Dohm Sleep Conditioner

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For anyone looking for the best white noise machine for babies and kids, I wanted to share with you a favorite recent find called the Dohm Sleep Conditioner.

I have used sound machines with both my kids since birth.  I am a big believer in sound conditioning for sleep, and that sort of Pavlov-dog type of association with a certain noise and sleepy time.

The Dohm is made by Marpac, a company that has been around for 50 years, and the creator of the original sound conditioner. This model was also selected as the Official Sound Conditioner of the National Sleep Foundation.  You don’t get a bigger seal of approval than that!

I was sent the Dohm Sleep Conditioner for review and now use it with my three-year-old Morgan and it has worked beautifully.  Her room is closer to our main living area AND she still naps, so this sound machine has worked like a charm to cut out additional noise from big sis in the afternoons.

It is also useful to drown out the neighbor’s 50-somethin’ garage band practice. We have the Dohm to thank for sparing her from renditions of “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Time of the Season” which goes on until 10pm every Thursday night. Don’t even get me started.

The machine is not fancy, but doesn’t need to be. It features a dual speed (high and low) and you can twist it to adjust to your desired level of noise at each level. When turned on, it creates the sound of rushing air, or “white noise” and is not only great for the kiddos, but if you have a snoring spouse!

Click here to buy online. I was also recently shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond and saw it in the Costa Mesa store. You can also purchase it through BB&B online. So save that 20% off one single item coupon!

And speaking of sleep and kids, I thought you might be interested to click here for a past post on 5 Things That Helped My Babies Sleep Better.

[Disclosure: I was sent the Dohm Sound Conditioner complimentary to try out since I am a big believer in using a white noise machine with kids. This is not a compensated post, and my opinions are 100% my own! I highly recommend this product! I think I now need to buy one for my older daughter as well.] 

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To Third or Not to Third? That Is The Question.

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My husband and I have been SO blessed with our little girls Sadie (5.5 yrs) and Lyla (3.5 yrs).  They both have their little adorable budding personalities and mean the absolute world to us.  They are our EVERYTHING.  We had always thought we would have three kids but lately we find ourselves having an almost constant conversation about whether to third or not to third? That is the question.

With Sadie entering kindergarten and Lyla her second year of preschool in the Fall, life has gotten a little bit easier for us-no one is on bottles, everyone is sleeping through the night and potty trained, the girls can talk to me to let me know when they need something, I don’t even keep a stroller in my car anymore…

If we decide to hold our current position of two kids, things might be a little bit easier long term logistically.  Such as figuring out after school schedules and playdates, being there to spectate their games & extracurricular activities, keeping track of their school work & needs.

I wouldn’t need to buy a bigger car, taking family vacations would mean only 2 extra plane tickets, and 1 extra hotel room (when they get older).  Not to mention we already have 2 college educations and 2 weddings to pay for (girls!).

There is so much love in this home, I believe we would have a very full and complete life with just the four of us.

All that being said, my husband and I both come from smaller families and have each thought it would have been nice to have had more siblings and a little more chaos growing up.

And busier, fuller Holidays!?  Sounds like a dream!

Considering the crazy amount of love we have for our daughters, I know our hearts would grow bigger and the love in our family would just multiply with another child.

Our girls have been putting in their requests to have a little baby brother or sister.  Which quite frankly caught me off guard the first time I heard it…

And, there’s always the what if we had a boy!?!

On several different occasions I’ve had women with two grown children tell me their only regret was not having another.  Actually, this past Mother’s Day my Mom told me she always wondered what their next child would have been like.  I had never heard her say that before.

Then again, on the other hand, I’ve had a Mom with three kids be brutally honest and tell me “Don’t do it, it puts you over the edge!”

The clock is ticking in terms of a decision since there would already be a 4+ year gap in age between Lyla and a newborn.

So my question is this, how did you know when your family was complete?    

Would love your comments below with your honest words of wisdom for us!  We can use any help we can get with this one!

Thanks so much!
XO
Susanne

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Not Finding Out Baby Registry

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I have to admit, I am in AWE of parents who wait to find out the sex of their babies. There is really something so exciting about not knowing whether it is a boy or girl throughout the pregnancy and getting that “It’s a …!” moment.

