Posts

,

Baby Box University!

Anyone else get severe anxiety when your baby is napping?? I have been known to go into the nursery and stare at my kids to make sure they are breathing still. Of course this causes them to wake up and results in me army crawling towards the door so I don’t interrupt nap time! SIDS anxiety is real and definitely contributes to my lack of sleep.

Enter the Baby Box, a sustainably designed safe sleeping space for your baby. In Finland, these boxes have famously been used (in conjunction with education) to reduce the infant death rate to less than half of that in the U.S. The boxes also include premium baby products to support new parents as well.  With all the baby products on the market now, it can be overwhelming in which to choose and expensive for items that your newborn will outgrow. So here is the best part, the Baby Box is FREE!!!

Here is how the program works:

Parents simply sign-up at Baby Box University, watch a short series of videos selected by local experts, and then receive a free Baby Box.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Go to BabyBoxUniversity.com and sign-up for a free account
2. Click on “Choose a Course” and select the location closest to you
3. Watch the videos that are part of your course. This will take 15-20 minutes.
4. Take the quiz
5. Receive your free Baby Box, along with helpful samples like diapers, breast milk storage bags and more!

My Baby Box came when the boys were still in the NICU, but that didn’t stop me from putting it to use when my friends brought their babies over! How cute is little Max? He slept so well in the Baby Box, while we had a little girl’s catch up and dinner. I love that the box can be taken anywhere, put in any room and you know baby is sleeping safely when he or she is in the box.

 

, ,

Twin Gear: What You Need To Survive

Okay ya’ll this list took me three months to create!!! There is a lot of information below and I tried to break it down into categories for you to make it easier to navigate. As we all know there is so much baby gear on the market that it can be overwhelming. These are the items that I have tried and used for the twins. I also added in some items that are also on my wish list too! Click on the links or images below to shop any gear!!

Sleeping/Nursery:

  1. Crib- loved this Babyletto Hudson Convertible crib for the price point since buying 2. I feel like we will really get our money’s worth as it grows with baby
  2. Crib Mattress/Mattress Cover-Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress With Dry Waterproof Cover
  3. Twin Co-Sleeper- Halo Bassinet Twin Sleeper. Many asked if this is too bulky, I have to agree it is big but I think it saves more space than having two bassinets next to your bed. I also love that it rotates and has a side the easily slides down.
  4. Changing Table/Changing Pad- honestly we used our old dresser set up with changing table from when Willow as born to help save money. I will link a similar one here from Pottery Barn
  5. Changing Pad Covers-I really liked these from Copper and Pearl
  6. Glider or Rocking Chair-Seriouly found the coolest one from Micuna. The Magnet anchoring system allows two mini bassinets to be fixed simultaneously to the same rocking chair. Thus allowing the rocking chair to balance with two cribs at the same time.
  7. Noise Machine-Dohm Classic White Noise Machine which has two settings or levels of white noise. Which apparently is much better for kids than ocean waves or other sounds so it does not interrupt your baby’s sleep patterns.
  8. Baby Monitor-Summer Infant Panorama or Lollipop (much cuter and sleeker design that may fit the decor of your nursery better).
  9. Swaddling Gear: So far we found the boys like these two swaddles and they are so easy. Swaddle Me (zip up) or Swaddle Me (velcro)
  10. Dockatots-seriously love these!! Use them for everything!

 

Feeding:

  1. Willow Breast Pump-With an all-in-one design that allows you to move freely—no cords, no dangling bottles—Willow works quietly inside your bra and conveniently tracks milk volume through an app on your phone! I loved this one just for the convenience, but you can also call your insurance and see what pumps they cover for you.
  2. Breast feeding pillow-Twin Z Pillow, would die without this pillow. It allows you to feed both babies at once whether breast or bottle feeding. Make sure you buy a couple of covers so you can switch them out when it gets dirty.
  3. Bottle Warmer-I have always used this Kiinde warmer, as I also used the Kiinde breast milk storage bags. It easily heats fresh and frozen breast milk.
  4. Bottle Sanitizer-love this Baby Brezza sanitizer, it can be used for plastic, glass, pacifiers, etc.
  5. Formula Fed- This Baby Brezza Formula pro will save your life. Forget heating any bottles, it is like a Keurig for baby bottles!
  6. Bottles: With two babies we have tried them all. Here are some of our favorites as they have changed over the months for both Bodhi and Ranger. Como Tomo, Smilo, Dr. Brown and the current favorite MAM
  7. Bottle Brush-Oxo bottle brush, comes with it’s own stand. Cleans both bottle and has small brush included for cleaning nipples.
  8. High Chairs-We honestly have not bought these for the twins yet, but I am loving the Bloom Highchairs! They are sooo sleek, and I love that they recline. It is a total splurge, now let’s be real I bought Willow’s first highchair from IKEA.

 

Play Gear (I would just buy one of the items below, as you can rotate the twins through them for playing time. Unless you want two swings so they can both use them at the same time.)

  1. Word on the street is split, your baby will like either the Mama Roo or a regular baby Swing The boys have Mama Roos, but Willow was a swing kind of gal.
  2. Playmat: We got something easy that would fit both babies, like this Mat. Also this is a total splurge but love how this one looks from Lovevery
  3. Bouncy Seats
  4. Stationary Activity Center-they usually start using this around 4-6 months

 

Travel:

  1. Car Seats-loved the Nuna or Britax endeavors.  They have great safety ratings and super easy to install.
  2. Car Seat Cover- Love these so strangers can’t touch the babies by Itzy Ritzy
  3. Carrier-There is a twin carrier called the Weego, but when you need to divide and conquer Aj and I both have an Ergo 360. We like this can you carry the baby any way, on your chest or back.
  4. Stroller-we have one from Britax that the car seats click right into, and I am still on the lookout for a great everyday stroller. I would like one in which both babies can see (many of them are often blocked by the other baby seat.) This Mountain Buggy Duet  is on my wishlist.
  5. Diaper Bag-love the Paperclip Diaper bag that has a fold out changing station built in that is anti-microbial and anti-wet. This way your baby doesn’t need to touch the gross changing tables.

All Photos by: Kate Hauschka Photography

 

XO,

 

,

Welcome To The World

Hello World! So if any of you follow me on Instagram, then you may already know that we welcomed our twin boys on Monday, March 5th! Ranger Joseph Buckley was born at 5:45pm weighing only 4 pounds 12 ounces and 2 minutes later he was joined by his brother, Bodhi Robert Buckley weighing in at 5 pounds.

Their journey into this world was quite the whirlwind. I had started having contractions the Thursday before they were born. I was admitted to the hospital to stop my labor and given medicine to halt any contractions. I was home by Friday afternoon. Then on Monday morning, my water broke, and I headed right back to the hospital. At this point there was no way to stop my labor, and the boys would be born that day.

My babies were born via C-section this time. Prior to going into labor there was concern about Ranger’s size and his lack of growth over the last weeks, and they were concerned he had IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). Bodhi had a dilated aorta and was being monitored closely for this condition as well. The decision to have a C-section was made between my doctor, Aj and I due to all of these contributing factors.

Although I wish I had my twins naturally, I was happy they were delivered safely. I just have to say C-sections are a trip! It was a bizarre experience (as having babies naturally can be too!) and far different from what I had originally envisioned. I think it took my doctor all of  1o minutes to deliver both babies.

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka

Since I was only 34 weeks along, Ranger and Bodhi had a bit of a rough start. They were immediately taken to the NICU post birth as their little lungs had not fully matured. I didn’t get to do any skin to skin, or hold my boys for about a week. I was only able to see them the night of the delivery, and then touch then on their heads and feet for so many days after they were born. The boys both needed support breathing and caught an infection as well. They ended up spending 23 days in the NICU, and many of those days were an emotional roller coaster. It was one of the happiest days of my life when were officially allowed to bring them home.

