two year old girl birthday gift guide

I had WAY too much fun shopping for Thalia’s birthday this year. Last year, I was at a total loss for what to get. This year was so much easier. My little baby has turned into an expressive and assertive toddler. I definitely know what she wants and that is just as #toddler as sounds.

I tried to get a good mix of “educational” toys, clothing and gifts with personality. Thalia is SUPER into babies. She begs to hold every single baby she sees in public. She also enjoys nurturing Daniel and I. She tries to put us down for “sleepy” and makes us “cozy”. She’s the cutest. She has a brand new baby doll from Christmas, so I mixed it up and picked up an interactive baby book for her birthday. Thalia also loves to smell things: candles, flowers, food. (YUP- it’s just as hilarious as it sounds) So, I found some plush toys that smell like baked goods. She scored a super cute rainbow purse from Anthropologie and some new spring clothes from H&M. The “big gift” is an indoor/outdoor slide. She likes to take the top of our ottoman off and lean it against the base to create her own “slide”, so I’m glad we finally sprung for an architecturally sound slide for her.

I did all of my shopping online this year which saved us from any spoiled surprises. Prime is the real MVP, but I also picked up a couple gems from some other places and I added links below. I can’t wait to wrap these bad boys up and finish some more crafts for the big day – a little less than 2 weeks to go.

Check back before her party to see what else we have planned!

L I N K S :

pink with white hearts patterned jersey dress:

little tikes first slide:

flavored unicorn lip balm:

mini melissa slingback popsicle sandals:

snuggle the baby book:

fruit charms stretch bracelets:

rainbow purse:

yellow ice cream applique t-shirt:

green checked dress:

rainbow abacus:

printed black and white dotted leggings:

huggable super sniffer chocolate chip cookie scented plush:

whiffer sniffer cupcake backpack clip:

sorting cupcakes:

holiday gift idea:


In true Olivia fashion, I always overthink and struggle for days on gifts and end up getting everyone a gift card or a candle out of desperation. This year was different. This year has brought many things: the emergence of a hilarious and strong-willed toddler, exhaustion and a renewed joy of cooking. I attempt provide appetizing meals to a tiny food critic and nothing has ever inspired me more than her approving smiles and ‘yums’.

After some rave reviews at Thanksgiving over my pecan pie, I decided to give family members their own personal pies. I asked everyone for their favorite flavor and hunted down some tried and true recipes. (Don’t worry, I won’t hold out on you. I shared them below.)


I am definitely NOT a professional baker. I am an enthusiastic at home cook with very little experience or artistic ability. Fortunately, all it takes for a tasteful, meaningful gift is a little time and effort. 

As you can probably see in the pictures, I do not have excellent technique or high tech gadgets, but I do have passion. Passion = good ass food. 

I love food gifts. They are typically delicious and indulgent. They help people really treat themselves. My one hang up about food gifts: they are temporary.

Target helped me out BIG TIME this year with the most ADORABLE seasonal pie plates ever. Everybody gets a yummy pie AND a cute keepsake plate. 

I picked up some festive ribbon and a stamp set to add a special touch. Bullseye’s Playground in Target is the closest thing to heaven I’ll ever know.

Unfortunately, you can only find these IN STORE. RUN!
cutest pies ever

STOP SCROLLING! HERE ARE MY RECIPES (oh and a couple tips from trial & error):

Classic Pecan Pie

Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (cubed & chilled)
  • 1/4 vegetable shortening (cubed & chilled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 6 tablespoons of ice water

Pie Filling:

  • 1 cup of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or eyeball it – vanilla is your friend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of melted unsalted butter


You have to make sure all of the ingredients for your pie crust are cold. This is very important for reasons that I am not sophisticated enough to understand, but trust me on this. Cold ingredients create incredible pie crust. Place the flour, cubed butter, cubed shortening, salt and a 6-7 tablespoons of water in the fridge. Make sure they are chilling in the fridge for at least an hour or two before embarking on your pie crust journey. 

With the ingredients still in the fridge, set up your food processor. When you are ready to rumble, grab the ingredients from the fridge. You need to work fast to keep the ingredients as cold as possible. 

