How a mom of 4 uses Cradlewise
By Cradlewise Staff
How a mom of 4 uses Cradlewise
By Cradlewise Staff
Some would say that Lauren (33) and her husband, Justin (38), know every parenting hack there is. With the experience of raising three kids, how challenging could it be to raise their fourth angel?
Their oldest, Santiago (fondly called Santi) is six years old. Elena, their second, is four. Their third, Rafael (nicknamed Rafi) is two years old. And the newest addition to the clan, Sofia, is three months old.
Lauren’s experience with Sofia is a testament that each child is unique and has an equally unique sleep journey. And with each child, the parent also undergoes a new journey of parenthood.
Lauren shares her experience of raising her newborn Sofia with three older siblings, the importance of a village in raising a child, and how Cradlewise helps their family get better sleep.
Read on to get inspired.
Q: What were Santi, Elena, and Rafi’s sleep journeys like, and how has Sofia’s been different?
Lauren: Santi’s sleep journey was brutal. He was not a good sleeper for probably the first 15 months of his life. We got the real first-parent experience and the shock to the system. I mean, we did every sleep thing there is — the Magic Merlin sleepsuit, the Rock ‘n Play — when that was still legal…
We tried it all and he just did not like to sleep at night time or naptime. It was never consistent. Occasionally, he would sleep through the night, and then we’d hit a sleep regression or something that would lead to no sleep again.
Elena was a decent sleeper. Rafi got a little bit better. Again, we’ve tried every sleep contraption throughout the way.
But Sofia has been by far our best sleeper. It has been wonderful. It’s very fortunate with the fourth child to finally have a baby who really likes sleep! Here’s hoping that continues.
Q: How have you used Cradlewise to help your family get better sleep?
Lauren: We’ve definitely taken advantage of the auto bounce feature. That has been extremely helpful because, as you know, babies don’t always want to connect their sleep cycle.
“ And [auto-bounce] has just made all the difference: Watching her stir and maybe start to wake up on the app, you see that bounce feature come on and you see her relax. It’s really gained us extra time during naptime where I can focus on the other kids. We can keep playing or doing what we’re doing, and I don’t have to jump up to go make sure that she’s going to nap for a little bit longer.”
At night, it’s the same thing. It has been a big help with extending her sleep cycles. It’s nice for me that I can check on her so easily with the monitor. I can have her right there so I can hear her.
Particularly with the Always On feature. I love that feature. I can know that I’ll definitely hear her if she needs me because I can have that sound ‘On’ in the background of my phone. So that’s been a huge help.
Get the airplay and a choice of sound output on your Cradlewise app using the “Always On” audio monitoring mode. You can hear their sweet coos and gurgles when you’re at work or away from your baby.
Q: Let’s go back to when Sofia was born. What was that experience like for you?
Lauren: It was amazing. I love childbirth. I think it is incredible. It’s the most beautiful experience in the world that you get to cradle this beautiful child afterward.
I was determined to [do early labor] at home. We went to the hospital a little bit sooner with Rafi, which I felt like slowed down my contractions. So I labored at home, and then it started picking up really fast. I lay down to try to take a nap and realized that was not going to happen.
And things were getting serious. So my mother-in-law came over to watch the other kids and we went to the hospital.
I was about eight centimeters when we got there. Things were very real. But I was determined to get an epidural because that’s what I’ve done in the past and felt comfortable with.
So we got that just in time and pretty much right after that, we pushed and there she was.
So it was a very positive, just wonderful experience, but definitely the furthest along I have gone in terms of contractions, and more power to people who make it all the way through. It is a wild experience, but you know, worth every second of it.
Q: What does your village or support system look like?
Lauren: We have quite the village and feel very fortunate that we do. Part of the reason we moved back to Charlotte actually, was that I grew up here, and my parents are here. My parents have been a huge help to us, as well as my mother-in-law.
Justin was an only child to a single mother in Chicago. We moved her down here, and she actually lives above the garage in our backyard in an apartment, a mother-in-law suite. She is vital to our survival. She is a big help!
We have a great friend community here because we’ve lived here for over 10 years now as a married couple. So we’ve got the big family support.
