Encouragement & Inspiration for Christian Moms

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms
Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

Good Stewards Magazine: Freedom Edition

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Hi, I’m Emily! I am a wife, mom of two, and clean living blogger! My goal with any of the content I put out is to educate, inspire, and encourage moms in the faith as they do the amazing and important work of raising the souls of the next generation in God’s truth.

One of the core beliefs that led to the creation of Good Stewards is the belief that everything we have is a gift from God: our health, lives, and world have been entrusted to us, and we are to be good stewards of those gifts. (Read more about our Mission Statement here!) As a fellow mom, I know that the most important thing that has been given to us is our sweet children– and the opportunity to show them what it means to love and follow Christ. I also know that doing that is probably the most challenging thing we will ever do!

The Challenging Work of Mothering in the Faith

That is why I created this magazine. I see moms online all the time that are going through this challenging work of raising children in the Lord. I see them working out their own salvation day in and day out so they can authentically live it out in front of their children. I see them wrestling with the tough questions. I see them surrendering their control and handing over their burdens and fears to God. I’m inspired by these moms, and I want to come along side them, put my arm around them and say “You are doing so great- keep fighting the good fight!”. When I see a mom struggling, I want to open up my Bible and tell her to not lose heart!

Because of this, I share my own motherhood journey on Instagram in order to provide encouragement and inspiration for christian moms. In addition to this, I wanted to use my gifts of creativity and writing to put something special together through my blog. Something to refresh, encourage, and inspire my fellow moms. Something to feed their souls, lift their hearts, and empower them to continue to answer their most important calling.

Why the Freedom Edition?

With the realities of adulthood, motherhood, and everything else going on in our world, I’ve done a lot of thinking, learning, and praying these past several months. If there is one big takeaway for me, it is this concept of the freedom we have as part of God’s kingdom.

Freedom from fear. Freedom from the to do list, from insecurity, from anxiety. Freedom from anger, division, hatred. Freedom from warped thinking and the footholds Satan has on our minds. Freedom from peer pressure, freedom to do our own research and prayerfully discern our own path. Freedom to get down to the basics and allow the truths of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts and actions. Freedom to seek truth and have courage, even when it won’t be well received. Freedom to not be driven and tossed by the winds of culture and popular opinion but rather root ourselves in the truths of God and live like a disciple of Christ. Freedom from confusion without answers. Freedom from fear without hope and hardship without promise. Freedom to clearly see and call out Satans’ lies and deception.

Where The Spirit of the Lord is, There is Freedom

As followers of Christ, we have the holy spirit living inside of us, and “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17. Freedom to drown out every other voice (including our own) in order to hear God’s. As moms, we have so many voices calling out to us and so many things on our minds. Often, we need to just be still in God’s presence and listen for His voice.

The Bible says that Satan is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and mamas- you and your family are on his hit list. Aside from praying for angels of protection over my family and wisdom and guidance for me as a mother, I have been asking God for freedom as well. Freedom from fear and freedom to cast off the sin that so easily entangles me as a mother so that I can be empowered by God to run the race God has set out for me and help my children do the same. That’s why we need to surround ourselves with resources that will provide encouragement and inspiration for christian moms as we fight this critical battle!

We are the Gatekeepers to Our Homes

Mothers, we are the gatekeepers to our homes. Not just against physical outside forces, but against the spiritual attacks of Satan. He wants your children for Himself, and he knows you are the most effective way to get to them. Guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. My main message when trying to provide and encouragement and inspiration to Christian moms is this: Root yourselves in God’s truths alone and be very wary of what you allow to control your mind and beliefs. Put aside all distractions and focus your efforts on being a disciple of Christ day in and day out for your children to see and model after. Offer your heart and hands to the Lord and allow Him to work in and through you to accomplish His wonderful plans.

