How to get your Co-Sleeping and Codependent Baby to Sleep Through the Night

12:00 a.m. – I open my eyes to the sounds of my baby screaming. I had only one hour of sleep under my belt. Like clockwork, it was the first wake up of the night.

“She’s 10 months old,” I angrily thought to myself as I got out of bed for the first of 4 times that night. “When does this end??”

I had no idea at this point that I had been the one crippling my baby’s sleep. I blamed it on her, I thought she was just a BAD sleeper. As a sleep-deprived first-time mom, I had no idea that it was me that had never given her the tools she needed to sleep through the night.

See my blog post on deciding when cosleeping and codependence becomes a problem to help you figure out whether sleep training may be right for your family.

If you told me that the 10 month old who awoke crying to breastfeed every two hours who’d slept inches away from me since birth could be taught to sleep on her own, through the night, in only a week- I would have NEVER believed you. I’ve been against sleep training since day one. I thought the “cry-it-out’ method was way too harsh for us. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Despite popular opinion, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing for sleep training to work.

Let’s face it, if you have a codependent, co-sleeping, breastfeeding baby- traditional sleep training probably would be a painful, traumatic experience for both of you. I decided to do my own gentle form of sleep training, and I’m glad to report that it worked PERFECTLY! Here is how I did it.

Instead of letting her cry it out for any length of time no matter what, if it was apparent to me that she could not get herself back to sleep on her own and she was too worked up in the night I went in her room to rock her. It was important to me that she still knew if she really needed me I would be there for her. I stood firm in not letting her come sleep in my room with me, some nights that meant a lot of time spent in the rocking chair. Sometimes she would wake up as I set her down in the crib and cry, but this time the crying would only last one or two minutes before she drifted back to sleep. The first night to fall asleep was the longest I let her cry it out. It was extremely hard for me, but I knew that she needed to learn to sleep for her own benefit (not just mine.) I also didn’t choose to cut off her nighttime feedings cold turkey. I knew that breastfeeding her back to sleep was not a nutritional need, but a crutch and a bad habit. But it was far less traumatic for both of us to gradually wean off the nighttime feedings. Since she was learning to sleep better, she naturally didn’t wake for feedings every two hours anymore!

If you are trying to decide whether to try sleep training with your codependent, cosleeping, breastfeeding baby, I encourage you to do your research and to do it in the way that will be best for you and your baby! Below I’ve logged our complete experience with a mild version of sleep training, and I hope reading it can give you confidence! If we can do this, anyone can! Ellie is now 13 months old and sleeping through the night in her crib with no crying from around 10:30 p.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Come back for our next blog post, to find out the nighttime routine I created to support trying to get her sleeping through the night!

 

 

Night one 

Finally fell asleep at 10:00 with 25 minutes of crying beforehand. I cried much longer than she did though as I found it very inexplicably hard to not have her sleeping right next to me. She awoke 3 times in crib and fell back asleep, I was able to not go in and get her out until 5:30 a.m. In one night we had the significant improvement of her not eating every two hours. She then went back in crib until 8.

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Night two 

Asleep at 11:00 with only 5 minutes of crying. She awoke at 4:30 a.m. to breastfeed, and went back to sleep in crib until 8.

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Night three 

Asleep at 10:30 with only 3 minutes of crying. I really thought at this point I had it all down perfectly, until she awoke at 3 a.m. and I couldn’t get her back to sleep without breastfeeding. But even after that she struggled to get back to sleep until 4:30. She then awoke at 6:30 to eat again. Completely exhausted, I gave in and left her in bed with me so we could sleep until 9:00.

Night 4 

Weary from the failure the night before, I was expecting the worst again. However, she was asleep at 11 with not even a single tear. She awoke at 5 to eat and went back to sleep in her crib until 8.

Night 5 

She fell asleep at 11:30 with no crying but awoke at 12:30 and cried herself back to sleep for 5 minutes. She did the same at 2:00 am. 3:30 a.m. she was crying for over 5 minutes so I went in to soothe her. We rocked in her rocking chair and I laid her back down. She woke to eat once more at 6:30.

Night 6 

Asleep at 11 with no crying. She awoke at 3:30 cried herself back to sleep for 5 minutes. She awoke at 6:30 to eat then slept until 8:30.

