Sheryl Jesin


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My results from the 21 Day Fix

I realized I never shared my results from when I first did the 21 Day Fix back in the spring of 2014!  I thought I would write about them today, in honor of Transformation Tuesday.

I first did the 21 Day Fix when Alex was about 5 months old.  I had slowly eased into exercising again when she was 3 months old.  It felt great to be moving again, but the scale was barely budging.  I had 10-15 lbs that I wanted to get rid of.  They were mostly situated around my midsection and it made clothes fit really funny – especially jeans – they were SO uncomfortable!

I knew I had to get my eating under control to see results.  Through social media, I had heard of the 21 Day Fix – and the nutrition plan caught my attention!  It seemed so simple to follow – just calclulate how many containers a day you need of different types of foods, and then eat them.

I was worried about maintaining my milk supply as Alex was still exclusively nursing at that time.  So I added in 500 calories each day and jumped in!  It was really easy to fit in the workouts – they were just 30 mins a day and I could do them at home.  I did them while Alex was napping or sometimes she would sit in her bouncy chair and watch me.   I followed the modifier at first to keep things low impact.

I did three rounds of the 21 Day Fix.  I was so thrilled with my results.   After the first round I lost 5lbs, I lost another 4 lbs in the second round and 5 more lbs in the third round.  15 lbs in total in 63 days.

After the 21 Day Fix, I fell in love with Beachbody, the company that makes the program.  I used to enjoy going to the gym, but with three kids it was just too hard to make time for that.   I learned so much about portion control – I used to think nuts are healthy (they are!!) but it’s really easy to overeat them and be in a calorie surplus for the day – even with exercising.  I realized also that I was not eating enough veggies or protein – both of which are very filling, nutrient dense but low in calories – perfect for when you want to lean out around the midsection.

In addition to losing weight, I also gained so much energy.   The four o’clock slump that I had been experiencing almost daily was gone.  I was waking up in the morning excited to do my workouts and plan my meals.  I say now that my workouts are my therapy – the endorphins I get from them boost my mood and give me energy to make it through my busy day.

As you can probably tell…I really love the 21 Day Fix.  I think this program is perfect for busy moms who want to learn how to fit daily exercise and portion controlled clean eating into their lives.   Yes – it takes dedication and hard work if you want to see results – but if you follow the program – you will 100% see results!

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start January 4th.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who help each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin

 

 

 


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4 month update

I can hardly believe that my baby girl is 4 months old already. How has time gone by so quickly? The newborn days are behind us now, and each day she gets more fun and more interactive.

I won’t lie, these past 4 months have been challenging. For the first 8 weeks, I barely slept because she barely slept. At night, she would be often up crying, and nothing would soothe her other than intense bouncing and rocking. This was no easy feat in the middle of the night. She would sleep during the day, but only if I was holding her or wearing her in a carrier. Thank goodness for babywearing or we would have been hungry with no clean clothes to wear.

At around 8 weeks, I took Alex to see my chiropractor. She specializes in pregnant women, babies and kids. She is extremely gentle. I took Alex three times, and at each visit Alex was crying when we got there for whatever reason. Hungry, tired, or both? I’m not sure. As soon as my chiropractor started her adjustment, Alex quieted down immediately and fell asleep. Coincidence? Or not? All I know is that after 3 adjustments, Alex started sleeping better. I am so thankful for that. At around the 8 week mark I also fully cut out dairy from my diet. I believe that has been helping too.

Now we happily co-sleep together, with no bouncing or rocking needed. When she wakes up at night, I hear her before she has a chance to cry. I latch her on lying down, and we both drift off to sleep. There is nothing better than that! As long as I am diligent about getting into bed early enough, I do not feel tired the next morning.

Juggling all three kids and maintaining some semblance of order in our house is no easy feat. Just the laundry alone is never-ending. I give a lot of thanks to my wonderful husband and my helpful mother and mother in law. My husband has been invaluable in his assistance with the older two boys and both grandmothers have been available at all times for sleepovers with the boys and pick ups from school. I am also so grateful that both boys are in school full-time – it gives me time to rest during the day and keeps them happy and occupied. It truly takes a village!

