Posts Tagged ‘toddler’

Baby-led Feeding

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Baby-led feedingPerhaps your baby shows signs of being ready for table food. Maybe he or she hit that magic age where solids are to be introduced. Perhaps you find yourself strolling down the baby aisle at the store and considering all those pouches of puree that seem to be all the craze these days.

Baby-led feeding is generally referred to as baby-led weaning because the introduction of table food is the beginning of a longer process of transitioning baby to table foods full-time. Of course this process takes many months (or even years). Weaning, then, is not a loss so much as a transition in the relationship that occurs overtime.

Numerous resources already exist if you’re looking for more information about the process, if you and your child are ready to begin baby-led weaning, and ideas for recipes and general tips to make the messy transition as simple as possible.

KellyMom is a well-known resource on breastfeeding but they don’t leave you cold when it comes time to shift. KellyMom.com offers numerous articles written by those knowledgeable in the field about weaning. Specific situations for mothers who primarily pump are also included. The website continues beyond recognizing if your child is ready to also include information about timing the weaning process, ensuring you do not move too quickly or cut out other needs your child might not have as often with decreased breastfeeding (like cuddle time or other one-on-one attention).

If you are working through your own feelings on the subject know you aren’t alone! Le Leche offers insight into a variety of feelings and thoughts that moms might need to process as the consider or are in the midst of baby-led feeding. They also offer specialty articles such as weaning twins or anxiety associated with this transition.

When it comes to the food Wholesome Baby Food at Momtastic offers a number of recipes and weekly menu ideas to help get you started or out of the “bananas and avocado again” slump. The site also includes age-specific information for weaning. Of course if you prefer holding a book to read up on the subject, several primers exist on the subject.

Simple Bites is a mommy-driven website that incorporates baby-led weaning to the table with their general interest in including the whole family around unprocessed meals. Mama Natural also speaks with similar interest and authority found mostly in personal experience and research. Both sites offer numerous ideas and recipes to help introduce anyone to the concept of BLW.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Why Should We Have to “Have it All”

Monday, December 19th, 2016

have it allSocial media did it again. Another mama went and did something that has a lot of people armed and ready with all their judgments. A mom, ten weeks post-partum, videotaped herself working out as she went about folding cloth diaper laundry from the dryer. Diary of a Fit Mommy is known for her videos incorporating workouts into daily routines and inspires a number of other people, mostly women, to do the same.

I want to be very clear. I have nothing but love for this mama. You get yours! I work out most days of the week and have my own strategies for fitting it in. My routine is a work in progress but I think I get the sentiment behind the idea that we all have time and can find said time if we get creative and honest with ourselves and our day. I also wonder if people would have a strong response to my laundry multi-tasking—folding while talking to my hubby about our day. We are all multi-tasking.

But my first thought upon viewing this video was more of a question: Why must everything be so complex? Can we make single-tasking a fad that sticks? Perhaps the response is doing squats while stuffing cloth diapers is not a complex task. That’s true—it appears relatively easy. I just tried it myself and, yes, it’s simple enough. I’m just wondering what’s so wrong with single-tasking?

All day I’m doing five things at a time. I just want to sit and do the laundry with a show on the TV or even just in the still silence of children in bed. In some ways sitting in the quiet or watching TV still isn’t singular in focus. I might be reflecting on the day or catching up with hubby. Still, can’t I just not always be thinking and acting on the idea of “having it all?”

Lots of women all over the world don’t have it all—they don’t even have the time or resources to play around with the idea of having it all. Sometimes I think what many of us want is just a little simplicity. I am okay with a single focus even if it means I don’t have a “perfectly” slim tummy. For my own sanity I need to not always be doing, fitting everything in, and getting the most out of the day. That just feels like unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

Yet again, that’s what I’ll have to come down to, my own sanity and my own experience. We are all battling different demons; we all have different places we’re coming from and ideas of whom and how we want to be. If you’re in the mood to multi-task your way to a perkier tush while preparing diapers for your baby’s fluffy bum I’m happy you’re finding ways to make your goals reality. I’ll be over here folding laundry and little else, except perhaps taking a sip or two of wine.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 8 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

How to Get a Break This Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

How to Get a BreakI know the feeling of being at breaking point. I’ve had three children in four years. Our budget is tight and can’t afford childcare for the sake of self-care. I’ve worked a full-time job with on-site on-call hours as well as stayed at home with the children. I’ll note I do not have to manage additional challenges of a partner away for long periods, being a single mother, or behavioral, physical, or other particular attributes that some parents must balance in caring for their children. Here’s what has helped me find breaks, sometimes just five minutes in the day, and sometimes more.

