you is pride and joy. You have been such a good baby, so easy going and sweet. You are already smiling and trying to "talk" to us. You are so content being close to me, it makes my Mama heart so full. I already forget what life was like before you joined our family. I'm so glad you're finally here baby boy. I love you more than you could ever know.

Your Mama

Here's the final set of bump pictures...39 weeks (and 5 days) carrying Alder.
Week 16 Bumpdate
                Week 22 Bumpdate
                                                                                                                                            Week 30 Bumpdate