Even though things have been hard, I want time to slow down. I want to savour ever cuddle and snuggle and laugh with each of my kids. As Dylan has said often: “We will never have this day again.” How wise he is at only 6 years old.

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Dropping a nap

How do you know when your child is ready to drop a nap?  It’s a common question, and there is no easy answer.  Here’s a quick recap of my experience with naps with my 2 kids.

Months 0-6 – during these early months, my children napped whenever they were tired.   They nursed and slept “on demand’.  I generally nursed them to sleep either on a bed (if we were home) or in a carrier if we were on the go.  I kept an eye out for signs of sleepiness and always tried to nurse when they seemed sleepy, and if they were tired, they would usually fall asleep easily when nursing.  If they seemed tired but didn’t fall asleep nursing, I would hold them and bounce on a yoga ball (if at home) or bounce in a carrier if out, and they’d usually pass out within minutes!

Months 6-9 – with both kids, a fairly predictable nap pattern began to emerge.  They napped three times a day – usually 2-3  hours after waking either in the morning, or from a previous nap.   The last nap was usually a cat nap around dinner time.  During this stage, naps were mostly at home and sometimes on the go in a carrier or the stroller if we were out and about.  Kids were nursed to sleep.

Months 9-12 (or a bit longer) – at this point, both kids napped twice a day – usually once around 9 am and then again around 2 pm.  I still followed sleepy cues and would nap them a bit earlier or a bit later if necessary.  At this point, naps were almost always at home, and kids were nursed to sleep.

Months 12 – approx 2.5 years – naps dropped down to once a day, at around 12pm.  At this point, naps were almost exclusively at home, as I found they slept better in the quiet of our house, and I used the downtime to do things around the house.  Kids were nursed to sleep.

It’s always hard to know when a child is ready to drop a nap.  I found that there were two predictable signs – either the child wouldn’t nurse to sleep easily at naptime, or bedtime was getting really late.  When I noticed these signs, I would try to drop a nap and observe what happened.

There are also signs that a child is not ready for dropping a nap.  If you’ve tried dropping a nap, and the child is falling asleep at an old nap time either in the car or the stroller, or the child is super cranky around dinner time, it is possible that he or she was not ready to drop a nap, in which case I’d recommend reverting to the previous nap schedule.

Also, it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”.  Some kids benefit from a transition period – where they nap some days, and then don’t nap other days.   This can be hard as you really have to pay attention to your child’s sleeping cues, and you have to be really flexible with your schedule and be ready to nap your child when they need to sleep!

I should add that I personally have never been a big fan of carseat naps – I prefer my kids to nap at home so I can either get things done around the house, or nap with them!!

Also, as you can see from the above, the main sleep cue I use for my kids is nursing to sleep.  We don’t have a long, drawn out naptime routine.  If we are home, we go into a quiet room, turn on a sound machine, lie down, nurse, and usually the child is asleep within minutes.    An added bonus is that I get a few minutes of rest when I lie down with them.  When they fall asleep, I can sneak away. When I hear them waking from a nap, I always go to them quickly and try nursing again.  Quite often, they will fall back asleep and the nap is extended.  (I should add that my kids can nap without me, even though nursing to sleep is their main sleep cue.  Dylan was the star napper at his daycare and Jake can easily get Ben to nap by cuddling together.)

I’ve mentioned before that nursing to sleep has always been a wonderful experience for us.  I know it goes against all the advice that traditional “sleep experts” espouse.   I stopped listening to those experts a long time ago, and I’ve never looked back!

How have you been able to tell that your child needs to drop a nap?  Do you have a nap time routine?


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Giveaway – Glamourmom Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top – $49 ARV

This is a joint giveaway with Little Snowflakes and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section
marked “Win it!” for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.