I took a much needed break from blogging to recover from birth, the NICU and to really be present with my family. I have received so many kind and supportive messages from all of my followers and readers over this time. Thank you so much for your continued support. If anyone has advice on twins, raising three kids or preserving my sanity… please leave me a message in the comments below

XOXO,

,

The Real Difference Between Boys and Girls

Growing up I was such a tom boy that I always thought Willow would follow in my foot steps. I was outside playing ball with the boys for most of my child hood. I must say that over the last four years my baby girl has been nothing but princesses, purses, make up and dress up. Things that she gravitated towards all on her own. Now that I am having two boys, I have been reading all about gender research, which shows more and more that gender differences can be hardwired since birth!

I fully understand that they can be born loving dolls or dresses and I am totally fine with that. They can play with whatever they choose as far as we are concerned. Yet the more I read I seem to find a common theme with little men according to science and gender research. Here are some facts about little boys:

  • They love to move. They tend to squirm, kick and wiggle more than little girls.
  •  Little boys will watch mechanical motion over human motion, and appear to have spatial skills starting as young as 3-5 months old (the ability to solve problems involving size, distance, and the relationship between objects).
  • The stereotypical notion that little boys are less emotional is completely false. Little boys are just as sensitive as little girls and should be treated as such.
  • Little boys tend to be less fearful than little girls according to multiple studies.

I cannot wait to meet these little boys soon! Do you notice gender differences in your children??

,

#AskAbby: How To Manage Your High Risk Pregnancy

I keep getting questions from followers asking how I am managing my “high risk” pregnancy. So I thought I would share whats been happening in the last 29 weeks. I am considered “high risk” because I am carrying two babies, and when you are pregnant with multiples you have a higher risk of developing complications. Usually the most common risk is a premature delivery. This is why you have more doctors appointments, and must be monitored more closely. I seriously feel like I live at the doctor’s office and I am there every single week!

We talked at length about nutrition and a healthy, steady weight gain throughout my pregnancy. This was to ensure that the babies and I were healthy but also to help reduce any risk of gestational diabetes, increased blood pressure or aches and pains due to increased weight gain. As I have mentioned before, I gained 75 pounds with Willow and have severe back problems. So this time around I met with a nutritionist, Kevin Libby and we created a food plan in which I eat every two hours. This has been a major game changer for me, I feel full and have great energy. Thus far I have gained about 36 pounds so far.

I noticed in the last two weeks that I was starting to feel a tightness and pressure in my belly, multiple times an hour. I really thought this was the babies turning over for the longest time. It wasn’t until I saw my accupuncturist that she told me I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are your bodies way of preparing for the real thing, and usually are called “false labor”. I was starting to have them more and more, usually they correlated with me standing and working for long periods of time. Around this time I also started experiencing increased ligament pain that was unrelieved with laying down or a supportive belly belt. So my doctor made the decision to put me on maternity leave and gave me a serious talking-to about taking it easy or I would end up on bed rest.

I will do anything to avoid bed rest at this point, so I obliged and gave up working at the office. Now that I am in my third trimester I have been drastically more hungry and more tired. I really found that I must pay attention to my body to ensure I stay healthy for these two little boys!! After all I want them to stay put for as long as they can! Have you experienced a high risk pregnancy?? Let me know how you dealt with any restrictions in the comments below!

,

What I Packed In My Hospital Bag For The Twins

When I was pregnant with Willow I vividly remember packing everything plus the kitchen sink in her hospital bag. I’m not even joking, I packed nail clippers for my newborn baby! Since this is my second time around I am packing smarter! I want to bring what I will really need for the boys and that’s it! One pearl I really took home from Willow’s birth is that hospitals provide more supplies than you think. I went on hospital tours before she was born and only asked questions regarding her birth. A good tip for new Moms is to ask what supplies your hospital provides for baby before you pack your hospital bag.