Offer Your Heart & Hands to the Lord and Let Him Work Through You

This magazine is all about helping you do that. In this journal, you will come across mothers who share glimpses of their lives, hearts, and souls. You will be amused by their stories, edified by their lessons, and inspired by their faith. As you thumb through the pages, it will be a journey of beauty, calm, and adventure all in one. So pack it in your bag for the park or lake, or keep it on your coffee table for quiet moments when the kids are napping. Poor yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and let adventure begin!

Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms
Encouragement and Inspiration for Christian Moms

This is the very first Good Stewards Magazine, and I hope there will be many more to come!  I’d love to connect with you further and keep you updated on the next magazine release. I’m always hanging out on Instagram and I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to send me a DM! I pray you are refreshed, inspired, and encouraged by this Good Stewards Magazine, the Freedom Edition!

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Ways to Establish and Boost Milk Supply

5 Ways to Boost Milk Supply Overnight

This post contains affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission at no cost to you should you choose to purchase through one of my links. I only recommend products I personally use, like, and trust. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Hey mama friend! If you’re reading this post, it’s because you care about your baby’s health and you want to keep them full, fat & happy! For that, you are one awesome mama! Way to go!

What I will Cover in this Post:

  • Why Breastfeeding is a great thing to do (if you can!)
  • How Postpartum Body Image & Fitness Mindset Relates to Milk Supply
  • Top 5 Favorite Products for Establishing and Boosting an abundant Milk Supply!

First things first, I just want to say that everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different, so the most important thing we can do is not compare, not get down on ourselves if we don’t have the milk supply we want, and give our body the grace and respect it deserves for all the hard and amazing work it has done! Cool? Great! Now let’s dive in!

Why Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is an amazing function our bodies have- I think it’s literally a superpower for us women. I mean, not only do our bodies just know to make food for our baby, but it knows to make the healthiest form of food stacked with nutrients and antibodies that are EXACTLY what our baby needs- wow! God really outdid Himself when He created us!

The thing I love most about breastfeeding, is that it gives our babies antibodies and helps them establish their immune system- which for a germaphobe mom like me, that is really great news! I’ve even heard that kissing your baby’s forehead tells your body exactly which antibodies your baby needs so that you can start producing it for them! Yeah, like I said, superpower. 

However, this does NOT mean that your baby can’t get sick! Your baby is LESS likely to get sick from you, because he or she is directly getting your antibodies, but as for other people- make them cover their mouths, wash their hands, or stay the heck away from your baby! Had to get that out there. Young baby’s getting sick is not something to play around with in my opinion- (yes, I’m the mom who carries hand sanitizer with me and sprays it on my baby if someone touches them in the winter, I’m not ashamed.)

How Postpartum Breastfeeding & Fitness Mindset Relates to Milk Supply!

Like I said, everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different. With my first baby, I HATED breastfeeding. It hurt and I was so focused on losing the baby weight that I depleted my body and milk supply too much right away.

To add to it all, my baby was super ready for solid food by 4 months (check out my blog post on How to Make Easy Healthy Homemade Baby Food for 6-9+ Months!) , so after she started on those, she refused to nurse, which caused my milk supply to dip big time and I spent the next 5 months exclusively pumping which was super stressful and not fun. We eventually went to formula around 10 months or so. 

With my second, I decided to make breastfeeding and milk supply a main priority (over getting back into shape) and I’m so glad I did! This breastfeeding journey has been about giving my body time to heal, replenishing myself instead of depleting, and peace over perfection- and as a result, my milk supply has been amazing!

If you need some encouragement in the area of breastfeeding and getting back into shape– check out my IG post a while back about postpartum mindset! I hope it encourages you in your journey!

You CAN get back into shape while breastfeeding, but don’t do it at the expense of your and your baby’s well being. Like I always say, the only rolls I care about are the ones on my baby!

Establishing & Boosting Milk Supply

Ok, so let’s get to it! I focused on milk supply from the get-go with my second baby (and if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know he’s got plenty of rolls to go around!) so here’s how I did it!

In my hospital bag for when I went into labor I had a bag of lactation cookies packed, as well as a hand pump to start boosting milk supply right away. (Check out my Free Printable on the Ultimate Hospital Bag Packing Guide!) Here are my Top 5 products for establishing and boosting milk supply from day 1!

