Thursday, March 24, 2016


Its Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! This week, we are all chiming in on all things babysitting/childcare related. You can head on over to our pinterest page and look at what all the ladies have to say. I am going to be writing mostly about it being worth it for me to hire a sitter during my children's sleeping hours if I must be away to continue making our family schedule and their sleep a priority.

Tyler and I don't need babysitters super often, but we have one come everyday. Yes you read that correctly - and yes its true. What I mean is we don't often leave our children during times that they are awake and need a lot of supervision. However,  I  have a strong conviction to keep my children's sleep a priority - so this is why I have a babysitter come everyday during my younger girls nap time come sit at my house while I pick up my oldest from school (which annoyingly ends at 2:50, right in the middle of nap time). Our sitter is amazing and I am so thankful that her schedule allows for her to come and make sure our house doesn't catch on fire while the girls sleep. On Monday and Wednesday my middle girls (5 years and 3 years) go to a mothers day out program at our church. They get out at 2:30, so on those days my sweet sitter will come a little early to stay at the house with Wynn (napping) while I do pick up for them and then for my oldest daughter right afterwards. She will be here anywhere from 15-25 minutes everyday of the week. When she is here, those babies are sleeping and not requiring a lot (any) of her direct attention so we agreed on $30 a week for her payment. If I have her do anything extra during the week, I of course compensate her for all of her time that I take.

When we leave a babysitter with a quiet house, we tell them to relax  - give them free reign over our netflix and set them up on our wifi.

I want the sitters I use to want to come back. I want them to know that I KNOW how valuable their time is, and I want to be respectful of that - and want to make them feel like its worth their time to come and babysit for us. When a sitter is keeping all of my children, who are all awake and the sitter has to be more "on" I pay at least $15.00 per hour. This has been what I pay since I have 3 or more kids.  I know better than anyone what a task that is - to take all 4 of them on. I feel comfortable with this, because if there is something that is important enough for me to do to need a babysitter then it will almost always be worth that price. I will pay slightly less for a sitter that is there during sleeping hours for my children - I feel like the work load is significantly less, but I still try to pay enough to make it worthwhile for them.  If a sitter needs to be in charge of a meal time, I provide a meal for her as well. I have never and will never ask a care taker to bathe my children, as I am just not at all comfortable with that. I don't think my children would be comfortable with it either, and most likely the sitters I use would probably rather not themselves!

I would say that 98% of the time any long term babysitting needs arise (If Tyler and I leave for a weekend, or sometimes when he travels and I need a little break) I ask family. My parents and my inlaws are so amazing and willing to keep the girls overnight from time to time. I think they enjoy the alone time with their grandkids and I know that my girls soak up every minute they can get with their grandparents. My in laws and my parents are both incredibly respectful of Tyler and I, and keep our kids on their regular schedule as best as they can. Having my children following a schedule, I believe, helps them (and in home babysitters alike) to know what to expect for the day - and gives them a guide to follow. I think they are appreciative that they can know what to expect from my kids and my kids don't miss a beat. The longest we have ever left the kids with family is for 4 nights. This was not for a vacation, it was when I delivered Wynn. (she had very minor complications at birth and just needed a few extra days of monitoring before they sent us home). I also try to split the girls two by two between my parents and tyler's parents when possible. I feel like that lessens the burden on both of them and gives the girls a better chance for a more special visit when I can split them. We are beyond blessed to have both sets of grandparents fairly close (30 and 80 miles away) for this to even be an option for us.

I have a lot of other thoughts regarding babysitting and childcare for my children, but I have learned that it has just been worth it for me to pay someone to sit at my house when I need to leave and children need to nap - and that when they are awake its important to me to make it a gain for a sitter to stay with my kids. I have REALLY learned that it does take a village to raise and care for children and I am thankful for each family member, babysitter, and teacher who has assumed responsibility for any of my children for any length of time.