Night 7
Fell asleep at 11:30 no crying 4 a.m. cried back to sleep a few minutes. Again at 6:30 and then back to sleep until 9 a.m.

Night 8

Slept through the night!!!! 10:30p.m.-8:30a.m.

Night 9

Slept 11 p.m.-8 a.m.

Night 10

Slept 10 p.m.-8 a.m.

Overall, I learned that as a mother you should always trust your instincts. I felt it was time that I taught Ellie how she could learn to give herself better sleep. It was a hard process and at times, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. But I couldn’t argue that it was improving little by little every night. Now we are both worlds happier. Never underestimate the power of a good night of sleep mamas!

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Family Photoshoot Fashion

As you know, my baby just turned one! 😭 I’m working on keeping it together, guys!

 I was so ecstatic to take our family photos with our big one year old though! If you check one blog post back you can see all of the pictures! 

Naturally, I was beyond excited to receive a gorgeous dress from Pink Blush for the shoot. If you haven’t heard of Pink Blush by now, they are an absolutely stunning maternity and women’s clothing line. They sell some of the most gorgeous floral maxi dresses I’ve ever seen. 

The reason they’ve got the maternity fashion game on lock is because they look amazing on you, pregnant or not. I have a great dress from their women’s line I love, but the dress I wore for our family pictures was actually a maternity style! It’s nice to know that I have beautiful dresses that will still fit me when I am pregnant again. Not to mention, as a breastfeeding mama the most important question is answered- can I pull my boob out in this? They have so many soft gorgeous options that are nursing friendly, I can’t even believe it! 

You can find the dress I wore for the shoot here

*I received this dress as part of the PinkBlush Ambassador program. All opinions are my own.

One Year Old Family Photoshoot

The time has flown by- something you hear all moms say at virtually every single milestone. We become so engulfed in all the day-to-day nonsense that is motherhood, that before we even have time to notice, a year’s gone by. It makes me cry to think of all the milestones long past, and makes me cry tears of joy to think about all the ones still ahead. The only consolation I’ve found with this time is to take extra notice and appreciate all of the awe-inspiring ways she grows and changes and learns every single day. I aspire to slow down, and take in every piece of her and the things that encompass who she is at this age and every age moving forward. This is what makes me truly happy with living in the now.
To shop my gorgeous PinkBlush dress from the shoot click here


 

How to Get A Meal Delivery Service (Without Increasing Your Grocery Budget)

If you aren’t familiar with meal delivery services by now, they are a subscription based box of prepackaged ingredients to make healthy home cooked meals with. On average they cost around $10 per person per meal. There is a wide range of companies in this market already, including:

  • Home Chef
  • HelloFresh
  • Plated
  • Gobble
  • PeachDish
  • Blue Apron
  • Terra’s Kitchen
  • Green Chef
  • SunBasket

Just to name a few!

I’ve had a few friends tell me that the biggest con to these is, you still have to grocery shop. So what’s the point? Well for me, and I think most moms will agree, I absolutely do not have the time to make a meal plan, go buy every ingredient for every dish, and then take the time to cook an amazing home cooked meal every single night. I’m definitely no chef, and I needed some help. 

My biggest pros to a home delivery service: Meals are already set and you don’t need to plan. I am not a great cook by any means. The simple directions inside have made me cook way better meals that I would never attempt on my own. They are usually simple, and quick. Of course there are some exceptions, but for the most part I am only ever in the kitchen away from the baby for about 30 minutes. They are delivered straight to your door and automatically billed so you don’t even have to think about what to do for multiple dinners per week.

But depending on which service you choose, how many meals you’d like and how many people are in your family, this can cost near between $50-$100 a week. How can you make that work when you still have other groceries to buy? 

Here are the tips I’ve used to successfully keep our grocery budget the same after adding a meal delivery service to the equation. 