Lactation Cookies

The first night Kallos was born, I ate 2 lactation cookies each time after nursing him. These are the exact ones I used and they worked amazing- plus, they tastes great! For the first 4 or 5 months, I always had either lactation cookies or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on hand and ate one or two after each nursing session (even in the middle of the night). I liked to buy a chocolate chip cookie bag mix and add some flaxseed to them for a little extra boost! 

Hand Pump

The second day in the hospital I started pumping. My favorite way to boost supply is by using my favorite hand pump while I’m nursing. I feed Kallos on one side and suction cup the hand pump on the other side! It’s a great way to tell your body to produce more milk and start storing milk for the future without having to find extra time in your already busy day to pump! 

Right away, I was only pumping maybe an ounce or two, but eventually I was pumping up to 4 or 5 ounces every time I nursed. There was one point where I was freezing up to 7 bags of milk a day in addition to what I was feeding Kallos. (Yeah, we had to buy a deep freezer just for my milk..)

Mother’s Milk Tea

Kallos is 6 months and I still make sure to have at least one big cup of milk boosting tea a day! Right away, I would have 2-4 a day. It is packed with nutrients designed specifically to boost milk supply and it tastes really yummy! It also pairs great with your oatmeal cookies, so win win!

Key Nutrients 

It is so important to listen to your body and make sure you are eating enough. Don’t let yourself go hungry! You are burning tons of calories breastfeeding (even if you’re not losing weight- some women actually retain weight while nursing- I am one of those women, lucky me) so it’s crucial that you give your body the calories AND nutrients it needs! Also, drinking TONS of water is super key to good milk supply. 

On top of increasing caloric intake, it is super important that you are including the right amount of nutrients for your body. Here are a few products that I take while breastfeeding in order to replenish nutrients to my body and keep my milk supply going strong!

Liquid Collagen

Liquid Collagen is the best form of collagen because it has a much higher absorbency rate (about 98% vs powder collagen which has about 30%- yikes!) Your body produces less and less collagen starting in your 20’s (depressing, I know) so by taking liquid collagen, you can replenish what your body is becoming more and more deficient in. 

This is the multi-patented, award winning, globally known Liquid Collagen I use- and plus, it also is amazing for skin (hydrates skin and reduces wrinkle depth!) as well as hair growth, which is KEY for that lovely postpartum hair loss! By the way, the link in this blog post will take $10 off at the final stage of checkout!

Vitamin and Mineral Packet

On top of my prenatal vitamins, I don’t go a day without my absolute favorite vitamin and mineral drink packet! I mix it with my water once a day to balance my blood sugar levels and for a nice healthy pick me up- and I notice on the days I don’t take it! It’s super yummy, packed with 70+ vitamins and minerals, and it gives you a nice sustainable caffeine free energy boost, which is a life saver for mom life! It also tastes amazing in smoothies, which can be a great snack for breastfeeding! (Link will also take $10 off)

Meal Replacement Shake

I know I said Top 5, but I’ll give you one more of my milk boosting secrets! This one is huge for both milk supply and also losing the baby weight! I always recommend breastfeeding mamas take this protein meal replacement shake to boost their nutrients as well as curb hunger and sweet cravings. I love it because it tastes like a treat but is super healthy and keeps you from binge eating junk food if you suddenly feel starving or depleted!

Conclusion

Nursing a baby isn’t always easy- but it is so worth it, and it IS doable! Have faith in your body and how God created it to work. Give yourself what you need to accomplish this amazing thing for you and your baby!

For more resources on all things mom life, faith, and clean living, sign up for my weekly newsletter! If you found this post helpful, please share it on Pinterest so that other mamas can find it as well! Happy breastfeeding!

How to Make Homemade Baby Food

How to make homemade baby food

It’s that time in our house again! Kallos is actually eating solid food, so I thought I would put together this post on how to make healthy, homemade baby food! I feel like I was just making baby food for Aria-how does time go by so fast?! I’m really happy with our breastfeeding journey so far, and if you’ve checked out my instagram, you can see that Kallos has plenty of rolls! However, the time has come, whether I feel ready or not! 