Friday, March 11, 2016

BFBN Week: Katrina

Today is the last day of Babywise Friendly Blog Network! Katrina is up today, and has a great post prepared over at Mama's Organized Chaos about the in's and out's of transitioning from 2 naps to 1 nap in toddlers. She talks about everything from signs of being ready to drop the morning nap, to considering the amount of hours in total sleep  your toddler is getting, and even a little on her own experience and how her and her daughter made the leap from 2 naps to 1. She reminds us that going from 2 naps to 1 nap doesn't have to be cold turkey. You can have some days where 2 naps are needed and other days where you can get by with just 1. This was a concept that I didn't really think about until my 3rd baby! I so wish I would have thought it out that way with my first two daughters!

Go check her out! I hope you enjoyed hearing from all these ladies this week!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

BFBN Week: FAQ's from Carrie and Stephanie

Continuing on with Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week, today you will want to visit Carrie and Stephanie's blogs!

Carrie is asked a lot about scheduling her day with her 4 kids! She is going to walk you through how she gets started with this in the beginning and how she stays consistent long term with her family's schedule. As a baby outgrows a particular schedule due to their sleep needs changing you will need to make tweaks and adjustments to your schedule and Carrie discusses how she does this smoothly. Carrie will talk about the flexibility that can come with sticking to a nice schedule that works for the entire family. All your scheduling questions can be answered over at Wiley Adventures!

When you are finished there, head over to Giving it Grace and read what Stephanie has to say about stopping unwanted toddler behavior. I really loved the thoughts she had in regard to naughty toddler behavior. She says, "In our home, disobedience or naughty behavior either means I'm not being clear enough with what's expectedor I'm not being swift enough with discipline." I really like how she takes the perspective of a parents actions fueling disobedience. Not saying that bad behavior can't originate from a toddler just learning how to act properly and follow rules - but just saying that maybe we can change our own behavior to get a different outcome from our toddler. Stephanie also gives great tips about removing a toddler from their "stage" or setting for toddler tantrums. Her son struggled at the dinner table, so for a few days she and her son ate on the floor. Genius! The table was his "stage" so she removed that and saw progress when she did! Go read more! You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BFBN Week: Emily with dropping the last MOTN Feed!

Dropping that last middle of the night feed can be a tricky thing! You wonder if they are truly hungry, waking out of habit, or second guess yourself on if they need a full feed at this point. This feed is usually dropped in healthy babies anywhere from 10 - 14 weeks usually (or has been in my home!) and can take a few days for baby get the hang of.

Today, Emily, at Journey of Parenthood is talking us all through knowing its time to drop that last middle of the night feed, and how to do it effectively. Emily clues us into dealing with that frustrating time of 5-6 am when the baby might wake and be ready to feed - but you want to begin your day at least at 7 am and how to make them stretch. She dabbles into practicing the cry it out method during this transition, and also the benefit (and risk!) of using sleep props to help your baby drop this feeding!

Head on over to Emily's blog at the live link above and read more in detail how to ditch that last sleepy feed in the middle of the night!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BFBN Week: Babywise FAQ's

The ladies who blog with the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are answering your frequently asked questions for practically implementing babywise principles into your daily life and routine. Each of us are taking a day of this week to be "spotlighted" so to speak, and every other day of the week we will feature a summary of another blogger and link you to their blog! Tuesday is my day! Here goes!

One of my favorite things to do is to help troubleshoot little one's sleeping problems and find a direct (or sometimes, not so direct) path to helping those sweet babies find and want the good sleep they NEED. My close personal friends know that this is a passion of mine, and so I get asked lots of random questions throughout the week, and I always try my best to help. I also am on several online mommy forum's and several fb pages for moms to go and ask questions - and I always see a lot of the same questions being asked there as well. I never will have all the right answers, but when I can help a mom help her baby to sleep better my heart swells with joy. I know the joy of getting those kids to sleep!

I get asked a couple of questions a lot, and most of them have one answer. Those questions are:
1. I can't get {insert cute baby's name here} to nap longer than 45 minutes at a time. He/She won't take a full nap!
2. {insert cute baby's name here} takes FOREVER to fall asleep for naps. He/She will never settle down, and just keep talking to themselves (or crying) when I lay them down!
3. {Insert cute baby's name here} keeps waking up WAY early in the morning. Like at 4 or 5 am and I can't get them to fall back asleep!
4. {Insert cute baby's name here} wakes up from a nap SCREAMING. He/She never wakes up happy.

