Working Out with Toddlers

September 15, 2016

A lot of us have been there, are there, or will be there. We’re trying to be healthy and exercise…and we’ve got littles running around, climbing on you or something else, and it’s really, really hard to focus or get a full set of reps in when you’re constantly jumping up to handle some situation. Some days are better than others. Some days you want to throw in the towel.

 

Don’t!

 

One of the things I’ve been doing a lot this summer is exercising out of my own home. It’s hard. I love going to the gym. I love having “me time.” I mean, I really love having “me time.” I need it. It’s part of the way I stay healthy and sane as a full-time parent. Yet this summer was incredibly challenging because a) hubby ended up working third shift at his job, which meant he slept most of the day, and b) I don’t have anyone to help me handle kids (without having to pay a sitter, and that is not always an option with our tight budget).

 

I’ve been analyzing what has and has not been working for me and I think I’ve come up with a short but sweet list of ways to exercise at home while you have (young) children present:

 

Pick a time of day you want to exercise and stick to it.

I recommend mornings since that is when we have the most self-control and self-motivation, but that doesn’t always work for some people. Whether it’s evenings after the kids go to bed or nap time or another time altogether, mark it in your daily calendar and just do it.

 

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Plan out what you’re going to do before you do it.

This way you can exercise without having to dither about whether to grab weight or that DVD, or not, saving you time. This also means that if you want to start a new regimen, you need to discuss it with your doctor (where applicable; for instance, when you’re recovering from childbirth or have an ongoing illness/medical condition), order the appropriate equipment and literature, etc.

 

Set ground rules while you’re working out.

Your kids need to know what is and isn’t safe–and there are things we use or do while exercising that are not safe for children. Educate yourself on them and draw the line in the sand. This will not only establish what is and isn’t allowed as far as behavior and play go during this time, it also sends a message to your kids that they AND your exercise matter.

 

Invite your kids to join you.

As counter-intuitive as this sounds, asking your children to join you during a dance video or while you are stretching out on your yoga mat will lead to them practicing healthier behaviors later in life and a whole lot of good memories too.

 

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Mom and Daughter Exercising

 

When all else fails and you just need some “quiet time”, ask for help!

It’s okay to seek out some help from a friend, family, or a spouse. Offer to trade gym time with a girlfriend or ask your spouse for an hour every day they can spare it. Do not feel guilty or be embarrassed to ask. Remember that you’re worth this time: it will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to handle all the situations life (and your kids) throw at you.

 

Finally, remember to keep a very good sense of humor! Toddlers want to be involved in everything you’re doing and they’re going to want to be at the center of it all. In my own experience, that means sitting in my lap when I’m working on stretches. Take a deep breath, talk to them (I know, not very yogi-like), and delight in their hugs and kisses. They grow up so fast. Enjoy them while you can. These moments will make sweet memories on which you can dwell the rest of your life, even when you’re once again a regular gym rat.

I’ve been documenting my cloth diapering experience here because I think it’s important for moms to realize that it’s doable. And more than doable, it’s easy. With water usage becoming more of an issue, it is also environmentally friendly because cloth diapers use less water when washed than companies do when making their disposables.

Yes, there is an initial cost involved when considering cloth diapering your child, but that investment goes a long way toward subsequent children. For instance, for my first child I paid about $700 for my cloth stash (over the majority of my pregnancy, so $50-100 a month); add laundry detergent for a year and I’m probably looking at about $800 for the first year of diapering one child. That’s really not that bad for someone who wants to test all the diapers!

For my second, I probably spent around $500 for an initial stash, and a good bit of that went toward newborn and Size 1 diapers because I didn’t want to have to change her as often at night. (That was a rough learning experience with my first.) The great thing is that now that my first is getting closer to potty training and is using fewer diapers throughout the day, I have more that I can use between the two of them as my second grows into the originals I purchased for my first.

So, to calculate my expenses: for two in the first 20 months of cloth diapering, I’ve probably spent $1400 (this includes laundry detergent, bum butter, sprays, Snappis, reusable liners, and of course diapers). Not bad considering that the average costs for using disposables on one child in their diaper-wearing years is $1500-$2500. And, honestly, I think I’ll be spending less with each year to come!

There is some talk among cloth diapering mamas about stashes. Should you have a stash for each or share. My call: go by your budget. When it comes down to it, you really don’t need a stash for each. It’s just nice to know that you’ve got enough for each in case you run low.

The only thing I’ve noticed a change with two in cloth is how often I have to do the laundry. Once every two days. Honestly, though, it’s not that bad. My loads are smaller than they were and they’re getting cleaner since they don’t sit 3+ days anymore. Plus, hubby made me a clothes drying rack so I can take advantage of all the sunshine we get in the desert! It’s been superb to have sun-bleached diapers instead of stains. They are stiff when I take them in, but a quick tumble in the dryer helps with softening them up.

