Building A Strong Immune System for All Year Long

There has never been a better time to take care of yourself than now, especially your immune system. A few years back I shared a blog post with tips and tricks our family uses to stay above the wellness line. Since then we have changed up our daily routine a bit and it has done wonders.

I am not writing this blog post to start a debate on keeping yourself, or others, healthy or the current state of the world. My intentions behind this are pure in wanting to share my own experience and knowledge. I am in no way telling you what to do. Always check with your provider before taking or doing anything that may affect your health.

In this post I am covering what my family uses on a daily basis to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. I will also share what we do when we do get sick or start to feel a little under the weather. These things are all kid-friendly and can be used within the whole family!

Building A Strong Immune System for All Year Long

Whole foods. There’s no denying the importance of incorporating as many whole foods into your diet as possible. There are so many benefits to loading up on fruits and veggies including vitamin C which is important for keeping your immune system properly functioning. Consuming whole foods not only provides nature’s vitamins and minerals, but it can help you manage weight, reduce inflammation, provide a natural source of energy and so much more. Eating whole foods is the base of our wellness regimen and is what makes all the other supplements helpful.

Ningxia Red. If you have been around here long enough, you know my love for Ningxia Red runs deep. I am a huge Young Living fan through and through and will always promote this drink supplement. It is full of antioxidants which we need to fight off free radicals that can make us sick. Not to mention the blend of immune supporting essential oils added in for an extra boost. I drink about two ounces every morning and both of my boys get around one ounce daily as well.

Elderberry. For the longest time I bought my elderberry at the store in gummy form or in a dropper. While it does still work consuming it that way, there is nothing better than purchasing locally sourced elderberry if you can. I get ours at our farmer’s market down the street and it’s so good. It consists of locally grown and harvested elderberries, water, local honey, and lemon. I take one full tablespoon a day (I love mixing it with my Ningxia) and I give the boys one teaspoon each day.

Probiotics. I am sure you have heard the term “your stomach is your second brain”. It’s true, if something is off in your gut chances are it is affecting you everywhere else, including your immune system. Finding a good probiotic alone can be very beneficial. I recently started taking the brand Rae and love it. The boy’s use the brand Smarty Pants currently (they are gummies so it’s easy for them to want to take them)!

Immune blend roller. Young Living has an essential oil blend called “Thieves” which is packed with immune boosting oils like lemon. Thieves is also Young Living’s household cleaning line and I think it speaks for itself! You can purchase a roller that’s premade or make your own. We choose to make our own. I love using Thieves with Lemon topped off with a carrier oil. I use the same for the boys but switch up the ratios. We roll this on our spines and bottoms of our feet every single day.

While we do these things every day, on top of washing hands, resting, etc., we do still get sick from time to time- We are humans! With that said, we like to “amp up” our routine when we start to feel sick.

Ways we increase our immune support when we do get sick include…

Eat more whole foods like soups and broths

Increasing our Ningxia red intake

Double up our elderberry intake

Diffuse Thieves all day every day

Increase the use of the immune supporting roller

Use the brand Earthley’s “Feel Better Fast” drops

Spoonfuls of local honey (only use on children one year+)

Lots and lots of fluids

Rest (duh!)

I would love to hear what you and your family do to keep yourselves healthy! Comment below or share with me on Instagram!

Slate’s First Year

Our second son, Slate, first year came and went and I definitely didn’t get to do a lot of blogging about it like I did with Jasper, but nonetheless, I am writing now! If you can remember back to almost two years ago, I blogged for every month of Jasper’s first year. With Slate, it wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to say, because lord knows just how much I do have to say, but rather I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy. Fast forward to present day, I am trying to get back to my roots and blog more often!

As most of you know, Slate turned a year old on September 30th. We threw a small, intimate birthday party for him which you can read all about here. This blog post I want to dedicate to those first twelve months of his life.

I have been really enjoying photo diary style blogs so instead of going on and on about each month, I gathered some of the highlights of Slate’s first year. I thought this would be a fun idea to see how much he has grown and to look back on a few years from now.

For Slate’s birth story click here.

THE BIG ONE: Slate’s 1st Birthday Party

Our sweet little boy is officially one year old! It has easily been one of the longest, yet shortest, years of our lives and we cannot believe we are parents of two toddlers now!

If you have been following along for a little while now, you know birthday’s are my favorite thing. I believe everyone deserves to be celebrated big on their special day. And there’s no exceptions for my babies! With that said, I take a lot of time to plan a simple, yet fun and beautiful, birthday party for the ones I love.

