I haven’t done as many blogs on parenting as I have on marriage and life for a few reasons. One, I feel like I have to know everything before I give “advice” on a topic. Two, I still feel like I’m just keeping above the surface of the waters at times. Parenting is messy and it’s hard to make myself stop treading the waters and just enjoy the swim.

However, at 11 months, there are a lot of things that are working well for us as parents. And I spend quite a bit of my time reading about other mom’s experiences and I find it comforting/amusing. So with Olson turning one, I thought I’d just type up a few things that have saved us our sanity and made parenting easier. Cause let’s be honest. You don’t get to decide what kind of baby you have and what methods will and will not work. You’re really finding out what works best for YOU as a parent. YOU are the one who wants sleep, so how are you going to get it? YOU are the one who has a schedule to keep and plans to make.

General Things

1- We read Baby Wise to schedule his sleep. Started at around 6 weeks and it worked well for us. He was in his crib and sleeping on his own by 2 months. I know there’s like a whole thing about “crying it out” and there’s scientific evidence of stress and trust issues, etc. But as a mom, you know a cry that needs attention. If Olson was fussing for a few minutes before he fell asleep, we let him. If he was making himself sick or crying/screaming really hard for 30 minutes or more, I would go get him and comfort him or nurse him.

2- We have kept toys minimal. Olson loves playing with my car keys and magazine papers. He got bored with toys super quick and we thought it unnecessary to keep restocking when all he wanted to do was shred cotton balls to pieces. Like, ok, problem solved. I also think baby toys are obnoxious and visually overwhelming for babies. Simplicity Parenting reinforced our intuitions when it came to wanting a low-key happy baby.

3- Baby food. Uggggh. It was really hard for me to accept that Olson just didn’t get as excited about squash as he did blueberries. But whatever. If I could go back and redo it, I would just feed him whatever (as close to its natural form as possible), be it fruits or veggies and just persistently try new things even after he spits them out. And not worry so much about him being obsessed with vegetables. Especially since he eats pretty much anything now.

Things I couldn’t live without:

1- Our ergobaby carrier – There are many designs of this. The one we have is here. Ours is super simple and I know there are some out there that can hold the baby in like 20 positions. But this one is so easy to put on and we’ve taken Olson hiking, to the grocery store, to church, to mow the front lawn for goodness sake, in that thing and it’s been perfect. The other carrier that we used, lent to us by a sweet friend, was the Baby K’tan. This was best when Olson was younger. It’s soft, SO EASY to use, and I could clean the house, check the mail and actually GET THINGS DONE. I didn’t have this carrier until several weeks after Olson was born and almost went insane. Both of these carriers are obviously not cheap, but I would pay twice what I paid for the sanity and mobility it allowed me.

2- Baby board books – These were the only items that Olson would get really preoccupied with when we travel. And we’ve traveled a lot since he was born. (To Florida, North Dakota and Texas as a matter of fact). He could chew on them, turn the pages and stare at the pictures. Seriously, the kid does not care for toys. And he rips paper so board books it is.

3- Jogging stroller – My mommy friends and I love to take walks. I cannot be in the house all day. Even when I light my favorite candles, turn on my favorite music and bake muffins. Like, I need to get away and get some fresh air. Our Chicco jogging stroller has been so perfect. His Chicco keyfit car seat pops right into it. And I’ve seen friends take walks with me without a jogging stroller and the ride for their kiddo is significantly bumpier. It folds up easy and has plenty of space below.

4- Milk Snob – Okay, Olson hated nursing under any kind of cloth. And I’m all for mothers comfortably feeding their babies, but I am not the type to risk a nip slip in public. So I spent a lot of time nursing in cars. My sister got this cover for me for Mother’s Day I believe so Olson was like several months old, BUT it is the only cover that he likes AND it doubles as a blanket, car seat cover and high chair cover AND shopping cart cover. Its use for nursing alone has been spectacular. Plus they are so soft and come in the cutest prints.

5- A carrot – Yes, like Roger the Rabbit’s favorite snack. I peel them and cut them into long skinny chunks and Olson gnaws on it like, ya know, a bunny. It’s been great for teething and now that he has teeth he can actually bite off little chunks so there’s a bit of a reward. He never really cared for teething toys. But give him a carrot? YES PLEASE.

I know a lot of mommies are super opinionated about what they do for their babies, because they love their babies and have strong convictions about how to love them. However, this is not a post to influence anyone’s parenting, but rather some new (or old) ideas for new parents and some super intriguing insight into our oh-so-fabulous parenting life.

Have a lovely night friends!