Natural Products To Simplify Your Life

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With a child who has eczema and multiple food allergies, sensitive skin is something I’m all too familiar with. I have struggled with hidden allergens, especially soy, in everyday products like sunscreen, laundry detergent, dish soap, and paper towels. As a result, I’ve sought out products that avoid my son’s allergies, and have found that the best options to date are often the homemade, natural products. Check out these great ideas. 

 

Household Cleaners: 

1. Homemade Floor Cleaner- 

         -Two tablespoons all free & clear

         -1 squirt of natural dish soap

         -3 cups steaming hot water

     Give this recipe a good mix and dump on your floors. Works great on linoleum and tile- I love it in the kitchen. It removes stains and sticky toddler messes like nobody’s business! 

2. Orange Cleaner 

          -Vinegar 

          -lots of citrus peels

     Let set for anywhere from one week to two months, shaking every few days. The longer it sets, the stronger it gets! Check it out: 

 

Soap Alternatives: 

There are many alternatives to soap. One that is great for babies with eczema who just can’t handle the chemicals in soap is a little bit of baking soda and a few drops of water. Rub it into a paste with your hands and give baby a rub down. No squeaky clean smell, but baby will feel clean and chemical free! 

One of my favorite soap alternatives is breastmilk soap. Made with ‘nature’s goodness’, all natural breastmilk! These soaps come in a variety of scents and will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. I found them to be a lifesaver since I knew the source was completely vegan and the soaps were certified allergen free. Do a search on Etsy for breastmilk soap, and don’t be scared off my the price- one bar lasts a good long while! 

Readers, what are your favorite natural alternatives to cleaning products, soaps, and more? 

 

Parenting With Sensitivity

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I have a two year old who’s a little bit different. She hasn’t received any diagnosis and passed a hearing and speech evaluation, but she’s just not quite like other two year olds. She displays several markers for Autism as well as a variety of ‘unusual’ — but cute! –behavior. 

We are attempting to potty train this nutty little girl. So far we’ve come across a complete lack of success. She pees down her legs and doesn’t seem to notice. She will be interested in panties ad interested in sitting on the potty, but pee just never happens. Today, Grandma decided to help while I was mopping the kitchen floor. From the other room, I could hear her yelling at her and my little ladybug crying and saying “all done”. Grandma didn’t want to let Little Miss off the potty insisting that at 31 months she “has” to potty train. 

Long story short, I flipped out. 

I believe in gentle parenting. In treating children with kindness and firm guidance, but never with cruelty or force. Unless, of course, they are in harm’s way– that is another story entirely. Forcing a little girl to sit on the potty will, in my opinion, do more harm than good. She will go when she is ready. And this brought me to a thought- how many of us actually parent with sensitivity to our children’s needs? Are we doing what is convenient for us, or what is best for them? I recall a quote that goes something like, “What’s best for the child is not always what’s most convenient for the parent”. 

What do children need? Food, shelter, clothing. But also love, guidance, a superior role model. A strong pair of arms, a loving touch, a gentle voice. 

Forcing your child to do things they are not yet ready to do may harm the special bond you have with your child. Forcefulness breeds mistrust, anger, and general unhappiness. Raising your voice breeds fear and hurt. Take the time to not only tell your children that you love them, but also to show them that you love them. I truly do not believe that a well-loved, gently disciplined child can be spoiled. There is no such thing as too many kisses! 

On that note, the other day Grandma said to me, “your children are far too attached to you!”. This idea appalls me. Why, I ask, would you have a child and expect them NOT to be attached to you? You bear them, you birth them, you raise them. You are, in every sense of the word, their world. And certainly the intense attachment of a two year old can be overwhelming at times. The passionate love of a baby or toddler can be frustrating when your hair is undone and your house is in shambles. But that love is a blessing, the most beautiful gift a parent could wish to possess. So parents, parent gently. Be sensitive to the needs of your children. Parenting is not an easy task. Your days may be long and your nights may be sleepless, but childhood is short. This too shall pass! 

The WIO (Wait It Out) Method of Sleep Training (Reblogged)

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This article is reblogged from nurshable.com. The original article can be viewed here. More people following this method of sleep training will lead to happier, healthier children and families. Way to go Sarah!

 

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Dear Daughter,

You are three months old, almost everyone agrees that you are too young for “sleep training”, “cry it out”, “Ferberization” and all those other methods of sleep training that the parenting circles buzz about. Others say that three months is plenty old enough. Everyone has their rules, their ages, their advice, their books, their suggestions.

With your oldest brother I became anxious and felt like I was doing “nothing” to help him learn to sleep. With you, I smile peacefully when offered advice about getting you to sleep. I know that I’m not doing “nothing”, I’m laying the foundation slowly and gently.

Chances are pretty good that you’re reading this as an adult and thinking “I love to sleep! Sleep feels awesome.” and snuggling under your covers hitting the snooze button repeatedly.

You’re at the infant stage where to be held is comfort. When I put you down and you cry I don’t k now why it is that you’re crying. I’m told that you “want to be held” and that you are “spoiled” and that “you need to learn to self soothe”.

The thing is.. Sometimes we want comfort because something bothers us. Sometimes we’re rocked by the waves of life and battered by stresses. Sometimes we cling to those we love because we seek solace in comfort. Sometimes we cry because of pain or discomfort but find peace and calm in the arms of someone that we are close to. This applies to adults who have all the words in the world to communicate their needs and to understand them. To adults who have had years to fine-tune their ability to self comfort.

Since you have no words, I do not know the meaning behind your cries. And since you are an infant, I do not choose to attribute malice or aforethought to your cries that soothe as soon as I pick you up. I do not view you as a cunning little creature that wishes to interfere with my life by insisting on being near me.

Maybe you have reflux that makes laying down painful. Maybe you have a belly ache. Maybe you are anxious because of a noise, or afraid of the dark. Maybe you simply do wish to be held because my arms are the safest and warmest place in your world. Maybe your instincts speak loudly to you in ways that you do not understand and you simply know that right now you need to be held in order to be calm.

I cannot think of any reason why I should feel okay letting you lay there screaming. Yes, I need sleep. Of course I need sleep. And I snatch that sleep where I can. Yes, I like sleep. I love sleep. I’ve acquired that taste for lazy days of lounging around in bed. Lazy days that I can’t remember the last of. I have words to vocalize these needs of mine. I have people that I can speak with, and I can even make a stab at  saying it eloquently. “I need sleep.” Sometimes I’m so tired that I could cry with that need for sleep.

I am grown. I am strong. I understand the passage of time and that THIS will pass. You will sleep. Your infancy is the briefest part of the brief time that you are a child in need of my arms.

I can wait it out so that you don’t have to cry it out.

I can wait until you have the words to explain your needs and until I can use my words to help you understand the deliciousness and safety of the dark warm place that is your bed in the night in your room in your home with mommy and daddy just a door away. I can rock with you in the dark and let my thoughts and dreams wander and savor the stinky sweet baby smell of your hair and feel the wakings spacing out and coming together as you grow through growth spurts and phases.

I put you down and smile at you in your bed as you stare up at the ceiling fan and smile. You learn that your bed is a safe place to be while awake. When you fuss or cry I pick you up and tell you “I know, you want to be held right now.” You learn that your bed is not a place where you are abandoned, but rather a place that you can happily be while awake.

I nurse you when you need to nurse, trusting you to know your needs and your hunger.

I smile at you and talk to you about how snuggly and warm your pajamas are. How sleepy and relaxed you look. I stroke your cheek and let you savor the sleepiness as you drift off feeling safe.

As you get older like your brothers have, I will do these same things. I will stretch things out and treat bedtime with no urgency or anxiety. I will talk to you as I have to them about relaxing every bit of your body and how your bed is so safe and warm and snuggly and how you can feel the sleepiness in your feet, your legs, your belly, your arms.. How you sink into your mattress and your pillow and how finally your eyes are heavy and sleepy and they barely stay awake because you are so tired that you just… fall… asleep.

Then I can simply remind you “You need to close your eyes and relax.” And I can start telling you that I will be back to check on you as I need to do my bedtime chores.

I’m more worried about how I will convince you to get out of bed when you’re a teenager than I am about the idea that you will never self soothe or that you will never sleep in your own bed. I want you to truly enjoy going to sleep at the end of your long and eventful days, I don’t want you to simply lay there with your eyes awake waiting for sleep while counting sheep as I do the same thing one room over. I want to teach you all the things that I’ve learned about falling asleep, rather than leaving you as an infant to somehow figure it out on your own.

I can savor bedtime and wait it out, because this will not last forever. You are a little creature that is bent on independence. All I need to do is help you see sleep for what it is. Safe, comfortable, and lovely.

❤ Mama

Is CIO Killing Your Baby?

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Recent studies have shown that CIO, also known as “Crying It Out” can be seriously dangerous for babies. CIO is the method of sleep training in which babies are left to cry themselves to sleep, or “self soothe”, while parents check on them at regular intervals. Crying it out breeds abandonment and greatly damages the relationship between a mother and her child. It teaches her child that Mom cannot be trusted to come in when he is crying, sad, and lonely. It teaches babies that Mom is not reliable, and may not be safe. Despite the sorrow of this truth, CIO is practiced by many parents nationwide. But here is why CIO may not only be damaging your baby’s brain, but may also be putting him in danger of death. 

Psychology experts write that when babies cry, their brains release Cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol is not only a stress hormone, but is also a toxic hormone that kills neurons. You know what that means– stress kills brain cells! A full-term baby’s brain is only twenty five percent developed at birth, and continues to grow and change rapidly throughout the first year of their life. Unfortunately, when babies are exposed to excess amounts of Cortisol, their brains do not develop properly. Studies released from Harvard and Yale universities show that babies who have experienced cell death as a result of exposure to Cortisol are more likely to develop conditions such as ADHD, anti-social tendencies, and poor academic performance later in life. 

Furthermore, increased levels of Cortisol cause babies to fall into a deep sleep when they do eventually stop crying. This is why it seems like your baby is sleeping so peacefully after a session of CIO. However, your baby may not be as peaceful as she seems. Falling into such a deep sleep shortens your baby’s breath and greatly increases the risk of SIDS, also known as crib death or cot death. CIO, or sleep training, is literally deadly. 

Human babies are hardwired to crave comfort, care, and human touch. Depriving an infant of the touch and care that they need will do much more harm than good. Sure, it may be easier to save the fifteen or even thirty minutes that your child needs to fall asleep at night. However, is that thirty minutes really worth risking your baby’s mental and emotional health? 

Human babies thrive best when snuggled close to their parents. This means that practices such as cosleeping and breastfeeding are the best gift you can give to your child. But even if you are unable or unwilling to breastfeed and cosleep, please, do not leave your infant to cry it out alone in a crib.  

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When our daughter was born, co-sleeping came naturally to us. I had just had a c-section and needed her close to me. As she got older, she moved on to her own sleep space. My son is 13 months old and still very much enjoys sleeping curled up beside me. There is truly no better feeling than waking up with a warm baby snuggled close against you.

I firmly believe that co-sleeping, when done properly, is safer than crib sleeping. I cannot fathom how mothers are intimately connected to their babies for 40 weeks, only to expect complete separation at birth. Co-sleeping is how babies are designed to sleep!

Neuroanthropology

mother-and-childBy James J. McKenna Ph.D.
Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C. Chair in Anthropology
Director, Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory
University of Notre Dame
Author of Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping

Where a baby sleeps is not as simple as current medical discourse and recommendations against cosleeping in some western societies want it to be. And there is good reason why. I write here to explain why the pediatric recommendations on forms of cosleeping such as bedsharing will and should remain mixed. I will also address why the majority of new parents practice intermittent bedsharing despite governmental and medical warnings against it.

Definitions are important here. The term cosleeping refers to any situation in which a committed adult caregiver, usually the mother, sleeps within close enough proximity to her infant so that each, the mother and infant, can respond to each other’s sensory signals and cues. Room sharing is…

View original post 2,617 more words

Having A Party?

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Are you having a party or a get together? Do you need invitations, graduation announcements, birth announcements, thank you notes, business cards, or anything else? Please check out my friend’s Facebook page  here. She does really beautiful work, also takes custom orders, and has a lot of great prices right now. Help her get her studio on its feet!

Growing Up Alongside Playtime

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Toddlers and young children play effortlessly and easily, with no stress or inhibitions to limit their explorations. Their imagination is their only limit. Every attachment parent knows how important hands-on imaginative play is. Through play, children develop their personalities, their creativity, and their relationships. Through play, children express their emotions, their needs, and their desires. Playtime is a way for a child to express himself in ways he may not be able to verbally or psychologically. A parent who plays with their child is able to connect on a deeper, more intimate level with their child. 

As children grow, playtime grows as well. It is important for parents to remain hands on and guide their children through the stages of their play. For parents, relating to a school aged child can be much more difficult than it was to communicate with a toddler. When your child grows too old for wrestling, tickle fights, and general silliness, then it is time for the playtime to grow and mature as well.

The following are several ways in which a parent can support and encourage healthy parent-child relationships through the maturation of playtime. 

Physical Play

As children age, their style of physical play changes, but their enjoyment of it does not. Physical play becomes more about organization and tests of skill and strength, and less about wrestling and running aimlessly. The logical, more developed brains of older children enjoy organized activities such as sports, physical games, or activities. By participating in these activities with your children, you can connect to them on a “feel good” level, sharing your experiences and strengthening your bond. Interactive play provides strong emotional connections between parents and children. 

Verbal Play

As a child grows, his brain and language skills become more developed and mature. Verbal play is a great way for families to stay connected. Word games are great, but consider telling jokes as well. A funny joke can activate many areas of the brain, as well as releasing endorphins in the body. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, laughter is the best medicine! Share jokes or funny stories around the dinner table or after school. 

Individual Play

Besides finding activities, games, and sports that the whole family can participate in, it’s also important for parents to spend individual time with each child. Individual play allows children to become more emotionally invested in the lives of their parents. Child development specialists recommend finding an activity that is pleasurable to the child, first and foremost. Joining your child in an activity they already love, whether it be playing with Legos or making music, can strengthen the feelings of closeness between parents and children. 

Playtime Is A Listening Tool

Playtime is some of the most important time of day for a child. It not only allows them to express their own individuality and creativity, but it brings them together with their parents and siblings. Besides this, playtime is an ideal time for parents to listen to their kids. As children get comfortable in their playtime activities with their parents, their conversations may become deeper, giving parents and opportunity to listen to their child’s unexpressed needs, desires, fears, or troubles. 

Regardless of whether or not a parent shares a child’s particular interest, getting involved in that interest or activity will inevitably bring the parent and the child closer. 

 

Your children are growing and changing. Is your playtime growing with them? Stay involved in your children’s lives– remember, parenting lasts a lifetime, but childhood is short.