6 Brilliant Ideas to Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved

Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved Jax, FL | Jax Parenting | Dad in Jacksonville, FL

6 Brilliant Ideas to Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved

Let’s face it, shoving a baby into our partner’s arms and saying, “Here, you need to spend time with our kid” is probably not [it’s definitely not] one of the best ways to get an uninvolved dad involved. Brutally honest? Yes! Effective? Not likely.

Here are 6 Brilliant Ideas to Get an Uninvolved Dad Involved:

Give Him a Job

Not just any job, a fun job! One isn’t too hard and just might help him connect with his baby in a safe space, his home. One idea is reading to the baby each day. Another idea is picking out clothes and getting his baby dressed either for the day or the night ahead. The idea is to help him connect and let him do it!

Talk With Him

You could totally come up with some ideas to get an uninvolved dad involved, but maybe you shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel. He may be unaware [yes, oblivious] that he is “uninvolved”, as you (the other parent) define it. You came looking, I just provided the resource.

Talking to him may be all it takes. For example, let’s say you want him to help with a feeding or bathtime in the evening. But rather than him jumping in and taking over he finds other tasks to busy himself or just relaxes on the couch. Do you perceive it as not helping or disengaged. Maybe he is modeling what he believes his role as the father to be. Could it be that this was his father’s role was or what he wished he had in a father as a child? Maybe working and helping to provide for his family is [how he interprets] his role and contribution to his family. Use your words [kind ones] and be direct. “Honey, what I need for you to do is [fill in the blank here]. I bet [baby’s name here] would love to have some time one on one bonding with you.”

Dr’s Orders

Does your partner usually side with doctors or scientifc studies? Then science may be just what the doctor ordered. There are several studies showing that through touch fathers develop and foster relationships with their young. (Field, 2001Field et al., 2004Field, Hernandez-Reif, Diego, Schanberg, & Kuhn, 2005).

“Imagine if the hugs, lullabies and smiles from parents could inoculate babies against heartbreak, adolescent angst and even help them pass their exams decades later. Well, evidence from the new branch of science called epigenetics is reporting that this long-term emotional inoculation might be possible.”~Robert Winston

Infant Massage

Daddies give amazing massages and the effects of personal touch and the connection he makes with the baby will benefit both of them for a lifetime. Not sold on this one? Well watch this Ted Talk and tell me what you think in the comments below! Please!

Baby Wearing

Your husband may never look sexier than he does wearing the baby the two of you are rearing together. Once he finds his groove at it anyway.

Be Around Other Dads

When in Rome do as the Romans do. If your partner is open to getting involved in some Baby and Me activities and classes with other fathers, cheer him on! Have him join the Jacksonville Pregnancy and Parenting group on Facebook together. It’s open to all parents who are willing to follow a few simple guidelines [like don’t be an asshole] and we would love to get more dads and babies together in a group setting! This would be a perfect way to try out baby/infant carriers before making a big purchase!

The Hard Part!

When you get an uninvolved dad involved with his baby you must, I repeat you must let him do it! Step back, walk away, literally bite your tongue if you must! BUT, you must let him lead, let him learn, and let him grow in his role! He’s got this!

There’s only so much you can do!

You can be brilliant and have all the ideas, but there’s only so much you can do. If you think your partner is uninvolved, withdrawn, or just not connecting with his baby you can encourage him to reach out for help via counseling, seeing a therapist, or a support group. You can only be responsible for your own actions. I encourage you to be patient, show some grace, and don’t give up on your partner!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Most Products Labeled for Infant Sleep are NOT Safe | Here’s a Break Down of What’s What

Most Products Labeled for Infant Sleep are NOT Safe | Here’s a Break Down of What is What

Like many products geared to traveling with a baby or younger child are not safe (aftermarket car seat inserts, covers, and straps), most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe. Just look at the photo above. Looks innocent enough, right? Look again! The bumper pad attached to the side of the crib (even mesh bumpers) and what appears to be a mobile attached to the front of the crib, both go against recommendation for the safest sleep. “Sleepers” that are not safe for sleep, “safety straps” that are anything but safe.

It’s confusing, we know! ”

Safe sleep recommendations aren’t up for debate. We just want to give you a break down and sprinkle this blog post with science-based information so you can make choices you feel are best for you and your baby.

WARNING: This blog post may be triggering for some.

I want parents and caregivers to know that most products labeled for infant sleep are not safe for such.

“The advertisement and packaging show a baby sleeping. Doesn’t that mean the product is meant for such?” Baby products sell, especially products advertising more sleep for babies which ultimately means more sleep for parents. But buyer beware! Not all sleep is safe sleep! Products are marketed and sold every damn day and babies have died while using them. Some have been recalled, but many have not.

Like car seat safety (a blog for another day) science and research tell us that rear-facing is best until the age of 4-years old. Still, the AAP only goes as far as recommending rear-facing children until at least 2 years of age, therefore providing a false sense of security to those who don’t know 4 is really the safest we can get. While Florida law only requires that children 4 years old and younger use a separate car-seat or the vehicle’s built-in child seat, with no specification on rear-facing at all. Whhhaaaat?! Many people, naively assume if it’s legal then it must be safe, but again that’s incorrect. They don’t know what they don’t know!

Why wait until laws are passed and product get recalled before we listen?

