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Parenting Tips, Toddler

6 Tips To Survive Meals With a Picky Eater

 6 tips to survive meal times with picky eatersYou probably won’t admit it, but I will. I was one of those pre-kid people who vowed that all my children will eat anything I put in front of them. Picky eaters were not going to be a part of my household. This and my blanket statement of saying my kids will never eat McDonald’s are just the tip of the iceberg of stupid shit I said before actually becoming a parent.

I don’t think I’ve met a single parent who has said to me “Oh my Johnny, he will eat ANYTHING I make for him. Asparagus, green beans, corn, he LOVES his veggies!” Instead, I usually bemoan my child’s eating habits during lunch playdates as my friend asks what foods my kids enjoy (ummm, carbs?).

Kids can really suck at eating all those good-for-them foods that we are told we must introduce to them. And it’s easy to feel like we are failing them as parents when it seems like they aren’t getting a balanced diet. But meal time is already a challenge. I don’t remember the last time I sat down to my dinner while it was still hot. And I’m too exhausted at the end of the day to care that much about the food pyramid.

So I wanted to share a few tips that I use to help keep my sanity with my picky eaters that seem to be working:

  1. Turns out kids have some inherent trust issues with new foods. When introducing something new they are very likely to turn their nose up to it. And it makes sense. Kids love routines and things they are familiar with. If you come at them with something new, and maybe a little scary looking, don’t be surprised if their first reaction is a hell no! 

    Keep introducing that food to them over the course of many meals. It may take as many as 10-15 times (or more!) before a kid gets used to the idea of the new food. Play the long game, and don’t get frustrated in the short-term if they don’t immediately take to the new food. Put something on their plate that you know they will eat so they don’t go hungry, but don’t worry if they aren’t interested in the new item. It’s totally normal!

  2. Don’t force them to eat something they aren’t in to. Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you NOT to do something? What did you do? The exact opposite. If we force our kids to eat something they think they don’t like (or are maybe just not used to yet) then they may react defensively and never give that food a chance because of the way it was introduced.

    I personally have a ‘try it’ rule. Even if that means a quick lick of the butternut squash, that’s all I ask. They don’t even need to swallow it (and often don’t!) but the more they get used to seeing it, smelling it, tasting it, the easier the transition will be. 

    Being a mom is hard AF

  3. When in doubt, dip it! I don’t know about your kids, but mine love to dip their food. The obvious, and less healthy dip, is ketchup of course. But you can also opt for more healthy dip options like hummus, yogurt, low-fat salad dressings. This allows kids to mix something they are familiar with in with something they aren’t.

    You would be surprised at how exciting it is for a kid to have dip. Seems silly, but it’s almost like a challenge because of the dexterity they need to use to accomplish the dipping, so they are less focused on the food and more focused on dipping! I have found that this helps me determine if they REALLY hate the food (which is totally ok! we all have preferences) or if they just aren’t used to it yet.

  4. Cooking together is another way to get picky eaters more interested in new foods. When my kids help me make calzones they love throwing on the green peppers and mushrooms. And since they had a hand in making dinner, they usually don’t think twice about the ingredients while stuffing their face. 

    Try getting them involved in the prep process of meals and you may see them have a more adventurous appetite at the table. If nothing else, they will get an understanding of the hard work you do in preparing them meals so really it’s a win-win!

  5. This might be hard at times but keeping your cool at dinner is key in helping kids continue trying new foods. If dinner is a battle or they fear they will be in trouble by the end of it then they may not be very eager to try anything new. You want them to look forward to meal times and that positive energy you bring will go a long way. And I know there’s nothing worse than working hard to cook a meal that your kid says YUCK to. But stay the course and over time you’ll see some improvements.

    Celebrate the wins, even if they are few and far between. If they try something new and they don’t like it, brush it off nonchalantly with a “That’s ok, I’m really glad you tried it!” and move on. Don’t belabor the fact that they didn’t like it, just take a short break from that food and try again another time.

  6. I noticed that keeping snack foods out of the house helps a ton with picky eating. If my kids are hungry at meal times then they are certainly more likely to try everything on their plate. Kids are super smart and they will realize they can manipulate meal times if they know a snack option is a mere half hour away.

    I’m certainly not anti-snack all the time and think there are times kids REALLY do need any extra pick-me-up, like after an athletic event. But in general, snacking just hasn’t proved to be very effective and made me feel like all I do all day is feed my kids.

Meal times are important for families and picky eaters can make it tough. But don’t stress mammas! All of these picky eating habits are completely normal as your kid starts to show independence and preferences. Show them good eating habits by displaying them yourself and they will begin to see all of the new foods as normal. And it’s ok if you aren’t perfect. I know I’ve totally dropped the ball in some of the green veggie areas because I hate them myself and don’t prepare meals with them often. But focus on the good things you are doing and keep after it!

If you’re reading this than I’m sure you already know…but being a mom is hard AF! I’m trying to make it a little easier by creating a kick ass community of moms where I bring in expert speakers to give you the knowledge you need to keep your head above water. Come check it out!

 

Toddler is constipated
Parenting Tips, Toddler

Your Toddler’s Not an Asshole, They’re Just Constipated

Toddler is constipatedAny mom will tell you that kids go through seasons. This is especially true for toddlers. They have ups and downs of epic proportions that seem to last weeks, if not months. One minute they are sweet little angels giving you kisses and hugs. And the next they are sassing you with an attitude you thought was reserved for the pre-teen years.