This post will cover all of the details from Slate’s first birthday, where I purchased the decorations, and the foods that were served.

After celebrating two birthdays with Jasper I have feel like I have learned a lot when it comes to planning a birthday party, at least what works for our family!

I know a lot of parents like to go all out for their children’s first birthdays but I have found it much easier (and stress free) when things are kept simple. For Slate’s birthday I knew I wanted it small, intimate, and easy going and that is exactly what I planned!

For decorations I decided on a neutral color palette. I did a small balloon garland and two bunches of matching balloons. I also purchased individual foil letter balloons to spell out “THE BIG ONE”.
The florals are made of different types pampas grass from a small shop on Etsy. I placed them in thrifted vases from GoodWill.
I put together these goodie bags using items I purchased off of Amazon.
The board of milestone photos I made by using a template purchased off Etsy. I printed the photos and then taped them onto a canvas board.
I decided to serve snack food instead of a full meal- this makes it less stressful and is super easy to clean up and store any leftovers! Pictured here is Pirate’s Booty and potato chips in disposable plastic bowls.
The highchair garland was from another Etsy shop and I am obsessed with it!
This was Slate’s smash cake. I like to make my babe’s smash cakes myself mainly because the ingredients are much better and I am not over paying for a cake they’ll barely even touch. Cake topper found on Etsy.
This was the “main” dish, if you will. I threw together a charcuterie board full of fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses.
The cupcakes I did however not make myself. We got these gluten free dairy free cupcakes from a local bakery down the street from our house.

PARTY DETAILS

Balloon garland: OhhHowCharming

Balloon bunches: OhhHowCharming

Foil balloons: Party Products Online

Florals: PampasGrassSeason

Milestones Photos: UnmeasuredEvent

Highchair garland: CitrusFindings

Cake topper: DearHeartSigns

Table runner: ShopUkranianArt

Slate’s “one” t-shirt: Gladfolk

Cupcakes: Dolce Bakery

To get the details on Jasper’s first birthday click here.

The Birth Story of Slate Alexander pt. II

Read Part I here.

I was started on the lowest dose of Pitocin they could give me, and baby and I were handling it well. At this time my husband had left, and my doula was here to stay with me while I labored (COVID guidelines allowed only one visitor at a time but the plan was Mark would come back when I was ready to push). I sat on the birthing ball, talking to my doula, bouncing here and there. Standing up when things got too uncomfortable. I kept trying different positions because baby boy was not doing okay. This is when things start to get a little fuzzy. Sometime between midnight and 2:30 am the nurses increased my Pitocin and the contractions started to pick up. I remember talking to my doula one minute and having to focus on my contractions the next. I got down on my knees and leaned over the bed as she applied counterpressure on my hips and back- this was a game changer! It was then when I looked at my phone to see if Mark tried calling and remember seeing no notifications. It was 2:30 and things were moving fast. I pushed my phone aside because I knew I was in for a long night.

The next thing I remember is the nurse asking me to try kneeling on the bed over the peanut ball because baby’s heart rate was dropping. I was on the bed for what felt like maybe twenty minutes before several nurses came rushing in demanding me to get on my hands and knees as they threw an oxygen mask around my face. I just remember telling them I couldn’t because the contractions made it too hard. I quickly realized the severity of it and moved as fast as I could. Sobbing uncontrollably, I kept asking over and over if my baby was okay. The Pitocin and contractions had become too much for him as he had no fluid to act as a cushion. I had to lay on my right side the remainder of my labor with oxygen to keep him happy and healthy.

A little while later the midwife broke my water. Then at some point they began to replace the amniotic fluid that was lost (I can’t remember the proper term for this but essentially, it’s saline pushed back in to help cushion the baby during contractions). This was probably the most uncomfortable thing I ever felt. Not only was I having contractions but with each contraction gushes of warm water rushed out of me and the whole bed was just soaking wet. Sorry, TMI but this is the reality of it ya’ll!