Be on the lookout out for my next post about my Top 5 Ways to Establish & Boost Milk Supply if you’re continuing to breastfeed as well. Just because your  baby is starting on solids doesn’t mean you want to dip your milk supply! Your baby still needs those valuable nutrients, and now is a great time to boost your supply so you can start freezing and storing milk to have on hand for when you stop nursing all together! (Or for that first weekend getaway without the kids- 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep… that still exists somewhere right?!)

In this post I’ll go over how to make your own homemade, healthy baby food! What our children eat is absolutely crucial to their health, mental and physical development, and behavior. You can start your baby on the path towards good health by what YOU eat during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as what food you allow them to eat when they first start eating solids.

Why Homemade Baby Food

Not only can it be very cost effective to make your own homemade baby food, but it is also oftentimes the safest choice for your baby. There are all kinds of toxins and chemicals hidden in the processed food found on many of our store shelves. Even the packaging can be harmful by containing BPA and other toxins. I highly recommend reading the book “The Vaccine Friendly Plan” by Dr. Paul Thomas and Jennifer Margulis to learn more about toxins and how you can make healthy choices for your children from pregnancy through the teen years! For more information on clean, non-toxic living, check out my blog post “Your Simple and Comprehensive Guide to Non-Toxic Living” where I go over all the basics of what everyday items could be harming your health and how you can easily incorporate healthy alternatives into your daily life.

Ingredients

Homemade baby food is so simple- the only ingredient you need is the fruit or vegetable you would like your baby to eat! I recommend choosing totally Organic, non-GMO vegetables to keep your baby from being exposed to pesticides and other harmful contaminants. For some liquid when cooking, you can use water or I like to use organic bone broth to add some extra nutrients. 

How to Make Homemade Baby Food

Directions:

Wash, peel and cut your vegetables (I peel and cube vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets and carrots. For green beans, simply washing and snapping the ends off is sufficient.)

Cook with desired amount of liquid in an instant pot or oven safe covered pot until soft. In an oven, I cook it at 450 for 25-30 mins. In my instant pot, I cook it on the veggies setting, which takes 20 mins.

Once the veggies are tender, I simply blend them in in my nutribullet until they are a pureed consistency. Next, I pour the puree into an ice cube tray and place it in the freezer. One frozen, I pop the ice cubes out and store in a freezer bag! Easy as that! 

When it’s time for supper, I take out the desired amount of cubes and unthaw them (you can heat them in the microwave, or on the stove if you prefer to avoid microwaves.) 

Sometimes I like to add some organic, non-GMO baby rice cereal or superfood baby mix to it to make it thicker, but it’s certainly not necessary. I usually have several bags of frozen baby food already made and ready in my fridge- each one labeled differently. Sometimes I like to mix different combos together, for more variety once I know that  baby has already safely been introduced to each food individually. 

Introducing Baby Food

When should you introduce your baby to solid food? What food should you start with? How much or how little? Those are all the questions I had when I first started my daughter on solids, so let me simplify it for you with some helpful guidelines!

When Should You Start?

Normally your doctor will recommend waiting until 6 months to start on solids. You can think about starting your baby on solids between 4 and 6 months, depending on if they are ready for solid food or not. Questions to ask are: can your baby hold their head up and sit up straight? Is he or she interested in food? Be sure to talk with your doctor about your baby’s weight and your milk supply and make sure your baby is getting enough nutrients for his or her age. 

What Foods Should You Start With?

There are some foods that are easier on the digestive system than others, so I would recommend starting cautiously and determining how your baby responds to each individual food. I always start my babies on green beans first because green beans are gentler on the tummy. Click here for free printable on which foods are best to start your baby on and in what order! 

Introducing one individual vegetable at a time will help you know which food is responsible if your baby has any food allergies or doesn’t react well to a particular food. 

How Much Should They Eat Right Away?

