5 Ways to Promote and Excel Your Baby’s Development

At 4 months Noah began sitting, using her hands to help her. At 5 months she could sit by herself perfectly. At 6 months she could pull up and stand. Now at 7 months she is crawling, can go from laying down to sitting and is currently in the practicing stages of trying to stand up without grabbing onto anything for help.

It is true, children develop at their own pace but there are things you can be doing that will slow down or help promote their development.

As a psychology student focusing on children I took lots of notes while pregnant in order to ensure I was supporting healthy child development. Here is a short list of ways I helped promote Noah’s development, I followed these, did my own research on them, and practiced with my own child.

  • Ditch the Bumbo Chair,
    Walkers, Exercise Saucers and Bouncy Seats

These gadgets are nightmares for physical therapists and all your baby’s doctors that are tracking their development. These gizmos advertise that they help speed up development but that is a lie. Studies have shown that children who use these ‘assisted movement toys’ actually reach physical developmental milestones slower than children who do not use them.

The reason they are not helpful is because they confine babies and cause them to move and sit in ways that are not natural to the baby. For example, the bumbo/other baby seats have them sitting straight up, when a baby first learns to sit they will not sit like that at all. They will sit with legs wide and hands propping them up. This ‘tripod’ sitting is how they learn but when they are in these seats they have no way to practice or begin trying to sit.

Doctors, physicians and really any professional in child development has been trying to spread this information for decades but new fancy gadgets keep coming out and as parents who just want the best for our children we become consumers of these bouncers and walkers and assume they will help without doing any outside research. Here is an exert from an abstract from a 1999 study. “This study analyzed motor and mental development in 109 human infants, with and without walker experience, between the ages of 6 and 15 months. Walker-experienced infants sat, crawled, and walked later than no-walker controls, and they scored lower on Bayley scales of mental and motor development. Significant effects of walker type, frequency, and timing of walker exposure were observed”  (Siegel 1999).

Here is a more recent exert from the Chicago Tribune interviewing a physical therapist, Colleen Harper. “No equipment enhances a child’s motor development; equipment is a ‘baby sitter’ so that a parent can cook dinner, eat dinner or take a shower,” Harper said. “A gross motor skill like sitting is achieved through movement and practice. Children fall out of Bumbo seats because they do not yet have the requisite strength, balance and coordination needed for sitting” (Chicago Tribune 2018).

The only way to help your child develop is through play and attention. I would sit Noah in between my legs and we would play, or I would surround her with pillows so she could learn on her own without any chance of injury but did give her a chance to learn what to and not to do.

I understand if you are alone with baby or are a single parent maybe you think not having any of these would be impossible. My suggestion is invest in a Pack and Play. They are portable, netted and soft so that a baby can tumble and fall without harm. Putting a child in one of these if you have to walk a way can be better for the child so that they can still practice sitting, standing or crawling.

Deardorff, J. (2018, September 05). Therapists see no developmental benefits from seats. https://www.chicagotribune.com/living/ct-xpm-2012-03-15-ct-met-bumbo-posture-20120315-story.html

Siegel, A. C., & Burton, R. V. (1999). Effects of baby walkers on motor and mental development in human infants. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics20(5), 355–361. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004703-199910000-00010 V

  • Visual Stimulation

Screen time is a very tricky issue. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests to avoid screen time for children under 2 years old. Screen time usage in children adds risk to obesity and language development issues.

Do not give your children phones and prop them in front of the tv. I will say however for the first 6 months of Noah’s life once a day for 5-10 minutes I would go on to youtube and type in and play ‘Baby Visualization Videos’. These are videos that show bright colors and simple images while playing instrumental music. I believe this really helped Noah’s ability to focus and follow things with her eyes.

Screen time is a delicate issue. It has the power to be helpful and harmful. My rule of thumb is if you’re giving it to them to make them be quiet or so you can have uninterrupted computer time that’s not helpful. If you are doing it with them and using the internet as a useful tool to help them then it can be good.

We do not have a ton of research on this as ‘baby visualization videos’ and ‘screen time’ are still pretty new considering the average study takes a year to create and publish we do not have too much to go off with this.

  • Talking to Them

Talk to your child. This will help their language skills immensely. Make a conscious effort to hold conversations with your baby. For example, I tell Noah our plans for that day every morning while we eat breakfast. I will let her know what errands we are running or what we are doing when we are in the car and I try reading to her as often as possible.

Reading to your child can help combat screen time, create an early interest in reading and help development. What I typically do is read the page then I will point at objects in the book, “oh look, that’s an orange cat” “That Pink Flower is….” “Right here is some red pants“. Reading not only helps develop language skills but also can help them learn colors and objects at earlier ages.

From personal experience. My niece is 2, at 1 1/2 years old she knew her basic colors. My mamaw would read to her constantly, and point out colors, and the family was encouraged to point out colors and objects to her all the time. “Jaxtyn, your wearing a pink dress” and we then eventually played games with her, “find me something blue”, or “what color is this?”. Now at 2 she knows all her colors and is advanced in her language skills.

  • Playing With Them

In this day and age it is so easy to hand them an ipad and go do your own thing. It’s helpful, it makes them sit on the couch and they could be mesmerized for hours, this is not natural for a child or helpful in their development.

Sitting down and playing with your baby benefits them in so many ways. It helps bonding, promotes independence, helps physical, mental, and language development, and keeps them active and healthy.

My biggest issue right now is wanting to play on my phone while i’m on the floor with her but I am actively trying to stop this. Get them building block or stacking toys (those are noah’s favorites), toys they can pull up on and ones that promote fine motor skills such as puzzles. My favorite baby toy brand is Melissa & Doug .I have yet to find a Melissa & Doug toy that I don’t absolutely love. Noah’s favorite toy is their stack and sort board.Right now it is only helping her fine motor skills but then it will help when she learns colors and shapes and eventually be used to help her with numbers!

  • Provide an Environment That Encourages Growth

This can mean many things. Your child has to have their needs their basic needs met, if they are not getting enough food, shelter, warmth, and or they do not have a sense of security they will not develop adequately. They need a safe place where they feel safe enough to explore, try new things and do so without risk of harm.

They also need an encouraging environment where their caregivers give positive reinforcement and attention so that they want to develop. If they are in a house that is chaotic then that is not fostering baby’s development.

In my house Noah does not fear trying new things or exploring the house. As I mentioned before, when Noah first started sitting I would surround her with pillows. She lost her balance a lot but she was in a safe place and never got hurt. She did not mind trying to sit again, and did not fear getting hurt. When she started pulling up I would sit a pulling up toy and again surround her with pillows. I let her fail and fall, but ensured she never got hurt. Doing this let her try stuff out and she was in an environment where she could fail safely. I know many babies learn to pull up in their cribs, the baby doesn’t mind falling and will quickly try again because it is a safe environment to fail.

You don’t need expensive toys and shiny gadgets to help your child excel. You just need dedication and willingness to focus your attention on them.

I hope you all enjoyed this read! As always, drop me some comments! What are your thoughts on this issue? What ways do you promote your child’s development?

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5 Bible Verses for Every Christian Parent

As a Christian I sometimes struggle with how can I parent in a way that brings glory to god and helps me raise a beautiful, God fearing child.

I created a list of 5 short verses I hold close to my heart as a parent.

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
 but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

Matthew 5:7

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”

Proverbs 22:6

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

I hope you enjoyed this short read! Leave me some comments! What are some of your favorite verses you feel shape your parenting?

Raising a Confident Daughter

10 ways to promote independence and self-esteem in your little girls.

As parents we all want our children to flourish. We want them to to grow into self- loving, independent , confident adults but in order to do that they need to first be self-loving, independent, confident toddlers, children, preteens, and teenagers.

As a parent and a psychology student focusing on children in my curriculum and planning to have a child centered career I believe this is such an important topic. Self-esteem and confidence is something that can really make or break a person. For this post I wanted to focus first on girls, naturally since I have a daughter and niece but if you all want a ‘raising confident sons’ I can definitely get on that!

So here is it, a small list you can follow to help raise a confident daughter.

  • Give Them Choices.

As parents we want to cook what we want to cook, dress them the way we want to dress them and plan our day strictly according to how we want it to go. One of the easiest ways to build confidence and self-esteem in your children is to give them a choice. Pick out two or three outfits and let them choose, ask them if they would rather have spaghetti or soup (you can start choices like this before 2 years old). Let them help you plan the day, “should we grocery shop first thing in the morning or later tonight?” or even “would you rather go to the park or on a walk”

Giving children simple choices shows that not only do they have a voice but they are an active member of the family and that they can make choices (to an extent) about themselves.

Now as little children make sure not to give them too many options as this can overwhelm them and leaves room for them to ‘say the wrong thing’. Don’t say ‘what do you want to eat tonight’ just so you can tell them no to tacos and french fries. Don’t tell them to pick out an outfit just to tell them they are wrong for trying to wear flip flops in the snow. This can actually cause more damage in their self-esteem.

  • Don’t Talk About What ‘Pretty’ Women Look Like.

“Look at that model, shes just skin and bones”

“If that woman lost 15 pounds she could be pretty”

“Bones are for dogs, curves are for men” (bleh)

You may think you’re helping your daughter by telling her that bony girls arent pretty, or too much makeup isnt cute or short hair is for boys. Don’t. As a matter of fact, STOP PROJECTING YOUR IMAGES OF WHAT IS ATTRACTIVE ON TO YOUR DAUGHTER.

Stop setting up the next generation of women to be against each other. When you discuss to your daughter about ‘what is pretty’ you are just telling her that her self-image is less important than her public image. ‘

Celebrate differences. That 5’2 210 pound woman is beautiful, that 6′ 120 pound woman is beautiful, that girl with the pixie and face full of makeup is pretty and that girl with hair down to her knees and no makeup at all is cute. Teach your daughter to love herself and other women. You may think “well my daughter has a bad image about her body since she gained weight, I need to tell her that real men don’t want skinny girls”. DON’T DO THAT. Don’t make your daughters self-image be based on how men see her and hype her up by tearing other people down. Don’t make it a habit for her to tear others down in order to make herself feel better.

  • Teach Her About Her Body.

Don’t make her believe that her periods, her breasts, her curves are anything to be ashamed of. 50% of our world is female yet menstruation and a woman’s body is suppose to be shameful. Talk to your household, don’t let her dad or brothers make her feel embarrassed about her period. Don’t make her anxious just to go through a tampon section. Most women have periods, most men live with women who have periods. It’s not a taboo thing.

Celebrate the woman body. Women’s bodies are insane, I mean we create babies and can sustain them with milk we produce from our breasts. Don’t let her be embarrassed by what her body does. Our bodies are art, don’t let her think it’s something she’s must hide.

  • Don’t Comment On Her Body

“Honey I’ve noticed you’ve gained some weight…”

“Wow! You’re in an XL now?”

“You’re looking too skinny”

MOMS, IT IS NOT YOUR OR ANYONE’S PLACE TO JUDGE HER BODY. Again, in this day and age she will have enough pressure and comments on her looks. Not matter her size. She does not need you to mention what she has already thought about 10 times that day. You are suppose to be her cheerleader, not another lingering voice destroying her body image.

If she is living with you then I 100% say that any weight/ exercise/ eating issues can be helped without you hurting her self-esteem.

Rather than tell you’re 12 year old shes fat, stop going to fast food and buying soda and junk food.

Instead of getting mad that your 15 year old only sits in front of a tv all day start doing family walks or getting everyone a gym membership and going to workout every afternoon.

If you are concerned about your 17 year old not eating, then rather than yelling at her, take her to therapy. Your insults cannot help her and ignoring the roots of the issues will not fix anything.

Insults don’t help. If they are in your house then lead by example, don’t make comments and refuse to change how the family is going. You can’t comment on your child’s size while stockpiling soda and chips in the kitchen,

  • Let Her Say No.

When you raise your girl to never say no to adults and teach her that not obeying adults is rude you are truly hurting them.

If Uncle Joe wants to hug her but she does not want to be touched do not force her to hug him. You are telling her, ‘his feelings matter more than your body’.

This is especially important as little girls are huge targets for sexual assault. You force her to hug uncle Joe, you make her sit on his lap when she does not want to, but you expect her to be equipped to say no if Uncle Joe goes to far? Maybe at this point she doesn’t even know what too far is, all she knows is not to hurt his feelings and never say no to an adult. Perhaps she is 3, and her whole 3 years of life she is told, ‘don’t hurt his feelings’, ‘do what he says’ and ‘don’t be rude’.

You have to let them be in control of their bodies, and to do that you may just have to tell Uncle Joe next family reunion, ‘she doesn’t want hugs right now, we are trying to teach her that it’s okay to say no to people’.

Moms, I know this can be hard. You were equally conditioned not to ‘hurt’ people’s feelings’ but this is the difficult parts of motherhood that we have to endure for our children’s comfort. We cannot teach our children to always obey adults, teach them to respect people but that her safety and body is more important than an uncomfortable hug or touch from a family member or stranger.

This is especially important for holidays and family reunions. Perhaps warn them before hand, ‘____ is learning she has control over her body and aboutvconsent, she may want to hug you or she may not be in the mood to be touched. Don’t take it personal, she’s trying to understand herself and her levels of comfort’.

  • Model self-love

Don’t discuss your body or image issues with your daughter. Don’t tell her how much you hate your nose or you wish you could lose your belly. You’re teaching her that it is okay to hate your body.

When you’re saying how much you hate your rolls you are telling her rolls should be hated and you can hate yours.

We all have image problems but teach her that you should love your body. This can help you too mom, thank your body for what it has taken you through and endured. If you’re constantly taking about needing to lose weight, go on diets and insulting yourself you’re showing her that this is acceptable thinking.

Love your body, love other womens bodies so you can show her that this is how we are suppose to view ourselves.

You cannot tell her, ‘you should love yourself’ while going on about how much you hate your nose. It’s hypocritical and she will model you more than listen to you.

  • Model how a woman should be treated.

I understand not every parent is in a ‘perfect’ marriage or maybe even tackling parenthood as a single parent but you show your daughter how women should be treated by how you accept respect or how you respect women.

Mothers, every time you allow men to disrespect you or other women you have left an impression on your daughter. Single moms, when dating make sure you are dating men that will treat you and your daughter like queens. Married mothers, make sure that you are modeling what a healthy marriage should look like and how a spouse should be treated.

Dating dads, understand that if you bring home different women constantly and disrespect the women you date, that leaves an impression. A dad is a girls first impact of how men should treat women. If you are divorced don’t talk bad about her mother, don’t disrespect her mother in front of her (or hopefully ever). Respect your daughter and let her know how she should be treated by treating the women around her with respect

We cannot tell her ‘you need to be treated like a queen’ while accepting disrespect and disrespecting other women.

  • Don’t limit her.

Let her be a child. If she enjoys monster trucks buy her monster trucks. If she enjoys math and science take her to space camp instead of forcing her into another pageant. If she would rather learn boxing over ballet find her a martial arts class. If she says she wants to be a mechanic don’t try to persuade her into nursing.

Let her be her own person. The world will already be judging her and trying to give her boundaries, don’t be yet another voice of adversity. Imagine where we could be at in the world if we stopped limiting our children or trying to mold them into a mini us.

Respect their right to be them. Don’t limit her to frilly dresses and makeup if she wants hiking boots and a backpack. Don’t pressure her into a mold. No one made history by limiting themselves into the role society built for them.

  • Be open about consent and sex.

We live in a world where girls are pressured into sex, made to believe boys will only like them if they give their bodies to them, and taught they have less value as a person if they aren’t a virgin.

We have been taught as a society that our bodies are pawning pieces. Teach your daughter that her body is hers, not that boy that’s telling her he doesn’t do sexless relationships.

Talk to your daughter about what consent is. Talk to your daughter and teach her that she owns her body, she will NEVER owe someone sex. It doesn’t matter that she has been dating for 6 months or that a boy sent her unsolicited pictures and now he is expecting her to reciprocate.

Also create an open discussion about sex, let her ask questions. Don’t shame her about her curiosities. Also don’t create a relationship that she feels that if she becomes sexually active she would rather risk teenage pregnancy and STDs before she comes to you about birth control.

As a christian I plan to talk to her about saving herself for marriage. I will tell her what that bible and church teaches. On that same note I will also be honest with her. I will tell her that sex is tempting, I will truthfully answer any questions she has for me. I will also make sure she knows that although we should save ourselves for marriage, if she is unable to do this her value as an individual, christian, and daughter is not stained. She is no less valuable as she was before and that she is still deserving of respect and love.

  • Respect her

Sometimes as parents we can teeter on the edge of ‘are we being angry parents or are we disrespecting her’. Practice this throughout her growing, explain stuff to her. Instead of saying, ‘because I said so’ maybe explain why she cannot go outside to play.

Don’t yell at her. It has been proven time and time again that yelling and spanking do not work. Yet the general public refuses to believe it. Yelling at a child doesn’t change the behavior, it just makes them fear getting caught.

We typically don’t yell at people for making a mistake or even making us upset. It’s disrespectful and most times causes a fight.

You’re not only teaching her that it’s okay to lose your temper but you’re telling her that she’s not worthy of explanation or you controlling yourself. Most parents do not want to let go of yelling and spanking because it is easier. It is easier to scare and intimidate your child into obeying than it is taking the time to teach them. It’s lazy parenting.

Remember, your child, no matter her age is a person. You would not yell at your husband for not coming to the dinner table as soon as you called so why do that to your child. As parents you are the first ones to show them how they should be treated. In no situation should a stranger be more respectful to your child’s misbehavior or mistakes than you.

I am not saying that if you’re child is playing near a road you should get on your knees and explain why they should move. No, scream, get their attention, get them away from the road then explain the dangers but simply screaming at your child for not being in bed will not make them sleep.

I know parenting can be difficult, but you can’t take your frustrations out on your children. They deserve respect, your teenager deserves being talked to with the respect even if she was late to the dinner table. Your 2 year old who is starting to learn rules and limits (hints ‘terrible twos’ needs patience not intimidation.

Ultimately this will also help how your daughter treats you. If you don’t disrespect her she more than likely won’t disrespect you. If you’ve taught her that screaming and yelling is okay they will mimic that. Just like if your teenager gets in an argument with you, screaming will more than likely turn into a ‘whose louder’ contest rather than getting to the root of the issue as to why she’s falling behind in school.

I hope this list can help you with your parenting and help promote independence and confidence in your daughter. 

As always, leave me some comments. What’s your thoughts? Do you have anything to add?

Stunning Names for Your Little Man.

As I mentioned before, being a writer and mom planning to grow her family I absolutely love names. I am always collecting unique names and here is my personal list of baby boy names.

  • Kaiser
  • Nicknames- Kai
    • Kairus
  • Nicknames- Kai, Rus
    • Coda
  • A short but sweet name for a cute little boy. A name inspired from the original name Dakota.
    • Sagon
  • I love this tough and unique name!
    • Rory
  • Such a cute little name!
    • Cyrus
  • Nicknames- Rus
  • A fun surname as a first name.
    • Allister
  • Nicknames- Al, Alli, ester
    • Kiari

    Nicknames- Ari

    • Baylor
  • Nicknames- Bay, Aylor
    • Killian
  • This Celtic name is adorable!
    • Kace
  • A fun Irish name meaning ‘watchful.
  • Leave me some comments! What are some of your favorite boy names?

    5 Things Every Parent Should Know BEFORE Having a Child

    In today’s world we see so much devastating news involving babies and children, you see babies harmed or even killed by parents lack of knowledge and in some cases stupidity. Thankfully however we have the internet that can teach you everything you need to know!

    Being a student who is graduating so that I can obtain a career in children’s health and development I take the subject of child safety very seriously. I hope what I tell you can help prepare you for a child or if you have a child, it’s never too late to learn something new.

    *I was a certified emt and everything I tell you I will be sure to provide credible sources to.

    • Know the signs of choking and how to respond.

    “Choking is a leading cause of injury and death among children, especially those younger than 4 years of age. The majority of choking-related incidents among children are associated with food, coins and toys” (National Children’s Hospital 2010)

    I have provided a website link and a youtube video on how to see the signs of choking in a child and how to respond if your baby is choking.

    https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000048.htm

    This should not replace being trained in infant 1st aid and should only give you a basic knowledge of how to react. I always will recommend being trained by licensed professionals such as the American Heart Association.

    • Infant/Child CPR

    “Over 23,000 infants died in the United States in 2016. The five leading causes of infant death in 2016 were: Birth defects, Preterm birth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Pregnancy Complications, and Injuries (e.g suffocation).” (CDC 2016)

    Unintentional injuries are the number 1 cause of child death between ages of 1-4 years old (CDC 2016).

    I provided a website and a short video on baby CPR

    https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/child-baby-cpr

    This information should in no way replace CPR training. This is just scratching the surface of CPR but is meant for those you have no knowledge on CPR but are in an emergency situation.

    • Developmental Milestones

    Tracking your child’s developmental milestones are important because it shows you what they are learning and what needs to be focused on, it also shows you and your doctors if there are any cognitive or physical issues.

    Knowing developmental milestones can also prevent harm to your child so that you do not put your 3 day old in a bumbo chair or give your 6 month old a chip.

    Here I attached a link to the CDC where they discuss milestones from 2 months to 5 years old.

    If you ever are concerned that your child is not developing at the rate they should call your child’s pediatrician.

    https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html

    • Anger Management

    ” The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect” -Childhelp.org

    One of the most difficult things new parents encounter is an unhappy infant. Infants can cry for what seems like all night, because of this they are at high risk for abuse. Many parents/ caregivers cannot control their anger and will abuse their baby. I hear news about child/infant murder a lot, the most recent (and famous) happened only an hour away from me. A mother threw her newborn from her 2nd story apartment.

    NO ONE BELIEVES THEY COULD HURT/KILL THEIR BABY, but it happens everyday. If you suffer from anger issues or your child’s other parent does please let your doctors know. Talk to your gynecologist (if expecting) or your doctor so that they can refer you a therapist/counselor to help.

    If you are in a situation where you feel like you could harm your child please call the national child abuse hotline.

    ” The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential.” -Childhelp

     (1-800) 422-4453 or go to their website- http://www.childhelp.org

    Here are some website to help you learn how to remain calm with a baby.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/crying-baby/art-20046995

    https://www.parents.com/baby/new-parent/emotions/5-ways-to-soothe-yourself-when-baby-is-crying/

    If there is a family member with a previous history of anger management issues, sexual/physical violence or is currently suffering from alcohol or drug addiction DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE WITH THEM!

    • Sleep Safety

    “Approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ill-defined deaths, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed” (American Academy of Pediatrics 2016).

    You may want to sleep with your newborn because you think that’s the safest place for them to be, you may want to put pillows and blankets in their crib because you like those things, or you may think, ‘I’ll just close my eyes for a few minutes’ while holding them on the couch. An infant is still too weak to turn their head if a pillow covers their face and too little to wake you up if your arm is too heavy on their chest.

    When buying a crib always go for more modern made cribs. Vintage cribs may look cute but previous cribs were made with gaps and railing too spaced which resulted in infant deaths.

    When letting family/caregivers be with your child unsupervised ensure they know not to sleep with your baby and to never leave them asleep in a bed or in a car seat.

    It is important to know the facts about sleep safety and SIDS and also how to ensure your child is safe in the night.

    https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx

    https://www.marchofdimes.org/baby/safe-sleep-for-your-baby.aspx

    Thank you all for reading!

    Leave some comments! Do you know anymore helpful resources for new or expecting parents? Have any additional information to share?

    6 Common Experiences Sexual Assault Survivors Have When They Have a Daughter.

    Having children always will come with worries, anxieties and fears, but as a survivor of sexual assault there comes with more worries and fears than I can count. Raising a daughter when you are a survivor changes your perspectives of parenting in every way. My thoughts of how I would parent before I was raped did a 180 once I became a sexual assault survivor.

    Topics of sexual assault are something I hold a lot of passion for. For this post I wanted to make sure I was able to represent ‘Survivors Raising Daughters’ as accurate as possible. I recruited help from survivors who are family and friends and also strangers by seeking help on this subject through social media platforms and calls. I want to make sure that this issue can validate mothers who have been raped that are now raising daughters but also educate family of these mothers and the public that when a woman endures traumas like these, their parenting styles, attitudes and beliefs are dramatically shifted.

    I hope this post can help survivors know your fears and worries are valid and you are not alone. I hope family of these women and the public can read this and understand why a survivor may do what they do without taking personal offense or believing they are over dramatic or too paranoid.

    *I write only about my experiences as a woman survivor raising a daughter. I am unable to write as a male survivor raising children or as a survivor raising boys. However, if people would like me to cover these topics I can do as much research as I can in order to discuss this in the future.

    • Distrust

    One of my biggest issues is that I have an extremely hard time leaving her alone with people. I have only a small group of people that I can leave her with that does not cause me to have a panic attack.

    Although I truly know that most men would NEVER rape or molest a child I cannot have her out of eye sight when people are with her. 1,000 different scenarios of her getting hurt can run through my head with even just a second of me not seeing her.

    Many of us struggle with this issue, know that this is just your brains way of processing your trauma and trying to prevent it from happening again. You may feel like you’re overreacting but this can be a normal reaction for survivors.

    • Demonizing People

    I really hate myself for this one. It makes me sick with myself but I can image anyone as a predator now. Although again, I know that most people will not sexually or physically harm a child I cannot help but go back to my own experiences of being raped by a good friend who hung out with me and gave me gifts and made me believe he would never hurt a fly. It reminds me of the stories and experiences of my fellow survivors who were raped or molested by family friends, neighbors, uncles, grandparents and step-fathers,

    I feel guilty when I imagine that someone I’ve loved my entire life could harm her but it’s an image in my head that just pops up. I cannot control it. I attribute this to possibly the PTSD from sexual assault, you unwillingly get these thoughts and many times I feel like a bad person for thinking this way.

    If you also have this experience know that you are not a bad person. You’re trauma has caused your trust and perception of people to drastically alter. Due to your trauma your brain has been rewired, for survival purposes now everyone can be a suspect. Your brain is trying to protect you and your children from never having this happen again.

    Next time you have this thought thank your brain. Thank you for reminding me that this scenario could always happen. As a survivor I have an opportunity to protect my daughter with insight that most parents will not have. I may feel guilty that I can image my dear family friend that has acted like an uncle to me all my life doing such a thing to her but it happens and rapists are hardly ever crazy, creepy strangers in a dark ally. Thank you brain for immediately jumping to my daughters aid to remind me that anything can happen. Although in most situations a person will not harm my child thank you for always keeping me on my toes and not letting my guard down.

    • Paranoia

    The chances of your child being kidnapped is one in 300,000. Usually a kidnapping is done by a person you or that child knows.

    I have always had a neurotic personality type but I blame my horrible over the top anxieties and paranoia to my assault.

    The very first time that Vern took her grocery shopping without me I caused myself to have a panic attack. I kept thinking ‘he’s going to turn his back and she will be taken’. His phone was on silent and I ended up calling him over 30 times because I had convinced myself that she got kidnapped and he wasn’t answering his phone because he was currently with the police.

    This is an ongoing issue that I have tried to work on. Vern is more patient with me now that I explained the roots of my paranoia and he actively takes my suggested precautions in order to make me feel better. For example, he will take the car seat, set it in the cart and use the seat buckles in the grocery cart and clip it around the car seat handle.  He also makes sure to text or call, let me know when he gets there, an update while they shop and then when they are on the way home. Vern as been a God send in that he does not take any of my paranoias and anxieties as a direct attack on him but simply more long lasting effects of my trauma.

    If this is you know that you are not being over dramatic. Your trauma has simply caused you to be more hypersensitive to statistics and issues in children’s safety than many other parents. You are not crazy for feeling this way.

    • Jumping to the worst scenario

    One issue I noticed a pattern with in parents who are survivors is that many of us are constantly worried our child has been sexually assaulted.

    My personal experience with this was when I had to take my niece to the doctors while my sister was working. Vern, Noah, Jaxtyn and I made a whole day of it. We went to the park, went to McDonald’s where Jax played and ate. Well, when she pooped and it was time to change her diaper there was blood. Before I even had a chance to process what was happening I was checking her for physical trauma. Although she had been with me the entire day I immediately thought my 2 year old niece was raped.

    When I called my mamaw (also a survivor) the first thing she asked was if there was any trauma again, knowing that she was with me the whole day. My husband, who was with me suggested constipation issues because Jaxtyn had struggled with bowel movements since she started eating normal foods. We went to the hospital to see what was going on, it was confirmed that constipation caused her to strain too hard making her have some blood in her stool.

    The reason for this story is that as a survivor my immediate assumption was rape.

    A story I was told by a twitter user was about how she somehow convinced herself that her teenage daughter was raped. She sought therapy and counseling for her daughter and she was able to be assured that her daughter had not been harmed. This is yet another of many stories of how survivors can immediately take to their worst nightmares in any given scenario

    If this is you, again, you are not crazy. You lived through a horrible trauma and now you fear your children experiencing this trauma. Your brain is hyper aware of this trauma and will connect it with any instance because that is one of your biggest a fears.

    However, if you ever suspect your child has been sexually assaulted or they are in a situation where they might be or being sexually assaulted, seek help. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

    • Over Protective

    Multiple people have told me that they never let their children do sleepovers or go to friends houses. They let their children’s friends come to their house anytime but there are many sleepovers, parties and hangouts their children could not go to.

    Noah is only 7 months old but we already discussed that she would not be attending any friend’s sleepovers. We are going to host great sleepovers and parties so that hopefully all her friends will want to be at our house but I do not think I can let her stay at a friends house if I didn’t really truly know the parents and everyone in the household.

    If this is you, you are not being overly strict. You’re taking precautions and making sure to cross every t and dot every i. 

    • Pressure

    As survivors we believe we are our children’s first line of defense and if something is to happen it’s all your fault. Since we lived this trauma we have somewhat of a problem thinking we can see the signs and prevent it for our own children. I mean, all these previous bullet points were centered around this belief that we are solely responsible for preventing our children from this.

    My mom (a survivor) had to sit me down (she does a lot if you read my other posts) and told me this in regards to a situation when I was panicking over my niece’s safety before Noah was born  “You cannot protect a child from everything, it’s impossible”. Of course I didn’t enjoy hearing this but it also took a lot of weight off my shoulders. You can not prevent your child from every trauma in life, we all wish we could be we can’t. In order to do that you would have to hold their hand for the rest of their lives… but then again that’s a trauma in itself and even then you can’t prevent natural trauma or things out of your control (like most things).

    You cannot prevent everything that is going to happen to your child.

    Conclusions

    If you have been paying attention you will notice I said both my grandma and mom were survivors of sexual assault. I don’t say this to scare you, I say this to help you know that you cannot control the world but you CAN help derail preventable situations (not leaving your child alone with a stranger) and educate your children about rape, consent, and their bodies.

    Unfortunately my mamaw and mom were not able to prevent my sexual assault at my college campus but they were able to prepare me. They were able to teach me that being unconscious was not consent. They were able to tell me to not shower and immediately get help as soon as it happened. They were able to teach me to be open about these topics so I could confide in them without shame. They were able to teach me to fight for justice. They were able to teach me that recovery is a rocky road. They were able to raise me as a fighter who was not going to let him win.

    You can not control every aspect of this world or your children’s lives. You CAN control your child’s education on consent, what to do during and after assault, how to keep open communications about the topic, teach them about sex and their bodies, and make sure they understand you will believe them if anything happens.

    I hope this was able to validate parents and also help family/friends of parents who have been sexually assaulted to better understand that these fears are not personal attack’s but common issues many survivors will have.

    Thank you for reading, as always leave me some comments. What are your experiences? Do you have any words of advice to offer?

    Pregnancy After Miscarriage. My Experiences and Emotions

    I was fortunate enough to have a healthy pregnancy 8 months after a miscarriage. Throughout the pregnancy I constantly felt guilty, shouldn’t I be thankful? Shouldn’t I be happier? This is what I wanted after all, right?

    Having a rainbow baby anytime after a miscarriage can carry so many confusing emotions. For this week’s ‘heavy post’ I wanted to talk about key emotions and experiences I had once I became pregnant after my miscarriage. I do this so that perhaps anyone else experiencing this can know that they are not alone in these whirl wind of emotions and experiences that come with pregnancy after miscarriage.

    Know that your attitude, emotions, and experiences may not be similar to my own but they are still 100% valid.

    • Feelings of Impending Doom.

    Throughout my first trimester I constantly felt like this was all going to end in another miscarriage. I did not plan for a baby, shop for baby clothes, or consider a future with a child during this time. It wasn’t until I found out the sex of my baby that I actually started to think that maybe this would actually.


    • The Need to Constantly be at the Doctor.

    For me, during my first trimester I constantly wanted to go the doctor. I would find any excuse to go so they could check her heat beat.



    • Always Checking for Blood.

    During my entire pregnancy, every time I used the bathroom I would check to see if there was any blood. This went on until the day I gave birth. During my miscarriage the first sign for me was bleeding so during my next pregnancy that was my biggest fear.

    • Guilt Towards My Angel Baby.

    I felt very guilty some days. As if I was betraying my first pregnancy. I was simply throwing him away, starting new and forgetting about him. I felt that I deserved to sulk and I was wrong for wanting another child.

    • Anger and Bitterness

    Even though I was pregnant I still had anger towards others who announced their pregnancies. I remember I would get so heated on Facebook if I saw an announcement of a super early pregnancy. I would think, ‘how dare they just assume they are going to have a healthy pregnancy?’ ‘How stupid are you to announce a 6 week pregnancy? You would just have to make your miscarriage a public announcement later’. I was so bitter. Even now with a 7 month old healthy baby I still have my issues with early pregnancy announcements and bitterness.

    • Emotionally Withdrawn During My Pregnancy.

    My entire pregnancy I maybe said 2 words to my baby. I had a hard time bonding with her. I felt like it was useless, I’ve been hurt before why put myself through that again. During my 3rd trimester I still couldn’t talk to her or bond healthily because I just kept thinking this wasn’t going to last.

    • Guilt Towards My Rainbow Baby.

    I would see all my fellow pregnant moms talking about how they read and sing to their bump all the time. How they carry on conversations and rub and pat their tummies every time they felt their little bundle of joy move. I felt very guilty and it caused me to think I was was an awful mom. It made me feel that I was neglectful and harming her in some way. This made me feel even more depressed.

    • Secretive/ Hidden

    I remember this one would make a lot of people angry and unfortunately they just didn’t understand. I didn’t want to update people on my pregnancy, I didn’t want to have a huge baby shower, I didn’t want to post a ton of pregnancy pictures. Even as I found out I was going to have an emergency c-section I didn’t want to tell anyone. I just felt like it was a waste to get everyone excited. It wasn’t until I held her that I no longer felt like I was going to lose her.

    • Anxiety

    Even now I have a problem with this but I am extremely anxious about her safety. I remember my mom having to sit me down and tell me, ‘you have to calm down, everything is going to be okay’. When I wanted to print out packets of 15+ rules for everyone visiting and seeing Noah at the hospital.  I would panic myself, thinking of every possible thing that could happen to her.  Even now I have to stop myself from constantly worrying.

    Having An Infant After Miscarriage

    • Relief

    It wasn’t until I first held her that I finally could breath. After 9 months of anxiety, depression, guilt and worry it was over. I had my healthy little girl.

    • Helicopter Parenting

    My bad habit is that I am constantly hovering over her now. I am always worried about her health. I have only been away from her a hand full of times and she’s 7 months old. I am consciously trying to fix this bad habit. I get overly anxious now, I lost a baby before and now I have that fear still stuck in the back of my mind.

    • Strict Safety Rules

    Another issue I have that I blame on my miscarriage is how strict I am with caregivers. I go back to that anxious helicopter parenting, I forced my husband to learn infant CPR (I was previously certified) and I do not let her be alone with anyone who is not CPR and first aid trained. I take her to my gym’s daycare when I workout and even there I made sure of their credentials and even made sure they had security cameras in the room and asked about their security protocols about child pick-ups and drop-offs. I blame this on the 9 months of anxiety I had during my pregnancy. 

    • Feelings of Being in Debt to Your Child

    I still hold a lot of guilt about the attachment and bonding issues I had with her during pregnancy, so now I feel like I still owe her because of the issues that I had while carrying her. Being a psychology major I’ve learned about how so much can impact your child in the womb so I feel as if maybe I hurt her by not giving her the attention she needed while developing. I know that my feelings and attitude has not harmed her, I have to remind myself everyday since she is excelling now and we have a very strong attachment but I cannot help but harbor guilt.

    • Feelings of Not Being Good Enough

    I want to be the perfect mom, I want to be the perfect mom for my angel baby and my rainbow baby. This often times puts a lot of pressure on me. It stresses me out when I feel that I can’t leave her at home to go watch a movie because I don’t want to upset her. I also put a lot of stress on her daily schedule and development, it seems a lot of times my life is revolved around her, like I no longer have my own identity because I’m obsessed about everything she does or wants. I take this back to my feelings of guilt and being in debt to her, because of those I always feel like I am not doing good enough for her. 

    • A Bond Like No Other.

    With everything that I’ve been through and the life changing and sometimes ugly journey that Noah and I have had together, I cannot imagine a bond stronger than ours. She’s my everything, she’s my hope that life gets better, she’s my reason I found God, she makes me try every day to be a better person. She was a part of me as I went through the journey of having a child after miscarriage, she is the only person that has been a part of my emotions and journey through every single strep. The only person that could feel my anxieties as I stressed at 6 months pregnant, the only one that knew my sadness at 2 am as I cried. She is the only person that was able to wipe my tears and give me hope.

    Final Comments

    Having a child after pregnancy is difficult. At times I felt like it was torture. It will test your strength, but it will show you how resilient you really are. It will hurt, but it will show you how tough you are and what you can really endure. It is scary, but it is so life changing.

    If you are having a child or just had one after a miscarriage please know that your emotions are valid. Although at times you may see yourself as a villain for having those reactions and emotions, many women in your shoes have similar experiences. You are not alone.

    If you can carry anything with you from this post, know that it gets better. 

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

                            -Jeremiah 29:11

    Please leave me some comments! What have your experiences been? What are some words of hope or advice you can give those carrying a rainbow baby? Do you have any questions?

    Psychology Inspired Baby Names

    I was so pleased to see all the attention my original girl/boy name posts got! So for this week’s ‘Weekday Easy Read’ I wanted to challenge my creativity and also touch up my knowledge on some of psychology’s most well known psychologists!

    • Sigmund/ Iggie/Gigi/ Rue/ Figgie/ Feylin

    Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neuroscientist who is now considered one of the most well known psychologists out there. He is called the father of psychoanalysis. There is a lot of controversy about his work but it paved the way for psychology on consciousness and psychoanalysis. Many people who have never even taken a psychology class may know him for his coined terms, ‘The Freudian Slip’ and the ‘Oedipus/ Electra Complex’.

    His more famous works are on the unconscious mind (id, ego, superego), defense mechanisms, and dream analysis.

    • Brueus (Brew-Us)/ Brue/ Rue/ Rueus/ Ruine/ Rune

    BF Skinner is an American behavioral psychologist. His most famous work was on Operant Conditioning. Operant conditioning is about learning or training based off rewards or punishment. Most people who have children have probably heard the term ‘positive reinforcement’ his study has paved the way for modern parenting/ behavioral training in children.

    He is one reason why parenting experts now suggest rewarding good behavior (sharing your toys) rather than punishing bad behavior (not sharing your toys).

    • Pavynn (pave-in), Lov, Paley, Ivlynn, Ivy/Pavlynn/ Ivyn

    Ivan Pavlov is a controversial Russian psychologist. He created Classical Conditioning with the help of his dogs. He created a study where he found that a conditioned stimulus like a bell could make a dog salivate just like an unconditioned stimulus like dog food. His experiments and findings have helped the field of behaviorism and also improved the way we train and teach.

    We see classical conditioning all the time. For instance in dog trainers who use clickers. they click when the dog has done a good job or listened to them then later reward them with a treat. The dog trainer was able to substitute giving the dog a treat every time it listened with a noise.

    I attracted a funny clip from the office to help explain!

    • Maslow/ Maslynn/ Mazlynn/ Maze/ Maslie/ Mazley

    Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist whose most famous work is ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’. This is created as a pyramid and states that you as a human cannot go on to the next tier until you have first obtained the tier of needs below. It goes, the bottom (and first) is physiological needs, you cannot do anything until you have obtained food, water, rest and such. Next tier is safety, once your basic needs are met you can worry about safety and security. Third is belonging and love needs, once you’ve obtained food and safety you can worry about relationships. Then is self-esteem, when you have a relationships and love you can obtain a self-esteem. The top of the pyramid is self-actualization.

    To further explain, a person cannot worry about safety if they are starving this is why people say ‘a dying man is the most dangerous’ or why a person would steal (risk safety) in order to get food. Also why someone who is homeless/ in a dangerous area (safety and security) might not worry about developing relationships.

    This pyramid is often taught to caregivers and those working with kids to better understand a child’s motivations. For example, if a child only cares about lunch time and not their school work or socializing its a good indication that this child’s physiological needs of food/water are not being met. Or often times how abused children do not socialize, a child whose safety and security has not been accomplished will not move on to socialization.

    • Adler/ Adlynn/ Adlee/ Adlo/ Alfie

    Alfred Adler was an Austrian psychotherapist who focused on personality, He the founder of individual psychology and famously known for his studies on the inferiority complex.

    He believed inferiority affects everyone and we must find a holistic and goal setting approach. Alderian therapy finds what a person’s feelings of inferiority are and creates positive, short-term and goal oriented therapy to help teach a person how to ‘fit in’ and also accept their differences.

    • Stanley/ Millie/ Tally/ Raleigh/ Amlynn 

    Stanley Milgram is another controversial American psychologist. He is known for his experiment on obedience called the ‘Milgram Experiment’. Milgram created this study in response to world war two criminals saying their acts were due only to ‘obedience’.

    The experiment was created where an actor would play as a role of authority and pressure participants to ‘harm’ a stranger using electricity. There was no actual victim, only a recorded voice of a man pleading for them to stop harming him. The participants did not know there was no man behind the wall and 65% electrocuted this ‘person’ to the highest volts. This caused unimaginable guilt and trauma to the participants who thought they had killed and man and discovered how obedient they were to a stranger in a lab coat pressuring them to harm someone.

    • Harlow/ Harlee/ Harlynn/Harlen/ Haryn (hair-in)

    Harry Harlow was an American psychologist famously known for his animal experiments on attachment and maternal deprivation. Harlow made strides in our understanding of infant needs and love when he set up an experiment with baby monkeys. He provided two ‘maternal figures’. One was just a metal monkey with a bottle the other was a furry warm monkey. This experiment showed that the infant clung to the monkey with warmth and fur and only visited the wire monkey with food only when hungry. This taught us how important is was in infancy for babies to receive love and touch. In the case of these infant monkeys they valued being held more than the figure feeding it.

    • Aynslie/ Ainsley/ Aidey/ Ary/ Arrie/ Amarrie

    Mary Ainsworth is one of the few famous woman psychologists and her findings and experiments are still used today to determine a child’s attachments to a caregiver. Most people working with children have probably heard about these findings.

    You may have heard her experiment called, ‘Strange Situation’. In order to find out how attachment worked she would have a child and their mother in a play room. Once the child got settled in, a stranger would join them and the mother left. Then the mother would come back in, then the stranger and mom would both leave, leaving baby completely alone. This experiment showed how attached a child was to their mother based on how they reacted when the mother was gone and when she came back in the room. It also showed how neglect/ abuse/ or absent parenting affected a child’s attachment to their caregiver.

    The term ‘secure attachment’ maybe another term people are familiar with even if they have never heard of Ainsworth or taken a child psychology course.

    I really hope you enjoyed the psychology inspired baby names or got to learn some interesting facts on some of psychology’s most famous people!

    Leave me some comments! Did you come up with your own psychology inspired names? Any of these names jump out? Want to challenge me to another baby name inspired topic?

    Unique Names for Your Baby Girl

    As a writer and a mother planning to build my family I am obsessed with names.

    Here is my personal list of favorite baby girl names that I have carried with me since I was young and have added to it over the years! I hope these are names that you haven’t seen on other ‘baby names list’.

    • Jonah

    Nicknames- Joey, jo-jo

    I really enjoy this one, for me this name carries some femininity to it. Traditionally a “boy name” but I would love to see a little girl named Jonah.

    • Evangeline

    Nicknames- Eve, Evie, Gigi, Van, Angel, Ann, Vannah.

    Greek for ‘bringer of good news’. I think this name is so angelic.

    • Nona

    How cute is this little name? This name is actually very old , so you will not see many people (including grandparents) with this name.

    • Leeland

    Nicknames- Lee, Lanie, Lane.

    This name has never been on the top 1000 list for most popular baby names. Traditionally a “boy name” but this would also be precious for a little girl.

    • Nova

    A great name for your astronomical, out-of-this world girl.

    • Copelynn

    Nicknames- Cope, Lynn, Coco

    Another name that is not common.

    • Susie

    A cute little name. A nickname from an older name (Susan) but I’ve never heard any one (old or young) named Susie.

    • River Sage

    I love this name, I think it’s so cool. Very outdoorsy and great for nature loving parents.

    • Dalliah  (Doll-Le-ah)

    Nicknames- Doll, Dolly, Leah

    What better name for your doll baby?

    • Juniper

    Nicknames- June, Piper

    A name straight from nature.

    • Marlowe

    Nicknames-Mars, Arlo, May

    • Marnie

    Nicknames- Arrie, Arnie, Mars

    • Serephina (Sar-a-fe-nah)

    Nicknames- Sera, Riri, Fefe

    I love how dainty this one is, I imagine a little fairy named seraphina.

    • Lylo (lie-lo)

    Another short and sweet name.

    • Lilliana

    Nicknames- Lily, Ana,

    Another dainty, feminine name I love!

    • Leilani

    Nicknames- Lee, Lane, Lani, Annie

    • Rorilynn

    Nicknames- Rory, Riri, Lynn

    A girlie twist on the boys name Rory.

    • Rosalee

    Nicknames- Rose, Lee, Rosie

    • Rosell (Roe-sell)

    Nicknames- Rose, Ellie

    Girly twist for the name Roswell.

    • Faryn

    Nicknames- Fairy, Ryn

    An absolute favorite of mine, I’m holding this one for my next girl.

    • Ronnah

    Nicknames- Rue, Nona

    • Rhazlynn

    Nicknames- Ray, Azlyn, Anzlie, Lynn.

    • Noam

    Inspired by Noam Chomsky the founder of cognitive science.

    • Arrie

    Another simple but sweet name for a little sweet girl.

    As a little girl I was sometimes called Ari, I really loved that nickname and thought it would be a cute name in itself.

    • Aries

    Nicknames- Ari, Rhy, Rhi, Riri

    A twist from the name Ares, the Greek god of war. Great for the strong, fiery little girl in your life

    Comment and add your favorite unique girl names!

    How To Survive College With A Baby.

    My junior year of college when my husband and I found out we were expecting our Noah right before my senior year, we made the decision that this was not going to change my graduation date. With Vern being the only provider in the family and now having a child on the way we knew that I needed to graduate on time and get my big kid job as soon as possible.

    Noah was a July baby so I was very lucky that she wasn’t due during school and I had a whole month before school started so that I could heal and bond with her. As the school year started I began to prepare for how I could handle my last two semesters as a mother. Unfortunately there was not a ton of blogs or websites discussing how to juggle school and a baby, when trying to find advice from the few school moms I did know, they were not able to give me much advice because their children were all school-aged so they were able to do school work while their kids were in school.

    After 2 months of crying, losing hair due to anxiety, feeling like this was impossible, Noah and I finally found our rhythm. I am now in my last semester of school and I have no problems getting my assignments in on time. It is hard work, a lot harder than before when I did not have a child but it is possible. I hope for my college parents reading this or those school parents expecting a child , my experiences can help you so that you do not have to make the same mistakes as me.

    Here is my list of advice for all my college students with babies.

    •  Schedule Schedule Schedule

    The first few weeks of college with an infant was a nightmare. It was because I wanted Noah to work around MY schedule. As a previous student with no children I did my readings and assignments whenever I felt like it. I did not crack my books open at any specific time of the day, usually just whenever I felt like it. With a baby that is impossible, sometimes when you’re ready to study your baby wants to eat, or be cuddled or play. I had to learn to study any time she was asleep, content, or with another family member.

    Children thrive on schedules. This semester we have a very specific daily schedule now that she is over 6 months old. We wake up at 9am, have breakfast, go to the gym, lunch, bath and at 1pm she is out for her nap. I have 2-3 hours to do school work. I also have my dad come over and watch her once a week so I can do more homework, and once my husband comes home I do any other reading/assignments that are left. 

    • Create a weekly assignment sheet. 

    Before I had a child I kept a pretty relaxed planner. I jotted things down every now and then, and waited until the last minute to do my assignments. It wasn’t the best way to student but I mean, it got the job done. Once I had Noah, within the first week of school I somehow was already behind in my assignments. What I do now (and have not submitted any late assignments since) is I print out weekly assignment sheets. For that week I write down every assignment I have and what day they are due. Every morning I look at what all I have to do or read, once I do it I highlight or mark it off. It’s been a great way for me to complete all my assignments and even get a head of my classes. It also helps when Noah might be fussy or hard that day, I can see what absolutely has to get done that day and what can be pushed to later that night or tomorrow to do in order to take care of her.

    • Create a study area.

    Find a place in your house to dedicate to studying. It can be an extra room, your dinning room table, or even a corner of your living room. Having a study area is very important. When you have a designated area for a certain activity it helps put you in the mindset to do what you normally do there. It is why it is not recommended to study in bed, because you can associate your bed with worrying and stress rather than peace and rest. Another example is how you may not even be hungry but if you find yourself in the kitchen you want to snack. Finding a specific area to study will help you stay focused, it can also give you an organized area to keep all your books and paperwork.

    I am lucky enough to have an extra room in my house, I have a table and couch set up and I keep all my school work and crafts in there. I also have a sleeper in there for Noah. As soon as I go into my room I am ready to work and Noah sleeps easy in there because she also knows that when I take her into this room it’s nap time for her.

    • Consider online classes.

    Before Noah, I always was a traditional student, I did all my classes at my college’s main campus and even lived in the dorms my first year of college. Once Vern and I found out we were pregnant we moved to my hometown where my family was and my college had a small satellite campus there which was great. I switched most my classes online but I still take a few in-class lectures when I cannot pass up an interesting class. Online classes have helped me so much, I am able to stay with Noah all day which helps with my new mother separation anxiety and it saves money with not having to afford daycare. Online requires more work and a lot more assignments but for me the trade off was well worth it. I actually feel like I am learning more in online classes because you have to do some self-teaching in them and focus more due to the many more assignments. To be an online student it takes a lot of self discipline, scheduling and organization but as a new parent it may be helpful.

    This semester I take one in-class lecture, once a week, and last semester I took two. Since I am not on the main campus there are usually at most 15 students in these satellite campus classes. The past two semesters I take Noah to classes with me. No one seems to mind, I prepare by taking everything I need to keep her entertained and on the rare occasion she is fussy I stand in the back of the room and bounce/rock her till she falls asleep. I have yet to have a professor or student upset at me, most are happy that I am not letting motherhood prevent me from an education. I stay respectful though, if rocking and bouncing does not quiet her down I immediately take her outside where I let her fight sleep as loudly as she wants.

    My arsenal that I include for my classes are- my laptop to play ‘visual stimulation videos’, feeding scarf to breastfeed, her doll, a teething toy, blankets to wrap her in or lay on the floor so she can sit by herself and then her normal diaper bag.

    In my class this semester I am the only student there, it is an e-presence class meaning I essentially live video steam the main campus class on a big TV and watch the lecture. In that class I actually take her pack-and-play. She can play and be as loud as she wants and we are not bothering anyone!  

    • Ask for help.

    As new parents we all wear that chip on our shoulder, we want to look like capable, independent parents that are conquering this whole parenting thing. Well, before you crash and burn, brush that chip right off of there

    Asking for help and letting people give you a hand will give you the best chances with school. If your friends asks to come see the baby (if you and your child are okay with it) say sure, I need to do some homework anyways. Let them play and cuddle the baby as you do work. When I have a friend or family member come over I put them to work, they are happy to help and I cram as much work as I can while they are there. No one complains about it since they get the baby all to themselves.

    Once or twice a week I even take Noah to her grandparents house and I take my laptop with us. They play with her and hang out while I sit in their dinning room and do some school work.

    I know sometimes it is hard to ask for help, but trust me, it will dramatically change how you do school when you have people come over to lend a hand. If you don’t have any friends or family to help and you have a little extra cash to spend consider hiring a babysitter that can hang out with your child in the living room while you do school work somewhere else in the house. Since you’re in the house you can still keep an eye on your child, feed them (if breastfeeding), or if you’re just an over protective parent like me it takes the stress away from having to put them in a day care or being away from them. Since you’re in the house and can still feed them, change diapers, and handle any emergencies so you won’t be expected to pay as much for a babysitter that you just drop the kids off to and leave.

    • Know you and baby are a team.

    Being in school with a baby is hard. Sometimes it may feel like your child is purposely sabotaging you; sleeping well until you begin a timed quiz, being content alone with their toys until you open a book, refusing to eat until you start an assignment and then all of a sudden they are just withering away with hunger. It can get frustrating but you cannot ignore or lose your temper with your child.

    I remember the first few months of school with a baby I would just break down and cry. I was so overwhelmed and if I could not do homework the minute the I wanted too I would want to give up. It wasn’t till I really focused on who I was doing this for until I began to improve in school. I was doing all of this for her, during pregnancy it was all for her, even before my husband and I started the conversation of kids it was for her. I wanted a degree so I could give myself and my children the best I could in life. After that Noah and I became a team.

    She was not an obstacle in my way to a degree but my cheerleader.

    When she was awake (as an infant) I would read my school books out loud to her. She didn’t care that I was reading about birth order in children affecting their personality or about the developmental delays children that are exposed to prenatal neglect face , she cared that I was including her. I also would talk to her about what all we had to do that day, what assignments I had to get done, what time her mamaw was coming over, how when daddy got home I was going to hit the books hard. Of course she didn’t understand a word I was saying but discussing school with her helped me stay motivated and it helped her language development by me constantly talking to her. Now that she is over 6 months old I will set her up a big play area in the living room and sit down beside her with my books while shes playing, since I’m right beside her it typically doesn’t bother her that I’m reading.

    I still use the trick of talking to her about my work and assignments if she is demanding attention and I really needed to do some homework. By talking to her about what all I am needing to do today it helps keep me in the mindset to do school work as soon as I am able to sit her down rather than lose my motivation to study once she has went to sleep.

    Do not finish school in spite of having a child, finish school because you had a child.

    • Know that it is not impossible.

    It will be hard, it will be stressful, it will be incomparable to any semester you have done before kids. With dedication, and you working with your child rather than against, you can get this degree. It is difficult but so rewarding. It will bond you and your child in unimaginable ways, and they will be your inspiration and motivation to stay up late after bed time to study and wake up before they do to hit the books. You are not alone, if you set your mind to it, you will finish school.

    I hope this advice that I live by was able to help and prepare you for school with a baby.

    Leave me some comments! What do you think? Have you tried any of these tactics with your child? Do you have any additional advice or tips for college parents? What was your experience with being a parent in college?