***This plan is based on an average 5 meals a week eating at home, and two days a week eating out.***

  1. Keep other meals of the day simple. Stick to a few key meals for breakfast and lunch that you can interchange. (Breakfast- oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, cereal, waffles) (Lunch- sandwiches, granola bars, trail mix, jerky)
  2. Shop in bulk. Costco is my world, guys. You can go and buy two giant loaves of bread, a huge jar of mayo and a big pack of lunch meat for about $15 and have lunch off that for a few weeks straight! (Other good bulk items- granola bars, cereal, applesauce for kiddos)
  3. Plan for a simple meal on the night(s) you don’t have meal delivery service for. We only have 2 nights a week unaccounted for with meal service- so I will buy a few simple ingredients to make just one meal that we can have leftovers of the next day. (Ex.- Pan of baked ziti, Pan of enchiladas, lasagna, fajita tacos, etc.)
  4. Buy ready to eat snacks or meals from Costco’s freezer section. If there’s a night where you’re on the go, not very hungry, or just generally busy- but these out. (Ex.- taquitos, yakisoba meals, frozen tacos, raviolis)

So all in all, I can keep my grocery budget nearly exactly the same as it was before. Dinner ingredients consumed a lot of the grocery budget with fresh veggies, sides, and fresh meats. But by only shopping for a couple very simple meals each week, I lessened spending and was able to use that extra for the meal service. However, these tips have helped me save money on groceries even when I wasn’t using a meal delivery service! I hope they can help you too!

Cosleeping and Codependence: When does it become a problem?

I can honestly say that when it came to the thought of sleep training my sweet little girl, theres pretty much nothing on earth I would rather do less. 

From the first night she was born I have only allowed myself to close my eyes for the night after watching her chest moving up and down right next to me and listening to her steady inhales and exhales. Thus the comfort of cosleeping begins to go both ways. Not only does your baby grow dependent on you being that near, but you become dependent on them. 

Just the thought of sending her to her own crib in her own room was enough to send me spiraling. She’s not big enough for that yet! She’s my little baby girl! Not to mention, I genuinely enjoyed the time I spent nursing her to sleep every night. I know this is a bad habit when it comes to sleep but it never seemed to be a problem before. She went through stages where she actually slept extremely well in her early months. But gradually, things started to change. At first I chalked up the night wakings for feedings to a growth spurt, until it was a couple months later and it was still happening. Things had gotten so bad two weeks ago that I finally decided it was too much. I could barely function anymore. I had no idea what to do. Until I had the craziest thought, “What if co-sleeping is not better for her anymore, but it’s holding her back from getting the full night of sleep she needs?”

Well folks, it turns out I was the problem. I had not given her the environment or tools she needed to learn how to sleep better. •My next article is an in depth look at our sleep-training experience.• 

Neither of us were happy and I dreaded going to sleep every night. 

The problem with cosleeping is not just the codependence.  If you can check off any of the items on this list- then cosleeping has officially reached its problematic stage in your life and needs to be addressed. 

  1. Your baby is not getting the amount of sleep they need. Repeated night wakings from the noises or movements you make could be unnecessarily waking baby all night. 
  2. YOU aren’t getting the sleep you need. You can’t function correctly during the day because you’re missing the proper amount of sleep night after night.
  3. You worry about the safety of cosleeping. You spend night after night curled in an uncomfortable position while barely ever getting into a deep sleep so that you can be aware of whether the baby is moving in the bed. You have to field the pillows and blankets away from them!
  4. Nighttime feedings have become habit and not necessity. In the beginning, many moms cosleep for the convenience factor of the night feedings. But if your babe has outgrown the actual need for these feedings (most people say by 6 months old) they may only be eating because they wake up and see you. The only way to avoid this is to end the cosleeping.
  5. You begin to feel in any way unhappy with cosleeping. No one wants an unhappy, resentful mama around. If you are getting frustrated and miserable with the situation, don’t hesitate- things need to change.

    -Have you decided you need to make a change? My next article will chronicle the experience we had with sleep-training my codependent/breastfed/co-sleeper. 

      The Cutest Small Shop Mom Tees!

      There is certainly no shortage of insanely adorable mommy style picks from all over the internet. I could scroll through Etsy FOR-EVER. But another great way to find all these amazing clothes is through Instagram. I’ve scrolled through TONS of hashtags related to mommy fashion and styles to find all the best looks. But why should you have to spend all that time to shop these cute looks? As moms we need all the extra time we can get. So, I’m here to round up some of the cutest mom fashion finds from small shops all over Insta and Etsy.  Some of these shops were awesome enough to include a discount code for you readers so be sure to use it! Enjoy!