That depends on their age and appetite. However, it is important that their main source of nutrients is still breast milk or formula. I always nurse my baby before I feed Him solid food so that he fills up on those needed nutrients first and also so that my milk supply doesn’t dip. 

Each cube of baby food equates to about 1 ounce, give or take. I always start with one ounce of baby food and increase from there once I know my baby doesn’t have a bad reaction to the food and if they still seem hungry.

What Combinations Are Best?

As I mentioned before, I usually have several bags of individual baby food cubes in the freezer- for example, right now I have a bag of green bean cubes, a bag of sweat potato cubes, and a bag of carrot cubes. However, eventually I mix and match a bit based on what tastes good together and what nutrients I want them to eat for a more well rounded diet. Check out my Free Printable on my favorite homemade baby food combos for a healthier, well rounded diet!

Other Ways to Make Homemade Baby Food

In addition to cooking vegetables, there are some foods that don’t require being cooked! (Win, win right?!) Mashing up bananas and avocados for example are super easy, simple, and nutritious meals for your baby. I love these options especially if we’re eating at someone else’s house and I don’t want to bother packing a freezer bag for the baby food. Throwing a banana or an avocado (or both!) and a spoon into the diaper makes for easy supper prep on the go!

Conclusion

I hope this post simplified the process of making healthy, homemade baby food. Starting the journey of feeding solids to your baby can be so fun- and messy! Giving your baby a running start on the path towards good health and clean eating is one of the most rewarding and important things you can do for your child- so way to go mama! Keep up the amazing work!

For more info on clean living and momlife, sign up for our weekly newsletter where you’ll get all kinds of clean living hacks, tips and resources, so you can worry less and live better!

I’m always hanging out on the gram– feel free to stop by and say hi, and if your baby makes any funny faces while trying their first foods, I’d love for you to tag me so I can see it! Those videos and pictures are the BEST! Happy baby food making!

5 Simple & Healthy Meals for the Busy Mama!

I’ll cut to the chase- when it comes to cooking, who has time for that?! It’s 6 pm, your family is suffering from a severe case of hangry, and you’re whipped from a long day of adulting! As much as I enjoy cooking, I rarely have the energy for a fancy meal- or the dishes that follow. BUT before resorting to take-out or a pre-packaged, processed options, you CAN throw together a meal that is both quick AND healthy! Here are some of my absolute favorites- I hope you enjoy!

One Pot Sweet Potato & Chicken Dish

This dish was a life saver right after Aria was born! Cube up as many sweet potatoes, chicken breasts and onions as you want, toss some salt and pepper (or those 50 cent packets of Italian seasoning- yum!) over it, pour some water or chicken broth over it to cover the bottom of the pan and cook it in the oven at 450 degrees for 28 minutes! Make life even easier during the week by pre-cubing the veggies at the start of the week!

Greek Yogurt Cheese Quesadilla

This is my all time go to for lunch when Aria is sick of peanut butter and jelly! Spread some greek yogurt onto a tortilla, sprinkle cheese (you can always add veggies or meat if you’d like!) melt for 30 seconds in the microwave and put some salsa on it for added veggies. Fold, cut and serve! This dish has the protein and the nutrients to get your little ones to supper time!

Noodles & Veggies

This is a super healthy and super simple go to supper! Cook up some spaghetti noodles in a pot. While they’re cooking, throw together your choice of protein and veggies. (I like to use cod, finely chopped sweet potatoes, garlic, and beet or zucchini veggie spirals that you get from the frozen section at the store.) Season with garlic salt, pepper, lemon juice and any Italian seasonings you have like basil or oregano. Saute the veggies and meat in olive oil until veggies are tender. Put olive oil on the noodles and season the same way – use extra lemon juice and garlic powder. Toss together and eat up! This one is great for getting Aria to eat her veggies and it is super quick to put together!