Add the flour and salt to the food processor and pulse a few times to incorporate the dry ingredients. Then, add the cubed butter and shortening. When the mixture forms a pea sized crumb, slowly add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time. 

Pour the mixture out on a very lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth ball or disc. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. 

Preheat your oven to 350º

After your pie crust has rested in the fridge, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out large enough for a 9 inch pie pan. (If you check out my photos above, I have a cool pastry mat that helps me out with this. They are very affordable and easy to find online.)

If you aren’t a machine and your dough isn’t a perfect circle: trim it after you place it in the dish. If you have any gaps, use the trimmings to patch them up. 

Place your pie crust inside your pie plate and set aside. 

Scatter the chopped pecans in the bottom of your pie crust. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the pecans. 

Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rotate and uncover and continue baking for another 30 – 35 minutes until it is no longer liquid-y in the middle. Don’t worry, It will have a little wiggle. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting, because trust me, after it sets up, it is pure magic. 

Chocolate Pecan Pie


Add 1 cup of chocolate chips (semisweet) with the pie filling ingredients.

Key Lime Pie

Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbles
  • 1 stick of unsalted softened butter
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Pie Filling:

  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup of lime juice (I prefer Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice)
  • zest of 1 lime 
  • 2 cups of frozen whipped topping, thawed. 


Combine the pie crust ingredients in a large bowl. Empty contents into 9 inch pie plate. Press graham cracker mixture into place. Set aside.

Combine sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest. Pour into prepared pie crust. Cover mixture with whipped topping. (I used a large piping bag with a star tip, but a spatula works too)

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Thanks for coming to my pie TED TALK & stay tuned because this blog is getting TURNED UP. I’ll have another post up later this week. 

Make sure to follow me on instagram for too many pictures of my kid and subscribe to my youtube channel if you are cool. 

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trader joe’s toddler favorites

Today, I thought I would do you a solid and give you an excuse to ransack the aisles at Trader Joe’s. That place is Mama Mecca. Now that I have found some of Thalia’s staple snacks, we make a weekly pilgrimage. 

Just like many toddlers, Thalia isn’t the best shopper. She likes to touch breakable/expensive items. She also does not enjoy sitting in the cart. 

Trader Joe’s edge over traditional grocery stores: Mini carts for power hungry toddlers and yummy samples for peckish toddlers. 

Thalia always loses interest in the cart around the frozen food aisle, but that’s right around the corner from the sample counter. It’s like they designed the store layout just for us.

Back to the point of this post…we are always looking for healthy and wholesome snack options for home and on-the-go and Trader Joe’s has so many options for a fantastic value.

These are the items we get almost every trip that are picky toddler approved:

“walks into a bar” cereal bars are SO good. We use these as ‘dessert’ or treats and always keep a box on hand. Thalia will DANCE if we pull these bad boys out. We LOVE the seasonal flavors especially pumpkin. 

vegetable radiatore is a great way to get your littles (and yourself) an extra serving of veggies. I usually make a light lemon/olive oil dressing, add some Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. It’s a great little reduced-guilt pasta salad side you can pop in the fridge and serve it with lunch during the week. 

Thalia is really into dipping so we use it to sneak some healthy fats and protein into her diet. This mediterranean hummus is to DIE and the inner peas crisps are little baked pea snacks that we use to replace chips, etc. I feel WAY better giving Thali this snack over those super processed snacks with cheese product and crackers.

Dried fruit is a great thing to put in a snack cup with cereal. We also like to add it to oatmeal or yogurt. It’s a super versatile product and it tastes like CANDY.

These yogurt squishers are way more nutritious than their leading brand name competitor and can be great for teething toddlers if you pop them in the freezer. We cut the top open and add a straw for less mess.

We love Joe’s O’s. It’s a pretty standard cereal, but they are an awesome price with no added sugar.

These juice boxes give Thalia the excitement of a different liquid delivery vessel than her sippy cup but they are still filled with her standard once-a-day diluted apple juice. Homegirl has no problem leaving the park as long as I show her that I brought one of these bad boys for the ride home. 