I don’t really have a sense of time at this point. All I know is I was to stay lying on my right side and my contractions continued to grow closer and become stronger. My doula was amazing and continued to support me which provided a lot of relief. Eventually the contractions picked up in intensity to the point where I feel like there was no break in between them. It was so hard to focus. I got checked and was at 9cm. Looking back this was the beginning of transition. Fear began to take over and I just wanted him out! Being naïve, as this was my first and only unmedicated birth, I thought I was ready to push. After one more big contraction the midwife gave me the heads up to start pushing. However, I felt like I didn’t know how!!! I could obviously feel EVERYTHING, so I think that’s when the fear took over and I was pushing prematurely. I asked for my doula to get my husband. Once my husband arrived, so did the OB that was on call. Slate was stuck in at the top of the birth canal and the cord wrapped around his neck. I had to push with everything I had to get him into the birth canal and safely get him out of me. What felt like an eternity, was only fifteen minutes of pushing. After three giant pushes and some aggressive reasoning with the dr., Slate’s head was out.

At 6:06 in the morning, our second son, Slate Alexander was born. Weighing seven pounds and four ounces and twenty inches long. He was quickly taken away as he wasn’t breathing due to the cord wrapped around his neck. I was laying there in complete shock. I just birthed a baby, unmedicated. This was a wild freaking dream come true. As soon as I heard those sweet newborn cries I knew my baby was okay. We had golden hour and I tried initiating breastfeeding. I was in awe.

As side from a few challenges while in the hospital, we headed home that Friday to begin our new life as we knew it.

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

The Birth Story of Slate Alexander pt. I

Over the last several weeks I have taken the time to savor every second of Slate’s birth. Scrolling through all of the photos, remembering what was happening as the photo was being taken and how I felt, snapping my last bump update, enjoying a nice lunch with my husband and Jasper moments before heading into the hospital, feeling nervous and anxious, but more confident than ever before.

Slate’s birth was everything I needed and more. In most ways it has healed me. My birth experience with him was nothing like I expected but everything I had hoped for. It has allowed me to accept the traumatic birth I had with my first son, Jasper. (To read his birth story click here for Part I and here for Part II). I didn’t think I could love birthing a child more than I already had, but Slate has taught me- decide what you want, and you can have it.

This is his story.

The Birth Story of Slate Alexander

On Tuesday, September 29, 2020 I went in for my 41-week prenatal appointment. I was exactly one week past my due date and was hoping to either have the baby that week or be healthy enough to go until 42 weeks. That day was also my mom and sister’s birthday.

Prior to this appointment my midwife and I decided she would do a membrane sweep in hopes to get things rolling. She also scheduled me for a follow-up appointment later in the week just in case I was still pregnant. (If you didn’t know, when a woman gets her membranes stripped, it stimulates hormones to be released that may induce labor. At 41-weeks the hospital’s policy was a woman could remain pregnant up until 42 weeks if she was healthy, but a bio-physical was mandatory. This is an ultrasound where they check the baby to see if they are still thriving. I had two with Jasper and it was what determined my induction with him). Before heading into my bio-physical, my midwife hinted that an induction may be needed due to low fluid. (After about 40 weeks the placenta can stop working which means it is no longer providing for the baby. If the baby isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, then he or she isn’t going to the bathroom (peeing) aka making amniotic fluid). I get to my ultrasound appointment and before I know it I was being referred to the hospital for an induction. There was no amniotic fluid surrounding him at this point. He needed to come out or he was at risk for stillborn. 

Upset, I tried to keep my cool and in between tears rolling down my face, I asked the doctor several questions. I wanted to make sure this was not only the best decision for baby and me, but also something that was needed. There was nothing I wanted more than to experience labor and birth naturally, from start to finish.

Little did I know I was already in pre-labor.

Although I was being induced, I felt much more confident than I had with Jasper. I had more knowledge, knew what to expect, had my husband and my doula, and overall felt ready. I was also being induced for an actual medical reason and using different methods than what I experienced with Jasper, so I also felt more in control of the situation.

By the time I got out of my ultrasound, it was around 3pm. I shared the news with my husband as he wasn’t allowed in the appointment with me, called my mom so that she could drive down to Delaware, and made our way to the hospital. Because of COVID and hospital policy I had to head in alone. Mark was with Jasper waiting for my mom to arrive. I got to my room, the nurses got me hooked up to the monitor and an IV started. For my induction the plan was to insert a foley bulb and then start Pitocin. (Foley bulbs act as a balloon inside your cervix to help open it, they fall out on their own once a woman is 3cm dilated. Pitocin is the synthetic form of oxytocin which is a hormone that causes a woman to have contractions and go into labor). Luckily, I was able to have my induction pushed back until Mark was in the room with me. As long as the baby was appearing safe and healthy we were in no rush.