When I delivered Willow the hospital provided onesies, hats, diapers, pacifiers, hand sanitizer, burp cloths and receiving blankets. Here is what I am packing for the twins in my Paper Clip Diaper Bag:

  • Two premie onesies, just in case they are born with a lower birth weight. I’m hoping they are chunky and full of baby rolls so they can fit into those newborn hospital onesies.
  • Swaddles that velcro or zip. These are so easy to use compared to wrapping a your new baby in the hospital blanket.I have these on my registry!
  • Eco-friendly diapers. Like I said before the hospital will provide their own diapers, but they usually are to eco-friendly or organic. I love the Honest Company and Aden & Anais brands.
  • Water wipes. I found these after Willow was born and really love them. Made with 99.9% water, they are natural and easy on a newborn’s skin. Find themHERE
  • Going Home Outfit. This was my favorite part for Willow! I can’t wait to pick out the boys outfits!! I’m still on the look out for the perfect outfits for them.
  • Going Home Blanket for the car seats! Love these two blankets! See them HERE and HERE. 

Let me know what you pack in your hospital bag for baby!! I always love getting advice from you guys!

Comparing Preschool Philosophies: Finding The Right Program For Your Child

unspecified

Preschool, did I just really say that? Is my baby going to actual school, with classmates, teachers and leavinggggggg meeee? She is my first born ya know, I may cry a little watching her march into the classroom for the first day and become even more independent. You know what else made me cry a little? The list of 15 preschools that I applied to, set up tours with and basically stalked. I mean when did preschools get waiting lists? When I grew up (I just totally aged myself there), you went to the preschool in your church, or whatever was down the street, just simple and easy. I think my Mom was happy I learned my ABC’s, 123’s, and colors. Nowadays there are quite a few different philosophies including  Motessori, Waldorf, Progressive, Traditional, and Reggio Emilia to name a few! Feeling flustered yet? Well that’s where I come in! I wanted to make The Chic Mamas a place where parents can come to find easy and simple information on how to choose the right preschool program for your family! I know it feels like a big task, so let me help break down each philosophy for you below to make it a little easier on you.

  • The Montessori Method
    • This is a child-centered approach in which the child’s play is considered their work and they learn at their own pace. Teachers serve as a guide to help foster independence, self-esteem and confidence in each child. Classes have mixed age groups that encourage older children to help younger children learn. Materials in the classroom are called “manipulatives” which are based in three different learning groups: practical life skills, sensory skills, and language/mathematical skills. Think puzzles, or a ribbon tying station for example, each material allows the child to determine if he or she has done the exercise correctly. A teacher doesn’t correct a child’s work, rather they are encouraged to try again,  ask the teacher for suggestions or ask another child for help.

 

  • The Waldorf Approach
    • This approach aims to educated the whole child, “head, hands and heart”. There is an emphasis on creative and imaginative play with a focus on teamwork and community. With the Waldorf approach, what may seem like extracurricular activities in other schools are the main learning tools in this setting with hands on play including art, gardening, puppetry, cooking, dress up, foreign languages, singing, etc. Teachers must be certified and aim to enable students to choose and realize their path in life. The Waldorf classroom will look and feel “homey” with natural materials such as different textured cloths for dress-up, wooden blocks for building, kitchen utensils, musical instruments, etc.

 

  • Progressive or The Bank Street Model
    • This model is child-centered in which the child is a planner, participant and problem solver. Usually there is no pre-planned curriculum, and the teacher follows the child’s lead in areas of interest where they encourage children to pursue their own projects. Children learn and explore through art, imaginative play, block building, etc. Every child is acknowledged as an individual that each have different needs. A classroom may be set up with “stations” different materials to foster the child’s imaginative play.

 

  • Traditional Method 
    • This method is very structured and formal. It is teacher-led with a pre-set curriculum. The teacher drives each lesson by explaining and directing, while the child learns from listening and absorbing the information, rather than exploration. Goals of the curriculum are built around teaching letters, numbers, sounds, problem solving, shapes, math and listening. In this setting, classrooms may be set up with desks for each child.