Glamourmom is offering our readers a giveaway of a nursing tank, a value of $49. Glamourmom tanks are fabulous nursing tanks that provide the support of a built in bra, along with a tank top to cover your tummy!

After you’ve entered this giveaway, be sure to check out the giveaway of a Glamourmom Nursing Bra Long Tank over at Code Name: Mama and NursingFreedom.org!

My review:

I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that you don’t need much gear to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. You need a mom, and a baby, and perhaps a few sleepers and some diapers. You need perseverance, patience, support from family and friends, and the phone number of a skilled International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or a La Leche League Leader if you run into trouble.

That being said, there are some great products out there that can make breastfeeding easier and that can help a new mom feel good about herself! One of those great products is a Glamourmom Nursing Tank.

Glamourmom was started in 2000 after its founder, Line Rothman, gave birth to her daughter. She was looking for something that would provide support and easy access to her breasts, while at the same time covering her postpartum tummy. So she designed a nursing tank with a supportive bra. This was something that did not exist at the time!

I feel very lucky that I have been given a Glamourmom nursing tank to review. Ever since it arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago, I have been wearing my Glamourmom Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top around the clock!

This nursing tank has lots of fantastic features! It contains a full, built-in nursing bra with an adjustable band and adjustable straps. It provides extra support in the bust area as compared to Glamourmom’s other tanks and tops. It is cut long – the website states that it reaches to mid thigh. I have a long torso and found that it just covers my bum. It is made from thick, stretchy fabric – 92% cotton and 8% elastane.

I have been wearing this tank non-stop! I’ve worn it to sleep and I’ve worn it during the day. The built in bra provides good support for daily activities, although I wouldn’t recommend it for high impact exercise, such as running. It is comfortable enough to wear at night – I personally undid the clasps at the back of the band at night for extra comfort.

Here are some of the things I liked and disliked about the product.

Likes:

  • I love that the built in bra provides support for us moms with a bit more on top! The full-support bra, the adjustable band, and the thick straps all make for a very comfortable and supportive product.
  • The nursing clips are very easy to open and close with one hand.
  • The neckline of the product is just perfect – high enough to not show cleavage, low enough to be flattering.
  • The adjustable band is a unique and very useful and practical feature of this tank. Most moms will find that their band will change dramatically during the first few months postpartum. I love that each mom can customize her own fit with the band as her body changes, so that she will always experience support and comfort.
  • The fabric of this product is just right. It is thick, stretchy, and it hugs the body without being clingy. This means that it would stretch nicely and provide support and coverage to a postpartum tummy, but would not be too loose once that tummy starts to disappear.
  • I also love the choice of colors. Basic black or white would be a great staple in any wardrobe, but there are also some fun and flattering colors, like the Grape Galore that I tried.

Dislikes:

Honestly, there are very few things that I dislike about this product. The only thing that I didn’t love is the built in inner layer of the bra that contains a hole for your breast and nipple to come out of when nursing. Glamourmom calls in an inner soft cup frame. It’s hard to explain – you can see a picture of it below, along with a description of the Glamourmom products:

I found this inner layer to be a bit itchy, although I did get used to it and it felt less itchy after washing it a few times. It does provide some extra coverage on the top of the breast when nursing, so perhaps some moms might like this feature.

All in all, I would say that this is a great product. I’ve tried a few other nursing tanks, and this one is the best I’ve found. The supportive bra, the adjustable band, the long length, and the thick fabric make it hard to beat! I’d recommend this tank to any mom looking for a comfortable yet supportive nursing tank. Layer another shirt on top, and you can very easily nurse in public! Lift the top layer up, lower the bra and feed your baby, without showing any tummy or breast.