You may be on the right side of the law but does that mean we are doing our best we can for kids? My thoughts are, we have research and science on our sides. Let’s be proactive together! Through simple precautionary measures, together we can keep kiddos safer.

What’s the evidence say?

In the early 90’s the ABC Sleep campaign was introduced. ABC= Alone, on Back, and in a Crib. This campaign resulted in few infant deaths. We were on the right track! But, in more recent years death rates umong infants have begun to increase again. most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe, yet buying these products is also on the rise.

Alone? What about bed sharing?

Bed sharing is discouraged by the AAP, but we understand that for some families bed sharing is a necessity. There are safer ways to do it, we mention of few of those below. We could do a whole blog on that topic too, but that’s for another day! Together we can make a difference!

Infants ages 2 months to 4 months are at a heightened risk for SIDS.

Not to scare you, but did you know that? I had no idea until I had my third baby. Additionally, new evidence shows that soft bedding continues to pose hazards to babies who are 4 months and older. With boys, the risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is slightly elevated. Surprised? You’re not alone, less than 10% of parents know most (not all) of these things. The beauty of having us on your team is that we know all the things (or at least know where to find out fairly quickly) and we can help you learn all the things! All the while supporting you and your family in a way that is best for you and your lifestyle!

If most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe options how does one know what’s considered safe and what’s not?

Frankly, car seat safety and infant sleep topics are exhausting even as a professional in the field. So long as companies keep marketing and manufacturing products labeled for sleep and travel with kids there will always something new to learn. BUT it’s a topic we’re passionate to help families learn about!

What’s NOT approved for safest sleep:

In order to pass, a product must go through specific testing. It cannot pass if it has anything other than a 0-degree (0%) incline. That being said, just because it’s flat does not automatically make it safe. The Doc-A-Tot and in-bed co-sleepers are perfect examples of products that are flat but are NOT safe for sleep because they don’t pass one of those standards.

  • Rock-n-Play [a safer option is the Rock-n-Play portable bassinet
  • Car Seats [positional asphyxia is the biggest concern here]
  • Couch [the floor is safer in most cases]
  • Bouncer
  • In-bed co-sleepers or co-sleepers like the Doc-A-Tot (DAT)
  • MamaRoo
  • Swing
  • Crib Bumpers
  • Sleep Positioner/Wedge (even for babies with reflux)
  • Crib Tents
  • Blankets
  • Nap Nanny
  • Boppy

What IS approved for safest sleep:

The only approved sleep surface for an infant passes the standard for crib, cradle, bassinet, or play yard (PNP). If a sleep surface/mattress meets CPSC and ASTM standards, it is considered safe for sleep. Check current recalls and register your product, but remember recalls typically happen only once there have injuries or deaths involved. Be proactive, not reactive and back to basics is safest.

  • Majority of Pack-n-Plays like this one are fine
  • Most Mini cribs like this one are fine
  • Most Full-size cribs (NEVER a drop side crib, they’re illegal to sell new or used)
  • Tight fitting crib sheet, no blankets or bumpers, bare crib only

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations on creating a safe sleep environment include:

  • Placing the baby on their back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys. The crib should be bare, free of any blankets, gadgets, or pillows. Dress and adjust baby’s clothing so they will be comfortable through the night.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing (with a parent or caregiver) decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%
  • Don’t exposure baby to smoke, alcohol, or illicit drugs.
  • Infants should receive all recommended vaccinations. There’s no evidence that routine immunizations increase SIDS risk. Some evidence indicates immunizations can help prevent SIDS.
  • Breastfeeding is also recommended as added protection against SIDS. So long as you don’t doze off while nursing your baby, which tends to happen. If you feel sleepy or think there is a chance you may fall asleep or nod off while nursing your baby, nurse your baby on your bed, instead of a chair or couch. Make sure there are no pillows, blankets, or other items that could cause overheating or interfere, block, or obstruct your baby’s breathing. If you do fall asleep, upon waking move baby to their own sleep space.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Keep the room slightly cool, not too warm or hot
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices, including wedges or positioners, marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Supervised, awake tummy time is recommended daily to facilitate development.

What’s the Verdict on Swaddling

“While the AAP has not taken an official stance on the practice of swaddling babies should not be swaddled past 2 months of age”, urges Rachel Y. Moon, M.D., FAAP, lead author of the AAP safe sleep guidelines and chair of the Task Force on SIDS. Many people continue to swaddle until their baby is starting to show signs of readiness for rolling from tummy to back. But the latest research indicates that we should stop swaddling by 8 weeks of age, by that time the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. Even still swaddling should be done correctly to be considered safe and allow for proper hip and shoulder development.

More on Car Seats

The car seat (and or the base of the car seat) should be installed into your car following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Likewise, the child should also be correctly positioned and strapped into the car seat following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Slumping should be avoided especially in infants and children under two. Never leave them unattended. Do not allow blankets near their face. Check on them frequently while in the car and remove them from their seats promptly upon arrival. Positional Asphyxia happens when the position of one’s body blocks their airway.

The Latest on Rock-N-Plays in the News

The Rock-N-Play “sleeper” conflicts with the AAP’s recommendations for safe sleep environments for babies in order to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Kyle Yasuda, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately. When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it’s being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case.” (32 related deaths)

Give yourself a pat on the back for getting through this read!

Now that you know most products labeled for infant sleep are NOT safe options you can use the information you learned to create a plan for your own family! Who knows, perhaps you can help others along the way! As parents we are always learning new things, we follow our instincts, and do the best we can for our babies!