You get used to the roller coaster of emotions and often find yourself on guard, wondering whether it will be Jekyl or Hyde that will be greeting you today. So when my two year old was showing some of the finest displays of sass I have ever seen, I simply chalked it up to the terrible two’s. I bemoaned to my husband that we must have entered another ‘low season’ and wondered how long this one would last.

Her bad behavior became so commonplace that we joked about how it’s just who she is now. She’s just a sassy girl who cries over everything and makes her opinion known. We could easily label her the strong willed child that everyone talks about.

It just so happened that at the same time our angel started showing her dark side that we were potty training. She had shown signs that she was ready to roll and we were obviously eager to be rid of diapers. Training got off to a great start and though we had our fair share of accidents and cleanups, she got the hang of things pretty quickly. 

Well, minus one very important part. Half of the potty training equation actually. Pooping on the potty. This eluded her. Peeing was a cinch, pooping was a nightmare.

I read about how typical it is for toddlers to have some issues with going number two and wasn’t overly concerned. I assumed she would eventually come around so I didn’t push it. By the end of month three we were taking her out in public in just underwear and were generally confident that she would tell us when she needed to go. And we counted on nap time as her time to do her other business which worked fine because we were still putting her in pull-ups when she slept.

But we started to notice that a few days would go by and she had not pooped. And by day three she would stand, legs rigid, with a miserable face that read “why me?” while her body was trying to figure out how to get rid of three days worth of waste. She was uncomfortable, constipated, but eventually she would get the job done.

But that pain and discomfort led her to withhold her poop (yup, poop withholding is a thing) even more and it created this vicious circle of constipation. Apparently constipation in toddlers is more common than I initially thought because as I started sharing what was going on I had many moms reach out with their own stories and remedies. 

Potty Training is The Worst, Which is Why I Stopped

We tried altering her diet, pushing more water, and made all the changes we could. But we didn’t see very good results. So after consulting with my doctor we started mixing some laxatives in with her morning breakfast to get things moving. 

And within a day we started to see a difference. Things were finally moving in the right direction (down the toilet that is) and a flip was switched with my daughter’s demeanor as well. It was like we had a whole different kid on our hands. She was back to her mostly sweet self, and although still opinionated she was less of an asshole about it.

I almost couldn’t believe it but it makes so much sense looking back at the timing of everything. I so easily chalked up her change in behavior as a season when really it was directly related to her health and discomfort. Lesson learned that when your kid is being a turd, well, turds might actually be the problem.

Knowledge and community right at your fingertips!

If you’re reading this than I’m sure you already know…but being a mom is hard AF! I’m trying to make it a little easier by creating a kick ass community of moms where I bring in expert speakers to give you the knowledge you need to keep your head above water. Come check it out!

Parenting Tips, Toddler

Potty Training is The Worst, Which is Why I’m Stopping

Potty training is a roller coaster. Here's why I decided to get off the ride and have no regrets.I can see it so clearly. A future where I’m not constantly wiping asses and carrying around a bag full of diapers and wipes. The vision is marvelous. I can almost touch the freedom and I’m eager to make it a reality.

So when my youngest started showing signs of potty training readiness I did a happy dance and Amazon’d all the necessary potty training paraphernalia. We started talking to her about how amazing it is to wear underwear and pee like a big girl and she was on board. And of course the bribery didn’t hurt either. She very quickly learned that a trip to the potty yielded lots of praise and treats in return and she maxed out the opportunities.

We were on a roll and I could sense the end of diapers was near. But one big, and I mean big, thing stood in our path to success.

Shit.

Yup, the deuce. Poop. Number two. Chocolate delight. Whatever you call it, it was screwing my diaper-free fantasy up royally. My daughter refused to poop in the potty. Which for most kids is completely normal at the beginning of potty training. But after trying many methods to get her to overcome this hurdle it just wasn’t happening.

We continued on, hoping to master the skill of peeing while developing her turd-ometer as time went on. Surely at some point she would get tired of shitting herself, right? And to be honest, it really wasn’t a big deal in terms of clean up either as she almost always waited to drop her load during naps or bedtime when she had a pull-up on. 

Progress was steady and I was even confident of being out in public with her for longer periods of time without worrying about an accident. And for anyone who has potty trained a child before, you know how big of an accomplishment that is.

Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!

And then we moved. And everything went to hell. Prior to the move she would go a few hours without an accident and would either tell us when she needed to go or would at least begrudgingly head to the potty when prompted. Now, she was piddling (puddling? Whatever, she pissed herself) often. I’m talking once every half hour. The accidents started small, barely enough to dampen her underwear. 

I quickly familiarized myself with potty training regression to figure out how to quickly get her back on track. One of the key triggers in potty training regression is a recent life event or change. Like a move. Super. But, at least I knew what might be behind this backwards trend. So we reminded her of what she already learned and tried not to get upset with her (though we weren’t perfect) when she had an accident. But three weeks after being in the new house and things got worse, not better.

The accidents suddenly got larger and more frequent. And we also noticed that she wasn’t dropping deuces during nap times like she usually did. She was constipated and irritated. A bad combo for a 2 1/2 year old. I’ll spare you the details but we got her relief and hoped this would be a start to getting her back on track. But it wasn’t.

