Parenting: Expert Rosie Pope answers your questions
Moms and dads are always looking for that one parenting trick to help your kids get through the day. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. USA TODAY
Everything is coming up Rosie! (201) Family chats with parenting expert and Ridgewood mom Rosie Pope as she shares her secrets to success.
Name: Rosie Pope
Mother to: Bridget, 3; Vivienne, 5; Wellington, 7 and James, 9
Creator of: Rosie Pope, a lifestyle brand for pregnant women and new moms, and author of Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
What’s your day-to-day life like as a working mom?
A sprint or a marathon…I am never sure which but it involves a lot of running around and stamina! Most of all, I have learned to be wholeheartedly in different moments so that when I am with my kids, I am with my kids, and then when I turn on work, I am working. I have found that if I don’t do this, everything muddles together and no one is satisfied.
Give us three ways other parents can balance their career and parenthood.
First of all, I think we have to look at balance over our lifetimes and not in a day or a week. It feels impossible to do everything is such a short space of time — take care of the kids, your partner, you, your work etc. — but if you see life in phases, it’s easier to understand how things may be hectic and crazy now but in a few years, as kids grow older, you will have more time for yourself. Looking at things this way puts less pressure on us to try and balance everything when there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Having said that, you still need to stay sane: Take as many “bathroom” trips as you need. It’s your sacred space…your few minutes of quiet. Agree to turn off from work for a few hours when you know it’s possible. Constantly checking in or looking at your phone won’t provide fulfilling time for you or your kids. Treat yourself like someone you love. Easier said than done, but if you are going to make this work and be happy while doing it, you have to be physically and emotionally able to handle it all — and that only comes from treating yourself the right way when it comes to food, sleep, exercise and having fun.
Why did you create the Rosie Pope lifestyle brand?
I founded Rosie Pope (the brand) 10 years ago on the premise that parents should have a reliable brand they can turn to for great products, style and guidance. At the time, brands in the baby/parenting space only focused on one thing, e.g. clothes or gear or maternity. I have always believed when you find something you love and trust, you want to stay with it, and so we set out to grow with our customers from maternity to baby and beyond.
What is your process for selecting the styles and prints for the products in your clothing lines?
Actually, it becomes hard to think of prints as opposed to narrowing them down! Because of the nature of retail, we produce many collections a year and they all need their own unique prints that are different from the ones before. Constantly coming up cute and on trend options can be a tricky combination. Ultimately, I have to rely on what I like to call my “ooh instinct.” Basically if it makes me gasp, if it tickles me, I know it is right because that is exactly the way I hope other parents will feel when they see it.
What inspires you?
My kids. I want to provide them with everything they need and every wonderful opportunity I can help them have. Knowing how hard parenting can be, and knowing I can help make things better, easier, and more funmo for the people that encounter my products is so motivating.
Will you be introducing any new items to your women, maternity, nursing or baby lines this year?
Yes! We are constantly adding and growing as we see the need, and we feel we have a unique and expert point of view to add. We recently added a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified organic sleep collection, including a collaboration with Naturepedic Mattresses for cribs. We will also continue to expand into the accessory space with gear for strollers, car seats, school lunches and more.
Have you ever thought of expanding into toddler clothing as well?
Yes. I’m working on it, I promise!
What is your favorite item?
It’s so hard to pick one, as each season has standouts and different parts of America always favor different things. My favorite item has to be our baby turbans…I love them.
Is there a piece of advice you’d like to offer new parents?
Yes. No one decision that you make is going to define you as a parent. We obsess and worry about so much so early on, and we hear so may opinions and judgmental thoughts about whether you should breastfeed or sleep train or a million other things. Parents should know that while these choices are important, they will fade away as new ones come each day your child grows. You should do what is right for your situation, not for other people. Be confident in the fact that your love and your instincts will guide you through each stage. Be the parent you want your children to have, not the parent other people want you to be.
You live in Ridgewood. What’s your favorite aspect about Bergen County?
What it affords the kids. It's an amazing place to be for them…so close to the culture of the city and yet still rural enough for horseback riding and hiking outdoors. It is a wonderful balance in that way.
Is there any secret (or not-so secret) spots that local parents should be taking advantage of?
There are so many lovely outdoor spots in Bergen County that take you out into nature for some clean, fresh fun. I love the arboretum in Glen Rock.
Rosie Pope’s most commonly asked parenting questions — answered!
When should I potty train?
When your child is ready, between the ages of 2 and 4. Don’t do it when there are other major events going on, e.g. a new sibling, new school, house move etc. And know that there is no rush. The longer you wait, the easier it will be to talk to your child about what to do and for them to understand you. Always make sure they are having dry diapers for a few hours at a time, that way you know their bladder is able to hold between bathroom visits. Tackle day first, night later. Don’t worry, it will happen.
Is sleep training bad?
You can’t sleep train your baby until they are old enough to be able to go through the night without feeding. Four months or 14 pounds is the marker many use. But to know whether sleep training is right for you and your baby, look at what is going on in your life. If you are waking up many times each night and are so tired you cannot be the best parent you can be in the day time, I would say it is probably a good idea. If you don’t mind waking up all the time and it doesn’t affect you in the day, then keep doing what works for you. I will say, there is no evidence I have ever read that proves it is damaging in any way, but there is a lot of evidence to show that sleep deprivation is indeed very damaging for a parent. If you decide to do it, look at the different methods available, chose the one you prefer and stick with it.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk if I’m breastfeeding?
There are several ways: Weigh your baby before and after feeding to see how many ounces they are getting; Make sure your baby is putting on weight at your pediatrician checkups; and ask yourself if they are calm and content between feedings and peeing and pooing regularly. The actual quantity consumed is supposed to be between 24-32 ounces a day. Newborns start on the lower end of the range and increase over time.
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