      @BeeyahLittlesCo 

      “Mamastay Tired”

      *Use the code FRIENDS for a discount!

      MKNApparel

      “Today’s goal: Keep the tiny humans alive”

      *Use the code MKN15 for a discount in the Etsy shop

      @ChatterboxxThreads 

      “This mom look is sponsored by: coffee and no sleep”

      *Use the code THANKYOU for a discount!




      @Littlechunkersltd

      “I am always tired”

      *Join their FB VIP group for exclusive access to discount codes when they are activated. 

      @themommytribe

      “I’m the mama that’s why”



      @lavenderandlaceco

      “Why are you so obsessed with me?”


      @littlehooligansco

      “Mama vibes”



      @dreambiglittleco

      “Eat. Sleep. Breastfeed. Repeat”


      @blndesignskc

      “Human Jungle Gym”

      @mamabirdandco

      “Mama🖤”



      @spillthebeansetcco

      “Just winging it: motherhood, eyeliner, everything”

      Long Road-Trips with a Baby


      I took my 9-10 month old on an all summer long road trip accross 8 states. And guess what? It was actually fun! Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I can’t count how many people looked at me like I was certifiably insane after telling them I was taking her on this road trip. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I have always been a roadtripper. I enjoy jumping in the car and heading out on a good old fashioned road trip talking, laughing and eating junk food with my hubby. Before we had Ellie we drove from Arizona to New York, DisneyWorld, and New Orleans! 

      Obviously, our lives have changed a bit since then. But we’ve always been strong believers in the fact that having a baby doesn’t have to run our lives. Of course things are a little different, but we don’t let Ellie hold us back from anything we really want to do, especially when it comes to trip taking! 

      If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and road tripping with your little here’s what you’ll need to consider!

      This one tip made absolutely a world of difference in our road trip experience- take one fun/extended break in the middle of the day. We would map out our day and decide what city we would want to stop in for lunch. I ran the city through my TripAdvisor app, and found a list of things to do in the area. One day we found a great aquarium/ botanical gardens/ zoo. One day we didn’t have many choices, so we just stopped at a local park and ate some lunch while letting the baby get much needed out of the car time! By the time we put her back in after those 2 hour breaks she was ready to relax and nap in the car until we stopped driving in the evening. 


      Mentally prepare yourself for a slow and steady pace. We were road trip warriors before- we would make quick, efficient stops spaced out really far apart. Not even the most well planned out road trip with a baby will make that happen. You can still make stops as efficient as possible by matching stopping points on your map to the times your baby will need to eat. But remember, your baby will still decide how this goes down! So if you go into the day with a relaxed attitude, you won’t be constantly disappointed or overwhelmed if things don’t go according to your plan.


      Pack a big bag of various toys. Having different toys to interchange makes a big difference, my little one gets tired of a toy after about half an hour. Being able to switch them out can put off the inevitable “I’m bored” cry. 


      When on a multiple day trip- don’t buy your hotel until the day of. If you’re a big planner, you may think this is crazy but hear me out. Whip out your handy-dandy TripAdvisor app and search for hotel deals later in the day when you have a realistic amount of distance to travel ahead of you. If you make hotel plans that are 3 more hours away and your baby has reached their absolute limit of car seat time for the day, you’ll wish you would have waited to buy the hotel. You can search plenty of hotel deals through the app that are not unreasonably priced, or search airbnb’s instant book options! 


      And as always, dont forget an insanely well stocked diaper bag. Road trip musts for the diaper bag include baby snacks/pouches, plenty of diapers/wipes, pacifiers/ pacifier wipes, hand sanitizer, poop bags, and baby laundry stain pen. 

      Ellie having a great time chewing on a straw after a giant diaper blowout😒


      Do all these things, and you can have fun on the road with your baby too! Happy road-tripping!

      Your Babies’ Safe Space

      I’m laying in my familiar, comfy bed. My body feels weightless atop comforters, blankets, and pillows. My favorite music plays gently in the background. The cool breeze from the fan next to me hits my face while I listen to it’s monotonous hum. 

      A safe space.

      Visualization is the act of imagining yourself in a peaceful and safe environment. It means taking your mind to a place that makes you relaxed and happy. Anxiety takes these feelings from you, and visualization can be helpful in bringing them back. It has always been one of my go to coping mechanisms to visualize my most relaxed state.

