My Seven Month Old Potty Pooper


I may not have a sleep trained baby, but I think my little man is almost potty trained.  For the last month that’s the only place he poops.  It all started when he was only a couple of weeks old and we noticed that he cannot poop unless he is sitting up.  Things only got more complicated when he started to eat solids. He couldn’t do it with his diaper still on!  It wasn’t a pretty picture.  And I was a little concerned because I have seen many babies including my nephew poop regardless of how they were sitting.

I told friends at work about it and one told me I was lucky that he gives such clear signals.  She recommended that we  start putting him on the potty.  She said parents in Europe start potty training their children at a younger age than here in the U.S.   I was intrigued and did a bit of research of my own.  According to Baby Center,  most parents train their babies before their second birthday.  In the U.S. they aren’t completely trained until their third birthday.

It turns out there’s even a name to potty training infants.  It’s called elimination communication.  Parents who do it actually start at a very early age— from birth to four years. And by 18 months the baby is usually fully capable of going to the bathroom on his/her own and not relying on a diaper.

Potty Training

He’s proud of himself too.

Now, I don’t think I could have started this before my baby turned six months.  It seems too complicated to hold him over a potty at that age.  By six months he was generally sitting up on his own.  So we bought a potty and every time he gave us the poop face (moms, you know the one I’m talking about) we just put him on the potty.  And for the last month that’s become the norm.  In fact, he has not pooped in his diaper once.   Just last week there was an article published on Huffington Post about a six month old who says “boo boo” when she needs to go to the bathroom.  We’re not quite there yet.  But I’m proud, nonetheless.

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My Seven Month Old Potty Pooper

Sleeping In His Crib


For weeks I’ve avoided blogging because I didn’t want to admit defeat. I didn’t want to face the world of super parents who have sleep trained their children while mine still slept next to me and my husband. I’m no super mom and I don’t really want to be one but for two nights my baby has spent half the night in his crib. Now for all the Cry It Out parents, that may seem like a minuscule accomplishment, but for me it’s nothing short of amazing.

There’s no particular method, just a slow process of getting him used to sleeping on his own. And I won’t leave him to cry, not even for one minute. I can’t say I have any evidence that letting a baby cry isn’t good for them because I don’t really know if it is or not. But what I do know is leaving my baby to cry for any period of time feels completely unnatural to me. I respect other moms who can do it. But I also understand why many moms don’t.

I’m going to wrap up this post before I make any enemies. If there’s one thing I learned since becoming a mom, it’s never insult a mother’s way of sleep training her little one. And so I will end with this thought: I’m going to enjoy this transition period because it means we both get to have everything we want and everything we need. We both get to sleep in our respective beds for a few hours, uninterrupted by the other’s movements. But we also get to enjoy the bonding time that comes with sleeping next to each other the second half of the night. In a few weeks (or months) he will be sleeping in his crib the entire night and he’ll probably be fine, but I will miss him terribly. As a working mom who only get’s to see my little one a few hours a day, there is no sweeter feeling than falling asleep while holding my baby’s hand.

Sleeping In His Crib

It Has Begun…


After receiving some great advice from friends and readers I took the first step to moving my baby out of our bed. Last night, after his bath time and his bottle, I put him in his pack n play. I was an experience that helped me learn a bit more about my son’s personality. For two hours he tossed and turned and tried to climb out. I was amazed with his tenacity and perseverance. At six months old, he was trying to figure out how to get out of the pack n play and into my bed. But I did not give up. And neither did he. First he tried to seduce me into picking him up by looking into my eyes and giving me a big smile. And while that ALMOST worked, I stayed strong. Then he yelled at me for about one hour. He didn’t cry. He just yelled, as if to say, “how dare you abandon me?” Then he tried to climb out. All I could do was bury my face in my pillow and laugh. Two hours later, he wore himself out and started crying. That is one sound I cannot stand to hear. Plus I think he was trying to tell me that he was thirsty. I know I would be if I exerted all that effort. So I picked him up, gave him what was left in his milk bottle and he passed out.

We made it through half the night with him in his pack n play. I woke up around 1 AM to pump and found myself counting the hours till 7 AM so that I could bring him into our bed and play. I only made it to four AM. And while he was perfectly fine, I wasn’t. He spent the rest of the night next to us. Tonight we will try again 🙂

And one note about the pumping. I have decided to keep going, mostly because my prince doesn’t seem to like formula. He’s the boss.

It Has Begun…

The Etiquette Of Visiting Parents With Newborns


There are few things in life more heartwarming than meeting a newborn baby for the first time, especially if that baby is the son or daughter of a dear friend.  But for the parents who have just had a baby, there are also few things that are more stressful and exhausting.      The new mom or dad have probably not had more than three consecutive hours of  sleep.  The mom’s nipples are probably sore and bleeding.  And neither have had time to eat a real meal.  This post is dedicated to the etiquette of visiting new parents.  I hope it doesn’t offend anyone.  It shouldn’t.  I definitely violated these rules before I had a baby.  This is meant to simply help friends understand the needs of a new parent.