Get off Facebook or whatever your social app of choice is. Social media and apps are a great resource as long as they add to your life. Checking for the umpteenth time if I received an email or looking every time my phone dings with a notification wastes time I could use getting a few minutes of solace. When I discipline myself to check my email minimally (maybe once a day or once an hour, depending on your work and situation), I somehow find a half-hour a day because of the five minutes here and there I save. Delete the app, limit the notifications, or simply put your computer and smart devices away for periods of the day to give yourself some space to breathe.

Write down your gratitude. Keep track of when you do get a break. I get more moments to myself than I realize. This is not to say I don’t deserve them, nor is it to deny that I may need more. Somehow, though, being aware of my time allows me to really feel the reprieve those breaks offer, even in retrospect. I keep track of the moments as the day passes. Try on a post it or in your planner or whatever system works for you. At least use a few slow moments of the day or in the evening to reflect back. This doesn’t have to be a time-consuming chore. Write down a word or phrase (e.g., “all napped at same time” or “15 minutes of quiet Legos”).

Reassess expectations. Figure out what you really need to find a little peace to really get your break. My oldest can help fold or put away the clothes, even though the result is a tad wrinkled, and the toys don’t have to be separated and stored exactly as I’d like so long as they are mostly put away. Also reassess what a break means. Can it be just 2 minutes of quiet? Does it need to be two hours completely away? Likely it’s both, sprinkled throughout the week.

Figure out what pushes your buttons. You can make the most of your break if you understand what you need a break from. My children can be around all day and I’m fine but them sitting on me, or breathing on me, really taxes my need for space. I also ask for “breaks” from requests. I don’t approach the kitchen until a certain time, so they are learning to wait until I’m ready for breakfast requests. Lunch is served at a certain time. This cuts down on the endless requests for food and snacks through the day. You can also put approved snacks within reach of little ones for self-service. Once you know what you need, you are better equipped to get it.

Reach out, and be direct about your needs. I do not claim to know your relationship with your partner, friends, or parents. Given your particulars, speak honestly and clearly about your need. Speaking passively or generally may not prove as effective as speaking clearly. For example:

“I’m so tired!”

Versus

 “Grandma, I’m exhausted with all the sleepless nights from infant teething. Do you have a day coming up when you could watch the kiddos for a few hours?”

Take what’s offered. Even if it’s not exactly what you want, accept it. If you just can’t bear to put your children in someone else’s care, stay home but go in the other room. If your children still come to you, put up a gate, put in earplugs, and let go or take a walk around the block. For me, leaving the kids at home with my hubby means coming home to a messy kitchen or living room, which is more stressful than not getting time alone. So I prefer they go on an adventure to the park. You can also voice how the messy kitchen doesn’t really give you a break, or have them clean up once you return. You can also just accept that whoever offers the help—hubby, parent, friend, church lady—may not be the finely tuned multi-tasking machine that you are. If getting a free hour or two means cleaning up a little extra later, it may be worth it to you.

Let go. You cannot have the space, break, or reprieve if you’re unwilling to let go. I can’t need the break but also need everything to be exactly as I would do it. Someone may pout for a little while, the shirts may not be folded as you would like, or they might get a greasy dinner instead of the well-balanced meal you would provide. If you want a break, you have to actually take a break. Enjoy it.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 7 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Can You Prepare for Parenting?

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Can You Prepare for ParentingYou read the books. Not just one, and not only about pregnancy and birth. You signed up for emails and apps that provide development updates at your fingertips. You checked the registry lists—all of them—and planned accordingly. You even read the “what you REALLY need” and “things you just don’t need” blog posts. You took the classes for the birth and talked to a few trusted sources who have been there, done that. You’ve even taken in more unsolicited advice than you’d like because…almost all unsolicited advice is more than you’d like. You are prepared, you think.