For the next several hours I just hung out in my room, waiting for Mark. I encouraged him to go grab dinner with my mom, so he wasn’t hungry while I labored. During this time the nurses would come in to check on me and baby. After looking at the monitor they asked, “are you feeling those contractions, they’re pretty strong?”. I felt a little cramping, but to be honest it was nothing more than what I was feeling the days leading up. They grew a tiny bit stronger as time went on but nothing more than a period cramp. Then, I went to the bathroom and realized I had lost my mucus plug. This was a good sign! Mind you, at this point in time I still didn’t know I was in pre-labor. Before Mark came in they allowed my mom to visit with me, which was nice and made me feel a little better. Mark arrived around 7 or 8 o’clock pm. Still contracting and being clueless I was in labor, we waited for the midwife to insert the foley bulb.

It was around 10:30 pm when they were ready to insert the foley bulb. To my surprise I was already dilated to 3cm and didn’t need the foley bulb! An induction was not needed! This is when it hit me that I was in pre-labor the whole time and was clueless. My body had gone into labor all on its’ own and I couldn’t have been happier in that moment. However, I still needed Pitocin because the contractions weren’t strong enough or coming on quick enough which was risky for my situation. Things seemed to start moving fast though so my doula made her way to the hospital. Pitocin was started around midnight.

To be continued…

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

Pregnancy Update: 39 Weeks!

Well ya’ll we made it to full term! This is officially the longest I’ve been pregnant (I got induced at 38.4 with Jasper and he was born the very next day). As I am typing this I had my 39-week midwife appointment today and scheduled my 40-week appointment for next week.

Even though it is completely normal to still be pregnant this late in the game, it feels so strange and foreign to me. I can totally understand now what women mean when they say they feel like they’ve been pregnant forever. While I don’t necessarily feel that way (right now, lol), I have been fortunate enough to have had two easy pregnancies. I will admit this second one has been more physically challenging, but I suppose that is to be expected when you’re also taking care of a toddler full time.

Anyways, I wanted to do one more final blog post before our baby boy comes. As you know I documented all of Jasper’s pregnancy both here on the blog and a little bit on YouTube. I pretty much did the same, or similar, blog posts for this pregnancy but definitely didn’t take the time to document it via video. Part of me wishes I did because I love going back and watching Jasper’s but there was no way I had the time or energy to edit videos to upload, ha! However, I did film a few clips here and there that I’ll put together in a video and I’ll definitely film a birth vlog. To read through the blog posts from this pregnancy as well as Jasper’s click here.

This pregnancy has been a whirlwind to say the least. Mark and I knew we wanted to begin trying for a second baby around the time when Jasper turned one, but we didn’t think it would be as easy as it was given all of the post birth complications I had with Jasper. We are of course beyond thankful it worked out the way it did. That aside, COVID obviously came and shook things up. I am just grateful this wasn’t my first pregnancy because going through all of this alone was hard enough, I couldn’t imagine doing it alone for the first time. My heart goes out to all of the first-time mamas who were pregnant and/or delivered a baby during this trying time. I truly thought it would all be gone by now, so I didn’t have the extra stress, but here we are. I am making the best of it though and realizing it could be a lot worse than it has been. Doing my part and following my gut has kept me and my family safe but we didn’t let us take away our joy.

Some things that have been different this time around are first and foremost, I am raising a toddler while simultaneously growing another human which makes everything that much harder. I also haven’t worked out much at all this pregnancy, whereas with Jasper I worked out nearly every day up until I was induced. I did go on walks a lot and live a pretty active lifestyle outside of the gym. I will say though, exercising makes a world of a difference in pregnancy, so if you can do it I highly suggest moving your body! With that said, I think from not exercising on top of taking care of Jasper, this pregnancy has just taken a toll on me physically. I have had a lot more aches and pains as well as spider veins. Those are all things I never experienced while pregnant with Jasper. I gained more weight this time around too which has played games with my mental health. Braxton Hicks are another thing I never experienced until this pregnancy. I didn’t realize that I was even having them at first until experiencing them for a few weeks, now they seem to almost be constant thing! That and false labor!

While I wouldn’t say this was the pregnancy of my dreams, it still has been absolutely amazing. I had a perfect pregnancy with Jasper until I got induced, so now I am focusing on a healthy and natural delivery, something I didn’t get with Jasper. It has been a long and scary road this time around, but I am feeling more confident and peaceful than ever before.

If there is one thing I learned from being pregnant twice, it is that a lot of it is out of our control. I hope any mamas reading this are reassured that nothing is ever perfect nor do things go as planned, especially birth. Show yourself grace and be patient with yourself.