Other than that, I’ve not had any more stress when it comes to cloth diapering two under two. It’s rather amusing sometimes, actually. My first often makes yuck noises when I’m changing her sister! But thank goodness she knows when diapers are dirty. It means she’s getting closer to potty training–and that will be a fun experience of its own.

Last week slipped away from me as follows: WE FINALLY GOT OUR TAX REFUND, SO NOW I CAN BUY CLOTH DIAPERS AND NURSING TANKS–AND, OH, IT’S GETTING HOT, HOT, HOT OUTSIDE AND MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T HAVE ANY SUMMER CLOTHES FOR HER SIZE, SO WE NEED SOME OF THOSE TOO! Needless to say, with my head swimming with baby and toddler needs, I didn’t get this post out, but as I’ve had several pregnant women in my classes come up to me asking about my experience with natural childbirth and any advice I can give them, I thought I’d pass along the information here.

Please note: I’m not a medical practitioner. All of the advice that follows merely comes from my own experience. Seek a qualified medical practitioner to answer any and all your questions with regards to your health care options.

Almost all mothers, particularly first-time mothers, have fears. Many of these are related to the pain, or perceived pain, that you’ll encounter while giving birth. Make no mistakes–I’m not going to lie–giving birth to a child hurtsA lot. Underline that at least three times.

With that said, here are the four main points I tell mothers interested in going a natural route for childbirth:

  • Trust your body: it knows what it’s doing. The key is to keep your head when the going starts getting rough.
  • It’s a mind game: in order to achieve that natural birth plan, you’ve got to be mentally prepared to override your impulses for pain-relief. You’ve got to be tougher mentally than the contractions that can–and do–make you cry.
  • Breathe: practicing yoga breathing (slow, steady breaths) is one of the best ways to help your body relax as you’re going through contractions. You can also look to see if there are birthing classes in your area for breathing tips and techniques. Relaxation is key to a successful natural birth.
  • Go with the flow: stuff happens. All our perfectly laid-out plans don’t always go accordingly, and sometimes we’re totally thrown off by the sudden need for medical intervention. Don’t beat yourself up because your drug-free plans went awry. It’s better than you and baby are safe (via a c-section, etc.) than risk further complications and your lives.

One final thought I’ll touch upon before I wrap up. Make sure that you’ve got a good “team” or support person with you while you go through the birthing process. My husband was fantastic. He jumped right in, did what the nurses and midwife instructed him to do without batting an eyelash. They were even cracking jokes!

Not all men are like that. We know families whose guys were squeamish, and that just creates more stress than a mother in the middle of childbirth needs. Seek someone else (a parent or friend) or hire a doula (birthing coach) to help you if your significant other can’t or won’t be there for you physically, emotionally, etc.

Most importantly, make sure that you are completely comfortable with how your doctor will be delivering your child(ren). If you aren’t, I suggest finding someone you’ll like well, or even love. Even with all our amazing technological advances in medicine today, childbirth is still a risky business as well as being a very personal experience. The fewer worries you have going into the birthing process, the more you’ll be able to put your game face on, concentrate on having baby, and celebrating the life that’s coming to rest in your arms.

I’m a part of a few Facebook mom groups, and sometimes I come across posts that I find rather humorous. Not because I think the mom posing the question lacks common sense or a knowledge base. Rather, I smile because I had the same thoughts as these things happened to me for the first time.

I’ll start by saying that you can (most often) blame your hormones for the random things that happen to you after you have your baby. Just as everything gets wacky while you’re pregnant, things go a little crazy again as your body returns to it’s pre-pregnancy self. As levels of estrogen and progesterone readjust to a (perhaps, new) baseline, you start pondering what the heck is happening to your body. Here are some postpartum (PP) phenomena, my own thoughts when I went through them, and how to handle any/all hurtles.

Breastfeeding: for mamas who are going to breastfeed, the first 2-4 weeks (sometimes longer) are a real roller coaster ride. Your breasts swell. You hurt in ways you’ve never hurt before. You’re tired from round-the-clock feedings. You’re wondering if baby ever gets enough. You’re wondering if you can really tolerate baby latching one more time.

The good news is that it gets easier. The not-so-good news is that it takes some time. You and baby have got to work as a team to figure out how best to breastfeed. You may really need some outside help too. Never hesitate to contact your family doctor/pediatrician and/or lactation consultant (LC), and consider joining your local La Leche League, International, chapter. Most often, you’ll find a ton of support through these channels, which will give you a morale boost and the courage you need to continue.