The stretchy fabric and adjustable band means that this tank will easily take you from early postpartum days far into your breastfeeding relationship. Yes, you could wear a nursing bra, with a regular tank over it, and another shirt on top. Yes, you could just undo your bra and pull your regular tank down underneath the breast, and pull your top shirt over the breast. I do this all the time, and it works, although my shirts tend to get stretched out and wrinkled. The process becomes easier using a Glamourmom Nursing Tank, and a nursing tank can certainly help a mom feel more confident nursing in public, especially in the early days.

Be sure to check out some of Glamourmom’s other products – their bras, pajamas, and other nursing tanks all look fabulous . . . and even a little bit GLAMOROUS!

BUY IT!

You can get the Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top and more by ordering directly from Glamourmom’s website. Amazon also carries several Glamourmom products.

Glamourmom does offer free shipping on orders over $50.

WIN IT!

For your own chance to win a Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top from Glamourmom, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system on NPN.

One winner will receive a Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top. Contest is open to United States residents only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Tell us what you would buy at Glamourmom! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on this blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries. If on Blogger, you can enter it like this to foil spambots: mail {at} naturalparentsnetwork {dot} com

This is a joint giveaway with Little Snowflakes and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we’ll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy all three sites!

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click “Click for instructions” for guidance and then “I did this” — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the “Extra Info” box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!

Go to the NPN site to enter Rafflecopter.

Contest closes April 18, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time.

Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product for review purposes.
Amazon links are affiliate links.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If we don’t like a product, we won’t be recommending it to you.
See our full disclosure policy here.


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Natural Parents Network Volunteers – Best of 2011

I am proud and honored to be both a contributor and mentor with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), an empowering and inspiring community of natural-minded parents. When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about ActivismBalanceConsistent CareEcological ResponsibilityFamily Safety,Feeding With LoveGentle DisciplineHealthy LivingHolistic HealthNatural LearningNurturing TouchParenting PhilosophiesPractical Home HelpPreparing for ParentingResponding With SensitivitySafe Sleep, and so much more!

The volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to make NPN the outstanding resource it is also spend countless hours informing and inspiring others on their personal blogs. To close out 2011, NPN volunteers have come together to provide you with some extremely valuable reading material. Each volunteer has selected either her most viewed post of 2011 or her favorite post and shared the link below. Please take a few moments to visit posts that interest you.  Our intention is to expand our reach as bloggers and inform parents as we move through our own journeys. The volunteers have also provided links to other social media sites where you can follow them.

We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them.

Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares her Christmas Cookie Swap Blog Hop, which is her fourth annual virtual cookie swap and most popular post of the year. Please stop by and link up your favorite holiday recipe until Dec. 31. You can find Farmer’s Daughter on Facebook and Twitter.

Adrienne from Mommying My Way shares Fear vs. Faith, one of her favorite posts about how often living a life of faith can look like a life of fear, but the two are really quite different. You can also find Mommying My Way on Facebook.

Alicia of Lactation Narration retells the story of her oldest daughter’s 5 years of nursing and weaning in her favorite post of 2011, The Weaning Party. You can find Lactation Narration on Facebook and Twitter.

Amy of Toddler In Tow shares Finding My Mommy-Zen, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, she shares her desire to balance her own self-esteem by choice in order to parent with peace and compassion. You can also find Toddler In Tow on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and follow Amyables (Amy W.) on Google + and Ravelry.

Arpita of Up, Down, and Natural shares one of her most popular posts titled Reflections. This is a beautiful look at the type of mother she wants to be. You can find Up, Down, and Natural on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares Why Do Children Have More Food Allergies Than Ever Before?, her most viewed post of 2011. This post explains the shocking info that one unsuspecting mother discovered when she started researching why her daughter had a violent allergic reaction to eggs. This is a must read post for ensuring the health of your family. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Stumbleupon.

Christine of African Babies Don’t Cry shares The Best First Food for Babies, one of her favourite posts of 2011. This well-researched post delves into the healthiest and most nutritious food to feed your baby. You can also find African Babies Don’t Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

Cynthia of The Hippie Housewife shares Gentle Discipline for Toddlers, her most viewed post of 2011. This post describes five gentle discipline tools for parenting toddlers. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google +, and Pinterest.