Q: How do you squeeze in time for yourself? And what do you do to recharge?
Lauren: I’ve been working on that. It’s hard at this time with four and figuring out the new schedule with a little baby. Mostly I get up before everyone else does, which is not easy to do, to go exercise.
A huge part of my mental health is getting that energy out, getting to exercise, and getting to see other adults in the morning.
I love to journal, that’s another big one for me. I just kind of write everything down and empty it out. I have a rose garden that I started during COVID times.
Getting to tend to that and care for that is huge. And then obviously playing with the kids. Once you can just turn everything off, play with them and run around outside for a little while, that’s extremely restorative.
Q: What advice do you have for other parents who are welcoming a new child to their family, in terms of transitioning to their new family unit and welcoming their new sibling?
Lauren: Be fair to yourself, be kind to yourself, it’s going to be a transition for sure. But I would say the big thing is if there are other kids around, including them as much as possible. It’s going to be different than when there was just one baby or even just two babies. It’s more chaotic.
“ I think if you change your expectations — I wouldn’t say lower your expectations, but change your expectations that it’s going to be a little different. It’s going to be a little messier, but in the most beautiful way because they’re going to be so loved.”
Allowing the bigger kids to help with the little kid so they feel empowered makes a huge difference in them being more peaceful and more in love with the new baby.
Kids that age, they love to help, they want to help, it’s not a chore to them. It’s exciting to be included. Like, you know, emptying the dishwasher, doing things like that, if they’re doing it with you, they feel included. I think the same thing applies to the baby.
They feel so empowered to be the big sibling if they’re getting to help with the diaper changes and the bottles or any little thing.
Accepting help is huge wherever you can, whether it’s family, friends, or something like finding tools like Cradlewise, that can make your life a little bit easier.
Accepting help, and allowing kids to help are probably the two huge things that have made all the difference for us with the transition to four.
Q: How do you deal with mom guilt?
Lauren: Oh, that one is tough. For the most part, I try to hear it and then push it out of myself and say, “I know I’m a good mom. I know I’m trying hard. I’m doing my best.
And I’m not going to let myself bring myself down when I’m doing my best.”
We’re all going to feel like we’re not doing enough or we’ve done something wrong. It just can help let go of some of those feelings and realize we’re all doing our best at the end of the day.
Q: Your ‘If you give a mom a muffin’ video has racked up over 11 million views— congratulations! What do you think it was about that video that resonated with so many parents?
Lauren: I think there’s definitely something to trying to do it all, and do it all at once as quickly as you can, while you can. And that leads to feeling scatterbrained and a million things partially done, but not totally done.
Maybe there was some honesty in that post that some people felt. That we’re all scatterbrained and we’re all doing our best.
Q: Now that you’re on baby number four, if you could go back in time and give yourself any advice when you had Santiago, what would it be?
Lauren: Oh, gosh, don’t be so hard on yourself. Let go of some of the schedule.
Thinking I had to structure every second of his playtime, trying to be so perfect … I don’t think I always enjoyed the smaller moments because I was so focused on stressing. So, just let go of some of that. Don’t get caught up in the little things, let that stuff roll off. They’re only little for so long.
I really try to remind myself to let go of everything else and at least spend good quality time. It doesn’t have to be quantity. But the quality of time that we spend, how important that is.
Q: What would you say to someone who is seriously thinking about purchasing Cradlewise but is one the fence?
Lauren: Do it. Do it! You cannot have enough help in parenthood and so many of us don’t have the village that we need. Even with the grandparents here that we have — and we are so fortunate to have them — they are older, they have their own lives, and they have a lot of health issues. We can only rely on them so much.
“ But something like Cradlewise is always there, we can count on it. And it has been such a help and such peace of mind. I think whether you’re having one kid or four kids, you cannot have enough help as a parent, and so those little things, even though they can feel like a big investment, are worth every penny. Particularly something like Cradlewise that will last you for two years. ”
In parenthood, people don’t want to get too many contraptions. When you can get the ones that are really going to last you, they are worth every penny. I would highly recommend getting it and doing anything you can to make your life a little bit easier, because it’s worth it.