On one side note, there still are a lot of doctors out there who recommend, or even push, supplementation when you come in with questions and/or for checkups. Virtually all women make enough milk to sustain their children (I think it’s less than 2% don’t and/or cannot produce enough breast milk). This, however, doesn’t mean that your supply can’t dwindle or dry up sooner than later–another reason to get into contact with good LC’s, who can recommend safe foods for boosting milk supply. If your doctor recommends supplementation right off the bat, consider seeking a second opinion before making a final decision. I know I didn’t have any issues with milk supply; I also know that one of my girlfriend’s did about four months PP, and needed to supplement her baby’s diet so he’d gain weight. In the end, you’re mom. You know what’s best for your baby. Go with your gut.

The jiggle: one of the most common posts I see come from women ready to reclaim their pre-pregnancy body. They’ve got baby pudge and, six weeks PP, they want it gone! Now!

Let me start off by stating that it took almost 10 months for you to grow a baby. It’s going to take you at least that much time to have your body go back to it’s pre-pregnancy self. (It may never go back totally, but more on that in a second.) That doesn’t mean don’t start back up with your exercise and/or diet routines after your six-week PP checkup. It does mean take it easy, gradually ease into your routines again, seeking advice on diet if you’re breastfeeding so your supply doesn’t diminish, and on exercise if you’re still feeling aches and pangs in certain areas of your body. Note what makes you feel discomfort, and pay particular attention to anatomical alignment and how to perform the exercise properly. I know that when I moved into side plank a certain way, I’d feel a terrible pain in my pelvis, so I made sure that I didn’t transition into that particular exercise in that particular way again for at least six months.

Let me reiterate: take your time. You’ll thank yourself later.

Diastasis recti: some women experience a separation in their abdominal muscles (the rectus) after having a baby. If you do experience this,, seek guidance from your healthcare provider before returning to your exercise regimen. As nice as it’d be to crunch your way to a flat belly, that may actually make the separation worse rather than better.

Symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD): the same advice applies to SPD. Because the hormone relaxin works so nicely to make your ligaments stretch so you can push baby through the birth canal, sometimes it takes a long while for things to line up properly again. Sometimes, you need to go through physical therapy. Seek medical advice if you find yourself having discomfort or pain in your pelvic/pubic region, even if you’ve had your six-week PP checkup.

The pants dance: yep. It happens. As much as we jump, dance, squirm, kick our legs, lie back on the bed, our pants might not fit. Ever again. You might have to go shopping (gasp!) for new ones. It might also just take more time for your hips to realign to their PP positions (or close to them). A lot of women’s hips change shape after they have babies. It’s natural, and will making having subsequent children much easier. Don’t fret about it. Embrace your new curves and celebrate the life you’re now holding in your arms!

Holy hairballs: around 3 months, all that luscious hair you grew while pregnant will start falling out by the handful, particularly around your temples. It will eventually stop (in time for your little one to start pulling it out by the fistful), but I still remember feeling aghast at how much I lost.

I’m sure there are more things I’ve overlooked. Each woman experiences pregnancy and postpartum life differently. When in doubt, talk with your doctor, pediatrician, LC, or another professional. Mom blogs can be great and make us feel good (or bad), but it’s always wise to get advice from all sides of the spectrum in order to make the best-informed decisions for ourselves and our children.

Last month, I discussed what essential oils are. This month, I wanted to briefly touch on why you might consider using them. Before I do, I’d like to reiterate what I’ve said many times before:

I’m not a doctor, and therefore I cannot diagnose, treat, cure, and/or prevent any disease. My intention is to discuss ways in which you may be able to help maintain wellness and quality of life. Since essential oils are considered supplements by the FDA, companies and sales representatives cannot claim that oils treat specific conditions/diseases/illnesses, nor should they. Always consult your physician, dietitian, naturopath, etc., before starting to use any new supplement or regimen, including essential oils.

One of the main reasons people are attracted by essential oils (EO’s) is because numerous medical studies have found that they have antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. (Check out PubMed and Aroma Science for specific studies on EO’s, including this month’s spotlight oil, lavender.) They work on your physiology, at the cellular level, which is why so many people recommend them and why so many researchers are looking into EO’s for potential medical benefits. This is also why you want to look for therapeutic-grade essential oils and steer clear of most brands that are sold in conventional retail stores.

EO’s have hundreds of uses, including as bug repellent, anxiety reducers, air purifiers, and flavors in cooking. It is always best to get guidance when starting to use EO’s. If you have one near you, consulting a naturopath physician or aromatherapist is the best route to go–they have undergone the education necessary to understanding the chemical compositions of EO’s and how the act/react with one another and in the body under certain conditions. However, sometimes these resources are cost prohibitive. Therefore, in addition to websites like PubMed and Aroma Science, you might check out the following resources:

There are several good blogs out there; the one I’ve started following the one written by Andrea Butje of the Aromahead Institute, who incidentally is having free webinars on the AI’s aromatherapy course. There are also several Facebook groups out there advocating the safe use of EO’s, including Using Essential Oils Safely. Most of all, the more you research and learn, the more you’ll be able to use EO’s with safety and skill.