Darcel of The Mahogany Way shares how Babywearing As a Way of Life one of her favorite post of 2011. This post showcases some beautiful woven wraps that she has purchased, traded, borrowed, and sold over the years. Darcel also talks about the benefits of babywearing from the newborn through toddler stage. You can also find Darcel{ The Mahogany Way} on Facebook, Twitter, Her Community for Mothers of Color, and Pinterest.

Dionna of Code Name Mama shares 50 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids Plus Fun Serving Suggestions, her most viewed post of 2011. Most of these snacks are quick to fix and portable, so you can pack them to send with your child on play dates, at preschool, or to just have handy in the refrigerator for when your child wants to grab a bite to eat “all by himself.” You can find Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Erica at ChildOrganics shares a post that is not only close to her heart, but also her most viewed post for 2011 titled Attachment Parenting in the NICU. This post shares her top 10 tips for parenting should you find yourself with a baby in the NICU. You can also find Erica on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her personal experience of returning to work, expressing milk, and the ups and downs in between in her 2011 most viewed post, Mama’s Milk. You can also find Gretchen on GFC, Blog Lovin’, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Isil of Smiling like Sunshine shares how to make an autumn tree using pumpkin seeds, her most popular post in 2011. This post features a lovely craft activity that you can do with your kids! You can also find Isil on Facebook and Twitter.

Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama shares 80 Uses For Coconut Oil, her most viewed post of 2011. This comprehensive post provides background information on the benefits of coconut oil as well as outlines 80 uses for it. You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares her most popular post of 2011, Weekly House Blessing (Otherwise Known as Cleaning Once a Week). This post outlines a once per week cleaning routine for busy moms. You can also find Jennifer on Twitter.

Joella, the mama behind Fine and Fair, shares An Unusual Gripe with Bebe Gluton, one of her most popular posts of 2011. In it, she discusses the controversy surrounding a “breastfeeding doll” and offers her take on the gender role implications of dolls in general. Fine and Fair can also be found on twitter and facebook.

Julia of A Little Bit of All of It shares the story of how her co-sleeping relationship ended with her daughter, her most viewed post of 2011. This post shows how her daughter transitioned to her own bed on her 2nd birthday and the emotions involved for her mom. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares True Blessings: White Noise and Grandparents, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, Kat talks about how she maximizes getting sleep and how grateful and blessed she is to have her parents be so involved in helping and spending time with her kiddos.

Kelly of Becoming Crunchy shares That Cup Does What?, her most viewed post of 2011. This post is one of a series of reviews and information on switching to all natural menstrual products – having heard so many different options and recommendations, Kelly decided to give a whole bunch of them a try and pull all the reviews together in one week for anyone interested in making the switch. This post in particular covers the ins and outs of the Diva Cup. You can also find Becoming Crunchy on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

Kristin of Intrepid Murmurings shares a popular post from 2011, something she and her husband made for their girls for Christmas, great for open-ended play and construction: Handmade Tree Blocks. You can also find Kristin on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Lani of Boobie Time shares Helping a Fellow Breastfeeding Mom, her inspiration for starting to blog. This post discusses the importance of fellow moms supporting each other and some tips on having a successful breastfeeding relationship. Lani can also be found on Facebook.

Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door writes about finally entering “spring” when her child with special needs begins preschool. After battling post-partum mental illness (post tramatic stress disorder) after the preterm birth of her third child, she finally begins to feel healthy and whole again in “It’s Fall, Ya’ll-Again.”