At this point everyone was exhausted and frustrated. My daughter started reacting to her accidents as if she knew she had done something wrong and was ashamed which broke my heart. I never want her to feel that way about potty training and it was at this point that I said fuck it. She’s going back in pull-ups full-time.

This was a big shift for me because I’m fully in the camp of once you put a child in underwear you don’t put them back in pull-ups because it’s confusing. And I still believe that. But clearly my daughter, who seemed ready earlier, is no longer ready to potty train. And I need to respect the signs she’s showing me and slow down. 

My pediatrician’s office echoed my thought process and also warned me that I may get judged by others for this decision. And I might. But I just don’t care. No one knows our potty training journey but us. No one heard my daughter whimpering after having a large accident. No one can understand the thought process of a 2 1/2 year old who just had a major life event. No one can feel our sanity slipping as we try to make sense of the regression when everything seemed to be going so well.

So judge on if you must. But my daughter seems perfectly happy to once again have a saggy pull-up on as she explores and adjusts to her new home. And when she feels more comfortable and starts to ask to use the potty on her own again, I’ll gladly oblige. 

But for now I’m grateful for a potty training reprieve. Because potty training is a bitch.

Knowledge and community right at your fingertips!

If you’re reading this than I’m sure you already know…but being a mom is hard AF! I’m trying to make it a little easier by creating a kick ass community of moms where I bring in expert speakers to give you the knowledge you need to keep your head above water. Come check it out!

 

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5 Ways to Ease Heartburn During Pregnancy
Parenting Tips

5 Ways To Ease Heartburn During Pregnancy

5 ways to ease heartburn during pregnancy. Great tips for the expectant mom! #heartburn #pregnancy #pregnant #newmomIf you are reading this then you have probably felt the fiery rage of heartburn while pregnant. It’s a bitch to say the least. And for some women it hits early and often throughout their entire pregnancy. The joys of motherhood strike before baby even arrives!

Pregnant women produce more progesterone which relaxes the muscles of the uterus. That all sounds great except it also relaxes the valve that keeps your food from seeping back up in to your esophagus. So I guess we’ll call it a scratch. Except you are left with the burning hell that is heartburn. 

And as an added bonus, that growing baby needs room which means all your organs get the shift. Including your stomach. And when your stomach gets pushed up, the food inside it does as well. Your body does some amazing things as it grows a human, but there’s only so much room to fit them all in.

Prevention is key in keeping the fire from your belly from erupting in your throat. Here are some tips to help you through this phase of your pregnancy.

  1. Instead of three large meals a day opt for smaller meals throughout the day. This makes digestion easier and 
  2. Sleep in a slightly elevated position. Gravity can do wonders for keeping your digestion where it should be. 
  3. This may seem obvious, but avoid the foods that seem to trigger the heartburn. I know, as if you didn’t already have enough dietary restrictions. Some of the most common triggers are: carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, foods that are fatty, spicy or fried, tomatoes, mustard, and vinegar.
  4. Don’t eat directly before going to bed. Give you body time to digest and settle and you may avoid revisiting your dinner for a second time.
  5. A more liquid diet may be your friend. I’m talking smoothies, soups, yogurts, puddings. And yes, milkshakes. Liquids digest faster, thus less risk for them returning to the scene of the crime.Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!

If none of these tips help, you can always ask your doctor about medicines that are safe to take while pregnant. I should have purchased stock in TUMS during both of my pregnancies. I wished they sold them as a “bucket ‘O TUMS” because that would have been more cost effective.

There’s no reason to be miserable if there’s a solution out there that can help. Your partner will thank you for putting an end to one of the hundreds of valid complaints you have about being pregnant!

And as a new mom (or new again!) you’ll need some extra support along the way which is why I’ve created an amazing group of kick ass ladies for you to lean on! I’m bringing in expert speakers every month to talk about topic you care about (like heartburn!). Plus, this is a judgement-free zone where those who behave like asshats see the door fast. 

Join us and gain knowledge and support so you can live your best #momlife!

Raising a toddler is like training a puppy
Parenting Tips, Toddler

5 Ways Raising a Toddler Actually IS Like Having a Puppy

Do you think a toddler and a dog are the same thing? NOPE! Well, except for this...

My youngest looks up from the toilet, eyes eager, and says “Treat?”. And it hits me. Having a toddler is eerily similar to having a puppy. The bribery. The praise. The anxiety that they won’t ‘perform’ in public as they should. Who knew having a dog before having kids really DOES prepare you for kids.

Obviously, having a dog is not the same as having kids. I’m certainly the first one to roll my eyes when someone suggests that. But you can’t deny that similar behavioral tactics can transfer from dog to toddler.

And as I am sitting squarely in the middle of toddler hell with one who is edging out of the toddler phase and one who is two going on 20, I find myself comparing the aspects of training a puppy to raising a toddler. And there are certainly some similarities worth mentioning.