Just like you were prepared the first time you went to a new school, on your first date, off to college, into a committed relationship, on a first interview, to that first job, and more. Parenting is unlike any other endeavor. If you could prepare for major seasons of life I imagine there would be fewer letters to my younger self, what I wish I knew, tips for fill-in-the-blank, and other such thematic articles. There is knowing about something, and then there is actually breathing it in and out to your very core.

This isn’t to say one can’t understand until one has children. That’s too condescending. You’ve heard it. “One day when ____, then you’ll understand.” It’s not that simple. There are many parents who don’t have a clue on some things for any number of reasons and other childless people who have great wisdom in what being a parent might involve.

I knew patience. I grew it over years; parenting did not teach me patience unlike anything else so much as it affords me opportunities each day to learn it again in all its endurance. I knew love. I tended to love over all my years; parenting did not teach me love so much as specific love and selflessness.

Something I did not know until I became a parent, nor do I think I could have prepared for, involves the time of caregiving, the way it weaves into one’s soul. In this sense caregiving is not only to children but also to parents or others loved dependents. It’s life-altering and perspective-changing. I spend my time considering and doing things I’d never thought of, never even knew to.

This investment is partly pragmatic. Pulling out four sets of clothes for upcoming season was just a short afternoon task when it was just me and my one set of clothing. Or in the morning, when getting ready for one to get to work on time seems like a task, suddenly getting four bodies fed and ready, in the car, and off to school and childcare, then me on the road. Don’t forget the lunches! The change of clothes to replace those used yesterday! The sign-up sheet for the goods to bake! So much time and thought goes into making that process seamless, not to mention all the emotions of shuffling kids here and there as you leave them for work.

Then the time that gets to the intention of your parenting. You care and everything is new. What doctor to choose, what that rash might be, which stroller to buy, whether to preschool or not, which preschool, what sports and how many, when to speak and hold your tongue, when to give them space to fail and succeed, how much screen time, when to allow a phone, oh-my-gosh bullying or dating or developing ethics and principles, and so on. Everything takes thought and attention like those first days of being at college or starting my first “real” job, or planning a wedding—except a life hangs in the balance. Of course a wedding comes and goes—for a child the new just keeps coming. One age mastered and another age comes.

Turns out you constantly prepare for parenting. It is the real-deal, never-ending, choose-your-own adventure every day. Welcome.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Sleep Help for the Weary

Monday, November 7th, 2016

importance-of-early-bedtimeNews report that you probably already knew: Your kids need sleep. On the off chance that this idea of an early, consistent bedtime is news to you, let me quickly fill you in. Consistent bedtimes that allow enough sleep for children can contribute to fewer behavioral issues and even physical attributes like obesity later in life. While many often emphasize “early” bedtime, it’s possible one’s particular situation (e.g., wake up at 5 am versus 8 am) could alter what exactly “early” means for each individual family.

This study hits home especially for parents whose work schedule or family particulars don’t fit the classic kids-in-bed-by-8 routine. Early bedtime routines can also be a challenge for some families with multiple children, especially when one child is in the midst of newborn age, experiencing regression, or any number of other challenges come dusk. For some families, irregular or later bedtime routines are a necessity so evidence that early bedtime routines have a positive effect later in life can make them feel a whole bunch of negative.

Still, the most recent research says early bedtime (8 PM or earlier for preschoolers) lessens the likelihood of obesity in teenage years, even when other factors were controlled and accounted for. Researchers point out children who go to bed earlier are less likely to snack late into the night and are more likely to get a full night’s rest, allowing for more restorative sleep. Ultimately getting enough sleep, not the exact time one goes to sleep, is shown in research to be overall most critical for the mind and body.

In case your family struggles, it turns out we’ve got you covered! If you wonder still about how a routine might look, you can read from perspectives of a mom of one or another; mom of two; mom of four or another.

In trying to get that routine, you may consider want to know the ins and outs, dos and don’ts of sleep training. Perhaps you are troubleshooting challenges like crib climbing; whether or not to give up naps for the sake of bedtime routine; or sleep regression.

If you’re at your wits’ end with a sleepless or otherwise challenging night experience, perhaps my ah-ha moment on the great expectations of sleep will give you the feeling of comradery. There was also the time I spoke fondly—yes, fondly—of sleepless nights. Others also offer solidarity on the subject of children and sleep. And last, but possibly most important, two more offer the reality and encouragement to get through the sleepless periods of all mommy lives.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.