However, the one thing can be tricky when you don’t know the gender is shopping for a shower or baby gift. I mean, you can only have so many yellow and beige items, right?!  So when Susanne and I got the email introducing us to www.NotFindingOut.com baby registry, we both emailed each other with “WHAT A GREAT IDEA!” at the same exact time!

The idea behind Not Finding Out (NFO) is fabulous as  it allows parents to create a registry, choose their items (which they stock in darling girly or boyish versions) and as soon as the baby is born, the appropriate gift is shipped.

I bet you are intrigued and want more info on exactly how it works now, right?

I did too so let me break it down for you:

1. Parents-to-be create a registry online and choose their items. By the way, I was completely impressed with their variety and the stylish patterns. I can imagine it would be hard to find a great selection that comes in a fabulous girl and boy version, and it is clear they have done their research as their shop is stocked with cute stuff.

2. In their NFO registry Welcome Packet, there will be a Shhhh!!!!!!! card included which will be given to their doctor or ultrasound tech.Once it is determined if it is a boy or girl, the medical professional will fill out the card in secret and mail back to NFO in the self-addressed stamped envelope. This allows NFO to start compiling all the items people have purchased in the correct gender to ship to the family as soon as baby is born.


3. But what about my shower gift?  What do I bring?  
I think this is really fun!

When someone purchases a gift off the registry, they will receive a Preview Card mailed to them to take to a baby shower that is wrapped like a present!

The cute card will show a preview of the item that was purchased and on one side will be a picture of the pink and on the other the picture of the blue.

But the actual item in the correct color will be shipped after baby is born!

4. Baby arrives! After baby is born, someone calls the NFO hotline to share the It’s a BOY! or It’s a GIRL! news.

Then all of the items that have been purchased are mailed in a big box in the correct gender to the happy (and likely tired) new parents.

Isn’t this a darling idea?? I think it would likely save the parents so much time in making returns and there are bound to be gifts one would prefer be not gender neutral. Innovative + practical = we love!!

Visit www.NotFindingOut.com for more information.

Follow  on Facebook * Follow on Pinterest * Tweet with @NotFindingOut 

[Disclosure: Not Finding Out is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor. Hooray!]

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5 Things That Helped My Babies Sleep Better!

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This is an “it worked for us” post. Since I have been blogging about my awesome iComfort bed so much it gotten me thinking a lot about sleep.  More specifically, how much BETTER you feel mentally and physically when you are getting enough sleep.  Now that my kids are two and five, in retrospect, there were 5 things that helped my babies sleep better and become great sleepers so I thought it might be worth sharing.

In case any of you are sitting reading this right now, dark bags under your eyes pounding a big cup of coffee and exhausted, I hope that maybe even one of these tips might prove to be helpful to you!  And when you are that tired I know sometimes you are willing to try anything!

When my babies were born I became obsessed with sleep and my lack of it. I had no idea how much the interrupted sleep would affect me mentally. I felt horrible, like I was on the fast train to looney-town.  The only way I could describe it was that I just didn’t feel like myself.  Once my kids slept through the night, I felt like a different person.

Babies and the sleep topic can be a sensitive issue and everyone has different philosophies and styles.  From co-sleeping to cry it out sleep scheduling, I believe you have to trust your natural instincts on what is right for your babies, and if it works for your family, embrace it!

For me, it all started with a book. One day when my first baby was about six months old, I called my cousin (who was a seasoned mommy) almost crying with exhaustion asking her if she had any tips to help my baby sleep.

I will never forget it, she said, “Have you heard of THE BOOK?”  Me, being desperate, asked, “WHAT BOOK?!” I had read several of the sleep books and nothing seemed to connect with me or fit my instincts.  The book she recommended, which is number one on my list, was a lifesaver for me.  So that is where it all began….

5 Things That Helped My Babies Sleep Better

1. “The BOOK” was Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. I swear by this book and used it with both my babies. It totally connected with me and it made sense to me.  I learned a lot about how important sleep is for children, quality sleep, and his philosophy and tools made my kids AWESOME sleepers.  I owe a lot of my sanity to Dr. Weissbluth!