One final note before I finish. A lot of people recommend using EO’s on children, particularly lavender. Because they have such powerful properties, you should not use undiluted EO’s on children under the age of 6. If you chose to use an EO on their skin, it should be highly diluted (one drop in at least 2 Tbs. of a carrier oil, like fractionated coconut oil), but may be better and more safely utilized in a diffuser. EO’s should only be used on young children with purpose and possibly should be avoided on infants altogether. Again, always check with your pediatrician before using any EO’s on your children.

This Month’s Spotlight Oil: Lavender angustifolia

This Month’s doTERRA Deals:

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Please note, I am a doTERRA wellness advocate. While the main goal of these posts on EO’s is to educate, you can go to my website to purchase oils. I do earn a small commission from your purchases, and thank you for any business you send my way. I hope you find them as nice and useful and I have!

I’ve been keeping track of my cloth diapering (CD) process throughout this past year (a list of my other posts will be provided at the bottom of this post). Last time, I covered a multitude of varieties of diapers. This time, I’m going to talk about CD while your little ones transition into solid foods. (Reader beware: we’re talking about poop, here!)

 

I remember when my husband and I were discussing CD’s. He was totally for it in all except one aspect. Yes, that’s right. Like all parents, we were wondering what we were supposed to do with the poop.

 

Now, when you’re breastfeeding, handling infant poo is easy. You simply toss the diaper into the laundry pail without a second thought because it’s water soluble. I believe, though I have no real experience with it, that you should clean out the diapers if you formula feed. The same applies to solid food poo. You must wash out the diapers before they go into the laundry pail, or at the very least provide yourself with an easy way of getting it into the toilet.

 

How does one do this, you might ask? There are a few options out there, some of which I prefer over others.

 

1. The diaper sprayer. This is the way hubby and I decided to go. We wanted a way of getting the tough, sticky poos out of the diaper without having to do the dunk-n-swish method (also an option when you’re in a pinch, but requires intestinal fortitude as you’ll actually touch feces). I was so glad I purchased this before our daughter was born, even though it waited six months to get hooked onto the toilet. It’s fairly costly, ranging around $50-$60 per sprayer, but it saves you the headache of getting up close and personal with poop. (For those looking to reduce any spray given off while spraying out CD’s, you might also check out a companion piece called a SprayPal. We do not see the need to own one, however.) The trick to minimizing spray, however, is to ease the sprayer on rather than just blasting away.

 

2. CD liners. These are also another method we’ve taken to using, mostly because many of our nighttime solution diapers are made with natural fibers and we need to wick away moisture from our daughter’s sensitive skin. We use reusable fleece liners, which are laid on the inside of the CD before putting it on. Many times, when we have to empty out any poo, it drops right in without us having to reach for the sprayer! Not into reusable liners, though, and want something a little easier? There are also disposable liners. Again, just lay them on the inside of the CD before use–these are really great travel options for those choosing to CD while traveling long distances. The whole mess goes in the toilet and they’re environmentally friendly.

 

3. Spatula. Some moms prefer to just scrape the mess out with a spatula. They find it just as quick and easy as squirting water on their diapers, and often wash their loads more frequently (every day or two) than those who spray out their CDs (often three or more days). This is not my personal favorite way of ridding a diaper of poo, but it’s useful if you can’t afford a sprayer or are in need of a little extra help every once in a while when you run out of liners.

 

If you choose to enter into the fabulous world of CD’s–and they really are the most adorable things out there for your baby’s bottom–you’ll have to deal with poo. Just remember that if you get some on your hand, use plenty of soap and hot water. And breathe! It’s just a little poo, after all.

 

Speaking of CD while traveling, hubby and I took our second cross-country trip of our daughter’s life and used CD the whole time. For those who are considering making a journey, here are a few tips to think of while planning:

 

  • Make sure the place you’re staying has a laundry facility, or that you can access one at any given notice.
  • Bring your own CD-safe laundry detergent, water softener (Calgon is the most recognized brand), diaper liners, wet/dry bags (you’ll need more than one–one for storage at your place, and one for outings, at the very least), and plenty of change.
  • Be prepared to wash your CD’s more frequently than you  might at home, as your wet bag probably won’t hold all of them.
  • Realize that packing CD’s increases the bulk of your luggage. If traveling via airplane, take this into consideration while packing.

 

CD at any time doesn’t have to be difficult. It merely requires a little forethought when making your plans. I’ve found that using cloth is both very easy and very convenient. I hope that once you figure out your own routine, it will be that way for you, too.