1) CLEAN YOUR HANDS: When you arrive for your visit, the first thing you should do is wash your hands and let your friend know that you are washing your hands.  You want to give your friend the peace of mind that when you touch his/her new baby, you are doing it with the cleanest possible hands.  And ask if there’s any hand sanitizer for you to use.   I guarantee there’s probably a couple gallons of it around the house.  Newborns have fragile immune systems and you don’t want to be the reason the baby gets sick at such a young age.  Believe me, parents keep tabs on who may have made their baby sick— they may resent you forever.  This brings me to rule number two:

2) IF YOU’RE SICK DON’T VISIT:  This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people seem to think it’s ok to visit a newborn when they have a cold.  Even a minor cold could make the baby sick.  So just wait till you are back to full health before you visit.

3) COME EARLY, DON’T STAY TOO LONG:  This is probably the most important piece of advice.  You probably think your friend wants to have some adult company after spending days alone doing nothing but changing diapers and burping a baby.  That’s true.  But unless you’re the kind of person that knows how to handle babies and can give mom or dad a break to go shower or sleep, don’t stay for more than an hour.  Moms need to do things like breastfeed, or pump milk, or put the baby to sleep in a quiet environment.  It’s not easy to do any of these things with friends around.  Try not to stay past 6 PM.   New moms and dads will be trying to go to sleep as early as possible and they need a little while to get things in order before they can take a snooze ahead of a long night of interrupted sleep.

4) INSIST ON HELPING:  If you know how to handle a baby well, offer to hold the baby and give the mom or dad a chance to do something for themselves, like go to the bathroom and maybe even brush their teeth.  If you’re not good with babies, bring lunch or dinner over.  The new mom or dad have probably not had a proper meal all day.

5) GIVE USEFUL BABY GIFTS:  Your visit is sweet enough and you should never feel obligated to buy a gift.  Bringing a meal or a snack over is more than enough.  But if you insist on giving something, make sure it’s useful.  Far too often people buy very cute outfits but they are likely the wrong size and for the wrong season.  Sure, you may have included a gift receipt, but believe me, the new mom or dad will not have a chance to do any exchanges or shopping for a very long time.  Books for the baby are always a good idea and they don’t take up too much space.  One of my favorite gifts was a book called “Love You Forever,” by Robert Munsch.   I will read it to my son for many years to come and think for the sweet friend who gave it to us every time.   Gift certificates are another good option.  Babies need many different things as they grow and a gift certificate gives your friends some extra cash to buy what he/she may need.

5) DON’T JUDGE: Remember the new mom and dad are functioning on very few hours of sleep and they may not make much sense at times.  They are also probably hyper-sensitive and they may still be wearing the same outfit they put on the day before.  Forgive them their faux pas, and they’ll forgive yours!

I believe if you follow these five simple rules, your friends will really appreciate your visit and ask you to come back again and again.  But after hearing all the crying and fussiness that comes with a newborn baby (from both the parents and the baby), you may  decide to wait a few months before going back again.

The Etiquette Of Visiting Parents With Newborns

Maternity Leave Madness


I finally did it. This week I finally opened up my work email. I had about 30 messages with the subject “your mailbox is full.” And more than 2500 other unread emails. I was perfectly happy letting it stay full. But I’m now just a few weeks away from returning to work and it is time for me to send the email I had been dreading since the day my baby was born. It’s time to find out when my official start date will be.

I won’t lie. A part of me is really looking forward to going back to work. I love what I do and I’m excited to jump back into the world of international news. But another part of me is having a major panic attack. How am I going to leave my three and a half month old for 10 hours a day? I tend to get anxious when I’m having dinner with friends and I’m a way from him for only two hours. I’m really lucky because I will be leaving him with an amazing nanny who he already loves. . But I will have to let go and get myself used to the fact that my son will not be spending the day the way I want him to spend it. I will be sharing his most precious moments and milestones with someone else. I will cry my eyes out every morning when I leave him.

It just feels too soon to go. Why is it that the great United States has the worst maternity leave policies of the developed world. In Canada, moms get 52 weeks off work during this life changing experience. The same is true for the U.K and other parts of Europe. In France, both moms and dads get to take a combined 104 weeks off work. Even Afghanistan has better laws concerning maternity leave. The law there requires women to take 12 weeks off work with 100% of their pay. In fact, the law in the U.S. does not require a company to pay moms anything, though most get some of their salary through short-term disability. We are forced to choose between having the opportunity to be good moms or to be successful career women. And most of us don’t even really have that choice. We have to work in order to help provide for our families.