Most of the time, these questions lead me to the same root problem: Overtiredness. Having an overtired baby or toddler can make a mom feel like she is running around in circles - and coming to no real resolution to the problem. A baby who wakes mid-nap, wakes up early in the morning, or can't seem to fall asleep in a normal/appropriate amount of time are usually all signs that the baby has fallen into an overtired cycle. At some point, the baby has fallen of track a little, and is missing out on some sleep that they need. Those are classic signs of overtiredness - so lets look at signs of being tired so that you can avoid the "over" part of being tired.

Signs of tiredness
The first thing I try to do is keep the clock in the back of my head. I try to think about the appropriate amount of time my baby should be awake. I know that a newborn probably can't handle more than 45-55 minutes of being awake. I know a 9 month old can hang out for 2ish hours or so. Keeping my baby's age and the amount of time they can handle being awake is key for me. At around the time I think they should start getting sleepy - I look for a few things:

1. Not being able/interested in a toy. If I hand my baby a toy, and they bat it away - or fuss at it, I know its probably time to start winding down for a nap.
2. Not giving me eye contact or smiling back at me when I try to interact with them.  If they were happily smiling and connecting with me, and then they begin to become blank in their stares and uninterested in any interaction then its probably about that time.
3. Rubbing their eyes. Watch out on this one. This can indicate that its a little late in the "get me in bed" game - but if you see this happening early on and its not necessarily paired with fussing - then its a good time to put baby down. This is certainly flirting with that line though - so be forewarned!

Late signs of tiredness are: crying and fussing, yawning, and sometimes - like I mentioned before- rubbing their eyes. Its quite possible that you have missed their "happy window" of time to get them down easily and smoothly if you are seeing these signs. Some baby's are so sensitive to their window - and really will refuse to take a good nap if you miss it. Personality wise, some baby's will be/can be stretched to be a little more flexible - so watch your baby's patterns  and as you learn your baby  you will know where they stand and you can follow suit for them accordingly.

If you feel like your baby might be in an overtired cycle, I suggest a nap/sleep bootcamp. This simply means making their sleep your priority and putting other things aside to stay at home and work it out. For several days don't let them miss a single opportunity for sleep when they need it. Pay close attention to the clock and their cues. Watching both the clock and their cues can really teach you a lot about your baby's sleep patterns and you will quickly learn what they do to tell you when they are tired and ready to lay down. You will likely find what their "happy window" is and if they can be stretched a little or a lot before naps. You will also be able to tell as they grow when they need longer amounts of time awake. Sometimes, moms can be in such a fog that we can't see past the problem to move to a solution. Taking time to look a little deeper into what is going on will usually give us the answer!

Here is the schedule for this weeks bloggers! Check them out at the links below!

Also today, Kimberly is blogging about being a TWIN MOM! Something I will never pretend to know a thing about. Her twin daughters are still newborns, and so she is in throws of implementing babywise with twins and why she feels like having her twins on a nice routine will benefit her family. She implemented this with her older son, and found that it worked well - and she talks a lot about why it makes sense to her. She also tells you how she is getting started with it from the get go! Head on over to Team Cartwright - especially if you have multiples to check her out!

Monday, March 7, 2016

BFBN Week: How to have a Good Sleeper

This week, each day the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network will be taking a day to answer their frequently asked questions about different Babywise Principles. Today, head over to Chronicles of a Babywise Mom to hear from Valerie.

Valerie is giving us the basics on how to have a good sleeper. She highlights that in order to have a good sleep you have to make sacrifices. I can't echo that point enough. If you prioritize your kiddos sleep, you will have to miss out on some things. Maybe even a LOT of things. It has to be a commitment and one that you value enough to miss out on events, workout classes, or playdates. It may mean that if you have somewhere you need to be, you have a sitter come stay at the house with your sleeping baby.

Valerie also talks about how important consistency is. I feel like this goes hand in hand with making sacrifices. In an effort to stay consistent for nap time and bed time you avoid planning activities during those times of each day.

Go read in detail here! I will be posting right here on my blog tomorrow about questions I get asked that always lead me to troubleshooting solutions for an overtired baby! Here is the schedule for the rest of the week!