I hope you pick some of these up on your next shopping trip at T. Joe’s and give ’em a go. Let me know in the comments or on Instagram if you have any favorites that we should try!

See you guys next week!

Mommy Monday 1.22.18

Baby Routine

9- 12 Months

Getting Things Done & Having Fun

Baby routines/schedules, I know I googled them A LOT over the last year.

I never found exactly what I was looking for while I was googling, so I figured, ‘hey, maybe I can be a resource for a Mama like me.’

Here is what Thalia & I’s schedule/routine has looked like since 9 months:

7am/7:30am – First Feed, Diaper Change & Mommy Refresh

Typically, Thalia wakes up between 7 and 8. After she wakes up, we bring her to our bed and I feed her while I browse social media. After her feed, we turn on some cartoons and let her cuddle with Daddy while I freshen up. This may or may not include a shower and blow drying my hair, but always includes makeup. I am trying to make more of an effort these days, self care is really important when you are a new mom. I made the fatal mistake early on of forgetting to take time out for myself and I was frayed. Fortunately, I have a fantastic husband who is always there to help out. I know how to ask for it now.

8:30am – Breakfast

Thalia always eats breakfast at the table. I prepare my coffee while I prepare her breakfast. Lately, she has been eating oatmeal with fruit puree and if she is still hungry, I grab a grassmilk yogurt from the fridge.

9:00am – Playtime

She is in a great mood most mornings. I let her stay in her jammies and we play on the floor. I get down on the floor with her for about 20 minutes. Once she is busy or occupied with an activity, I leave her to play alone. We are getting to an age where she is becoming a little more independent and that is AWESOME news for my messy little house. I love to use this time to do a quick clean of the kitchen, spot clean the floors, table and unload the dishwasher. Occasionally (when needed), I will start a load of laundry. This is the time when I do the ‘noisy’ chores, vaccuuming, moving furniture around, etc. I save the quieter things on my to-do list for naptime and the evening.

10:30am – 11:00am – Diaper Change & Second Feed

I am still breastfeeding and we aren’t exactly on a schedule, but Thalia will usually start to show signs that she is hungry or getting groggy around this time. I will sit down on the couch in the living room, throw on some background TV and pop Thalia on the boob.

12:00pm – Nap

If she hasn’t fallen asleep during her feed, Thalia and I will go up to the nursery and rock in her chair until she goes down for her nap. During naptime, I will try and accomplish putting the laundry away, making the bed and whatever tasks that are difficult to complete while she is awake.

1:30-2:00pm – Diaper Change & Lunchtime

Baby girl isn’t the best at naps. We have had great luck with sleep during the night, but naps just aren’t her thing. After she wakes up, I change her diaper and bring her downstairs for lunch. I already prepare her lunch while she is napping, so it is a seamless transition for her.

2:00pm – 3:00pm – Third Feed & Errands

This is when I will attempt to run our errands. If we go to the grocery store, Target, the doctor, etc. I will schedule them during this afternoon stretch. I always feed her and change her before we leave the house. I always throw a snack in my bag in case she gets fussy in the cart or stroller, but she usually ends up snoozing in her car seat, which makes running errands a little bit easier.

5:00pm – 6:00pm –  Dinnertime

Daniel and I are Keto (there’s that word again). Dinners are never very complicated and healthy enough to give a small portion to the little one. She typically gets fussy around 6:00, so we try not to push dinner too late.

6:30pm  – Tubby Time

Thalia LOVES bath time. Even if she is having a rough day, she will play and smile and giggle in the bath. It is my favorite part of the day.

7:00pm – 7:30pm – Night Feed & Bedtime

After she gets out of the tubby, we lotion her up, put her in her jammies, turn on the white noise machine and climb in the rocking chair. I only have to feed for about 20 – 30 minutes before she is OUT. I lay her in her crib and she stays asleep for the wholeeeeee night.

7:30 – 11:00pm – Blog Posting/Vlog Editing & Guilty pleasure TV

Daniel and I have our evenings back so we have been able to accomplish so much more the last few months. We try not to stay up too late watching TV, but sometimes we like to binge on TV shows well past 11:00pm.