We have a full team ready to meet you where you’re at along your journey. We offer sleep support, sleep coaching and training, perinatal planning consults, nursery set up and organization, one-on-one personalized care and support for you, the newest member of your family, and everyone in between! Don’t delay, contact us today!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

-Elizabeth

Elizabeth Luke is the owner of The Jacksonville Baby Co., providing exceptional support and inclusive care for families welcoming babies in the Jacksonville, FL area since 2013. Helping families enjoy their births, their babies, and their sleep.

More resources for safe sleep:

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-Announces-New-Safe-Sleep-Recommendations-to-Protect-Against-SIDS.aspx

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Urges-U-S-Consumer-Product-Safety-Commission-to-Recall-Fisher-Price-Rock-n-Play-Sleeper.aspx?fbclid=IwAR3VGc9JZGxoK9BpqaeF9fPGfrBL1wPpdVLHzJpF6OTZtENrNbfvFn3-V9U

https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

https://cultureofsafety.thesilverlining.com/childcare/car-seats-and-positional-asphyxiation

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Car-Safety-Seats-Information-for-Families.aspx

https://www.astm.org/search/fullsite-search.html?query=infant%20sleep&

Tips for Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow

Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow Jax, FL | Jacksonville Nanny | night Nanny Jax

Tips for Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow

It’s a big transition from one to two babies. Getting out of the house with kids in tow can be a job and may even seem a little terrifying. Our team has put together an awesome list of things to make getting out of the house with kids in tow easier, less stressful, and even more enjoyable for all of you!

We Hope You Find These Tips for Getting Out of the House With Kids in Tow Helpful:

1. Babywear

Wearing your baby is an excellent way to free your hands so you can quickly dedicate them to Cool Hand Luke over there [look it up, I’m old AF], a.k.a. your toddler! Babywearing also allows you to do other tasks like sip on a cup of coffee while simultaneously pushing the Target cart and taking a commemorative selfie. Just think of how boss so you’ll look! Also, what a sweet memory you’ll have when it comes up in your Timehop for years to come!

2. Double Stroller

So wearing your baby is great, unless you hate it! Even still having a double stroller, in my opinion, is nice for some occasions, especially longer outings where one or both kids will need to rest. You can stuff a bunch of things beneath the seats, and if you’re feeling touched out the stroller definitely gives you more personal space.

3. Leash the [incredibly cute, sometimes feral] Beast

Never underestimate a toddler. Their size and speed give them the capabilities to move with the stealth and agility of a cheetah and hide effortlessly in tight spaces like a pancake tortoise [again, look it up or see one at The Jax Zoo]!

Seriously, “Where the Wild things Are” would be a great movie title for a toddler’s life! Don’t fear the leash, save your sanity, and keep your kiddo safe. Bonus: when your toddler pretends to be a kitty cat they can really get into character and be even more realistic! BOOM, mom win!

4. Leave (extra or extra-extra) Early

Feeling rushed can make your entire trip off-kilter, for you and your babies! Know your route, turn on the GPS to check the traffic if backups may be expected, and plan to arrive 30 minutes early. That “should” leave you enough time to get where you need to be without the pressure of running behind.

Finding yourself consistently right on time? You’re golden! Finding yourself a little early? Magic! Still running late? Eh, leave 10 minutes earlier next time, but sometimes getting out of the house with kids in tow just means you’ll be late. Only now you have a free pass “reason” to be late sometimes!

5. Keep a Go Bag in the Car

A Go Bag is a bag that is ready to go at all times, but is kept in your vehicle, hence the name. The following are some ideas for your Go Bag:

  • A full change of clothes for yourself and your kiddos
  • Diapers, pull ups, and underwear for each kid
  • A large pack of wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Bottle of water for hand rinsing
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A few non perishable snacks
  • A special toy or two that only comes out at special times to grab and hold their attention
  • Any other essentials like a paci, bottle, cup, femine hygiene products[not the kitchen sink Karen]

6. Back Pack It!

Forget the diaper bag and opt for a back pack! It keeps your arms free and has lots of great pockets! Since you have a Go Bag you don’t have to pack the kitchen sink [looking at you again Karen]. Pack a diaper or two, a small pack of wipes, water for you, and any essentials [again, not the damn sink Karen]. Bring any needed food, drinks, and snacks and again I highly recommend a small, but fun item or two that your little beastie gets to hold or play with ONLY when you need to occupy them when your hands are full.

7. Easy Access Clothing

Those adorable one-piece rompers you fancied before you were pregnant… Two words, donate them! Do it! Unless you want to make a bold dash to the car for your Go Bag after a mishaps while pottying while also trying to keep care of two babies, donate them now! That image ain’t cute!

Likewise, I don’t know who in blue blazes designed baby and toddler clothing without snaps between the legs, but it had to be someone with literally no brain or hands. Dress your kids in clothing they will not only be cute and comfy in, but that have easy access points so you can change diapers with ease. Pay special attention while potty training. After all you shouldn’t look like you’re trying to swaddled a rabid hyena while you’re wrangling your half naked child during an outing! And if you do see #11.

8. Rest Before Leaving the Nest

Easier said than done. I know! If just the idea of getting out of the house with two kids in tow has your stressing, say no to things you don’t have to do. BUT be willing to say yes to some exploration and adventure.