  1. It’s a shit show, literally. One of the hardest parts of having a puppy is getting them housebroken.You are counting down the days until you can be finished with the pee soaked puppy pads and 2 a.m. walks. Potty training a toddler isn’t so different. Ditching the diapers is a huge milestone, but it comes at a steep price. The use of treats, whether it be food or toys, comes with the territory. I’ve been known to dangle a cracker out in front of my kids to lead them to the porcelain throne. “Come here little Johnny! Don’t you want a treat?” Pavlov himself would be proud. Oh, and I’ve been know to use the phrase “Don’t forget to pee the toddler!” just as you would to remind someone to let the dog out before you leave. So, yeah, pretty much the same thing.
  2. When you set out to buy a puppy you have a vision in your head of what your life with a dog will look like. Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!Long runs with your buddy by your side. Perfectly obedient as you chat with friends at the local coffee shop. Evening snuggles on the couch as you catch up on Netflix. It’s similar for moms before having kids. Most dream of the perfect play dates at the park where she can talk to her friends about the latest Game of Thrones episode and her little one plays quietly by themselves. And they envision a serene family brunch every Sunday with zero tantrums and polite children.Reality is much different. You may expect a golden retriever but end up birthing a crazy chihuahua instead. Obedient? Nah, independent to boot. Snuggles on the couch? Nah, spastic AF. 
  3. No! Don’t chew on my shoes. No! Don’t piss on the rug. No! Don’t stick that in your mouth. Am I talking to the puppy or a toddler? Who knows. But I think we can agree that one of the first words they both learn fast is ‘no’. 
  4. Who here has tried to hide healthy food among the rest of the crap kids love to eat? Now, tell me you didn’t pull that same trick when you had to give your puppy medicine. You didn’t know it at the time but wrapping a pill with cheese was just preparing you for years of trying to sneak veggies into the bellies of your toddlers. Nope, those aren’t tiny broccoli floret pieces in your mac ‘n cheese. Just eat it, ok?
  5. Have you ever noticed that dog toys and baby toys are eerily similar? The dental bone that has grooves specifically to help with tooth decay in dogs looks like it would be perfect for the teething toddler in your life. And let’s be real and admit you have definitely let your kid chew on a dog toy and your dog chew on a baby toy. Not in a purposeful way, but you don’t exactly jump up to remove the toy quickly because you just realized it’s the first time they’ve been quiet in hours so you’re just going to roll with it. It’s ok. Sharing is caring. Plus, aren’t dogs teeth cleaner than humans anyway? 

Hands down the best similarity between raising a toddler and training a puppy is their endless love for their parents. Despite our flaws (and we’ve got ’em!) our kids love us. Even on our worst days we are enough for them. Whether it’s a cute furry face or a pudgy little toddler greeting us after a long day, they make everything worth it.

Except pee pads and diapers. No one wishes to be in that phase again. 

Knowledge and community right at your fingertips!

27 tips about labor and delivery
Baby, Guest Posts, Parenting Tips

Guest Post: 27 Tips About Labor and Delivery That Every Expecting Mom Should Know

Today on the blog is a guest post by Tanya Khubchandani Vatsa of Mommy Diaries. She is a mom of two who made a whirlwind move to India right after having her first baby. I’ve been following Tanya on Instagram for a while now and she has one of the most in-depth blogs on parenting I’ve seen! She has a post about everything. For real, search it and you will find it! Enjoy!

 

27 tips about labor and delivery every mom should know!While pregnant, I found myself caught up in arguments with my husband about my how he envisioned my labor process. He saw it as a short and quick process wherein you go to the hospital when your water breaks, women fuss and sweat while guests are waiting outside, and the baby is out so quick that there’s even a risk of the delivery happening in the car. One of the times he was ranting about how he’s scared I will deliver in the car, I had to sit him down and go through what was in his head and realized that all of his ideas came from the television! Quite contrary to what was going on in my head. 

Ever since I found out how babies were born, the thought of me being in that position scared the living daylights out of me. However, while I was pregnant, I tried not to think about it for the majority of my pregnancy and focused on what was going on with my baby in the present. By the time I was closer I just so ready to be done. I had over time though formed an idea of what I wanted my labor to be like, who I wanted in the room, whether I wanted drugs or not, whether I wanted my husband to cut the cord and so forth. 

These are all individual decisions and I’m not going to tell you what’s right or wrong, as there is no right or wrong! However, I will give you some tips on things you should know – no matter what your decisions are, or will be.

(Note:  this will not be helpful to anyone who has an elective c-section coming up, but if you plan to try the normal labor route, please go ahead and continue reading.) 

 

27 Tips About Labor and Delivery that Every Expecting Mom Should Know: 

1. Ignore everything you have seen on TV (unless you make a habit of watching birthing videos). Seriously. 

2. Yes, the first baby tends to be late, and girls (because they are, on average, smaller, do too) but there is actually no way to tell if your going to be early, or late. It’s very circumstantial and depends on your pregnancy.  All you do know is that there is only a 9 percent chance that your baby will be born on its due date.

3. Even dilation and effacement doesn’t give you much of an indication as you can be dilating a couple centimeters for weeks before going into labor. 

4. Nor does your mucus plug. It’s a discharge that happens before you go into labor (thought it can also happen during labor). It can happen weeks before or minutes before. 

5. Effacement is how short your cervix is (in percentage, at 100 percent, your cervix is completely shortened), while dilation is how open your cervix is (in centimeters). 

6. You push when you’re at 10 centimeters dilated and contractions cause dilation. Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!