I think it’s time for another wave of feminism in the U.S., one that celebrates the idea of being both a mother and a career women. We can do it all, if our country will give us the chance. It’s too late for me. Come mid-January, I’ll have to leave my baby for work before he even recognizes that I am his mom.

Moms, what are your experiences with going back to work?

Maternity Leave Madness

The Scream That Brought Me To My Knees


Yesterday I woke up to a squirmy baby, trying to push out his morning poop. I picked him up, sat him on my lap and pushed his knees up to help him out. Within minutes we had a big explosion. The poop was all over his footie and onesie. His dad took him from me and began to change him. I insisted that we wash him with water. I proceeded to do what I do at least three or four times a day and I washed his cute little tush in the bathroom sink. He then began to scream, the way an adult would scream if he/she discovered a bloody murder scene.

I didn’t know what set him off or how I could stop it. I quickly handed him over to his dad. Now I was hysterically crying. What did I do to my baby to make him scream that way? I checked the water to see if it had gotten too hot. But it hadn’t.

His scream was so loud that his grandfather came running downstairs, thinking the baby must have fallen and gotten seriously injured. By the time he got to our room, the baby was cooing and laughing and I was on the floor crying. I still have no idea what made him scream that way. I suspect maybe my rings or bracelet accidentally pinched him. I took off all my jewelry and vowed to never wear it again. And then I proceeded to cry for another two hours.

I never, ever want to hear that scream again.

I was a mess most of the day, replaying the incident in my head over and over again trying to figure out what happened. To make me feel better, my mother in law sat me down and told me stories of what she went through with her three boys. She warned me that there will be many other times that I will feel like it’s the end of the world.

One summer her three young boys had just finished swimming at a swimming club. She was getting them dressed but she realized that all their clean underwear were now wet. Left with no choice, she had to dress them up with out their undies until they got home. As she zipped up the jeans of one of the boys, the zipper caught his wee-wee. And his scream could be heard for miles. She was in the south of France, where there is no 911 emergency center. So she had to free his wee-wee herself. Within a few seconds she was able to unzip the jeans. He survived. He is now all grown up and the incident is nothing more than a crazy story. I admire my mother-in-law’s nerves. I would have passed out. I don’t know how I’m going to survive this motherhood experience.

Our babies are the most important people to us in the world. And just the thought that we could do anything to hurt them is unfathomable. But we will make mistakes and that’s why, I believe, God protects them from our shortcomings. I just don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for making him scream like he did, even though I still don’t know what set him off.

Moms, have you been through similar situations?

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The Scream That Brought Me To My Knees

Traveling With A Nine Week Old


Happy Thanksgiving weekend. Sorry for the delay in my posting. We’ve been traveling and spending time with family, which brings me to my next post.

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Yes, the entire row of stuff in the photo above belongs to us. That, my friends, is what happens when you fly with an infant for the first time. That doesn’t even include the bags we checked in or our stroller. But don’t panic new moms, I had to pack a lot because we were headed to California for a month long stay with our family. I was already exhausted by the time we got through security. That, by the way, took us 30 minutes. I don’t mean we were waiting in line for that long. I mean it took us 30 minutes to get all our stuff through the scanner. All my breast milk bottles and formula bottles had to be checked by some little machine. Our stroller was taken to a secret location to be tested. And they checked my hands for chemicals because I was carrying the baby in a sling that didn’t go through a scanner. I guess I should be grateful they didn’t make me put my baby through the luggage scanner with my shoes. Oh the joys of traveling in the U.S.

We eventually made it to the gate and I had to find a secluded area to pump. Already two and a half hours had passed since my last pumping session in the back of a taxi van. Don’t worry, I used a breast feeding cover. Luckily, my husband and nanny are both traveling with us, so my baby had plenty of people to take care of him while I went to make him dinner.

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It may have been our first trip, but I already learned from the experience. So here are a few tips.

1) If you are traveling somewhere where you will be driving you’ll have to take the carseat along. After the hassle we experienced trying to get the carseat through security, I recommend that you check it in with your luggage. It’s $35 worth spending.

2) Bring a sling. Not only is it an easy way to carry the baby through the airport, it is also useful on the plane for when the baby gets cranky and needs to be lulled to sleep.

3) Changing the baby on the plane can be complicated. There are changing tables in the bathrooms, but as you can imagine, they are small. The ones in the back were the largest on our JetBlue flight. Take a few wipes and clean up the area first. It’s not the most comfortable experience for you or the baby. But it is better than trying to do it in your seat and risk spraying your neighbors, especially if you have a boy.

4) Dress your baby in layers. It’s cold in the airport and on the plane.

Moms, what other tips do you have. I hear traveling with kids only gets more complicated as they grow.

– East Coast Mama

Traveling With A Nine Week Old