Start by scheduling things (when you can) around their nap times. So if they have their morning nap at 10-12, leave plenty of time for that and travel, see #4. Otherwise leave the nest on a whim only when your baby birds are well rested.

9. Frequent Family-Friendly Places

Little ones come with some mess and noise. I know, shocker! Visit places you might “find your tribe”, or at least where you can let your kids be kids while get to enjoy seeing them have some freedom. The Zoo [you can see the pancake tortoise here], Sunshine Park, and Grow Family are all places to consider!

10. Just a Few Safety Tips:

  • Avoid leaving your kids unattended while in a vehicle. Strap your most mobile child in their carseat first and remove them from the carseat last. This will help demobilize them long enough for you to get the youngest situated.
  • If help or assistance is needed don’t be too afraid to ask. It could be an employee if you’re at a store or another person who is nearby. There are good people left in the world!
  • Park in the locations you feel safest. There isn’t always a right or wrong answer here, use your best judgement and it will be fine.
  • Keep your cell phone on your person at all times when not in use.
  • Never place an infant carseat on top of a shopping cart. It can tip or get knocked over.

11. Be Prepared for Opinions, but Give No Fucks

You don’t owe anyone an answer or response. Focus on you and your kids. If you feel it woud be helpful you can prepare a blanket statement ahead of time for a few general things you may be worried or concerned over. Outsiders don’t pay your bills, you don’t have to sleep next to them, and life moves on. Your kids, none the wiser. You got this!

At the end of the day if the thought of getting out of the house with kids in tow leaves you feeling scared or nervous here are 3 things you can do that I am positive can help you:

  1. Focus on safety and love. Do not fear judgement or outside criticism. See #11
  2. Stop judging yourself so harshly. Just loving your kids and keeping them alive some days is amazing and enough!
  3. Hire help! We’re here and for hire to assist with these things. We can for sure help [without judgement] assist you and prepare you to go it alone!

DISCLAIMER: The JBC team has no personal hang ups, problems, or beef with anyone, more specifically, anyone named Karen!

Get in touch with our amazing team at The Jax Baby Co. and let us help you plan and execute [like a boss] your first few outings after your baby is born! We don’t judge and our bark is pretty badass! Basically we can handle the haters, cheer you on, and assist as needed! We got you!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth

5 Things NOT to Do on Photo Day with Kids | By a Jacksonville Family Photographer

5 Things NOT to Do on Photo Day with Kids, By a Jacksonville Family Photographer

Getting your kids into the studio or on location for a portrait can be stressful. Here are
some ideas, tips, and 5 things not to do on photo day with kids and how to make your session go a little easier, by Jacksonville newborn and family photographer, Christy Whitehead of Christy Whitehead Photography.

1. Making a Huge Deal Out of It

If you’re stressed out and over talking the photo shoot your kids are going to get anxious and may act out as a result. Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter’s hair stay straight instead of curling it or bringing the Batman doll your kid can’t live without, like my son. Focus on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Not Making it Fun is A Missed Opportunity

Let the kids have a couple of “fun photos” where they get to pick their own pose or props. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins. Let the kids know if they are good you can do one super funny photo. Sometimes those funny photos are a great addition in a home. I personally think a silly photo would be hysterical in a bathroom to make your guests laugh.

3. Not Being Prepared


Plan your session based on when your kids are typically at their best, temperament wise. Planning a session during naptime or near naptime is a recipe for a meltdown. Bringing some snacks (think snacks that don’t stain hands or clothes) and activities along is also a great idea. If you are having your own photos taken too then you might want to bring along an extra set of experienced hands or family member along to watch the kids. Don’t forget to bring handy items like bug spray, tissues, first aid kit, baby wipes, water, etc.

4. Not Being Patient

Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing. Let the photographer direct the session, if she’s having difficulty or seems frustrated, then step in, but sometimes photogs let kids be themselves for a few minutes to gain their trust and get more authentic portraits of kids.

5. Choosing the Wrong Location

If you have small children and it’s October, planning a family session outside in Florida may not be a great idea with the potential for rain or a cold snap. Some photography studios, like ours, have a studio and also shoot on location. Having that backup plan in place and being open to secondary options will keep your sanity and make sure everything goes more smoothly.

BONUS TIP:

Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions. We hope you find these 5 things not to do on photo day with kids helpful! Looking for a photographer in the Jax, FL area? Book your session today!

Christy Whitehead has a studio off of Chaffee Blvd, approximately 10 minutes from downtown Jacksonville. She specializes in pregnancy, newborn, family and headshot photography.
You can find her at:
www.Jaxphotographer.com
www.facebook.com/JaxPhotographer
www.instagram.com/jaxphotographer

Dealing with Mom Guilt | Guest Blog Post

mom guilt jax, Fl

Dealing with Mom Guilt

I dealt with mom guilt for a good 2 years after my son was born. I had to return to work very early on. It wasn’t a choice I had at that time. I questioned myself as a mom…a lot. It was hard. Hard on top of it already being hard with having a baby (my first!) and being a parent in this crazy world we live in.

Whether it’s your 1st baby or 4th you never know how things are going to go.

You can plan as much as possible, but frankly, between the baby and your body, things are going to just happen. What happened with your first may be completely different from your second and so on. No matter your situation, a new baby changes the dynamics. There is a level of adjustment no matter what. 