Lauren of Hobo Mama shares On not having an AP poster child, her (OK, second) most viewed post of 2011. Lauren’s first child shook her certainty that attachment parenting meant babies never cried and toddlers grew independent — and that’s all right, too. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Luschka of Diary of a First Child shares Lactivism, Breastfeeding, Bottlefeeding and Mothers at War, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This post discusses how the breastfeeding/bottle feeding debate causes a division between mothers, leading to the alienation of women and babies, while divisive companies prosper. You can also find Diary of a First Child on Facebook, and Twitter.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how With Privilege Comes Responsibility, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This compelling post explains her strong felt desire to stand up for those less privileged. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings shares a Montessori-Inspired Checklist for Choosing Toys, her most popular post of 2011. The article outlines some important Montessori principles and how they relate to children’s toys, translating that into some simple guiding principles. You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Melissa of White Noise shares Modern Day Wet Nurse, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, Melissa shares the benefits of human breast milk and human milk sharing. You can also find Melissa at Mothers of Change.

Momma Jorje shares Amniocentesis – What is it *really* like?, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This open and honest series offers not only the technical process of amniocentesis, but also the emotions involved in awaiting (and receiving) the procedure and a diagnosis. Momma Jorje can also be found on Facebook.

Moorea of MamaLady: Adventures in Queer Parenting shares Fluoride: Another Reason Breast Is Best, her favorite post of 2011. This post provides research on the harmful effects of fluoride in drinking water for babies and toddlers and ways to limit fluoride consumption in your home. You can also find MamaLady on Facebook and Twitter and her Parent Coaching Site.

Rachael at The Variegated Life is Calling the Muse in her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, she describes how she uses ritual to help her tap into her creative spirit. You can also find Rachael on Twitter and The Variegated Life on Facebook.

Rebekah and Chris from Liberated Family shares Using Cloth In a Disposable Society, their favorite post of 2011. This extensive post provides a lot of information regarding the varied uses of cloth as well as the many benefits. You can also find Liberated Family on Twitter.

Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares her most viewed post: Confessions of a Breastfeeding Advocate: I Couldn’t. She confesses her struggles with breastfeeding her daughters, but shares why she’ll continue the good fight. You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Seonaid of The Practical Dilettante offers a science- and reverence-based meditation on The Living Earth, her most viewed post of 2011. This meditation was originally written for Earth Day, but it provides a way to reconnect with your place in the living breathing planet at any time of year. You can also find Seonaid on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares I Recommend (But Moira Likes This Book Too), her most viewed post of 2011. This post is a review of a wonderful book that talks about all the different ways that families can be made up, along with some of why this topic is so important to her family.

Sheryl at Little Snowflakes shares her experiences with tandem nursing in Tandem Nursing – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, her most viewed post of 2011. You can also find Sheryl on Twitter.

Stay tuned for some amazing posts from all of these tremendous bloggers in 2012!


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Co-Sleeping and Scare Tactics

Picture this – a baby and his mother, peacefully slumbering beside each other.   When the baby stirs, the mother gently wakes, and nurses the baby back to sleep.  Both mom and baby feel secure, safe and rested.   What could be more natural, or more comforting?

Well, the city of Milwaukee feels differently.  News of their ridiculous new ad campaign, depicting a baby sleeping next to a knife, has been spreading through the blogosphere this week.  The ads were even mentioned yesterday in one of Canada’s national newspapers, the Globe and Mail. The ads controversially state that sharing a bed with a baby is as dangerous as allowing your baby to sleep with a knife.

I hate to break it to you Milwaukee, but parents and their babies have been bed sharing since the beginning of time.   If it is as dangerous and you make it out to be, explain to me how the human race has survived?

Thankfully, Annie who blogs at PhD in Parenting has provided an intelligent response.   You can read it here.   As Annie points out, co-sleeping is statistically as dangerous as travelling by cars.   So does that mean that we should stop taking our kids with us when we drive?  Should we walk everywhere?  Or should we just try to make both driving and co-sleeping as safe as possible?

Dr. Sears also has an excellent response to these ads.  You can read it here.   As he so aptly says:

Every night millions of mothers and babies the world over sleep close to each other, and the babies wake up just fine.  Instead of alarming conscientious parents, like the recent shocking and insensitive ad campaign in Milwaukee did, as reported in the Journal Sentinel, sleep advisors should be teaching parents how to co-sleep safely.