I hope this post was somewhat informative to any Mama’s out there looking for a realistic routine. It’s not perfect, but it works for our little family.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend, I’ll be back Wednesday with more of what I ate.

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Favorites Friday 1.19.18

It’s my favorite day of the week and another installment of Favorites Friday.

I am all about skincare lately. I have been battling some pretty intense postpartum eczema and recently had a breakout that rivals my high school days. Granted, Daniel and I have drastically altered our diet and I am still breastfeeding, but I digress.

In stark contrast, our lovely little has always had the most beautiful glowing skin. From the first pediatrician appointment, every doctor has complimented how wonderfully healthy Thalia’s skin is. We have been told how lucky we were to have a baby with such perfect skin, because skin problems plague so many little ones in the early months.

Although, I would love to take all of the credit for creating a literal flawless angel, I definitely had a secret weapon.

During the hazy Netflix and macaroni & cheese binge my OB called “bedrest”, I spent a lot of time researching the best baby products. I read product reviews on amazon, I watched youtube videos and even searched tags on twitter (to reiterate, I had a lot of time on my hands). Skin products were the most thoroughly researched. The one thing that makes it incredibly difficult when shopping for skincare online is that you can’t smell the product. Smells sell, people. I just could not commit myself to smelling imitation lavender during my babe’s tubby-time for the next 4 years. No thanks.

We went to Buy Buy Baby. I went into the soap & lotion aisle. I turned on that pregnancy super smell and went to TOWN. I picked up every bottle of the highly researched lotions and soaps from the list I had complied. I lined up the five bottles on the shelf and did the final test. The first two, not great. The third was bliss in a bottle. Noodle & Boo Super Soft Lotion: You guys, it smells like what puppy snuggles and baby giggles feel like.

The best part of this, every product they make smells wonderful and has been FANTASTIC for Thalia’s skin. It is a higher end product, but it also contains higher quality ingredients. We have used everything from the Newborn Wash to the Bouncing Bubbles Bath Soap and of course the Super Soft lotion. We cannot get enough of it.

Of course, this is an unpaid blog post. Hell, I didn’t even receive product. I just love Noodle & Boo.

You can find Noodle & Boo products at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon and put it in your cart now, girl. There are some really fun and wonderful things to get baby for them to enjoy, but a nice smelling super gentle moisturizing lotion and bath time soap for your little is good for their body and your soul. Treat yoself.

Have a lovely weekend, ya animals.

I will see you Monday for some Mommy Stuff.

What I Ate Wednesday 1.17.18

It has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks, ya’ll. Daniel and I weighed in Sunday for our official starting weight. Technically, we began Keto on January 2nd, but we didn’t pull the trigger on buying a scale until last week. We are super dedicated to our goals and it is going to be fantastic to see some measurable and tangible results.

This week, I finally hit my groove with Keto. I have had a touch of the ‘Keto Flu’, but I have been sleeping wonderfully. I still have the occasional cravings, but I am not dragging as much as I was the first week.


Bulletproof Coffee

Yep. Pretty standard breakfast now. I have the most wonderful boost of energy about 30 minutes after my coffee. It’s magical.


Sandwiches Sans Bread

While it doesn’t look polished and “blog-worthy”, this thing is my JAM. Get some lettuce, get some meat & cheese, slather some sauce and slap a pickle on the side and you are in BUSINESS. There are some things that are just beautiful and simple, a sandwich is one of those things. I miss my crusty bread, but I will have it again once I learn moderation.


Cauliflower Flatbread with Bacon & Ranch

I love a big guilty pleasure dinner. This is the closest you can get to pizza without using flour. The crust is BOMB: riced Cauliflower, parmesan, egg, minced garlic and some seasoning. We pre-bake it for about 25 minutes (that’s an eternity when I am starving and the baby is hitting her last high energy power hour). For the 30-40 minutes that this dinner takes, it’s worth it.

Next week, I will update my What I Ate Wednesday posts with our total weight loss.