7. There are three stages of labor – Early labor, active labor (defined as contractions every 5 minutes or more, and dilation of 4 cms or more), and pushing (when you are dialated and contractions are 2 centimeters apart.)

8. Be your own advocate or appoint one (probably easier if you’re screaming more than speaking).  Make sure they know your wishes and needs.

9. Make sure you know your own wishes and needs first! Would you like music, do you want to see yourself crowning in a mirror, would you like to be able to move around….the list is endless! Download a simple birth plan (from any website) and go through the questions. You don’t have to write it all down, just know what you will be comfortable with.

10. Then, decide how much of that you can let go, as it will never be as ideal as it is in your head. 

11. Keep in mind that you have to be flexible, and let your advocate know what you would like to be flexible about. I was admitted to the hospital because I felt that my son wasn’t moving as much and it turned out that his heart rate was fluctuating (he stabilized but the docs decided to watch me and if needed, get him out.) However, my plan of moving around during labor and not being stuck to a bed and monitors went totally out of the window. 

12.  When admitted, tell your nurse what you would like. Don’t give her an endless list or overwhelm her, just pick three things that are important to you, and let her know what they are. (Mine were – cord blood banking, an epidural and wanting both my husband and mom in the room. Keep in mind that I was two weeks early and my mom was on a flight from India to the U.S and I went into labor while she was unreachable!)

13. Trust your nurse. She is your best resource and has done this more times than you can imagine, and seen more than you (or atleast I) would want to know about. 

14. Pain and stress slows down the labor process and increases the chance that you will need a c-section. Try and keep as calm as possible and take things with you that will help like music, maybe certain aromas/ fragrances. You can’t use candles in a hospital (oxygen + flame = fire!!!), but you can take certain oils or scents. 

15. If you can, move around during labor. Lying on your back in a bed is not the most comfortable position. Holding onto a railing, bending over, squatting, even poop position or having your husband rub your back, may be more comfortable to you. 

16. Stay at home as long as possible. Given the time of day estimate how far you are from the hospital and try not to go in until you are closer to delivering. The rule of thumb is when your Contractions are 5  minutes apart, lasting for one full minute and have been in this state for an hour. 

17. Only in 10 percent of deliveries does your water break before your contractions start. It usually the other way around. If your water breaks, go to the hospital. They will not be able to do too many medical exams (internal) but will need to keep an eye on how quickly your labor is progressing as your child is now susceptible to infections. 

18. You actually can have a glass of wine while laboring at home. (As per medical professionals, not just me. This was all in my plan that went out the window.) 

19. I know there’s all this buzz about natural labor, but don’t feel forced, pressured or stressed to do anything you are not comfortable with. There’s no shame in wanting an epidural, or even other drugs during induction or while your labor is starting. You have grown a baby, you are already a hero. (Again, the more you stress or are in pain, the longer your labor and more likely you are to need an induction or c section due to the effect of stress hormones on the labor process.) 

20. I don’t believe in making your decisions for you but I can’t resist adding this – Home delivery, to me, is for pizza, not for babies. Get to a hospital, your child’s life is in question, as is your own, why would you not want to have licensed medical professionals around? 

21. Epidurals are given in the spine. I was more terrified about this than the entire process because I knew I was going to get one. But honestly, it’s given when you need it, and at that point the prick in your spine is really not as painful as the contractions. (My epidural was given by a resident because I was desperate, it was given 6 times because and I didn’t care much about the pain from the injection because I was so excited to finally be getting some relief about 18 hours of labor). No you will not be groggy it does not put you to sleep but it does help you get some rest while your body prepares for labor. And no, it will not make your baby sleepy, all newborns are sleepy at birth. 

22. Group B strep is a type of bacteria that lives in your birth canal. Most women do not have it but some do, just like yeast. You will be tested a few weeks before delivery, and if you are positive you will be given iv-penicillin (or another antibiotic if you are penicillin allergic) every 4 hours during labor, to protect your child. Take the meds for your baby but don’t stress about a positive diagnosis, and don’t google the crazy list of signs either. You will just get scared and you don’t need that right now. 

Grab your copy of my MUST HAVVES for new(ish) moms

23. Do you believe in insurance? Cord blood banking is just that, it’s an insurance policy for your baby and actually, your entire family, against any potential issues your child or relative or sibling can have in the future. If you can afford it do it. All you have to do is send the umbilical cord and placenta (the nurses will do it for you entirely), which would otherwise be medical waste anyway. (Note, in some hospitals you can donate it if you are not banking it.) 

24. Delayed cord clamping is all the rage nowadays. But while it does increase the iron your baby has in their blood at birth it also increases your baby’s odds of getting jaundice as all that iron is hard on the baby’s liver. You can always do a minute clamp and not wait for the umbilical cord to be completely dead, as that is a healthy medium (and will leave your cord bankable.) 

25. Even if you do end up with a c-section, insist on skin to skin as soon as you are able. It calms down your baby immediately, it helps you bond, it helps you nurse, it’s been shown to be better for your baby’s health in the short and long term, and it helps them recognize you! 

26. I was terrified about the recovery and had a lot of stitches, I didn’t have an episiotomy (when the doctor has to cut, as that is no longer common practice  in the US but is practiced in most places), but I did tear. I must say, the doctors and nurses gave me great tips and meds (baby safe), and it was not as bad as I expected.