So what is safe co-sleeping?  Annie at PhD in has great information in her post entitled “Co-Sleeping Safety“.  I highly recommend reading it in its entirety if you are considering co-sleeping, or if you currently co-sleep and want to minimize the risks involved.

Milwaukee – my family will continue to co-sleep safely, because it is what works best for us.  Everyone is happy and well-rested and your scare tactics won’t work in this house.


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Solids the second time around

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


When I first introduced solids to my first son Dylan, when he was 6 months old, it was a BIG DEAL. For weeks I read up on solids – what to try first, how much to give, how many days to leave in between introducing new foods. I made big batches of all kinds of pureed fruits and veggies and froze them in little individual sized portions. Every morning Jake fed Dylan breakfast and he often had something at lunch and dinner too. Everything went really smoothly and Dylan enjoyed all of the purees I made, and gradually transitioned over to table foods at around 9 or 10 months.

Everything is more relaxed this time around. Benjamin also started solids right around the 6 month mark. Like his big brother Dylan, his first taste of food was a bit of mashed banana. However, unlike his big brother, Benjamin has mostly skipped over purees.   Instead, we place appropriate food on Benjamin’s highchair tray and he feeds himself.

Corn is a yummy summer treat for everyone, including babies!

For the first little while, not much food ended up in Ben’s mouth!  For example, I’d place some small pieces of cooked sweet potato on his tray, and he’d mush them around, make a mess, and perhaps lick his fingers a bit.  We also used a mesh feeder and put fresh summer fruits inside and he’d suck on the feeder, and of course make a mess!

Raspberries in the mesh feeder – messy but oh so fun!

As time went by, his pincer grip further developed and he got more and more food in his mouth.   Some favorites included peaches, raspberries, blueberries, and watermelon.   I found that his eating really took off at month 9.   These days (at month 10), I try to give Benjamin a little bit of table food at every meal.  He loves pretty much all fruits and veggies, and has also tried oatmeal, rice, and beans.   He also loves soups and my morning smoothie!  He even loves the sprouted lentils that I pick up at our local farmer’s market.  For liquidy things like soups and smoothies, I attempt to spoon feed him, but he usually doesn’t like it!   Instead, I put some food on the spoon and then give it to him, and he feeds himself.

So in an unintentional manner, I have been feeding Benjamin according to the baby led weaning method.  According to this method, a parent provides appropriate food for a baby, and the baby feeds him or herself.

I found this information on Wikipedia:

Baby-led weaning places the emphasis on exploring taste, texture, colour and smell as the baby sets their own pace for the meal, choosing which foods to concentrate on. Instead of the traditional method of spooning puréed food into the baby’s mouth, the baby is presented with a plate of varied finger food from which to choose.

Self-feeding supports the child’s motor development on many vital areas, such as their hand-eye coordination and chewing. It encourages the child towards independence and often provides a stress-free alternative for meal times, for both the child and the parents. Some babies refuse to eat solids when offered with a spoon, but happily help themselves to finger food.

Makes sense to me!  I’m happy that I’m encouraging Ben towards independence and developing his motor skills!    But truthfully, we are doing baby-led weaning because I don’t have the time or interest in preparing purees, and I also don’t have the time to spoon feed Ben!   Mealtimes are busy in our household and everyone has to fend for him or herself!

Who doesn't love a piece of freshly steamed broccoli?

I’m much more relaxed about food the second time around.   Partially because I’m busier this time with a 3 yr old to take care of also.   And I know that up until a year, a baby’s main source of nutrition should be breastmilk.  Since he still breastfeeds around the clock, I know he is getting lots and lots of the best source of nutrition!