I think mom guilt is something that almost comes with the territory of being a parent in 2019.

We feel pressure coming at us from all angles. We are bombarded with messages as moms. Messages about where and how you should plan to deliver your baby. Is a birthing center better than the hospital? Should you have the baby at home? Then there’s breast feeding and the pressure to make it work because “breast is best.” There are opinions about every stage babies experience. 

If you are a working mama, you may experience this dreaded mom guilt from being away from your baby. Are you doing the right thing? Is this going to affect my baby negatively? Am I being a bad mom? On top of the stress of going back to work and having a new baby, emotions like guilt can be super charged.

If you are a stay-at-home mama, you may question if you’re doing enough. Should you be working outside the home? You may question your sanity daily. You may question your identity as a woman as you pour out yourself every day so your little ones can thrive. 

The expectations are crazy unrealistic for parents these days.

It doesn’t really help that with all the technology available, we see what other parents are doing from all over the world. First birthday parties are a great example. Some of us put SO much pressure on ourselves to throw an amazing party for someone who won’t even remember one second of it.

If any of this resonates with you, hang in there mama. Here’s a few tips to deal with the guilt.

  1. Try to be more aware of the fact that you are having these thoughts that are making you feel guilty. You can’t change something if you don’t know it’s happening.
  2. Write those guilty thoughts down. It can be in a journal, notebook, or even the notes section on your phone.
  3. Reframe them to something positive. If you wrote the thought down, below it, re-write the statement into a more positive one. You can also do this in your head or out loud if that makes more sense for you. An example is if you wrote down, “I’m not a good mom” then you can re-write it to say something like “I’m the right mom for my kids and I’m doing the very best I can” or “there’s no perfect parent, I’m doing a great job.” Choose words that make sense for you.
  4. In addition to reframing the guilty thoughts, I think it’s super helpful to have a quote, scripture, or mantra that is meaningful for you. That mantra or statement can even be based on what you wrote above in #3. I like keeping it short and simple. For example, telling yourself, “I’m doing a great job as a mama” is a great way to show yourself love. Repeat your positive statement as often as needed. Speak to yourself with the same kindness and love you do your children. 

Guilt is just one of the many emotions we feel as moms.

Society has set a bar for parenting that no one can realistically achieve. Listen mama, you set your own standard for the parent you want to be. Do what feels right for you and your family. Be consistent with speaking gentleness and kindness to yourself. 

Authored by: Maria Inoa

Maria Inoa is a licensed clinical social worker and the owner of Full Potential Counseling. With over 12 years of experience, she specializes in working with women on building healthier relationships with themselves and others. She strongly believes that women are warriors and that every woman has worth, significance, and purpose. Maria provides in-person sessions at her office in the Ortega area as well as online sessions for the busy woman.

What’s Best for Your Baby?

What’s Best for Your Baby?

We know you want to do what’s best for your baby! You love your little sweet pea and just want to do right by them in every way. Once the decision has been made to start a family inevitably questions seem to roll in like impressive storm clouds on a summer afternoon in Florida!

If I get the epidural will it affect our baby? Who would be best to have with us when I give birth? Should I have visitors right away or make them wait a couple weeks? When do most people take their babies out after they are born?

You quickly learn that you’ll get all the opinions in pregnancy about what’s best for your baby.

No two opinions ever seem to be the same, so how do you sort through it all? How do you know what’s best for your baby? Let me let you in on a little secret, I’ll be 100% real with you. Every parent wonders, what’s “best” and without fail, at some time or another, we all wonder if we’re screwing our kids up. Truth bomb! Having a second baby? You’ll wonder if you are doing enough or the right things for your oldest, yet again!

Take some nice, slow breaths. Inhale peace and exhale doubt. You’ve got this!

We see those Instagram pics with the hashtag #momfail. There seems to be heavy judgement surrounding how we parent and rear our kidlets. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. Concerned you might be one of those parents who “fail” at raising good humans?

These wonderings are completely normal; you will have parenting wins and woes, not fails! Failing is giving up. You are not giving up, you are navigating! In the words of Chumbawamba, I get knocked down, but I get up again. That alone signifies you care and are doing the very best anyone can and what’s best for your baby and family!

So, how can we be the very best at parenting that we can be? 

Well, for starters we would do well to understand that what is best for one family isn’t best for all families. Another way we can do our own personal best is by taking great care of ourselves. After all, if we want our children to do that for themselves we must  model to our children what that looks like. Meditation, prayer, self-care, exercise, therapy, support groups, date nights, hobbies, and nutrition. A healthy mind, body and soul allow us to give to others without depleting from our own cup!

Do you need a system or something that can work in every “what is best” situation?

When you’re faced with a decision in pregnancy, childbirth, or in parenthood one way we like to help parents navigate is to say, remember to use your B.R.A.I.N. Your brain, of course, but also your B.R.A.I.N. acronym.

B= Ask, what are the BENEFITS?

R= Ask, what are the RISKS?

A= Ask, are their ALTERNATIVES and if so what are they?

I= Tune into your INTUITION. What’s your gut or inner voice say?

N= Ask, what if we do NOTHING right now? Revisit this in X amount of time.

You’re doing what is best for your baby when you do what you think or feel is best!

