Sugar cookies!

My daughter loves to bake and help out in the kitchen. While there are lots of hazards, like sharp knives and a hot stove, with some care and education, we’ve had nothing but safe and fun experiences cooking together.

Over the weekend, we made sugar cookies. We modified the recipe to make them dairy and soy free so little brother could have a taste too! She measured out all of the ingredients– an exercise in fine motor control. We also counted and talked about fractions of cups so it was a mini-math lesson as well!

Once our dough was formed, my job was to roll it flat and hers was to cut shapes or roll small dough balls. Teamwork.

While the cookies baked, we whipped up some frosting and partitioned it into several bowls so we could make different colors. She added food coloring to each bowl, counting each drop and talking about what colors we could make if we mixed our food coloring. After frosting the cookies, she decorated each one with sprinkles.

Sure, there was flour and other ingredients everywhere, but nothing a quick vacuum and wipe couldn’t take care of.

In the end she was so proud of her cookies and the best part was that we had a BBQ to take them to the next day making it so she could only eat a couple and avoid all that sugar!

Find the recipe that we followed here 

(modified to use Earth Balance soy-free butter instead of butter)

For frosting we used:

1/2 cup (1 stick) Earth Balance soy-free butter, softened

2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar

Splash non-dairy milk

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Why I Started Babywearing

 

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Day 1 with this little girl. Even then she was happiest in my arms, held tight.

As a first time mom with a fussy child, I was seriously struggling to adjust to new motherhood and I was having a hard time figuring out how to keep my baby happy. I had always considered myself to be good with kids but I had little experience with babies. In addition, I initially felt like I was on my own for a good part of this journey. My husband returned to work after taking just one week off and our parents, who visited and were extremely helpful while they were with us, lived about 1,000 miles away. I cried when my mom had to return home even though I knew that I’d be ok. What was I supposed to do with this baby that seemed to cry all the time? We tried going for walks in our stroller. She hated it. We tried getting in the car and going for a drive. She screamed the whole way. She was only happy when swaddled and carried close, and she would only sleep if she was laying on top of me or by my side. I really loved holding her all the time and was willing to do anything I could to make her happy, so I just carried her in my arms most of the day. It was exhausting (and I developed deQuervain’s Tendonitis)! But still, much better than dealing with a screaming baby.

 

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The only was that I could get my baby to sleep for more than a few minutes, before I tried wrapping.

When my daughter was about 7 weeks old, a couple of my best friends, who also live very far away, visited. One brought along her son who was almost a year older than my daughter. When my more experienced mama friend saw what I was up against, she said “have you tried a baby carrier yet?” I had not and I was sure that she was too small for one, but she wasn’t. So the next day we tried our Moby wrap and a few days after that we tried our Beco Gemini (two carriers that I had received as baby shower gifts, thank you, thank you). You can probably guess what happened… She loved it! She was no longer a fussy baby when in the wrap (if all other needs were met). I could suddenly leave my house without fearing that my daughter would have a meltdown in public and I wouldn’t be able to regain control of her. And, though somewhat limited, I suddenly had the use of my arms again! It was liberating really.THIS was why I started babywearing. Initially it was just a tool– another  necessary baby device that she’d outgrow at some point. But, it turns out that there is so much more to babywearing than I could have ever imagined!

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Moby Wrap success!

A couple of months went by of happily wearing my daughter in our Moby and Gemini and then I saw that a friend’s facebook profile picture was of her wearing her son in a woven wrap ON HER BACK! How did she do that? And what was that beautiful fabric that was holding him? I sent her a message asking these questions and she suggested that I join the local babywearing group on facebook. That was the first time that I had ever heard of a “group” on facebook. I joined and immediately met several like minded local mothers who were very understanding of my position. They became my postpartum support group of sorts—something that I had not even realized that I needed. Through this group I learned how to properly use a variety of baby carriers, but more importantly, I made new mama friends, went on play dates, learned about family friendly events in town, found other parenting groups online, and learned of other tips and tricks for just about every type of baby related issue from breastfeeding, to diapers, to baby shoes! You see, I think I was having a really hard time transitioning into motherhood. Feeling completely on my own, I was not performing at my best as a mom until I found this group. It may have been postpartum depression or maybe just a slow transition into motherhood. But things started looking up once I found the support that I so desperately needed and everyone was happier.
THIS was why I got hooked on baby wearing. As a friend once said, and is now common language in the babywearing community, “I found my tribe.”

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In Honor of World Breastfeeding Week

It is world breastfeeding week and I’ve been reflecting on what this really means to me for several days now.