2. Foster an attachment to a  lovey, blankie or some kind of attachment item. This was recommended in the book.  When they were itsy bitsy I introduced the lovies. Emma still sleeps with her two Angel Dear bear lovies, who at 2 1/2 she named “Carter & Siena” and she told me they are twins. No joke. And Morgan sleeps with her Darling Droolers Ribbon Lovey she calls, “Bee.”  They are both really attached and it has helped them get to sleep and soothe themselves when they are upset. Parenting expert, TheGoToMom.com, has a great video as well on just how important an attachment item is.  You can watch it here.

A note on the lovies & blankie! We have made it a ritual from early on that our kids don’t take lovies or blankie out of the car on errands or to the park, or anywhere (God forbid) they could get lost. The thought of it is too traumatic! So they will take them in the car, but I got them used to leaving them in their carseats and told them we didn’t want them to get dirty. Big help as they are always in the house or in the car, and no where else.

3. Blackout shade in their bedrooms – My husband bought and installed a cheap-o roll down blackout shade underneath both their blinds in their rooms so their rooms stay really dark. If someone puts them down and forgets to shut it, they will wake up WAY earlier due to the light. I swear by the blackout shade.  Especially for naptime.

4. Pavlov’s dog sound association– Just like Pavlov’s dog, I swear by some sort of sound that they associate with sleep. For my oldest, we had the Fischer Price Ocean Wonders Crib Aquarium in her crib that she would push to play a song and she goes to sleep to the same music. At 5, we still have that aquarium in her regular bed. For the little one, we got this Homedics SoundSpa Sound Machine and put it to the “ocean” setting.  Both these are helpful as you can take them with you to set up their same “sleep scenario” when traveling.

5. Regular crib naps & times and early bedtimes. One of the things Dr. Weissbluth preaches is the importance of quality, restful sleep.  Since they were about 6 months old, I have pretty much done anything I needed to do to get my kids home to nap in their crib at roughly the same time and get them to bed early at night. It has meant that I have had to say “no” to things if it meant interfering with a crib nap and has been often inconvenient, but it is just a way of life. The sacrifice of being a tad “home bound” is MORE than worth it to me because of the great sleepers they became because of it. Everything is a trade off! Many probably wouldn’t agree, so again, it is all about what works for your family and this has worked for us. Hallelujah!

Does anyone have their own tips to share?  I know kids and sleep is always a hot topic, so PLEASE comment and let us in to your “secrets!”

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Lessons in Surviving The 1st Year!

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Today is my baby girl’s 1st birthday!  I can’t believe how fast this past year went. And how much I have learned.  I thought baby number two would be a breeze – I was an old pro – right?!  WRONG! This past year pushed me to the edge as a person more than any year in my life.  As a mom and as a person.

When I had my Dream Dinners party a month ago, I met this sweet mom who was planning her son’s 1st birthday.  It was to be a huge event.  She is Korean and she told me in her culture, the 1st birthday is a big deal. Way back when, the mortality rates for infants in the first year was high, so for a baby to survive the first year was cause for big celebration.

I thought this was a very sweet and significant lesson and it got me to thinking about surviving this first year, not just baby, but mommy too!

So here are the lessons I have learned about surviving the 1st year of my second child’s life…

1. NOTHING was “easier” the second time around for me! I had heard, oh, you will be soooooo much more relaxed, you will enjoy it more, you know what you are doing…HA!!  To endure those hard newborn days with a bright-eyed bushy-tailed 3 year old was 100 times harder than I thought.  To have my attention, time and one pair of hands split between two little humans with different needs was also way harder than I thought.

2.  The sleep-deprived newborn days are torturous, but they go fast. I remember sitting up in the middle of the night thinking life will never be the same.  I will never sleep again and I will never feel normal ever again. I sometimes wanted to sob in the darkness because I was just SO DANG TIRED. When I got like this, I would sing the song in my head “It won’t be like this for long” by Darius Rucker and it would get me through.   I saw it on Oprah when I was pregnant and it made me cry. The song is SO TRUE. If you have 3 minutes today, listen to this song.  Beautiful message.