27. Breathe, breathe, breathe… Or don’t! I practiced breathing while holding cubes of ice for a minute at a time.. And yet, when the time comes it’s the last thing you want to do (unless you have superhero concentration) or be told to do. But until you get there… Breathe!!!! It will be there, and will be over before you know it. You will be left cuddling your bundle of happiness (and desperate to sleep). 

 

Crazy Skills Your Baby Learns While in the Womb
Baby, Guest Posts, Parenting Tips

Guest Post-Surprising Skills Your Baby Learns in the Womb

Marie Louise MaternityToday on the blog is a guest post by Marie Louise, a senior midwife in the U.K. At the age of 21 Marie was one of the youngest midwifes ever in the U.K.! Now, with almost a decade of experience, Marie shares her knowledge and expertise over on Marie Louise Maternity. She has also created an eco-friendly changing bag filled with all the necessities a new mom needs. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook for some amazing pregnancy tips and advice!

Early on in my Midwifery training, I was surprised to learn just how rich a learning environment your womb provides for your baby throughout pregnancy. Your baby’s health and wellbeing throughout life is crucially affected during your pregnancy. Your baby begins to learn about the outside world even before they are born. Even in the womb they are already being influenced by you and the particular world you live in.

As early as 16 weeks, your baby will learn the sound of your voice and is able to recognise this before anybody else’s voice.Want to know what your baby is learning while they are still in the womb? It's amazing! Other sounds need to go through your abdominal muscles, tissue and the amniotic fluid and will probably sound muted or muffled. Your voice and sound vibrations in general, are easier to hear due to the close proximity. And because your baby is with you all the time he/she will hear your voice a lot. Once your baby is born he/she will not only recognise, but prefer the sound of your voice over anyone else’s.

Credible experiments conducted confirm this by noting babies sucking motions. Babies will suck slower when they are interested in something and suck quickly if they are bored or uninterested and research showed new-borns show most interest in their mother’s voice. In 2010 a study illustrated that your baby will cry in your native language to communicate more effectively. French babies cry on a rising note and German babies cry on a falling note which imitates the language. From birth your baby will be communicating specifically with you and learning how to communicate in your native language. 

It doesn’t stop there, by 32 weeks your baby’s taste buds are fully developed and the flavours of what you eat find their way into the amniotic fluid which is swallowed by your baby. Research shows that babies up to 6 months prefer these tastes outside the womb. Your baby is being taught by you what is safe and good to eat and the culture your baby will be joining through food. 

Grab your copy of my MUST HAVVES for new(ish) moms

Your 9 month long process of moulding and shaping your baby ready for life outside the womb is complex. The daily tasks, food you eat, drinks you consume, air you breathe, chemicals you are exposed to and even the emotions you feel are shared in some way with your baby. Your baby treats these exposures as information and 

Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!he/she process’ it. Your diet and stress levels provide important clues to your baby in preparation for life outside the womb. They tweak your baby’s brain and other organs giving us as humans the ability to thrive in anarray of environments from deserts to Iceland. Mother nature knows what she’s doing and so does your incredible body. 

Learning is one of life’s most essential activities and it begins during your pregnancy. You are the best teacher, you are the first teacher. Don’t forget it!

And since you are preparing yourself for the craziness of motherhood, let me make it just a little bit easier for you. I’ve put together the MUST HAVES for every new(ish) mom. One of them saved my sanity during the newborn years. 

Baby, Parenting Tips

5 Breastfeeding Tips for Working Moms

Heading back to work after having a baby? These 5 breastfeeding tips for working moms will help!Returning to work after having a baby isn’t easy. The decision to go back may be weighing heavily on you. Or you may be counting down the days until you have some adult interaction again and hot lunch to enjoy. No matter how you may feel about the transition, if you are breastfeeding it can be a challenge.

That black bag containing your tit torture device (ok, breast pump) will be attached to your hip for the foreseeable future. And there’s a lot that goes in to being a breastfeeding working mom. It takes dedication, grace, and some luck to manage it.

Here are 5 breastfeeding tips for working moms to help you out!
 

  1. Know your rights
    It may be a good idea to have a discussion with your employer about your rights as a breastfeeding mom before you leave to have your baby. The Break Time For Nursing Mothers law, passed in 2010, requires U.S. employers to provide a private place (that is not a bathroom) for a mother to pump breast milk during the day, for one year after the child’s birth. The law also requires providing moms with reasonable pumping time, recognizing that each mom pumps at a different pace and times may vary. The law does not require these breaks to be paid unless you are utilizing any paid breaks you already had during your day. This law covers nonexempt (hourly) employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
     
    Currently, salaried employees are not covered under this law but the Supporting Working Moms Act is hoping to expand the coverage. Your individual state may also have laws that cover you if you are a salaried employee. It’s always good to know your rights before coming back so everyone is on the same page and you feel comfortable pumping at work.
  2. Location, Location, Location
    As they say, location is everything. If you can, become familiar with the area you will be pumping in whenJoin this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!
    you return to work. The type of room that employers dedicate to breastfeeding moms vary greatly. Some are amazing and pay special attention to the needs of working moms by providing a serene getaway. Others are pretty much a closet. Some places will have sinks readily available to wash your pumping parts out, others won’t. Some will have super comfy chairs perfect for pumping. Others won’t. Some will have fridges to store your milk. Other’s won’t.Getting to know the space you will be pumping in will help you figure out what you need to bring with you to be comfortable and efficient with your pumping sessions.
     