 

One final note on CD’s. At the six month review I mentioned that I was really excited to try out wool. Sadly, that hasn’t gone according to plan for a few reasons. First, we live in a very hot climate–the sun bakes us the majority of the year, and hubby just didn’t think it was financially responsible to make wool purchases (which are pricey) when they wouldn’t be used all the the time. (He did add that, were we living in a cooler climate that got more cold weather, he wouldn’t have as many issues with such purchases.) Second, wool requires a little more care than the typical CD, and when I learned I was pregnant again, I found myself out of energy and laid up on the couch. Last, with another on the way, our money needs to be put toward buying–among a few other things–more CD’s!

 

For my other posts on cloth diapers, please see the following:

 

Cloth Diapers 101

Book Review: Changing Diapers by Kelly Wels

Cloth Diapering 102: Joys and Trials

Crunchy Mama

 

Please note: I am not an affiliate with Kelly’s Closet. It’s merely the place I shop for my CD’s and supplies. There are many other stores out there, but I highly recommend looking for a place that sources CD’s with sustainable and ethical manufacturers.

I meant to get this out last week, but life being what it is, it’s better late than never! This month, I’m doing posts looking back on my first year as a mother, and the things I’ve learned. I hope you take the information and use it as you see fit in your own experiences 🙂

 

On to breastfeeding. First off, I’ll quickly comment on the Breast is Best debate that rages throughout our society. I’m obviously pro-breastfeeding or else I wouldn’t be writing this post. Women were created with breasts to sustain children, and virtually all women can supply breast milk to their babies. However, sometimes this feat doesn’t go according to plans (i.e. our own expectations) and some women may end up needing to supplement their baby’s diet with formula. While I have a lot of personal issues with what they put into formula, I’m not going to dog on those women who choose to do this…but I will encourage every mama out there to breastfeed as much as she absolutely can!

 

Second, I’ll add a brief comment on the medical field and breastfeeding these days. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) say that, if possible, women should breastfeed their children until the age of two, as they receive plenty of immunity benefits from the mother in addition to other nutritional needs. Unfortunately, a lot of family doctors are not caught up on the current medical advice and still promote formula at any given chance. If you feel that you are being pressured to formula feed by any in the medical field, seek help by consulting a lacation consultant, your local La Leche League International (LLLI) group, or a more balanced opinion from another doctor. There’s nothing wrong with second opinions; however, “mom’s advice” may be outdated too–I’ve heard of numerous stories where women’s mothers have encouraged them to switch to formula very early on in a baby’s life because “it’s just not done.”

 

Now, about my own experience. I originally began breastfeeding right from the start with the hopes that I’d be able to go for at least six months. I wasn’t sure I’d actually make it till then because I know that each woman “dries up” at any given time, and I was one of the unlucky new moms who got her menstrual cycle back almost immediately (two months) after birth. But I didn’t give up, and I discovered soon enough that my daughter despised bottles. Poor daddy! She wailed whenever he tried to give her one because she knew that Breast was Best, or most snuggly, or whatever it is that infants hold as truth when it comes to breastfeeding. Even after we introduced solid foods at the age of six months, she still preferred breast milk for quite a while.

 

I’ve now been breastfeeding for 13 months, and while I’m pretty sure she’s weening, I’m really happy that I’ve been able to go this long. It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve had my fair share of pain and worries just like the next mother. While my experience may be my own (yours will be different), here are a couple things I think apply across the board when it comes to learning how to breastfeed and maintaining it:

 

  • Breastfeeding takes time. I know of a lot of women who give up after four or five days, when the soreness of their nipples really grates at their nerves. Don’t give up. Your milk supply is just coming in at that point, and it takes at least two weeks (sometimes as many as four or six) to really get a newborn to latch properly. If latching proves to be difficult–and babies will be lazy from time to time, so you may have to reteach it–consult a lactation consultant for tips on how to improve your baby’s latch.
  • Breastfeeding requires patience. This is a learning experience for both mom and baby. There are numerous positions you might need to try before you figure out which is best for the two of you. You might have to figure out how to sit your baby up while feeding because s/he gets gassy/colicky. You might have to figure out how to use a breast pump because your supply is large, or you might have to use one to help increase it. (Amount of milk pumped is NO indication of your actual supply, so for those who hardly get anything out, don’t fret. You’re making what your baby needs.) Some days, your baby will be a permanent attachment, others they won’t want much at all. When you get frustrated, take a deep breath and keep at it. Persistence is key and patience is mandatory.
  • Breastfeeding is beautiful. The bond between mother and child is a very special one. Breastfeeding gives you time to look at tiny fingers and toes, to watch your baby develop, and to say a prayer of thanksgiving for the little gift God has given you. Even now, when my daughter’s feedings are growing fewer in number, I’m astonished at how wonderful my child is, how wonderfully she was created.