There’s absolutely no one more equipped for the job of parenting your children than you! We can certainly all benefit greatly from support and encouragement, without judgment or opinions along the way! An unbiased, science-based childbirth education class and A-rated support from experts in the field goes a very, very long way! The Jax Baby Company is there every step of the way to help you navigate the curveballs birth and parenting throw you, but also help you maintain complete autonomy over your body, birth, and your family!

When you get caught up in the “what’s best game”, I challenge you to stop, breathe, and focus on the single most important piece of the parenting puzzle that actually applies and fits into place perfectly. And that is that you’re always considering what’s best for your baby and that makes you an amazing parent.

You’ll win some and you’ll learn some!

In those learning moments, you become even more relatable to other parents. Welcome to the parenting club! Parenting is such a humbling experience and one day it is our hope that you’ll look back and laugh, give yourself a little pat on the back, and know that you did a phenomenal job at this parenting thing!

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth

The Symptoms of Postpartum | From Blues to Rage | FREE PRINTABLE

The Symptoms of Postpartum | Blues, Depression, OCD, Anxiety, Rage, & Psychosis

Maybe you’re expecting your first babe, and you’re wondering what are the symptoms of postpartum? Most first time moms wonder, and many second time moms feel lucky to have “escaped” that “postpartum stuff” with their first baby. Depression and postpartum blues, depression, anxiety, rage, OCD, and even psychosis are often used interchangeably. Postpartum simply means the period of time after a person gives birth while the rest of the above-mentioned words are illnesses or disorders. Some of the symptoms are of postpartum are alike, while many symptoms overlap and combine. Others may only experience a few of the symptoms or not recognize what the hell they feel or are experiencing.

What are the symptoms of postpartum?

Well it totally sucks, like a gut punch, a slap in the face, and a period from hell, it’s debilitating, and to top it all off, it’s isolating! In addition to everything listed below in the FREE DOWNLOAD, there are also physical symptoms like headaches, shakes, fatigue, dizziness, hunger or lack of hunger, body aches, and even vomiting.

The good news?

Postpartum illness and disorders are treatable with either therapy, medication, or both. If you feel you or someone you know may be suffering from this illness, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame. There is HOPE and you are NOT alone. Call someone you trust and your doctor or an emergency crisis hotline right away so that you can get the help you need.

Don’t take no for an answer!

You can develop these illnesses/disorders at any time during pregnancy or during the first 12-18 months after giving birth. Keep reaching out if you feel brushed off, don’t ignore the warning signs, find a support group, a great therapist, postpartum help, and practice self-care!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke-

Self-Care for the Newly Postpartum Mother

What is self-care for the newly postpartum mother?

Meredith Brooks and Alanis Morisette were on to something when they sang the song, “I’m a bitch!” Think about it…

I’m a Bitch, I’m a Lover
I’m a child, I’m a Mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed.
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between,
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way.

As mothers, we wear so many damn hats that we often forget to STOP and take the time we need and absolutely deserve to care for ourselves. In the early weeks after childbirth self-care very much looks like brushing our teeth two times a day, finishing a meal while it’s still hot warm, and saying “yes” to ourselves more!

10 Ideas for Self-Care for the Newly Postpartum Mother:

So Naturally First, Say “Yes” to You

Yes, yes, yes! You deserve to say yes to you instead of do, do, doing for everyone else all the time. You have permission to take care of you! You deserve to have others take care of you! Saying yes to you also means relinquishing some responsibility and control over the things you normally task yourself with. Even if it means things are done in a way you would never do them yourself! Even if they’re not done at all. It will be okay, everyone will survive, everyone will manage! Prioritize your priorities, scale back, and step away. Think about much more how appreciative everyone will be , when you return to those duties once again.

Watch a Comedy or Binge Watch Your Favorite Uplifting Netflix or Hulu Series

The right comedy can change your day! Like sneezing, seeing others laugh is contagious. So, get a shower (and brush your teeth), climb into a comfy spot, and laugh your ass off! Need some ideas? Off the top of my head: Jo Koy on Netflix is hilarious! What’s on Your F*ck List is a quick Ted Talk that rocks!

Schedule a Video Chat

Everyone has their person! The person who lifts their spirits, who makes them smile and laugh, or who will just offer an ear without trying to fix anything! So reach out to your person, set a date (very soon), make yourself or ask your postpartum specialist to make you a warm cup of tea, grab a piece of your favorite chocolate that you’ve had stashed and enjoy! No chocolate? Oh girl, phone a friend fast!

Let the Sunlight In

If you can, just sit outside, it’ll help lift your spirits! If you can’t pull back those blinds while you’re awake and bask in the rays of the sun’s light. Read a book, listen to music or just be present while paying close attention to your breath. Allow your body to feel and breathe. Another way to enjoy the sunlight is while listening to a great audio-book or relaxing music!

Eat a Nice Dinner

Perhaps you have a feel good, comfort food meal? If you do, request that meal bprepared for you. No preference on the meal? Your postpartum specialist, family, friends, or partner can freestyle or use a recipe they pull and surprise you! Actually I love that idea, relinquish that and put the metaphoric ball in their court! Enjoy that meal all alone if you prefer or with someone you love. While I’m here I’ll just mention briefly how important healthy snacks and staying hydrated are for the newly postpartum mum! Snack, snack, snack!

Guided Meditation

Meditation can help by quieting the overactive mind, the racing thoughts. You can begin identifying with the silence that exists between every thought or action. Centering yourself is a skill that anyone can learn, once they have the intention and the experience of what it feels like. With an amazing teacher, hurdles can be overcome. The good news is anyone can meditate! Guided meditation is the perfect start!