  3. Meeting reminder: Pump, Pump, Pump it up
    Can we just agree that numero uno on your list of things to avoid as a breastfeeding mom is engorged ta-tas? Nothing is more painful than the pulsing heat of rage that your boobs emit when you miss a feeding or pumping session. To avoid the pain (and tears) set a calendar reminder at the right intervals so you remember to pump. Once you get back in the swing of work duties you may forget that morning pumping session and then pay the price in the afternoon. Do yourself a favor and set a reminder! 
  4. Double bag it
    You’ve heard the term “liquid gold” in reference to pumped milk, right? That’s because you’ve worked your ASS off to express that boob juice and you don’t want to see a single drop go to waste. Here are some ways to ensure every bit of your hard work sees the bottom of your tiny human’s belly:
     
    Whether you store your expressed milk in bottles or bags while at work, ALWAYS put them in an extra ziploc bag during the day. No matter how well you seal the bottle or bag, inevitably you will get home one day and find that the breast milk spilled in your cooler. And you will cry. And moms everywhere will hear your tears and share your pain. Double bagging will ensure you have a back up plan.
     
    If you freeze your expressed milk, store them in smaller quantities. This way, when you thaw them you will be sure that your child drinks all of it and you won’t end up wasting any during a feeding.
     
    Bring spare pumping parts to store in your desk at work. The last thing you need is to see your pumping reminder pop up and realize you forgot to bring the clean parts of your pump back in to your tote. Engorged boobs commence!
  5. Have boobs, will travel 
    Depending on the type of job you have, you may be required to travel while you are still breastfeeding. This presents a whole new set of challenges. One is finding a clean place to pump on the go. Airports are starting to implement dedicated pumping locations but they aren’t all quite there yet.Mamava is on a mission to help breastfeeding mamas on the go But one company is on a mission to give breastfeeding moms on the go more support.
     
    Mamava is an incredible company that has created freestanding lactation suites that can be placed in high traffic areas. Moms can take advantage of these suites while on the go at airports, convention centers, large events, universities, zoos, museums, community centers and more! 
     
    They have an app you can download that shows all of their suite locations to see if one is near where you will be. You can also unlock the suite right from your phone! These pods come equipped with an AC and USB power outlet so not only can you power your pump but you can charge your phone too! So if you are traveling for work, or are just out an about with your family and you need to make a breastfeeding or pumping stop, find your nearest Mamava! And if your employer’s version of a private pumping room totally sucks, tell them about buying a Mamava suite!

These tips will help transition you to a successful pumping campaign so your little one can keep benefitting from the awesome sauce nature has provided. It doesn’t matter if you pump for one year, or one day, you are a bad ass mom for taking on the pumping-at-work challenge! 

 

Pumping Must Haves for Working MomsIf you want to know about all the gear you will need while pumping at work, check out my guide to pumping at work where I share those MUST HAVES. It can be overwhelming to figure out what to shove in your tote each day so I’m breaking it down for you!

 

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What you really need to pack in your hospital bag
Baby, Parenting Tips

What You REALLY Need to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Not sure what to pack? Here's what you REALLY need to pack in your hospital bagIf you are a soon-to-be-mamma then you are probably wondering what the hell to pack in your hospital bag. Having a baby is no vacation, but there are some comforts of home you may want to bring with you. I remember scrolling through Pinterest and seeing these lists that were a mile long and thinking that seemed a little unrealistic. 

I’m pretty sure rolling in with two large pieces of luggage plus a carry-on would quickly put me in the high-maintenance mom club. Not how I wanted to start things off with my nurses who I wanted by my side from the get-go (I even brought them cookies!). For my first kid I overpacked slightly and for my second I had it down to a science. 

I want to share with you the 15 items you REALLY need to pack in your hospital bag so you don’t feel overwhelmed by those ‘ultimate checklists’ that have 50 items included. 

  1. Robe(s)-Hospital rooms are notorious for running hot and cold. So bring a robe that is comfy and opens easily in the front to help with the temperature changes. I would bring two because you may bleed through the first one. Yup, having a baby is awesome.
  2. Socks-Some like the hospital socks they give you, others not so much. 
  3. Nursing tanks OR nursing bra-You don’t need both. You are only there for a short time. So which ever one you are more comfortable in, roll with that. 
  4. Comfy pants/shorts-Bring some bottoms that are easy on and easy off. Lightweight and flow is what you are after here.
  5. Change-You never know if you may need some spare change for snacks or parking. Bring a ziplock bag with some quarters just in case.
  6. Phone/iPad/tablet/other-Anything you need to keep yourself entertained and to let others know when your bundle of joy arrives.
  7. Electronics Charger- Dead electronics are useless. Bring those chargers!Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!
  8. Boppy-A nursing pillow is really helpful because you are recovering from a major health event. You want to be as comfortable as possible while holding and nursing your baby.
  9. Easy shoes-Bring flip flops or slippers. You may have some kankle action going on postpartum so you don’t want to try and squeeze your sausages in to normal shoes. 
  10. 2 outfits for baby-Don’t go overboard. You aren’t there for very long and a ton of your time with your baby will be spent skin to skin or bundled up in a blanket. Have a few outfits set aside and be done with it. All the other stuff for baby can stay home.
  11. Your own pillow-Catching some zzzzzs will be super important after having your baby. Being as comfortable as possible is key and bringing your own pillow will go a long way.
  12. Comfy going home outfit for you-If your weather allows, rock a maxi dress to head out. Otherwise set aside something comfy for you to head home in.
  13. Toiletries-This includes your makeup/brush/toothbrush/toothpaste/shampoo/dry shampoo/deoderant/hair tie/lip balm.
  14. Car seat-This may be a no-brainer but you would be surprised at how many new parents forget to bring the car seat!
  15. Snacks-Vending machines suck, so pack a few snack items to get you through the labor.

