#TBT series: Mom Advice From a Party of FIVE | Chicago Lifestyle Newborn Sibling Session

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meet THIS chicago family of five!

You may remember my gorgeous mama friend, Diana, from when I shared her maternity portraits while on our Scottsdale girl’s trip. I’m so glad we took advantage and got some time away before she had her hands full. She’s now a proud mama of THREE BOYS…!!! And even more recently, she’s transitioned from working FT to STAHM. Wanna know something that blows my mind about this super-mom?? She doesn’t even drink coffee… !!!

Check out some of my favorite images from our in-home newborn lifestyle session together:

Meet their newest addition, baby hayden ryan.

D’s mom is a skilled knitter, and she’s made beautiful pieces for each of her grandsons. I just adore this little grandmother-grandson moment that I caught of them. 


Diana is known amongst our gal pals to be an excellent researcher. She always has great advice! And you know how most Type-A first time mamas go into super over-drive research? (Hey, you can’t fault them, baby stuff is OVERWHELMING.) Luckily for me, our due dates were only 6-7 weeks apart, so I pretty much just copied her baby registry picks. 😉


Don’t worry moms, I picked Mama D’s brain and pulled out a few pieces of MOM GENIUS tidbits to share with you today.

Here’s her recommendations, conveniently categorized for your easy reference:



  • What you give them first should be healthy (because that’s what they’re most interested in). That means sometimes taking the healthy dinner food and offering it as ‘a snack’. It means that they’ll fill up on healthier foods first.

    • (Think: In a snack cup, etc. Don’t have a snack cup on hand? A SIPPY cup can be a SNACK cup too! Bonus that it completely SEALS and doesn’t leak in your bag!!)

  • Kids have trouble leaving the park. Bring dinner with you in a fun portable bento box. Kids get to play, dinner is accomplished on the go and the mess stays OUTSIDE your house. It’s a WIN-WIN.


  • For babies, I don’t like to pick them up unless they’re TRULY crying. If they’re just doing a little fussing when you pick them up, you’ve created this idea that they need YOU to help them get back to sleep. Whereas if you left them to self-soothe, they may fall back asleep (they may not), but at least you let them try.

  • Don’t do something once that you’re not okay with doing everyday. (This means letting your child sleep in your bed, giving a pacifier, etc. IF you’re okay with possibly letting it become a habit, then have at it!)


  • It’s okay for your child to play without your guidance and input. As a non-first time parent, I realize that it’s a benefit to my children to stop feeling like you need to say ‘GOOD JOB‘ so much. Unless your child is asking for your input, it’s actually okay for kids to fail and to do something to be proud of themselves instead of trying to impress you.

  • Put that TIMER on your iPhone to good use. Kids that have trouble stopping an activity and transitioning to the next are notoriously hard. If you use a timer, you’re no longer the bad guy.


  • Not comfortable with nursing in public? Any retail dressing room is a perfect nursing hideaway.

  • Find a nursing cover that doubles as a second function, that way you’re never caught without it. For example, a Milk Snob cover (compliments of Jenny) gives your baby shade in the car seat, or a muslin swaddle blanket can be easily knotted at the corners and slipped over your neck as a quick go-to nursing cover.


  • Safety reasons aside, when your kid is over two and needs their own seat, DEFINITELY bring your carseat on board. There’s nothing worse than a squirmy toddler trying to climb into the aisles. With the carseat in place, they’re harnessed in and it’s no different than a car trip. It’s 100% worth lugging the extra cargo!

  • Got a young toddler not yet interested in the iPad? Try the Mother Goose Club videos on YouTube, Netflix, or their own app. They’re wholesome nursery rhymes that can capture the attention of the younger crowd.

TIPS for peaceful parenting

  • Find ways to say ‘no’ less often. Let things like baby gates, cabinet locks and the timer (see above) say NO for you.

  • Remove threats and bribes from your interactions from your kids. These are just negotiation tools, and as a parent, your job isn’t to negotiate with your toddler. “I don’t negotiate with toddler-ists.” Your job is to set limits and boundaries, and to stick with them. I find that my kids thrive with consistency.

Diana, I can’t thank you enough for sharing these parenting gems! I loved reading through these helpful reminders for ME. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a perfect parent because it’s so easy to be impatient with your own children, or succumb to bad parenting vices. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there’s so many seasons of childhood. There will be chapters of a family story that require more flexibility and resilience. And that’s why I’m so passionate about serving as your family’s historian in the most beautiful and artful way possible. Mom-brain is a real thing, folks. Sometimes doing ‘the things’ really requires a village and I no longer have hang-ups about asking for help or outsourcing. (Btw, hiring a cleaning lady was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for our family.) And remember, if all else fails- there’s coffee + wine!




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