I hope everyone is having a lovely week. Make sure to subscribe to our daily vlogs for some more thrills and chills.

See you Friday!



Mommy Monday 1.15.18

No Stress Baby Beach Tips

Our little family spends a LOT of time at the beach. We are very fortunate that my parents decided to retire seaside. My little girl gets a good dose of vitamin sea every time she visits Grandma & Grandpa.

I know bringing an infant to the beach seems like a daunting task. Babies already require so much gear, but now you have to worry about protecting them from the sun and sand? No thanks, not even worth the tan. It makes a day at the beach seem like cruel and unusual punishment. Fortunately, you can avoid the mistakes that Daniel & I initially made and skip to the lovely list that I have compiled to help you enjoy your beach vacation with little one in tow.

1. Sun Protection

Of course this is first on the list. I almost feel angry at myself for adding it because I know you probably clicked on this post with high hopes and you found this basic ass “baby beach must have”, but here we are.

It’s common knowledge, my friends. Cover those babies up. Get a great sunhat with a wide brim and additional SPF. If your little one is younger than six months, consult your pediatrician about the use of sunblock, but generally speaking, mineral based sunblock is very safe on infants older than 2 months.

2. Cute Suits

I love Thalia’s little tummy.I could only wait 2 months before I got her into a bikini because I was dying and could not stand it and had to show her off. #mombrag

Cute suits make my heart pitter patter and they make the beach so much more fun. As a suggestion, let your littles wear their cutest suit, but layer them with a rash guard with additional SPF. This will save you some life and sunscreen. Putting sunscreen all over a belly, chest and back of a squirmy baby is no fun. I know that rash guards aren’t the most adorable option, but they will give you piece of mind and protect your child from the harsh sun. Keep in mind, you can still sneak some cute videos for your insta-story in their beach best and throw the rash guard on them when its time to play.

3. Baby Cabana

#Momhack time. When Thalia was super young, we would bring our heavy duty stroller to the beach and park her in the sand with the large SPF shade and let her snooze comfortably in the buggy. Around 6 months, homegirl became crazy active and alert, a covered stroller was not cutting it. She wanted to live it UP when we went to the beach and so we created the ‘Baby Cabana’.

We take a standard crib sheet and cover the top of the play pen. BOOM. Now, you have a safe, shady spot where your munchkin can watch the waves and play with their toys. This is also super helpful if your little one tries to snack on the sand, Thalia is a super adventurous eater.

A clip on battery operated fan is always an awesome idea if baby prefers the stroller. We have used it on the stroller everywhere from Disney World, an outdoor outlet mall or fair, and the beach.Don’t worry, the clip on fans you find at baby super stores have blades that are usually made of foam and in no way dangerous to little fingers.


We can all agree that the beach is beautiful and serene, but sand is THE WORST. I will find it in my hair, all over my floor and in my couch cushions days later. Probably the most useful hack I have ever found on Pinterest was the Baby Powder/ Sand trick.

Go out, get yourself a little bottle of baby powder and put that sucker in your beach bag.

When it’s time to get back into the car or leave the beach for the day, sprinkle some baby powder on you and your loved ones, then rub, rub, rub it off.


5. Frozen Water Bottle

Babies love plastic water bottles. I don’t know if it’s the sound of the crinkly plastic or the mesmerizing water inside, but it’s a fact people.

A great trick we have used to keep a teething, hot baby happy is a frozen plastic water bottle. Thalia would gnaw on the bottom, roll the bottle around on a towel and after she was 9 months old, take little sips from the bottle when the water began to melt. It’s just a solid weapon to have in your arsenal and it can be super helpful on a hot day at the beach.

Do you have any tips for beaching it with a baby? Any moms out there with tips how to beach it with a toddler? We are only a couple months away from the big day! I’m going to need all the help I can get!

Make sure to catch our vlog everyday if you want to stalk my life – if not, I’ll see ya’ll Wednesday so you can see what I ate.



