Time has a way of running away with you. Moments turn into a day, a day turns into a week, a week into a month, and soon a year. Our little one is now four months old. Aria is one of the sweetest babies. She is starting to explore the world around her more and more and has recently found her voice (and it’s the softest, cutest voice ever). I try to enjoy everyday of babyhood, as it’s so fleeting. And of course, this time, having an older sibling as well as a baby has meant different dynamics and new challenges.
I thought I would share a few more of the “essentials” of my last few months.( I first shared some of the things I found helpful in these two posts. A Few Natural New Mother and Baby Essentials and More New Mother and Baby Essentials ). These next few items continue the list.
Books on Tape
There have been times when I have been rocking Aria to sleep and our four year old, Elena, needed something to do. Joel has been getting books on tape for Elena and what a blessing they have been! She will literally listen to them for hours at a time. I much prefer this to TV. If I need to rest or am busy with the baby, she can go listen to some stories for a while and can be perfectly content. She has listened to the first book of the Little House on the Prairie Series, Frog and Toad books, and many others. In fact, she is listening to one right now!
Philosophically I am all about not buying into the consumerism attitude. But I gotta admit that some purchases do make momma’s life a lot easier! My Moby Wrap is still a favorite, but I am glad to not carry Aria all day long. The Bumbo seat has been wonderful! Aria absolutely loves sitting in it and she also loves to play with toys on the tray. It’s so helpful when I need to get dinner on the table, or am doing school with Elena. I also love that it’s significantly smaller than saucers and other baby seats so it doesn’t take up much room. A five star rating from me!
While I am sure these balls work great for getting exercise (not that I would know), we have a more important use for them. You know when your baby is fussy and rocking is just not cutting it? So you pace up and down the halls, bouncing the baby in your arms feeling more and more tired, especially as this often takes place late at night. Well, it takes a lot less energy to just sit on a exercise ball and gently bounce the baby. Sounds weird, but it’s magic and works like a charm. That motion seems to be very soothing to newborns (at least it was for both of our babies). If you are having one of those fussy nights and baby is having a hard time going to sleep, bouncing on the ball and watching a movie is actually quite pain free.
Books and Movies
Speaking of which, Joel and I were recently introduced to Lark Rise to Candleford which BBC produced. Here’s a brief description of the first season. “Lark Rise to Candleford is set at the end of the 19th century, and it follows the story of two communities in the midst of a developing Oxfordshire. One is a fast-growing market town, the other a sleepier, quieter place that’s holding more onto the past. Centered on Laura, the eldest daughter in the Timmins house, as she leaves the quieter life for work in the market town, the stage is then set for a quality drama series.”
The first few episodes made me feel like the show was out to make Christians look as bad as possible and that was hard to shallow as much as we loved the show. But it’s evened out as the episodes have continued. Overall, extremely well done with delightful characters. I was disappointed to find out that they decided to no longer continue the show, despite the high ratings it received. (We have only watched the first season so far, so I can’t speak for the next few seasons).
Of course, as mentioned in previous posts, book are important to me and I love to have some on hand when nursing. Miss Read books are still on my bookshelves. I love these gentle stories full of the daily dramas of life.
I would love to hear suggestions from you as to what your favorite books are (or movies!)
Herbs in Tincture Form
My milk supply had gotten too low from both stress and hormonal changes and I really had to work to get it back up again. After talking with a lactation consultant and my naturopath I found out that herbs in tincture form are the strongest and most effective. I have to say that it made a big difference in my milk supply once I switched over! I try not to use these too often as you don’t want your body to get dependent on the herbs, but ever once in a while when I need a boost I nurse as often as Aria wants too (though I do that normally anyways), rest, drink lots of water, eat lots of good food, and take herbs. It’s worked really well for me so far.
In my last post talking about essentials, I mentioned how having a “happy heart” even when life is far from perfect is essential to my life. Today, I add patience. Patience when both children are very needy and hard to please. Patience when even the simplest task is hard to complete. Patience with whiny four year olds, and grumpy infants. Patience when you are woken up for the umpteenth time in the night. Love is patient, so my Bible tells me, so when I feel impatience rearing it’s ugly head, I know that I need to pray for more love. And with that love comes patience, a true essential for mothers and fathers.
So those are just a few of the essentials for our household. I would love to hear yours!
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Heather Eats Almond Butter
One of my readers directed me to your site b/c I’ve been struggling with milk supply issues since my daughter was born. She just turned 4 months old as well as is talking away and loves her bumbo seat, AND I just bounced her to sleep on our exercise bowl. Sounds like you and I have a lot in common these days. 🙂
I’ve tried everything to increase my milk supply from domperidone, to herbs, to thyroid med, using an SNS, etc. We have to supplement with about half formula which I was dead set against, but now I’m grateful for the stuff as without it, she would not be thriving. And on that note, it’s time for me to go pump.
So fun reading another blog written by someone that is sharing my same experiences. Aria is beautiful. 🙂
Sounds like you did everything you could to get your milk up. It can be so hard. But good job! You can also make your own formula. The westonaprice.org foundation has a few recipes. I would just say be careful with the nutritional yeast as that is an allergen food for some babies. It would be what I consider using if I ever needed too. 🙂
Heather Eats Almond Butter
*exercise BALL. 😉
The exercise ball was a permanent fixture in our house for longer than I care to admit with both my babies (and never for it’s intended use; I swear it is a magic sleep maker for babies).
I love your last recommendation. I have a four year-old and eleven month-old and find myself on the short stick of patience too often! More love and patience is definitely essential.
We have a 7 month old and a four year old, here, and I can relate to many of your suggestions– definitely have gotten use out of my Moby Wrap! I wish Annie enjoyed her Bumbo; unfortunately she will do just about anything she can to try and flip it over to free herself! Oh well, she’s now at the stage where I can put her on the floor in any room and she can practice her crawling. At this point, it’s just scooting backwards, but she can get pretty far! : )
Some of the quick, easy reads I have been enjoying are anything by Janette Oke (Pioneer romance stories) and Wanda Brunstetter (Amish romance stories). Both authors are christian authors, and I’ve enjoyed them since I was a teenager!
Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama
Patience? In my mind I am perfect…the most loving, calm, patient mother who does the best for her children all the time and never shows fatigue or wear. THEN, while I have a headache, my 3-year-old sits next to me and sings and loudly as she can. I calmly say, “Mommy has a headache, so you need to sing more quietly.” And she replies, “No Mommy, I need to sing really loud!” and proceeds to do so. And I say, “You can either sing more quietly or you can go upstairs for awhile!!” Ah yes…patience. 🙂
Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS
Ahhh, Aria’s soooo sweet. Her expression is so bright! 🙂
We are big fans of Lark Rise to Candleford! In that same genre, you might like “Cranford” and “Return to Cranford.”
The exercise ball, bumbo seat and books on tape sound like wonderful helpers in your busy house! Your thoughts on patience are true at any stage of family life. God bless you and yours, Kimi!
I loved Cranford too! I need to watch that again sometime. 🙂
Dana @ Budget Dietitian
I love your last “essential” of patience. I couldn’t agree more. And I would add to have patience with yourself. 🙂
Your daughter is adorable!
If the kids have a grandmother or other relative or even you or your husband they could read the books on a voice recorder. I did this for my grandbabies. Same idea but they like to hear a loved ones voice. As a matter of fact, I should make more while I’m thinking of it. By the way, the baby is beautiful. Enjoy them, they grow fast.
Ooh, I just finished Season 1 of Lark Rise to Candleford too! I enjoyed it. We also watched “Bleak House” (2005) this weekend, and it was fabulous!
I practically lived on our exercise ball for the first 4-5 months of my daughter’s life. I used to bounce her on that with a hymnbook propped open on the couch arm and just sing and sing and sing to her.
I like your ideas.. the exercise ball, the books on tape! I’m going to try those!
I’ve heard good things about the bumbo… I’m making a mental note for the future!