Burger & Veggie Casserole

This is just a healthier and simpler take on hamburger and rice casserole! Brown your ground beef in a pot. Put ground beef and frozen ground cauliflower in a dish. Season with salt, pepper, and Lawry’s salt. Pour beef broth (I prefer to use beef bone broth for added nutrients and protein) and plain greek yogurt over it and mix until the yogurt is blended in. Pour uncooked elbow noodles into the mixture. Cook in oven at 400 degrees for 45 mins or until noodles are tender. You can put peas in it as well for added veggies!

Roasted Chicken & Veggies

This can be about anything you want it to be! Lay your choice of meat on one half of a cookie sheet (I like to cut chicken breasts into strips). Cube your choice of veggies and lay on the other half of the cookie sheet (I prefer sweet potatoes and onions). Pour olive oil over everything and Season to taste (salt and pepper work for anything!). Cook in oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until meat and veggies are done. We love going to the farmers market in the summer and getting some fresh veggies to roast for supper that night! It’s a great way to try a variety of foods in your diet and switch up your meals so the kids don’t get sick of it!

Tips for Making Cooking Faster

Cut and store veggies before the week begins, that way you simply have to grab a handful and throw it in a pot when it’s supper time!

Cutting your meat into strips verses cooking an entire chicken breast whole makes cooking times shorter!

Keep base items on hand. (Beef or chicken broth, noodles, olive oil- whatever you notice you use most in cooking! I almost always use broth and greek yogurt.) You can always switch veggies and protein around, but this is a great way to make sure you always have the right items to make a flavorful meal!

Conclusion

I hope this gives you some healthy meal ideas that work easily into your life! Cooking isn’t always my favorite thing to do at the end of a long day, but I do love the satisfaction I feel from knowing I provided my family with healthy, nutritious food options that will help them in so many ways, and that doesn’t have to be difficult! I’d love to hear what some of your favorite recipes are!



Sleep Training Tips & Tricks

Ahh sleep training. As a first time mom, before Aria was even born I did all the research. I even wrote out a sleep schedule and posted it on our fridge months before the due date! Little did I know what I was in for!

Aria was colicky and had a scream loud enough to leave your hearing muffled and your ears ringing. She needed to be held and bounced on a bouncy ball constantly or else she would scream at the top of her lungs with no end in sight. My pre-planned sleep schedule certainly was no match for reality, but I still wanted to ease my baby into a healthy sleep routine that would benefit both baby and parents!

Every child is different, but I hope this article is helpful for you as you work on finding the best sleep routine for both you and your baby!

Tip 1: Set a Routine

Even though your baby may still have its days and nights mixed around, it’s never too early to begin implementing a nightly ritual. This doesn’t mean that your baby is necessarily ready to follow it, but by sticking to the same routine consistently, it will eventually become a source of normalcy and comfort to your child- and eventually, make your life a lot easier!

Set a time in the evening that you would like your child to eventually go to bed at. A half hour before that time, keep noise to a minimum and follow a nightly ritual- for Aria, it was bath time, lotion, jammies, and bottle. Once “bedtime” comes, turn the lights off and keep things very quiet. Even if your baby isn’t ready to be laid down for bed alone yet, doing this is preparing it for the environment it will eventually be comfortable falling asleep in by itself. I would turn the lights off at 8 pm and watch Netflix on a low volume while I bounced Aria on the ball. Eventually, we transitioned away from bouncing, but having that routine established made it so much easier!

Once you get to the stage where they are taking naps, having a slightly different routine is helpful so they know the difference between nap time and all night long bed time. For naps with Aria, I simply lay her in her crib and sing her her bedtime song- Somewhere Over the Rainbow- no bath time or bottle.

Tip 2: Timing is Everything

At first Aria had to be bounced constantly. Eventually, I was able to bounce her just to sleep and then lay her carefully down without waking her. After that, she transitioned to falling asleep on her own, without having to be bounced. However, all of these stages happened gradually and only when she was ready. I tried to ditch the bouncy ball many times with no success. I tried laying her down and making her fall asleep again and again and it didn’t work.