Breastfeeding means giving up a part of your body to grow another person. It means losing a good portion of your day to just sitting (or laying) next to your child. Breastfeeding means that you must take care of your body and eat well because all of your nutrients are being passed on to your child. It means always being available to feed your baby or taking a cruel and unusual device with you to “pump” if you must be away. Breastfeeding means that you are constantly tired and always starving as your body works overtime to produce food for your baby.

It is truly a labor of love. It is a full time job all on its own. So you may be thinking, “why would you put yourself through that when you can just give formula?”

For me, I was lucky because I had a choice to begin with. To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? And if so, for how long? Not everyone is fortunate enough to have that option.

This is why I chose to breastfeed and why I continue(d) to breastfeed well into toddlerhood:

  • Breastfeeding is natural. We are mammals after all. The definition of mammal from the Cambridge Dictionary is “any animal in which the female gives birth to babies, not eggs, and feeds them on milk from her own body.”
  • Breastmilk is magical! While its composition is mostly known, scientists continue to find more than just vitamins, proteins, and fat in breastmilk. Aside from the constantly changing mixture of nutrients that reflect the mothers diet and environment, recent studies have found that breastmilk also contains antibodies (1), stem cells (2), and microRNAs (3).
  • Breastfeeding is ecofriendly and cost effective.
  • Breastfeeding is easily transportable! As long as you are near, baby will always have food. No need to worry about how many bottles to pack or whether milk will spoil. If you learn to nurse in a baby carrier (see reference 4 and more on this soon in my babywearing section) you don’t even need a place to sit and nurse. You can literally do it on the go, anywhere you go with no planning or preparation involved.

Reasons I chose to breastfeed past 1 year of age:

  • It is good for both mama and baby’s health. Studies have found increased IQs with longer durations of breastfeeding, improved mental and emotional development, as well as protection against ovarian and breast cancer for mom when nursing occurred for more than 18 months.
  • Toddlers can be picky eaters. Nursing as a compliment to solids provides more adequate nutrition. Plus there are probiotics in breastmilk and other gut healing properties. As toddlers eat more and more foods and grow their inner microbiome, breastfeeding can help promote early gut health which can have  life long ramifications.
  • Again, it’s natural! Other mammals nurse their young into the equivalent of early adolescence!

There are many other important reasons why I breastfeed, but my tired mama brain needs a break. So with that, I leave you with our #worldbreastfeedingweek #normalizebreastfeeding #brelfie

My baby boy and I breastfeeding at 19 months and counting. We’ll try to get to 2 years of age and then take it from there. For us, this is what is best.

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References:

1. See  http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/ for several references

2. Hassiotou F1, Beltran AChetwynd EStuebe AMTwigger AJMetzger PTrengove NLai CTFilgueira LBlancafort PHartmann PEBreastmilk is a novel source of stem cells with multilineage diffrentiation potential. Stem Cells. 2012 Oct;30(10):2164-74.

3. Alsaweed MHartmann PEGeddes DTKakulas FMicroRNAs in Breastmilk and the Lactating Breast: Potential Immunoprotectors and Developmental Regulators for the Infant and the Mother. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Oct 30;12(11):13981-4020.

4. http://blog.ergobaby.com/2014/08/tips-for-breastfeeding-in-the-baby-carrier/?gclid=CI_W3LO7rs4CFQFqfgodGvQBVA&gclsrc=aw.ds

Resources:

http://www.kelleymom.com

http://www.lalecheleague.org

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs342/en/

http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&id=78:breastfeed-a-toddlerwhy-on-earth&Itemid=17

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Introductions

I am the mother of two very silly small kids.

Big sister is 4, little brother is 1.5.

We wanted to have our kids close in age so that they could grow up together and be good friends.

I knew that this meant that life would be crazy for a while but I had no clue what I was really getting myself in to…

Up until a few months ago, I had a full time professional career in the making. Before that I had spent 10 collective years of my life learning about biology and neurobiology, first in college and then graduate school. I was never planning to be a stay at home mom. In fact, having started working as a teenager, and being so career focused through my 20’s,  it was hard to imagine a world where I did not work!

In later posts I’d love to share in more detail why daycare was not working for us and why to have me work was not the best answer for our family, but for now, let’s just say that that with the insane costs of childcare for two, it didn’t make sense financially for me to work. The other huge reason for leaving my job was that once my daughter was able to communicate more clearly, she expressed her desire to have me around more– a request that I took very seriously!

So, I have spent the past few months figuring out our new day to day, redefining my role in life, and finding ways to remain sane without very much adult time. This remains and ongoing process. Wish me luck!