Here are some of my baby “essentials”:
Mini pyrex dishes w/ lids— I love these. They are awesome for serving mini-sized portions and are great for saving food. They are also great for taking food on the go… and since its glass it doesn’t leave a plastic taste in the food.
Netflix — I don’t like TV a ton, but this is something that’s nice to have when I just want to flip on a show. This is sometimes the only way I can distract my toddler so I can get some work done in the kitchen! It is nice to not have to deal with commercials or worry about what is playing next. One of my fav shows on instant-play… the old Dick Van Dike shows.. they’ve got good morals and even though they are black and white, they are very entertaining! My toddler watches them with me too. For instant-play kid shows, I’m a fan of the original blues clues and kipper.. the thing I like is they aren’t loud or crazy… they are more soothing shows for my little one to watch.. and don’t drive him or me crazy!
Books– My one-year-old doesn’t quite appreciate them for what they are quite yet, but he has fun just carrying the books around and opening and closing them or stacking them. He does like it when I read to him animatedly, esp books that repeat, rhyme, or have fun phrases. He likes Bear Snores On and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
A few books I’ve enjoyed for myself when I am “immobilized” are Little Women, The Hiding Place, Aesops Fables, Walden, and The Alchemist.
Baskets– I can never have enough of these… they are good for storage, but also as a toy… my toddler loves climbing inside them and sometimes I’ll tie a sash around the handle and pull him around in it.
Music– Sometimes we listen to the radio (he really actually likes the classical station!) , listen to pandora, use itunes, or playlist.com… I also found on google chrome you can buy an app for 1.99 called “Toddler Jukebox” that has a fun music player that plays 12 different common children songs. Whatever the musical source, my toddler and I have fun dancing to the music! And it is stress-relieving for me to dance around freely!
Camera– I have fun with our photo and video camera… I like to come up with little projects for myself to create. Being able to create something new always makes me feel good (with food as well)!
I recently started filming familiar things and places that my Toddler would recognize… I think it will be fun to have as just a record.. and to test my toddler’s memory.
Notebook– I love having something on hand where I can write down cute things my toddler does and to also write down inspiration… I find that I get most my inspiration when I’m nursing or putting my toddler down because all is quiet and peaceful. I also like having a notebook for study… my observations, my understandings, my questions, my answers … it helps me see my growth and progress over time.
Prayer & Scripture time– This is absolutely essential to me. Sometime in my day, I have to take time to myself and do this… it strengthens me, helps me create order in my life, helps me love more, and gives me peace. I am a much better mom when I’ve taken time out of my day and devoted it to God.
Thanks for all of the lovely thoughts and ideas!
Thanks for the lovely thoughts and ideas!
My daughter turns 4 months old this weekend, and I’ve noticed a big dip in my milk supply. What herbs are usually recommended? I take a breastfeeding support multi-vite and drink mothers milk tea occasionally. Any other suggestions? We nurse on demand, but she is not a big/ voracious eater. She also just started sleeping all night this past week, and I know that has a lot to do with the decreased supply…it’s almost like I just need a little boost of something!
It does seem that many people’s milk supply gets lower once their baby sleeps through the night. Herbs that I’ve used include fennel, fenegreek, goat’s rue, blessed thistle. You can get it in a combination. My midwife told me that she has had good success with just using goat’s rue as well. You also may find that eating a large bowl of oatmeal everyday helpful (I would recommend soaking it overnight to make it more digestible). Quinoa is also a traditional grain to eat to help with milk supply. 🙂
I’ve always heard about oatmeal being a galactagogue but never quinoa…do you have any sources citing this? I can’t eat oatmeal because I’m gluten-free (gf oatmeal, even soaked, still doesn’t agree with me). Thanks!
The Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy by Sigrid Undset got me through morning sickness this past fall and it is fabulous in so many ways. I only recommend this to you since from what you’ve shared you seem like a kindred spirit in book tastes.
Oooh, I will check it out! I haven’t heard of it before. 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful site (if that’s what one calls it)! I love your advice, and now I love your baby, too! My dear husband and I have 8 beautiful children, and our youngest is now almost 6. Reading about your situation, I read it aloud to my husband, who earlier tonight was complaining about having to spend more time taking care of his aging body — St. Francis’ “brother ass” — and he said, “Wow, it’s been a long time since we had to console a crying baby to sleep!” It’s good to be reminded of the different seasons in life, and be grateful for what you have now. I’m glad you can enjoy your little ones as much as you can. Be sure you get enough rest, too. Young moms today seem to try to do too much. God bless you!!!
” It’s good to be reminded of the different seasons in life, and be grateful for what you have now.”-So true! I am afraid that I have not been accomplishing very much lately, but it’s good to have a reminder that that’s okay! 🙂
I loved the first three seasons of Lark Rise! Cranford is also a delightful miniseries. Right up there with Anne of Green Gables and the BBC Pride & Prejudice. As for children’s stories, my children love Jungle Jam and Friends the Radio Show. They started listening when my oldest was three and still listen today (now they are 9, 8, 6 & 1). Even my husband and I enjoy them! We were given the set as a wedding gift….perhaps our most used gift after 11 years! 🙂
Although there are many, many listening stories for children, one of the ones we like is called “The Pond”. The shows are so funny and have a witty way of teaching us to live out God’s Word in our lives! The ones we like best are the radio shows…we heard these while living in Montana. They were played during a Saturday morning children’s time, but our whole family loved them. Thanks to everyone for the great ideas! I am definitely going to try the exercise ball. 🙂
To increase your milk supply, try eating COARSE BULGUR. It helped me with my milk supply when I was nursing. I buy it from a middle eastern market. (Place the oil in a medium skillet or saucepan that can later be covered and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until its soft, about 5 min. Mix 1½ cups of water (or stock) with 1 cup of bulgur in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover, then turn the heat on low and cook for 10-15 minutes. ) I also used fennel tea to help my little one and myself sleep better. It is widely used in Europe and the Middle East. I used it when nursing both of my kids and it really helped. I still drink it. It relaxes me and takes away my stress.
Ahhh, she is so sweet and I love her name! My baby girl is 21 months :O( It goes by too fast!
all great tips, I also like books on tape for me, when it can be a strain to hold a book and nurse :O)
Amen to the patience tip !!!!
Books on tape (well, cd) are a huge part of our family life. My two older boys (now 3, 5) outgrew naps very early, but they still take “rest time” with a story on cd in their beds. We love the Jonathan Park series and Down Gilead Lane, as well as classic stories on cd and many Magic Tree House stories (some need some discussion!).
I am not nursing right now, but I am encouraged to see that I am not the only one who really struggles with milk supply once I hit the fourth month (even with the one who didn’t sleep well through the night). I kept thinking I was doing something wrong and it was always such a struggle to keep going. I will keep some of these ideas on hand if the Lord blesses us with another (soon – we hope).
Kimi – I imagine you already have it in your own house, but Sovereign Grace Music’s kids album To Be Like Jesus is great for me (and the kids) being reminded what it means to have Christ-like love, patience, kindness, joy, etc. And its such fun music!
A friend just shared a great laundry tip with me that has helped tremendously. Whenever we get back from a trip, or even if it’s “normal” around here, laundry can pile up quick. I used to wash it all, take it out of the dryer, and dump it on the couch to be folded when I had more time–as if any busy mom ever seems to have “more time”. 😀 So, my friend showed me her technique. She bought some large white plastic baskets (you can use any kind, but these were the least expensive) from Walmart (we’ve found them at Publix)—one for each family member. As the clothes are dried, she stands at the dryer, folds them, and places them in the appropriate family member’s basket. Both her 5 yr old daughter and my 4 yr old daughter can easily carry these baskets to their rooms and put their own clothes away by themselves. Monday we got back from a long weekend trip, and I had 6 loads of laundry to do yesterday. With this new system, I was actually able to do all of them, fold all but one load, and put all of the folded clothes away before dinner. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me, so I’ve been sharing this technique with other busy moms. I hope it helps some of you! 😀
Great tip, Susan!
Aria is a doll!