Once our little guy is here I promise to get his birth story up on the blog (and hopefully YouTube). Until then I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following along on my journey yet again. I cannot wait to see what the future looks like as a family of four!

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

What’s Inside My Hospital Bag: Packing for Baby Devine Number Two

I wrote a “What’s Inside My Hospital Bag” post back when I was pregnant with Jasper and thought about just updating that one, but I figured it would be nice to create a whole new post as things are always changing! To view that post, click A Peek Inside My Hospital Bag!

I also plan on creating a printable checklist for any expecting mamas out there who maybe want additional guidance. Keep your eyes open for that soon!

The hospital does provide you with a majority of the items I have both on the checklist and in my own hospital bag, obviously it is all personal preference on what you choose to bring! I prefer to bring a lot of my own items not only for comfort but a lot of what the hospital provides is full of toxic chemicals.

Before we begin, the bag I am using is from Target last winter. It’s Universal Thread but it looks like it is no longer available. The black faux leather backpack I am using for the baby is also from Target, but again they no longer sell it. However, Target has great weekender bags in general, so if you’re looking for a cute yet functional and inexpensive bag, check there!

MAMA ESSENTIALS:

Nursing friendly pajamas/lounge wear sets x2. I didn’t purchase maternity or nursing specific pajamas, but instead two matching sets that were not only cute, but also functional and comfortable. I remember being extremely hot after I gave birth to Jasper (in the middle of January) so I didn’t even wear the pants and robe I brought. This time around I am packing shorts and bringing a house robe/cardigan to throw over if I get cold. I got both lounge wear sets from She In. I got the pink and the gray.

A comfortable outfit to go home in. In addition to the lounge wear I plan to wear while I’m in the hospital, I am also bringing an outfit that I will wear for the ride home. We have an hour drive from the hospital, so I want to be as comfortable as possible but also still feel pulled together. I am packing pants from Target by the brand Colsie (no longer available but anything from the Colsie line I love) and a “mama” maternity t-shirt also from Target. I can’t find the link to the one I purchased but here is one similar.

A house robe/cardigan. I decided to bring a cardigan style robe this time around. I found this one from Target and I am in love! It is extremely soft and oversized so perfect for wearing around the hospital and throughout postpartum. It is also super cute and makes you feel like you tried to look nice.

Nursing bras x2. I purchased new nursing bras to try out, so I am packing two of those to have with me. A lot of you suggested the brand “iloveSIA” on Amazon. These are the ones I went with!

Slippers. I didn’t bring these with Jasper and I ended up being barefoot most of the time. However, when we left the hospital my feet were SO swollen I couldn’t put on my sneakers. These were gifted to me for a wedding but here is a link to a similar pair.

Shower shoes. Again, something I brought with Jasper but ended up not using because I was so sore and tired I didn’t even care, lol. I would like to labor in the shower so maybe I’ll get more use out of these this time around.

Purse with wallet, ID, any paperwork, etc.

Camera and charger.

Phone charger.

Bag of snacks.

Toiletries

I have a toiletry bag that is pretty much ready to grab and go at all times. There will be a few things I will have to add to it right before we leave.

Body wash. I use Young Living’s “Bon Voyage” travel kit for most of my toiletry staples.

Body lotion. Again, using YL.

Belly butter and oil. I have been using the Honest brand throughout my whole pregnancy.

Dry shampoo. Honestly, I probably won’t have the energy to wash my hair after I give birth so I’m not even packing shampoo or conditioner. Instead I am packing my billie “floof” dry shampoo.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss.

Face wash and moisturizer. I have been using bioClarity for almost three years now and am loving it still.

Witch hazel. I use this as a toner but also to spray on my face to “refresh” it.

Body cloths. I won’t obviously be wiping down there for a while, but I love having these for a quick refresh, especially right after birth before I shower! I love the brand Cora.

Cool Azul pain relief cream. I remember how core I was after delivery Jasper (plus having surgery). I don’t know if I’ll need this, but it would have been nice to have after Jasper was born!

Contacts, glasses, and contact solution and case.

Deodorant. I use the mini travel size Native deodorant.

Hair ties.

Chapstick.

My daily essential oils.

Make-up bag. I didn’t wear make-up while I was in the hospital with Jasper but who knows how I’ll feel this time around!

Labor and Delivery

For labor specifically, I plan to use my doula, obviously! However, I am also bringing a few things of my own to help.

Affirmation cards. I made pretty affirmation cards and got them printed to read while in labor and hang up in the delivery room. Will link them to website soon.

Honey sticks. I grabbed a few honey sticks in various flavors to help keep my energy levels up while laboring.

A large insulated water bottle. I will most likely use my Hydro Flask, or another giant water bottle I have around the house.

Diffuser and essential oils. I am bringing Valor to support my emotions, Peppermint to keep me energized, and Lavender to keep me calm and present. I am also bringing a homemade blend consisting of Clary Sage, Geranium, and Lavender mixed with a carrier oil. I plan to have my doula or husband massage this on my back and/shoulders.

Recovery/After Birth

Postpartum underwear. I bought underwear specifically for postpartum but honestly will just use the mesh undies the hospital provides. Here are the ones I bought and will use once I am home.

Pads. I prefer to bring my own non-toxic postpartum pads. Here are the ones I am using.

Upside down peri bottle. This is something the hospital will provide you, but I find having the upside-down version with the angled nozzle much more helpful. I purchased the frida mom one.

Claraderm spray. This is a Young Living item that replaces Dermaplast (numbing spray the hospital provides you). This one is free of harmful chemicals and full of healing essential oils. I started using it at 36 weeks to help prevent tearing.

Nursing pads. I may not need these, but I am bringing them just in case. I use both the reusable and disposable bamboobies.

BABY ESSENTIALS:

Swaddles and matching hats x2. We LOVE Copper Pearl for swaddling. Unfortunately, one of the swaddles I am bringing is no longer available but here is a link to one similar and the other one I packed!

Plain white onesies x2 and buttoned kimono shirts x2. Honestly, little man won’t be in “real clothes” until we go home. I love using the time in the hospital to bond, do skin to skin, and just chill out.

Going home outfit. I just grabbed a cute one-piece romper Jasper wore when he was a baby. Nothing fancy this time around!

All-purpose ointment, lotion, and body wash. We use Honest brand for all of our bathing needs. We won’t bathe baby there, but I like to bring it just in case!

Diapers and wipes. I prefer to use my own diapers, so I made sure to pack a handful of diapers and a pack of wipes! Again, we use Honest brand for our diapering needs.

Nail clippers. I’m not a huge fan of baby mitts and cutting their nails is so easy at that age so I will snip them once we get settled!

Pacifier. We love BIBS.

Boppy/nursing pillow. I purchased one off of Amazon with Jasper and then bought a cute cover to put over it.

Car seat cover and car seat.

DADA ESSENTIALS:

Change of clothes x2

Pajamas

Slippers

Toiletries

Water bottle

Phone and charger

Wallet

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

How We Got Jasper Sleeping On His Own: Our Version of Gentle Sleep Training

While I will never consider myself an expert on infant or toddler sleep, I will say I’ve had my fair share of restless nights (just like any other mama)!

I certainly don’t have all of the answers but I know what it’s like to feel lost and at your wits end over a child that doesn’t sleep. In this post I want to share my experience on infant/toddler sleep and what worked for my family. I encourage you to try what you feel most comfortable with.

How We Got Jasper Sleeping On His Own: Our Version of Gentle Sleep Training

My husband and I decided early on that co-sleeping was what would work out best for us, and then decided to safely bed share for seven months. While there are many articles debating bed sharing, and even co-sleeping, I will say bed sharing is perfectly okay if it is done safely. I would never encourage unsafe bed sharing. With that said co-sleeping vs bed sharing is a different conversation for a different day.

At around seven months we decided it was time to put Jasper in his own space. However, it wasn’t an easy transition. We had our bedtime routine (shared below) that included a nursing session and rocking him to sleep before placing him in his crib. Often times this worked until he got older and started realizing what was happening. At that point you could find me or my husband hunched over his crib holding his hand or rubbing his back to get him to sleep. No matter how we got him to sleep he would always wake up anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours after falling asleep. Then started the endless game of going back upstairs to put him back to sleep. He was also still nursing in the middle of the night so we were flexible with middle of the night wakings!

At ten months old I decided it was just too much having to do this elaborate bedtime ritual just to get him asleep and wake up a few hours later and do it all over again. For my husband and I, the “cry it out” method made us uncomfortable. We knew it was okay for infants to cry, we knew he was physically okay in his crib, and we knew there had to be a light at the end of the tunnel. So, we did what I like to call, our version of gentle sleep training.

I started this one day when Mark was away on training. It was just myself and Jasper for one week and I could focus on getting him to sleep all by himself. I would complete his bedtime routine start to finish, including nursing and even sing him a song. I’d give him a kiss and tell him it was bedtime and that I love him. Placed him in his crib and walk out of the room. Of course he cried. I allowed him to be upset for no more than three minutes. Then I’d go back in, comfort him for no more then one minute, lie him back down, and walked out. Again, he cried. This time I extended the time for five minutes. I repeated this cycle, increasing the time he cried by two minutes, until he either fell asleep or cried for ten minutes. I didn’t feel comfortable letting him scream for more than ten minutes at a time. After the ten minute mark I would start again all over. I would say the first two nights were the worst. By the third night he would cry no more than three to five minutes and then be asleep. On the flip side to that was he would always fall asleep sitting up! It used to scared me in fear he would hit his head. Sometimes all it took was me lying him down or he would eventually figure it out himself.

This method is what worked for us, as we tried many others. It’s what always gets him back to a healthy sleeping routine, if you will. Jasper was putting himself to sleep (both nap time and bed time) and staying asleep for a solid seven months!

To put this method to test, at around seventeen months old when the eighteen month sleep regression hit early, we introduced this method once again. We decided to do this after about two weeks of him not even wanting to sleep in his crib. He would need our hand to hold to fall asleep in our bed. He wouldn’t even nap in his crib. It got to a point where I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I felt like all I did was soothe my toddler to sleep only for him to wake up again.

So, onward to our version of gentle sleep training. The first night we did it he was fast asleep in ten minutes! He is now eighteen months old and is falling asleep all on his own again. However, I will say, he has a few nights where he wakes up and ends up in our bed (normal for a toddler his age to have a bout of separation anxiety, plus he is teething). But overall he is falling asleep on his own for both nap time and bed time- and that has been a huge relief!

Below I wrote out exactly what my husband and I did so that you can try it out too if you’re interested.

Again, this is what works for us and, more importantly, Jasper. We follow an attachment parenting approach but it’s important to us that our children get good sleep as well. We meet in the middle and go from there. I hope you can respect that and hold off on any negative comments! If you use this method please tell me how it worked out for you!

OUR VERSION OF GENTLE SLEEP TRAINING

Go upstairs to Jasper’s room around 6:45pm

Turn on his diffuser, sound machine, and close the blinds (this is signals to him it’s time to unwind for bed).

Change his diaper, give him a massage with lavender scented lotion, apply his sleepy time oil behind his ears, and Copaiba on his gums for any teething pain.

Put on pajamas.

(Mark usually does all that while I’m reading him a bed time story)

Turn off lights.

Nurse (he no longer nurses to sleep now).

Sometimes I would sometimes sing him a song before placing him in his crib.

*starts to cry*

Wait 3 minutes. Go in and KEEP him in his crib. Comfort him and lay him back down. Stay in there for only 1-2 minutes. Walk out.

If he cried again I would wait 5 minutes, then go in and do the same thing.

Then 7 mins. Repeat.

Then 10 mins. Repeat and start over from 3 minutes.

I increased the time by 2 minutes, never allowing him to cry more than 10 minutes at a time.

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)!

XOXO,

D.J.

My Second Trimester: The Second Time Around

If I’m being honest, before I sat down to write this post I went and looked back at my blog post I wrote about my second trimester with Jasper. I feel like this trimester was so long but felt like it flew by with Jasper. I also wanted to compare how I felt then versus now.

My Second Trimester:

The Second Time Around

So, what was the second trimester like the second time around? It was pretty much the same minus a few changes.

For starters, with Jasper’s pregnancy, I wasn’t entering my second trimester the same day the world went into quarantine. I literally started feeling better as the pandemic came and it’s been a challenge to say the least. The bulk of my pregnancy COVID-19 has pretty much controlled. Mark was only with me for one appointment and hasn’t been able to come back with me since. I think that has been the biggest let down, especially because Jasper doesn’t get to experience it much either. We actually bought a doppler to use at home, so Mark could hear the heartbeat; without that he would have never heard it, and Jasper loves to listen to it too! Then you have the masks. My provider has no clue what I look like without a mask on and it’s just so crazy to think about. Of course, it sucked being trapped inside the house for a majority of my pregnancy too, but now I feel a little better since the restrictions have let up. Overall, I feel pretty calm about this whole being pregnant during a pandemic thing. It was nerve wracking and scary in the beginning, but now I’m trying to resume life as normal as possible and accept that this may be part of that new normal.