Numerous scientific studies have found meditation to be effective in helping to treat anxiety.  One study, published in the Psychological Bulletin, combined the findings of 163 different studies. The overall conclusion was that practicing mindfulness or meditation produced beneficial results, with a substantial improvement in areas like negative personality traits, anxiety, and stress. 

Create a Banner with Positive Affirmations

Positive self-talk, notes around your home, and a lovely banner hung to remind you how amazing you are! One part of your journey does NOT define who you are as a person! Great mothers are tired, they’re short-tempered, they don’t all wear makeup every day. Your home can be a mess, some events can be missed skipped, you can say no, and kids don’t always have to be entertained for you to be a “good” mother! Create a banner, fly your flags all over your home, car, or anywhere else you need to so that you are reminded that you are amazing!

Pedicure

If you’re like most moms your feet take a beating during pregnancy and the early postpartum. They’re one of the most abused parts of your body, aside from the place where your adorable crotch-fruit made their grand entrance! Your feet deserve pampering. Ask for an extra few minutes in the chair, put on your sleep mask, plug in those ear buds and snooze! Enjoy that shit, you deserve it!

Haircut and Style

All that shedding, all that postpartum sweating = nighttime yuckiness! Get out and get your hair did! Seriously, ask your stylist to take an extra few minutes on your wash! Tell her you NEED that! Ask her to brush your hair a little longer! Then take a long slow walk down the Target diaper aisle like the sexy Wonder Woman you are!

Handwork not Hard Work

Relinquish your mom duties, close the door, and pop in a pair of earbuds so you’re not tempted to go “help out” and create some magical shit!! Paint, color in an adult coloring book, crochet, or knit! Get crafty with it! Busy your hands and free your mind. Say “YES” to you!

We hope you find these ideas helpful!

In addition to taking care of one’s self it’s important to get the medical help you need to be the healthiest you can be! Do not hesitate to reach out if you need a referral to see a medical provider or a postpartum counselor. This list was created with love and compassion for all of you new moms out there! Self-care for the newly postpartum mother doesn’t have to be tricky or hard, it just has to allow the mother to take time for herself so she can heal and give her best self to those she loves most! Also, once you’ve been cleared by your medical professional find a workout routine that is right for you! Exercise does wonders for mental and physical health!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Baby Products That Aren’t Worth Buying | Top 5

Baby Products That Aren't Worth Buying | Jax, FL Nanny

Baby Products That Aren’t Worth Buying

As a new or soon to be parent you want to know about baby products that aren’t worth buying! “I can’t wait to dish out hundreds of dollars on things I’m probably never going to use, we’ll end up hating, or that’ll cost me more in the long run”, said no parent E-V-E-R!

We asked some of the families we work with which baby products or services they could’ve lived without and here’s what they said.

Shhhhhhh

No, really they said the BabyShusher!

With a price tag of about a $35 the Baby Shusher comes in #1 on our top 5 list of baby products that aren’t worth buying. First, there is no way to charge this thing, you would think it would come with a USB port to charge it! It’s an awkward shape, it rolls off of things too easily. Its loud landing is less than soothing! Instead the MyBaby SoundSpa easily replaces it! While it too does not have a USB port it still hits a homerun with babies, parents, and caregivers at a fraction of the cost too!

Baby Kicks

“But they’re so stinkin’ cute!” Yes, indeed they are, but they’re all for show! Buy your baby some kicks and his milestone photos will include achievements like, “pro at getting poop on new shoes at diaper changes”, “losing a shoe each time I go out”, and “outgrew my shoes before ever getting to wear them!” First-time parents admit being sucked into the world of tiny baby shoes, while most experienced parents laughed when we asked them about shoes for their infants!

Zipadee-Zip

If there ever was a waste this thing wins the prize, seriously we’ve worked with multiple families and talked with many parents who were absolutely disgusted with this product. Even one of our own Postpartum and Infant Care Specialist’s has tried this thing and her son laughed at the idea of sleep! The Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit is as good as it’s going to get with one of these “magic” suits. They work for some, others not so much. Take it from an overnight baby expert, the Merlin suit will get you more sleep hands down then the Zipadee-Zip and the price, well they’re both right around $40.

Changing Tables

I’ll admit, I was really torn about including this on our top 5 list of baby products that aren’t worth buying, but I just gotta! Probably half of the families we work with say they have zero use for changing tables. Diapers are easily changed just about anywhere, we get it! Many parents choose a bed, the crib, or the floor to change their little ones and use the would be changing table space for something else or to maintain the openness in the room. My suggestion is to create a few portable changing caddies to keep in different areas of the house. Include the basics in your caddies; diapers, wipes, a changing pad/mat, ointment, and maybe a onesis just in case.

Infant Carseats

Infant carseats are heavy, cumbersome, and take up way too much space in the Target cart. Many parents are opting for convertible carseats. Perfect for newborns right on to and through the threenager stage! Check the manufacturer’s recommendation on the particular seat you are looking at for height and weight requirements. However, most rear-face from 5-40 pounds (19” to 40”), provide side impact protection and come complete with a 5-point harness with easy front adjustment. That means just one seat from the time your child is born until the time they forward-face in a booster around 4 or 5 years old, and some longer! With a price tag at around $50-$300 you are sure to get your money’s worth!