BONUS ITEM: Treats for the nurses go a long way. They love a little pick me up so bringing them something unexpected is a nice thing to do. Don’t go crazy, but cookies or sweet treats will start your stay off right. A little bribery never hurt anyone! Plus, they deserve it after putting up with the crazy lady during labor. 

Grab your copy of my MUST HAVVES for new(ish) moms

Here are some items that you don’t need to bring with you.

  1. Underwear-ok ladies, if I’m the first to drop this bomb on you I’m sorry. But you will not be leaving the hospital in your own cute undies. You’ll be leaving in mesh netting granny panties complete with a massive pad. Yup, you’ll basically be in an adult diaper when you roll out of the hospital. In fact, you should stock up on as many pairs of the mesh undies as you can grab while in the hospital. They are awesome. Unsightly, but awesome.
  2. Diapers/wipes/pacifiers-The hospital will provide you plenty of diapers for your little one. No need to bring your own.
  3. Breast pump-Your milk will not have come in enough to start pumping yet. And the hospital may provide one for you anyway! Check with your hospital to see.

Alright ladies, what did I leave off? What are some of your must haves that didn’t make the cut??

And since you are preparing yourself for the craziness of motherhood, let me make it just a little bit easier for you. I’ve put together the MUST HAVES for every new(ish) mom. One of them saved my sanity during the newborn years. 

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5 Signs Your Toddler is Ready To Give Up Their Nap
Parenting Tips, Toddler

5 Signs Your Toddler is Ready to Give Up Their Nap

Is your toddler ready to give up their nap time? Check out these 5 signs to find out!The nap time hustle. It’s for real mamas. Those precious hours that you take advantage of while your toddler is sleeping is PRECIOUS to you. Maybe you get a shower in. Or do the dishes. Or, if the stars align, take a nap yourself. You get accustomed to have some down time during the day so the thought of giving that up is terrifying.

But if you’ve noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to get your toddler down for a nap, or maybe they are only sleeping for a half hour, the idea of nixing the nap may have crossed your mind. Is your toddler ready to give up their nap? 

Here are 5 signs your toddler may be ready to give up their nap:

  1. They play during their naps. If you notice that your little one plays for the majority of their nap time, then it could mean they are ready to cut it out of their daily routine. If your little one plays for the first hour, naps for the next hour, and
    then you wake them because they are sleeping too late in the day then you may want to consider nixing the Join this judgement-free community of kick ass mammas!nap.
  2. They fight the evening bedtime routine. Now, no kid likes to go to bed, so this alone is not enough to give up the nap. But if your toddler is consistently fighting bed time at night and stays awake for a long time after you put them down, it may be time to give up the nap. Kids should be sleeping 11-12 hours a day total, so use that as your guide. But when a kid doesn’t get to bed until 11 pm, it just sets them up for a rough morning. And you get to pick up the pieces!
  3. They aren’t asshats when they miss a nap. Nap schedules are great, but sometimes life happens and you just won’t be able to stick to it 100% of the time. If you notice that your toddler isn’t having complete meltdowns when they miss their afternoon nap then that is a sign they no longer need it. But if your toddler is a mess in the evening when they miss their nap, then stick to it! 
  4. Cat naps are nonexistent. Remember how you could almost set your watch to your kid falling asleep in the car? No? Well, they might be ready to give up nap time then. If they are stay awake in the car or on a stroller ride, it could be another sign that nap time may be a thing of the past.Did your child give up their nap? Is your sanity in question? Try this quiet time guide or help!
  5. Sleeps better at night when they miss a nap. The next time your toddler misses a nap, try putting them to bed an hour or so earlier than normal. Do they fall asleep quickly and stay asleep? Do they get their full 11 hours of sleep in? Do they wake up rested and in a delightful mood? Ok, that last one is a stretch. But for real, if you test this out and your toddler reacts well to going to bed a little earlier without a nap, then thats a sure sign that naps can go by the wayside.

Is your toddler showing any of these signs? If so, it’s probably time to give up the nap once and for all.

Now, before you say ‘WAIT! I’m not ready for this yet! I need my ME time!’, I totally get it. That’s why I’m hooking you up with my Quiet Time Guide. Use this as a starting point for transitioning your child from nap time to quiet time during the day.

This guide will give you tips and activities that you can have your child do in their room during their normal nap time. This way you still get some mom time and your child still has a chance to rest during the day.

Your sanity may depend on this!

Did your child give up their nap? Is your sanity in question? Try this quiet time guide or help!

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