At the beginning of my pregnancy (before all of the craziness came about) I hired a doula. After diving into the doula world, myself and delivering Jasper I knew hiring her was a necessity this time around. We’ve been meeting via Zoom which has been nice and I’m feeling really good about having that extra support person there while I labor.

As far as how I feel physically, I would say I feel about the same as I did with Jasper. I wasn’t sick all that much again (thank goodness) and I had a great amount of energy in the second trimester. The main difference is I have Braxton Hicks this time around which is new and interesting to experience, ha! As I get bigger and further along I definitely feel the aches and pains slightly more, but nothing resting and nourishing my body can’t fix. I’m also cleared to deliver this babe vaginally and there are zero signs of any issues with my placenta, which makes me beyond happy! I’ve been meaning to tell ya’ll all the details regarding that but it’s a lot so I have to mentally prepare myself to sit down and stay on track, lol.

Emotionally, I have zero complaints! It’s not until the third trimester, closer to my due date, my emotions get the better of me. So, for now I am just enjoying this phase while preparing for what’s to come as much as I can.

 

 

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.

Third Trimester Survival Guide

Welcome to the third and final installment of my “mini-series” here on my blog! For the first two posts please refer to First Trimester Survival Guide and Second Trimester Survival Guide.

I feel like as a mama-to-be you either hate the third trimester or you love it. Either opinion is valid. Whether you love or hate the third trimester of pregnancy, I am sharing my personal favorite products and some tips to help make this time more enjoyable before you meet your newest addition.

DISCLAIMER: Every woman is different, therefore some or all of these may not work for everyone. This is based off of my own experience and research. As always, ask your provider or professional if it is safe for you to use any of these remedies.

 

1. Claraderm

Claraderm is a spray Young Living sells to help the healing process postpartum. It is made from essential oils that are nourishing to the skin yet gentle enough for such a sensitive area. I always recommend not only using this after childbirth, but also in the third trimester (around 34 weeks or so) as it protects and prepares for the stretching of the skin of your vagina. 

2. Birthing ball

I bought a standard yoga or exercise ball at Target and used it for those last few weeks of pregnancy. I would bounce on it for about twenty minutes a day. It is also a great support tool during labor.

 3. Essential oils

Everyone has their own preference for scents, especially when pregnant, but I found having these essential oils really helped me through my third trimester and into my postpartum journey. Valor for emotional support, Clary Sage to encourage labor, and Lavender to calm my body and mind. 

4. Capsule maternity wardrobe

By now you most likely don’t fit into any of your pre-pregnancy clothing and may need to invest in maternity clothes. Having a few staple items will get you through until the end but you won’t have to break the bank doing it. Think of the style and type of clothing you wear often, and what’s currently comfortable, and go from there. 

5. Raspberry leaf tea

Raspberry leaf is said to strengthen and prepare the uterus for childbirth. Drinking one to two glasses a day throughout your third trimester shows the most results.

6. Dates

I’m not talking about a date night out, although that kind of date is recommended too. I’m talking about the food dates. Eating dates throughout your pregnancy, specifically in the third trimester, has shown to assist in cervical ripening. This is not to say if you eat dates you will dilate and go into labor, but simply a natural way to assist your body’s natural process when it is ready. 

7. Heating pad

I’m bringing back the heating pad from the first trimester. By the third trimester if you don’t feel it already, your joints and ligaments are relaxing, and you may feel more sore than you normally do. Applying heat to the sore area can act as a temporary pain relief.

 8. Cool Azul Pain Relief Cream and Deep Relief roller

Another YL favorite that I think every mama should own. These two are like Icy Hot but without all the harsh chemicals.

 9. Panty liners

This may be TMI, but welcome to pregnancy and motherhood. As your body prepares for labor your vagina will begin to produce more discharge. Yes, even more. Some women feel more comfortable wearing a panty liner as their pregnancy progresses. 

10. Continue healthy habits from your previous trimesters

Keep eating healthy, working out when you can, taking your prenatals, and doing whatever feels good that you did in the first and second trimesters. This includes purchasing a pregnancy pillow if you haven’t, continuing creating your baby registry, using your belly oil and butter, and drinking water.

This concludes the posts in my “mini-series” here on my blog! I hope you enjoyed them and found them helpful. In the near future I plan to share a post all about preparing for the arrival of your baby, so stay tuned!

Share your thoughts with me! Comment below or head to my Instagram page (@iamdevonjade)! 

XOXO,

D.J.