3. Babies are game changers and you have to be willing to adapt.  Just when you think you have something figured out and things are going somewhat smoothly, they will change the game.  Be it by teething, sleeping (or rather not sleeping), new developmental milestones, changes in mood or fussiness, eating.  You can’t get comfortable for too long.  If things are going well – ENJOY IT – for exactly what it is at that moment!

4. Just when you think you can’t take something for one more day, it will change for the better. Thanks to my cousin Angie for this quote. She has two older kids.  She knows.

5. Control.  Say good-bye. The more I fought to keep control over something, the more frustrated I became.  Learning to let go of things and realize I don’t have total control is an ever-challenging goal for me.

6. Nursing problems – get help if you need it! I had no nursing issues whatsoever with baby # 1.  Nursing was the last on my list of things to worry about because I had already nursed one baby.  With Morgan, I had several problems that persisted through her first 4 months.  I got a lot of help.  In fact, I wouldn’t have gotten through it without the support and expertise of the people at Milkalicious.

7. Reflux & colic can almost send you over the edge. My baby had severe reflux and colic for her first 4 months and it was 4 of the most challenging of my life.  If you are facing this, just know it WILL get better.  I promise.  The early days can feel like hell on earth. But she outgrew it, and we SURVIVED!

8. Seeing my oldest become a sibling has brought me more joy than I ever thought possible. I had no idea how much it would mean to me to see my daughter as a sister.   The unprompted sweetness and kindness she shows her little sister make my heart soar.  No one told me about this.  I love it.  It has made me feel really proud.

9. I have no idea what she “should be doing” as far as anything milestone-wise! I am not reading any books this time (because I have NO time) so when she does something new, it’s like “hey!  look what baby did!  wow!”   The 2nd learns in such a different way – mostly by watching her big sister – and that has been so cool to witness.

10. I realized that for the better part of most days, I’m outnumbered and I need help. I used to think it was a sign of weakness to need help, like I couldn’t handle it all myself, but this time around I smartened up and have gotten more help.  Being a mommy is hard, so get help if you need it!  Find a college babysitter here and there for a few hours, ask family to help, share babysitting with friends.  You got the idea – we were not meant to do this alone!!!  And leave the guilt at the door!

11.  I have realized this year just how crucial it is to have something just for me… time to take care of myself. I made my health a priority and have made regular exercise (running for me) something that is not-negotiable.  No excuses.  I always was filled with excuses before.  No time, no energy, blah blah blah.  My advice, if you are feeling run-down, spent, exhausted, unhappy, start to take 1 hour 3 – 4 times a week to exercise and you will not believe how much better you will feel all around.

12. Anything is possible if you believe you can do it.

13. The love I feel for my children is so equally overwhelming it can almost take my breath away. I never thought it was possible to love another child like my first, as I had never known love like that before. Then Morgan arrived and it was astounding to me how much the human heart has the capacity for such overwhelming love.

14.  Close mommy friends, my “mommy peeps” are more important than ever. And by mommy peeps, I mean the mommy friends you can be REAL with.  The people that you can call when you need to cry, or laugh, the people you can complain to or share joys with and you know you will never be judged. The sort of friends you don’t have to start the sentence with, “I really love my kids, but…”  Or the ones that you can have a play date and if your kid is a nightmare or does something embarrassing, you don’t have to worry that they think you are a bad mom, because they KNOW you.

15. Fifteen is a favorite number so I think this is a good place to stop.  The biggest lesson I have learned this year, is that the most challenging years/times can also lead to the most positive change. These are the situations that force you to learn more about yourself and who you are as a person.  This year almost kicked my butt but I feel so empowered that I SURVIVED,  and we survived as a family. I am coming out of it feeling stronger overall.   Our family feels stronger.  And complete.  It’s a peaceful feeling.  We made it through together and we are happy.  I really believe our kids are here to teach us about life, love, and ourselves.  And what a GIFT that is.  This baby, my one-year-old baby, has been one of the greatest gifts I could ever imagine.

So a very happy happy happy birthday to my Sweet girl!

Have a great weekend everyone, and have a VERY HAPPY and SAFE 4th of JULY!!!!!!

XO
Jen

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