Favorites Friday 1.12.18

As you may or may not know, Thalia and I are working on 11 months strong of exclusive breastfeeding. It has been to this day, one of my greatest accomplishments.
Just like many other breastfeeding stories, the beginning was not so easy for Thalia and I. We dealt with clusterfeeding, cracked nipples, latch issues, but we weathered it all and went on this awesome journey together.
In the early days, I remember one of my main fears was nursing in public. Mainly, my questions surfaced about the “logistics”. How do I comfortably and discreetly cover myself and the baby while nursing? Will the baby get too hot under a blanket? Will I be able to use both hands to “situate” myself?
I would fumble with nursing scarves that had awkward buttons. I tried to drape muslin swaddle blankets around my shoulders. I could never find the right solution.
Thankfully, we got an amazing product that CHANGED THE GAME!
I found The Copper Pearl Nursing Cover while wandering into a baby boutique while on vacation.
Why do you need it:
1) It’s super soft
I am IN LOVE with the feel of the fabric, soft, stretchy, breathable. It’s like wearing yoga pants around your shoulders. Yes, it’s that amazing.
2) There are so many adorable patterns
I love that they carry gender neutral patterns that are fashionable enough for mommy to wear them with her Day to day wardrobe, but cute enough to make it a special accessory to make a statement.
3) It’s a multitasker 
Girl, this thing tents over your ta-tas for nursing, covers the car seat of a napping baby and slips over a highchair or shopping cart.
I have also used it as a stroller blanket and burp cloth.
If you plan on breastfeeding, heck even if you aren’t, this product ROCKS and totally worthy of a Favorite Friday!
Visit Copper Pearl’s website to see more of their amazingly cute gear!
I hope everyone has a phenomenal weekend!
Make sure you check out our vlog to see what we’ve been up to:
See you Monday!

What I Ate Wednesday 1.10.18

We are one week into Keto and I’m happy to report: it ain’t so bad.


Bulletproof Coffee

It’s simple, it keeps me going and it’s totally satisfying.



I find that I am especially thirsty while on Keto, I try to fill my Yeti Cup up at least twice before lunch time. It’s not so bad because my little girl finds the Yeti hilarious for some reason. All mommies know, giggles are the greatest motivator.


50/50 Blend Greens + Chicken + Mozzarella + Homemade Bacon Vinaigrette

Bacon, glorious bacon.

It’s a weekly staple for Daniel & I right now. I have to say, I’m not mad about it.

Quite honestly, without it, I would be choking down chicken salad with some basic store bought carb free vinaigrette. This salad BEGGED me to put bacon on her and I was much obliged.

Yeah, we finished the WHOLE BOWL.

The worst cravings I experience are in the afternoon stretch before dinner. This is when Thalia is usually taking her nap and I have idle hands. I was able to control myself and focus on dinner prep. Good thing I didn’t snack today, because dinner got a little gluttonous.


No Crust Pizza Cassarole

I hate using the word “cassarole” to describe it, this dish feels too elegant for that word, but it did totally carry the comfort that “cassarole” exudes, so I’ll let it fly.

I started prep about an hour before I planned on cooking because our little one had one 30 minute nap all day and I had a feeling we were going to be IN for it around 5/6pm (and I was right).

This dish is super simple, but it takes a little time. It is composed of three layers.

1. Ricotta, parmesan, herb and garlic layer

2. Mushroom, Shallot, and red bell pepper layer

3. Fresh basil marinara, mozzarella, and crispy pepperoni

The crispy pepperoni sets this thing OFF. I simply sliced up some generic brand pepperoni, stuck it on a pan on medium heat and waited for the beautiful sizzle.

Baby girl joined us for a little pasta with Mommy’s marinara sauce. We did let her sneak a taste of the un-pizza.

Sauce stains are not my friend, so we let the “no shoes, no shirt” policy slide this time.

We are really getting a hang of this Keto thing and sometimes I forget that we are “dieting”. I can’t wait to see what we come up with next week.

If anyone has any awesome Keto recipes or tips for us we would LOVE to hear them!

Shameless plug: Don’t forget to catch up with us on our vlog! You can find more Milana meals and ordeals every day!

Click here to go to our Youtube Channel!

See you all Friday!

