Growing Your Family: Books To Ease The Transition For Your Older Child

Growing your family is beautiful. (Congratulations by the way). For little kids, expecting a new sibling can be a time of excitement, confusion, and concern. One way to help your child process these emotions and gain more understanding around the changes in their life is story telling. Relevant story books can help children process the big changes in their life and even become more excited about the new baby!

When I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I knew it was important we help our daughter transition into being a big sister. We put a big focus on how exciting a little sibling would be and how important her role is as a big sister. We began reading books about being a big sibling every day as the end of my pregnancy neared and sure enough, our first child was excited and proud to become a big sister! Even more heartwarming, big sister now loves to “read” the sibling books to her baby sister.

Picture books are an important source of new language, concepts, and lessons for young children.

Frontiers In

Mommy’s Magic Within- A Book For Big Siblings

I wrote this book after seeing there was a lack of books explaining pregnancy to kids in a fun way! This books talks about how mommy’s are magic and how sometimes they might not feel well while growing a baby but it’s worth adding another amazing person to the family!

Mummy, What’s In Your Tummy?

This book is adorable! It’s fun and silly from the toddler’s point of view of what might be happening in mom’s growing tummy!

Hello In There! A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting

One of my favorite big sibling books, this book helps your daughter connect and get excited with the little one in your tummy! It was our daughter’s favorite!

You Were The First

A very sweet book to remind your first child they are still loved and important!

Little Dragon and the New Baby

This book adds a fun twist to typical big sibling books since it’s about a dragon getting a new sibling! This book addresses the emotions of jealousy or avoidance a big sibling might feel when expecting a new baby in a fun and gentle way.

There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.

Jacqueline Kennedy

You may also like: 5 Books Moms Should Read (That Aren’t Parenting Books) and The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books

5 Quick Steps To Improve Your Parenting This New Year

1. Make a Detailed List Of The Parent You Want To Be

Include at least 10 characteristics of what an ideal parent is to you. For example, you could say you want to be calm, kind, and affectionate. There is a free handout to help at the bottom of this article! Read more about setting expectations as a parent.

2. Write 3 Things You Want To Change About Your Parenting

Get specific and write out all the details. I would even suggest writing a story down of an example of the parenting characteristics or actions you want to change. This will help you clarify the issues and pinpoint what you want to change and how you may be able to do so.

3. Make An Action Plan

Write a detailed plan for the new behaviors you are going to use to replace your old unwanted behaviors. GET SPECIFIC. For example, instead of telling when my kids aren’t listening I will calmly give them two choices. Write yourself an example to make it real: “You can get your shoes on by yourself or I can help you.”

4. Make a List of 3 Ways You Will Bond With Your Child(ren)

Choose specific activities that you will both enjoy and can do regularly. Also try to choose activities that allow you to chat and focus on each other. For example, if your child is sporty, instead of playing laser tag or something with a lot of distractions, try putt-putt golf so there’s lots of time to chat. Some ideas for bonding with younger children is art activities, going on a walk, or some of these easy activities. Whatever you choose, schedule it in at least twice monthly. Get a calendar or planner, write it down, and stick to it. The consistency of your efforts will mean the world to your child (whether their old enough to express it or not).

5. Reflect and Improve

Although reflection requires a lot of effort, it will by far make the biggest difference in your parenting. Take time at least weekly to check in on your parenting goals and see if you’re meeting them. If not, where can you make little adjustments to make the goals more obtainable. What new examples can you write down to help remember and put into action the way you want to parent? With each reflection, you’ll be able to better embody your parenting goals.

Free parenting goals handout!

You may also find How To Be A Better Parent and The Secret To Being A Calm Mom helpful!

Ecocentric Mom box

Car Seats Are For Cars: How To Not Container Parent

Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones’ lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.

Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.

Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.

Nation Wide Childrens

Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.

 Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day

https://azopt.net/container-baby-syndrome
As an Amazon affiliate, I may receive a small stipend for any purchases made. Thanks for supporting a work at home mom!

Earth Mama Organics

Alternatives

Baby Wear

Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and it allows baby to feel safe and involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier. 

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.

https://www.mother.ly/life/10-benefits-of-babywearing

Lille Baby Carrier

Organic Boba Baby Wrap

Play Mat

In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!