 

  • The Reggio Emilia Approach
    • This multi-sensory approach focuses on providing opportunities for problem solving through creative thinking and exploration. The teacher puts a great deal of energy into the detail of the classroom. The classroom is looked at as an educator, and is made to be inviting and stimulating. You may find different areas dedicated to art, exploration with natural materials like sand or water, science and building, dramatic play, math or writing. In this setting children are invited to explore and problem solve. The teacher observes each child to see an area of interest and then acts as a guide by asking the child questions helping them to discover hypotheses, ideas and theories.

 

You may find that many schools take a part of each philosophy to build a blended learning environment as well. I hope that you can use these tips on each philosophy to go into any tour or preschool setting feeling knowledgeable and aimed with information to help narrow down your choices. I found that understanding each philosophy helped me stay focused when choosing preschools to tour. Later this month I will also be sharing the most important questions to ask on a tour and my downloadable spreadsheet to help you stay organized with all of this craziness! Let me know which method you prefer and works for your family in the comments below!

XOXO,

Abby

Tame the Toddler Tantrum

2016.03.30_ChicMamas_FINAL-20

Dress | Sunglasses | Sandals


As parents, we love our children unconditionally, yet that does not mean that we don’t run into some daunting situations when our beloved toddler is on the verge of a major meltdown. Tantrums are at times inevitably a part of the growing pains in which your little one may not be able to articulate their needs yet or just have you in the mist of a straight power struggle. Let’s be honest, it is exhausting! Here are a few ways that I deal with my toddler’s tantrums that help keep my sanity on a day to day basis!

  1. Stay Calm

From the countless number of child development books I have read, and scouring the parenting chat rooms to gain knowledge from other’s shared experiences, staying calm is key. Your children act out for attention, and the kind you give them in the heat of a fit is really important, as they really don’t care if it is positive or negative. All they care about is that they are getting a reaction and/or attention from you. Which perpetually can cause them to continue to act out to receive that same attention. So I take a deep breath, use a normal tone and usually wait for Willow to realize she isn’t getting too much attention from me for her behavior.

2. Diversion

Small children usually have small attentions spans. This is a hidden gem when your toddler decides to have a complete meltdown because they can’t hold that death trap of a knife, or climb over the railing of the stairs. Reasoning with Willow usually does not work for me with Willow when a tantrum is brewing. Diverting her attention to other items in the room or asking her questions about different topics until something sticks is how I avoid the screaming and the crying. If we are in the store, I try to distract her by asking her to help me pick out apples, or take her to the sushi counter to let her see the Chef make some rolls. It isn’t 100% effective, but it definitely helps me avoid a major scene.

Oh and let’s just talk about that scene! I read somewhere once that laughing it off, while your kid flails around on the ground is actually a great way to deal with tantrums. It doesn’t give the kids the attention they want. Yet  most parents got nervous about what others would think about their child’s behavior to have that mentality. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that people do judge parent’s reaction to the meltdown, not your child’s actual tantrum. So laugh it off if you can, calmly wait for your child to come back around to reality, pick them up, hug them, talk about the crazy rant after the fact, and pat yourself on the back for being awesome (a glass of wine doesn’t hurt either).

3. Hug It Out

Finally, after your tiny human being returns to their adorable self. Hug it out and breathe a sigh of relief that we made it through the storm! I usually make one comment about how that wasn’t very fun, and try to positively reinforce her good behavior. I really think Willow shows her anger at the beginning of the tantrum, and then I see it go away when she starts crying because I honestly think she feels herself losing control of her emotions. At times this can be a lot for a 2 year old, and if I really take as step back to look at how adults go through life, we still have meltdowns too! Remember these are milestones in your child’s development and they will pass. So even after that wailing, flailing, screaming and God knows what else, you still love them and its best to show it.

 

These are ways that I deal with my daughter and her ever-growing, independent self. How do you deal with your toddler’s emotions?? I would love to hear!

2016.03.30_ChicMamas_FINAL-19

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka Photography