Mommy Monday 1.8.18

How We Gently Transitioned from Co-Sleeping to Crib From A Tired, Emotional and Panicky First Time Mom

Thalia is 10 months old today! It honestly is so crazy how fast they grow up (Mom Cliche, I know).

Daniel and I had Thalia in our room until she was exactly 9 months old, the original plan was 6 months, but Thalia had other plans.

Thalia always clusterfed in the evenings/was fed to sleep since approximately 6 weeks old. I practiced biological breastfeeding and I have always fed on demand. For the first 6 months, our 90th percentile, solid food, good mood, cute as a button little girl would go to town every night like I was an all night Vegas Boobie-Buffet. At 7 months, Thalia started waking almost HOURLY, but not to feed. She would grunt, groan, roll around and not fall back asleep until I rubbed her back and soothed her back to sleep. I was becoming a zombie.

I took this as a sign that she needed her own space. I never thought I would be ready, because moving baby into another room is SUCH an emotional experience, but I think I had just a maternal instinct that we BOTH needed space at night for proper rest.

Thalia HATED her crib so, I figured I would start the transition SUPER slowly.

At 8 months I started introducing her to her crib by placing her inside in the afternoon, wide awake. I would put her laundry away in the nursery closet and sing and dance while she sat in the crib. She wasn’t thrilled at first, but every day it became our little ritual.

At 8 months we also started her personal nighttime routine. As many co-sleeping mommies know, Baby’s nighttime routine is also YOUR nighttime routine. The moment baby decides they are going down for the night, you have to close up shop and get in bed too! This little glimmer of freedom in the evenings started motivating me to get Thalia into her rhythm.

We would do bath time, her lotion, pajama time and our bedtime feed in HER room, even if I knew she would end up in our bed. I would feed to drowsy, not asleep and carry her to our room.

These two “intros” kicked off the process of having Thalia in her room & sleeping through the night.

At exactly 9 months, Daniel and I decided to utilize the Ferber method after talking to our pediatric team. There are SO many sleep training methods out there and I truly believe the reason is because every child is so different. Ferber was what Daniel and I were comfortable with attempting with Thalia’s temperament.

The day before the first night of Ferber, I was cray. I was stressed out the entire day. I would sneak extra cuddles almost like I was trying to let her know that I love her, even if I am in another room. I was a hormonal MESS.

Nighttime came and we went through the established ritual. After the big feed, I laid Thalia down in the crib, walked out with an “I love you” almost in tears.

Daniel, the stronger of the two of us, decided he would take over the night time check ins.

If you aren’t familiar with the Ferber Method, it is a sleep training technique used to help a child learn how to self-soothe by letting them cry for predetermined amounts of time. In lamens, It is by no means full on “Cry it out by Isolation”, but a gentle way to manage night time tears by checking in with baby at different time intervals.

The First Night:

7:00pm Thalia placed in crib

7:03pm Daniel checks in

7:08pm Daniel checks in

7:28pm Thalia asleep

The first night took a TOTAL of 28 minutes of tears!

Along with sleeping in her own crib, she now sleeps THROUGH THE NIGHT.

Since Night 1 of Ferber, she has never fussed longer than 15 minutes before bedtime and she rarely wakes during the night (apart from the random night time blow out diaper change…)

Coming from a Mom that was super against sleep training: I felt it was unnatural to let a child cry out for you for selfish reasons like “sleep”. The Ferber method was a gentle way of teaching our doll that she can get rest in a safe environment and we will always be there to comfort her if she needs us. I am a better Mommy when I am well-rested and I feel like Thalia is getting that little bit of independence she needed to get a great night of sleep.

Disclaimer: I don’t think Ferber is for every baby and family. Co-sleeping is a beautiful thing and can actually carry health benefits for both mommy and baby if done safely. Ferber worked for our specific situation and this is our story.

I know I googled my little fingers off when I was toying with the transition, so hopefully someone runs across this post who is tired, emotional and panicky, just like I was.

Let me know if you have any awesome sleep training tips or stories! I would love to hear them because I could totally pop another baby out in the next couple years that isn’t Ferber- Friendly 🙂