 

I’ve also come up with a list of what I’d consider essentials to help you breastfeed:

 

  • A boppy pillow: seriously, the one “non-essential essential” I recommend every mother has at her disposal. This has saved my back as well as helped me position my daughter right since day one.
  • A breast pump: there are quite a few affordable ones out there, but the likelihood is that you’ll need one. Whether your supply is large or small, pumping helps regulate it. If you are a career woman who is determined to breastfeed her baby while working full time, look into the laws in your state. I believe that businesses are mandated to have a room for mothers to pump in and store the milk, but it might vary for each state.
  • A breast milk storage system: again, there are many ways of doing this, but the newest one I’ve found interesting is by Kiinde. Their starter kit comes with several attachments so you can pump directly into their storage bags, which then attach directly onto a bottle so you don’t lose any of the creamy fat that can stick to the sides of other bottles when you warm it up and transfer to a feeding bottle. I’m looking forward to trying this one out with Baby #2. (No, I don’t receive anything for mentioning the company 🙂 I just learned about it at MommyCon this month!)
  • Bottles: you may have to try several varieties before you find one that works for your baby, or you may have to forget this idea altogether. It really depends on the baby.

 

In closing, I hope that your journey into motherhood is as filled with wonder and joy as mine as been. No doubt it’ll be different, maybe even difficult, but even the hardest child is a blessing in a mother’s life. I wish you the very best in everything, and hope that you and your spouse will make the best decisions for your family that you can. In the end, you are the one that knows what your family needs the most.

So I’ve been busy as a bee in October trying to get moved and enjoying a vacation, but all the while pondering what it’s like to be a pregnant mom with a one-year-old. First off, let me say that this first year has been an absolute blast. My husband and I are so very happy, we often look at each other and wonder what we did before we had kids. Our daughter is a sweet-tempered, curious little tot who wakes up each morning ready to embrace the new day. (I wish I could channel that enthusiasm for sunrises some mornings.) To her, there is nothing more pleasant than getting a chance to venture outside with one or both of her parents; walking with the breeze blowing through our hair is the greatest of delights.

 

It’s not always so easy, however. I’m once again experiencing nausea with this current pregnancy as I did with the last, though admittedly it isn’t quite so bad this time around. Still, there are days when it’s hard to peel myself up off the couch because my daughter is investigating something that we’d rather her not get into. After a hectic month like October, all I really want to do is vegetate. Too bad I’m a mom 😉

 

Here are some of my thoughts on back-to-back pregnancies, and how to make it through when the going gets rough:

 

  • It is exhausting to be chasing a young child around while you’re carrying another. Take naps. Take a lot of naps. Find ways of wearing said young child out so you can take another, or put them in a play pen (pack-n-play) just so you can close your eyes for 20 minutes. You’ll thank yourself later.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your spouse, friends, and family. Even if all you do is sit on the sofa while they tend to the needs of your little one, it’s worth letting go of the control reins for those few precious minutes. One of the big things OB’s try to convey to their pregnant patients is minimizing stress factors in your life. This is one way of doing so.
  • It is very likely that, as some point, you’re going to feel like a harassed blob that looks like a tornado struck her in the face. It is so easy to forget about your needs. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Put on a little makeup (but keep it out of reach of Little Sticky Fingers), wear clothes that aren’t your usual pregnancy attire, go out with a girlfriend for coffee/tea, workout, get a massage–whatever it is you need, do it. Dad won’t die from watching your tiny tot for an hour or so. If he can’t do it, try to have a backup babysitter.
  • Remember that tornado I mentioned? It rips through your living space daily, spreading toys and shoes and whatever else it finds throughout it. Remember that it’s okay to let the house be messy for a day or two (or three). Tidiness is not a strong trait with young kids, and you might not have the energy to pick up every evening when pregnant. Take a deep breath and watch something on the television once your kiddo has gone to bed. You deserve the break.
  • Eat often (you’re growing a baby) and eat a wide variety of foods. Your tot will want whatever is on your plate, no matter what’s on his/hers. I just went to MommyCon last weekend (more on that later) and one of the interesting facts I learned is that you only have the first three years of a child’s life (plus gestation) to instill healthy eating habits. After that, it becomes much harder to get them to change their preferences. So by eating the best foods you can (the pregnancy will dictate some of this, of course), you’re increasing the likelihood that your tot will be exposed to good food choices, as well as your baby (they have a lot of taste buds in the womb)! Don’t worry if they’re picky through their toddler years. Keep trying. They’ll come back to eating well later on.
  • Don’t forget to budget for baby! You might not need as much stuff this time around–I don’t, thank goodness–but you still need to plan and buy well in advance, if possible. I highly recommend shopping secondhand or asking friends if they have anything they’re getting rid of. I got a crib for free and a double stroller for a fraction of its original price.
  • Stay consistent with your tot in both routine and discipline. It’s really easy to let go of the control reins when you’re pregnant because you’re tired, sick, etc., but that can be really frightening/challenging to a young child, and they’ll act out. Stick to your guns, even when it’s tough on the hard days, and you’ll thank yourself after Bumpkin #2 comes along because you won’t have as much work to do, let alone patience, in order to correct bad behavior.
  • Tell your kid about the baby! You may not think they’ll understand, particularly if they’re young, but I guarantee you they will. My daughter once gave my baby bump a kiss!
  • Take time to be with your spouse. Nourishing your relationship will promote a healthy family life and set a good example for your children.
  • Keep a sense of humor even on the bad days. Sometimes a good belly laugh is all you need to turn your day around.