Other Top Contenders

We polled other parents just like you and here were some of the other top responses:

  • wipes warmer
  • traditional diaper bags (backpacks are awesome)
  • baby towels & washcloths
  • baby bath tub
  • shopping cart cover

We love hearing from our readers! If there’s any product you love or hate we want know about it. Drop us a comment below or contact us personally.

Happy Birth & Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke

Finding the Perfect Nanny or Caregiver for Your Family | 30+ Questions to Ask

Finding the Perfect Nanny or Caregiver for Your Family | 30+ Questions to Ask

Finding the perfect nanny or caregiver for your family can feel overwhelming and even a little scary. Using up what’s left of your tired mom-brain cells to seek out trustworthy, dependable, and loving care for your children is Crazytown, USA. WE KNOW! That’s why we wrote this just for you!

We love working with families, it’s kind of our thing! So, naturally, we get asked to help with the vetting process for nannies and caregivers.

Whether you’re heading back to work full-time or part-time, looking for a regular date-night sitter, an extra set of hands around the house, or want a nanny or caregiver who will travel with you on vacation we’ve got you covered! Our team has put together a list of questions and a few helpful tips to make the search a little less stressful. As with everything we offer, take what you need, leave the rest!

30+ Questions to Ask

  1. Are you infant CPR and first aid certified? If so, for how long? Through which organization? Did they certify online? If yes, red flag, I vote hard pass!
  2. What do you know about sleep coaching, sleep training, and safe sleep recommendations?
  3. Will you sign giving us permission to run a background check? Do this BEFORE bringing them on! A background check rarely shows everything, but a good background check will cost you about $325 and will cover many things!
  4. Do you have a current driver’s license? How’s your driving record? Have you had any accidents or tickets? If so, please explain. Do they blame-shift?
  5. Do you have your own transportation?
  6. Are you well-versed in carseat safety? Can you show me what you know? (look up Car Seats for the Littles and become very familiar with current safety recs)
  7. How would you keep my child safe while at home? How about while out?
  8. What are your strongest qualities?
  9. Do you smoke, vape, drink or use any drugs? If yes, how often? Also, when you need to smoke/vape while caring for our baby/children how will you do this safely? OMG, I can’t believe we have to ask this kinda shit, but we do!
  10. What are some of your goals for this year? Where do you see yourself in five years?
  11. Do you have a recommendation for an excellent baby camera?
  12. What does confidentiality mean to you? Would you be willing to sign a confidentiality clause?
  13. What websites do you find most reliable when it comes to infant health and development? The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are reliable, science-based resources.
  14. What’s your stance on vaccines?
  15. Are you current on dTap and the flu vaccine?
  16. Would you provide care to a child if they are sick?
  17. What was the longest time frame you worked with a family?
  18. May we contact previous families you’ve worked with?
  19. What activities would do with my baby?
  20. Are you familiar with baby-wearing? Swaddling? Bathing?
  21. Can you walk me through how to properly prepare and handle a bottle of breastmilk? Formula?
  22. What is your protocol when you’re sick and are scheduled to work?
  23. What do you like best about being a nanny? Least?
  24. In the event that my child was choking can you show me how would you respond?
  25. What reasons would warrant a call to mom and dad?
    I can’t stop here…
  26. Can you swim?
  27. Do you have liability insurance?
  28. Do you report your income to the IRS?
  29. Do you own a gun? Do you conceal carry? What is your stance on guns?
  30. Are you willing to travel with our family if we’d like to take a vacation together
  31. What would you say are the greatest safety risks for a child his/her age? 

A Good Scenario

I find that going over a few well thought out scenarios with the potential caregivers will help you better gauge their abilities and your comfort level with each. Finding the perfect nanny or caregiver for your family doesn’t mean sacrificing your comfort!

One example would be to ask a question such as this, “You’ve noticed that our baby hasn’t rolled or attempt to roll over at all while in your care. He is now 6 months old. Do you think it’s something worth communicating with us about? If so how would you do this? If not, at what point would you bring it to our attention, if at all?”

Any good caregiver should know that by 6 months of age most babies are rolling over from tummy to back and back to tummy very well. Does this caregiver ignore possible signs of delays in your infant’s physical development or do they bring it to your attention? Do they deliver their concerns in a respectful, but direct way? Does the caregiver suggest you should mention this to your child’s pediatrician?

Some Things to Consider

How did you feel in the caregiver’s presence? Did this person put you at ease or did something feel off? Always, always trust your gut! Did the caregiver seem comfortable and confident? Poised and relaxed? Tense or nervous? How did your baby respond to him/her? Did this person keep their appointment time, arrive on time, communicate effectively, and leave within a reasonable amount of time? All things to note!

Final Thoughts

When working with The Jax Baby Company you have a fully vetted team that works together, cohesively to provide seamless care to your family. So you never have to worry, if you need an extra day or night covered you have an amazing A-rated team that communicates with one another after each and every shift to bring you the very best care Jacksonville has to offer!

Any caregiver, no matter how amazing, will have events to attend, trips planned, need sick days (or could potentially risk getting your family sick), and have other commitments. With a like-minded team and one person coordinating it all for your family, The Jax Baby Company makes support and loving care easy for you! Finding the perfect nanny or caregiver for your family doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to compromise on great care because you can keep our postpartum and infant care specialists on your team as long as you need us!

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke