Author Archives: Sundi

The Mommy’s Guide to Tandem Nursing: Everything You Need to Be Successful

mums_tandem

Tandem nursing is nursing two babies at the same time, and it’s not a path that I set out on.  It began while I was pregnant with my second child.  I continued to nurse my baby throughout the entire pregnancy, much to the chagrin of older relatives who felt that I was robbing my unborn baby of nutrients.  I talked it over with a nurse, and she said that it was fine for me to continue nursing my baby while pregnant.  As with any pregnancy, it was important to stay hydrated, eat well, rest, and take good care of my overall health.

With my first set of children I assumed that I would stop nursing once my new little one arrived.  But after coming home from the hospital and getting settled in with my new baby, the reality was that I couldn’t fathom making my almost one year old stop nursing.  He reached for me to nurse him, especially when he saw me nursing his baby sister.  So, I figured I would let him nurse after the baby was completely finished.  It ended up being around three times a day.  In the mornings, before nap time, and before bedtime were our times to nurse and I enjoyed having that special bonding time with my little toddler.

Here’s what I learned from my experience.

Tandem Nursing Pros:

  •  You can still enjoy a nursing relationship with your toddler.
  • It can help the toddler adjust to his/her new sibling.
  • Your nursing toddler can help increase milk production in the early weeks with an infant.
  • Your nursing toddler can help combat breast engorgement in the early weeks as well.

Tandem Nursing Cons:

  • While pregnant, your milk production might go down.  If you have an exclusively breastfed baby while pregnant, you may have to supplement with formula.  I had to do this with my third child while pregnant with my fourth.
  • Both children wanting to be nursed at the same time.  You can choose to nurse them at the same time or teach your older one to wait patiently.

Here were some guidelines that I went by while tandem nursing.  I didn’t nurse them at the same time when the infant was small.  After around 5 or six months I would nurse them together if I had to.

Infant (0-4 months old) and toddler:
-Always feed the baby first.
-Feed the baby by him/herself in your lap
-Afterwards, offer a feed to the toddler if he/she requests.
-Some mothers then return the infant to the breast after the toddler nurses to get any remaining hind milk.

Baby (6-12 month) and toddler:
-Always feed the baby first.
-If the toddler is clamoring to nurse you can put the toddler on the side that the infant just finished while nursing both.

It’s important to feed the baby first to make sure the baby is full, and then allow the toddler.  But, I would occasionally nurse my children together first thing in the morning if they both woke at the same time and were crying to be nursed.   I usually nurse my youngest two together as soon as I get home from work, because they are both crying to be nursed.

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Tandem Nursing Positioning:

  •  Baby across your lap.  Toddler on the side- similar to the football cradling of infants.  Simply support the toddler’s head or back.
  • Both in the football hold, infant on one side of your body.  Toddler on other side of your body.
  • Double cradle- both children in your lap.  The baby’s legs can rest upon the toddler’s legs.

For extra support:
Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond by Hilary Flower

Ladies, have you ever done tandem nursing? Share your tips, advice and experience!

Sundi is a mom of four who lives with her husband outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Does Planning for Stay-At-Home Motherhood Begin… In College?

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I recently read the book, 7 Myths of Working Mothers by Suzanne Venker, and I thought it was a thought-provoking read. She contends that most careers are just not accommodating to mothers who really want to spend time with their children.

But the idea that struck me most is the reason why many women — who want to be stay-at-home-mothers — end up working is because they didn’t plan for motherhood. Women who know they want to stay at home with their children need to be encouraged to actually plan for motherhood soon after college.

This made me think about my own choices, and those of many of my friends. A lot of times we have children that we have not particularly planned for or, at least, didn’t plan wisely for. So if we want to stay home, we either struggle financially or end up working outside the home.

I think it’s a good idea for young women with homemaking ambitions to think about and actively plan for the time they will be out of the workforce or working from home with young children.  Nothing is guaranteed, of course.  But imagine if a young woman spent the first five years or so post college working and saving and investing money precisely for the time when she will be a stay-at-home mother?

A woman could also focus on growing a home business that, in the future, could support her family while she stays home with the children. What better time to devote the endless hours needed to get a side business going than when you are single and/or childless? 

I only have one friend who followed Suzanne Venker’s advice.  She married right after college and worked for about five or six years in a successful job while actively saving money towards her future life as a stay-at-home mom. That is not the norm.

I often think about the time before I had children, and all the free time I had that I wish I’d devoted to developing a home business.  Of course, it’s never too late to do anything, but a woman’s single years allow her the most freedom to do what she wants.

Women who are single and/or childless, and desire to be stay-at-home mothers, should be encouraged to use this time now, while they have it, to pursue whatever dreams they have, and save and invest their money for the future.  It seems like common sense, but quite a few women don’t actually do this.  They’re living in the now, which is easy to do.

This advice also applies to women who want to stay in the work force and pursue careers after having children.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a nest egg already in place, and a life that is set up to support any decision she makes regarding work and kids. Planning can make all the difference between having the choice to do what you want to do versus doing what you have to do.

Here are 3 points from Venker’s book that are worth considering;

 1.  Choose a career that works well with motherhood
This includes careers that offer flexible schedules, options to work from home, don’t require a lot of traveling, and don’t require working long, demanding hours.

2. Plan to live near your parents or siblings.
Venker asserts that many women find that they do not want to raise a family with no family of their own nearby.  Having family support helps mothers combat feelings of isolation, provides respite so they can refresh and recharge, and provides overall support in undertaking the huge responsibility of motherhood.

3. Be responsible with your finances before motherhood
Financial mistakes made prior to having children can determine whether you will be able to stay home with your children or not.  Women should save and invest money, decline buying a house that requires two incomes, refuse to acquire a lot of debt, and possibly delay motherhood until finances are truly in order.

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Did you plan for motherhood? Why or why not? Do you wish you had? Share your experiences!

28 Books That Affirm Black Boys

I love reading all kinds of stories to my children, but I especially love reading books that feature African American characters, because I know that it affirms them.  I previously wrote about books that affirm African American girls that I love to read to my daughter.  Now, I would like to share some books that I have read to my son that he really enjoys, as well as books that I plan on reading with him as he gets older.  These books feature African American boys as the main character, and include some historical figures, but mainly are stories about every day happenings that boys are sure to enjoy!  What better way to begin fostering a young boy’s love of reading than reading stories that he can relate to, with the added bonus of having characters that are a reflection of him.

Preschool age group (2-5):

                                     

  • Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson
  • Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  • Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim
  • When I Am Old With You by Angela Johnson
  • A Beach Tail by Karen Williams
  • Max and the Tag Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
  • A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown/illustrated by Floyd Cooper
  •  
    Age 4-7

                                  

  • Windflyers by Angela Johnson
  • Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
  • You Can Do It by Tony Dungy
  • Brothers of the Night by Debbie Allen
  • Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolen
  • Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life by Jerdine Nolen/Kadir Nelson
  • Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty
  • Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson
  • Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
  •  
    Age 8-12

                                      

  • Barber Game Time Books by Tiki and Ronde Barber
  • Static Shock series- chapter books by Tracey West.  Adapted from the comic series by Scott McDaniel.
  • STAT: Standing Tall and Talented series by Amare Stoudemire
  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabbazz
  • Kid Caramel series by Dwayne Ferguson
  • Clubhouse Mysteries series by Sharon Draper
  • Julian series by Ann Cameron
  • Miami Jackson series by Patricia McKissack
  • The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill
  • Donovan’s Word Jar and Donovan’s Double Trouble by Monalisa DeGross
  • Ladies, what books would you add to this list? What do you read to your sons?

    28 Books That Affirm Black Boys

    I love reading all kinds of stories to my children, but I especially love reading books that feature African American characters, because I know that it affirms them.  I previously wrote about books that affirm African American girls that I love to read to my daughter.  Now, I would like to share some books that I have read to my son that he really enjoys, as well as books that I plan on reading with him as he gets older.  These books feature African American boys as the main character, and include some historical figures, but mainly are stories about every day happenings that boys are sure to enjoy!  What better way to begin fostering a young boy’s love of reading than reading stories that he can relate to, with the added bonus of having characters that are a reflection of him.

    Preschool age group (2-5):

                                         

  • Daddy Calls Me Man by Angela Johnson
  • Bippity Bop Barbershop by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
  • Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Whose Knees are These? by Jabari Asim
  • When I Am Old With You by Angela Johnson
  • A Beach Tail by Karen Williams
  • Max and the Tag Along Moon by Floyd Cooper
  • A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown/illustrated by Floyd Cooper
  •  
    Age 4-7

                                  

  • Windflyers by Angela Johnson
  • Salt in His Shoes by Deloris Jordan
  • You Can Do It by Tony Dungy
  • Brothers of the Night by Debbie Allen
  • Big Jabe by Jerdine Nolen
  • Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life by Jerdine Nolen/Kadir Nelson
  • Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me by Daniel Beaty
  • Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson
  • Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
  •  
    Age 8-12

                                      

  • Barber Game Time Books by Tiki and Ronde Barber
  • Static Shock series- chapter books by Tracey West.  Adapted from the comic series by Scott McDaniel.
  • STAT: Standing Tall and Talented series by Amare Stoudemire
  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabbazz
  • Kid Caramel series by Dwayne Ferguson
  • Clubhouse Mysteries series by Sharon Draper
  • Julian series by Ann Cameron
  • Miami Jackson series by Patricia McKissack
  • The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill
  • Donovan’s Word Jar and Donovan’s Double Trouble by Monalisa DeGross
  • Ladies, what books would you add to this list? What do you read to your sons?

    12 Pieces of Art and Decor that Affirm Brown Girls

    We’ve already covered dolls, and books and TV shows, now we’ve compiled a list of art and room decor that affirms brown girls. Check it out:

    It’s always fun decorating a room for our little girls that reflects their personality.  Here are some ideas to infuse inspirational images of African American girls in your daughter’s room décor.

    Bedding:
    1. Hillcrest Ethnic Ballerina bedding– sheets and bedspread featuring African American ballerinas.

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    2. KidFlava Sweet Dreams Twin Bedding– features adorable sleeping African American girls.

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    3. Ballet Class Twin Quilt with Pillow Sham– features African American ballerinas.

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    Room Décor:
    Artwork that features African American girls, such as by artists like Consuelo Gamboa, Melinda Byers, MC Wrey, and Hulis Mavruk are great additions to a living room or little girl’s bedroom.

    4. Consuelo Gamboa

    Curiosity

    Curiosity

    5. – 7. Melinda Byers

    Girl with Parasol

    Girl with Parasol

    Sisters Bible Study

    Sisters Bible Study

    Bedtime Blessings

    Bedtime Blessings

    8. M.C. Wrey

    My Precious

    My Precious

    9. Hulis Mavruk

    Precious Moment

    Precious Moment

    Miscellaneous:

    10. Uzuri Kid Kidz– stationery, party supplies, and shirts that feature an African American princess, ballerina, fairy pixie and more.

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    11. Pincurl Girls– features African American girls on calendars, wall decals, mugs, stationery, and other products, along with a positive, inspirational slogan.

    12. Jewelry Box–  Pottery Barn Kids has a jewelry box that comes in pink or white and you have the option to choose an African American ballerina.

    These are just a few items that can add a touch of multicultural beauty to your daughter’s room. What would you add to the list?

    8 Dolls That Affirm Brown Girls

    We recently discussed books, movies and TV shows that affirm brown girls. Now we’re moving on to dolls! Check it out;

    American Girl Dolls
    Addy is African American with dark hair and eyes.
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    Cecile is from New Orleans, and has brown skin, green eyes, and curly brown hair.
    cecile

    Heart 4 Hearts dolls
    Rahel is from Ethiopia and has curly, natural hair.
    Rahel-Hearts-4-Hearts-girls

    Nahji is from India and has brown skin, straight dark hair.
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    Consuelo is from Mexico.
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    Rahel is perfect for showcasing natural curls, but any of the dolls are great to own. They can be found at Target or purchased online.

    Wal-Mart’s My Life dolls
    My daughter has a Ballerina one with beautiful, soft, curly hair. She is so adorable. There are several of these African American dolls.
    ballerina

    Target’s Our Generation Dolls
    Abrianna is the African American doll.
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    Alejandra is the Hispanic doll.
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    Of course there are also African American Barbie Dolls and little sister Chelsea dolls, as well as Princess Tiana dolls. It’s not hard to find a cute African American doll for our daughters these days, and that’s great.

    Ladies, what would you add to this list? Please share!

    Sundi is a mom of four who lives with her husband outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

    20 Books, Movies and TV Shows that Affirm Brown Girls

    By Sundi

    When I was in college I remember seeing the study where young African American girls had to choose between a black doll and a white doll and point to which one was good and which one was bad.  The girls routinely chose the black doll as bad and the white doll as good.  It really saddened me to see this, but it wasn’t totally surprising.  If African American girls do not see positive images of themselves on screen or in books, and they only see Caucasian girls or dolls as the standard of beauty and positive behavior, then they will begin to make those associations.

    I knew that when I had daughters I wanted to make sure that they were continuously presented with positive images of brown girls that mirrored them.  It may seem superficial to do so, but I think it’s extremely important to make sure that our daughters see reflections of themselves on television, in books, and with the toys they play with.  Doing this, along with affirming them with our own words of encouragement and knowledge sharing is important.

    Here are some movies and TV shows that are great for African American girls:

  • The Princess and the Frog
  • Super Why– Princess Presto is an African American princess.
  • Doc McStuffins
  • Polly featuring Keisha Knight Pulliam– an old classic that I absolutely love!
  • Happily Ever After: Fairytales for Every Child featuring remakes of classic fairytales.  12 Dancing Princesses, Hansel and Gretel, and Beauty and the Beast feature African American leading ladies.
  •  
    My daughter is 5, and so far, I share books that don’t talk about race directly.  Instead, I like to focus on books that feature African American little girls that look like her, but they’re doing normal things totally unrelated to race.  I’ve read most of these books to my daughter over the past few years, and she loves them.  A few I just discovered and they are wonderful.

    Pre-K to 2nd grade

  • Summer Jackson Grown Up by Theresa E. Harris
  • Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
  • Little Diva by LaChanze
  • Jump at the Sun fairytale classics such as Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Cinderella, etc., that feature African American leading ladies.
  • Please Baby Please and Please Puppy Please by Spike and Tanya Lee
  • Princess Truly and the Hungry Bunny Problem by Kelly Greenawalt
  • Dancing In the Wings by Debbie Allen
  •  
    7 to 12 years old

  • Sugar Plum Ballerinas series by Whoopi Goldberg
  • Ruby and the Booker Boys series by Derrick Barnes
  • Keena Ford books by Melissa Thomson
  • Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
  • President of the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston
  • Liberty Porter, First Daughter series by Julia DeVillers
  • Amy Hodgepodge series by Kim Wayans
  •  
    As I read, I like to point out things that are similar about the character to my daughter.  I point out how pretty the girls’ curly hair is, or how cute her braids are.  Also how kind she is being to others, or another positive character trait.  I really like to point out the positives in these brown girl characters and relate them to how she is.

    Ladies, what would you add to this list?

    Sundi is a mom of four who lives with her husband outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

    I’m a Working Mom, But I Would Rather Stay at Home: 5 Ways That I Cope

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    By Sundi

    Ever since I was a young girl, I knew that I would be a stay at home mom. I decided it when I was four years old, and I would get tearful every time I saw my mother leave for work. I thought to myself that when I have children, I would stay at home with them, because that’s what mothers should do. When my Dad worked night shifts, we would be home with him during the day, then on day shifts, we went to daycare. And I hated daycare. And, I missed my mother even when we were home. So, I just knew that I would be a stay at home mom when the time came for me to be a mother.

    I did stay at home soon after my first son was born. After a few months, I found a part time job at a school right next door to my neighborhood, and worked there, because my husband’s schedule allowed him to care for the baby while I was at work. It was a nice arrangement that lasted maybe two months or so, until my husband’s schedule unexpectedly changed. So, I quit the job and stayed home.

    Now, here I am with four children, and for the first time in six years I am a full time working mom. And, it hurts. At first it didn’t. I viewed working as a necessity since my husband was unemployed. I applied for several school librarian jobs, and I received a job offer. I thought to myself, “How can I turn a job down during this economy, when my husband doesn’t have a job?” I just didn’t have the heart to do that.

    So, I went to work. Although I love my job, I still feel that I should be home with my children, and it’s starting to get to me. In the beginning I felt really good about my decision, and enjoyed going to work, and enjoyed coming home to my family. But, now I’m struggling with the decision.

    So, what can you do to manage being a working mom, when you really want to be a stay at home mom or work part time?

    1. Excellent childcare– For any working mom, it helps to ease your mind knowing that they are in great care. Since I always hated daycare, I knew that I just would not have the heart to put my children in daycare, although they could be different from me and enjoy it. I know mothers who say that their children love daycare and look forward to going each morning. That provides a lot of comfort to a mother’s heart. Having your husband or the children’s grandparents care for them can make a world of difference. It does with me having my mother care for my children. But, still, I want to be the one there during the day.

    2. Go part time or flexible schedule– I have searched for and applied to several part time school jobs, and have not received one. The next best thing is to try to go part time or flex time in the job you are already in. Come up with a schedule that would work best for you, and pitch it to your boss and see what they say. Show them how you can still be an asset with a different schedule. That might mean working one day from home, or working 35 hours instead of 40. It’s worth a try, and all they can do is say no.

    3. Set up a financial plan to get back home– If your heart is truly set to be home or work part time, set up a time table to make that dream a reality. Start a business on the side, pay off as much debt as possible, move to a more affordable area or home, sell a car, etc. In the end, I do think it’s worth it to do what you have to do to be able to spend the time you want to with your children.

    4. Make your time at home count– Working mothers love to talk about quality time over quantity of time. And it is important to make that time count. That might mean co-sleeping with your baby to enjoy being closer, babywearing when you are home, snuggling with your children for a time of reading stories and talking about your day, going outside and playing games, allowing them to “help” you with dinner, enjoying dinner together, having Friday night movie night, devoting most of your weekend to your children and not doing other social events until after the children’s bedtime, and overall, just enjoy being with them in an unhurried way. That takes planning ahead and cooking dinners that you can quickly make or cooking on the weekends and just heat up during the week. Make cleaning and cooking things that are quick and simple to do. Otherwise you can become harried and stressed out, which interrupts the quality time that you could be spending with your little ones.

    5. Find the positive– During this season of your life, find the positives. You are helping to provide for your family; if you enjoy your work, you have time to do something that you enjoy; having a break from your children can make you appreciate your time together so much more; you may have more patience with your children, your drive to work could be part of your “me time” to listen to encouraging music, audio books, pray, or just meditate on positive things. Be sure to focus on the positives to help get you through until you can reach your goal. Just know that you can still have a strong attachment bond with your children by being a loving, engaging, and attentive mother while you are with them.

    Ladies, are any of you trying to make a transition from working to stay-at-home mom? Or are you trying to make the reverse transition (stay-at-home to working). Share your experiences.

    Sundi is a mom of four who lives with her husband outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

    10 Tips for Managing Kids Born Close Together

    family1

    By Sundi

    When I had my second child nearly a year after my first I was filled with trepidation, because I didn’t know how I was going to manage with two young children.  After a while, though, I slowly got the hang of things and while it was hard, it was doable.  When I found out I was pregnant with my fourth, I was anxious and wondered how I was going to make it.

    Being out with my children, I often receive pitying glances and remarks about how hard it must be.  I admit that it is hard work managing children who are close in age, but it can be done. Whatever number of children you have, it just becomes your new normal after a while, even though it seems miraculous to others.

    Here are some things that helped save my sanity.

    1. Keep meals, routines and activities SIMPLE. Especially in the first few months or so after welcoming a new baby.  Simple meals, simple routines, simple activities, etc., until you get into a good routine and feel comfortable.  Some mothers serve the same dinner each day of the week.  For example, baked chicken and rice on Mondays, spaghetti on Tuesdays, fish and potatoes on Wednesdays, etc.  It helps take away the stress of daily menu planning.  If you don’t have a weekly plan, be sure to know what you’re cooking for dinner by lunchtime, and even try to do a little prep work for dinner in the mornings when you have snatches of time.

    2. Get your kids on the same nap schedule.  A SANITY SAVER!! As soon as possible, try to get your little ones on the same nap schedule.  If you do nothing else, do this! Children 2 and under can have the same morning nap and afternoon nap.  My first set did this easily.  My second set was harder to synchronize, and it is very hard to go a full day with no break.  Very hard!

    3. Keep baby things easily accessible.  I love one level housing, because everything is quickly within reach.  If you have stairs in your home, make sure to have diapers, wipes, blankets, extra clothes, toys, baby seats, etc. both upstairs and downstairs.

    4. Encourage your older children to be independent.  You might be surprised by how much help your older children can provide.  My 6 and 5 year old enjoy keeping the baby entertained while I try to finish up a chore.  Even my 18 month old loves to gently push the baby swing when her baby brother begins to cry.  Teach your children to clean up after themselves, stack their dirty dishes on the counter top, unload the utensils and plastics from the dishwasher, play quietly on their own.  My children, for some reason, enjoy helping me fold laundry, and putting it away.  Even the 18 month old!  This is so important to teach, and it helps tremendously.  You can’t afford to over baby any of your children when you have several of them.

    5. Multi-task when you breastfeed. You can read a book to your children while you nurse, do puzzles, sit and enjoy a tea party, even watch a bit of TV.  In the beginning when you’re breastfeeding around the clock, it’s important to bond with your other children while you are nursing.

    6. Invest in a good double stroller. And use it wherever you go, if you leave the house.  They can be pricey, so shop around for the best price.  The thought of going out on my own with four little children petrified me at first, so I just stayed in the house until someone came, and I could take just one or two.  Not anymore.  I just pack up the double stroller, and off to the park, bookstore, mall, library or any other place.

    7. PRAY. For patience, for strength, for endurance.  Just pray.

    8. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help or allow others to help you. If someone offers to help, let them.  In the beginning when I had two children under two years old I wanted to do everything myself, not realizing that it’s OKAY to accept help whenever it was offered, and ask for it if I was nearing the end of my rope. Remember to go with the flow, and not be too hard on yourself.  This is one of many seasons in life.

    9. Save all your kid/baby stuff and keep it in good condition.  What a blessing it is that I did not give away a lot of baby clothes and baby items.  My fourth child is still using things that my first child used.  I have saved quite a bit of money by keeping things in good condition, and most of all, by just keeping it period.

    10. Try to go outside every day.  Being out in the fresh air is good for the children, and it’s good for you.  Even if it’s just a simple walk for 15 minutes.  It helps give you a sense of peace, your children can run around, and your baby will enjoy looking around at nature.  Yes, it will be a hassle rounding up everyone, and getting them ready, especially during the colder months, but it will be worth it.  Plus it helps tire them out, which makes for an easier bedtime!

    Ladies, what tips do you have for moms with kids born close together?

    Baby Love: Sundi, RJ, India, Alexa and Braydon

    family1

    Introduce yourself.
    S:
    Hello! My name is Sundi and my family and I live right outside of Atlanta, in Douglasville, GA. My husband and I have four children.

    I became a stay at home mom shortly after the birth of my oldest child 6 years ago. I was an English teacher for almost four years. While staying home with my children, I received my Master’s in school library media, and fulfilled one of my goals of becoming a school librarian. I recently went back to work full-time as a school library media specialist. I absolutely love my job, and I feel blessed to have it. I would say that the ideal situation for me would be to work part time until my youngest begins school.

    grad

    I am married.

    Tell us about your children.
    S:
    I have four children, two boys and two girls, which I always dreamed of having! R.J. is 6, India is 5, Alexa is 18 months old, and Braydon is 6 months old. My first two are a year a part, both born in September. The last two are a year a part, both born in March. No, I did not plan it that way, especially having them that close together, but I love it! My children are very outgoing, high spirited, intelligent, curious, and full of life! There is never a dull moment around them. They keep me laughing (when I’m not pulling my hair out)! My baby boy seems like he’s going to be the mellow one, which I’m keeping my fingers crossed for. I need at least one of my children to have my quiet, laid back personality!

    family3

    Tell us about your births.
    S:
    With my first child I read all about natural childbirth, and was totally prepared to birth naturally. I ended up with a C-section, and was very disappointed with that. I felt cheated out of truly experiencing birth. A part of me felt violated that I had been cut open to deliver my child, when I felt it was an unnecessary C-section, which I know doctors can be prone to perform. Since I had my daughter a year later, I went ahead with another C-section. I felt more positive about that C-section, because I knew it was coming, and was mentally prepared.

    When I was pregnant with my third child, I knew that I wanted to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean). The doctor that I went to said that she would not support that decision, and how could I live with myself if I pushed for a VBAC and possibly have a brain damaged child because of my uterus possibly rupturing. Her scare tactics did not work on me. I did my research and I decided to change doctors and find one that would support my desire for a VBAC. I found Dr. Joseph Tate, who is a VBAC supporter, and he helped me deliver my third child naturally!! I was so happy and exhausted when I finally gave birth to her. In a way that birth was healing for me, and let me know that my body could deliver a baby the way it was meant to.

    My fourth baby was born by VBAC a year later. This time I had an epidural!! I was thankful for my natural birth experience, but I did not want to go drug free EVER again! I loved that epidural. My son ended up being my biggest baby at 9 lbs, 4 oz.

    Did you breastfeed? How did you manage it?
    S:
    I have breastfed all of my children. I didn’t even stop breastfeeding while pregnant, because honestly, I felt so guilty for getting pregnant so fast that I couldn’t fathom making my children stop nursing. I tandem nursed with both sets of children. Basically I would feed the newborn, and after the baby finished, if the toddler wanted to nurse, then I would nurse the toddler. Sometimes both at the same time. Crazy, I know! But, again, I was not going to deny my toddler because I had a new baby. I have nursed my children until they were around 2 years old. So, I’m currently nursing my 6 month and 18 month old.

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    Since I’m working, I pump twice a day at work. I nurse my baby in the morning before I leave, as soon as I get home from work, in the evenings, and all weekend. Breastfeeding is more time consuming in the beginning when you have to nurse around the clock. Right now, I’m able to manage my household duties pretty well while nursing. I’m able to chat with the other children, help my son with homework, or just rest while I nurse.

    How do you balance work and motherhood? How do you carve out time for yourself?
    S:
    So far balancing work and motherhood is going well. I’ve been working almost 3 months, and it has been pretty smooth. That’s mainly because I have a great support team. My mother watches my children while I work. If I didn’t have her to care for them, I probably would have stayed at home for another two years. My evenings and weekends are basically devoted to my family, and I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy being able to get out of the house and do something that I enjoy. Again, though, I would prefer to work part time, and I’m looking into trying to work part time. I honestly feel that when you have young children, as much as possible, one parent should try to stay at home. But, I’m doing what I have to do right now, and hopefully soon, I can scale down to part time. I usually make time for myself in the evening after all the children are asleep. This doesn’t always happen, but I try.

    What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?
    S:
    My biggest challenge right now is juggling 4 children! Although I always wanted to have 4 children, I imagined that they would be spaced farther apart. I enjoy loving on my children and giving them the attention that they need, but it can be very hard to make sure to do that. I had it going well when I had three, but having four has somehow thrown me off my groove, and I’m working right now to make sure that all of my children feel included, loved, and paid attention to.

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    Who is your child-rearing support group, and how does your husband contribute to child-rearing?
    S:
    My parents, husband, parenting books, and helpful information that I find on mommy related blogs. My husband is good about affirming the children. He makes sure to build them up with positive praise, and also shows and tells them how much they are loved and adored.

    What is the most important value, ideal or philosophy that you want to impart to your children?
    S:
    I want to impart to them to try to live a life that is pleasing to God. I hope that they end up being strong Christian men and women who work hard, have careers that they enjoy, have a generous heart, treat others with kindness, and choose their spouse wisely.

    What advice would you give to a new mom?
    S:
    Enjoy your children. They are blessings. Sometimes, when the nights are hard, or the days are hard, you can forget that these little people are huge blessings from God.

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    Sundi is a new writer for Baby and Blog! Look out for more content from her in the coming weeks ?