I am not a writer. I am not an expert. I am not a doctor or psychologist or a certified sleep consultant. I am just a mom of two deliciously adorable smiley boys, a wife of an amazing, supportive and hands on father and a very blessed daughter, sister, and friend. I have a huge support system and I don’t downplay that in contributing to my parenting decisions and way of life.

On November 25th, 2015 I’ll have been a mom for 3 years. Relatively speaking, it is not a long time, but it really is hard to imagine myself and my identity without being W and J’s mom.

I don’t know how it happened, but over these years I seem to have earned a reputation among my friends that I’m a good person to ask baby questions to. I know why I get sleep questions, but the questions have moved beyond sleep and I truly am flattered to be asked and I do enjoy answering questions from pumping and nursing to toddler tantrums. A few of my friends have joked that I’m the baby concierge… Or that I should have a YouTube channel…. And I have started to get personal messages on Facebook with sleep questions from fellow moms in mommy groups so instead of falling asleep my mind is in overdrive and I decided I would start a blog. I want it to be more than a one sided forum for me to share experiences. My vision is an open forum for questions. Over the past year my peer discussions have changed from baby related to toddler related, but since May there has been so many babies born in my family and friend’s lives and I do feel back in baby mode questions this summer. I think back to many summer nights texting very late about pumping schedules, baby schedules, 12 by 12 and of course the “terrible twos.” I get most of my answers from personal experience which comes from a lot of crowd sourcing and learning from baby websites, books and fellow moms. The truth is I am very lucky to have my mom as a teacher and sounding board as she taught parenting classes for 20 years. Having access to a parent teacher 24/7, what could be better when you have a 2 year old and a newborn?

My plan is to have the questions asked be public, because I do find that more often than not there are many similar questions. I had a plan a while ago to put together a “guide” with all things mommy and baby related that I could give my expectant mommy friends but life got in the way and it never happened.

Before I start, I want to reiterate that I have no “degree” in any of this. Always ask your doctor, and always trust your gut and your mommy intuition. I’m just a fellow mom. Every child is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ formula.

I was trying to decide what my first post would be… should I start with where it all begins – ovulation, or should I start with post delivery pain (ouch) and tricks that were passed on to me. Or should I start with my most requested discussion — 12 by 12 — yes, 12 by 12 it is.

If you know me, you know I followed the book Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano, with both my boys. This book guides my life and I love it. I’m convinced it plays a huge role in my children’s emotional state and just as important in my happiness and well being.

As a pregnant lady, I went out and bought a bunch of books to learn and prepare for this next chapter in my life. As I was checking my Facebook newsfeed, which is definitely too often, a friend posted about this book 12 by 12 and how awesome it was. I thought to myself –  A baby sleeping 12 hours, really? I need to see for myself what this is all about. I immediately ordered the book and read it. I always had huge doubts that it would work. In fact, I remember asking my pediatrician about it and he laughed and said, “good luck! Never heard of a baby sleeping 12 hours.” He gave us his support and off we went.

Step One: Read the book while pregnant.

I tell this to people all the time. Once that baby is in your life and taking up your time, it is very hard to read anything, let alone really digest something. Also, you don’t want to read it 8 weeks in and then realize that for the past 8 weeks you rocked your baby to sleep every single night and now it’s time to make huge changes. It’s easier to be well equipped from the start.

Step Two: Have your partner read the book.

For me, this was a team effort. We both needed to understand what our plan was and implement it together.

Step Three: Read it again after the baby is born.

Before the baby is born, the concepts are real but you don’t have your own example to think of. Now that you’re in it and are gearing up to start the steps, it’s time to read it again and make sure you have a really good grasp on the steps.

As I said, I’m a HUGE fan of the book and I’ll forever be grateful that the infant years I’ve had were filled with 12 hour nights, but I do have some modifications to her book. If you know me, this is a little shocking as I am a very strict rule follower. With the help of my husband, I saw that without these modifications the book was not going to work for us.

*For those that have not read the book, the first 6 weeks there are no “rules” per say and no schedule. I feed my babies whenever and for however long they want. (Mine seem to like to eat ALL day and night) The book has very specific guidelines the baby has to meet  (age, weight and overall milk consumption) before the training can begin.

I have a call set up with a friend for tomorrow to go over her list of questions on the book before she begins the training process with her baby. (Shout out to my friend L for being so organized 🙂 ) I don’t know her questions yet, but I do know I want to make sure I tell her a few of my modifications.

Since it is already 1 am, I am going to share just one modification and save the rest for future posts.

I ALLOW, actually ENCOURAGE, the 3RD NAP.

The book states that after the baby wakes up from the second nap of the day, around 3pm in my case, they should be kept awake until the night time feed at 7pm. If I ever would try that with my baby, he would be passed out during the last feed, it would be impossible to get a good feed and more importantly he wouldn’t be going into the crib awake – which is really the crux of the whole entire method!

Maybe the author has super babies that can stay up from 3 pm to 7 pm, but my 2 month old babies could not handle that. So what I do is, around 4:45/5 pm, I would encourage him to take a 45 min – 1 hour nap. I wouldn’t put him in the crib, I would have him in the swing (swing function in off mode when possible – that’s for another post) or in the stroller, or in the bouncy seat etc., but I would make sure he had a cat nap so that he could have a bath and nighttime feed without being completely and utterly exhausted. This would allow us to say goodnight and put an awake baby, with a full belly, in his crib to put himself to sleep.

I kept the cat nap until I was sure that he didn’t need it.

I’m going to finish here for the night… Hope you enjoyed my first post! I have more modifications to the book – the time of the last feed, the morning routine and more. Some other topics that I will definitely talk about – Pumping during the day for the night feeds and not producing milk at night, pacifiers, NAPPING, baby led weaning and much more 🙂

Please follow if you are interested and of course please post any questions you think I may be able to help you with!