Absolute Must Haves and Advice When Expecting a Baby

I live in a small home that doesn’t have a lot of space, so it was a little challenging when we found out we were having a baby because having a baby comes with a lot of things. We also don’t make a lot of money and having a baby is certainly pricey. We had to be wise in the decisions we made on what to buy.

Luckily, I am a simplifier at heart and don’t need a lot to be satisfied. I only buy things that are necessities and I love getting rid of things that are not.  The thought of all the things we were going to need was extremely overwhelming for me though, I had to get creative to make sure we had the room we needed to make our living situation comfortable.

We live on a tight budget, so I shopped around a ton to get the best deals for what we needed. I am not the type of person who needs the latest fads and I am ok with buying SOME things used, so this helped our situation a lot.


 

TOP ADVICE AND MUST HAVES

1. Diapers and Wipes- You will go through so many diapers and wipes. This will be one of your bigger expenses.

  • Target brand diapers are by far the cheapest I have found. We don’t have a Target where I live, so I order mine online, purchase them with my Red Card and get free shipping and 5% off! Costco brand diapers are pretty good too, but we don’t have a Costco where I live either.
  • Start pulling money aside NOW and put it somewhere you won’t touch it. This will help you have a good supply of money for diapers. So many people advised me to buy diapers whenever we had a chance, but I found this to be difficult because we ran out of space to store them and you never know how long they’ll be in certain sizes, so saving money for diapers is genius!

2. Clothes- If you have older children and don’t already have a good supply of clothes from them or haven’t been given a lot of clothes by other people, then this is a big expense!  If this is your first child then you’ll most likely get a lot of clothes from your baby shower, people just can’t resist buying baby clothes, which is wonderful for you because they are definitely needed.

  • I am not one who cares to have my children dress in expensive top brand clothes. I am not trying to make this come across negatively, if you buy top brand clothes, it’s not a bad thing; I just can’t afford it.
  • I purchase a lot of my children’s clothes from Ross, Target, and Wal-Mart. You can also find good deals at second hand stores.
  • You’ll need a lot of onesies.

3. Rock n’ Play Sleeper- These are amazing! They fold up so thin to easily take places and to store. These can help a lot with acid reflux and babies that spit up a lot.

  • The one I bought go HERE (*THESE HAVE BEEN RECALLED AND ARE NO LONGER ON THE MARKET. WHICH IS A TOTAL BUMMER, BECAUSE THEY WERE AMAZING.*)

4. Crib- I don’t find it necessary to purchase a really expensive crib, but this is just my opinion and completely your choice. Crib shopping can be stressful, there are so many out there, it’s hard to choose from them all. It certainly is fun though and makes things become “real” real fast.

5. Bassinet- I definitely don’t think it’s necessary to buy an expensive one of these since they won’t be sleeping in it for very long. You may not even need one of these at all depending on if you want your baby to sleep in the same room as you and how much space you have.

  • Some people feel best with their baby sleeping in the same room as them for a while. I did with all of my babies. It makes things so much easier too. I had a bassinet for my first two and with my twins they just slept in their Rock n’ Plays.
  • Some people just put the baby’s crib right in their room with them; or use a Pack n’ Play. There are so many things out there you can buy. So, this is completely up to you.

6. Bouncer- These certainly do come in handy, but I don’t feel it’s very safe to put your baby in it for a couple months depending on the kind you get. The one I had I didn’t feel supported my baby’s head and neck very good and could easily block their airway, but it’s a definite must have when they are a little bigger.

7. Swing- You may feel you won’t need one of these if you have a Rock n’ Play, but now that they are recalled you’ll want a swing.

  • I had a 4Moms MamaRoo, but it broke after seven months of using it. I loved how small and compact it was, it didn’t take up a lot of room, but I don’t think I’d ever buy another one since it wasn’t very durable and pretty pricey.

8. Johnny Jump Up- Your baby won’t be able to use this for a while, but it’s a must have and so much fun for baby and for you.

9. Jumperoo- I loved my Jumperoo and so did all of my babies, but if you have the Johnny Jump Up you may not need one of these and can just safe your money.  

  • Go HERE for an idea of what one is

10. Exersaucer- I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Exesaucer and neither were my babies, but I think I put them in it too late.

  • The second your baby can start standing on your legs pretty good and holding their head up well is the time to probably put them in the Exersaucer. I did it too late I think.

11. Baby Floor Play Mat- these are really good for your baby and can be used as early as you want. They are surprisingly quite expensive so if you can find a used one that would be awesome.

12. High Chair- My kitchen is pretty small and high chairs can take up a lot of room. This depends on your kitchen space and what kind you want to buy.

  • Cosco high chairs are smaller and fold up so thin. I bought Cosco brand for my twins since I had to have two high chairs. I love them. We take them with us everywhere because they are easily portable. They are low in cost too. The only thing I don’t like is the fabric seat and belt buckles aren’t machine washable, there’s no way to detach it from the chair. Sooo dumb!
  • HERE is a link to the kind I bought. I bought this one for my daughter and a blue one for my son.

13. Burp Rags (only if your babies are pukers)- All my babies were pukers!

  • I just buy cloth diapers for my burp rags, they are amazing at absorbing all the spit up and don’t cost too much.

14. Bibs (only if your babies are pukers)- as I mentioned above. If your babies spit up a lot, bibs will save your life! It’ll keep you from change their outfits multiple times a day.

  • HERE is a link to the kind of bibs I bought that worked great for little babies.

15. Crib Sheet Saver- If you have spit up babies, these saved me from doing tons of laundry and changing sheets all day.

  • You can find the sheet savers HERE

16. Video Monitor- You need a video monitor to be able to see and hear your baby, but also for your enjoyment as your baby gets older it’s so fun to be able to see what they do in their cribs when you’re not around.

  • The brand I bought was Vtech. I have really liked this brand.

17. Snuza Hero Baby Movement Monitor- I have a love, hate relationship with these things. These are a little like the Owlet pulse monitor, but way cheaper.

  • They monitor the movement of your baby’s belly when they’re sleeping, and it alarms you if it doesn’t detect movement after 20 seconds.
  • There were more false alarms more than anything and it got really annoying, but I am a worrier and SIDS is my biggest fear! With my twins being preemies, I was an even bigger mess than with my other children, so I was grateful for these and it put my mind at ease when I went to sleep at night.
  • HERE is a link to purchase this

18. Infant Baby Bath– I just bought a basic, plastic baby bath and have had no problems.

19. Car Seat– I did a ton of research and our budget was certainly tight. I wanted a good car seat, but one that didn’t break the bank.

  • I bought Graco Snugride Click Connect 35. These hold babies from 4-35lbs and 32” long.
  • These are also the lightest car seats I could find. The car seat alone is only 7 lbs. I wanted a light car seat because those things are hard to lug around.
  • My only complaint about these car seats is the canopy. It got in the way of the handle a lot and didn’t give good enough coverage for me, but nothing a cute canopy cover wouldn’t fix.
  • HERE is a link to the one I bought

20. Stroller- This was a killer for me to figure out because I needed one that wouldn’t take up the entire trunk of my car.

  • There are so many out there it’s insane. This is totally your choice and you buy whatever you feel you need, but here is a suggestion. The Baby Trend Snap n’ Go Stroller is amazing because it is super light weight and easy to fold. It folds up thin too. You just put your car seat on it and go.
  • If you could buy it used it would be a better deal because it’s not a stroller that can grow with you. Once your baby is out of the infant car seat you’d have to buy another stroller, but there are a lot of cheap strollers out there that will do the job just fine when you need it to.
  • Think about what you need and want and go from there. You may have other children and may need a double or even triple stroller depending on your situation.

21. Muslim Swaddle Blankets- I absolutely love these blankets, but they have some pretty pricey ones out there. There are so others that are the exact same material, but cheaper. I went the cheaper route and bought a lot from Wal-Mart and Amazon.

22. Sleep Sacks- I am a big believer in never putting anything loose in my baby’s crib when they are old enough to roll over and move around. Once they start moving around I stop swaddling them and transition them over to sleep sacks to keep them warm and safe. I love them. They have lots of different kinds out there and they have some that can grow with your child as they get older. These can be pretty pricey, but I feel are totally worth it.

23. Double Breast Pump– No matter what, unless you plan to use formula right from the start you will want and need a good breast pump.

  • I used Medela and it was so nice! A good pump makes a world of difference.
  • Make sure you have an extra set of flanges, so you don’t have to do as many dishes.
  • For the one I have go HERE

24. Bottles– With my first two baby’s I used glass bottles and loved them. With my twins I used Dr. Brown’s bottles and loved those.

25. Bottle Warmer- If you are strictly pumping then a bottle warmer is an absolute life saver!

  • I couldn’t nurse because my babies had to have their milk fortified with formula for more calories and nursing just wasn’t happening for me. I strictly pumped and a bottle warmer helped so much!
  • If you are doing formula there is no need for this because you can make the bottle with warm water already.
  • I had the Dr. Brown’s bottle warmer, but I am sure any kind would work just fine.
  • The one I had go HERE

26. Bobby (Nursing Pillow)- These are amazing for nursing and also to just lay your baby on. They are pretty pricey though, but a must have.

  • Go HERE for a good bamboo one 

27. Baby Carrier- Everyone I know raves about the Moby Wrap, but I never used one before. I have heard amazing things about it though.

  • I personally loved this carrier. Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier
  • Go HERE to purchase. It’s so easy to use and can hold up to 40 pounds. I love the hoodie on it to help support baby’s head when it falls asleep.  

28. Pack n’ Play- These are portable cribs that fold up fairly small. These are amazing and a must have. You can take it anywhere to have your baby play in or sleep in.

  • They have a lot out there and the price range is huge. I don’t find it necessary to purchase an expensive one with all these crazy gadgets unless it’s something that’s necessary for you.
  • HERE is a good one that’s not too pricey and basic

29. Cool Mist Humidifier- Whatever you do make sure you buy a cool mist humidifier because they work so much better than the warm mist.

  • I love this one and it’s not too pricey, go HERE 

30. Nose Frida- The bulb you get from the hospital that sucks all the guck out of your baby’s mouth after it’s born is wonderful for sucking out all your baby’s boogies, but the Nose Frida is pretty amazing as well! I promise you won’t get any of your baby’s boogers in your mouth.

  • Go HERE to purchase and learn more about it.

31. Baby Wipes Warmer- I always thought that these were a waste of money with my other children until I got one as a gift and oh my word it makes the world of difference when changing your little baby’s bottoms. They don’t scream and cry the entire time they are being changed. They’re miracles.

32. Baby Mitts- I personally say don’t waste your money on these and just use socks, they stay on better and you should already have some anyway. Most baby outfits come with the covers built right on the long sleeve onesie’s anyway.

33. Baby Basics

  • Nail Clippers- remember you can’t clip baby’s nails for quite a while until after the skin behind it stops growing with the nail.
  • Baby brush and comb
  • Diaper Rash cream- honestly, I think Vaseline works better than anything else.
  • Vaseline
  • Baby Vicks
  • Thermometer- I think the kind you put in their ear or move across their forehead are the best, they are pricey though, but last a long time and work well, so it’s worth it.
  • Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen. DO NOT EVER buy Infant Tylenol and Ibuprofen, they cost more for way less. Your pediatrician will give you doses that correlate with Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
  • Saline solution- this stuff is amazing to help get dry boogies out of your baby’s nose.
  • Binkies- I’d wait on buying these until your baby is born because you never know what they will like. See how they do with the hospital one first and go from there or buy the kind you want them to like and don’t let the hospital give them any other kind except for that one.

This list is not in any particular order. It’s simply just a list.

Well, there you have it! I can’t think of anything else that are absolute must haves! I know this is super intense and overwhelming.  There are a lot of these things you really can do without and will be just fine. If you don’t have the money or room for it all that’s ok. Some of these things you may not even want and that’s ok too. There may be a lot your baby might not even like and you won’t know that until it’s here.

A lot of these things you won’t need until your baby gets older, which is nice because it will give you time to gradually buy things and will help with space because you’ll be rotating things out for when your baby is older. Like your swing and bouncer will eventually be replaced with the Exersaucer and Jumperoo. It’ll all work out, I promise.

Just see what’s best for you and your family. It’s all a big experiment. Good luck!  Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

 

Having a baby is overwhelming and to have to think of all the things you'll need is daunting. Here is a list of all the must haves when expecting a baby. tessatomom.com

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Prepare Yourself Your Marriage May Change After Having a Baby

Prepare Yourself Your Marriage May Change After Having a Baby

When I was pregnant with my first I read all the books I could to prepare myself for my pregnancy, delivery, and how to care for my baby afterwards. I talked to so many other moms about their experiences and what to expect, but not one book or person ever told me about how having a baby will change my relationship with my spouse FOREVER.

My husband and I were married for a little over a year when we decided we wanted to start our family. It took us four months to get pregnant and we were thrilled when that test came out positive!

I had a rough pregnancy and it was a long nine months, but then our sweet baby boy entered the world and our lives changed forever!

No one can prepare you for the changes in your marriage once you become pregnant and no one can prepare you for the changes that take place once the baby is born. I thought that having a baby would bring us so much closer and it does in certain ways, but it also can push you apart.

Pregnancy alone changed our marriage a lot. I was sick most of the time and we were both working, and my husband was in school. We already didn’t have a lot of time for each other with our busy schedules. Then to throw a sick, emotional, and hormonal wife into the mix, it sure made things challenging.

Intimacy went out the door real fast I’ll tell you that right now! Which is really hard, especially for the man in the relationship. When your relationship and intimacy is so strong before you get pregnant, and then quickly go to hardly being intimate at all it’s really tough on a relationship.

It’s hard to talk to each other about it too, because if your husband brings it up it makes him look insensitive to all that you’re going through. Then if you bring it up it makes it look like you’re just making excuses.

Communication is key though! As hard as it may-be you both need to discuss these changes that have taken place and you both need to work harder at understanding where each other are coming from.

No man will EVER understand what us women go through during pregnancy, but sometimes we have to suck it up and make our hubbies happy to get through this rough patch, and the same goes for him.

Once your baby is born you may think that you guys will magically go back to the way things were, but that is certainly not the case. It takes months after your baby is born to get back to where you were before and even then, you’re not going to be the same. Parenthood changes you.

I am not saying this in a negative way. Parenthood changes you in so many positive ways, but some may be negative as well.

 

HERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT MAY CHANGE BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AFTER HAVING A BABY

  • This is the first time you and your spouse have experienced having a baby together. Giving birth is not a pretty sight, it’s graphic and something that neither of you have probably witnessed before, so this may make you both feel a little uncomfortable and be quite shocking. When it’s all over, talk about it, joke about it, and laugh about it!
  • Your relationship and each other may be put on the back burner for a while. Once your baby is born EVERYTHING is about your baby. Don’t worry though this is fun! It’s fun to experience this new stage of your lives together and to figure things out with your spouse by your side.
  • You’ll both be so exhausted that you won’t really care about anything for a little while.
  • You both may experience feelings of jealously. You may be jealous that your husband has more free time than you do. You may be jealous that he wants to spend more time with the baby than you when he’s home. You may be jealous that he gets more sleep than you. He may be jealous you spend more time with the baby than with him. He may be jealous that you seem to care for and pay more attention to the baby than to him. He may be jealous that you get to stay home and take care of the baby and he has to go to work. The list can go on, the point is that jealous feelings are completely normal and will pass.
  • You may feel distant from each other because all your time is being put into taking care of this newborn. I remember one night my husband and I were sitting on the couch about to start a movie and I was holding our baby and we looked at each other and I asked, “Are we good?” My husband smiled his big, gorgeous smile and said, “I was going to ask the same thing.” We talked a bit about how we’ve noticed the changes that have taken place, but we’re both good for now and we both still are madly in love with each other.
  • You both may be feeling stressed, tired, exhausted, emotional, upset, easily aggravated, and possibly even angry at times. There is a lot going on. You are recovering, you’re hormonal, you’re trying to figure out so many things like breastfeeding, caring for a newborn, schedules and routines. It’s not easy and of course you’re not going to take it out on the baby, so you’ll be taking it out on each other at times.
  • It takes 6-8 weeks after having your baby to be able to go back to being intimate again with each other. Once you get the go ahead from your doctor you honestly may not even feel up to it. You’re tired all the time, you’re taking care of a newborn for heaven sakes. You may feel insecure with your body, you may still be experiencing some postpartum pain, but your husband has been counting down the days, so the pressure is on.
  • When you have intercourse for the first time after having your baby it is not going to feel the way it did before. It may feel tighter or looser down there. You may experience a burning or stinging sensation. It honestly won’t be a lot of fun. My advice is to make sure you use a lot of lubricant (water based) and to take it slow and easy. This will get better over time.


 

WAYS TO HELP RESOLVE THESE ISSUES

  • COMMUNICATE! This is HUGE and will make a world of difference. Talk about EVERYTHING you’re feeling, both the positive and negative.
  • FORGIVE QUICKLY! Forgive each other quickly when you have tiffs or are on edge. Nothing can prepare for the rollercoaster of emotions you’ll be experiencing and it’s only natural to have blow ups here and there.  
  • TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS! Discuss with each other what you expect from one another with your new roles as parents now.  This is new territory for the both of you and it’s obvious that the mother takes the lead in all this since she is the main care taker of the baby. Show your husband how to do things, but don’t belittle him for doing things differently. Include your husband in certain decisions, this will help you guys feel closer to each other and will help lessen the stress of parenting if you both decide on important things.
  • BE PATIENT! Be patient with each other and with your baby. Be patient with your body and take it easy. Give yourself time to heal and to recover.
  • PUT ASIDE TIME! Put aside time for each other without your baby. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Take that time to talk to each other about anything other than your baby.
  • PAMPER YOURSELF! Take time for yourself everyday to get a break and take care of yourself.
  • GET SOME SLEEP! Take turns getting sleep. You both need it and it will help so much.
  • GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Get out of the house, go for walks, go visit family or friends, sit outside in a chair for a bit, just get out and get some sunlight and fresh air.
  • BE INTIMATE IN OTHER WAYS! Be intimate in other ways until you get the go ahead from your doctor. Kiss and snuggle each other, express your love through actions and physical touch.

It’s really hard going from being husband and wife to parents. It’s always just been the two of you. It’s hard to adjust getting used to you both not being each other’s center of attention.

Your freedom is limited now as well. You can’t always go anywhere you want. It’s harder to stay out late with friends and family. Things become a little more difficult and it can be a little straining on your marriage.

Please know, that this is normal. It’s an adjustment that everyone experiences. It takes time and some work, but luckily you have this beautiful baby that you both love so much to pull you guys closer together and bond over. It doesn’t take long to get accustomed to your new roles and new relationship, so that’s good.

The only way to keep your relationship strong is to separate your roles. You are not only a husband or a wife, but also a father, and a mother now. You need to make sure that you are nurturing both of those roles.

Once you become a parent, you will always be a parent. There is a chance you won’t always be a wife or husband though, so, you need to work extra hard at keeping a strong relationship with your spouse.

It can be really easy to lose yourself to parenthood. It can easily consume you, but you have to remember that YOU are still an INDIVIDUAL with wants and needs. It’s ok to take care of those wants and needs. You need still be YOU in order to take care of your family. So, take care of yourself, your relationship to your spouse and your children, and remember to find joy in the journey!

 

After you have a baby no one warns you about how your marriage will change. This can be a difficult adjustment. If you prepare yourself before hand it can help tremendously. tessatomom.com
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How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Son

As I sat and watched my oldest son play with his younger siblings I thought to myself, oh, how I adore him! When did he become so grown up? Where has the time gone? Why does it have to go by so fast? Will we always be close? What does the future hold for us? As I pondered these things it was hard for me not to become emotional.

I worry so much about whether or not we’ll have a close relationship the rest of our lives. I would be naïve if I said I know we’ll always be close. The teenage years will be here before I know it and I KNOW things won’t be easy then, but I hope and pray that our foundation will already be established and strong enough to withstand our challenges and even though we will drive each other crazy at times, we will still have a good relationship.

The only way this can happen though is if we start building that strong foundation NOW! He needs to know that he can trust me, that I’ll always be here for him and that he can come to me with anything. He needs to feel safe and secure with our relationship. He needs to know that he is loved and will always be loved no matter what.

I have noticed that as my children grow older my love for them continues to grow, but it’s growing differently than how it was when they were babies.

Having ages 8, 5, and 18-month aged children at home has really made me come to this realization. To be honest I don’t really like it. I have noticed my love for each one of them is different and how I am on a different level with each one of them. That sounds terrible to say and I don’t mean it the way it sounds…it’s hard to explain.

This is a strange and new experience for me having a wide range of ages in my home, so I am not used to feeling all the emotions that comes with parenting at this point.

When my children were babies my love for them was indescribable. They needed me all day, every day. I would wait on them hand and foot, and I loved every minute of it. I absolutely adored my babies and wanted to breathe them in every second I could.

Now, that love is still there as they get older, but it’s changing. They don’t need me as much anymore, they are becoming more independent. They aren’t wanting and needing me all day anymore. They are becoming their own, individual selves and I can literally feel my love changing. It’s hard for me to describe, but what’s really the struggle is letting it happen.

Love evolves. It’s no different than when you first start falling in love with someone. For example, my husband and I were so infatuated with each other at the beginning, we never wanted to be apart. We were so in love that I never thought it was possible to love him any more than that, but I do.

Our love has changed over these past 10 years of being together. The infatuation has faded quite a bit, but the love is stronger than ever before. It’s grown firmly into admiration of our history together as a couple. We’ve experienced and endured so much that it’s made our love for one another become more solid and real.

That’s how I feel with my son. Over the years our love has developed a history, it has bonded us in ways that can never be erased. Our love is maturing and changing into a real relationship with memories that are intact. The cute puppy love (the baby love) is fading out and the real relationship love is fading in.


I don’t like change. It’s hard for me. I have a hard time adapting and letting go. This is the time where I can either make or break my relationship with my son. I know without a doubt that I don’t want to break it. So, I’m going to do all that I can to continue to build a strong, loving relationship.

Some days are harder than others. We butt heads a lot. He can be quite difficult and stubborn more often than not, but as the days keep moving forward I am realizing more and more that my control over him is dwindling quickly. He is becoming an individual now, someone who needs to make his own choices and learn from his own mistakes. He needs to fall in order to fly.

It’s so hard to loosen that rope though and let him make his own decisions. I feel the more I loosen that rope the more he won’t need or want me, and I’ll lose him forever.

So, I’ve made it a priority to build and strengthen my relationship with my son; to rediscover our evolving love for each other and make it stronger than ever!

 

HOW TO BUILD A STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR SON

  • Spend quality one on one time with him daily (if possible.) If it’s not possible to have the one on one time because of other littles at home, then spend time with all of them. Just spend time together. It doesn’t have to be long, 20 minutes is plenty, but this is something he’ll remember forever.
  • Go on dates with him at least once a month, if possible. I know, this can be finically difficult, or schedules can make this difficult as well, but if you take him out on dates when you can this will bring you closer together by making memories with just the two of you.
  • Snuggle as long as he’ll let you! My favorite time of the day is when we snuggle in bed together and talk. We talk about anything and everything. I love it!
  • Be there for him ALL THE TIME! If you are busy doing something and he approaches you to talk to you about something, stop everything you’re doing, look him right in the eyes and listen to him. Show him he’s number one and nothing is more important than him.
  • When he comes to you with a mistake he made, don’t get angry. Talk it out. It’s ok to show your disappointment and to let him know that, but don’t be angry.
  • Praise him for all the things he tries at. Show him that trying is all that matters, no matter what the outcome is.
  • Be there for him day and night and make sure he knows it!
  • Talk to him! Ask him tons of questions about his interests, school, likes, dislikes, ask if he has any questions about life that he doesn’t understand. Have an open relationship that he feels he can come to you with anything.
  • Learn about his interests so you can understand him more and bond over his interests. Better yet, have him teach you about his interests.
  • Love him hard, especially on the bad days. Point it out to him, help him realize that even if he’s crabby you still love him so much!
  • Write him notes in his books, lunch, or backpack when he’s old enough to read.
  • Make him feel special and unique.
  • Make him feel that your family will fall apart without him. Show him that his life has meaning, and he has a special role in it.
  • Teach him how to be a gentleman and to always be kind and respectful to others.
  • Don’t force it. Let your relationship build naturally and have fun!

Change is tough, but you never know what may come from it. It’s never too late to start building a stronger relationship with your son.

If you have any ideas on how to build a stronger relationship, please comment. I’d love to hear them.

 

A mother and son's relationship is precious. Here are some great ideas on how to build a strong relationship wit your son. tessatomom.com

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Stop Fighting the Beastly Tantrums and Start Taming Them

So, you’re at the park and you tell your toddler it’s time to go and they yell, “NO” and run away. You chase after them, pick them up, they start thrashing around, and screaming.

You manage to get them to the car and put them in their car seat, but they try to escape by trashing around some more, and scream even louder. You finally get them buckled and they cry all the way home.

Is this a consistent scene in your life?

Tantrums are the absolute worst! They are so difficult to handle. They are physically, mentally, and emotionally straining on us and I’m truly convinced they are shaving years off my life.

Tantrums are inevitable though. They are going to happen no matter what, but it’s our job to try and help our children work through them, teach them, and to not throw fuel on the fire. Easier said than done, right?

My son threw the worst tantrums from about 14 months-4 years old (he started getting better around this age, he’s 8 now and he still gets super upset over things; but doesn’t throw tantrums like he did. Thank heavens!)

My daughter on the other hand is 5 and is still throwing massive tantrums! I honestly think they are worse now than when she was an actual toddler (more on this in another post.)

I have cried many tears over my kids and their tantrums. There have been days where I have literally wanted to walk out the door and never look back. It’s hard, but remember, it won’t last forever.

I always blame myself thinking that there is something I am doing wrong and that I am causing these outbursts, but as the years have gone on I’ve come to realize, this is just part of raising children.

I do believe that us parents are BIG factors in this particular situation though, but I also believe that this is just kids being kids.

Toddlers brains are learning so much every day and they pick up on new things on a daily basis. They can be so smart in their vocabulary, understanding other people, motor skills, and even with knowing educational things, but their emotions are so far behind.

It takes years, and when I say years I mean years to develop emotionally, heck, I still feel like I’m trying to figure it out myself most days.

The first step to help tame these tantrums is understanding that, so this will require a lot of patience on your end.


 

TIPS TO HELP TAME TANTRUMS

AVOID TANTRUM TRIGGERS

  • This can be a hard one to figure out and it may be different for each child, but if you can figure out what triggers their tantrums this will be huge.
  • Realistically you’re not going to be able to avoid their triggers all the time, but the more you avoid them, then hopefully when the time comes that you can’t, it won’t resort to a tantrum, because they are getting out of the habit of them.

POSSIBLE TANTRUM TRIGGERS

  1. Not receiving enough of your attention
  2. Saying “No” too often
  3. Transitioning to the next thing
  4. Not getting enough sleep
  5. Not having a consistent and nutritious diet
  6. Not feeling understood

1. Not receiving enough of your attention

  • A big tantrum trigger I feel a lot of kids have is not getting enough attention from their parents, so they act in negative ways because even though they are getting negative attention they are still getting attention.
  • I find this trigger to be true with my own kids, but I don’t feel this solves all the problems. There needs to be a good balance, because your children need to understand that they can’t always have ALL your attention.
  • If you take 20 minutes of INDIVIDUAL, quality time with each of your children every day I promise their attitudes will start improving. (Watching movies, TV shows, or playing video games does not qualify as quality time.)
  • This may be a very difficult and unrealistic thing to do depending on your situation and schedule. If the time frame is a bit much, then ten minutes is fine, whatever you can do. If that still is too hard then take at least 30 minutes every day with all your children doing something fun that doesn’t involve technology.

2. Saying “No” too often

  • Now, I am not saying that you have to say “Yes” to everything because that would be madness. What I mean is that if your child asks you for something or to do something with them and it’s not getting in the way of anything, then do it! Show your kids that they come first, their ideas are important and valid, and that they matter.
  • The biggest thing I am referring to when I say to not say “No” too often is this. You know how when your child may ask for ice cream when you’re out and about; and there may be multiple reasons why you guys can’t get ice cream right then? Instead of jumping right out with a “NO,” go about it a different way. Instead maybe say, “That would be so much fun and super yummy, but we just can’t get ice cream right now (then give them the reason.)”
  • Children love to understand the “why” of everything. Always give them a solid, valid reason as to why you’re saying no, so they can understand better.

 3. Transitioning to the next thing

  • This is a major tantrum trigger in my house. If I don’t give my kids a heads up that we need to leave from somewhere, or go somewhere, or to turn off the TV, then there will without a doubt be a tantrum.
  • Always give your kids a heads up and the best thing to help with this is using a timer.
  • Every time we have to change what we are doing and transition to the next thing I set a 5-minute timer.
  • This isn’t magic, and it doesn’t always work, but boy does it help A TON!

4. Not getting enough sleep

  • Ok, this a no brainer, but still can be very hard to follow with our busy lives.
  • If your child isn’t getting enough sleep then of course they’ll be ornery. Aren’t we when we don’t get enough sleep?
  • Do whatever you can to not do things close to nap time, or that’ll interrupt and shorten nap time.
  • If your child doesn’t sleep well at night figure out what time of day they are moodiest and avoid doing things during that time.

5. Not having a consistent and nutritious diet

  • This is so important for your children. You need to keep them on a consistent and nutritious diet. If they are lacking certain nutrients it can affect their emotions; and if they are hungry that’ll definitely cause their mood to change.

6. Not feeling understood

  • This one breaks my heart, because I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be to not be able to fully communicate my feelings, but still feel and experience them.
  • Have you ever wondered why our kids are throwing tantrums in the first place?
  • I bet 80% of the time it’s because they don’t feel understood. The other 20% is because they are flat out mad they aren’t getting what they want.
  • Try and be more compassionate and understanding. They are stuck in these little bodies with more knowledge in knowing what they want than they can communicate and that’s got to be so frustrating. Why do you think babies cry all the time, because they have no other way of communicating, but know what they want? That’s exactly how it is for our toddlers, but worse because they are learning to communicate better and feel you should understand them more, but we don’t, so they get frustrated.

Here are some options on how to handle the tantrum when it occurs. Every child is different and so you need to figure out what works best for them.

WHAT TO DO WHEN THE TANTRUM OCCURS

  1. Stay Clam
  2. Ignore
  3. Remove
  4. Engage
  5. Discuss

1. Stay Calm

  • This can be so hard to do because let’s be honest dealing with tantrums makes our blood boil, right? Especially if you hear them multiple times a day.
  • Your child picks up on your moods and energy and if they can sense your uptight, tense, and mad then this throws fuel on the fire.
  • If you remain calm, speak softly, don’t be rough with them, or engage in negative behavior then they will most likely calm down quicker.

2. Ignore

  • Don’t give into their behavior. Don’t laugh, smile, roll your eyes, anything. Just ignore them until they have calmed down, then interact with them once they’re calm.

3. Remove

  • Remove them from the situation. Take them to a save place and put them there until they have calmed down.

4. Engage

  • When they are having their tantrum console them, hold them tightly, snuggle them until they’re calm.
  • This one is harder to do because most toddlers thrash around, kick, scream, and punch when they are throwing their tantrums. Some kids don’t want to be touched at all, but for the ones that don’t mind, try sitting on the ground in Indian style, set them in your lap with the back of their head on your chest, hold their hands and wrap your arms around and their arms around them and sway back and forth, this can really help calm them down.

5. Discuss

  • Do not try and talk to your child in the middle of a tantrum, you’ll get nowhere. Wait until they are calm before you talk about it.
  • Depending on your child’s age will determine what you say to them, but no matter what the age you need to tell them it’s not ok to act like that. Make sure you tell them that it’s ok to be sad and mad, but not to behave like that.
  • If your child is older keep the lecture under 60 seconds and use words they understand.

All this information is probably geared more towards 2-year-old to five-year-old children. Any child below two years old you have to just distract them from their tantrums and let them have them, because they are too young to do anything else. Their tantrums don’t usually last long. Their crying might, but the tantrum usually doesn’t.

The distraction method works wonders on little ones though. You can also try and do something that makes them laugh, like tickling them, or singing.

Hang in there! Like I said before it doesn’t last forever, but it will last a long time. Think about the teenage years! AHHHH! It may not be tantrums anymore, but holy mood swings, here we come!

The most important thing to instill into your child during these tantrum times is that it’s ok to feel what they are feeling, it’s how they are acting and their behavior that’s not ok. Don’t shut off your children’s emotions, just help guide them on how to express them appropriately.

Good Luck! If there are any awesome tricks and tips you have up your sleeve I’d love to hear them. I’m heading into the tantrum years right now with my twins! HELP ME!

 

Tantrums are everyone's worst nightmares. Here is a great post on how to help tame the beastly tantrums.

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Advice and Must Haves When Expecting Twins

I live in a small home that doesn’t have a lot of space. When I found out I was pregnant with twins one of my fears (among many others) was not having enough room in our cute little house now that my family was growing from four to six very quickly.

I am a simplifier at heart. I only buy things that are necessities and I love getting rid of things that are not. So, the thought of all the things we were going to need was extremely overwhelming for me.

Everyone thinks that because you’re having two babies that you’re going to need two of EVERYTHING! This is not always the case. A lot of things, yes you will need two of, but there are ways to make things easier, take up less space, and be more affordable.

We don’t make a lot of money, which was another one of my fears, if we would be able to afford twins. I don’t feel you can ever really afford having children, there are always unexpected expenses that arise, but somehow it all works out and you make it through. I am pretty sure it’s because Heavenly Father is blessing and watching over us for bringing these children into the world.

We live on a tight budget, so I shopped around a ton to get the best deals for what we needed. I am not the type of person who needs the latest fads and I am ok with buying SOME things used, so this made things a little easier and cheaper for us.


 

TOP MUST HAVES

1. Diapers and Wipes- You will go through so many diapers and wipes with twins! It’s pretty nuts! I thought this would be our biggest expense, but it actually hasn’t been, clothes has been.

– Target brand diapers are by far the cheapest I have found. We don’t have a Target where I live, so I order mine online, purchase them with my Red Card and get free shipping and 5% off! Costco brand diapers are pretty good too, but we don’t have a Costco where I live either.

– Start pulling money aside NOW and put it somewhere you won’t touch it. This will help you have a good supply of money for diapers. So many people advised me with every baby to keep buying diapers whenever we had a chance, but I found this to be difficult because we ran out of space to store them and you never know how long they’ll be in certain sizes, so saving money for diapers is genius! 

2. Clothes- If you don’t already have a good supply of clothes from your older children, if you have older children and the same genders, or if you haven’t been given a lot of clothes by other people, then this is a big expense! If you have twins that are the same gender this will help a lot because they can share everything. I have different genders and I didn’t have a lot of extra clothes from my other children, so clothes have been costly for us.

– I am not one who cares to have my children dress in expensive top brand clothes. I am not trying to make this come across negatively, if you buy top brand clothes, it’s not a bad thing; I just can’t afford it.

– I purchase a lot of my children’s clothes from Ross, Target, and Wal-Mart. You can also find good deals at second hand stores.

– You’ll need a lot of onesies! I had 12-16 total at all times until they were over 12 months old. Now, I don’t use them as much.

3. Rock n’ Play Sleeper- These saved my life! I had two of them, and you’ll want two of them! They are amazing and fold up so thin to easily take places and to store. My babies both had reflux and spit up so much that they slept in these things for 7 months.

– The ones I bought go HERE (*THESE HAVE BEEN RECALLED AND ARE NO LONGER ON THE MARKET. WHICH IS SUCH A BUMMER, BECAUSE THEY WERE AMAZING.*) 

4. Cribs- You’ll definitely need two cribs.

– If you plan on having them sleep in the same crib or in something else next to your bedside for a while, then you can purchase one crib now and purchase another later on to help split up the cost.

– I already had one crib from my other children and only needed to purchase one more. I just bought a cheap, 150.00 one from Wal-Mart.

5. Bouncer- I don’t see any reason to have two of these. I think one is just fine. Just alternate your babies around from one thing to another or take the time to bond with one baby while the other is in the bouncer. My twins couldn’t use these until they were older anyway because it would cut off their air supply because of the way it positioned their head and neck.

6. Swing- I don’t see any reason to have two of these, especially if you have the Rock n’ Plays. You may not even need a swing at all if you have the Rock n’ Plays.

– I had a 4Moms MamaRoo, but it broke after seven months of using it. I loved how small and compact it was, it didn’t take up a lot of room, but I don’t think I’d ever buy another one since it wasn’t very durable and costly.

7. Johnny Jump Up- One of these is plenty.

8. Jumperoo- One of these is plenty as well, you may not even need one if you have and like the Johnny Jump Up.

9. Exersaucer- We only had one of these, but my babies didn’t seem to care for it much, so I think it was a waste of money. They preferred the Jumperoo more.

10. High Chairs- You will definitely need two high chairs. This was a hard one for me because my kitchen is so small I had nowhere to put two high chairs.

– Cosco high chairs are smaller and fold up so thin. These are the kinds I bought. I love them. We take them with us everywhere because they are portable. They are low in cost too. The only thing I don’t like is the fabric seat and belt buckles aren’t machine washable, there’s no way to detach it from the chair. Sooo dumb!

–  For the kind I bought go HERE. I bought this one for my daughter and a blue one for my son.

11. Burp Rags (only if your babies are pukers)- My babies were pukers! They were worse than my other children. I think a lot had to do with being preemies and they had an intolerance to milk protein. Whatever the reason. They puked a lot! I had 40 burp rags and went through all of them in one day! I would go through 24-32 bibs a day as well.

– I just buy cloth diapers for my burp rags, they are amazing at absorbing all the spit up and you get a lot for a good price!

12. Bibs (only if your babies are pukers)- as I mentioned above. If your babies spit up a lot, bibs will save your life! It’ll keep you from needing to change their outfits multiple times a day. As i said above. I went through 24-32 bibs a day.

– For the bibs I bought that worked great for little babies go HERE.

13. Crib Sheet Saver- If you have spit up babies, these saved me from doing tons of laundry and changing sheets all day.I had four total and honestly, I probably could have used one more set, but I was constantly doing laundry anyway, so it wasn’t too bad.

– You can find the sheet savers HERE

14. Video Monitor- You need a video monitor to be able to see and hear your babies, but also when your twins get older and start to interact with each other. It’s so fun to spy on them when they’re in their rooms. I bought the V-tech band and have loved it.

15. Snuza Hero Baby Movement Monitor- I have a love, hate relationship with these things. These are a little like the Owlet pulse monitor, but way cheaper.

– They monitor the movement of your baby’s belly when they’re sleeping, and it alarms you if it doesn’t detect movement after 20 seconds.

– There were more false alarms than anything and it got really annoying, but I am a worrier and SIDS is my biggest fear! With my twins being preemies, I was an even bigger mess than with my other children, so I was grateful for these and it put my mind at ease when I went to sleep at night.

– To purchase this go HERE

16. Infant Baby Bath– You only need one of these. I didn’t have a fancy special one, just a basic baby bath.

17. Car Seats– Obviously you’ll need two of these. I did a ton of research and our budget was certainly tight. I wanted good car seats, but ones that didn’t break the bank.

– I bought Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 car seats. These hold babies from 4-35 lbs. It was hard finding a car seat that was in my price range and would hold a 4 lb baby. Since my babies were going to be 4 lbs when they were released from the NICU I certainly needed ones that would hold 4 lbs.

– These are also the lightest car seats I could find. The car seat alone is only 7 lbs. I wanted light car seats if I was going to be lugging two babies around in them.

– My only complaint about these car seats is the canopy. It got in the way of the handle a lot and didn’t give good enough coverage for me, but nothing a cute canopy cover wouldn’t fix.

– For the ones I bought go HERE

18. Double Stroller- This was a killer for me to figure out because I needed one that wouldn’t take up the entire trunk of my van.

– I got the Baby Trend Snap n’ Go Double stroller. I loved this stroller! It is lightweight and folds up really thin. You just place your car seat on it and go. You don’t even have to have the same brand of car seat for it to fit on.

– I also got mine used online for half the price, which was wonderful!

– The only downfall is you can only use this stroller while your babies are in their infant car seats. If you don’t already have another double stroller for when they’re older than you’ll have to purchase another one, so it could end up not being the best financial route for you. I already had another double stroller, so it was perfect for me.

– Baby Trend Snap n’ Go Stroller go HERE

19. Laundry Detergent- You will need a lot of laundry detergent because you won’t believe how much laundry you’ll be doing. I did at least 3 loads every day! This is because my babies were pukers though.

20. Table for Two- These are seats attached to each other to put your babies in and you can feed them their bottles easily, feed them their baby food, or just let them chill in it.

– I personally didn’t have one of these because I didn’t know about it soon enough and I didn’t have the space anyway. Boy would it have been so nice to have though.

– They are a bit pricey and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have bought it because it’s too costly for me, but it is really cool and could be super handy.

– For the link go HERE

21. Double Breast Pump– no matter what, unless you plan to use straight formula right away you will want and need a good breast pump.

– Twins demand a lot more milk than one baby and you’ll need your pump to help keep up your milk supply.

– I used Medela and it was so nice! A good pump makes a world of difference.

– Make sure you have an extra set of flanges, so you don’t have to do as many dishes.

– For the link go HERE

22. Bottles– Lots of bottles!

– I used Dr. Brown’s bottles. These are the only nipples my babies could take in the NICU because the flow was slow enough for them to not choke and the nipple size was good.

– I had 9-12 bottles in both 4 oz and 8 oz sizes.

23. Bottle Warmer- If you are strictly pumping then a bottle warmer is an absolute life saver!

– I couldn’t nurse because my babies had to have their milk fortified with formula for more calories and nursing just wasn’t happening for me. I strictly pumped and a bottle warmer helped so much!

– If you are doing formula there is no need for this because you can make the bottle with warm water already.

– I had the Dr. Brown’s bottle warmer, but I am sure any kind would work just fine.

– For the one I had go HERE

24. Dual Nursing Pillow- My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow or this other one I heard of is even better, The Twins Z Pillow.

– As I said nursing didn’t work out for me, but I had the My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow and when I tried nursing it really made things easier.

– For the link for the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow go HERE 

– The Twins Z Pillow though looks better, safer, and more comfortable. It does cost a lot more than the My Brest Friend pillow though.The link for The Twins Z Pillow go HERE

25. Twin Carrier- I highly suggest either having two separate carriers or a carrier that’s meant for twins. The Weego Twin Baby Carrier is a carrier I think is pretty cool.

– We only had two separate carriers, but I wish I would have come across this sooner because it’s pretty neat and would have been really nice to have when I didn’t have someone else to carry one of the twins. We just didn’t have the finances for it.

– There are a lot of different ones out there, but this one is better for younger babies. There are others out there that would be better for older babies.

– Go HERE for the link for The Weego

26. Pack n’ Plays- I think having two Pack n’ Plays is HUGE!

– We take these anytime we are going to visit family and the babies need naps. They come in handy and are used often. I think they’re a must.

– I already had one, so I only needed to purchase one more. I wanted to keep it cheap, so I purchased a basic one without any crazy gismos and gadgets.

– For a good one that’s not too pricey go HERE

27. Baby Wipes Warmer- With my other kids I always thought this was a silly thing to waste your money on, but then I got one as a gift and oh my word it makes the world of difference when changing your little baby’s bottoms. They don’t scream and cry the entire time they are being changed. They’re miracles.

28. Baby Mitts- I personally say don’t waste your money on these and just use socks, they stay on better and you should already have some anyway. Most baby outfits come with the covers built right on the long sleeve onesie anyway.

29. Nose Frida- The bulb you get from the hospital that sucks all the guck out of your baby’s mouth after it’s born is wonderful for sucking out all your baby’s boogies, but the Nose Frida is pretty amazing as well! These look disgusting, but I promise you will never get any of your baby’s boogers in your mouth.

– Go HERE to purchase and learn more about it.

30. Cool Mist Humidifier- Whatever you do make sure you buy a cool mist humidifier because they work so much better.

– I love this one and it’s not too pricey, go HERE

31. Muslim Swaddle Blankets- I absolutely love these blankets, but they have some pretty pricey ones out there. There are so many out there that are the exact same material, but cheaper. I went the cheaper route and bought a lot from Wal-Mart and Amazon.

32. Sleep Sacks- I am a big believer in never putting anything loose in my baby’s crib when they are old enough to roll over and move around. Once they start moving around I stop swaddling them and transition them over to sleep sacks to keep them warm and safe. I love them. They have lots of different kinds out there and they have some that can grow with your child as they get older. These can be pretty pricey, but I feel are totally worth it.

– Go HERE for infant ones.

– Go HERE for older ones. 

33. Baby Basics

– Nail Clippers- remember you can’t clip baby’s nails for quite a while until after the skin behind it stops growing with the nail.

– Baby brush and comb

– Diaper Rash cream- honestly, I think Vaseline works better than anything else.

– Vaseline

– Baby Vicks

– Thermometer- I think the kind you put in their ear or move across their forehead are the best, they are pricey though, but last a long time and work well, so it’s worth it.

– Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen. DO NOT EVER buy Infant Tylenol and Ibuprofen, they cost more for way less. Your pediatrician will give you doses that correlate with Children’s Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

– Saline solution- this stuff is amazing to help get dry boogies out of your baby’s nose.

– Binkies- I’d wait on buying these until your baby is born because you never know what they will like. See how they do with the hospital one first and go from there or buy the kind you want them to like and don’t let the hospital give them any other kind except for that one.

 

Well, there you have it! I can’t think of anything else that are absolute must haves! This list is not in any particular order. It’s simply just a list.

A lot of these things you won’t need until your babies get older, which is nice because it will give you time to gradually buy things.

I know this is all probably very overwhelming to you. Some of the things you may not want or need at all. Just see what’s best for you and your family. It’s all a big experiment. One thing you’ll learn quickly is that one of your babies may like one thing and the other may not.

Good Luck!

If you have any other suggestions or questions please comment, I’d love to hear from you.

 

You really don't need TWO of EVERYTHING! This is the best list of must haves and advice if you're expecting twins. This is all coming from a mom with twins. tessatomom.com

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