 

These suggestions, of course, are the tip of the ice burg. Each situation is unique to the person living them, so there’s no way for me to cover them all. These are the things I’ve learned from my own personal experience, and I hope they help you on your own journey through parenthood. It is a fantastic time of life. Cherish every moment, particularly the young years–they’ll be gone in a flash.

 

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Here is this month’s doTERRA specials. If you are interested in essential oils, please check out my website. Remember, if you place an order, take advantage of the preferred member discount (20% off orders; it’s a one-time $10 fee)! If you’re interested in becoming a wellness advocate, please message me for more information.

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I apologize for not putting out a post last week. I got clobbered with a sinus cold, which on top of being (seemingly) perpetually sick (again) this pregnancy and a teething infant will knock anyone flat on their back. However, through the use of essential oils (lemon, peppermint, and ginger mainly), I managed to defeat the crud after 4 days. Had I been able to use doTERRA’s protective blend, OnGuard, it might have been sooner, but there are certain oils one has to avoid while pregnant and some of those are in it.

 

But I’m back with this month’s doTERRA specials:

 

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Feel free to visit my website for more information on these products, and always feel free to shoot me a message with any questions you might have on products, preferred memberships, and becoming an wellness advocate!

 

And now onward….

 

Since my daughter was six months, I’ve introduced solid foods to her. Like many parents, I’d done some research about which way I wanted to go. I was really interested in baby-led weaning (BLW) but honestly had no idea where to begin to find good resources on the subject, and I didn’t know which of my friends were using that method of introduction. So I went with spoon-feeding purees.

 

It has been a frustrating experience, honestly. I initially went all out, making purees from fruits and veggies and trying to stuff them in her, with the occasional dose of yogurt added. Some things she liked right away. Many of them she’d tolerate. But in the end, almost all of them she spit back out, especially when her interest for what mama and daddy were eating grew.

 

So I began hand-feeding her bits of whatever I felt was nutritious for her with, again, varying results. Most meals, I felt frustrated. So did my daughter, I think, because she wanted to do it herself.

 

Now children are hardwired to learn how to do things from the time they’re born–rolling to sitting to crawling to walking–and while they need some help sometimes from the parents, the learning curve is largely left up to how fast they’re going to figure it out and do it. So it’s rather backwards of parents to seize control of the eating part of this learning process by dictating what foods their kids should eat (at this stage). Okay, in general we do know what is nutritious…but so do babies, and they know exactly what they need when. Trust me. Blueberries are packed with good things for you but if a baby doesn’t want to eat them, they won’t no matter how hard you try.

 

Linked to Amazon

Linked to Amazon

Enter Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater, by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I was introduced to this book a few months ago by a friend who announced that this would be her basic BLW guide as she began introducing solids to her son (though I didn’t purchase it till the beginning of this month). I was thrilled to know someone else who was planning on BLW and picked her brain about the best way to go through with it now that I’d started solids.

 

Let me stop here a moment to define what BLW is not. Weaning, as used here, is a British term for introducing foods to a baby, whereas in America it is used to describe the process of stopping breastfeeding. BLW is not about reducing breast milk to your child, which has many essential antibodies and benefits for them (even through the age of 2), but rather about teaching them how to eat good, nutritious food.

 

What is BLW? Basically, it’s putting a variety of foods before your baby and letting them examine them to their heart’s content till they are ready to try tasting them…and then letting them gum/chew the food till they figure out the mechanics of eating. This whole process, according to Rapley/Murkett, is akin to playing–and who wouldn’t want their kid to enjoy meal time?

 

There is a reduced risk of choking, according to Rapley/Murkett, because when babies first start learning how to eat, they still have their tongue reflex, an automatic mechanism that pushes away objects that threaten to go down their throat. At around six months, this begins to lessen/stop. The problem with purees and spoon-feeding, apparently, is that the foods are runny enough to bypass this safety reflex and the baby merely sucks food off a spoon, so when chunkier foods are introduced, they can often choke on chunks as they haven’t yet figured out how to chew.