      Since becoming a mother, I’ve seen a beauty I never knew before. I’ve become a human safe space. To her the most peaceful and safe environment is not a place, but a person. And that person is me. I am that place I always search for in my mind when anxiety tears at me. There aren’t enough words to describe the contentment that results from supplying the feeling of safety to my little girl. 

      I won’t be able to protect her from everything in this life. But for now, I’ll hold her to my chest a little longer, wipe away the tears, protect her from getting hurt, and make her smile every day. Because in her mind right now, I can solve any problem the world has to offer her. Through her eyes I am everything she needs, which makes me strive to be that every day. 


      Babies’ First Vacation Shadowbox

      Let me preface this post with a disclaimer- I am not crafty. I do not know how to knit, sew, crochet, draw, paint or do just about any DIY home projects. That’s the good news, for those of you reading who are also not craft savvy! 

      So I always saw the cutest newborn shadow boxes that held keepsakes from babies birth. I thought that was such a great idea! I opted for a baby book instead because all I really had taken home from the hospital as a keepsake was our bracelets, which I put in the book along with her little footprints. But I still loved the idea of a shadowbox, so I decided- I’m going to dedicate one to her first vacation! 

      When you take your babe on their first ever vacation, keep your shadowbox in the back of your mind throughout the trip. Think of the keepsakes you’ll want to include from the trip and put them somewhere you won’t lose them. 

      PI bought a $10 shadowbox from Walmart for my project and put it all together in minutes! And there you have it, the cutest DIY babies’ first vacation keepsake! 

      How To Make And Store Homemade Baby Food

      For some reason, not even the smallest of parenting decisions is safe from mom-shaming these days. So, of course, whether you feed your baby all organic homemade baby food, or store bought jars is just another debate. My stance on this is the same as it is with most everything, just do what is best for you and your baby! Make these decisions based on what will make your life simple, happy, and help your baby thrive.

      With that being said, there are a lot of reasons why I started to make all of Ellie’s baby food at home. But it’s mainly due to the fact that she has an extremely sensitive stomach. I haven’t quite figured out all of her food allergies and sensitivities yet, but have figured out a few things. It seems like at least for now her digestive system is just too immature to handle any food additives or preservatives. She gets sick and throws up for hours after having these. If that’s not motivation to start up a homemade baby food stockpile then I don’t know what is!

      Only problem was, I had no idea where to start. What foods do I make? How do I make it? How do I store it? Through trial and error I’ve created a system that works really well for me. So if you’ve decided that homemade is going to be the best route for your family, I hope these tips can help you get started!

      First things first. Based off what age your baby is, decide what foods you’d like to prepare for them. Stage one foods are for babies between the ages of 4-6 months. Since Ellie is so finicky, she’s still mainly in this stage at 8 months. Some really easy stage one foods to make at home are apples, pears, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and peas. Other good first foods are avocado and banana, but you won’t want to freeze these. Just pop ’em open and serve them up fresh. You’ll want to make sure that if you’re just beginning solids your purées are very smooth and diluted with water or breastmilk. Stage two foods will begin to introduce baby to a chunkier texture.


      Next you’ll need to decide how you’re going to make it. Of course, you don’t need any fancy baby equipment to make purées. But, new moms are pretty notoriously low on free time! I personally have really benefitted from buying an all-in-one baby food maker because of its convenience factor. I use the Beaba Babycook to steam, purée, and reheat all in one. It has really streamlined my baby food making process and makes it easy for me to get it all done during nap time!

      For storage, most commonly you’ll see moms using ice cube trays. This is convenient for measuring out one ounce of food at a time, but inconvenient for storing large amounts of different types of food. I wanted to be able to clearly store, label and date all my various amounts and types and mixtures of baby food- so I decided to use breastmilk storage bags. Make sure that you’re using frozen purees within 3 months for optimal nutrition, and no later than 6 months total. The other great thing about these is that you can toss them in your bag on the go, like if you want to have some at grandmas’ house. When ready to eat, just run the sealed bag under hot water for a couple minutes and you’re ready to go!

      After a successful nap time or two your freezer stash can be just as full as mine with delicious organic homemade baby purees!