How have you approached solids with your babies?  Have you found it different the second time around?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food – it’s a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn’t cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa’s making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children’s favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What’s Next? panicks about passing on her food “issues” to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family’s relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M’s first adventures with food.
  • The Night My 7-Year-Old Made Dinner — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares how her 7-year-old daughter surprised everyone by turning what started as an idea to play restaurant into pulling off making supper for her family.
  • Cooking With a High-Needs Toddler — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how Montessori-inspired activities and a bit of acceptance have helped her overcome hurdles in cooking while caring for a “high-needs” child.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – teaching healthy food choices — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her belief in the importance of getting kids into the kitchen using her favorite cookbook for kids to develop healthy food choices now and hopefully into the future.
  • Make Milk, Not War — Tamara at Tea for Three remembers the daily food fights as she struggled to feed a picky eater.
  • teaching baby birds about good food. — Sarah at Small Bird on Fire writes about the ways in which her family chooses to gently teach their son how to make wise food decisions.
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Your Baby or Young Toddler’s Relationship with Food — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares simple ways to give your child a healthy beginning to her lifelong relationship with food.
  • Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions — Moorea at Mamalady shares tips for preventing meal-time power struggles.
  • How My Child Takes Responsibility During His Mealtime… — Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares how she teaches and encourages her 32 months old son on adopting good manners and responsibilities during his mealtimes…
  • megan — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares six tips for overcoming some of the the difficulties of cooking with multiple young sous chefs, and a recipe they all can agree on!
  • How BLW has made me a better parent — Zoe at Mummykins shares how baby-led weaning has changed her approach to parenting.
  • My Budding Chef — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom is no cook but is happy that her daughter has shown an inclination and manages to whip up yummy goodies for their family.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: An Activity for Every Age — Gaby from Tmuffin describes how she keeps her kids busy in the kitchen, whether they are one week old or two years old.
  • The Phantastically Mutlipurposed Phyllo — Ana at Pandamoly shares how Phyllo is used to create enticing dishes at home! Anything can be made into a Struedel!
  • Kitchen Kids — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen shares her children’s most favorite recipe to make, experience and eat.
  • Independence vs. Connection in the Kitchen: won’t you please get yourself your own snack already? — Lisa at Organic Baby Atlanta wishes her daughter would just go make a mess in the kitchen. But her daughter only wants to do it together.
  • Grandma Rose’s Kitchen — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter reminisces about her childhood and dreams of filling her kitchen with people, love, noise, and messes.
  • Healthy Food Choices for Kids — Jorje offers one way to encourage children to make their own healthy food choices at MommaJorje.com.
  • Cooking food to thrive rather than survive — Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales is trying to foster a lifetime of good food habits by teaching her children about the importance of avoiding junk, cooking healthy meals, and learning about the whole food process.
  • Evolution of a self-led eater — Sheila at A Gift Universe shares the story of how her son grew from nursing around the clock to eating everything in sight, without her having to push.
  • 10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explores the ways in which her toddler actively participates in kitchen-related activities.
  • The Complexity of Feeding a Child — Feeding children a healthy diet is no straight-forward task, but Lisa at My World Edenwild shares some general guidelines to help your child thrive.
  • Lactation CookiesThat Mama Gretchen shares a fun recipe that will benefit both mamas and babies!
  • The Best Books and Websites to Inspire Kids in the Kitchen — Need inspiration to get your kids in the kitchen? Dionna at Code Name: Mama rounds up some of the best books and websites that can serve as a source for ideas, recipes, and cooking with littles fun.
  • A 4-year-old’s smoothie recipe — Jen at Grow With Graces and her son set out to make a smoothie without the usual ingredients. She let him improvise. See how it turned out.
  • Independent Food Preparation (My Toddler Can Do That?) — Megan at Montessori Moments shares simple ways for children to prepare their own healthy snacks.
  • Follow Your Gut — Amy at Anktangle shares her philosophy about intuitive eating, and how she’s trying to foster her son’s trust in his own inner wisdom when he feels hungry.
  • A TODDLER-STYLE LUNCH + RECIPEManic Mrs. Stone photographs how to have messy fun during lunchtime with a helpful toddler.