 

This being said, I’ve got to admit that it is a messier way to do meal time. Rapley/Murkett offer some good suggestions for reducing mess, but until an infant learns how to keep food in their mouth, chew and swallow it, there is mess involved. On the upside of things, however, the messy stage is rather short-lived and accompanied by the necessary learning of the mechanics of the hands, mouth, and utensils (when introduced). Many BLW children are able to feed themselves well with utensils by 18-24 months–there are pictures in the book to prove it.

 

I’m really interested in seeing my daughter progress. Already, I feel like she’s eating more than she was before, even if half of the apple pulp comes back out 🙂 I’m hoping that BLW’s promise of infants being more adventurous eaters will happen soon, too, and am in the process of looking for easy-to-use/-wash dishware and utensils to help her practice! I will, as usual, do a follow up post at a later date. Until then, happy eating!

I know that many of us would love to have a crystal ball that actually worked, but we don’t. As a result, life throws us surprises that oftentimes leave us saying, “Hey! Wait! Wasn’t ready for that!”

In my case, I just learned that I’m expecting Bumpkin #2! While I’m thrilled about the news (I want my kids close together and love being a mom), I’m also somewhat dreading the pregnancy. For those who don’t know, my first one was terrible. I vomited the entire time, felt so awful that I ate whatever I could hold down. Needless to say, I pretty much told everyone who asked how I was feeling that pregnancy and I don’t get along. 

Then there’s the fact that I’m just getting somewhere in the development of a personal yoga practice. While the alteration of this won’t be a major downer for me, I had a few goals I’d hoped to accomplish. Nothing big. Just a few poses I’m aiming to perfect.

Funny how so often we start to think, “But that’s not what I wanted to do.”

Perhaps not, but if we stop and reevaluate, perhaps what we want isn’t the best for us at that time. Perhaps what we really need to do is far more important. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since receiving the news. Personal goals are all well and good–in fact, they’re great as they keep us motivated–but so often we find ourselves so driven to succeed that our goals end up driving us rather than being used as stepping stones toward a larger achievement (whatever it is).

So I’ve decided that I’d like not only to survive this pregnancy in a better frame of mind (and body), I’d like to thrive. Here are my steps to thriving:

  • First, I’ve taken a step back from myself, taken a deep breath, and said, “It’s okay. Now is the time for new and better things.” Motherhood is an amazing journey that I’d not trade for all the riches in the world. It is truly one of the greatest blessings we can receive.
  • Second, I’m letting go of the expectations I’d set for myself since my daughter was born. This isn’t easy. I’m a goal-oriented person. But I know that this frees me up to be happier in my current situation.
  • Third, I’m not giving up on the things I’d set out to do. This might sound like I’m still expecting of myself, but in all honesty, I’m not. I’m going with the flow. I’m letting life happen as it comes. Instead of berating myself for not practicing, let’s say, I’m realizing that taking that nap is exactly what I needed. I also know that I’ll eventually achieve the things I’ve started out to do…just perhaps not in the time frame I’d originally thought they’d be done in.
  • Fourth, I’m stripping away the extras in my life, focusing on what’s really important. So often, many things clutter our homes, our thoughts, and our time. Paring down helps shift focus back to the intangible things that matter most to us.

It may not sound like a lot, but then refocusing yourself in order to thrive doesn’t require a whole lifestyle change. It just requires setting priorities. Mine are my family and faith, my writing endeavors, and my teaching…in that order. It may seem like I’m short-changing myself on the potential of a star-shining career, but really, what can we take with us when we leave this world? Nothing, but we can leave behind a memory that is carried into the future with our children and I’m hoping that the one I leave will be full of happiness and love.

Besides, if my daughter is any indication of what’s in store for me these next 18-20 or so years, kids just make me laugh. I like laughing. I hope I laugh a lot!

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InTune, doTERRA focus blend

InTune, doTERRA focus blend

This month, take 10% off InTune, doTERRA’s focus blend. Apply onto the temples and back of the neck, and wrists to help improve concentration, focus, and mental clarity.

The Product of the Month for those wellness advocates who achieve a product

OnGuard, doTERRA protective blend

OnGuard, doTERRA protective blend

volume total of 125 or more, is OnGuard, a protective blend that helps support healthy immune function which studies have proved reduce influenza replication up to 90%. 

Remember also that if you choose to order doTERRA products, you can save 20% when you sign up as a preferred member. It’s a one-time fee of $10, but the savings are well worth it. (Wellness advocates buy at wholesale pricing, or 25% discounted price.)