Organic Explore Playmat

Organic Cotton Round Playmat

Portable Play Yards

A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still keeping them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.

Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).

Holding Baby

Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby! 

Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby

If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!

Convertible Car Seat 

A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.

The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.

How to support your baby's development

How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?

Ecocentric Mom box

You may also like: 5 Tips For Attachment Parenting

5 Tips For Attachment Parenting

How To Succeed at Attachment Parenting

Parenting is hard. Yes, there are ways it can be easier and times it can be easier, and people who say it’s easy (are we really buying that story?), but can we just all agree parenting is hard.

If you are an attachment parent, I am pretty sure you’ve already heard “you’re just making it harder on yourself,” or some other variation of that.

First off, not cool. No one wants to hear criticisms on their parenting ESPECIALLY when you are just trying to do what feels right and what you feel is best for your baby. Yet, I don’t think this will be changing anytime soon.

An argument can be made that attachment parenting makes parenting harder, and basically, everyone (who doesn’t follow as an attachment parenting style) wants to make that argument, but it doesn’t have to. If you go about it with a few things in mind, attachment parenting can actually make parenting easier. Ya, that’s right, EASIER.

If you haven’t heard of it or are just starting to learn your options as a new or expecting mom, attachment parenting is basically an approach to parenting that aims to support your baby’s attachment to you (and possibly other caregivers) as well as meeting baby’s needs promptly (aka responsive caregiving). 

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This all-natural style instructs parents to be in tune with their child’s needs . . . Attachment parents . . . respond to an infant’s demands immediately and respectfully.

https://parentology.com/what-is-attachment-parenting/

As an attachment parent myself, as well as a parenting coach, I decided to share my tips on making attachment parenting easy!

1. Follow Your Gut

Stick to what feels right. Do not let people push you around or guilt you into thinking you are doing the wrong thing for your little one. As long as you love and are connected to your little ones, your gut will know what’s right for them. Mom instincts are real and you should trust them.

2. Stay Connected But Promote Confidence

It is great and a part of attachment parenting to be responsive and available to your little one. I have found a lot of parents get confused on how to both be attached and responsive but also promote confidence and independence in your child.

The key is to maintain your responsiveness but encourage them to problem solve and engage with the world on their own with you as their safe base. Contrary to common belief, attachment parenting actually promotes independence as children feel safe to explore when they have a secure attachment.

3. Surround Yourself With Like Minded Mamas

Friendships and like-minded individuals are more necessary than ever, especially if you are a stay at home parent. It is important to connect with others who share your view on parenting because attachment parenting is not a mainstream form of parenting, so you may feel criticized or like you are going against the grain often. Having mamas with these similar experiences allows you to share your real experience of motherhood without feeling judged and also connect on a deeper level. 

4. Self Care & More Self Care

I have always been bad at self care. I love being productive and doing things for others, so it has never been my strong suit, but becoming a mom has made me realize how important self care is. I now practice self care more than ever because it truly makes me a better mom.

Self care can look any way you want it to, but make sure you are taking time for yourself. As an attachment parent, we put our child’s needs first, but don’t forget your child needs a calm and collected parent as well. Also, practicing self care will be a great life-long example to your child on how to care for themselves. 

My self care includes solo coffee shop time or with a close friend, bubble baths, going on a run or hitting the gym. Part of attachment parenting is having a small circle of care for your child.

If you do not have a present partner, try to find a family member or occasional nanny who is supportive of attachment parenting and can step in occasionally so you can get some time for yourself as well. Although we exclusively breastfed, we made solo mom time possible by dad being close by at a park or on a walk so we could still feed on demand when needed.

5. Find Relevant Resources

Find resources for attachment parenting. Stick to resources for parenting that you know will be kind and friendly to your parenting style.

As an attachment parent, you can’t pick up any random parenting book and expect it to work for you, in fact a lot of parenting books make suggestions contrary to current research and attachment style parenting. Ask experienced attachment parents or find groups on Facebook. I also love these resources!

GreenMamaLife Facebook

Natural Parenting Group on Facebook

“Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”

Maya Angelou


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You may also like: 6 Reasons Why You Need to Stop Commenting On My Parenting – Natural Parenting and The Best Modern, Gentle Parenting Books