The reality is, you can’t make a baby do something before they are ready for it. The good news is, you will know when what you are doing is no longer working and it’s time to move on to the next stage. If your baby sleeps better in your arms or being bounced, then go with it! They won’t do it forever, and if it brings peace and rest for yourself in the meantime, then that is worth it!

I knew it was time to transition Aria to nap and bed times in her pack and play instead of my arms when she was crying for a bit as she fell asleep no matter where she was, the ball wasn’t comforting her like it used to and she was old enough to self soothe. Only you can tell what the signs will be with your own child, but watch carefully and when you feel something isn’t working like is used to, go on to something else that does work.

Tip 3: The 90 Minute Sleep Schedule

This was our saving grace once Aria was old enough to follow it and it has established her sleep routine that lasts to this day!! The 90 minute sleep schedule is a theory based on the sleep cycles of children under a year old. It goes that every 90 minutes, your child’s awake cycle is on the downward end, and they are ready to fall asleep if you provide the proper environment for them to do so. (You can google this and read all about it online!)

Once Aria was ready to fall asleep without the bouncy ball, I would make note of what time she first woke up in the morning. 90 minutes from that time, I would swaddle her, feed her, and lay her down in her crib. At first she cried for a bit, but she always ended up falling asleep. Whenever she woke up, I would make sure to put her down 90 minutes from that time.

I found this routine to prevent her from getting overtired and therefore fighting sleep. Even if she wasn’t acting tired, she always fell asleep and had a nap, even if it was a short one. I especially loved it because it gave me frequent breaks throughout the day as well, which oftentimes I really needed! Aria even started to expect and look forward to her nap times. It was a much needed time for her to reset and re-center herself. She even went through a phase where she would crawl to her pack and play and wait next to it if we were nearing the 90 minute mark! I can’t complain about that!

The 90 minute sleep schedule not only established a great nap time and bed time routine for us, but it also established a good connotation of sleep time for Aria. She loves her crib and she hasn’t fought us on a nap or a bedtime since we started doing it. (This doesn’t mean she doesn’t cry at times, but she is able to self soothe and her crib is a comforting, safe place for her to do that as she works on falling asleep.) As long as we followed her schedule, she had no trouble going to sleep wherever we took her and with whoever was watching her at the time, which was a life saver for us as and allowed us to travel with her and have babysitters with no issue at all!

Tip 4: Stay Strong!

Once your child is old enough to self soothe and it’s time for them to learn how to fall asleep without your help (remember- this is a healthy and important thing for them to do!) then you need to stick to your routine and not budge. Aria knows that we will not come back in that bedroom unless she really needs us, and she will not get out of her crib unless she really needs to. If she is just fussing because she’s tired or fighting sleep, we let her be. If she’s screaming because her leg got stuck in the crib, or her diaper needs changing, obviously we will take care of her and then put her back down immediately. You can still be there for your child and establish that sense of trust and security without enabling them to need you to fall or stay asleep.

Pick a routine and stick to it. Right away, there will be more tears, but if your baby is old enough to self soothe, they will adapt. To this day, although Aria’s routine has changed in some ways, at its core it is almost exactly the same as when we brought her home from the hospital. A half hour before bed we give her a bath, lotion her, put her in her PJ’s and give her a bottle. At 7 pm every night we lay her in her crib and sing her somewhere over the rainbow. Then I kiss her on her forehead and walk out quietly. This is the same as the first day I took her home from the hospital, only I’m laying her down in the crib instead of continuing to bounce her to sleep.

Conclusion

Having a sleep routine for Aria has brought so much peace and stability to our household. It’s given Daniel and I much needed time together in the evenings, and it has resulted in a child that isn’t overtired, doesn’t dread naps and bedtime, and finds comfort and safety in her crib and routine. Although there were ups and downs while transitioning and establishing her sleep routine, I’m so glad we were intentional about it from the very beginning.

I hope his article gave you some good ideas about what things might work to implement into your family and routine! Give yourself grace, be patient, and realize that everything is only a phase! These sleepless nights will pass, and having a set routine should help them pass sooner! I’d love to hear what sleep tips and tricks have worked for your kids and family!